I love conferences! Attending conferences is like going to the spa for me. I walk away feeling renewed, refreshed, and energized. I feel ready to conquer the world…or at least my school library.
There are many reasons to attend your state library conference. One of the many reasons I love attending my state conference is for the collaboration. At a state conference, you are able to collaborate with so many different types of librarians, not just school librarians; and you are able to share your ideas with all of them.
How can you utilize your time wisely at a state conference for collaboration?
- Present a Session
Did you teach a great lesson last year? Do you create eye-catching library displays? Are your students actively using your library independently? Awesome! Share about it. Collaboration has to begin with someone sharing their ideas and asking for feedback. By sharing your success stories, you are inspiring others to do the same and improving library practices.
2. Attend Social Gatherings
At conferences, discussions and collaboration are not just limited to the sessions you will find in the programs. Attend dinners. Meet people for local tours. Talk with vendors and other attendees in the hallway. Collaboration can happen anywhere. Don’t just limit yourself to what you are learning in the sessions.
3. Join Round-table Discussions
Round-table discussions provide an excellent opportunity for collaboration. Round-tables are designed for specific discussions that fit your needs. At my state conference, I was able to sit in on a School Library & Children’s Services round-table; however, there were other round-table discussions for small and rural libraries, academic libraries, and public libraries.
4. Be Vocal
Did you find a particular session inspiring? Tell the presenter! Ask for more information. Many state conferences offer sessions that are presented by school librarians, public librarians, specialty librarians, and academic librarians. Be vocal in your desire to collaborate with someone. As school librarians, we often limit ourselves to just collaboration with other school librarians. Don’t be afraid to branch out.
5. Share Your Information
Be sure to pass out your business card to new contacts. I share mine at every conference so that I can continue to collaborate with colleagues long after the conference has ended. With Skype and Google Hangouts, we can keep in contact and collaborate not just with each other but with each other’s students, as well.
Local, state, and national conferences provide such a great atmosphere for collaboration. Next time you attend a conference, be sure to collaborate with colleagues and share the amazing things you’re doing in your school library.
Author: Ashley Cooksey
Library Media Specialist in Arkansas. Self-proclaimed geek. Lover of nature and music. Always learning.