Summer often means vacations, road trips, concerts, and fun by the pool. It also means Professional Development (PD) season. This is always a time to which I look forward. It means that I get to spend time with “my people.” My people are other school librarians. Professionals in the same position as me. Often, as school librarians, we are the single duck floating in our pond. There is only one of us per campus. That makes it very difficult to as, for someone’s help. We cannot simply run across the hall to ask advice from a colleague.
What are some PD areas where you can hang with your people?
1. Book Talk PD Sessions
I love attending PD sessions that share books! It’s a great way to get up-to-date blurbs of newer books without reading each and every book. That would take forever! Book talk PD sessions typically spend a day sharing 50+ newer books, and one of my favorites is hosted by Ken Stamatis. His session is titled “So Many Books, So Little Time.” Each year, I create a Pinterest board that catalogs all of the books he shares. This keeps the books organized, and it allows me to add a star or “favorite” books that I think my students would find the most interesting.
I also enjoy attending PD sessions that blurb the titles that have been nominated for our state book awards.
2. School Library & Technology Conferences
If you were one of the lucky school librarians attending ISTE, AASL or ALA this year, I envy you. School library and technology conferences are great PD sessions, especially in the summer where we can really focus on reflection and improvement for the upcoming school year. These conferences are where I can truly find my people. It’s like a really cool gang when we all get together.
School library and technology conferences not only offer great PD sessions on a variety of topics geared directly to our professions, but they provide a collaborative culture where we can share with each other. Some of the best new technology, teaching topics, and creative ideas I get come from chatting with my friends (new and old) outside of scheduled sessions and conferences.
3. Utilize Social Media
Are you one of the many who missed ISTE, AASL, or ALA this year? Did you wish you were there? Even though we didn’t attend the actual conference, social media makes following PD through conferences and summer sessions a reality. You can even attend a conference in your pajamas! Utilizing social media by following conferences, organizations, and chat hashtags allows you to hang out by the pool and attend PD sessions. Check out this list of Education Chats for more PD sessions you can follow throughout the school year.
Learning from my people at summer PD sessions is the best. I love the reflective time, new and fun information, and the time to just socialize and be with my people.
Thanks to reactiongifs.com for Alec Baldwin’s approval!
Author: Ashley Cooksey
Library Media Specialist in Arkansas. Self-proclaimed geek. Lover of nature and music. Always learning.