We are so happy to have you all partner with us in sunny Phoenix, Arizona, for the AASL 2017 National Conference & Exhibition where we will venture Beyond the Horizon. It is so exciting to be among the first to witness the launch of our highly anticipated new National School Library Standards and the new opportunities they will provide in helping us move teaching and learning above and beyond in our schools.
This is a very robust conference filled with a great line-up of inspiring concurrent sessions as well as as a multitude of other rewarding activities. Check out what we have in store for you each day:
Wednesday, Nov. 8
You will want to participate in Dinner with a Local Librarian where authors will be joining us for a dutch treat dinner. If this is your first conference, be sure to take advantage of the First-Timer’s Orientation in order to get the most out of your conference experience.
Thursday, Nov. 9
Explore the IdeaLab, a best-practice showcase featuring learning stations where you can explore such topics as blended learning, flipped classrooms, national standards, STEM/STEAM, technology integration, and design thinking. The Opening General Session features Jamie Casap, who evangelizes the power and potential of technology and the web as enabling and supporting tools in pursuit of promoting inquiry-driven project-based learning models. The festive Exhibit Opening will follow this session. Other options for the evening include The Harry Potter Alliance, an interactive workshop where you can learn how to transform the pop culture passions of young people into real-world civic engagement, or you may want to join Marc Tyler Nobleman for a special screening of “Batman & Bill” a Hulu Original Documentary based on Nobleman’s non-fiction picture book, Bill the Boy Wonder. Then, you can wrap up your evening by attending the Unconference to meet and greet the new National School Library Standards, and each other, in a high-energy, participatory event.
Friday, Nov. 10
The day starts with the Standards General Session: AASL Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries where members of the AASL Standards and Guidelines Editorial Board and Implementation Task Force will present AASL’s remodeled standards in context with the library landscape and national educational movements. After attending as many of the inspiring concurrent sessions of the day as you can, kick back and come to the Conference Celebration at Corona Ranch where you will enjoy authentic Mexican food and drink, dancing, games, firepits, and even a 30-minute rodeo starting with a Grand Entry Parade featuring AASL leadership.
Saturday, Nov. 11
Saturday’s general session brings us noted young adult author, Jason Reynolds, whose book Long Way Down is the recipient of the 2017 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. His books have also received the Coretta Scott King Honor, the Walter Dean Myers Award, and the Kirkus Award.
While you are at the conference be sure to visit the Exhibit Hall often to talk to exhibitors one-on-one about the latest products and services for school libraries and to thank them for their continued support of our profession. The exhibit hall will also feature an AASL Best Apps & Best Websites Pavilion, which will provide a guided tour directly from the creators of these popular apps and websites for teaching and learning; Authorpalooza where authors will speak on the Authorpalooza stage, sign your books, and answer your questions; and a Makerspace, which will provide an opportunity for participatory learning along with a fun takeaway for all attendees. While you are in the exhibit hall, you can help us find three kidnapped authors by solving three puzzles in the Escape Room.
We would like to thank the conference committee members, and the AASL staff, who have been wonderful to work with in planning and developing this exciting conference. You will be able to identify all of us by the cacti lanyards we will be wearing. Thanks also to all of the volunteers who will be monitoring events to make sure things go smoothly. Enjoy the conference! We know it will inspire you to venture Beyond the Horizon.
Cathy Evans and Mary Ann Scheuer
Author: Cathy Evans
I am the director of libraries at St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis Tennessee. I have served on the AASL board and am currently the co-chair of the 2017 National Conference