I love a conference. Spending lots of time alone in the library makes me crave the camaraderie of a conference center full of fairly like-minded folks. New ideas energize me. While I may not have time on an average Monday through Friday to try too many new tools, I can see them in action and hear how they’re being used and narrow my focus.
Social media can be a blessing and a curse at conference time. There’s often so much excitement leading up to the conference. Local librarians post about the best local restaurants, book stores, and even running paths. Presenters start building interest in their sessions. In short, amazing things are about to happen.
But if you are not able to attend the conference, it can feel like you are missing out on the big party. No fun new restaurants. No snazzy bookstores. No new running paths. And, most tragic of all, no fantastic sessions to invigorate next week’s lessons.
I am lucky that my school encourages professional development. Time off for conferences is almost always approved and we are encouraged to share our experiences with our team when we return. But as a solo librarian, I sometimes feel that taking time off is asking too much of my often overstretched colleagues who will then be responsible for covering my classes and activities. So I sit in my library, suffering from Fear Of Missing Out.
What to do with #AASL #FOMO?
There’s the social media conference. Librarians are fantastic documentarians. They fill social media with photos and links and key ideas all handily tagged for perusal by those left behind. When time allows, the information is there to spark a new idea. I’ll be keeping a Padlet of all of the cool websites shared (and feel free to add anything I’ve missed).
Conference days are also when I set aside time to explore the amazing resources available through AASL eCOLLAB. If you haven’t explored these pages, you’re missing out on one of the greatest benefits of your AASL membership. Here you’ll find webcasts, podcasts, lesson plans, and recordings and handouts of past conference presentations.
My final left behind consolation is my stash of webinars. As webinars were becoming popular, I missed a number of them because I would see that the time conflicted with a class or meeting. Then I learned the secret of webinars…most of them will send you a link to the recorded program to watch when your schedule allows. Once I figured that out, I started registering for every webinar that piqued my interest. I keep the links in a folder and when I need that boost of new thinking, I pull one up and give myself a learning period.
So this is how I deal with my #AASL #FOMO. Do you have any strategies for creating your own conference at home?