Brandi Heinz Brown and Melissa Fuentes were the first of the virtual crew I had the honor to meet. Love these two ladies from Follett and their excitement. Shortly after the Follett Challenge announcement, the AASL attendees filtered into the Exhibit Hall. Gwyneth Jones, aka Daring Librarian, came up to congratulate me. Love Gwyneth ever since she came to NC. She fits in great with us Southerners, especially those named Jennifer, which she may believe is one of the most common names in the South after her trip. With Gwyneth was Tiffany Whitehead, who I was just excited to meet as she was to meet me (thanks for including me with such a great group in your blog post, Tiff).
Friday and Saturday were filled with great sessions, ideas and meeting more fabulous people. I ran into Diane Cordell in the Learning Commons. It was great to talk with her. I wish I could have spent more time talking photography with her, but I had to jet off to Kareem Abdul Jabbar's book signing. The things I will do for my husband. Yes, he was with me in MN, and yes, he could have stood in line himself as a conference attendee but he was off visiting the University of Minnesota (btw he claims the campus is even more beautiful than Virginia Tech). In case you did not know, visiting colleges and universities is our geeky thing to do together. Hate that I missed that one.
Other authors that I had the opportunity to stalk while in MN included Maggie Stiefvater and Joan Bauer. I did not stalk Origami Yoda author Tom Angleberger at AASL having already met him at my state conference but did get the opportunity to speak to him prior to boarding our plane to Charlotte.
A few ideas that I am looking forward to implementing into my library include a student book swap and video or audio book talks for teachers. A session on Big6 with Bob Berkowitz has inspired me to do a training for parents on the Big6 and how they can use the steps to help students complete basic tasks such as homework. While I did not attend the 23 Things session, I have been toying with this idea. A librarian in my county started doing this a couple of years ago, and I just have not taken the time to develop this. Tiffany Whitehead came away from that session really excited and inspired me with her enthusiasm.
Probably the highlight of the entire trip was lunch on Saturday. Tiffany orchestrated a lunch outing on Saturday for a few librarians and the group continued to grow while we sat there. Could not believe the number of library rockstars at one table. This is where I met so many of those who I knew virtually but had never had the experience to meet in person. Totally amazed by the energy of all of these ladies, and I look forward to learning more from them in the future.
Another great experience from AASL was the shock of my principal at this school library world. On the plane he said to me "So, you have a blog." Turns out he was doing his research about AASL before we arrived in MN and came across my blog. Kudos to him for wanting to learn more. I believe this experience was eye-opening for him. He already supports school libraries, but I have no doubt that being among all you fabulous school librarians out there really helped him learn more about what libraries have to offer our schools.