I was able to spend this past Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at Follett’s New Leaf in Learning Conference in Schaumburg, Illinois. Back in the fall when Follett invited Tamara Cox and I to present on their Next Generation Library track, I was stoked at the opportunity to meet my friend face to face.
I was so very excited when I landed in Chicago and met up with Tamara at the airport to head to the conference hotel in Schaumburg. So the two southern girls took a crazy cab ride through the big city and arrived at the beautiful hotel and conference center. After getting checked in and finding some lunch, it was time for the opening keynote by Kevin Honeycutt. This keynote ended up being one of the highlights of the conference for me and I can’t wait for the virtual conference to go live next month so I can go back and watch his keynote again.
On Thursday morning, we enjoyed some great sessions, including “Leadership 2.0” by Eric Sheninger. Eric has been one of my Twitter crushes for quite some time now. I’d heard him speak virtually before, but it was great to hear him in person. I had to refrain from shouting out an “AMEN!” at a couple of points during his session, but I did control myself. Although I couldn’t NOT get a picture at the end. I may have made him a bit uncomfortable, but I’m sure that many of you know how it is when you meet someone that you’ve followed and respected for so long.
We had a fabulous lunch (and breakfast, too! I forgot to tell you about all of the great food at this conference…it was outrageous!), we got to listen to Shannon Miller‘s session on being the change you want to see. I’m always so jealous when I hear people like Eric and Shannon speak because I so desperately want to get my school to the level that their schools are already.
Next, it was time for Tamara and I to share our first session, “Be a Next Gen Librarian TODAY!”
We were giddy by the fact that we had a packed house! We started rocking and rolling through out 70+ slides revolving around the 13 virtues of a next gen librarian. I think what everyone liked best about the things we shared was that there were lots of ideas that they could take back and apply immediately. Here are the slides from our presentation, and we added links here as well.
We were so pumped up after the great presentation! We had some great conversations after and people were definitely intrigued by some of the things we shared (nontraditional shelving, anyone?).
Since we were so close to Chicago, a city that neither Tamara nor I had visited before, we decided to take the train into the city for the evening. Some of the video I shared in my last post was our trip into the city, so check that out. We were lucky enough to have beautiful weather while we explored the city. And we mastered the train, which I was quite proud of!
Another great breakfast on Friday morning — bacon, eggs, fruit, hash browns, yes please! — we geared up for our second session on “Embedded Librarianship.”
We were able to share about the different places where embedded librarians should make themselves seen and heard. Again, we had a really good response from the audience and had a great time presenting together! I think that Tamara and I made a great team and I will definitely look forward to more opportunities to present with my dear friend!
Now, being the devoted middle school librarians that we are, we NEEDED to see the Hunger Games before we hopped our flights back home. AMAZING! It was such a great end to our time together and a great trip!