OLA SuperConference 2016

On the eve of this year’s OLA SuperConference, I am filled with excitement, anticipation and energy.  This annual event has long been a highlight of my year in terms of PD as a teacher-librarian and lifelong learner. I have attended a lot of conferences, workshops and learning sessions in my 17 years of teaching and hands down, OLA is the BEST. This year is particularly exciting, however, as I am undertaking a number of firsts!

#1 – I am arriving at the conference tonight, instead of scrambling in on the 7:20am VIA train and rushing into my first session late on Wednesday morning. I love a train ride at sunset. Definitely excellent planning on my part. I look forward to a fresh start in the morning at 9am, convening Anita Brooks-Kirkland and Carlo Fusco’s session “Flip your Library Orientation”.

#2 – I am presenting a session!  After 8 years of attending SuperConference, I finally got up the gumption to put in a proposal for a session and it was accepted.  Yay, me! Thanks to the selection committee for seeing my potential. Of course, never being a person to do things by halves, I am actually making 3 presentations – two with other groups – over the course of three days. When I go in, I go ALL in. The sessions are here, if anyone is interested:

The Learning Commons Lightning Round with Anita Brooks-Kirkland and some other awesome Teacher-Librarians:

At the Together for Learning Showcase: T4L Showcase

And on my own: Leading From the Middle: The Transition to School Library Learning Commons

#3 – And this one is BIG. On Thursday evening, at the Ontario School Library Association AGM, I am taking on the role of President of OSLA for 2016. I am honoured and thrilled to be able to help influence and advance the position of school libraries in the province of Ontario and potentially, further afield. I am blessed to have the best job in the world as Teacher-Librarian at Brantford Collegiate -the students and staff at my school are fantastic people and as a result of my ties to organizations such as TALCO and OSLA, I have been able to expand my circle of amazing connections to include hundreds of co-learners and co-teachers. Along with my awesome VP, Melissa Jensen and the rest of the dedicated, creative, passionate OSLA Board, my goal is to do some great things for school libraries in 2016. Thanks to all of the amazing people at OLA who have taught me so much in my year as VP and to my principal and school board, who are supporting me as I focus time and energy on the greater good, beyond the boundaries of the Grand Erie District School Board. Mostly, I want to thank my husband and kids for being my biggest supporters and fans.

One of the lessons I share in my presentation is “Start as you mean to go on” – which is one of my mantras. I intend to record and communicate and reflect and write more often – and the day before another OLA SuperConference seems as good a time as any to share my thoughts and my excitement.

Wishing all of my colleagues and friends an inspirational, connected, fun and fabulous #OLASC2016!



On Being Venturesome…

Venturesome: adj  adventurous, audacious, bold, brave, courageous, daring, enterprising, fearless, gutsy, intrepid, plucky, reckless, resourceful, risky, spirited
The synonyms for venturesome are like my personal mission statement. To be clear, I am not about risk-taking just for the sake of it, but I like the idea of challenging myself and others to create, achieve and improve. If there is a better way to do something, why not try it?  If everyone else turns right, I need to ask, “Why not turn left?”  I have always believed that, “This is the way we’ve always done it” is one of the most dangerous and stultifying reasons for doing anything. There is no thought or reflection or choice implicit in this kind of maintenance of the status quo.  Traditions can form a valuable foundation from which new ideas and methodologies may evolve.
I liken my career aspirations to my yoga practice. Mindfulness and meditation are important. I need to think about the choices I make and how they will benefit my students, my teachers, my school and my library.  There is movement with purpose. Change is a flow. It doesn’t always happen quickly, but change is continuous. I’m not always able to keep my balance, but with time, I will develop new skills and I will share them with my learning community.
Both on and off the mat, breathing is the foundation of practice. Remembering to stop and reevaluate my goals, to prioritize and to give myself time to think – to stop and take a breath – is imperative. Yoga and teacher-librarianship share the element of trust. I need to trust myself to boldly take chances, try new ideas (like building a Makerspace and working to develop a Learning Commons philosophy in my school) and be resourceful in my pursuit of my professional goals. My life, my career and my yoga practice are all works in progress. I am excited to see where it will all lead.
I aspire to be The Venturesome Librarian.