Recently, a friend asked me to share some of the highlights from a recent conference. I talked about the sessions on diverse books, the moments chatting with authors/illustrators on the exhibit floor, and the advance titles perused and picked up.
What I couldn’t quite express was the value of my biggest takeaway: the opportunity to network with some of the best in the field of librarianship.
Attending numerous conferences this past year – including ALA Annual, AASL, NCCE & WLMA – has afforded me the opportunity to be surrounded by hundreds of professionals in the library and information technology worlds. It has taken practice, but walking into a session, meeting, vendor exhibit, or event alone and striking up a conversation is when the best ideas, information, and connections happen. Introverted to the core, it’s a struggle…but one that pays off in huge dividends. I’ve met a mentor in inspiring Susan, a conference friend in dedicated Beth (we meet up every year!), a passionate maker in Bethany, a like-minded colleague in Cheryl and more.
It was meeting Bethany through a mutual friend at NCCE that brought about a dream opportunity: to present at a regional T-L Summit on the Building a Better Collection: the best literature of 2016. With the fabulous Mike Fleming taking YA and me sharing kidlit, I’m hopeful this collaboration will continue for years to come. Getting out there and connecting with others builds relationships that improve my ability to teach, to learn, and to share.
And speaking of sharing: there were 48 titles in the BBC presentation. I’ll be blogging one a day for the next month and a half. If you love one, please comment. Because we all learn when we share and connect.