Statement of Benefit from Kristy Kilfoyle
Conference Attended: Association for Independent School Librarians Annual Conference
June 3, 2019
Location: Boston, MA
Dates: April 4 – 7, 2019
It was such a pleasure to be able to attend the Association for Independent School Librarian Annual Conference in Boston. This year, they implemented a new mobile app called Sched, which was easy to use and allowed us to know precisely where to be and when, which is a challenge when there are
separate YS and YA tracks, 3 different coach buses and more than 7 schools to visit. The primary value for me in attending this specific conference is the ability to network with other librarians, who are not in the Public School system, but have the same school hierarchies, common language and similar challenges.
The session that stood out the most was on Project Zero’s Visible Thinking routines. Not only has it impacted the way I’m teaching, but the way I look at and intake new information. The routines are highly applicable to the work of Academic Librarians and can assist in an Academic Librarian’s research and learning and in they way the teach. This initiative comes out of Harvard’s School of Education. The idea is that when thinking, by an individual or a group, is documented the learning becomes visible. It’s not just about finding the right answer, but to use your knowledge as a springboard for your follow-up questions, for taking your learning to the next level. As a librarian, these routines are exciting, because it gives a framework for teaching students the difference between their own thoughts and analyses and thoughts of those that they might cite in a paper. I immediately returned to Canterbury and repeated the session for both the Lower and Middle School faculty and they were eager to implement the techniques into curriculum.
For more information on Visible Thinking:
At Phillips Andover School, we heard John Palfrey (former Executive Director of the Digital Public Library) and John Bracken, current Executive Director of the DPL speak on the value of libraries in the age of Google along with 3 of the librarians from PA. They talked about how those seeking to participate in the 21st century need to understand how to find and use the vast stores of information available online. And how libraries play a crucial role in making these skills and information available. The speakers had a sense of urgency and encouraged individual libraries to contact the DPL to discuss the digitization of those materials.
The session I attended on fostering Junior Librarians would be of particular interest to School Librarians. The librarian presenter described in depth a program that she had developed in her Pre-K-4th grade school in Toronto, in which the 4th graders who have a particular interest in the library and books are rewarded by assisting with check-in, check-out, shelving fiction books, ordering series and other age-appropriate tasks. These students also serve as reading buddies and library mentors to the younger students during the school-wide Drop Everything And Read time, which happens on a daily basis. With tight district budgets, low staff levels, fewer volunteers due to working parents, harnessing the passion of willing students is a great way to fill in some gaps. Special Libraries: SWLFN’s special libraries would benefit from the knowledge that they can contact the DPL to discuss digitizing any collection that they might want digitized. Overall, the conference may be specific to Independent School librarians, but whenever we get the chance to pull ideas from other fields, I think we grow in our understanding of how humans glean information and how we as librarians can be of service to information seekers.