and the Professional Learning Chair for MSLA.
In her opening keynote address on Sunday, author Andrea Davis Pinkney shared her “Letter to Diversity.” She acknowledged that diversity is a hot topic this year, and implored us to keep it front and center in our work for years to come and not just treat it like this year’s fashion. The Sunday Dinner speaker, librarian Rebecca McCorkindale (aka Hafuboti), talked about diversity in our profession, recognizing paraprofessionals as important partners and incorporating social/emotional learning in our work. In Monday’s keynote, educator Debbie Irving shared her journey as a white woman recognizing her privilege and the awakening of her consciousness of race and society. In Monday’s closing session, author Jack Gantos thoughtfully shared his learning about representation in literature.
- Let’s talk tough topics: Using books to start the conversation featured MIddle-grade and YA authors Padma Venkatraman, Elly Swartz, Linda Mullaly Hunt, Ann Braden, and monitor, Jennifer Richard Jacobson discussing their books and how we can use literature to connect with our students. Padma Venkatramen was a crowd favorite.
- Deeth Ellis, Carolyn Jacobs and Lisa Rogers’ session, Spot the fake: Using fake news to strengthen students’ information literacy skills got rave reviews from attendees, including one person who said, “Deeth Ellis rules!”
- Creating literacy environments: Every child a literacy learner, presented by Dr. Susannah Richards, inspired and reenergized a roomful of librarians about their favorite thing: children and reading.
- Talya Sokoll’s session, The librarian as accomplice: Advocating for and supporting Trans/Gender Nonconforming and Nonbinary students gave attendees the confidence and knowledge to support these vulnerable students.
Please consider submitting a session proposal for MSLA 2020. Putting together a proposal is a great opportunity to reflect on your practice. Presenting at the conference reflects well on you and your district, is valued by administrators, and gives you the opportunity to connect with other educators about your work. The call for proposals will come out on the MSLA email list in the Fall.
The Sunday Awards Dinner honored and celebrated educators, administrators and library supporters. Many recipients brought family members and colleagues. This event is a powerful way to bring awareness to the importance and variety of high quality, professional library programs in Massachusetts. We are proud of our award winners and are inspired by their work.
The 2019 conference was a milestone for us: the last conference led by Kathy Lowe and Melissa Lynch. We are sad to say goodbye and are grateful for their steady leadership over the years. As a result of our leadership changes, much of the work that Kathy did will now be the responsibility of our membership. This is exciting and a tiny bit nerve-wracking. The conference is one of the most important parts of the MSLA: it provides the only professional development conference to many librarians in the state and raises most of the association revenue.
The MSLA conference could not happen without our exhibitors. Our Platinum sponsor was Permabound, and our Gold sponsors were Follett, Renaissance, Starbright Books, School Furnishings, and Tumblehome Books. The exhibit hall areas held thirty four more exhibitors. The exhibits were busy and attendees appreciated the chance to check out new books, software, hardware, and programs and touch base with reps.
Thank you to the 2019 Conference Committee: President Carrie Tucker, Professional Learning Chair and President Elect Laura Luker, Conference co-chairs Alida Hanson and Ann Perham, and committee members Barb Fecteau, Alida Hanson, Julianne Toomey Kautz, Sandy Kelly, Kathy Lowe, Melissa Lynch, Ingrid Mayyasi, Stephanie South, and Alix Woznik,
The MSLA 2020 conference will be held at the Sheraton Framingham again. We decided to remain in place next year because of leadership changes: the venue familiarity eases the transition. I hope that you decide to become involved by volunteering on the committee, submitting a session proposal, and sharing thoughts about themes and presenters. We received high quality, thoughtful feedback on our 2019 conference surveys and are using it to plan the next conference.