Every year as we near the time of our annual conference, I feel myself getting more and more excited. I look forward each year to our time together - a time to learn, connect, and grow as educators - and I hope you all gain as much from it as I do.
This year’s conference theme, We Can Do It: School Libraries Build Strong Communities!, is especially near and dear to my heart given the troubled waters many communities are facing. As we all know, libraries of all kinds serve as a safe haven for people and for free and reliable information, and now more than ever that’s needed. School libraries, however, have an especially sacred charge. We are tasked with helping the children in our communities make sense of the world around them and to become informed and participatory citizens. Youth-led strikes to call attention to climate change and school gun violence come to mind as perfect examples of teenagers working to bring about change and to impact their communities in a positive way. They also highlight the power of an informed citizenry. Greta Thunberg’s message would be nowhere near as powerful without the facts she cites. The March for Our Lives movement depends upon research and knowledge. Somewhere along the line, someone has armed these kids with the skills to do this work.
Please join me at this year’s conference. As we immerse ourselves in learning from one another and refreshing our skills, we not only strengthen our own professional community, but we also reaffirm our commitment to lead the students in our charge to become vital members of their communities. Is there anything more important?