The K-12 LIS licensure program hosted its third annual Summer Getaway: Professional Development for School Librarians from June 12-14 at the School. Over forty Illinois school librarians and iSchool MS students attended this unique professional development opportunity.
Led by school library professionals, each day of the event offered an in-depth session focused on a single, high-demand topic. Participants learned how they can become advocates for their school library programs; address the needs of twenty-first-century learners; and use social media for branding, digital outreach, and instruction.
During the conference, Associate Professor Kate McDowell, Assistant Professor and MS/LIS Program Director Nicole A. Cooke, and Graduate Studies Advisor Karla Lucht facilitated closing sessions based on their research areas. Two closing session recordings are available online: Storytelling for School Library Leaders and Social Justice and Materials for Youth.
Participants enjoyed the opportunity to receive training designed especially for school librarians as well as learning from and networking with their peers.
"On day two of the conference, I participated in a session on a reading program for high school libraries," said Michelle Harris (MS '07), district librarian in Heyworth, Illinois. "You never think of reading programs for older readers and worry that the kids will think they're lame. But, the way this one was presented, I thought 'I can totally do that.' I'm going to tweak it a little bit, but it's going to work. As soon as I get home, I’m going to call the English teachers and tell them we need to get together."
Ann Ohms, K-12 program coordinator and conference organizer, explained that the goal is to connect professionals and motivate them to integrate new learning into meaningful work with students. "We hope they walk away with a community of connected colleagues that will continually challenge them to learn and grow as individuals, educators, and information professionals."