Monday, April 25, 2016

The Last Monday in April

I am utterly exhausted, y'all.

I have had an amazing week of bookish reveling & shenanigans but am now in dire need of some rest.

I attended TLA last week and it was FABULOUS! There are a million and one reasons to love TLA, but I'll just share a few highlights from this year's trip.

10. I get to spend quality girlfriend time with my dear friend and fellow librarian, Angie.  As close as we are, we rarely spend face-to-face time outside of our monthly librarian meetings.  TLA gives us a chance to have a 4-day slumber party.

9. We made it despite the weather.  We are badass ninja librarians.
Mirror image in a lake of a front yard.
Why yes that IS a car 'neath the bridge on the Tarkington Bayou.  
And this is on the safer DETOUR route!

8. Tech Camp was AWESOME.

7. The Simon & Schuster dinner at Artisans. Author S.J. Kincaid was kind & kickass all at the same time.  Justin Chanda gave me the updates on Skyfarm.  I had amazing conversations with dear librarian friend Diane.  I ate Beef Tenderloin and had chocolate mousse for dessert.

The lovely S.J. Kincaid & me
Her newest book.  SO, so good!  Loving this!

6. The Scholastic Brunch was fantastic this year. A beautiful brunch with authors reading to us, a bag full of new books AND a lightsaber?  YES, please!

5. The Sebco party at Lucky Strike bowling lanes.  This was the beautiful night of bonding (and karaoke!) for my district librarians. Most of us were there.  We spent time together just being ourselves and letting our hair down a bit.  This was a much-needed respite for all of us.  

4. The opening session of TLA was fantastic.  The talent in the pre-show was crazy good, and LEVAR BURTON was our keynote.  Let me repeat for those of you in the back seats--LEVAR BURTON.  

Roots.  Geordi LaForge. Reading Rainbow. 
This high school aerialist was amazing. 
3. The MacMillan dinner was a delight.  I cannot tell you how much I love Katie Halata, and now my new friends, author and English teacher Jennifer Matthieu, and her awesome editor Kate.  I left feeling as though I had spent time with dear friends I had known for years and a bag of autographed new books! Also, dinner was at The Grove, one of my faves.

2. A super fun session--the YA Lit vs. Kid Lit Lip Sync Battle, brain-child of super-librarian Nancy Jo Lambert. This was not your typical session!

1. Working with superstars on the TSL & TEA State Library Standards Revision steering committee.
at the booth!

Ready to lead focus groups with Donna Kearley!

So, there you have it.  I learned so much and had a blast, too.  I got back late Friday and turned right around Saturday to go to the North Texas Teen Book Fair in Irving, Texas with a busload of teenagers. Mucho fun was had by all.

It may take me a full week to totally recuperate, but it was all worth it!

Monday, April 18, 2016

It's Monday! What are YOU reading?

My awesome teen book club is reading I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson.  I'm about halfway in and loving it.  Twins, Noah and Jude tell the story--Noah from their earlier days, Jude from present-day.  The voices are distinct and quirky and I am drawn to each of them for different reasons.  I love so much that this book was chosen by my teens for use to read--makes it even better.

I'm also reading a new leadership book in preparation for TALL Texans this summer--The Truth about Leadership: The No-Fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need to Know by James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner.  GREAT stuff in here--things that we could all use reminders about no matter how long you've been in the leadership business. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

#SOL Tuesday

Before I landed the best job in the universe, as a high school librarian, I worked at what I thought was the best job in the universe, which was a middle school librarian. Way back before that I worked at what I thought was the best job in the universe which was as an elementary librarian. So, in that middle school period, I happened to work at a campus that is a feeder campus to my REAL best-job-in-the-universe gig.  Point is, I already knew about half the kids coming into the high school because I've been their librarian since they were 6th-graders.

This, my friends, comes in very handy in very many situations, on very many days.
Point is, it's a good thing.

Anyhow, the last 5 years or so I guess, during the final 6 weeks of 8th grade, the English folks teach lessons on world mythologies.  They graciously invited me to join them in this endeavor and my specific task was to teach Norse mythology.  I happen to love Norse mythology. So, this became a thing, and one of my beloved favorite lessons.  Point is, out of all the things I might reminisce about from that time in my life, this is probably #1 on the list.

So this morning, as I was making my usual "hello-and-good-morning" rounds in the library before school (we pack quite the crowd of kids each morning before school actually starts.  I'm estimating about 200 to 250 or so on any typical day) a kiddo I've known since his middle school years says to me --"Hey, you remember that Norse mythology/Viking stuff you taught us?  That was cool.  I still remember that as one of my favorite things from middle school." He says this completely out of the blue.

"Yep," I say." I sure do.  I loved teaching you guys that Norse mythology/Viking stuff.  It was a favorite thing of mine. I'm glad you liked it, and I'm glad it has stuck with you."

He is a junior in high school.  He loved this lesson from way back in his 8th-grade year.  It was important enough to him that he wanted to share with me that he loved it.

Funny enough, this isn't the first time I've been told that since moving to the high school. One young lady had a choice of research topics and she chose Norse mythology because she said my lesson inspired her. She came to me seeking specific images that she remembered that she wanted to use.

Sometimes we aren't sure if they are hearing us.  Sometimes we feel defeated.  Sometimes the road is long and the going is tough and we aren't sure we are making a difference in anyone's life.

Point is, we are. You are.  I am.  We are.

Keep on, keeping on, friends.  Teach like nobody's business, y'all.  Get that second wind and let it inspire us to teach like pirates (thank you to Dave Burgess) and finish the year STRONG.

Monday, April 4, 2016

It's Monday...what are YOU reading?

I am so excited about being named a TALL (Texas Accelerated Library Leaders) Texan for 2016!  As part of the preparation for attending the Institute this summer, I have begun working on the suggested reading list.

Start with Why by Simon Sinek seemed like a good choice to begin this reading journey.  I have watched and enjoyed his TED Talks and am thoroughly enjoying this book.  I'm enjoying it so much, that, as I do with non-fiction I want to really take in and ponder, I am going slowly.  I'm reading a chapter, underlining, dog-earing, and otherwise marking up brilliant points, and then putting it down for a couple of hours to let each section marinate.

No matter your field, this is a top-notch read on leadership and why your WHY is so important.