School Librarianship

VAASL 2018 Conference

I just returned from a whirlwind weekend at the VAASL (Virginia Association of School Librarians) conference in Williamsburg.  This was my first library conference and it was a memorable experience. I was exposed to so many of the latest and greatest in library trends, materials and online sources and received a wealth of information that will be useful in my future library.  The most impactful aspect of the weekend was the focused sessions on emerging trends.  They were far more in depth than I expected and detailed 50 new educational websites and apps, 82 children’s books published in 2018, augmented reality and virtual reality (AR & VR) for library use, audiobooks, library lessons and resources for the nonfiction books on the 2018 VRC (Virginia Reader’s Choice) list.  This conference was a surprisingly hands-on experience that made my library education come to life and made me even more passionate for library learning.  It was a learning experience that was beyond what I get in my current graduate classes. I learned so much from the conference and can’t wait to make attending an annual tradition since the experience was so meaningful.

My 1st VAASL Conference

Rebecca Caufman

This year’s Virginia Association of School Librarians (VAASL) Conference was held in Williamsburg, Virginia on November 29 through December 1st.  Attending this conference is a requirement for each graduate student in Longwood’s School Librarianship program. Since it was my first time attending the conference I got a special tag for my name badge and invitation to a tea where I got free breakfast and free books!  The first day was jammed packed with activities that started at 9am and went to 9pm. I got ideas on being a first year librarian, makerspaces, digital resources, copyright law, and video projects. I ended that day at the Longwood University alumni gathering in a room that was jammed packed full of Lancers.  My second day at the conference I learned more about makerspaces, how to have a student driven library, and met some amazing authors – Alan Gratz and Victoria Jamieson. Hearing these authors’ stories was my favorite part of the conference. I am thankful that Longwood requires students to attend this conference.  I see the conference as an important way to get inspired, encouraged, and connected with others in the field.

VAASL Conference 2018

I attended the VAASL Conference for School Librarians on Saturday December 1st, 2018. I benefited a lot from attending this conference to help prepare me to come a school librarian in the near future. The first session I attended was about a Britannica Online, a reference site that is very user friendly for students to navigate and find reliable research resources. The website offers accommodations for students who are visually and hearing impaired, as well as ESL students. The second session I attended was all about pre-created lessons that I now have access to. These lesson plans are for the librarian to use in all subject areas, including choir, art, and health/PE. This conference was beneficial and I hope to attend again in the future.

VAASL Conference Fun!

I was fortunate enough to attend the conference this year in Williamsburg. I learned so much there! One of the new things I learned were all the benefits of having a maker space in the library. In the keynote speech, Leslie Preddy, shared how students are able to use their creativity and problem solving skills to learn from informal activities that encourage the development of critical thinking skills and fine motor skills. These activities are self-directed and driven by the students’ own interests. Creating library maker spaces  is an easy and inexpensive project that can be done with donations and grants. Offering a variety of activities of different levels of difficulty helps students develop resiliency and perseverance, skills that they will use for the rest of their time in school, in their careers and for the rest of their lives. I look forward to attending more conferences!

VAASL Conference

I attended the Virginia Association of School Librarians (VAASL) conference on Saturday November 4th.  I attended the author breakfast as the first session within this day.  The authors in attendance on this day included Meg Madina, Ruta Sepetys, Madelyn Rosenberg, Wendy Shang, and Lamar Giles.  I was lucky enough to be seated next to Madelyn Rosenberg so we had a chance to talk about her book “This Is Just A Test”.  The author book talk on Saturday morning was especially interesting to me since it covered the topic of diversity and diverse characters from different walks of life, parts of the world, and ethnic backgrounds in books.

In addition to the author book talk, I also had a chance to converse with different librarians from around Virginia and learn about how they conducted different mini lessons within their libraries.  This was a great opportunity to not only meet and connect with other librarians but to hear about their different experiences in order to help me to shape my first year as a school librarian.

Additionally, I had a chance to attend a few workshops.  One of the workshops was in regards to new technologies which included things from presentations tools, tools to use to create stations (such as QR codes), and technologies that help students to take ideas from a lesson and to place them in chronological order.  I had such a great time; what an awesome conference!!!


VAASL Conference 2017

On Nov 2, 3, and 4, I attended the VAASL Library Conference, Libraries for the People” in Chantilly, Virginia.  This was my first library conference.  I attended many sessions throughout the conference with my colleagues of the program.  Thursday evening many of us attended the alumni event in the Washingtonian Room for the Longwood Alumni and Student Event.  Our Professors created a Kahoot full of trivia questions and they offered many prizes if they were answered correctly and if you were able to get through first.  I enjoyed this learning experience and conference — Debra Laird.


2017 VAASL Conference


This was my first trip to the VAASL conference, but it definitely won’t be my last.  It was amazing to see Audrey name every current and former Longwood School Librarianship student at the gathering on Thursday night – just one more example of how wonderful and personal our program is.  The conference was the perfect opportunity to meet librarians and reconnect with former colleges from all over the state and share some of the innovative and successful things we’re doing in our libraries.  As a result of these conversations, I’m going to visit a Hanover County library next week to see how they are mixing it up at their book fair.  My two favorite conference sessions were both led by Maura Madigan: Library Centers and Problem Based Learning in the Library.  There was not an empty seat, wall, or foot of floor space in either session.   What I loved is that I left both sessions with practical ideas about how to implement these programs in my library.  My photos are from the PBL session during the hands-on activity that challenged us to build the tallest freestanding structure from newspaper and a very small amount of tape.  I’ve done a similar activity with my classes that required spaghetti, string, and marshmallows.  I love that Maura’s version had fewer, simpler, and even easier to acquire materials.  My group was pretty proud of our stable structure, but as you can see, it was definitely not the tallest.  Though we didn’t win, we were thoroughly engaged, did a little self-evaluation, learned some lessons, and experienced first-hand how fun, engaging, and education these activities can be.   



VAASL 2017

The 2017 Annual VAASL conference was an amazing experience on every level.  The Marriott Hotel in Chantilly, VA, was beautiful, and the staff of friendly and helpful.  On Saturday I attended the Author Panel Breakfast and two sessions.  At the breakfast, the authors spoke about how their books encompass the idea of multiculturalism.  Meg Medina was the moderator for the event.  The authors, Lamar Giles, Wendy Wan-Long Shang, Madelyn Rosenberg, and Ruta Sepetys, talked about their ideas and views on multiculturalism, their books, and their writing styles.

The first session I attended was “Reading Love, A Year of Collaboration”.  The session was phenomenal.  The presenters Tonya Dagstani and Nathalia Hardy presented information about the collaboration between the librarian and English teacher.  They used the book by Penny Kittle, Book Love, to develop their collaboration.  In their collaboration lesson, they used different sections of the book like reading ladders, speed dating, conferencing, thematic composition books, and many others to show the ways the library and the classroom can work together.

The second session “Keeping Up With Technology” was innovative and informative.  I value myself as technology savvy and this session brought new ideas how to use technology in the classroom and library.  I thought Rebekah Hall did a wonderful job showing the different ideas and providing how they could be used in different classes, not just English, but science, world language, etc.  I provided the link to presentation since so many great ideas were given:

Throughout the day, I felt as if I were in my element.  Surrounded by librarians, future librarians, teachers, and authors, I was able to learn so much about being a librarian.


VAASL Conference 2017

My name is Rebecca Kronthal and I am currently a graduate student in Longwood’s 3rd Prince William Cohort for School Librarianship.  I was thrilled to be able to attend the 2017 conference for the Virginia Association of School Librarians from Thursday, Nov. 2nd until Saturday, Nov. 4th in Chantilly, Virginia.  I attended sessions on many topics and trends in the field of School Librarianship.  I enjoyed sessions reviewing “What’s New” in Children’s literature for 2017 as well as many “How to’s” on topics such as Makerspaces, book clubs, selecting authentic diverse books, author visits, lego stations, fostering a love of reading in a school culture, and judging “Fake News.”  The highlights of the conference were the fantastic author visits and keynote speakers.  I was very excited to hear Newberry winner Kwame Alexander speak about his journey to become an award winning author.  I also got to meet and talk with Donalyn Miller, author of the Book Whisperer.  She inspires me to want to create a school full of life-long readers!  (See photo.)   I enjoyed hearing Marc Nobleman speak about how his investigative research into the origins of Superman and Batman have changed history forever.  They were all very uplifting and inspiring stories.  Finally, I also got to network and meet many librarians from all over the state of Virginia and talk with them about their school libraries.  This is the valuable advice that can’t be learned from a textbook.  Hearing from librarians who are doing the job every day really gave me a lot to think about!  I also caught up with my fellow Longwood graduate students as well at a Longwood School Librarianship event on Thursday night at the conference.  We played Longwood trivia games and learned a lot about our academic department and Longwood, while playing Kahoot!  I am excited to try out a lot of the things that I have learned when I get back to my school, such as planning a lego station in my literacy centers and following Donalyn Miller’s advice to allow my students more choice when it comes to the books they read.  I hope to do even more when I become a school librarian.  Thank you for the opportunity to attend this great conference!  I am looking forward to the 2018 conference in Williamsburg!

VAASL Conference 2017

This was my first conference for school librarians.  I attended two days worth of sessions and gained lots of great new ideas to use in the library.  One session I attended was about different topics and trends for 2017 in the library.  Some great ideas I am excited to learn more about are breakout boxes, teaching students about fake news, global goals, libraries as learning spaces, and using social media as an advocacy tool.  Audrey Church was the session leader and she provided great example materials for us to get started.  I was also able to attend two author sessions.  The first was with Kwame Alexander (pictured with me).  He talked about his love for poetry and how hard he worked to become a published author.  His talk about visiting different schools and letting students see what poetry really is was very moving.  The next author I was able to listen to was Ruta Sepetys.  Her session was about why she writes historical fiction and why she focuses on specific topics.  Her session was extremely powerful.  Another great session I attended was on makerspaces for the elementary library.  The speaker told us how he was able to create his space and what are good things to add to a makerspace.  He also brought some of his breakout boxes for us to try to open.  I definitely came home with some amazing ideas on how to make the library new and exciting for students.  The sessions also gave me helpful ideas on new lessons.  I cannot wait to attend next year!

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