By Lynn Clements
It was a privilege to attend the American Association of School Librarians’ conference in Columbus, OH, in November. Librarians are often isolated in a school setting, so it was wonderful to meet with professionals from all over the country and hear about their library programs. I met several independent school librarians from the Philadelphia area, which was a good networking opportunity for me.
I attended an excellent presentation by Victoria Jones, about the use of databases in the upper school library and was proud of the manner in which she represented Westtown School. I also learned about the best new apps for education, as selected by the AASL; played with circuits in the makerspace; met with many publisher reps about new books, both print and digital; and got several autographed books for both divisional libraries. A highlight for me was attending a presentation about children’s book illustration by Kevin Henkes, who has won the Caldecott and Newbery Medals for several books. He was humble and unassuming, and as he spoke, I was grateful for the intelligence, sensitivity, and passion that he has for creating beautiful stories for children. It was also wonderful to hear Brian Selznick speak about his new book, The Marvels. He has pushed the traditional definition of a picture books with Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, and now with his new book, he has done it again. Selznick is brilliant and I left his speech again grateful that such smart, intelligent people realize that children are deserving of creative, challenging stories.
I returned to school feeling energized, but also confident that the library program at Westtown is competitive with other outstanding school libraries, in terms of patron service, technology, print collection, digital resources, and commitment from school administrators.