What You Missed at OLA Conference

OKSL Update April 2016

Collaboration & Learning

There were MANY opportunities to collaborate with other school librarians and public librarians at Annual Conference this year, including the pre-conference Teen Summit Workshop. 30 public and school librarians who work with teens attended!

OKSL also sponsored over 14 sessions! School librarians had at least 2 sessions during each time block to choose from! Topics covered in sessions include:

  • Makerspaces
  • Legos
  • Reading Community
  • Reading Events
  • Writing
  • Leadership
  • Learning Commons
  • And more!!!

Special Guest Speakers

We hosted many amazing speakers at this year's conference.

  • Jennifer Nielsen spoke to 300 students on Wednesday and accepted her Sequoyah Book Award from the Intermediate list!
  • Jamie LaRue gave an incredible keynote speech about advocating for your library. He is the new Director of ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom.
  • Keija Parssinen spoke at Thursday's luncheon about her inspiration of writing.
  • Leslie Preddy, AASL President, presented 4 sessions and at the Teen Summit between attending other sessions.
  • Tara Hudson and Sonia Gensler spoke at the FOLIO Luncheon.
  • Ellen Hopkins Skyped in for a session on book challenges and her experience.

OKSL Big Picture

At the business meeting, we had an incredibly productive and collaborative discussion about OKSL. We need to increase our membership since there are only about 100 members right now. However, before we can do anything to change that, we need to understand why some school librarians choose to not be a member of OKSL or OLA.


From our discussion and reflection, we noticed 2 main reasons people give for not being a member.

  1. Cost is too high. With the OLA membership, plus OKSL membership, plus cost of conferences and workshops, the costs can really add up! Especially when it is coming from our already shallow pockets!
  2. Benefits are too low. People have said "I don't get anything out of being a member... so why would I spend the money?"

Brainstorm Ideas

Then, as a collaborative group of about 20, we brainstormed ideas that would increase the benefits of being a member of OKSL. Here are some ideas that we came up with:

  • Communicate the benefits of being a member by collaborating with OLA's Membership Committee
  • Increase our communication with current members via email and social media
  • Inform members that we have a lobbyist who is fighting for us during this dark legislative time
  • Increase opportunities for collaboration and professional development virtually (and free)
  • Creating advocacy materials that members can use with their district administrators/directors to allow for attending conferences
  • Bring back a mentoring program

Next Steps

Now that we have an amazing list of ideas, it is up to us to follow through! Here are the next steps OKSL Officers are working on:

  1. Tara is going to work with OLA's Membership Committee to create a brochure specific to the benefits of joining OKSL.
  2. Kelsey will collaborate with OLA's Continuing Education Committee to begin the process of establishing an avenue for virtual professional development/collaboration opportunities.
  3. Tara and Kelsey are working on establishing a team of people who can beef up our social media presence to be more collaborative.

OKSL Officers

Oklahoma School Librarians

Division of Oklahoma Library Association

The purpose of the Oklahoma School Librarians Division (OKSL) is to bring together school librarians for a concerted effort to improve school library programs in the state of Oklahoma;

  • to stimulate professional growth by offering workshops on topics of concern to school librarians;
  • to plan and present programs at the Annual Conference of significance to school librarians;
  • and, to cooperate with other divisions, roundtables and committees which have activities common to the services of school librarians.