Texas Library Association Report

Annual Conference - April 2015 - Austin, TX

Tech Camp 2015

This mini-conference included two keynotes and four breakout sessions on technology in the library.


Keynote #1 - Culture of Innovation & Branding by the Tech Chicks, Anna Adam & Helen Mowers

In this talk, librarians were encouraged to question the status quo and always look for ways to innovate and improve our practice. One way to do this is by creating and sharing in professional communities.


Breakout #1 - Tools for Stakeholder Response

Introduced several online tools for getting input and feedback from teachers and students. One tool new to me was Mentimeter.


Breakout #2 - Why Video Games Matter

Gamers develop skills that can transfer to learning. They fail 80% of the time, but still play. Because of failure, gamers develop grit and perseverance. They try again and again until they are successful.


Breakout #3 - Coding in the Library

This was interesting to me because MISD elementary librarians taught coding, or programming as we called it, way back in the late 80s/early 90s. Coding is not taught much in K-12 schools anymore and there is a movement to bring it back. There is data to show that almost a million jobs go unfilled because people don't have the coding skills needed to do them. See http://code.org/stats.


Breakout #4 - Makerspaces

Makerspaces are not about crafting - they are about problem solving. This session gave lots of ideas and resources for a robust and rigorous makerspaces program that focuses on creating and not just following directions.


Keynote #2 - Be the Hero

Librarians were challenged to dare to be great and transform programs to engage students.

Tech Camp Presentation Slides & Handouts

Conference Sessions Attended

General Session I - David Baldacchi

David Baldacci, author and honorary chairman for National Library Week, opened the conference with a speech about how libraries and reading are foundation of democracy.


Best quote:

"The greatest foe of ignorance is knowledge. The greatest tool in acquiring knowledge is reading."

The Badge Effect: Credentials and Learning in the Library

Many libraries and educational institutions are implementing badge systems to document anytime, anywhere learning. Similar in concept to the badges earned by Boy Scouts, these digital badges are awarded for completing coursework or professional development. They are kept in a digital backpack that users can share with prospective employers to show that certain skills have been mastered.


See site below for more information.

New Social Media: School Kids Tell Us What's In

Very informative session where students representing every level shared what social media they use on a daily basis and how librarians can best use social media to reach out to students.


Media outlets/services popular with kids:




Eyeopener: 90% of kids watch YouTube videos daily. If your library doesn't have a YouTube channel promoting library events and activities, you are missing a huge opportunity for connecting with your students.


Other recommendations from the panel:


  • Use social media ACTIVELY and CREATIVELY
  • In addition to YouTube, Instagram is huge. Make your library account public, so students don't have to follow you, but can still check out what you are posting.
  • Whatever social media you use, involve your students in taking pictures and reporting

Does Self-Selection Affect Student Reading Achievement?

Presented by Dr. Richard L. Allington, Professor of Education at University of Tennessee. Much of the research on the teaching of reading supports the idea that allowing students free choice and time to practice reading in school boosts their reading achievement.
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Libraries and E-Content: the Changing Publishing Marketplace

A very interesting session on digital publishing and where it is headed. We were excited to learn that there may be movement from the 1:1 model that we are currently under to simultaneous access for trade books. There is even a possibility that ebooks may be offered under a subscription model similar to Netflix.

We Can Bridge the Summer Reading Gap

Dr. Allington presented this second session emphasizing the importance of allowing students access to reading materials over the summer.


Some of his main points:


  • There is a gap between rich and poor in the area of reading achievement, but ANY child who doesn't read over the summer loses ground.
  • 2/3 of free lunch students do not have any books of their own,
  • Giving poor students 12-15 self-selected books to read over the summer, leads to reading gains.
  • Effect size of providing books over the summer was as large or larger than attending summer school.
  • The poorest kids benefit the most from having books provided to them over the summer.



After hearing this presentation, my question is:

Why are we worried about losing books over the summer, when we should be worried about our students losing reading proficiency?

Texas Bluebonnet Award Luncheon

Author Drew Daywalt and illustrator Oliver Jeffers were presented with the Texas Bluebonnet Award for their book The Day the Crayons Quit. This luncheon is a highlight of the conference, featuring students from each TLA district presenting the award and speeches by the winning author/illustrator.

iHave an iPad. How do iUse It?

Tammy Tang presented ideas for using iPads with students in the library.

Author Session: Chris Van Allsburg

Caldecott medalist Chris Van Allsburg shared the story of how he got started writing/illustrating for children and how he develops his ideas.

Every Child Every Day a Reader

Another annual highlight, in this fast paced session Dr. Teri Lesesne and Dr. Karin Perry talked about the latest and greatest books for teens and tweens.


Click here to see the list.

Author Session: Jerry Pinkney

Caldecott medalist Jerry Pinkney shared his process for creating the art that goes into his fable retellings.