Monday, November 27, 2017

Important People, Disembodied Participants and Fun in the Sun

It's been weeks since I travelled to Phoenix for the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) conference but there are still some aspects of the trip that I want to think more about. (Thinking is just about all I was able to do this past week, as I lost my voice AGAIN and was limited to whispering or squeaky squawks.) I loved Eva Thompson's blog post (@leftyeva) she called "BIT17 Non Conference Observations" and how it's the little moments that also make a conference special. I wanted to capture a tiny bit of that in my own reflection post.

Important People

I was going to call this section "new connections" but I realized that some of these were "renewed connections".

Lissa Bonnell Davies (@lissabdavies on Twitter)

I've known Lissa before, from online classes at the University of Alberta and at various Treasure Mountain Canada events. At AASL, I had the opportunity to spend more time with her and I'm so glad that we did. She's a teacher-librarian and vice principal in Edmonton, Alberta. Lissa hung out with us at the Conference Celebration at the Corona Ranch and we spent time together at various sessions and did lunch as a group on Saturday.

Almost every time Lissa opens her mouth, I learn something! I've told her that she is incredibly quotable. I missed writing down half the things she said, but she's so down-to-earth and so smart! She recommended books (like Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon) and gave great advice to my daughter on being herself as she makes the transition to university life. 
Irina Tuule (@Eduporium on Twitter)

At a conference with 5000 people, how likely are you to run into the same person all the time? With me and Irina, the answer is "often". Irina Tuule works at Eduporium ( and although I didn't spend a lot of time in the Exhibit Hall, I spent a lot of time bumping into this friendly face!


I can't find the card Connie gave me, which is a big shame because she is someone I want to stay in touch with. How will I do that when I only have a first name? All I remember is that she is a former school librarian in California who is now in a public library space. Connie was super supportive during our Treasure Mountain talk and had so much to offer in terms of her experience. I hope someone can provide her contact information so we can communicate again.

Anne Weglewski

Anne was one of the many people we dealt with behind the scenes before the conference began. She helped me arrange for my daughter's badge, removed one of my sessions, and recalibrated my other sessions so the time wouldn't conflict. At the conference, she helped us figure out how to deal with our luggage, showed us where to meet the shuttle buses for the conference party, and just made sure we were safe and happy. Thanks Anne!

Now, I'm sure I'm forgetting many other people - those like fellow Canadian Marc Crompton who took up photography duty at Treasure Mountain, those who were kind enough to attend one of my workshops, those who stayed behind to help me clean up after my workshops (see, I've forgotten your name already - dang!), those who boogied with me on the dance floor at the ranch or explained things to me at the Phoenix Art Museum. For all those who didn't get a specific mention but should have, thank you for everything. (Like thanks to Victoria Jamieson for signing my copy of her book!)

With Victoria Jamieson and her graphic novel, Roller Girl!

Disembodied Participants

I can't even call them virtual participants! These are friends and colleagues of mine who never intended to go to this conference, but whose presence I felt as I grappled with ideas and listened at workshops.

Michelle Solomon (@msolomonteacher on Twitter)

I knew Michelle first online as part of the Association for Media Literacy and as a participant in the #K12media Twitter chats. I've been fortunate to get to spend more time with her as she helps run the Media Additional Qualification (AQ) course I've been taking. I tweeted at her several times during the conference and afterwards about some of the media related things I saw and the equity concepts.

Jennifer Brown (@JennMacBrown on Twitter)

 I've already gushed at length about Jenn. I was blessed to get to spend time with her at length at Treasure Mountain Canada and it was like she was still with me at AASL. She had her own presentation to worry about that weekend - the MakeChange conference in Toronto - but still engaged with us about what she was hearing from our corner of the world and what she was hearing at her conference.

Lisa Noble (@nobleknits2 on Twitter)

Lisa didn't get a specific Twitter shout-out from me during AASL, but she was at BIT17 and kept us in the loop at that conference. Lisa is so good at pulling me into conversations and deep thinking about ideas and books and more. She's often in my thoughts.

Fun in the Sun

All work and no play makes someone a dull person. My trip to Phoenix was educational and professional, but I also had the opportunity to relax, enjoy the wonderful Arizona weather, and play tourist for a bit. It would not have been half as fun without my delightful travelling companions: my darling daughter Mary, the marvellous Melanie Mulcaster and amazing Alanna King. It was a very jam-packed four days, but in between the conference, we were able to see the Phoenix Art Museum, the Corona Ranch (part of the AASL experience), and my daughter had the chance to go to the Phoenix Science Center and the Phoenix Comic Con Fan Festival. How sad would it have been if all we saw of this super state was the inside of the convention center as we ran from room to room presenting or attending? I can't adequately describe how the warm weather was a balm to our spirits - eating outside was such a treat, especially knowing that it was snowing in Ontario. Thank you Phoenix, Arizona, and AASL! I don't know if I can afford Kentucky in 2019, but it sure is tempting!

On the plane ready to take off for Houston enroute to Phoenix

Exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum

Stained sugar cubes make faces with coffee
Planning our route home and dinner location after the gallery

Entertainment from the Corona Ranch

Palm tree just outside our AZ residence

1 comment:

  1. Okay- you made me a little weepy. Thank you for your kindness and your open heart, Diana. You are much treasured by me, and my world would be a much poorer place without you in it. One of the things you do incredibly well is noting the small stuff, and the people who make that small stuff happen. So many of us miss that, and I am grateful for your noticing.

    I had to grin at the picture of planning your social events after the gallery, because the goddess of social planning has her phone out. I actually had to be an independent human at BIT, and figure out where I was going for dinner, and who with, because Alanna wasn't there to be my social coordinator.

    So glad it was a great conference. I just got very brave, and booked myself into a knitting retreat in June, because I need to step outside of my norm. You are an inspiration on this, because you regularly challenge yourself to go somewhere new, and meet a new group of amazing people.