On Friday, Oct. 6th I was so excited to attend my first ITEM conference in Brooklyn Park! I was looking forward to a day of learning, networking with school media and tech educators and hearing from some local authors. I was able to do that and more!
The conference began with a delicious breakfast and a presentation from the author and Macalester professor Duchess Harris. She talked about her personal connection to her book Hidden Human Computers which is about how “dozens of African American women worked for NASA as expert mathematicians from the 1940s to the 1960s and almost no one knows about it.” Her grandmother was Miriam Daniel Mann and “was one of the first black female computers employed by NASA’s predecessor,the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).” Harris discusses this in more detail on this episode of the Historically Black podcast.
Then it was time for some chatting before heading off to our first sessions! I was able to hear from Tea Rozman-Clark, Executive Director of the organization Green Card Voices, and the amazing work they do with young immigrants. We learned about their behind-the-scenes recording processes and got to watch how they conducted a day of interviewing students from a remote location that just happened to be St. Cloud State University!
It was great to see the books that have been created that feature the stories of the students interviewed. You can purchase Green Card Youth Voices St. Paul, Minneapolis, or Fargo editions here.
Then we had to rush quickly off to the next session, one that I was excited about: learning about Creating Future Ready Media Centers!
This presentation from media specialist Amy Carney was definitely inspiring (she’s renovated two media centers in the last three years!) and full of great information that we’re happy to pass along to our members, especially since we know some of you may be working on redesigning or updating your media center! You can download a PDF of her presentation here.
We had some free time before the next round of sessions to check out the vendors, browse the bookstore (so many good choices!), and chat with each other. Then it was time for more learning! I got to hear from Outfront MN as they presented LGBTQ 101. We learned definitions and terms regarding individuals in that community and also ways to make interactions with students or our patrons more inclusive and respectful.
Next, it was time for lunch, entering drawings for books, and watching CMLE Board Member Maria Burnham present awards!
And the fun didn’t stop there! After awards were presented, we got to hear from a bunch of awesome local authors and illlustrators! They all answered some unconventional questions and we got to hear about the books they’ve created.
One of the authors on the panel was Lisa Bullard, author of the book Turn Left at the Cow, which Mary recently reviewed in our series CMLE Reads Across Minnesota! I was pretty excited to see her in person!
The afternoon sessions were very interesting as well. I attended a presentation from Dawn Nelson called “When ALL Means ALL: Partnership and Programming for Students with Special Needs.” This can definitely be a challenge for our members and I hoped to get some good resources to share. Dawn talked about her experiences working with students with physical special needs, like making her media center more wheelchair friendly, and also shared her experiences working with students on the autism spectrum. Check out her presentation here for suggestions and useful links!
The final session I attended was a presentation from Maria Burnham, who told us about how she encourages and works to create a culture of reading with both staff and students at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School. She had some great suggestions, like keeping your list of books that you are currently reading visible as an easy conversation starter, or to take part in a school-wide book challenge. Make sure to check out her presentation here!
I had a great time attending ITEM and can’t wait for next year! Hope to see you there! 🙂