Hibbing Public Library
Usually I attend the Minnesota Library Association’s annual conference but this year, due to scheduling and distance, I have chosen to go to ITEM/MEMO instead. This group has recently changed its name from Minnesota Educational Media Organization (MEMO) to Information and Technology Educators of MN (ITEM).
A similar change was also made in the last year to my library school at Indiana University. My degree is called a Master’s of Library Science (MLS). I got my degree from the School of Library and Information Science (IU-SLIS). Most public librarians in the 21st century get an MLIS. Now Indiana’s “Library” program is the Department of Information and Library Science (ILS) within the School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC). Oh how we love our jargon and acronyms!
Fortunately, the Made in MN: ITEM conference still has room for a “Creativity and Learning” day and a Minnesota book author: Jonathan Friesen. Don’t worry, there were still plenty of high tech, brain bending sessions such as the keynote address by educational technology literacy specialist Naomi Harm.
This messy mix of technology and reading is the new way libraries of all kinds (public, school, academic and special) provide content for the education, enrichment, and entertainment of all people. We each have preferred ways of accessing information (paper or electronic; audio, visual, and kinetic) but what we want to keep looking for is the best information. That is the great challenge now. We have many choices but must continue to be careful and critical in choosing which sources are accurate, accessible, and appropriate for our personal, family and community needs. That is why libraries are still so important. Those who use libraries already know that we have more than “just” books. But many of us are very thankful there are still print books to be shared!
I had the opportunity to listen to author Jonathan Friesen speak about bullying, ostracism, isolation and living with disabilities at two different sessions during the ITEM conference. He writes books for upper elementary through high school age readers (and adults who love YA novels!) All of his main characters have a disability of one kind or another. I had already met Jonathan at the spring Spotlight on Books conference when his YA book MayDay had just been released: “hot off the press”, still in the shipping cartons. I read “The Last Martian” for upper elementary readers and “May Day” for older teens this summer and have now read “Aldo’s Fantastical Movie Palace” (upper elementary/middle school) and my own, freshly autographed copy of Friesen’s first book, “Jerk, California” as well. Friesen is a great author, speaker, and human being. He brings his children to these conferences (they are home schooled) and they are also very well spoken.
Jonathan Friesen lives in Mora, Minnesota and is available to speak to adults at conferences or meetings and to middle and high school students! He lives with Tourette Syndrome himself and is a compelling, heart-rending speaker on a variety of subjects. He has a heart for children and teens who are suffering and knows that they cannot learn when struggling with deep emotional pain.
Thank you to Arrowhead Library Association for providing scholarship funds for me to attend this conference. I did see a few school librarians (some still call themselves that!) from our region there but would like to have seen more. It was interesting to see how many different titles these school librarians/media specialists/technology integrationists currently use (and struggle with)!
I also recommend this conference and membership in ITEM to public librarians. We all work with our local schools or at least with their students and can benefit from being more aware of what is going on in our districts.
[Parts also used in Library Notes column in the Tailings section of the Hibbing Daily Tribune, Sundays, September 28 and October 26, 2014 editions.]