Librarians Make it Happen
Posted on October 17, 2022 by Branda Walls
With the expansion of digital media, school librarians’ work is more important now than ever. Dr. Pamela Moore is on a mission to make sure people understand what librarians do and who they are. She recently organized a two-day professional development conference titled “Librarians Make it Happen.” The Alabama School Library Association conference was held in June 2022 at the University of South Alabama. More than 100 individuals participated in the conference, which included school librarians, vendors, presenters and keynote speakers.
During the event, Moore officially accepted the role as president of the association. She recently served as the conference chair.
Many South-affiliated members came out and served as keynote speakers, presenters, conference participants and planners for the conference. The first keynote speaker was past president of the American Association of School Librarians, Kathy Carroll. The closing speakers were Steve Sheinkin, award-winning author, and Stacey Ratner, a K-6 librarian from upstate New York.
“Sheinkin and Ratner host a YouTube show called ‘Author Fan Face Off,’” said Moore, who serves as an assistant professor and coordinator for the educational media and educational technology graduate program in the USA College of Education and Professional Studies. “The show hosts famous authors who go head-to-head with super-fans on questions from one of the author’s best loved books, and participants of our conference had the opportunity to see the live version of this.”
Emily Blejwas, an Alabama author, made an appearance during the act, while Mary Alice Pouillot, a South grad and librarian at Barton Academy For Advanced World Studies, served as the “super-fan.”
Several other alumni also served on the conference planning committee. Their goal was to ensure the association would bring in new speakers to the conference who would be interesting and challenge the thoughts of school librarians.
During the second day of the conference, participants hopped on JagTran buses and toured four local school libraries, something they’ve never done before for this event. Before they arrived at the schools, their first stop was an awards breakfast hosted by the Mobile Public Library. During their time there, the school librarians discussed potential collaborations between school libraries and public libraries. The association also held their installation of offices, where Moore became the president of the organization.
The four participating schools for tours included Barton Academy, Spencer-Westlawn Elementary School, Denton Magnet School of Technology and W. P. Davidson High School. The tours resulted in a much higher participation rate than expected, making it a success. Participants who did not attend the school library tours opted for a robotics workshop, hosted by Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative at the University of South Alabama (AMSTI-USA).
“We’re not forgetting the technology part of what librarians do,” Moore said. “We keep firm footing in both.”
Dr. Andi Kent, provost and executive vice president of the University of South Alabama, and Dr. Tres Stefurak, associate dean and director of Graduate Studies in the College of Education and Professional Studies, greeted all conference participants and welcomed them to campus. The conference was also part of an Instagram takeover run by the American Association of School Librarians, and many followers got to see photos of South’s campus and all conference activities.
Even though the conference is over, Moore has other duties to attend to in the days to come.
“Now that the conference is done, my first task is familiarizing myself again with the strategic goals of the organization,” Moore said. “Those strategic goals include offering a community of learners and supporters of school librarians, advocating for the needs and interest of the school libraries and the students in which we serve, and truly just trying to expand our brands.”
Moore wants people to know that as the world is changing and evolving, so are librarians and her organization.
“Things are changing so quickly, and our roles are constantly evolving, so not only do we make it happen, but we have to be prepared as that role evolves, so we are looking at evolution.”