This is part of a series of Session Notes from grantees who have received Professional Development grants from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries. Each grantee will share their professional development experience and include tips and other resources from the workshop or class. Grantees had their choice of an article for the Compendium, a webinar or a podcast. This project was made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Kimberly Borden


by Kimberly Borden

Plainfield Elementary School Library was awarded a professional development grant from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries.  This grant made it possible for me to attend the 2017 Pennsylvania School Librarians Association Conference (PSLA) in Hershey, PA.  As a first time attendee I was amazed and inspired by the other library professionals and informational sessions offered at PSLA.  Thankfully, Conference 101 was a session offered to newbies.  Conference Committee members gave insider tips and tricks to getting the most out of my PSLA experience.

The pre-conference workshop entitled LEAD with ESSA, presented by Dustin Brackbill, Cathi Fuhrman, Eileen Kern, and Special Assistant to the PA Secretary of Education, Beth Olanoff  provided a wealth of information regarding ESSA and the impact it will have on school library programs.  Keynote speaker Gene Ambaum and featured guest authors Jennifer Holm, Peter Raymundo and Maureen Johnson were humorous and witty in showing their love and support for school library programs.  I also found the Makerspace Open, Exhibits and Exploratorium to be useful places to gather information and network with other librarians and companies about current trends in school libraries.

One standout session for me was Future Ready Librarians, led by Joyce Valenza and Shannon Miller.  The packed session discussed the importance of being involved on your district level Future Ready Committee.  The seven gears of the Future Ready framework were introduced and discussed.  Joyce and Shannon were clear in their message that librarians should be viewed as leaders in their schools.  More information can be found online.  I would also recommend following the Facebook group called Future Ready Librarians. It is a great way to communicate and interact with other library experts.

Other sessions I attended include, Using Apps and Databases to Bring More Student Choice to Research Projects, Leadership 101, and Creating a Manageable Makerspace.  I was able to bring back lesson plans, classroom management techniques and a wealth of ideas and inspiration for my own library and makerspace.  At PSLA, I also made connections and built friendships with other librarians.  This is amazing considering that sometimes librarians can feel professionally isolated. PSLA was an opportunity to educate and involve myself with current library trends.  I will definitely attend again next year. Please feel free to reach out to me for any questions or resources.