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Cleveland Rocks at the AASL Region 3 Meeting!

AASL Region 3 Reps from Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri met in Cleveland at the end of April. We were able to get a “behind the scenes” tour of Cleveland Public Library with Youth Services Manager Annisha Jeffries as our tour guide. This photo was taken on the 11th Floor (highest floor of CPL).

This past weekend Liz Deskins (OELMA VP) and I had the opportunity to represent OELMA and Ohio school librarians at the AASL Region 3 Meeting in Cleveland, Ohio. OELMA typically sends the President and President-Elect to the annual AASL Region 3 meeting, along with the state representatives from Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois. I also was the person in charge of all the local arrangements, since Cleveland is only about 25 minutes from my home in Akron.
After flying into town on Friday night, we had a social event where we met the other state representatives at a restaurant and we were able to have a relaxed conversation on what was on many of our minds-STATE TESTING! It was very interesting to hear about how all the states are handling the testing this year, and how the school library appears to be the central location for most of it.

We then met after dinner and headed back to the hotel’s meeting room- where we had formal introductions and shared what was going on with our state’s school library organizations in terms of conferences and accomplishments. On Saturday morning, we talked about each state’s issues and concerns, and then worked on creating commendations for AASL. These commendations recognize non-profit organizations within our Region 3 states that go above and beyond their mission to help promote the goals and standards of AASL. We also discussed ongoing concerns within our states such as advocacy and collaboration with public and academic librarians. It was overall very informative and I will take some ideas and suggestions back to the OELMA Board at our May meeting.

On Saturday afternoon, we concluded the formal meeting at the hotel, and headed to a field trip to Cleveland Public Library, where we were able to get a great “librarians” tour which lasted about 2 hours! We were able to see somethings that the general public cannot see, including traveling to the highest floor (the home of CPL’s human resources) for a scenic view of downtown Cleveland! We then had dinner at the local hot-spot-The Chocolate Bar. And as many of you guessed, Liz and I dove right in to the chocolate fondue dessert (and we never looked back)! This Cleveland restaurant was a huge hit for the attendees and the conversations continued to center around how we can advocate for our profession (amongst the chocolate pasta and frozen hot chocolates).

OELMA leaders get so much more from our organization than what we put into it, and I have to say this weekend was one to remember for years to come for me!

 Networking with other school librarians in other states is invaluable to us as an organization and the relationships we build will last for years and years. It also demonstrates to us that we are certainly not alone in the library challenges. Politics play such a huge role in our careers and the discussions were focused on ways we can advocate for our professions with the help of other libraries, parents, and our community. It was a fun, educational, and invigorating weekend and Liz and I were blessed to be able to represent Ohio school librarians.

Next year’s AASL Region 3 Meeting will be held in…WISCONSIN! Time to get our cheese-head hats ready!