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OELMA Midwinter 2017 Conference Re-Cap
03/15/2017

Julius Pañares

OELMA Midwinter 2017 did not disappoint! Attendees had the benefit of learning specifics about continuing our journeys to become Future Ready Librarians while examining the characteristics of highly effective school libraries and deepening our understanding of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as it relates to school library programs. Under the dedicated guidance of Susan Yutzey and Liz Deskins, the day was filled with thoughtful, impactful learning!

As the morning opened with Laura Hicks sharing a detailed overview of ESSA, we gained a greater understanding of OELMA’s action in attempting to embed verbiage in the ESSA draft that would secure licensed media specialists in libraries throughout Ohio working with students to develop skills in the areas of reading/literacy, informational literacy, college readiness, and more. We learned the important aspects to include in dialogue as we advocate for our students and library media programs. The morning continued with a Skype session with Shannon McClintock Miller (@shannonmiller), and she shared ideas of what lessons a Future Ready Librarian is completing with students and modeled what a highly effective school library program looks like. She challenged us to identify actions and make connections to advocate for Future Ready Library programming. Her presentation was a perfect segue into our afternoon session which was spent examining the rubric (draft) that, once approved, will be used to evaluate the highly effective school library.

INFOhio! We had a powerful reminder from Terri Fredericka and Emily Rozmus about the importance of the resources that INFOhio offers to the students of Ohio and the danger of these resources being cut by 1.1 million dollars. Be sure to visit the INFOhio Advocacy page to use the ‘resource cost calculator’ to determine the cost of these resources to your school district should they become subscription-based, look up your legislators, and see a complete list of resources that will be cut. Contact your superintendent, principal, and school board members and urge them to get involved by contacting legislators to share how these resources are used by Ohio’s students.

Finally, a personal reflection on what a day at an OELMA conference means to me. I never fail to leave an OELMA conference feeling more inspired, encouraged, and determined to advocate for the role of a licensed library media specialist being available to ALL students. Thank you to the OELMA Midwinter and conference planning team! Your diligence in educating others about the power of the school library media program and its importance to students is to be continually commended. To learn more about how you can get involved, follow #futurereadylibs on Instagram, search #futurereadylibs on Twitter and request to join the group, “Future Ready Librarians” on Facebook, and visit the OELMA website. Lastly, given the opportunity, attend an OELMA conference!