I would like to begin by thanking the VSLA Scholarship Committee for supporting my travel for professional development to attend the AASL National Conference & Exhibition in Phoenix. While there I was able to attend many sessions to include the unveiling of the new AASL standards, sensitive topics like diversity, MakerSpace ideas, feel the power of stories in picture books, gain knowledge about how to garner support for my library program, successful research ideas in the digital landscape, author meet + greets, using picture books to engage with STEM ideas, weeding for greater engagement, and many others. The networking and collaborating opportunities were amazing and unparalleled. Being refreshed and engaged in Phoenix helped me to return to my library with fresh ideas and and an action plan.
Above all, this profound opportunity would not have been made possible without VSLA's generous scholarship. Being my first library conference, I was not really prepared for the magnitude of what was there, but easily embraced it. Meeting iconic authors like Jack Gantos, Judy Schachner, Melissa Sweet, and Drew Daywalt to name a few, was thrilling and unparalleled. Thank you, once again, for allowing me this opportunity.
Best, and cheers to all,
Joanne Reed Allen, Enosburg Elementary
Teacher Librarian + Enrichment