By: Annie Ruefle
Lower School Librarian
Columbus School for Girls
I’ve been presenting at OELMA conferences for more than 30 years; it doesn’t matter how many times I present, or what my subject matter is, presenting is always a positive and invigorating experience. I've presented on reading programming, literary initiatives, the art of reading, book clubs, Harry Potter extravaganza, collaborative projects, an author of the month program, literary cake decorating contests, connecting with Middle School students, reading festivals, and schoolwide reading celebrations. I love to share ideas, but more importantly, I love to get ideas from so many extraordinary librarians from around Ohio -- librarians like YOU.
Why should YOU consider submitting a proposal to present at Conference?
Here are my Top Five Reasons to present at OELMA:
Individual Professional Development Plans: On the most practical level, presenting is a surefire way to add to your IPDP. Educators across Ohio are required to maintain an individual professional development consisting of coursework, CEUs, or “equivalent activities.” Presenting at a state-level conference is typically considered an equivalent activity according to Ohio Department of Education guidelines, and can be added to an IPDP. You get credit for attending and presenting at the same conference. Bonus!
Fine tuning your own teaching: As you are planning your session, deciding what you will share with your attendees, you think carefully about what you are doing as an educator. It forces you to consider what you are teaching, how you are interacting with colleagues and students, and the ways in which you will present your material at the conference. Though you are sharing a stellar aspect of your teaching, you also continue to improve your own work as a teacher-librarian. We all wish for our students to be lifelong learners and leaders; presenting at Conference models that kind of learning and leadership.
Engagement with the Conference: As a presenter, you feel an added sense of engagement with the entire conference which only serves to ameliorate your entire experience. Research tells us that when students are engaged in multiple aspects of school (clubs, athletics, drama, service, etc., ), they feel more connected to their overall school experience. Being a presenter at an OELMA conference mirrors that same sort of experience; you feel a connection to the overall conference. Plus -- you never have to worry about finding a seat at your session: you ARE the front row.
Self Advocacy: We all know how fabulous and necessary school librarians are; alas, not everyone in our school communities recognizes this fact. We also know the painful statistics of school librarians experiencing unprecedented loss of jobs. Though presenting a conference can’t guarantee anyone’s job, making sure that you are engaged and active in statewide conferences -- not only as an attendee but as a presenter -- is yet another way to let your administrators know that you are a valid, contributing member of the larger educational community. We know you’re amazing; presenting at Conference is another way to highlight your library program and YOU.
Networking : Every time I present, I meet new people. People ask questions after the session, or stop you in the hallways to talk about the ideas you’ve shared, or email you after the conference to continue the conversation. Each conversation or question is a stepping stone to another idea-exchange, partnership, collaboration, or friendship. Friendships and connections aren’t included in the cost of the conference, but they really are an unexpected and priceless benefit.
Note: OELMA has extended our call for conference proposals until 4/15/22. Please consider submitting a proposal-we learn best when we learn from one another!