School Librarians - Future Ready in NY

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Each year in August, the New York Library Association-Section of School Librarians (NYLA/SSL) hosts a Leadership Institute that provides participants a focused-learning opportunity on a topic that empowers them as instructional leaders in and through their school library. Under the direction of the NYLA/SSL Educational Leadership Team (Co-chairs, Sara Kelly Johns, Lisa Perkowski and the Educational Leadership committee), the 26th Carol A Kearney Educational Leadership Institute was held at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where the event has been held for the last 15 years.

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This year’s focus for the 120 attendees was FUTURE READY in New York, an initiative to continue the alignment of the role of school librarians with high impact education programs. Many attended thanks to financial support from their School Library Systems and NYLA/SSL Scholarships; others used personal funds to attend this day and a half of professional development.

Internationally renowned school librarian and library consultant, Shannon McClintock Miller facilitated the 12 CTLE approved credit hours of education. Miller connected instructional pedagogy, technology, and leadership to the Future Ready Librarians framework, a part of the Future Ready Schools: Preparing Students for Success movement. New York State recently became a Future Ready Schools state. Shannon provided rich content and personal inspiration based upon her work as a school librarian and now national leader.

Through the sharing of best practices, digital resources, and professional membership opportunities, New York State school librarians and school library system directors engaged in conversation, hands-on practice, and idea exchange with peers from across the state.  (Session guide here)

The Institute also featured a “Makerspace Petting Zoo” presented and facilitated by SLS Director Jim Belair and his staff from Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES.  This session provided a phenomenal opportunity to experience a hands-on approach to teaching inquiry and critical thinking skills and Library/Information Literacy skills infused with technologies such as littleBits, Legos, green screens for video production, 3D printers, Ozobots, Dash and Dot and Makey Makey. Stations were set up to allow participants to experience each tool for themselves. For more information on these materials, please visit: or the resource guide.

An evening leadership scholarship auction provided guests a chance to bid on items donated by participants and our vendor partners: Flipgrid, Capstone, Kapco, Stick Together, Follett, Rosen, Buncee, Perma-Bound, and DK Publishing.  With a combination of amazing prizes, supportive sponsors, and generous bidders, SSL collected almost $4,000. All of these funds will be used to provide multiple scholarships for next year’s Institute, which will be held in Syracuse on August 2-3, 2018. 

Following the Institute, NYLA-SSL Board members, under the direction of President Michelle Miller, met for an additional day and a half to continue the planning and development of all aspects of this organization.  Key areas of focus were professional learning, membership sustainability initiatives, and expanding our leadership influence. 

For more information on the Institute, contact the team at NYLA-SSL is committed to empowering certified librarians to transform teaching and learning.