Craig Seasholes TYSL

Conference Convergence Zone

What a perfect storm!

WLMA (now formally known as the Washington Library Association School Library Division) has much to be pleased with all that has blown our way this October.

Braving what meteorologists were warning might be a “storm of the decade” over 300 Future Ready Librarians, ESSA Advocates, Open Educational Resource Curators, MakerSpace Champions, InfoTech Instructional Leaders, Digital Media Mavens, School and Public Library Partners, Reading Advocates and a deluge of 30 local authors and illustrators converged on Highline College on October 14-15th.


Maybe that’s why the storm veered off-shore away from the Puget Sound Convergence Zone and failed to disrupt the 2016 WLMA Conference: who knows?

What I do know is that the Washington Library Association’s School Library Division delivered a windfall of two days of top-notch professional development to school and youth service librarians in a participatory “hack” I am fortunate to have helped hack, re-organize and assemble.

Lucky were all who attended and experienced the 3 hour preconference sessions of Friday and Saturday’s choices for 3-90 minute facilitated workshops on Reading Advocacy, InfoTech Instruction, InfoManagement, MakerSpace and Library Leadership. Sessions were facilitated as participatory forums rather than traditional “sit and git” conference PD. Wise are those who bookmark and continue to mine the co-created presentation/resources found at:

Indeed, we were all effective users and producers of ideas and information. That’s our mission, right?

Steve Hargadon provoked deep consideration of the nature of education and the role of libraries in his morning keynote “Confessions of a Learning Revolutionary” and in his afternoon “Hot Topic: Hack Your Education” conversations.


At lunch the transformative leadership of Amy Nelson, Director of Teaching and Learning in Mukilteo School District and of Dave Davis, Director of Instructional Technology and Hannah Gbenro Admin of Special Assignment for Libraries of the Future in Tacoma Schools was noted with special recognition.

Dr. Mike Eisenberg received the President’s Award for his career-long global contribution to libraries and for his instrumental role in articulating the LIT program framework. Ann Warner and Mary Kay Rolwes got much deserved Emeritus awards and I was kindly honored with “Washington State Teacher-Librarian of the Year” award through generous support of Follett.


As the evening wind whipped outside and rain pelted the windows, I recalled Mrs. Whitsit in A Wrinkle in Time who cried triumphantly, “Wild nights are my glory!” And when Scholastic’s Ambassador for School Libraries “MrSchu” John Schumacher delivered a closing keynote rich in appreciation for writers that thrill our hearts, we were all reminded of the enduring and emotional heart of librarianship. Librarians have a glorious opportunity and responsibility to support and inspire independent reading, thinking and creating that can help build a better world.

Even as our conference ended, yet another “perfect storm” of opportunity appeared on the school library horizon. Now is urgently the time for advocacy at upcoming OSPI ESSA Implementation Plan Review Forums and in the 2017 Legislative Session in Olympia.

European model simulation of storm slamming the Pacific Northwest Saturday evening 10/15/16. (
European model simulation of storm slamming the Pacific Northwest Saturday evening 10/15/16. (

Put that on your library radar, advocates! You should also add the Future Ready Librarians initiative to which Mark Ray and Sara Trettin of the US Dept of Education invited me back one week later to Highline College. Mark and Sara share a vision of how #LibrariesTransform and can be pivotal in Future Ready Schools by recognizing the innovative, role of tech-savvy LIT librarians in providing in-house expertise and instructional support to both students and staff alike. Also at the Summit was Barbara Soots of the WA OER Project with Melinda Boland of OER Commons, along with and Jeff Mao of CommonSenseMedia.

The future belongs to those who share wisely and effectively, and it was Jeff who near the end of the summit shared the best non-hierarchical explanation of SAMR I’ve yet to see:


With coffee cup in hand, I look back at this recent deluge of ideas and information and see school libraries weathering whatever storms may yet blow our way. With deepest gratitude I thank everyone whom I pressed to contributed countless hours of volunteer efforts, to all who percolated and modified new ideas, and who are helping to strengthen and redefine the work of teacher-librarians in this sometimes stormy Pacific Northwest library landscape….


Author Info

Craig Seasholes

Librarian, Seattle Schools, WA

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