My First VAASL Conference Experience

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The Highlights of the Conference

My first VAASL conference was an exciting experience. I was able to attend all 3 days and learned so much from the informative concurrent sessions. Outside of the sessions, some of the highlights for me were the keynote speakers, the Book Cart Drill teams, the children’s authors, and the president’s reception.



Keynote Speakers

The keynote speaker, Susan Ballard, gave a memorable speech. She had interesting experiences and inspirational quotes to share. Best of all, she was engagingly funny. Jennifer LaGarde was equally impressive with her creative theme of Zombie Librarians. Both of these ladies were amazing speakers, captivating their audience with little effort.


Memorable Sessions

While all the sessions were noteworthy, I especially enjoyed the session “LibGuides: The Gold Standard for Libraries,” presented by a high school librarian, Emily McDaniel. For those who have never used Lib Guides, this librarian made the task of learning to maneuver through the building process very manageable. She touched upon all the questions I would have asked. I also felt fortunate to attend Kate Klise’s session about how she writes. I loved her writing process. Its simplicity and effectiveness is evident in her novels and even her picture books that she shared.


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Unexpected Surprises

Visiting with vendors brought some unexpected surprises. I had a chance to meet Farmer Minor and hug Daisy, the 150 pound pot belly pig. ABDO gave out a beautiful hardcover book to those who stopped by to select one. I was able to get The American Revolution as a gift for a teacher-friend of mine who is passionate about this subject. Authors were present to sign books and I was delighted to get a novel by Kate Klise and have it signed by her! Kate Klise has published picture books, childrens' books, and young adult novels that are all very interesting and unique. Her play on words and surprising plots will keep you reading and wanting more.

As a first time conference attendee, I didn’t know what to expect, but now that I do, I will want to attend future conferences without a doubt.

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