Tina Johnson

ladyI was excited to receive the grant from UELMA so I could go to the AASL conference in Phoenix. Personal development has always been important to me.  I am a relatively new teacher librarian. I knew that going to the conference could help me be even better at my job. My goal has always been to be the best librarian that I can be.  My husband says I get a little too enthused. He is probably right, but I was also right to believe that the AASL conference would help me to be a better teacher librarian.  The conference was important for personal development, but it was also great for meeting and networking with other librarians.  

Before the conference, I decided to focus on building a reading community, which is something I am passionate about.  My second focus was Makerspaces.  I have a Makerspace in my library and I wanted to learn more about making this area of the library more engaging for my students.  Most of the breakout sessions that I went to dealt with my two areas of focus. I felt inspired after my concurrent sessions to go back to my school and put into practice the ideas I gathered from these sessions.

The general sessions were inspiring. I was especially inspired by the last general session with the author Jason Reynolds.  He spoke about connecting with kids, being grateful for who they are, and expressing that gratitude to them. He forever changed the way I see my students. He made me really think about my interaction with them, especially those that may be more difficult.  I have made a habit of telling my students, “Thank you for coming to the library.”

One of the most beneficial parts of my conference experience, that I didn’t expect, was networking with other librarians. One of the best ideas I got about building a reading community came from a librarian I just met.

I am already making plans for 2019 in Louisville, Ky.  

Who wants to come with me?

Tina Johnson


Kay’s Creek Elementary