Friday, August 2, 2013

Summer Professional Development Part Two: ISLE Retreat

One week after attending NAMLE, I attended another professional development weekend. The Independent School Library Exchange (a Southern California consortium) held a weekend retreat at the gorgeous Thacher School in Ojai.

The librarians at Thacher have wanted to host a retreat for the ISLE group for many years, and finally it happened - and I hope it happens again. The ISLE Board met the first evening, and sat outside with a view of the mountains as we discussed consortium agenda items such as dues, attracting new schools, what to do when a school doesn't pay, the pros and cons of the Ning that we use to communicate and host documents, and we started to discuss what goals we should have for the upcoming year. As a group, we usually meet twice a year, but there usually isn't time for pondering and long discussions, which we finally had time to do.

Saturday morning more librarians came, bringing our total to about 20. Saturday and Sunday we had carefully selected sessions and roundtables on favorite books, professional publishing, LibGuides, book repair, integrating library/information/research skills, and maker spaces. Past Thacher librarian and ISLE member Elizabeth Bowman, now from Santa Barbara City College,  presented about information literacy on the college level, entertaining and informing us, and delivering great ideas.

Our hosts fed us well, and made sure we had time to share more informally during free time. We had time to swim, surprise each other on the high diving board, hike, have dinner in the town, and generally learn from each other and collaborate on new ideas for our schools. I got to know librarians who I had only met at brief meetings in the past, and i am so thankful for the opportunity to do so. Building these relationships will only benefit our school libraries and our work in the future.

I even got to take an early morning run with my fabulous co-worker.
This small and relaxing retreat was extremely beneficial, local, and inexpensive. The complete focus on independent schools was extremely valuable. I hope we can make it a tradition and that more ISLE librarians can take part in it.

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