Skip to Main Content

AISL 2017: Conference Schedule



March 22-24, 2017

Preservation and Innovation

Conference Schedule




5:00 pm – 9:00 pm              Registration, Hospitality Center, 2nd Floor



7:45 am                             Load buses

8:00 am                             Buses depart


METAIRIE PARK COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL          8:30 am - 2:30 pm

8:30 am - 9:15 am              Welcome and Breakfast

9:30 am - 10:15 am            Keynote Speaker - Doug Johnson

10:30 am – 11:15 am          Concurrent Sessions

11:30 am – 12:15 pm           Boxed Lunch

12:15 pm – 12:55 pm           Poster Sessions

1:00 pm – 1:45 pm               Concurrent Sessions

2:00 pm – 2:30 pm              New Orleans History – Howard Hunter

2:30 pm                              Load buses

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm              City Park – Choose:

  • Visit the Sculpture Garden
  • Visit the New Orleans Museum of Art
  • Morning Call for coffee and beignets
  • Take a walk underneath moss covered trees

4:00 pm                                Load buses for return to hotel

6:45 pm                                Optional Dinner with a Librarian

6:00 pm - 9:00 pm                 Hospitality Center open



7:30 am – 8:15 am                 Follett Breakfast at International House Ballroom - Acrsoss the street at 222 Camp St.

8:30 am                                 Load buses


ISIDORE NEWMAN SCHOOL          9:00 am – 11:45 am

9:00 am – 9:45 am               Concurrent Sessions

10:00 am – 10:45 am           Concurrent Sessions

  • Research Needs of Design Thinking Projects – Robin Vogt and Lisa Swenson
  • Student Vlogging – David Wee
  • The ABCs of the Perfect Partnership – Patricia Vermillion and Vicki Raney
  • Tour of Newman’s Early Childhood Village, Green Trees, and the Lower School

11:00 am – 11:45 am            Lunch

11:45 am                             Load buses

12:15 am – 1:30 pm             Mardi Gras World

1:30 pm                               Load buses

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm               Historic New Orleans Collection

3:30 pm                               Optional:

  • Supreme Court Library Tour
  • Visit French Quarter Museums on your own

Walk back to hotel (1/2 mile)

5:30 pm                                   Board Book Discussion

Dinner on your own

6:00 pm - 9:00 pm                 Hospitality Center open


FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 2017

Breakfast on your own

9:00 am                                Load buses


TRINITY EPISCOPAL SCHOOL          9:30 am – 10:15 am

9:30 am – 10:15 am              Concurrent Sessions

10:15 am                              Load cars for Lower School Librarians

10:35 am – 11:15 am             Concurrent Sessions

11:30 am – 12:15 am             Boxed lunch

12:15 pm                              Load buses to Sacred Heart

12:30 am – 1:15 pm               Four Ways to Jazz up Your Booktalking – Deborah Ford, Junior Library Guild

1:30 pm                                Load buses

2:00 pm – 2:45 pm                World War II Museum Movie

2:45 pm                                Tour museum on your own

Walk back to the hotel (1/2 mile)

4:30 pm – 5:30 pm                 Optional Conference Debriefing and Discussion: Hospitality Center

4:30 pm – 5:30 pm                 Hospitality Center open

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm               Skip Anthony Lecture and Dinner on the Creole Queen Riverboat

                         with Closing Speaker Rebecca T. Miller, Editorial Director at School Library Journal

Walk to dock and back to hotel (1/2 mile)



9:30 – 10:15


Keynote Speaker

Doug Johnson


Doug Johnson is the Director of Technology for the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage (MN) Public Schools and has served as an adjunct faculty member of Minnesota State University. His teaching experience has included work in grades K-12 both here and in Saudi Arabia. He is the author of nine books including Learning Right from Wrong in the Digital AgeMachines are the Easy Part; People are the Hard Part; and The Classroom Teachers Survival Guide to Technology. His columns appear in ASCD’s Educational Leadership and in Library Media Connection. Doug’s Blue Skunk Blog averages over 50,000 visits a month, and his articles have appeared in over forty books and periodicals. Doug has conducted workshops and given presentations for over 200 organizations throughout the United States and internationally and has held a variety of leadership positions in state and national organizations, including ISTE and AASL.


10:30 – 11:15


Favorite Tech Tools & Other Inspiration

Tiffany Whitehead, Library Director, Episcopal School of Baton Rouge


This is a session jam packed with tech tools, program ideas, library displays, and other inspirations! Come to this session for practical ideas and resources that you can take back to your library and implement in your school.


Information Literacy Skills Workshop

Cathy Leverkus, Director of Library Services, The Willows Community School


The 21st century learner has a large palette of useful resources to help them discover, process and synthesize information. How can we teach students to use these tools effectively? In this workshop, we will discuss successful Literacy Skills lessons, and work on creating an Information Literacy Skills template for your school, which will focus on which skills might be introduced at each grade level to insure that students are productive information users.


Diversity Matters

Patricia Austin, Ph. D., University of New Orleans


This session will feature new picture books, informational books, picture book biographies and a selection of novels across the spectrum of diversity, including race, class, gender identity, and ability.


2016 Summer Institute Design Dream Team Take 2!

Mary Buxton, Library Director, University School of Nashville

Marsha Hawkins, Upper School Head Librarian, St. Christopher’s School

Claudette Hovasse, Director of Library Services, Cheshire Academy

Melinda Holmes, Director of Library Services, Darlington School


In June, Katie Archambault, Director of Research at Emma Willard School, hosted our Summer Institute: Design Thinking @ Your Library. For two days, we learned about design thinking: what it is and how to apply it to tackle the myriad changes our libraries continue to embrace. We "designed" our way through many challenges, from space issues, to instructional issues, to curriculum issues just to name a few. We left inspired and ready to try our hand at design thinking in our own "real world". We invite you to hear more about our Summer Institute. We'll share a summary of Steven Bell's keynote and share actual, real-life design challenges we've tried throughout the year. Join us as we inspire you to give Design Thinking @ Your Library a try.


12:15 – 12:55


Poster Sessions


Mentoring Long-Term Projects without Staff Burnout
John Byrnes, Upper School Librarian and Media Specialist, Christ Church Episcopal School

Some tips and tricks from an ongoing effort to increase the number of staff with hands on helping with long-term research (sophomore project based around the MYP project, senior thesis, IB extended essay, and other longer research experiences). While I don't claim to have the answers, I'm setting up a station to share what has worked and hasn't worked, and collect your answers for the good of the Order.


PD & Libraries: Like Chocolate & Peanut Butter
Mary Coutts, Director of Library Services, Severn School

Want to increase collaboration between your library and your faculty? One way is to join your school's professional development program. There are a variety of ways to stimulate cooperation, improve student habits and increase the rigor of assignments being taught by your teachers. We'll share our approaches including thoughts about our research scope and sequence.


Read Posters
Meghan Kelly, Lower School Librarian, Metairie Park Country Day School

A demonstration on how to make personalized ALA Read posters for your school using Photoshop.


Students Innovating with iBooks
Joan Lange, Director of Libraries, Annunciation Orthodox School

Students take ownership of knowledge as they create their own content with iBooks Author, using multimodal approaches to learning (video, screen casting, creative writing, infographics, interactive widgets, and public domain images and music). I will share examples of an iBook collaboration between two schools: Latin and Earth Science high school students created an iBook about the eruption of Pompeii that was published and shared with middle school Latin and Science students. A second iBook project that is currently being developed with a seventh grade English class will also be shared. Poster session attendees can explore the interactive features of these iBooks, and a GoogleDoc with resources will be available.


Library Services for Canvas Users
Alyssa Mandel, Middle and Upper School Librarian, Out-of-Door Academy

A number of schools have begun using Canvas as a learning management system, and ensuring access to electronic resources both on-campus and off-campus has been a process of trial and error. Sharing our successful approaches to this issue can help other librarians in similar situations.


Encouraging Intellectual Curiosity
Laura Michaud, Lower School Library Assistant, Metairie Park Country Day School

Research games that draw children into the library on a daily basis, allow them to practice reference skills, and inspire them to be curious about the world around them!


Making Creative Connections with the Curriculum
Dorothy Smay, Maker-Media Specialist, Shorecrest Preparatory School

Taking the Maker Movement to the next iteration this session focuses on how the library and librarians can partner with their teachers on creative projects that start with research and end with innovative objects of learning. Whether your school/library has a makerspace, innovation lab, STEAM programs, or Project-based Learning pedagogy you can be catalyst of creativity at your school. By the end of the session participants will have many examples of library integration with core subjects from grade PreK- 12th grade. We will model the design-thinking process as a systematic way to spark ingenuity in students. Our goal is for participants to tap into their own creative instincts to design projects that inspire student inquiry and innovation.


Book Arts
Jennifer Waller, Ceramics, Visual Art Deptarment, Metairie Parke Country Day School

A demonstration (with examples) of techniques used to repurpose old books into sculptural art.


1:00 – 1:45


Solid Research or Stuck in a Rut?: One Librarian’s Research on Modern College Readiness

Courtney Lewis, Director of Library Services and Innovative Research, St. Catherine’s School


Even the best teachers often refer to their personal college experience when determining what research should look like in their classroom, but with the changing face of higher education, all but the most recent graduates often lack a firm grasp on the demands of a modern college student. For that matter, do we as librarians have a clear understanding? One librarian's research for some very specific answers regarding the skills and tools graduates need yielded surprising results regarding the differences in colleges, with the school's selectivity rating predicting certain demands. If you are interested in discovering more about the actual usage of plagiarism detection services, the databases college librarians would LOVE for your students to know how to use, the reality of citation management, and the need for familiarity with various research products, this data from dozens of highly selective colleges and some terrific national survey data will help inform your thinking.


Using Social Media for Community Engagement and Active Learning

Margaret Ann Minihan, Director of Technology, McGehee School

Carolyn Tapp, Upper School History Teacher, McGehee School


Participants can expect to learn about using social media both professionally and with students to build an online presence for community engagement and active learning. We will demonstrate how Twitter, Instagram and other platforms can be used for the healthy development of students by engaging their natural interest in social media to build innovative classroom communities and to develop their political voice. We will also demonstrate how teachers and administrators can engage in this style of learning by developing their own voice and professional network through social media.


Independent School Archives: Preserving the Past

Wendy Bruton, Middle and Upper School Librarian, McGehee School


In this presentation, learn why independent school archives are important and how to start one at your school. We will also discuss how archives are useful to both teachers and students.


All Aboard! Evaluate, Plan and Report to Build Library Support

Doug Johnson, Director of Technology, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage (MN) Schools


Program assessments generally cause far too much stress for school library media specialists. This workshop will help the participant develop and use effective program evaluations that are NOT long and tortuous and that truly help increase budgets, improve working conditions, and make the library media program essential to student learning.


2:00 – 2:30


New Orleans History

G. Howard Hunter, Academic Dean, Metairie Park Country Day School


G. Howard Hunter has taught history at Metairie Park Country Day for 35 years and is a working historian of New Orleans.  He has published articles in Louisiana History, Newsweek, Louisiana Cultural Vistas, The Times Picayune and KnowLA, the online encyclopedia of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.  He was recognized as a Distinguished Teacher by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars in 1995 and was named High School Humanities Teacher of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities in 2002.  He was president of the Louisiana Historical Society from 2009 – 2015.



9:00 – 9:45


Genrefy Your Lower School Library

Natalie Harvey, Lower School Librarian, Carolina Friends School

Michelle Rosen, Lower School Librarian, Durham Academy


Middle and high school libraries have been blazing the trail by genrefying their fiction and even (gasp!) nonfiction collections. But we're here to show why and how it can be done in Lower Schools with young readers in mind. Focusing on fiction and branching out into our picture book collections, we'll share how we went from standard, author-organized sections to genrefied and thematic collections that better reflect the browsing abilities and tendencies of our students. This is a work in progress, so we are happy to hear from others that have done the same!


Making Community in Upper School Libraries

Claudette Hovasse, Director of Library Services, Cheshire Academy


Is your school library still just a place to study? Do you find that students don’t have as much buy in and respect for the library as you would like? Are you still just the person who finds the books? Learn about low cost ways to change your students’ perception of the library. In the past three years the Cheshire Academy Library has embarked on a new way of using the library to create community within our space. It started as just a one-time Valentine’s Day card making event but has grown into so much more. We will discuss our journey and how we created a Digital Detox program that keeps growing, from simple jigsaw puzzles to complex trivia nights. The result of these programs have changed the way students view the library and the librarians, in ways we never imagined and have created unexpected dialogues.


LibGuides 101 | Password: AISL2017

Maribel Castro, Lower School Librarian, McGehee School


Are you new to LibGuides or simply need to recharge your batteries? This session will illustrate how to simplify the process in creating and maintaining your LibGuides. A special guide will be created for this session to provide essential tips, tricks, and tools to help us maximize Springhare's LibGuides features. We look forward to this session being a robust exchange of ideas!


10:00 – 10:45


Research Needs of Design Thinking Projects

Robin Vogt, Upper School History Teacher, Isidore Newman School

Lisa Swenson, Middle School Science Teacher, Isidore Newman School


While design thinking projects are increasingly becoming part of standard curricula, the research needs and methods of these projects are less traditional. This presentation seeks to explore the research challenges created by design thinking projects. Attendees will review a design thinking project associated with a novel and a classic term paper transformed into a design thinking project and discuss how design thinking research needs differ from more traditional project based learning. Using these project examples, the presenter and attendees will brainstorm ways to create project guidelines that incorporate the skills of librarians and the resources of independent school libraries.


Student Vlogging: A Librarian’s Best Friend for Individualizing Instruction

David Wee, Director of Library Services, Mid-Pacific Institute


Our initial foray into the use of student vlogging during the research process have proven tremendously fruitful in our effort to better target and individualize information literacy instruction. While not an expert, I can certainly share information about our use of vlogging (video blogging) in our instruction, our process, technical considerations, pitfalls encountered, and our successes. I envision giving participants time to try vlogging using their personal devices.


The ABCs of the Perfect Partnership: Librarians and Administration

Patricia Vermillion, Lower School Librarian, The Lamplighter School

Vicki Raney, Assistant Head for Academics, The Lamplighter School


Patricia Vermillion and Vicki Raney have developed a strong professional partnership over the last ten years. They have planned a highly engaging and interactive presentation that outlines how librarians and administrators can achieve the perfect partnership. Patricia and Vicki work closely to promote teacher collaboration and effective learning for students. Join them to discover the secrets of their success. Treats and door prizes included.


Tour of Newman’s Early Childhood Village, Green Trees, and the Lower School


Join us for an informal walking tour of Green Trees, Newman's Early Childhood Village, which is always full of laughter and joyful learning.  In the Lower School, you will see our balanced literacy and reading groups in action, as well as math, science, and art instruction.  



9:30 – 10:15


To Ebook or Not to Ebook: Tips for Building and Promoting a Healthy Electronic Book Collection

Renee Chevallier, Head Librarian, Ursuline Academy of Dallas


The challenges presented by establishing electronic book collections have been the topic of many discussions in past conferences. At UA of Dallas, we feel we have met many of these challenges and constructed a plan for creating, building and promoting our ebook collections. Our Overdrive collection has steadily increased circulation and has been recognized as one of the most successful collections by Overdrive itself. I will share some of our strategies that may be duplicated in other settings. Participants will be invited to share their own success stories as well--we can all learn from each other.


Putting the RE Back in Research

Nora Murphy, Research Librarian and Curriculum Specialist, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy


How do we make time for students to ponder? What's stopping them from pouring over source material to gain a deeper understanding of what they've read? How does our culture of product get in the way of discovery? Participants will explore hands-on activities designed to slow down the REading (viewing, examining) part of the research process and encourage students (and teachers!) to value the simple act of pondering as highly as they do producing.


Joint Session:


Trinity Reads: Our Spin on Summer Reading

Shelagh Straughan, Librarian, Tinity College School

Learn about our 5-year experience with Trinity Reads, a summer reading initiative that involves student choice, staff involvement and community building. Presentation will include reasoning behind implementation, building the book list, engaging faculty/staff participants, logistics of student registration, the book discussions and feedback from those involved - as well as many lessons learned over the years.

Redesigning Summer Reading

Celeste Porche, Director of Libraries, St. Martin’s Episcopal School

Hear how one library redesigned its Middle School summer reading program and reading incentive program to be more student driven, and offer students more choice.


10:45 – 11:30


Mother Goose Theater

Carrel Muller, Lower School Librarian, Academy of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans


Nursery rhymes make a wonderful foundation for baby and preschool curriculum. Play acting the rhymes builds the acquisition of language and literacy skills. Students are participants of story time not passive listeners. Play acting nursery stories and folktales continue to establish many skills and a love of literature.


Providing Concierge Service to Your Students: The Personal Librarian

Katie Archambault, Director of Research, Emma Willard School

CD McLean, Director of Libraries, Berkeley Preparatory School


After reading "The Personal Librarian: Enhancing the Student Experience" for the 2016 AISL Board book reception, librarians from Emma Willard and Berkeley Prep decided to take the concept, already finding success at some of the country's top academic libraries, and adapt it for the Middle and Upper Divisions of the Independent School world. Beginning this fall, we will be piloting a Personal Librarian program at both schools, actively working with Admissions to market library services to new and prospective families, to establish relationships with new students, to promote library tools and resources, to provide direct support for students' research needs, and, as always, to promote pleasure reading. We will share our program structures, our successes, and our challenges, and will encourage participants to brainstorm how the program might work at their own schools. Participants will walk away with ideas to help them start their own personal librarian programs.


Close Reading to Evaluate Nonfiction

Tasha Bergson-Michelson, Instructional and Programming Librarian, Castilleja School


Have you ever found yourself feeling wary about a newspaper article because the language feels manipulative or incendiary? In our personal reading, many of us consider word choice in deciding how we feel about a piece of writing; in our professional lives we (or our colleagues) ask students to contemplate how authors of fiction use words to induce specific responses from their readers. Yet, it is less common that we help our students practice looking at how nonfiction authors write to create emotional responses even as they communicate factual information. Come tackle some close reading of nonfiction in this hands-on session and learn how you can teach a form of source evaluation that can become second nature for our students. 


12:30 – 1:15


Four Ways to Jazz Up Your Booktalking

Deborah Ford, Director of Library Outreach, Junior Library Guild


If your teacher has to die, August is a good time of year for it.” Who wouldn’t want to read a book that starts with a sentence like that? From technology to social media strategies, join Deborah for hot new ideas for hooking your readers with amazing books.

Deborah B. Ford, JLG’s Director of Library Outreach, is an award-winning library media specialist and international speaker with almost thirty years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools. Traveling across North America, she does workshops, library coaching, and professional development for school and public libraries. Deborah is the author of JLG's Booktalks to Go @ SLJ. She also maintains an award-winning coordinating online resource at




Skip Anthony Lecture

Rebecca T. Miller

Rebecca T. Miller is Editorial Director, Library Journal and School Library Journal. Born a twin and raised in a large family in the rural West, her background in libraries dates to 1998 when she joined the book review staff of Library Journal. In 2013, Miller was named Editorial Director of LJ and SLJ. She directs the editorial strategy for both brands and is deeply involved in the original research SLJ and LJ conduct regarding how digital trends affect readers, libraries, and publishers. Miller initiated the annual LJ Index of Public Library Service (America’s Star Libraries), and envisioned and launched the New Landmark Libraries project. Miller is the coeditor with Barbara A. Genco of Better Library Design: Ideas from Library Journal (2016) and Scales on Censorship: Real Life Lessons from School Library Journal (2015), both published by Rowman & Littlefield. Miller served for six years on the board of the National Book Critics Circle, two as President. Currently, she is a New York Library Association Sustainability Initiative cocreator. She has a BA from DePauw University, IN, and an MSLIS from New York’s Pratt Institute.