LA LAMP: Keynote Speech Reaches over 300 Librarians

2012 LAMP Keynote entitled -- define: Collaboration

LAMP Tour: New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Rayne, and Ruston
Find the wiki filled with resources here
Here is the URL: 
Lisa Valence is on the left and I am standing on the right
This was taken after we finished the last presentation of the tour in Ruston, LA

On September 10th, I started my tour across Louisiana as the keynote speaker for the 2012 LA LAMP conference. LAMP is an acronym for Louisiana Association of Library and Media Professionals. It is free professional development designed for school librarians that travels to the librarians throughout the state. The vendors set up exhibits in the morning, and half the attendees attend the exhibits and half attend the keynote speech, and then they switch. Right before lunch, the vendors and keynote speaker pack up to go to the next venue. The local librarians have planned the professional development sessions for the afternoon, so there is a full day of programming. The conference is sponsored by the vendors along with the Louisiana Association of School Librarians (LASL).

Lisa is speaking in New Orleans
I have been attending LAMP in my area for years and was an afternoon presenter at the 2004 LAMP conference. Then two years ago, I was asked to be the site coordinator for the New Orleans area. I organized the afternoon sessions and all the paperwork that the conference entails. The Jefferson Parish librarians helped me tremendously with this task by agreeing to present and assisting with sign-in and evaluations. Then in February, I mentioned that the topic for the 2012 keynote should be collaboration. I was told that if I wanted a specific topic, then I needed to give the keynote. I was hesitant at first because it would mean a lot of planning, and I would need to be out of the building for four days.

The librarians in New Orleans
As I thought about it, I got excited. If I was going to talk about collaboration then I needed to bring one of my collaborators with me. My principal, Jaime Zapico, was reluctant to let English teacher, Lisa Valence join me, but with a little nudging, our principal agreed to let us both go. In April, I began putting together a wiki with resources to accompany our discussion of collaboration. In this wiki you can find websites and articles that relate to teacher-librarian collaborations, librarian-librarian collaborations, Common Core standards, and technology tools for the librarian. 

Here I am speaking at the Baton Rouge venue
Lisa and I knew that we were going to talk on collaboration. We wanted lots of examples of how we collaborated, but we wanted more than that. Then I opened the March/April 2012 edition of American Teacher published by the American Federation of Teachers. I found an article called, "Tap the School Library to Bring a Wider World to the Students" in the Tools for Teachers section. You can read this article by clicking the link above. The information for this article came from AASL, but it was written simply and outlined ways the librarian could collaborate to improve student learning. I realized immediately that it could be used as the back bone for designing our talk. So thank you to AFT for publishing such a timely article. 

The librarians at the LRCE in Baton Rouge
Lisa and I scheduled half a dozen meetings over the summer to work on our presentation and decide what visuals to use in the Power Point. We focused on the two most important jobs of the librarian: reading for pleasure and research. We had two major collaborations that fit into each of these areas: the novel study we did with Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes and the research unit that we did with the social studies fair paper. Lisa described each of these in detail. We discussed Common Core Standards, teacher librarian collaborations, administrator librarian collaborations, and librarian librarian collaborations. Since students at PFTSTA are graded on 21st century skills, we spent a portion of the talk explaining how the library helps provide students with the tools needed to hone these skills. 

Lisa speaking in Baton Rouge
The talk was 75 minutes long. We took turns speaking so neither of us would talk for more than 15 minutes at a time. If one of us forgot to mention something, the other one could interject. The audience was made up of school librarians serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Our collaborations were focused on middle school students, so we knew that we needed something special for the elementary librarians. We showed part of the wonderful video that described the collaboration at Winter Park Elementary in Wilmington, NC that won the 2011 Gale TEAMS Award. 

Librarians in Rayne enjoying our talk
We had to give the talk eight different times because we had two sessions at each of the four sites. It was an exhausting undertaking, but amazing at the same time. Several of the librarians told us we were inspiring. Another librarian said that she would love to spend a week at our school. It really was an experience like none other. We received many kudos. I was concerned that we might bore our audience because it sounded so dull when I practiced at home. The audience was very energizing to me and all the positive feedback that we received made me think that we did a good job. 

The librarians in Ruston are mesmerized

To listen to the keynote speech, please click the play button below:


  1. I'm so excited that you got to spread your message of collaboration to librarians all over our state, Elizabeth!! You are a rock star and an inspiration, and I'm sure that you've opened up some eyes and minds though your presentation. Wish I could have been there!!

  2. Thanks for reading my post about last week's tour. It was really something. I have never done anything like it before. I guess that it is one of those once in a lifetime kind of experiences. Now I have to focus and get back to my students. I start our major research paper with the middle school at the end of this week.


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