I need lodging while attending Book Expo America and Bookcon. These are fantastic conferences providing me with networking, product research, literary sessions, and numerous free books for our school library.
Our school is in rural Missouri with approximately 245 students, grades 9-12. We have between 50 and 60% of our kids qualifying for free or reduced lunch. Despite resources in the school and families sometimes being tight, our students are passionate about their learning. Our dual credit enrollment thrives, and kids are excited about new classes and extracurricular activities we are offering.
Our library and its programs have changed significantly in the past few years, and we are now a popular, happening area of the school.
Teachers have really noticed the change in the library culture. This began with a makerspace which has been a big success. We have added lots of technology including a 3d printer and Cricut. We aren't all tech though; our kids also enjoy reading. I believe our kids read more than other nearby schools after speaking to those librarians. A new teacher told me kids here read more than any other place she has taught. Kids often request new books and are always wanting the next book in their series. We also have a book club which competes with area schools in the Battle of the Books competition. Last year was our best finish yet.
Book Expo America and Bookcon are conferences that occur consecutively in New York City at the end of May. I have had the pleasure of attending these previously, and the experience is unparalleled. There are panels from leaders in the literary industry and authors. These range from hearing upcoming releases, an author's writing process, and lectures or discussions analyzing themes, genres, characters, and more. This information allows me to be more in touch with the best literature for my students and gives me the background to promote reading. There are networking opportunities with other librarians as well as with companies and services. There is a large show floor that allows me to pilot new technologies and items that will enhance the education of my students and provide new tools to teachers. In addition, there are free books I can bring back to my students. I estimate I was able to bring back over $2000 worth of books to my school when I attended previously. That is more than the book budget I am given for the entire year. These are upcoming releases, and it is great to offer the best new titles to my students.
Bringing back new books to my students is the biggest highlight of this trip.
There are rarely national level conferences near me to provide this type of experience. The value of the sessions and discussions is extraordinary, and bringing back materials for my students is fantastic. Going to this conference is a big expense for me. I will still be spending much of my own money in order to attend BEA and Bookcon. This DonorsChoose grant will pay about half of my lodging costs for this trip. I think that the experiences and materials I get are worth it. I very much appreciate your help.
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