Tuesday, March 15, 2011
South Carolina School Library Conference
The pre-conference workshop was fast-paced and fun. The librarians worked with kids from 3 through high school so it was a diverse and lively group. As usual, we used grocery bags, cereal boxes, and used copy paper. We made at least seven books, five from the grocery bag. It's always hard in a two-hour period to get in as much as I'd like without being overwhelming but I think we did well.
On the day of the conference, I gave a talk called The Community of the Handmade Book from Ancient Egypt to Your Library. I originally put the word "community" in the title because it was the theme of the conference but the more I thought about it, the more appropriate I decided it was.
Although reading is a personal and private activity, I always do feel a sense of community when I sit down with a book—with the writer of that particular book, with authors through time, and with the rest of the world of readers. And the same is true for the making of books. In workshops, there is always a great feeling of togetherness as we all work on our books. With educators and librarians, there is also the community of purpose, knowing that what takes place in the room will be shared many times over with children.
After viewing books through history and around the world, a small collection of artists' books, and lots of examples of books to make with kids, we closed the session by making two simple books, each from a piece of recycled copy paper with writing on one side.
I did have time to do a little exploring of the city of Columbia. My hotel was in the Vista neighborhood which is full of restaurants and art galleries. SCASL was so kind to make sure I had company for dinner every night and I tried the local dishes of she crab soup and shrimp and grits (twice each) which I loved. The gift basket that was waiting for me in my hotel room contained a package of grits which I look forward to making at home. I got lots of advice about preparation.
I love old buildings, cemeteries, and trees and had lots to inspire me. The State Capitol Building was a short walk from the hotel and a beautiful building. The grounds had massive southern magnolias, palmetto palms, and blooming redbuds. I couldn't help but gather a small amount of material for possible use in a future Spirit Book. Across the street was Trinity Church Cemetery—old and beautiful.
View some of my photos from Columbia, SC.