|My Alaska Heroes|
We should all strive to be as significant and essential to our communities.
I should also mention how very impressed I was by Alaska's OWL network and their commitment to bringing broadband to even their most remote communities. During the conference's State of the State address, their State librarian and OWL project manager said, "Access to information is not a privilege, it's a right and in Alaska, soon everyone will have that right." Given the geographic and environmental barriers that, literally, stand between Alaska's few major cities and the rest of the state, this project is not only ambitious, but its success is beyond impressive. How many states, I wonder, don't have a single community that cannot be access by car, (Alaska has countless such communities), but that have yet to make as much progress in bringing broadband to its citizens?
Finally, I can't end this post without mentioning the role that Twitter played in getting me to Alaska. Long story short, I saw Nicole Roohi (@buzzinglibrarian) and Shannon Miller (@shannonmiller) tweeting about last year's conference, so I chimed in. Next thing I know, I'm in Alaska. Social media is amazing. And the connections we can make there for ourselves and our students are exceptionally powerful. If you're reading this post and you're not yet connected, now is the time. Now. Not tomorrow. Now. Do it.
Alaska, and its people, proved to be impossibly beautiful. It’s was an absolute honor to spend time with these amazing people. As is so often the case when I visit state conferences, but it's especially true this time, I feel I learned more from them than they did from me. Still, I'm so grateful for having had the opportunity to learn and share at AKLA and with the librarians of Alaska. Their work, and the difference they are making for the people of this state, make me proud to be a librarian.