We are committed to...
  • encouraging diverse points of view.
  • continuous reflection and on-going improvement.
  • collegial relationships and ethical leadership.
  • independent education options for families.
  • promoting the independence of our schools.
  • quality standards without standardization.
  • assisting schools in fulfilling their missions.

Librarians Conference

Date: Friday - March 13, 2020
Time: All Day
Location: Portland Jewish Academy
Space is Limited. Register to Save Your Spot Today.



Librarians Conference

March 13, 2020 - Portland Jewish Academy

Registration is Open!

This single-day gathering will bring together librarians from across the NWAIS region, for a day of inspiration, networking, sharing of best practices as well as a peek at the future of our independent school libraries.


Conference Agenda

8:15-8:30         Registration

8:30- 8:40        Welcome 

8:40-9:00         Introduction Activity

9:00-9:50         The Genrefication Experimentation Conversation

9:50-10:00       SmackDown Session (Open mic opportunity to share a great tip or trick)

10:00-10:15      Break

10:15-10:30      Spark Talk: Mark Richards, Head Librarian, The Evergreen School presenting: "Yes, but where are the unicorns? An exploration of creating easier access to the collection for everyone"

+ Smackdown (Open mic opportunity to share a great tip or trick)

10:30-11:30      Diversity within Diversity: Balancing Collections, Book Lists, and Recommendations

11:30-11:45      Spark Talk: Rebecca Moore, The Overlake School presenting: "10 Contests in 10 Minutes"

+ SmackDown (Open mic opportunity to share a great tip or trick)

11:45-12:00      A Panel Conversation About The PJA Library Renovation (to continue over lunch for those interested)

12:00-1:00       Lunch

1:00-1:15         Spark Talk   

1:15-2:00         Work Session: Using Standards in Our Programs: Sharing Successes and Challenges

2:00-2:15         Break

2:15-2:45         Ways to Collaborate with You Public Librarian

2:45-3:30         Author Session with Aron Nels Steinke, Author of Mr. Wolf’s Class,  the graphic novel series by Eisner Award winning cartoonist and elementary school teacher Aron Nels Steinke. Published by Scholastic’s Graphix imprint. This website serves as the official site for the author.


Conference Formats: Three Formats to Share Ideas and Information with Colleagues. Come Ready To Engage.

Smackdown: These are an open mic for sharing a tool, hack or success story. They are one minute and a quick way to hear about a bunch of useful snippets. No need to sign up in advance.  Come ready to share something that would be beneficial to other attendees.

Spark Talk: These short 10-minutes talks that highlight an area of need, an opportunity or an initiative. They are presented by attendees and


Work Session: The work session is time set aside to create with your colleagues and leave with something new. Using an unconference model, join colleagues in exploring questions and ideas about integrating standards into our programs. Have a burning question or an idea you want to explore? Post your idea and lead an informal discussion. No preparation is necessary, but you are welcome to bring resources to share. Or, browse the topic ideas and join a table discussion that interests you. Participants will be encouraged to network and engage in follow-up discussions after the conference to deepen peer connections and work collaboratively.

Led by: Sam Harris, Libraries Director and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator, Charles Wright Academy

Conference Speakers and Sessions

Diversity within Diversity: Balancing Collections, Book Lists, and Recommendations

Most librarians are now persuaded of the importance of building diverse collections but frequently struggle with locating these titles, determining which ones to purchase, and ensuring that the books circulate and are used by students and teachers. Additionally, all too often, collections may appear diverse by the numbers, but diverse materials are segregated in certain sections of the library or inadvertently reinforce stereotypes. This session will help librarians look critically at the collections they build, the book lists they create, and the titles they recommend to teachers for curriculum support, with the goal of greater inclusivity, as well as offering tips for promoting diverse materials.


Presenter: Laura Simeon is the Young Adult Editor at Kirkus Reviews.  Formerly the K-8 Librarian and Diversity Coordinator at Open Window School in Bellevue, WA, she was on the jury for the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative's 2019 Translated YA Book Prize and a jury member for the 2020-21 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. Through a grant from the Swedish government, Laura did original research in Stockholm on diverse picture books and she is a former guest blogger for Lee & Low multicultural publishers.

Author Session with Aron Nels Steinke, Author of Mr. Wolf’s Class

Presenting: Graphic Novels: Harnessing their power

Award-winning graphic novelist and teacher, Aron Nels Steinke will speak about the extraordinary role graphic novels and comics play as a medium by fostering both a love for reading and writing. Graphic novels present the opportunity for readers to quickly assess how books reflect and represent our diverse student body. How do comics and graphic novels play a role in the discussion about the importance of representation? How can they be used best in the classroom and how can libraries tap into this enthusiasm of reading and creating?

Aron Nels Steinke is a cartoonist and elementary school teacher. He began making comics in 2006 with the help of a grant from the Xeric Foundation and never stopped. In 2015 he and his wife Ariel Cohn won the Best Publication for Early Readers Eisner Award for their book The Zoo Box (First Second Books). Mr. Wolf’s Class (Scholastic/Graphix) is his newest book series following the adventures of a class of anthropomorphs and their teacher who just so happens to be a wolf. The first book was a New York Time’s Editor’s Choice selection and a 2019 Oregon Spirit Award Honor winner. The second book in the series, Mystery Club, was nominated for a 2019 Harvey Award. Book 3, Lucky Stars, was named by Chicago Public Library as one of the 2019 best books of fiction for younger readers. Book Four—Field Trip, will publish on October 6, 2020.



A Conversation About The PJA Library Renovation

Join the team that redesigned PJA's Library. Hear about what they learned through the process and how the new space has affected the library's use and impact on the school community. Interested attendees can continue the conversation over lunch with the team.

Panel members will include:

  • Merrill Hendin, Head of School at Portland Jewish Academy
  • Steve Albert, Executive Director of Portland Jewish Academy and the Middleman Jewish Community Center
  • Matthew Rosenberg, Technology Integration Specialist at PJA
  • Michael Hyde, General Studies Director at PJA
  • Harriet Wingard, classroom teacher at PJA
  • Brenda Katz, Architect and Interior Design at Sera Design
  • Brian Carleton, Principal Architect Carleton Hart Architecture

The Genrefication Experimentation Conversation 

We will wade into the debate around whether to organize libraries around genres or not. Whether you are in favor of or against the idea of genrefication, your voice will be an important part of the conversation.  
Led by: Molly Sloan, Portland Jewish Academy Librarian



Ways to Collaborate with You Public Librarian

Led By: Jacquline Partch, School Corp


Here is what your NWAIS colleagues thought of the last NWAIS Librarians Conference:


The conference is an excellent way to experience new ideas and meet stimulating professionals. When I leave the conference I feel professionally engaged. Thanks so much!


It's a great way to connect with peers across the region. It's nice to learn from colleagues who are doing innovative and important work.


It was so great to connect with local librarians. I got a lot of great ideas to bring back and apply to my school.




NWAIS Attendees

Early Bird (By January 30, 2020): $175

Regular (January 31 - February 25, 2020): $195

Late (After February 25, 2020): $225


Non-NWAIS Attendees: $255 (anytime)


TO RECEIVE THE REGISTRATION DISCOUNT: Your registration must be complete and payment must be postmarked or received by the appropriate deadline.

• For online registrations with payment by check, payment must be postmarked by deadline date.

• Online registrations paid by credit card must be completed by 11:59pm on the deadline date.



Cancellation Policy

Substitutions may be made any time prior to the conference. Written cancellations received by March 4, 2020 are eligible for a refund after a $25 cancellation fee. Cancellations received after March 4, 2020 are ineligible for any refund.



NWAIS Events Are Paperless

All program materials will be provided electronically.

If there are pre-event materials, they will be sent to you via email about a week prior to the event. Please bring a device to access them at the workshop or if you prefer, print out the digital materials and bring them with you. We will not have hard-copy packets for attendees on-site.



Attendees will be Eligible for 5 Clock Hours and / or STARS Credits

Attendees from NWAIS member schools receive clock hours and STARS free of charge. For those not affiliated with a member school, there is a $10 processing fee for Clock Hours and for STARS Credits. The original clock hours form or your STARS certificate will be mailed back to you for your records. If you need to petition another agency for credits or you would like a certificate for your files, NWAIS is happy to provide one upon request at no charge.



NWAIS May Help Cover Travel Costs

The NWAIS travel reimbursement policy is designed to reimburse candidate and accredited member schools for some travel costs. This policy applies to a school’s total travel expenses (not the cost of rooms and meals), no matter how many people the school sends to the workshop. If your school spends more than $150 dollars on travel for this event and is traveling a distance greater than 250 miles you will be reimbursed a percentage of your expenses. Click here for more details


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