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  • 14 Jan 2024 4:20 PM | Faith Huff (Administrator)

    Well, friends, we made it to 2024! I don’t know how your 2023 went, but mine felt like I was trapped on the struggle bus as it rolled uncontrollably down a hill full of potholes, and if I’m being honest I still feel that way, but I’m so glad to be in a new year filled with new things! The one thing that always takes away that struggle bus feeling is being an active part of NCSLMA and I’m thrilled to be entering into my year as President-Elect. 

    If you don’t know me, HI! I’m Faith Huff and I’m a middle school librarian in Gaston County. I’ve been in education since 2005 and in the library since 2016. I loved being a teacher, but being a school librarian is my happy place. Kristy was right when she said “Magic Happens Here” as she named our conference last year and I’m always excited to make magic and see the magic you are all creating in your own libraries. 

    I want to take a moment to thank Kristy Sartain for her hard work as President Elect and planning the 2023 NCSLMA Conference. Along with the Conference Committee, Kristy did an amazing job and I am in awe of her and her team. I also want to thank her in advance for the millions of questions she’s already answered for me and all the ones still to come as we get ready for the 2024 NCSLMA Conference. Kristy and I met in 2020 as part of the NCSLMA Leadership Academy and it’s been a privilege to watch her grow as a librarian and as a leader. She’s the reason I finally felt brave enough to run for President-Elect because not only is she awesome, she created an NCSLMA Conference Committee! Knowing I have her support AND Heath Radford and his team behind me makes planning the next conference seem not only doable, but fun! 

    The 2024 NCSLMA Conference will be held Oct. 3-4 in Greensboro at Koury Convention Center. We’re excited to try something new this year (at least new to me!) and are creating some unique experiences for you that can only be had at Koury. Not only are we shifting locations, we’re also hosting conferences for two full days on Thursday and Friday instead of moving into Saturday. We know from conference feedback over the last few years that this is something you have been wanting and we’re excited to see how it goes. Your feedback on anything we do is so valuable and we use it, so make 2024 the year you tell us what you think after anything we offer. NCSLMA serves you, and we can only serve you well if we know what you need! 

    The transition to Koury has been a little rough so far. Due to some staffing changes at Koury, we’ve had some hiccups getting ahead like we were hoping. On January 23 we will be touring Koury Convention Center with our contacts as well as sitting down and finalizing all the details. We’ll be looking at all the rooms and deciding what locations will best serve us in the convention center, as well as talking about food and drinks and NCSLMA Jama and everything else that makes our conference one of my favorite things each year. NCSLMA Jama is leveling up this year…I cannot wait to tell you more! Hopefully in my next blog post if all goes well at our meeting!  

    There is one thing I know for sure about conference….we have one of our guest speakers confirmed. I’m excited to announce that Amanda Jones will be speaking at our conference as well as signing copies of her new book, That Librarian: The Fight Against Book Banning in America which will release August 27th of this year.

    In rare move, school librarian fights back in court against conservative activists 

    Amanda has been awarded the Louisiana School Librarian of the Year (2020), Library Journal Mover & Shaker (2021), School Library Journal Librarian of the Year (2021), and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! She is as tough as she is kind and I tell her often that I’m not sure I could do what she’s done. She tells me I could and that all librarians could. I hope no one reading this ever has to find out, but knowing someone like Amanda has paved the way and literally wrote the book on it makes me feel a little better. Check out her website for more information about her and her school library’s website has been more than inspirational to me as I’ve definitely taken some of her ideas and put them into place in my own library. 

    I’m looking forward to the year ahead and serving as your NCSLMA President-Elect. I intend to take this role, and my job, seriously, but never myself. Am I going to give 100% in this role? Yes. Am I going to have a blast doing it? Absolutely! Here’s to 2024! 

  • 24 Oct 2023 12:56 PM | Kristy Sartain (Administrator)

    Now that the 2023 Conference is officially in the books, I can pass the torch on to Faith Huff, Heath Radford, and the Conference Committees. While I struggled while helping to plan the conference (and please know, if I say “I” did something, I mean the team, unless it was a mistake, then that was me), I really did enjoy the actual event itself. It was so nice to have so many people tell us how much they were enjoying it. Yes, things could have been better. We know that. We are probably more keenly aware of things that could have gone better than anyone would ever know. But a lot of things went really well. And I mean really well. 

    We received some great feedback from the 80 of you who took the time to send it. Thank you so  much for filling out that form! We went through it and used it to help us decide how to continue planning the 2024 conference.

    Before we get into that, I wanted to share some data with you about this year’s conference. I am all about transparency, so here we go. We had 500 people register for conference. 475 actually checked in. The majority of the attendees (66%) were elementary or K-8 school librarians. Just 33% of us were secondary librarians. We had just under $70,000 in registration fees. Our vendors helped contribute about $30,000, so we brought in right at $100,000. We’re still waiting on final costs for Benton as they have to tally up all the food costs, but we’re expecting to pay around $75,000 for the space ($24k) and the food ($51k). We had to pay $17,000 to the companies who set up the technology and the vendor booths. Hotel costs and travel expenses for our special guests added up to about $8,000. Keynote and speaker fees totaled $5,000. Supplies and swag and other conference expenses were about $13,000. We expect for this conference to cost around $118,000. All my degrees are in words, so this total will probably be off a little. :-) 

    Some of the recommendations to change for future conferences are completely out of our control and I wanted to take a minute to address those. We can’t control the size of the session rooms. At Benton, they were all the same size. At Koury, they will be different sizes, so scheduling will be a bit of a nightmare. We will have rooms that can seat anywhere from 32-188 people. We also can’t control which vendors come but it seems many people think we do? We contacted not only vendors from previous conferences, but also vendors that we thought would be a good fit for everything we do in the library. We sent out emails asking our members to contact vendors they would like to see at conference. We are so appreciative of the vendors that do come. The ones who didn’t come, didn’t come. We can’t make vendors come to our conference. We are grateful to the ones who did come. Seriously grateful. We had to add vendors in the main ballroom because that was the only place to put them. We had to juggle the space we had available and the need for session rooms and the need for vendor income and and and. It was the best that we could do with what we had. We will have more vendor space at Koury, so that’s good. 

    We definitely plan to tweak and improve the Author Alley. The authors who attended really enjoyed the laid back atmosphere and time to talk to everyone who came in. We will work harder to communicate the schedule. The setup will be better as well. Another suggestion was to have more food and drinks available. The problem with that is that food at conferences is ridiculously expensive. Seriously, a can of soda costs us $4.00 at a Convention Center. The food and drinks we had this year cost around $51,000 with tax. Convention Centers charge sales tax, plus a 23% tax on top of that. Our food minimum at Koury will be $50,000, so with taxes, at a minimum, we will spend $65,000. That is over half the conference budget. We will have more food than this year and it will come at a cost. But with such a good chunk of people saying they wanted more food and drinks, it seems like that is definitely a need. Expect conference registration fees to go up a little to help with that. The good thing about Koury is that they have restaurants and cafes on site. However, nothing else is in walking distance. Well, the mall is right there. And parking is free. So that’s a benefit!

    Now on to the good stuff! Everyone across the board LOVED Donna Washington. I am glad so many people stayed to listen to her. She is an absolute treasure and I am grateful she agreed to be at our conference. Amy Hermon’s keynote got the conference off to a great start. We all love her and so many people commented about how great it was that she mingled with everyone, it seemed. I still can’t believe she agreed to be our opening keynote! I hope you had the chance to listen to the podcast dedicated to our conference. It’s long, but so so so good. It’s great to hear all of your voices! A lot of people commented on the overall vibe of the conference, that it was fun and lighthearted and magical. And that is what I was going for. I’m glad it came through. I wanted us to have time to relax and learn and connect. And it sounds like that happened for most of you. Another positive was the “classroom” seating in the rooms. I hate going to a conference and having to balance my laptop in my lap. I have a Microsoft Surface Pro, so it’s not easy to do that. The tables were there for a purely selfish reason. The only drawback of that is that it did cut down a little on available seating in the rooms, but I think it might have been worth it? Another minor request was to have something available during lunch, but here’s the thing. WAY more people said they preferred not having something during lunch. It was close to  a 4-1 ratio who preferred not having something planned during lunch. We know we can’t make everyone happy. That is impossible. So we go with the majority from the feedback we receive. 

    And finally, we heard so many positive comments about the quality of the sessions. This. This is why we come to conference and keep coming back. It’s because of the presenters. We are doing such great and awesome things in our libraries and having the venue to share what we are doing is the entire reason for having a conference. We hope to have more session slots open next year so we can have more people presenting. Fingers crossed! If you didn’t find a session that you wanted to see, you have seen a need at future conferences! Please submit a proposal when the call to present opens. If you didn’t see enough middle or high school sessions, encourage your fellow librarians to submit session proposals. 

    I want to thank, yet again, but never enough, the people who helped with planning this conference. Heath Radford, Emily Golightly, Colleen Graham, Mandy Keziah, Marcia Wingerd, Jennifer Abel, Jenny Umbarger, Pam Sands, Natalie Ezell, Jackie Bathony, Jen Cox, Laura Ullom, and Robert Yancey. You all are rock stars and I will never be able to tell you how much it means to me that you were there to help with whatever needed to be helped with. This team has set the bar for future conferences and I know we are in great hands.

    Bookishly yours,

  • 31 Aug 2023 8:40 PM | Kristy Sartain (Administrator)

    I already knew I wouldn't be good at planning a conference. When I get overwhelmed, I tend to shut down and go into survival mode. You can't plan a conference when you do that. If it weren't for the team of AMAZING people helping with this thing, it wouldn't have gone on. Heck, it still might not just because I have something to do with it.

    But I was really not prepared for the sheer number of e-mails I would be receiving, especially as it got closer. The number of people who wait until the last second to respond when given a deadline, or who reply after the deadline. The number of people who don't respond at all, causing even more work on our end. We are currently at 415 people registered, an increase of like 45 in the last couple of days, which is awesome. However, I already ordered swag and now I don't think I ordered enough. There are a number of checks either in the mail or about to be mailed and while I have been giving as much grace as I absolutely can, there are deadlines for a reason. We have to pay real bills and real people to put on this conference. Attending the conference is always the highlight of my year and I'm hoping it is the same for others. But planning something this big for this many people when you have a full time job and a ton of personal things going on is not for everyone. Heck, it's probably not for MOST people. Today alone I received 34 e-mails to my NCSLMA e-mail address that needed to be answered. Thank goodness my district made it a remote learning day so I could actually answer them. Can you imagine a school librarian in the midst of giving out Chromebooks or starting the school year and having to answer 34 additional e-mails from the ones they receive from their school e-mail? That's why I can't get to everyone in less than 48 hours and why e-mails get buried so quickly.  

    I am looking forward to the conference so much because I love going and seeing everyone there. It's a great time for camaraderie and learning and for some of us who live far apart, the only time all year we get to see each other in person. Right now, though, I want to cry. And y'all - I have freaking amazing help. These conference chairs and committees are KILLING it. I cannot imagine planning this behemoth without help. Just today, I remember I have to order three things that are pretty important to the conference - badge tags, signage, and ID tags. They have been on my list for weeks to order. I remembered today. Have I done it? Nope. Will I do it this weekend? I hope so. Probably. Someone text me on Saturday and remind me. :-) 

    I did order the swag this week. It probably won't be enough. I received an e-mail from the company I ordered them from asking if I had a loading dock because one of the items will have to come on a pallet because of the quantity. Um, at my house? A loading dock? *sigh* No. So now they have to send a special truck. So everyone better love these freaking NCSLMA bags with the embroidered logo. I don't want to hear a single negative thing about them. The only thing I should hear is that they are absolutely perfect. hahahahahahahahahahaha

    Apparently I'm going slightly manic. Honestly, I don't know if that's new and/or when it started. Definitely before today. I got a massage today and the lady (who prefers being called a Bodywork Therapist and I'm loving that) said she was very worried about the amount of stress in my shoulders and neck. Yup. You and me both. But come October 8, I can breathe again. Maybe even sleep all the way through the night. 

    I absolutely love NCSLMA. Seriously, one of the greatest things that ever happened to me professionally was being chosen for the Leadership Academy in 2019 for the 2020 inaugural cohort. The friends I made in that group and the opportunities that have come from it have been immeasurable. I will do anything for this organization. Just please don't ask me to plan a conference ever again. Please. Pretty please. With whipped cream on top. 

  • 9 Jul 2023 7:40 PM | Kristy Sartain (Administrator)

    Howdy all! Remember me? It's been two months since my last post and I am very sorry about that I promised transparency and information and I haven't been doing that.

    So let's catch up.

    After my last post, I basically curled up in a ball and cried for a while. Then for a few weeks, I was afraid to even open my e-mail. Very little got done on my part until I pulled out of it. Thankfully, I have AMAZING committee chairs and a fantastic co-chair and they carried the weight. I seriously could not have gotten through all of that without them and the support of Jenny U. and Jennifer A. And also with the help of Brew Crew. I absolutely love the community that NCSLMA is and I hope I am able to participate in it for a very long time.

    The last couple of weeks, we've been e-mailing people and arranging accommodations and making decisions. But this weekend? This weekend, the committee chairs went on a retreat to end all retreats! We rented a house for a few days and got so much done! We made lots of hard decisions that should never be on one person. 

    I cannot thank Emily Golightly, Colleen Graham, Mandy Keziah, Heath Radford, and Marcia Wingerd enough for their help and leadership this weekend. 

    We were able to accomplish so much to work towards the end of planning conference. I can't even list all the decisions we made and what we finished, but trust there was a long list. There is still a lot of work to do, but after this weekend, I feel so much better about where we are and where we're going. I did work on the Featured Speaker page, so if you want to see who has confirmed being at the conference so far, check that out at Featured Speakers. It will be updated as progress continues. 

    We're trying to get to Benton in the next few weeks to determine and finalize the seating and vendor layout. We're trying to get a mix of classroom and theater seating in the rooms. I am a big fan of having desks when I'm learning so I can spread out a little and not have to type on the laptop in my lap. I'm also a physical note taker, so I like having a notebook as well. Yes, I'm high maintenance. I know that. :-)

    I've sent out a couple of e-mails about early bird ending. If your have not paid your registration by July 14 at 11:59pm, your registration will be canceled and you will have to reregister at the next rate. Presenters, your presenter discount code expires July 14 at 11:59pm, so make sure you register and pay ASAP. 

    We're up to 184 people registered as of this blog post. We have a cap of 550 due to space, so we still have plenty of spots. But I'm pretty sure they'll start to fill up soon. This is shaping up to be a fun conference where we'll get to learn and grow together! Also, we have a ton of door prizes. Make sure you're following our social media so you can see what you could win. 

    Registration Link
    Conference Information Link

    Facebook Page
    Facebook Group (request to join and answer all membership questions - only for NCSLMA members)

    I hope you all have a happy, healthy summer and I'll make sure to keep you up to date better than I have been doing. 

    But seriously, thank you to the Conference Committee. I know myself pretty well and I know for 100% sure that this conference would not look anything like it does right now if I were the only person planning it. 

    Thank you!


  • 1 May 2023 7:06 PM | Kristy Sartain (Administrator)

    T- I don’t even know and after today, does it even matter?

    One thing I was not prepared for was the Call to Present. After accidentally deleting the entire thing and having to start over, I thought, “This couldn’t get worse.” I was wrong.

    The e-mails of whose proposals were accepted and were not went out yesterday (Sunday). I was unprepared for the vitriol that would be directed towards me from people whose proposals were not accepted. I did explain in the e-mails that the proposals were evaluated and scored using a rubric by several people. We took the averages of those scores and arranged the proposals in order of that. We have fewer than 90 available session slots and had 160 proposals. I would have loved to accept everyone’s proposal. But it just couldn’t happen. The committee never saw any presenter’s name. The evaluations were done blind, with just the session title and description. I did that so the merit of the session would be how it was evaluated. Not by name recognition. Was that wrong? Obviously so. I have never received so many e-mails where people are mad at *me* and ready to drop NCSLMA and not have anything to do with us. 

    I understand being disappointed. I truly get it. I have applied for tons of awards, grants, sessions, etc. that I didn’t get. Did I think I deserved them? Abso-freaking-lutely. Did I lash out to the committees who made the decision? Abso-freaking-lutely not. Did I send a polite e-mail asking for feedback so I could do better next time? Yes. I did receive one of those and I am grateful for it. I will e-mail you back after I have had time to recover from the other e-mails I read today. I probably wouldn’t have been so upset about this whole thing if it had only been one or two e-mails. Y’all. So far, it’s been almost a dozen. That many people angry at *me* because their session wasn’t chosen. 

    The committee that read the proposals and helped score them gave so much of their time to go through 160 sessions. Should I have gone through every one of them and said, “Well, that person is this person so they deserve for me to cancel out what the committee believes.” Maybe I should have. But then I would have had to eliminate sessions who scored higher to make room for sessions who scored lower. That doesn’t sit right with me. I value EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. Who took the time to submit a proposal and those who helped score the proposals AND those who are planning this conference. This is not a thin-skinned person’s position. And I don’t usually have thin skin, but after what I received today, I’m reconsidering everything about being President-Elect and planning this whole conference. 

    But I committed to this and I’m going to see it through. Obviously with several people who now hate me, but the friends I have made while being involved with NCSLMA make it worth every tear I have cried today and every e-mail draft I didn’t send because I am not that person. 

    Anyway, there’s other conference stuff going on, but I’ll write more about that next week. I’m done with this week.

    Still here,

  • 6 Mar 2023 2:24 PM | Kristy Sartain (Administrator)

    First, the reminders.

    There is just under a month left to submit your proposal to present at Conference. 

    Vendor registration is open. If you have a vendor that you love to see each year, let them know you can’t wait to see them in October!

    The Magic in Your Library promotion will be going through September. If you haven’t submitted some magic you’re making, please consider it.

    And now, the updates.

    In the two weeks since my last post, there have been even more meetings. I know. You’re surprised. I can tell. 

    The PR committee met to catch up on things. And y’all! They are WORKING! We already have our first door prize donation from a local Winston-Salem business. Camino Bakery (Downtown 4th Street location) has donated six coffee mugs and they are NICE! When you’re planning your time outside of the sessions, please consider adding them to your list of business to visit. 

    The Featured Speaker committee has been BUSY brainstorming and then contacting storytellers to fill our storyteller panel. Emily had some ideas on how to get even more storytellers, so we’re going to meet soon to discuss that. It was a brilliant idea and I’m mad I didn’t come up with it. 

    ***The President Council met and decided we could keep the registration rates the same as years before. We also decided to lower the presenter registration rate to $50 (and that will include some special NCSLMA swag). When we looked over the survey results (if you haven’t filled it out, check it out here), most people said the cost of conference kept them from going. While we can’t lower it, we can keep the cost the same. We hope to be able to still provide a fantastic conference experience and some awesome swag. We want you to be able to sport NCSLMA logoed stuff everywhere you go and show your pride in our organization!

    Speaking of swag, we’re currently running a sale of 20% off everything in the NCSLMA store

    I hope everyone has a fantastic week and I look forward to updating you again soon on what all is going on with the conference!


  • 12 Feb 2023 9:00 PM | Kristy Sartain (Administrator)


    I feel like every week I say things are happening, but that’s because things are happening every week! It’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time.

    This past week, the Call to Present went out. We’re up to 10 submissions already. Keep them coming! The Magic in Your Library promotion went out as well. The PR team is really looking forward to hearing your stories so we can share what you are doing with the world. 

    Speaking of the PR team, we met briefly on Tuesday. Mandy created the Magic in Your Library form and the group fine-tuned some of the tasks they will be working on. They have such great ideas and will help make conference a special experience!

    The Featured Speaker committee met Sunday and we got a LOT done. We met for almost an hour and a half. Remember, I really do love meetings AND I absolutely adore Pam and Emily so I was just excited to see and talk to them. :-) We discussed the changes from years past and the Featured Speaker and Storyteller Guild rosters. I’m very happy with their vision and plans and can’t wait to see what storytellers they are able to secure.

    I have been listening to the School Librarians United podcast and one of the episodes was with the Conference Planner for another state’s school library organization. She said people kept asking her if she was stressed about planning a conference for so many people and she said she wasn’t, that she trusted the people she was working with. I am so lucky to have such amazing people helping out. I’m a bit of a control freak (don't laugh or roll your eyes - I know what I am) and I am absolutely going to stress about it, but I know all of these amazing librarians are fantastic and I’m not stressing because of them. I’m stressing because it’s who I am. LOL I have met so many amazing people and I am honored that they wanted to be part of the planning of this conference. 

    Speaking of amazing people, Heath is still working on getting the rooms straight at Embassy. He has probably spent hours at this point trying to get someone there to respond to his e-mails or phone calls. We try to stick with e-mails so there is a paper trail and because we all have full time jobs that do not include conference planning. Fingers crossed that this week we’ll have those rooms firmed up.

    Outside the conference, things are happening with NCSLMA as well. Our book club, Page Turners, meets on Saturday to discuss Mad Honey by Jodi Piccoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan. It’s not too late to sign up for the book club! Jennifer Long is our new Book Club Coordinator and she has taken to it like a duck to water. Or a librarian to a book club. Hahahahahahaha 

    We also have the Winter Tune Up starting Monday. Check out for our winter PD opportunity. Each day this week, the recordings will be linked so you can learn and earn! The PD certificate will be available on Friday so you can submit them to your district for CEUs. Shoutout to Lori Munroe and the Regional Directors for putting it together this year! 

    Be on the lookout this week-ish for the notification that our Awards, Scholarships, and Grants are available. Did you know that you can apply to be the Media Coordinator of the Year even if your district doesn’t choose one? Self nomination is absolutely encouraged! Share your magic with the Robin Rhodes and the Awards Committee!

    Y’all know I like to talk and write a lot, but I thank you for reading this far. I hope these glimpses of the behind the scenes of planning a conference help paint the bigger picture of what all goes into it. We put on our conference really as a love letter to our members and I want you to know that we keep that in mind with every decision that is made. 

    I hope your week is full of love!
    Kristy -
    Heath -
  • 5 Feb 2023 8:59 PM | Kristy Sartain (Administrator)


    Whew! This week was a WHIRLWIND!!! 

    The Benton space planning is pretty much done. Heath and I are so appreciative of them for taking time to make sure layouts and rooms look good and feel good. The vendor hall will be halls this year to make the best use of meeting space. The bulk of the vendors will be in the main hallway. But we’ll also have some in the dead-end hallway when you first walk in and in the main meeting space. 

    Of course, all of this changes if we end up with 600 people there. That would be a good problem that we would be thrilled to have happen.

    Some fun things to share. We have our first keynote speaker mostly secured. I have to send the contract and get that signed and then we can officially announce who it is. Those who are in the NCSLMA Facebook Group already know. Shhhhhhhhh.

    We are now working on scheduling storytellers. Instead of an author panel, we will be hosting a storyteller’s guild. We are working with a production company to have four Drag Queens run a session and tell us a story or two (and party with us at NCSLMA-Jama!!!). I am working to get a HUGE name in storytelling as another keynote speaker. I still have three slots to fill and I have reached out to a few people to pick some brains. 

    The Call to Present went out or goes out, depending on when I get this published, on Monday, February 6. I really cannot wait to see what awesome sessions you all come up with! And I really can’t wait to see the session titles. It’s a little embarrassing how much I’m looking forward to reading those. 

    The Vendor application went out. We have had exactly one vendor already fill it out. Shout out to Becky Henry with Bound To Stay Bound for being on top of it! They will have first dibs at their booth of choice.  

    I think I only met with Heath this week, but I texted and e-mailed Jennifer and Jenny so much, it felt like a real meeting, so we’re going with that. My week absolutely flew by and I really don’t know what happened. 

    Heath was able to get the hotel room blocks finalized. He called and e-mailed so many times I’m sure the good people at Embassy and Marriott were thrilled to finally be done with us. But it got done! Kudos to Heath!

    The PR Team meets this Tuesday and after that meeting, we will send out the Share Your Magic promotion. I’m really excited about this. It was not my idea and I’m mad I didn’t come up with it because it’s so good. You’ll see on Wednesday what it’s all about! 

    The whole team will meet on Saturday, February 18, to get up to date on everything that’s going on and that will happen. I look forward to these check-in meetings. Who am I kidding? I love meeting period. I’m that fool who still looks forward to faculty meetings, if that tells you what level of nerd I am. I feel so isolated in the library and my NCSLMA family means so much to me. I am grateful that I am part of this organization, this family, and I hope you all can feel that through these blog posts and all the fun stuff we are planning. NCSLMA is the best PLN out there!

    Upcoming dates to know:
    February 13-17 - Winter Tune Up PD Series
    February 15-ish - Awards, Scholarships, and Grants window opens
    March 31 - Call to Present ends
    April 14 - Notification of session acceptance
    April 15 - Early Bird Registration Opens

    I hope you have a fantastic week. We'll be working on the conference!
    Kristy and Heath

  • 29 Jan 2023 8:41 PM | Kristy Sartain (Administrator)


    We’re rolling! 

    Timelines are being set. Meetings are being scheduled. Seriously, we had so many meetings this week. And I feel SOOOOOO good about where we are right now.

    Heath, Jennifer Abel, Jenny Umbarger, and I met with Koury to talk about their proposal to move the conference there for the next bit. They are putting something formal together and we’ll look at it when it arrives. Later that same day, Heath and I met with Benton and that was FANTASTIC! I wish we had done that sooner. We sent them our tentative conference schedule and they were able to make magic happen. So now we have space for everything we wanted and we can start scheduling Featured Speakers!! I am ridiculously relieved that that part is done. I am grateful to Ayshen and Shelly at Benton for their patience and their amazing ideas. 

    Heath, Colleen, Jenny and I met Saturday afternoon to finalize the vendor stuff. That will go out February 1 to everyone, so if you know someone who would like to be a vendor you can send them the information! Please send the information. We need to have all the vendors we can so we can afford to do the stuff I’m planning. Who knew I had so many expensive ideas? LOL Eek.

    And Heath was on the phone all week long. He scheduled the calls with Benton and Koury. He has been working tirelessly to arrange rooms at Embassy. By next year, he will be a complete pro because he is learning trial by fire this year, for sure. His tenacity is a thing of legend at this point. 

    One of the things I’m hoping to add this year is a party. A real party with a DJ and drinks and food and dancing. We’re calling it NCSLMA-Jama and hope everyone will be able to attend. It’ll be in Benton Friday night at 7:30-ish so you don’t even have to go anywhere else! Bring your cardigans and boogie down! If you’re not laughing at that, you should be.  

    We’re still planning to send the call to present out February 6-ish. Jenny sent me some stuff that I neglected to look at this weekend, so hopefully I can get all that done Monday night. Selected presenters will receive discounted registration of $75 for the main presenter. We are also going to have some special edition presenter-specific swag as a thank you. We’re excited to see what great ideas you all have! And don’t forget the magic themed title (not required, but would be fun!). 

    I remain grateful every day for Heath for his patience with me as we bumble through this together. And there is no way I would feel any kind of confidence at all without the mentorship and support of Jennifer, Jenny, Bitsy, and Cindy. You all are amazing and I cannot say Thank You enough. 

    As always, if you have any thoughts or suggestions for conference, send them to me ( or Heath ( 

    Have a great week and I’ll keep you updated!
  • 11 Jan 2023 12:14 PM | Kristy Sartain (Administrator)

    Welcome back to hot mess central! 

    Not really, but when you're in the thick of it and have a worst case scenario immediately mindset, it feels like it. :-)

    We don’t have a ton of new stuff to share this week. The biggest item is that we still don’t have enough space at Benton. We have been back and forth with them, but our last response was over a week ago and we haven’t heard back. We are in a literal standstill because we can’t book speakers until we know when ( or even if) we can accommodate them. We can’t plan events or open up vendor registration because we don’t know if we’ll have to move the timeline of the conference. Having enough space is KEY to having a successful or even adequate conference and we are at the mercy of Benton to make sure we have it.

    While we’re waiting on Benton, we are working on some behind-the-scenes stuff. 

    • The Vendor registration form should be completed this week so whenever we have the space issue settled, that can go out and vendors can start signing up. 

    • The Call to Present form is being worked on (Thank you Jenny Umbarger!) so we can get that out in early February. If you haven’t started thinking about presenting at NCSLMA, start thinking today!

    • We are investigating which scheduling app to use at conference. We have used Sched for the past few years, but there are other options available now. If you know of any, let us know! 

    • The conference webpages are slowly being built and should be public when the Vendor Information goes out, but definitely by the time the Call to Present goes out.

    • The PR Committee meets later this week and will go over specific duties and work on a plan for everything Magic and NCSLMA.

    Several members of the Conference Committee met Sunday for a check in and catch up so everyone knows what’s going on. After I moaned and complained for 20 minutes about lack of space, we finished the rest of the meeting quickly.

    And since I’m late getting this out, I can add the PR Committee stuff. We met Tuesday afternoon and I am so thrilled with what Mandy Keziah is doing with the team. They are building a multi-platform Conference playlist so you can get in Magic Mode while on your way to Conference. They are also working on getting us discounts and prizes from local businesses so we can pass those on to our attendees. And I’m REALLY excited about our “Magic In Your Library” project. We’ll be asking for you to submit ways you see and create magic in your library. We want to know the small magics and the big magics. This will be a social media bonanza and we’ll get to show the world what magic is happening in NC School Libraries. That form will be going out soon so you can start sharing your magic!

    As always, if you have any thoughts or suggestions for conference, send them to me ( or Heath ( 

    Have a great week and keep making that magic happen!

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NCSLMA is a professional organization dedicated to supporting, promoting, and empowering school librarians across the state as they transform their school communities.


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