So I've mentioned this on Twitter before, but as a child, reading was an escape for me. I had a stuttering problem, and I was quiet and shy. As I grew up, reading also helped me to escape from things I didn't want to face, particularly the break up of my family. I always knew I wanted to be a librarian because I loved books. Even though I've outgrown my shyness as an adult, my reading life was something I held private, escaping to my own little world when the stress of real life got to be too much.
I started blog hunting in order to help me find books to order for my library. The first one I followed was authored by two teachers (although I think Franki was a librarian back then) in Ohio, A Year of Reading. I quickly added A Fuse #8 Production and Heavy Medal. Then I hit the mother load - Nerdy Book Club, a community of readers, a community that anyone who loves reading can join and instantly belong. I came out of lurking mode to actually make a post.
Then the Twitter revolution came. I had a Twitter account, but found it to be so overwhelming. I've since learned how to use it and it is now my favorite social media site. I love being able to talk to children's book authors/illustrators. Just this week, I've exchanged tweets with Peter Brown, Amber McRee Turner, Jess Keating and Natalie Lloyd. Then there is the never ending PLN with so many great teachers and librarians; there are quite literally too many to name, and I'd hate to leave anyone out.
My online community has influenced my real life in that I am much more eager to share my reading life with others. It defines who I am, so if I hide it, I'm not showing anyone the real me. This year, I held a workshop for teachers on inspiring the love of reading and recently, one of the new teachers in my building said she and I should start a book club next year because we both love reading. I have learned so much from Nerdy Book Club nation and I can't express how grateful I am to all of you for making me a better teacher, librarian, parent and reader. For me, reading is no longer a way to escape; it is a way to connect.
Best of all, my online reading community and my real life will overlap when I go to nErDcamp MI this summer! My 11-year-old daughter is going to nErDcamp Jr.
We were talking last night about how far Michigan is from NC. When I showed her on the map, she gasped, "It is farther away than Pennsylvania!" Yep, 624 miles!
Organizer Colby Sharp gives you 10 Reasons Why You Should Come to nErDcamp MI! Post from 2013, but all the reasons still apply. And check out this cool trailer. I'll see you there!