TLA 2019 Conference Overview

Written by Blake Hopper

Blake Hopper

I recently attended my first Tennessee Library Association (TLA) conference with Jennifer Sharp.  The theme this year was “Opening Hearts, Doors, and Minds”, and I left the conference asking myself why I had not attended before?  It was a great time to connect with other librarians and learn about all the great things happening across our state in libraries of all types.

TN librarians with Governor Lee
Tennessee Public and School Librarians at Tennessee Library Legislative Day.

I attended the TLA Board Meeting and Advisory Meeting, representing TASL at each one. I gleaned some of the changes that are taking place in TLA and had the opportunity to share all of the great things happening in TASL.  The board was excited to hear about our upcoming Summer PD at TASL Road Trip West at the University School of Jackson on June 4th, and TASL Road Trip East at the Blount County campus of Pellissippi Community College in Friendsville on June 7th.

Jennifer and I had the opportunity to  set up a TASL booth in the Exhibit Hall.  This allowed us to talk to TLA members about what TASL is and how they can connect with the school librarians in their area.   We were excited to learn that many school librarians are already working with their public librarians. We also learned that many public and academic librarians are excited to reach out to you to work with you and your students.

Jennifer Sharp and Blake Hopper at TLA.


Many of you may be wondering why it is so important for TASL and TLA to have a relationship and why you should join TLA.  You will be happy to know that Jennifer and I have listed some reasons why:

  • You get to connect with other librarians. TLA has members that are public, academic, and school librarians.
  • TLA and TASL help support each other. During the 2019 Library Legislative Day, TLA members helped us talk to senators and representatives about our need for a School Librarian Director at the Tennessee Department of Education.  We helped them talk to senators and representatives about the need for more access to broadband internet in rural areas. There are also activities sponsored by TLA at TASL’s annual conference each year and vice versa.
  • You get a discount when you join both organizations!  That’s correct, you can join TLA at a discounted rate because you are a TASL member. Simply join TASL first, then use the promo code “TASL” when you join TLA.
  • Public librarians want to work with us!  They want to help you get the things you need for your students and staff.  They also want to work to make sure that students have library cards and participate in the state wide summer reading program.

I hope to see more TASL members at the next TLA conference!

Blake Hopper is the Immediate Past President of TASL and the librarian at Powell Valley Elementary and Middle School. Follow him on Twitter @pvslibrarian and Instagram @pveslibrary.

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