CCI Professor and Associate Dean for Research Marcia Mardis Gives Closing Keynote Speech at MAME Conference
Recently, FSU College of Communication and Information professor and Associate Dean for Research Marcia Mardis gave the closing keynote speech at the Michigan Association for Media in Education’s (MAME) annual conference in Ann Arbor. The conference–MAME 49– offered school library professionals the opportunity to connect with and learn from others working in the school library profession including librarians, authors, and vendors.
Mardis explained that she has worked with many of the conference’s attendees for decades both as colleagues and as students who later became library professionals. She spoke on the impact of the conference and those who attended, sharing, “This group is so inspiring because school librarians were deeply cut in Michigan over the last decade, and reading test scores dropped precipitously. Now, they are regaining strength and getting rehired into schools, but coincidentally, at the same time that book challenges have steeply increased. This conference was both a celebration of their resiliency, as well as a professional call-to-service to support one another by exchanging effective book challenge defense and student engagement strategies. It was absolutely heartwarming to see this group come together with so much positivity.”
This was not Mardis’s first time attending or speaking at the conference, but it was her first time giving the closing keynote speech. She shared that as the closing keynote speaker, she wanted her presentation “Into the Future (Acknowledging the Best of the Past)” to touch on the themes discussed throughout the conference and pull it all together. “Knowing this group as well as I do, I wanted my closing keynote speech to be about them and the great conference they just had, not about me,” said Mardis, “I selected some topics from education and librarianship for my talk based on the conference theme “Transforming to the Future” and wove those topics together with the amazing ideas I was hearing in the sessions. From what I could tell from conversations afterward and audience reaction, they appreciated being featured at the center of my talk. I hope so. They deserve so much recognition.”
Mardis also explained the importance of supporting school librarians, saying, “School librarians are a vital educational resource. They deserve our support and understanding. The national assault on the freedom to read and criticism of dedicated school librarians is unwarranted and unfair. Information literacy and self-directed reading are life skills that our kids can’t do without and that school librarians are uniquely equipped to deliver.”