Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Keynote for Pennsylvania School Librarians Conference 2021

On 4/15/21, I had the privilege of delivering the 1.5-hour opening keynote for the Pennsylvania School Librarians Conference…from my basement office. Shoeless.

Such are our times.

Sometimes your work and a conference theme just understand one another.

I’m lucky that my story is so twisty that it holds attention whether shared on stage or by screen. Because we are now all members of Zoom Nation, I tell viewers (AKA audience members) to think of my talk not as yet another yammering head in a box but rather as a very low-budget Netflix film. I don’t know if that makes the experience more palatable for anyone, but I want them to know I empathize. 

The conference organizers kindly shared with me the feedback I received. A sampling by category:


  • “What a tremendous presentation! Absolutely brought tears to my eyes. We learned some excellent strategies for teaching primary source that we can all incorporate into our lessons.”
  • “What a story! I was a fan of Boys of Steel…but what a change Marc made [for Bill Finger’s] legacy. I will share with my students for years to come.”
  • “I love how he used his investigative skills to uncover the truth. Great speaking skills! I’m playing the recording for my husband.”
  • “Marc is a great storyteller! So inspiring!”
  • “I loved Marc’s tenacity and positive attitude!”
  • “Being able to hear from a terrific author, I didn’t realize how deeply I had been starved of that, and it helped breathe life into my library soul.”
  • “Marc’s depth of knowledge and passion for his writing and books is impeccable.”
  • “This entire presentation was amazing!”
  • “This was so good!”


  • “I just LOVED this keynote! I can’t wait to figure out how to get Marc to present for my school.”
  • “Would love to have Marc speak at my school!”
  • “Fascinating. I would love to host an author visit at my school and feel this is such a great story for all my students to hear.”
  • “I loved Marc’s strategies for conducting research and I hope to be able to have him do a school visit with us in the future.”


  • “This presenter was a research all-star. I can use his examples of deep research to inspire students to keep digging for information.”
  • “His research experience was incredible. Something students would love to hear about.”
  • “I teach research skills to high school students and one of the most important attributes to be successful is perseverance. Marc’s story is a perfect example of this.”
  • “Marc’s talk is a great public service announcement for the research cycle/process!”
  • “I will share his ideas with the MS and LS librarians. I will use his examples of research and use of primary sources in my instructional classes. Good for advisory groups!”
  • “I would love to use your story to teach students that the internet is not the only resource.”
  • “Demonstrating his perseverance and commitment to finding the truth through primary source research can serve as a great role model for our students.”
  • “Ask questions now—you don’t know if you’ll ever get the chance to again.”


  • “I have SO many ideas to utilize Marc’s story to teach my students more about intellectual property, the value of personal story, the importance of credit and honesty, and the power of each individual person.”
  • “Marc gave excellent ideas on lessons about truth and history, intellectual property, and the power of research. Even though I teach HS students, I think discussing the stories he uncovered can be a great lesson.”
  • “I already ordered Marc’s book. It can be used to teach copyright, research skills, ask questions you can’t Google, letter writing, and persistence. I will suggest this book to my teachers as a mentor text.”
  • “I would love to share with my students Marc’s story about the importance of proper credit. Such an impactful message!” 
  • “I am planning on using his book with a lesson on plagiarism for my elementary students.”
  • “Teaching people to speak up for injustice is part of being a good citizen.”
  • “I had never considered evaluating credit to see if there was an error that needed correction.”


  • “The idea that there is always truth to be told. That one person CAN make a difference. And that we all need to speak up when the truth is not out.”
  • “The story demonstrated how one person can make a difference in history.”
  • “There is so much from this keynote that can be utilized in my work. This is such a wonderful example of the impact one person can have.”
  • “It was a wonderful message about every voice having power and learning how to use your voice for good.”


  • “Can I say all of it? I particularly enjoyed Marc’s passion for the project, the way he connected with the community during the course of his research. I’m not sure he realized what a part of the story he has become by inserting himself into the journey as our guide. The narrator is a strong voice that keeps the story alive. We are all stories, and I thank Marc for sharing his and Bill’s.”
  • “This was one of the best keynotes I have heard!”
  • “I was in awe of the entire story.”
  • “Marc had such a passion in his presentation that was infectious.”
  • “A captivating, real-world example of the research process for a book that was relevant to adults and children alike.”
  • “The author’s story was very inspiring.”

Thank you again, PSLA!

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