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The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is a network of more than 4,200 children’s and youth librarians, children’s literature experts, publishers, education and library school faculty members, and other adults committed to improving and ensuring the future of the nation through exemplary library service to children, their families, and others who work with children.
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1. A is for Annual

Banners in the San Francisco Public Library’s Main Library welcomed more than 20,000 conference attendees

Banners in the San Francisco Public Library’s Main Library welcomed more than 20,000 conference attendees

What a conference!

ALA’s 2015 Annual Conference was full of more energy, enthusiasm, equality, and engagement than any I’ve ever witnessed, and whether you were one of the tens of thousands attending in San Francisco, were following from elsewhere in the world on social media (#alaac15 & #alaleftbehind), or are just now taking a quick breather from summer reading to catch up here on the ALSC Blog, I hope you can see that the future of library service to children is an exciting one!

A bird’s eye view of San Francisco’s Moscone Center and its rainbow flags, home base of the 2015 ALA Annual Conference

A bird’s eye view of San Francisco’s Moscone Center and its rainbow flags, home base of the 2015 ALA Annual Conference

In addition to learning and connecting, Annual is also a time of business when Board, staff, committees, and task forces work hard to move our association forward. There are two ALSC Board meetings at Annual and you can peruse the Board’s documents here and find updates on Twitter (#alscboard).

I’d like to bring you up to speed, as well. FYI, this past week, the ALSC Board:

  • Considered a report from the Evolving Carnegie Task Force, which was charged with investigating the opportunities for evolving the Carnegie Medal from an award recognizing what was an evolving format at the time of its establishment a quarter of a century ago (videos) to current evolving formats and/or those who are doing great work with them. The next step is having further conversations with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, our partner in the support of this award.
  • Heard from the chair of the Diversity within ALSC Task Force, Jos Holman, about their early work “to thoroughly examine diversity within all areas of ALSC such as membership, recruitment, award committees, and leadership and to recommend short-term and long-term strategies for developing richer diversity within the association.”
  • Partnered with the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee (CSK) to pilot the expansion of ALSC’s Bill Morris Seminar in 2016 to include CSK members.
  • Adjusted the expanded definitions in the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal committee manual to clarify the importance and eligibility of illustrated, graphic, and primary source materials in consideration of the Sibert award.
  • Gave a collective thumbs-up to the Program Coordinating Committee’s great slate of proposed programs for next year’s Annual Conference in Orlando. (You won’t want to miss it June 23-28, 2016!)
  • Approved ALSC’s healthy fiscal year 2016 budget, as recommended by the Budget Committee, with some exciting growth opportunities which you’ll be hearing about over the next couple of months.
  • Wrapped up, together with the Organization & Bylaws Committee, the expansion of some committees to include co-chairs with overlapping terms to foster communication and continuity.
  • Reviewed and discussed the Education Committee’s proposed scheduled revision of ALSC’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries; the final update will be available soon.

Thank you to all of our committees and task forces who work so diligently during and between conferences, as this work is truly where the rubber meets the road in achieving ALSC’s strategic goals of Advocacy, Education and Access to Library Services. Special gratitude is due to Local Arrangements Committee chair Christy Estrovitz and her entire team for all of their incredible work making ALSC members feel welcome in the Bay Area!

Then, as the sun began to set on the Bay and on Annual, it was time to bid farewell to Immediate Past President Starr LaTronica and other departing Board members Lisa Von Drasek, Rita Auerbach, Jamie Campbell Naidoo, and Michael Santangelo, and to welcome Vice President/President-Elect Betsy Orsburn and new Board members Jenna Nemec-Loise, Christine Caputo, Vicky Smith, and Mary Voors to the table. And, as I was honored to pick up the gavel as ALSC President for 2015-16, I look forward to hearing from you with any questions or ideas at andrewalsc@outlook.com.

Past President Starr LaTronica, Immediate Past President Ellen Riordan, and President Andrew Medlar at the ALA Inaugural Brunch on June 30, 2015

Past President Starr LaTronica, Immediate Past President Ellen Riordan, and President Andrew Medlar at the ALA Inaugural Brunch on June 30, 2015

 (All photos courtesy Andrew Medlar)

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2. ALSC Online Courses Start in One Week!

Summer 2015 ALSC Online CoursesCheck your clock! You have one more week to sign up for ALSC online courses for summer 2015. Classes begin Monday, July 13, 2015.

Two of the courses being offered this semester are eligible for continuing education units (CEUs) by the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET). ALSC online courses are designed to fit the needs of working professionals. Courses are taught by experienced librarians and academics. As participants frequently noted in post-course surveys, ALSC stresses quality and caring in its online education options. For more information on ALSC online learning, please visit: http://www.ala.org/alsced

NEW! It’s Mutual: School and Public Library Collaboration
6 weeks, July 13 – August 21, 2015

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs Made Easy
4 weeks, July 13 – August 7, 2015
CEU Certified Course, 1.2 CEUs

Storytelling with Puppets
4 weeks, July 13 – August 7, 2015
CEU Certified Course, 2.2 CEUs

Detailed descriptions and registration information is available on the ALSC Online Learning website. Fees are $115 for personal ALSC members; $165 for personal ALA members; and $185 for non-members. Questions? Please contact ALSC Program Officer for Continuing Education, Kristen Sutherland, 1 (800) 545-2433 ext 4026.

Image above provided by ALSC.

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3. The LSSPCC Toolkit: Making All Families Feel Welcome at the Library

Who Are We?

We are ALSC’s Library Service to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers (LSSPCC) Committee.  We are accessibility and inclusion advocates who care deeply about the needs of our entire library community, especially special population children and their caregivers.

What Do We Do?

We discover and disseminate information about what libraries have to offer these special populations.  We develop and maintain guidelines for selection of useful and relevant materials.  We also help prepare the next generation of librarians and library workers by creating and providing resources to serve their communities more inclusively.

What Is The LSSPCC Toolkit?

The LSSPCC Committee has worked hard to develop a brand new resource for librarians and library works to develop or enhance your knowledge about serving special populations.  Launched earlier this year, this easy-to-use Toolkit for Librarians and Library Workers is available FREE online and can be downloaded or saved as a PDF file.  Whether you are just getting started learning about serving special populations of children and their families or want to brush up on the latest resources, this toolkit is for you!

What Special Populations Does the Toolkit Cover?

This toolkit offers a wide variety of information about serving many different types of groups in your library community, including homeschoolers, spanish-speaking families, LGBTQ families, children with autism, children with incarcerated parents, children with print disabilities, and more.  While this is by no means an exhaustive list of special populations that are served in all of our library communities, it’s a great place to start.

Why Is This Toolkit Useful?

In this toolkit, you will find a brief introduction in each section, which will provide librarians and library workers with context and background information needed before beginning to serve these groups in your community.  In addition, each section has a list of subject headings and keywords that will help make catalog and online searching on this topic a lot easier.  We have included short lists of subject area experts, if you are interested in connecting with people in our field and finding out more about that particular area of outreach.  We have even included information about existing partnerships, which are examples of the successes some libraries have found connecting with local organizations to serve these special populations. There are numerous lists of additional print and digital resources for further learning beyond the toolkit itself.

http://www.clker.com/cliparts/d/c/3/7/13233219911441831713inclusion-1%20(1)-md.png

We hope you will share this resource with your library staff.  Through advocacy and awareness of various special populations, we can work together to help all children and all families feel welcome at our libraries!

****************************************************************

This post was written by Renee Grassi. Renee is the Youth Department Director at the Glen Ellyn Public Library in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.  She is also a member of ALSC’s LSSPCC Committee.  In 2012, she was recognized by Library Journal as a Mover & Shaker for her work serving children with autism and other special needs.  She is also one of the co-founding members of SNAILS, a state-wide networking group in Illinois for librarians and library staff who discuss and learn about expanding library services to those with special needs.  As a proud ALSC member and a former ALSC Blogger, she has written on the blog about a variety of topics related to inclusive library services. 

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4. ALSC Member of the Month – Sharon McClintock

Each month, an ALSC member is profiled and we learn a little about their professional life and a bit about their not-so-serious side. Using just a few questions, we try to keep the profiles fun while highlighting the variety of members in our organization. So, without further ado, welcome to our ALSC profile, ten questions with ALSC member, Sharon McClintock.

1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?

Photo courtesy of Sharon McClintock

Photo courtesy of Sharon McClintock

I’ve been a Children’s Librarian for 15 years at the Mountain View Public Library in Mountain View, California. I present a baby storytime called Mother Goose & More, preschool storytimes, school age class visits and a 3rd/4th grade reading club named READ Quest. I coordinate our Parenting speaker series and recently started a Rubik’s Cube Club. I love providing readers’ advisory and reference service as well as managing our Parenting and Children’s Music collections. Not long ago a friend asked me what my dream job would be. I answered honestly, “I’m doing it!”

2. Why did you join ALSC?

I joined ALSC to benefit from the experience and knowledge of my colleagues around the country, and get inspiration from conferences, online courses and the ALSC Blog. Just last week I created a Kids’ Choice display that I read about on the blog in a post by Abby Johnson, and I took an excellent online course on Storytelling with Puppets last year. ALSC does so much to advance library services to children, including early literacy initiatives and the Youth Media Awards; I want to support and be a part of it.

3. If you could be on a reality show, which one would it be?

Dancing with the Stars! When I can, I join some of my librarian friends who get together regularly to watch this show and it’s so entertaining. I love dancing, and I’m looking forward to planning some preschool dance parties with a colleague this year.

4. If you could enjoy a dinner conversation with any author – living or dead – who would it be?

If I could fudge a little on “author” (though he did write some books for children and parents, he is much better known for his TV show) I would choose Fred Rogers, no question! His kindness, his wisdom, his incredible talent for explaining the most profound concepts in the simplest terms, have been a professional as well as a personal inspiration to me. He always encouraged and lifted up those around him, and he inspires me to do the same. Though I’m sure I often miss the mark, he is always there as a role model for me.

5. What’s the last book you recommended to a friend?

I recommended the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith to a friend who is visiting Botswana soon. I love those books, and am so happy that we now have a children’s version — the Precious Ramotswe Mysteries.

6. Favorite part of being a Children’s Librarian?

I adore children’s books and music and learning new nursery rhymes for storytime. But more than that I care about the children and parents I work with and love helping families create happy memories.

7. What is the last song you sang?

We sang Baby Shark in storytime yesterday, after reading Nick Sharratt’s brilliant Shark in the Park! Everyone, adults included, got a kick out of both!

8. What do you love most about working at your library?

Our staff is fantastic — kind, creative and very supportive. Once, someone in our Customer Services group said to me, “we’ve got your back.” What a lovely thing that was to hear, and I feel that support from my colleagues every day.

9. Who is the last person you said thank you to?

This morning I thanked an incredible volunteer who has helped me with our 3rd/4th grade reading club for the last several years and will be joining us again this summer. His name is Benson and he also happens to be my next door neighbor! I have wonderful teen volunteers who help with this program, but it’s so nice to have another dedicated adult in the room, as well.

10. Favorite age of kids to work with?

If I had to pick a favorite it would be toddlers. They are so cute and so affectionate. I’ve gotten some hugs from toddlers that I will never forget!

*********************************************************************************

Thanks, Sharon! What a fun continuation to our monthly profile feature!

Do you know someone who would be a good candidate for our ALSC Monthly Profile? Are YOU brave enough to answer our ten questions? Send your name and email address to alscblog@gmail.com; we’ll see what we can do.

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5. Growing Healthy Readers and Eaters @ the Library

The time has finally arrived for summer reading, that magical time of year most youth services librarians simultaneously long for and dread. Planning and preparation begins months before the first child registers for the summer reading program (SRP) and I’m sure the last thing librarians want to do is add another task to their long summer reading to do list. Despite this ever-growing list, I encourage you to think about how you can incorporate nutritional literacy and free summer meals into your SRP planning list!

Last week kicked off the Grafton-Midview Public Library’s summer reading program as well as our free summer lunch program. This will be the second year the library has participated as a meal site in the free summer lunch program, serving free lunches to children eighteen years and younger Monday through Friday throughout our eight weeks of summer reading. The program is made possible by partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lorain County who are participants in the Kids Café program sponsored by the Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio. We have some special additions this year, including two outreach lunch sites staffed by library associates, an entire crew of summer lunch volunteers, and a vegetable and herb garden!

Vegetable Garden (photo by guest blogger) Herb Garden (photo by guest blogger)

The summer lunches have been a wonderful way to reach out to our community in new ways, build new partnerships, increase summer reading program participation and introduce various library services to new patrons as well as regular visitors. The library garden has also proven to be a great resource for our children’s librarians, Ms. Abby and Ms. Katie, to incorporate nutrition education into their summer storytimes as an extension of the nutrition information provided during the free lunches. I’m always surprised by the wealth of new faces and increased interaction I see at the children’s desk during SRP and the lunch program seems to have only increased the traffic in the children’s department since last summer.

There are plenty of great resources available for families and libraries interested in the how and why of free summer lunch programs. For starters visit the USDA Summer Food Service Program site, nokidhungry.org, feedingamerica.org, and Lunchatthelibrary.org, a great site put together by the California Library Association and the California Summer Meal Coalition. You can also encourage families in search of a free summer meal to download the free Range app, which not only helps locate the nearest free meal site but also the nearest public library. If patrons do not have smartphones or devices, librarians can always download Range to a library-owned tablet and allow families to use the app in-house to find the nearest meal.

Librarians can utilize summer lunch programs and library gardens not only through programming but as fun opportunities to promote library collections. Below are some awesome food-related materials great for children and tweens.

  • Lunch Lady series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2009-2013.This graphic novel series depicting a lunch lady who is a secret crime fighter is a perfect choice for chapter-book readers!
  • Whoopty-Whoop by Koo Koo Kanga Roo. Asian Man/Fun Fun Records, 2014. With high-energy songs like “All I Eat is Pizza” and “ I Like Cake” this album is sure to be a wiggle inducing addition to any food focused program for little kids and big kids.
  • Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller; Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf. Schwartz & Wade Books. 2013. Sophie’s new best friend is a squash, so what will she do when her friend begins to get squishy and spotty?
  • Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children by Sharon Lovejoy. Workman Publishing Company. 1999. A classic non-fiction book that is full of great gardening tips and ideas for adults to share with children.
  • Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear; Illustrated by Julie Morstad. Tundra Books, 2014. A beautifully illustrated picture book about a girl named Julia and her friend Simca and their adventures in French cooking.

For more garden ideas, check out the new summer 2015 edition of Children & Libraries from ALSC. It has a stellar article from Sandy Kallunki, A Bumper Crop of Ideas, highlighting many awesome programs that can stem from library gardens. I hope that you will be inspired to plant a garden of your own and perhaps even add “become a summer meal site” to your SRP 2016 planning!

*****************************************************************************************

Courtesy of Guest Blogger

Courtesy of Guest Blogger

Our guest blogger today is Nicole Lee Martin. Nicole is a member of the Public Awareness Committee and the ALSC Valuation & Assessment Task Force. She is currently transitioning from her position as Emerging Technologies Librarian at the Grafton-Midview Public Library, OH to Children’s Librarian at Rocky River Public Library, OH. You can reach her at nicole.binx@gmail.com.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

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6. Passive Picture Book Programs

As a first year librarian, I was constantly looking for new passive programming ideas.  We had a passive “mystery box” program, that the children could participate in once a week. I was getting burnt out on trying to find 5 new items every Monday to fill the box, and the kids were getting frustrated that they had to wait a week to play again.  At other libraries, the mystery box works well when most children come just once a week, but our children come to the library every day after school and in the summer.  I felt like this type of passive programming was not as enriching as it could be.

Early this January, a new book came by my desk called, “28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World” by Charles R. Smith.   I flipped through this and immediately wanted to turn this into a daily passive program.  Each page of this book has an illustration of a famous black person, the date of the important event, a poem describing the person and event, and a paragraph at the bottom giving more detail.  I planned to put the book out on the reference desk, turning the page every day to reveal a new person and event during the month of February to celebrate Black History Month.  First, I created a handout to give children with general questions that could be applied to any page of the book; who, what, when?  The kids had to read the page, write the name of the famous person, what they did to change history, and when did it happen.  After they completed the questions, I would go over their answers and the page to make sure they fully understood the events and why they were so important.  They then would get a small reward of a piece of candy.  Other kids would come up, seeing a crowd around my desk, asking what was happening. I collected all answer sheets to tally the participation numbers.  The passive program was so popular that I would collect 80 answer sheets weekly.

After the end of Black History Month, I brought the old mystery box back out, and the kids actually requested for the book to come back! I had to think quick and just my luck; another new book came my way, “Maps” by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski.  This fit one of my goals for the children perfectly; to teach them about world culture and that we are all world citizens. Each page has a different country with illustrations of historical buildings, native plants and animals, cultural food, sports, etc.  I created over a dozen questions that could pertain to any country’s map. The children would choose a random answer sheet with 4 questions. The first two questions were always the same on all the papers; country and capital.  The last two questions were different, so one child could potentially read the same map page multiple days, but answer different questions each time. The other questions were to name specific animals, food, historical buildings, famous people, bodies of water, ethnic food, sports, natural formations, major cities, language, size, and population.  The children would turn their answers, I would initiate a discussion about the country (would they like to visit, what about the culture is interesting to them), then they would receive a small prize. This, again, was very successful and popular.

slide1With the Summer Reading Challenge coming up, I created a passive book program.  I have two book clubs, one is preschool to second grade and the other is third to sixth grade. Each club has their own short picture book; I chose Iron Man books because of our superhero theme. Children can come up to the desk to get their club’s book, read it, and then answer a few short questions.  I have multiple sheets with different questions pertaining to each group’s book and the children will be able to participate once a day, choosing different questions for each new day.

I am very pleased with how successful these passive book programs have gone and I am excited to discover new books that will produce fun and education programs in the future.

********************************************

Courtesy photo of guest blogger

Courtesy photo of guest blogger

Our guest blogger today is Angela Bronson. Angela has a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio. This is her ninth year working for the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, and is currently a Children’s Librarian at Kent Branch Library. In the past, she was a Preschool Art Teacher for Bowling Green State University. She illustrated her first picture book this year titled, “Alora in the Clouds.” 

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

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7. Free books, receptions, networking, and more at #alaac15

#alasc15 is officially done! I can’t believe another conference has wrapped. It’s an event that I look forward to all year long! There is no better opportunity to reconnect with grad school friends, committee/group members, and meet new friends!!

Takeaways from this year:

Book fever/ Book FOMO were real conditions! Even though it was not my first exhibit, I felt myself (along with my peers) get swept up with book fever or FOMO (fear of missing out)! I kept grabbing books like a Black Friday shopper! As my conference roomie pointed out, the exhibit hall felt like the arcade scene from Percy Jackson– you could lose time and life force as you walked along!
After shipping back three boxes– I realized next time I need to have more discretion and pack an empty suitcase!

Award Receptions:
I won a scholarship this year to attend #alaac15 from the Freedom to Read Foundation. http://www.ftrf.org/news/232420/FTRF-names-Amy-Steinbauer-and-Gretchen-LeCheminant-as-Conable-Scholarship-recipients.htm
Since they paid for all the big expenses, I treated myself to three paid events- the Printz Award reception where I got to get loads of face time with one of my favorite authors-Jandy Nelson! If you love YA- this is a cool event to hear from YA authors and meet other librarians!

image

As I’ve reported before, I also went to the Bookmobile Lunch and the Caldecott/Newbery Awards receptions.

In the future, I may not be able to go to all– but if there’s an area you really love- treat yourself to a special event! They are lots of fun!

Networking:
I have two mentors- one from NMRT’s conference mentoring program last year, and one from the ALSC mentoring program. Annual is a great time for face to face interactions with them!

But, there are opportunities for networking everywhere at annual! Walking lost through a hotel, waiting for a shuttle, or geeking out about an author! Carry your business cards and your smile– and they will take you far! Having a ribbon with my Twitter handle gave me real connections with Twitter people– which was really fun!!

#alaac15 was awesome! Can’t wait to do it all again next year! Thanks for reading all my adventures!!

Amy Steinbauer is an Early Childhood Outreach Librarian in Beaumont, CA. Follow her on Twitter @Merbrarian

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8. Gratitude

#alaac15 is all over. I’m back home in Denver, catching up on sleep, non-conference emails, and enjoying non-restaurant food. This is also a great time to reflect on all the amazing things that happened while I was at conference. The day before the conference began, my husband and I took the BART to downtown Berkeley and ate a delicious meal at Cafe Gratitude. The vegan menu requires diners to order their meals with gratitude. “I’ll have the I am Honoring [nachos] and the I am Luscious [chocolate smoothie].” It might sound cheesy (or should I say “non-dairy cheesy”?), but looking back on my conference experience there are so many things for which I’m grateful.

I am Rejuvenated [wheatgrass cleanser]
The spirit of sharing and collaboration at ALA conferences is one of the reasons I return each year. Sessions like Program-a-Looza, Guerrilla Storytime, and Diversity Dynamism: Mixing Resources and Making Connections have given me so many ideas to try at my own library or tuck away for future use.

I am Magical [black bean burger]
Hearing the inspiring words of so many authors and illustrators at award ceremonies and publisher events was magical. I was especially touched by the speeches at the Coretta Scott King Awards Breakfast and the Newbery-Caldecott Banquet. These artists impressed me with their dedication to their art and to young readers everywhere.

I am Passionate [Orange, carrot, ginger juice]
There are so many passionate, intelligent, and thoughtful individuals who attend ALA conferences. I look forward to wonderful discussions with my colleagues from across the country. This year was no exception. From favorite books to programming ideas, from diversity to the ethnics of reviewing, I have gained a deeper understanding of many topics through the passionate words of others.

Thanks ALA and ALSC for such a wonderful conference! I’m sad that it’s over, but I’m looking forward to more rejuvenation, magic, and passion at Midwinter! Hope to see you all in Boston!

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9. My Top Transforming Takeaways from #alaac15

  • The Sunnyvale Library Make-HER blog offers fantastic inspiration. From: Conversation Starter: From Maker to Make-HER: Leveling the STEM Playing Field for Girls.
  • Look at your existing resources people, meeting rooms, digital, etc.   Are you using them to their greatest potential?  From  Session: So You Didn’t Get the Awesome Teen DigiTechnoSuperLab: Now What?  Joslyn Jones was funny, smart and offered valuable information.
  • Change is inevitable.  When the work environment is in transition, most everyone experiences anxiety.  You can control your situation in the long-term.  Transform yourself.  Make yourself more valuable to your library and community.   From: No Sugarcoating Allowed: Four Honest Perspectives on Change Management.
  • Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to connect not only with our customer base, but also with authors.  Virtual author visits anyone?  From: riding the shuttle bus with the energetic and cool School Librarian and ALSC Live Blogger Stacey Rattner.
  • Moving outside your comfort zone is a good thing.  Librarians are naturally helpful.  So if you need help navigating your first conference or getting a ride to the airport when it is all over, just ask.   ALSC also has a mentor program.  You can check it out here.
  • If you can’t make it to an in person event, try these online learning opportunities offered by ALSC.

I had a wonderful time at #alaac15.  I enjoyed learning and sharing with the amazing librarians, writers and artists.  Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and making my experience so grand.

Angela Chadbourne
Youth Services Librarian
Santa Clarita Public Library

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10. Library games at #alaac15

Library games at #alaac15

When all the conference work is over and done, you can go to Library Games to have some fun!

Library Games is a night of challenges, boldness, and laughter, typically held on the Monday evening of annual.
Last year, I checked it out with some friends– we were cramped in an overly hot room watching our peers compete in various library challenges. This year, we stepped up to the plate. Our team– Punk Ass Book Jockeys (bonus points if you get the reference) competed in Library Trivia, Lip Synching, Flannel Board, Book Talk for Your Life, and Battle Decks!

Library Trivia– 10 questions on library history/ pop culture references. I think all teams utilized the lifelines to switch their answers with a random audience member.

Lip Synching– The obvious winner chose a Miley Cyrus song- Wrecking Ball– and she delivered! My team went with “Smells Like Team Spirit” and we all jumped in to headbang and rock out!

Flannel Board– My competition. Category- randomly picked– Dealing with Board of Trustees. Must use 20 random pieces in 2 minute story– I used 15– whew, time goes by quick!

Book Talk for Your Life– Choose a book and sell it! Our group won this category with a romantic tale of “Slugs in Love”, which she had actually borrowed from the SF public library!

Battle decks– Could you give a spontaneous presentation on an unknown topic with Meme slides? It’s just about as hard and as hysterical as it sounds!

Join the games next year!! They start recruiting via social media a few months before conference! It’s a great time for being silly with new friends! Everyone is supportive of the efforts!!

We came in third out of four, I’ll take it for our first try! Watch out, Orlando- we’re coming for the win!

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Amy Steinbauer is an Early Childhood Outreach Librarian in Beaumont, CA. Follow her on twitter @Merbrarian.

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11. #alaac15 Caldecott/Newbery Reception

Last year my mentor treated me to a Caldecott/Newbery awards ticket and it was a magical night that I refer to as the library Oscars! People are dressed in fancy dresses, and everyone is bubbling with excitement to hear the speeches and celebrate! This year, as I made my selections for ALA events, it seemed like I just had to go back! The ticket is pricy– but it is a magical night!

Winner of the 2015 Caldecott, Dan Santan gave a thoughtful speech about the struggle to keep believing in your dreams and the hard work of what it takes to succeed.

Winner of the 2015 Newbery award, Kwame Alexander gave a performance that buzzed through his life and reminded us that with the belief in greatness can propel you to fulfill your destiny!

Winner of the 2015 Wilder award, Donald Crews wove an interesting story of a somewhat reluctant path to children’s literature, and how the love of a good woman can inspire!

Afterwards, there is a receiving line where you can make small talk/shake hands/ hug some if the years greatest creators of children’s books! It is the best part of the evening, especially if you work with the texts of the winners– it’s an opportunity to geek out with people you love and admire!

I had to stop children’s book collaborators and besties Mac Barnett and Jon Klassan, to take a pic of my besties on besties! Take a look:

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Amy Steinbauer is the Early Childhood Outreach Librarian from Beaumont, CA. Follow her on twitter– @Merbrarian.

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12. #alaac15 Leaving Las Vegas- Wait! That was last year!

As I’m packing up my stuff and moving on home, I’m so grateful to ALA for providing me the opportunity to grow and learn. Thanks not only for the memories but for all the exciting things I am going to take back with me. Next up is Boston in JANUARY! I can’t wait to see what I will take away from that adventure in snowy (but hopefully not to snowy) Boston!

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13. Empathy and Oscar the Grouch: Sonia Manzano #alaac15

Sonia Manzano

Sonia Manzano, Auditorium Speaker

If you ever wondered who Sonia Manzano’s (“Maria” from Sesame Street) favorite Muppet is, here’s her answer: Oscar the Grouch. “He’s negative.” He acts anywhere from age 80 to 8. He stirs up conflict in an otherwise harmonious neighborhood, and this conflict leads to stories.

In fact, Manzano’s new memoir, “Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx” (Scholastic) is all about conflict–her tumultuous childhood in the Bronx, her Puerto Rican roots, and her longing for a “Leave it to Beaver” type of stability. With Maria, she was able to act out (and later, write scripts about) a character that children in inner cities could relate to, and provide them with storylines that offered satisfying resolutions–something they may seldom get in real life. She could be a mirror for these kids, an escape from a hard home life, and a role model.

Manzano thinks her difficult childhood lead to her success. Not in spite of her challenges, but because of her challenges, she was able to become a great actor, writer, and humanitarian.

She spoke quite a bit about the importance of empathy. Sure, people tell their kids to “Be nice.” But what about going beyond that? She questions why some people are afraid to let kids read sad stories. In books, readers are able to connect with characters and feel the deep emotions that dwell within them. It’s the perfect avenue for building empathy, and she believes we should consciously instill this value in children.

Manzano was a fabulous speaker. Many of us in the audience grew up watching her on television, and looked to her as one of the really inspirational and comforting adult figures in our lives. Manzano advocated for television; she pointed out that sometimes TV is a much-needed escape for some children, and that, like a book, it’s just the jumping off point for the imagination: What happens to characters when they’re not on TV, how does the story continue when the set is off? Kids with the freedom to imagine can, and will, grow up to be resourceful and successful adults.

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14. #ALAAC15 The Disruptive Bone in YOUR Body!

Anyone care to Find the DISRUPTIVE bone in your body?

Disrupt: : to cause (something) to be unable to continue in the normal way : to interrupt the normal progress or activity of (something)

As I walked from event to event in  San Francisco, rode the shuttle buses and rubbed elbows at the sit down and stand up events, I really wanted to know what it was like to be in other people’s library world and to get a sense of  their challenges.

So I asked people this question, “What would you do to be disruptive in your library world?”

That word disruptive hit some people instantly as something negative and unruly. There was a little bit of fear in the first hearing of it.

But being librarians they pushed past the fear and really thought about it. I heard about school librarians who work in more than one building.

I met librarians who come in to different libraries in their district and who see librarians who are holding on to “their system” and “their way of doing things.” One story was about a librarian who shelved all of the Barbie and Batman books (etc.) by author significantly challenging anyone to find more than one book on these characters.

I heard about the struggle a public library system has to create a partnership with their public school system.

I heard about the fight to “teach” the community about the VALUE of libraries and what we have to offer.

I thought about the long line of librarians who have been fighting the good fight for so many years and remembered this piece I’d seen recently.

In October 1945 the ALA Executive Board dedicated a morning to explore the future of librarianship. Here are some quotes from this ALA Executive Board meeting from 70 years ago (and the source is the A.L.A. Bulletin published in February 1946.)

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“If the profession seems to lack dynamism some of the responsibility rests with administrators. All too many still hold professional members to routine work and give what seem valid reasons why all must take their turn at essential clerical tasks.

We need an improved type of professional personnel, a conception of administration which would make use of all the thinking, all the ideas and potential planning of the entire professional body in an institution, not just of departmental heads.

Personally, I believe in the Campbell soup method. It is very nearly impossible to pick up a magazine without coming face to face with a colorful Campbell soup advertisement or a glamorous liquor ad. The first makes you hungry and the second makes you want to go right out and imbibe. This method must be good. Even religion is catching on. “Go to church next Sunday” is the exhortation I’ve been noticing on billboards and in magazines these last few years.

I should like to know what an advertising campaign on a national scale would do for libraries. I’d be willing to wager that it would up their status as a matter of course. Communities generally get what they want if they want it hard enough, and when the people as a whole get library conscious they will tend to demand better libraries.

As to coverage, brought into the picture by Mr. Richards, Mr. Ulveling, and Miss Rothrock — deploring the low percentage of use of libraries –I agree that it is deplorable, but I am convinced that the answer is not just a question of obtaining finances for exploiting all the new devices — the film, the record, the phonograph, television — which will insure us a new dynamism, but something more basic, even more fundamental, important as that is, than a reorganization which will free the heads of departments, as Miss Herbert urges, “to do the thinking and planning.”

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This board in 1945 was shouting out the need to be disruptive, to let new ideas push through, to invite librarians at all levels in the organization to create new ideas and make the library synonymous with the word dynamic.  Does any of this sound familiar?

So now it’s your turn…… “What would you do to be disruptive in your library system?”

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15. #ALAAC2015 Be Who You Are

As Lizette Serano took the stage for the Scholastic Preview yesterday some of her first and best words were, “BE WHO YOU ARE.” We were about to be treated to Readers’ Theater by Jennifer Nielsen, Jennifer Holm, Alex Gino, Craig Thompson, Jon Muth and Dav Pilkey.

I had to run at the end of that fabulous event… I mean, really, Dav Pilkey doing the sound effects for other people’s stories? Uh YEAHHHHH…..and between that ballroom and my awaiting suitcase were the crowds lining the sidewalks and lampposts on Market Street.

The Gay Pride Parade was in full swing. The marchers and riders in the parade were exciting and colorful but the ROAR of the crowd that rolled down the street…that was where the goosebumps started.

I cannot even begin to describe the variety of human beings in the crowd. The best outfit I saw was created by a young lady who had made a rainbow dress out of flip flops. Tiers of flip flops encircled her beginning with red at the top and making its way through stacked rows of orange, yellow, green …you get the idea…flip flops ..a full length affair… Gorgeous!

It just struck me how authentic these people were being. How they were letting their “self” shine through even though that self might be a little different.

We all belong here in this library world. Some of us choose to serve on Committees with a capital C. Some of us choose to blog and shout out the news of the latest books. Some of us want to work with one person at a time outside of the limelight. Some of us want to be able to hand a child that very special book that sets off the reading explosion. Some of us guard the good treasure that has been created for years. Some of us look to create new treasure.

So, pick out your flip flops…whatever color you love and know you are a valuable part of this rainbow.

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16. Weekend of celebration at #alaac15

In addition to the Gay Pride celebrations in San Francisco this weekend, we  also had an opportunity to celebrate & honor award-winning authors as they accepted their well-deserved accolades.

You can now read the acceptance speeches online.  (How cool is that?) Just click to download and read the speeches.

Batchelder  [PDF – 652K]

Belpré  [PDF – 595K]

Caldecott  [PDF – 616K]

Carnegie  [PDF – 936K]

Geisel  [PDF – 1MB]

Newbery  [PDF – 2MB]

Sibert  [PDF – 1MB]

Wilder  [PDF – 1MB]

 Enjoy!

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17. ALSC Membership Meeting (abridged, in comics) at #alaac15

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18. Winging My Way Back from #alaac15

I write this blog post as I’m sitting in the San Francisco Airport, waiting to depart for home. My shuttle got me here about 3 hours before my flight is scheduled to leave. Luckily, I have some great books to occupy my time while waiting and while on the plane.

Photo by Abby Johnson

Photo by Abby Johnson

Here are a few of the great books I picked up at the Exhibit Hall and at publisher events during the conference. These are some of the books that I’m looking the most forward to and make sure to pack in my carry-on for airport/plane reading.

Fellow conference-goers, what books are making it into your carry-ons for the trip home? I would love to know!

— Abby Johnson, Youth Services Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN

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19. #alaac15 When I Worry for No Reason @ ALA

The Pride Parade really made me a Nervous Nelly today!

Okay, we have known it for a while that ALA also coincided with San Francisco’s pride parade. And this made me incredibly nervous. I am a planner and when I can’t plan for things it makes me uneasy. But I was so surprised on how easy it was -at least for me- to get from all my ALA plans and more importantly back to my across market street hotel! Thank you BART stations for easily making me walk UNDER Market Street!

All my worry was for nothing! It was less of a big deal and more of an interesting walk through a parade of color and happiness. How often do you get to do that?!

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20. Managing Youth Services Innovators at #alaac15

We all want great staff at our libraries, yet many of us have found ourselves in frustrating situations with administration at our libraries. How do we, as managers, support youth services innovators, folks who embrace change and want to bring new, innovative programs and services to our libraries? How can innovators make their needs heard with their managers?

I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel of amazing youth services librarians, addressing these very issues. Managing the Future: Supporting Your Youth Services Innovators took place on Saturday morning and we had a great discussion about how managers can support youth services staff and what youth services staff can do to make their needs know when they feel like they’re not being supported.

You can follow the conversations we had at the Twitter hashtag #futureYS, and here are MY takeaways from the session (yes, I’m learning even from the session I’m presenting on…!):

For youth services employees seeking a change or new project:

  • When meeting with your boss about implementing a change or starting a new project, come prepared with a bullet-pointed list of how it will work, a clear idea of what budget you need, and examples of successes (if it’s something that’s been tried at other places). All of this goes a LONG WAY towards getting a yes.
  • Be open-minded about brainstorming. Your boss has more experience than you (or at least different experience than you!). And when your boss comes to you with a new idea, be open-minded about that, too.
  • Don’t be discouraged if RIGHT NOW is not the time for your new idea. Play the long game. You have a long career ahead of you and plenty of time to do all the things you want to do. Hold on to your good ideas.

For youth services managers seeking to motivate and support staff:

  • THINK YES. Get in the mindset of saying yes. If you cannot say yes immediately, don’t say no right away, but say you’ll think about it. (But then actually think about it and follow up!)
  • Give your staff credit for their good work. Give them genuine praise to their faces, but also praise them to your director, your Board, your community. Don’t take credit for ideas that aren’t yours, but bask in the glow of having supported staff in achieving great things.
  • Invite your staff to speak to the Board, the Rotary Club, other community stakeholders about the great work they are doing.
  • Give employees a budget to manage, even if it’s a small one (for programming, any collection they are developing, a project they are doing). This gives them more ownership over their department.
  • Have regular scheduled meetings to discuss ongoing projects, new ideas, etc. with your staff. Don’t just expect to manage them off the cuff. Show them you value their time by regularly giving them some of your time.

You can read more about the panel by checking out the Twitter hashtag #futureYS.

— Abby Johnson, Children’s Services Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN

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21. Program-a-Looza at #alaac15

Yesterday at the Networking Uncommons we held the first Program-a-Looza. This open share session, brainchild of Danielle Jones, Kahla Gubanich, Mary Pearl, and yours truly, focused on cheap, easy children’s programming for public libraries. Inspired by grassroots sessions, such as Guerrilla Storytime and YA Smackdown, Program-a-Looza was created as a way for children’s library staff to take home tangible programming ideas, tips, and resources.

During yesterday’s session participants were encouraged to brainstorm and bring their personal strengths and experiences to the table. First, each person shared a favorite easily replicable program. Ideas ranged from a simple recycled materials egg drop to cookie forensics, Halloween at the library to community member enhanced storytimes. Next, we picked a programming topic and spent 2 minutes brainstorming ideas using pens and sticky notes. This quick activity sparked a list of over 20 activity ideas around topics like multi-generational programming and STEAM for elementary.

Sound interesting to you? Stop by Program-a-Looza today at 11:30am at the Networking Uncommons. We’re planning to try Program,-a-Looza at midwinter in Boston, so keep your eyes open for those times as well!

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22. U is for Ukulele

U is for Ukulele meetup#alaac15 provides space for meetings of all kinds. Although we’re apparently not that “uncommon,” yesterday I attended a meet-up of ukulele-playing librarians at the ALA Networking Uncommons.  We exchanged emails, discussed creating a group FB page and played a few songs.  Perhaps next year, we can have an ALSC session on Using your Uke for Story Time and Outreach. Wouldn’t that be fun?  Check out today’s gatherings at the Networking Uncommons. http://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/

U is for Ukulele

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23. #WNDB: Talk to Action at #alaac15

Warning: paraphrase alert!

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24. Pura Belpré Celebración #alaac15

Sunday’s Pura Belpré 19th annual award ceremony featured a vibrant mix of illuminating speeches, laughter, and entertainment that celebrated Latino Children’s Literature.

Highlights included:

  • Yuyi Morales’s acceptance speech in which she vividly recounted her positive and life-changing experiences as a young mother and new immigrant visiting the San Francisco Public Library’s Western Addition branch. Ann, a librarian at the branch, put The Watsons Go to Birmingham in her hands and it was the first English language chapter book she loved, that she shared with her son.
  • Duncan Tonatiuh invited civil rights leader Sylvia Mendez, the subject of his award-winning book Separate Is Never Equal, to address the audience.
  • United States Poet Laurete Juan Felipe Herrera’s speech chronicled his research and writing that documented the extraordinary achievements of Hispanic-Americans.
  • Heartfelt speeches by Susan Guevara, John Parra, and Marjorie Agosín.
  • A fantastic performance by by Quenepas, a Bomba youth song and dance ensemble.

This fantastic event was hosted by the dream team Reforma and ALSC, and is always one of the highlights of ALA conferences. Next year will mark the 20th Anniversary of the Belpré Award and it promises to be a huge occasion. See you in Orlando!

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25. Babies Need Words Everyday at #alaac15

Warning: these are paraphrases!

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