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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Conferences/Meetings/Institutes, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 52
1. ABOS Conference – An overview

Last month, I attended the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) conference in San Diego, CA. The theme this year was “Doing More With Less”, a concept that all of us can relate to! Not only was it a celebration of bookmobiles, but it encouraged what we all want, librarians who speak up and connect with others about their work and ideas. Even if you don’t have a bookmobile at your library, you can enjoy some of the wondrous takeaways for reaching diverse children’s audiences. I even got a chance to share some of the cheap and easy ways my library collaborates with local partnerships.

Some highlights from programs I attended:

Children’s Program Ideas for Outreach & From Your Bookmobile by Marianne Thompson (Bolingbrook, IL)

Marianne thought outside the bookmobile for her idea to engage children during the summer months, literally right outside her bookmobile door. She used a small space where the handicap access was to create a stage for a summer puppet show. Starting with simple sock puppets and some creative children’s librarians, they recreate classic children’s stories to delight huge audiences. And even with the addition of professional puppets, the socks ones are still some of the favorites!

Medina R.O.C.K.S by Ann Plazek (Medina, Ohio)

Ann’s presentation showcased her version of R.O.C.K.S. as Reading Opportunities Create Kindergarten Success. A partnership with United Way enabled her library to become empowered investors with parents. And with that partnership, they could facilitate the education of the literacy concepts needed to enter kindergarten for local families. To create that growth, they offer three 2 hour sessions in the summer for families to learn together using ECRR concepts. From this program, they can add on additional skills as needed, like computer literacy for children who will have to take standardized tests on computers and have never used one before.

Sweet Reads by Colleen Hall (St. Louis, MO)

What could be better than hearing the ice cream truck music on a hot summer day? What if instead of ice cream, you got to pick out free books to take home? That basic idea is what has transformed the “summer slide” in some of St. Louis county’s most impoverished areas. With a collection based on donated, deleted, and surplus items, the community can “check out” books on a honor system. Her program provided access to books that children had not previously had due to circulation issues or trouble getting to the physical library. It’s been a sweet success to encourage reading over the summer!

Little Early Literacy Community Connections by Amy Steinbauer (Beaumont, CA)

My bookmobile is focused on children’s literacy from birth to age 5, so the concepts of ECRR are fundamental in the work that I do. One of the “littlest” ways that I connect with the community is through “Play and Learn Kits” that are deposited in local businesses. The kits are comprised of shoe box sized tupperware that is filled with a few donated or discarded children’s books, donated Legos or similar toys, scrap paper, pencils, and advocacy information about the library and our programs. Once a month, the kits are cleaned, and exchanged for new ones. This is a quick and easy way to connect the library to local organizations, and allow an opportunity for parents to interact with their children as they wait at the auto shop, nail salon, or for a haircut.


Take aways:

Small conferences are great to build connections with other librarians and share ideas! Even though we focus on outreach, many of the presentations were done by children’s librarians! We all have the same goal of providing access to children’s materials for all, and many of the ideas presented could work at the library or beyond it!


Today’s guest blogger is Amy Steinbauer. Amy has her MLIS from University of Hawaii, and is the Early Childhood Outreach Librarian at Beaumont Library in California. She drives a bookmobile, has a best friend that is a puppet (Bobby), and advocates for children’s literacy for all! Follow her on twitter @merbrarian.

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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2. ALSC Institute Reflections

Last month I was lucky enough to attend the 2014 ALSC National Institute in Oakland, California thanks to a generous scholarship awarded to me by the Friends of ALSC. I am so grateful for the time spent at the Institute last month and would like to thank the Friends for enabling me to participate in such a stellar weekend of learning and fun. And a huge thanks to everyone at ALSC who worked hard to put together the Institute!

Fairyland Reception (Photo by Nicole Martin)

Fairyland Reception (Photo by Nicole Martin)

Some of my favorite moments from the Institute have to be the wonderful author presentations and panels, especially the hilarious author panel that took place at Children’s Fairyland with Jennifer Holmes, Daniel Handler and Mac Barnett. The crowd was filled with giggling librarians and even a few fairy wings! After our breakout sessions at the park, a reception awaited us in the Emerald City. There was even a yellow brick road! I excitedly stood in a lengthy line so Barnett and Handler could sign some favorite books for me. It was well worth the wait (and the cost to ship my book haul back to Ohio!). I also loved the Closing General Session, during which Andrea Davis Pinkney presented on her work and even sang a bit. She was so energetic and inspiring, truly closing the 2014 Institute with a high note.

Closing Keynote Speaker (Photo by Nicole Martin)

Closing Keynote Speaker (Photo by Nicole Martin)

I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of which I found myself navigating the conference center. I have attended two ALA Annual Conferences and I have yet to not find myself, at least once, mildly lost in a massive conference center trying to find a workshop. It was so great to be able to attend a workshop, drop off handouts in my hotel room and then make it back for another workshop session without getting lost or feeling rushed. This might seem trivial, but it made an impression for me!

I was especially impressed with the wealth of relevant workshop topics available throughout the Institute. Some of my favorite workshops were “Be a Winner! Inspired Youth Grant Writing”, “Tech Access on a Budget” and “Summer Lunch at the Library”. Each of these workshops offered me incredibly practical information and insight that I brought back to my library to share with administration and fellow librarians. I feel confident that our 2015 summer lunch program will be more successful than last year’s because of what I learned at the ALSC Institute. I returned to Ohio knowing that other librarians struggle with shoestring technology budgets and there are various routes to find grant funding.

Oakland farmer's market (Photo by Nicole Martin)

Oakland farmer’s market (Photo by Nicole Martin)

In addition to the great learning and networking opportunities at the Institute, I was happy to spend some time exploring the neighborhood and even managed to squeeze in time for sleep (a sometimes difficult endeavor!).  A wonderful farmer’s market was happening in the neighborhood adjacent to the conference center and I spent my lunch hour meandering the stalls and munching on delicious shrimp tacos.

I would highly recommend any librarians with an interest in serving youth to attend the next ALSC Institute. You won’t regret it! I would also encourage anyone who might be deterred by travel costs and registration fees to apply for the Friends of ALSC Scholarship. I applied rather humbly not expecting to win, and here I am writing my very own recap as a scholarship winner. The next recipient could be you!


Nicole Lee Martin is a librarian at the Grafton-Midview Public Library and a 2014 Friends of ALSC Scholarship recipient.  You can contact her at nicolemartin@oplin.org .

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3. How to Conference Like a Champ

Thanks to the kind people at ALSC and Penguin Young Readers, I was able to travel to my first ALA Annual Conference this summer. Tennessee to Nevada travel would generally not be in my public library’s budget, so I was thrilled to have received a stipend help with the cost of attendance. (Thanks again, Penguin!) Here are my top Annual Conference tips from a newbie.

Stay at a conference hotel. I made the mistake of not booking my hotel the moment I knew that I was going to attend. (I was lost in the chaos that is summer reading planning). Transportation in Vegas was a challenge and those free shuttles would have been helpful. Fringe benefits of staying at a partnering hotel include: being surrounded by other attendees, sharing non-shuttle transportation costs, and being in closer proximity to social events.

It is okay to travel alone. I went non-stop the entire time I was in Vegas, sun-up to sun-down. (Isn’t the normal Vegas traveler’s schedule just the opposite?) I was able to hit the sessions and events of my choosing, not trying to divide and conquer with other staff members, and sometimes missing out on a session I am very interested in because another had already claimed it. I may be selfish, but with all sessions open for the taking, I felt like a kid in a candy shop.

Avoid temptation in the Exhibit Hall. As a children’s librarian, I am known to save various odds-and-ends in case I one day have a use for them. I never knew the extent of my hoarding tendencies until I was let loose in the Exhibit Hall. (Let’s be honest, there is no reason I would need enough paper-clip holders that I would have to add an extra baggage fee to my return flight home.) When faced with freebies, ask yourself: Do I need this? Can my library use this? If you can immediately answer ‘no’ to these questions, or if you hesitate coming up with a unique use for 890 temporary tattoos, practice politely saying ‘no, thank you’ to the swag.

Attend at least one session that is not directly applicable to your job. You may be surprised to find quite a bit of useful information that is helpful to you in your current position. As a children’s librarian, I am rarely asked my input on building projects, if it doesn’t directly impact the littles’ space. However, I attended “Environment by Design” session and left with some big ideas for future use of space.

Plan at least one day into your trip for sight-seeing.This is one of my biggest regrets of the trip. I learned so much valuable information, saw all kinds of great library related goodies, was entertained and educated by the speakers, but saw very little of Las Vegas. Luckily, I had an aisle seat on the flight in and caught a glimpse of both the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam. I would love to visit again and take in the sights, but with my busy schedule, I will be hard pressed to find the time for this trip in my foreseeable future. One extra day built into my trip would have afforded me quite a bit of sightseeing.

Present right away! (Also, take good notes!).Present what you learned, or even a simple conference itinerary with highlights, to your director, board, and staff immediately upon return. I’ve been back in my library for two months now, and in the chaos that is Summer Reading, I still haven’t had a chance to present to the staff. While we are already implementing some program ideas brought back from the conference, with each passing day, I fear that I’m going to forget some great tidbit of information that I had hoped to pass on to our staff. Hopefully my notes will jog my memory!


Photo courtesy of Joey Yother Photography

Photo courtesy of Joey Yother Photography

Our guest blogger today is Amanda Yother. Amanda is the Children’s Services Coordinator at the Putnam County Library in beautiful Cookeville, Tennessee. She loves learning through playing and revisiting her favorite novels from childhood with her book club kids. Amanda was a recipient of the 2014 Penguin Young Readers Award. She can be contacted at amandayother@pclibrary.org.

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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4. You know you’re a children’s librarian when …

You know you’re a children’s librarian when …

you attend the huge, annual American Library Association Conference featuring famous authors like Harlan Coben, C.S. Harris, Erica Spindler, Laura Lipman, and Wendy McClure;

and you pass them all up because you can’t afford to miss

Grace Lin, Rick Riordan, Clare Vanderpool, Erin Stead, Tom Angleberger, Jeff Kinney, Richard Peck, and all the other wonderful authors and illustrators who gathered this week in New Orleans. I wish I’d had the time to meet them all!

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5. Indiana Wants Me

And you, too! Next September we’ll be gathering in its capital city of Indianapolis for the ALSC Institute. If you attended or heard about the terrific and fun learning experience last year at the Institute in Atlanta, this is already on your calendar. If not, mark it now: September 20 – 22, 2012 at the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel right in the heart of downtown Indy.

Joining us will be the talented Peter Brown, author/illustrator of The Curious Garden as well as the Chowder books, among others. You might also remember The Curious Garden as the 2011 Andrew Carnegie Medal winner for excellence in children’s video.

In addition to the many sessions and networking opportunities, we’ll also be able to tour the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and check out the Library’s infoZone. Learn more about this children’s library inside a museum here.

Institute Task Force Chair Joyce Welkie and her team are creating a continuing education opportunity not to be missed! Keep up with the details on our website, or look for more information at Midwinter. Registration will be open in the next few weeks.

Hope to see you in Indy!

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6. Celebrating Communities

I recently had the pleasure of attending a bilingual conference here in Nova Scotia called Celebrating Communities. When wearing my Teen Librarian hat, I am involved in a group called BaM! Body And Mind, a collaborative program that encourages youth to be active, in well, both body and mind. Our program was a finalist for one of the Celebrating Communities awards. We didn’t win, but that isn’t really what matters, because everyone at this conference was a winner. I know that sounds cliché, but in this case, I found it to be true. This was not a library conference. But it had everything to do with libraries, because we spent 3 days celebrating the best of the community we were in. The conference is presented every 2 years, and a different community is chosen to host and be highlighted. The thing I really came back from this conference with was the idea of CELEBRATING. I heard very little grousing in the 3 days I was at this conference. The idea of “Celebrating” really took hold, and besides hearing from speakers who regaled us with the stories of their successes, the participants all had good things to talk about. In these times of economic uncertainty and money woes, it was refreshing to be amongst folks who have hope, good ideas, and a real ambition to make their communities thrive. And while libraries were not on the agenda, several of the presenters mentioned libraries, because we all know that the library can be a pillar of the community. Let’s all remember to celebrate that, every day, even in small ways. So go on, celebrate YOUR community. Celebrate your library, because you never know who it is that you are helping, it could be the next Bill Gates, or maybe even Vernon d’Eon. (Yes, you are going to have to do some research to find out who Vernon d’Eon is!)

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7. It’s been real, #alamw12

At this point I’m bleary-eyed, alarmingly over-caffeinated, and nursing a small blister (despite my sensible footwear selections.) I couldn’t be happier. It’s the best kind of exhaustion. I’ve spent the last few days talking about books, art, technology, and public service with- hands down- the smartest, most intriguing, hard-partying librarians, publishers, vendors, and assorted library-lovers.

Yesterday I met my fellow 2013 Caldecott committee members and our fantastic committee chair. We discussed the upcoming year, traded ideas on how we will organize our books and thoughts, and started the process of getting to know each other before the deluge of books begin pouring in. The overall takeaway for me was to keep an open mind, stay organized, and simply enjoy the experience.

Sitting in the audience at this morning’s Youth Media Awards I caught myself tearing up. Not from any particular winner or award, but from the sheer force of excitement and passion in the theater. That energy existed outside the convention center walls, too, as tweets, blog posts, and updates from people across the globe reacted to the announcements. As sentimental as it may sound, you cannot help getting caught up in the emotion and feeling immediately connected to the larger community of librarians, teachers, children, teens, and readers everywhere. In so many ways, it felt like home.

Until Anaheim….

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8. Volunteer at the ALSC Booth

Calling ALSC Members,

The ALSC Membership Committee is looking for booth volunteers! The ALA Annual Conference is the world’s largest library conference, with over 900 exhibitors. ALSC will have a booth in the ALA Member Pavilion on the exhibit floor (booth #1939). At the booth you can also get your questions about ALSC answered and pick up some free ALSC swag, including member ribbons for your conference badge.

To sign up, please visit the ALSC @ ALA Annual Conference wiki:

Please click ‘edit’ at the top of the page and login with your username and password, or create a username and password if you have not already. Please enter your full name at your preferred ‘Start Time’. A time slot will be considered full when two people have signed up for that particular time slot. If you have any problems signing up, or need a copy of the booth guidelines, please feel free to contact Sam Bloom or Dan Rude.

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9. What’s So Funny? Or How I Met Jon Scieszka Three Times in One Day

My husband and I meet a Mike Myers Dr. Evil look-alike on the Vegas strip

My husband and I meet a Mike Myers Dr. Evil look-alike on the Vegas strip

There were many things that made me laugh in Las Vegas at ALA Annual this year. There were zany, homemade costumes worn by street performers and sky high food prices (an $18 burger? You can’t be serious), but the best laughs were found inside the Las Vegas Convention Center. This being my first ALA Annual, I had spent a lot of time in advance researching which authors and illustrators would be visiting the publisher’s booths in the exhibit hall. When I looked at my final list, I realized that many of these picture book icons had one thing in common: they all wrote or illustrated humorous books that I love to use in Storytime. Following are my experiences in just one day of ALA Annual in which I met these talented people and ways in which you can use their books in preschool or family Storytime.

Jon Scieszka (1st time)

Rikki Unterbrink and Jon Scieszka at the YALSA Coffee Klatch

Rikki Unterbrink and Jon Scieszka at the YALSA Coffee Klatch

9:00am – I signed up for YALSA’s YA Author Coffee Klatch for several reasons, but the top reason was a chance to meet Jon Scieszka. I was five years old when The True Story of the Three Little Pigs was published (the book celebrates its 25th anniversary this year) and eight when my mom brought home an autographed copy of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. She had just met Scieszka at a teacher’s conference. I had never seen an autographed book before and thought it was pretty much the coolest thing in the world. I read the story many times and continued to read any Scieszka books I could get my hands on all the way into adulthood. So, when the other young adult author enthusiasts at my Coffee Klatch table asked which author I was most excited to meet, you know what I said. Wouldn’t you know that when the whistle blew and the authors made their way to each table that Jon Scieszka came to our table first. And sat right next to me. Scieszka talked about the first book in his new series, Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor which will be released on August 19th. Since each author only got five minutes at each table, there wasn’t much time for me to tell Scieszka how influential he has been on my life. It’s a good thing I got a few more chances!

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
in Storytime:

In advance, gather several items and place in a large bucket, basket or cauldron. Three pig toys or puppets, one wolf toy or puppet, a bundle of sticks, straw, a toy brick, box of cake mix or bag of sugar, handkerchief, and spectacles.

Before reading the story, inform the kids that you have gathered some items for your ‘story bucket’ and you need their help to figure out which popular folk tale you’re going to be reading to them. Pull out the sugar, handkerchief, and spectacles before the others and see if they can guess what the story it about and who the characters might be.

After the story, sing “The Three Little Pig Blues” from Greg & Steve Playing Favorites. Shakers are a nice addition to this song. Have children huff & puff and say “not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!” during the song.

Since it is the 25th anniversary of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and the wolf is attempting to bake a cake for his granny, end the program with cupcakes!

Dan Santat

11:00am – As I waited in line for Dan Santat, I called my mother in Ohio and told her that I had just sat next to my childhood hero, Jon Scieszka for coffee. She was very excited for me and recalled her experience meeting him all those years ago. I told her that I hoped for another chance to meet him and to get his autograph.

As a huge fan of The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz, illustrated by Dan Santat, I was definitely eager to meet Santat. I practically squealed with delight when I discovered the free book he was signing was the follow-up to Ninja Pigs, Ninja Red Riding Hood. If you haven’t read these books you’re missing out. Ninja Pigs would make a nice addition to the “Three Little Pigs” Storytime theme. Another great book of Santat’s to use in a “Bad Moods” themed Storytime is Crankenstein.

Crankenstein in Storytime:

During the story, have children moan and groan along with Crankenstein. Make sure to get into it yourself! Other good books to use in this Storytime are The Three Grumpies by Tamra Wight, The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen and The Not-So-Scary Snorklum by Paul Bright.

Songs and Rhymes:

Five Cranky Crabs

Old MacDonald Felt So Glad
Storytimes for Two-Year-Olds by Judy Nichols, second edition

I’m So Mad
Jim Gill Sings the Sneezing Song and Other Contagious Tunes audio CD

Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

1:30pm – I couldn’t believe I was one of the first people in line for Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen. Both have exceptional talent and have published many award-winning and beloved children’s books. Put them together and you’ve got something magical called Extra Yarn, a 2013 Caldecott Honor recipient. When many authors and illustrators are signing books at the same time at ALA Annual things can get a little crazy in the exhibit hall. Often there are no signs to mark which line is for whom and where it ends. You may find yourself arriving at a booth only to find the end of the queue is somewhere in the next aisle at the back of the hall. I took great pleasure in telling people that I was near the front of the line. However, I found myself getting rather annoyed that people kept asking, “Is this the line for Jon Klassen?” and overlooking the fact that another very talented person was appearing with him! I understand that Klassen has won the Caldecott Medal, a Caldecott Honor, and numerous other awards but he was not the funny man I was there to meet. In my opinion, Mac Barnett is a comic genius bringing the library world some fantastic read-aloud stories including Count the Monkeys, Mustache!, Guess Again, and President Taft is Stuck in the Bath. He has also written a hilarious mystery series for middle grade readers called The Brixton Brothers.

from left: Rikki Unterbrink, Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen

from left: Rikki Unterbrink, Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen

I was definitely star struck when it was my turn to meet Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen. I am slightly embarrassed to say that I practically ignored Klassen and told Barnett how much of a fangirl I am for his work. I told him, “I want you to know that everyone has been saying this is the Jon Klassen line and I keep telling them it is the Mac Barnett line.” Well, Barnett thought this comment was hilarious and elbowed Klassen saying, “Did you hear that Jon? She said it’s the Mac Barnett line! Ha! I have fans, too!” Barnett took several photos with me and even purposely made Klassen lean farther out of the frame for one of them.

Count the Monkeys in Storytime:

I used this book during an evening family Storytime with much success. The book requires audience participation to help count the monkeys (which don’t actually appear in the book at all because they are scared of the various other animals in the book). Toward the end of the book, have a surprise guest reader sneak in the back of the room dressed as one of the lumberjacks from the book. He or she can carry mini flapjacks to share as a snack.

Extra Yarn in Storytime:

Extension activities to use before or after reading the story:
Have children and parents sit in a circle and toss a skein of rainbow yarn across the circle to someone. Have them loop the yarn around their finger and toss the rest to someone else. After the yarn has been tossed at least once to everyone, talk about the web you’ve made and how each person is important to your web and your world. If someone leaves the group, part of the web falls away. Have one or two people drop their yarn to illustrate this. Compare this to Annabelle’s magical yarn and how she uses it to change her world in the story.

Dancing Sheep action rhyme by Susan Dailey
(Use a sheep or llama puppet for extra fun)

Mustache! in Storytime:

In the book, King Duncan hangs giant banners and posters of himself all around his kingdom as a “gift” to his people only to find that his subjects have painted mustaches on all of them. After reading the book, give children a washable marker and a picture from a magazine (or a copy of Duncan’s face!) and let them graffiti the picture with mustaches. Other fun books to read with this theme: Mustache Baby by Bridget Heos and Mo’s Mustache by Ben Clanton. For songs give each child a paper or fake mustache to hold and adapt Woodie Guthrie’s song “Put Your Finger in the Air” to “Put Your Mustache in the Air.”

Mustache Song:
(author unknown)
You are my mustache, my trendy mustache.
You make me happy, when skies are gray.
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you.
So please don’t shave my mustache away.

Jon Scieszka (2nd time)

I get my book signed by Jon Scieszka!

I get my book signed by Jon Scieszka!

2:00pm – This line was very long. Clearly, I was not the only fan of Scieszka’s at ALA and I was worried I would be too far back in line to actually receive a free book. Sure enough, when the representative from Penguin Young Readers Group approached me as I neared the front of the line, I was not surprised that they were nearly out of books. I asked if I could have him sign something else (I brought a special tote bag for just this purpose) and she said yes. However, as I got even closer to the front of the line I was handed a book! Some had left the line thinking they were not getting a book which turned out very nicely for me indeed. I received my copy of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and stepped up to have it signed. “Back for more, eh?” Scieszka said to me. He remembered me from that morning! Hooray! I told him the story about my mom bringing home his book so many years ago and how I had talked to her earlier that day to tell her how thrilled I was that we both finally got to share the experience of meeting him. He said, “That’s great. Tell your mom I miss her.” What a great guy.

Tom Angleberger

4:00pm – I was glad my husband, Travis, had tagged along to Las Vegas because he got the chance to meet Tom Angleberger with me. Travis has read all of the Origami Yoda books by Angleberger and I really enjoy his picture book, Crankee Doodle. Angleberger was just as we expected. Wearing a Rebel Alliance baseball cap and nerdy t-shirt, he looked like he had just stepped off the pages of one of his books. He was very gracious and friendly. We look forward to reading the final installment of Origami Yoda, Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus.

Crankee Doodle in Storytime:

This book just begs to be read aloud by two actors/librarians. After seeing this book performed in a similar fashion, I just had to do it during a family Storytime because it’s fun for both children and adults. Young children may not understand the reference to the song, Yankee Doodle, but older children and parents think it’s hilarious. In the book, Crankee Doodle’s pony tries to convince him to go to town to buy a new hat, but Crankee doesn’t want anything to do with going to town. Read this book using a horse puppet for the pony’s part and a tri-corner hat (we made one out of paper) and baseball cap for Crankee’s part. Follow up with a rousing sing-along of the original song.

Mac Barnett & Jon Scieszka (3rd time)

Jon Scieszka, Rikki Unterbrink and Mac Barnett with Battle Bunny book

Jon Scieszka, Rikki Unterbrink and Mac Barnett with Battle Bunny book

4:30pm – Proof that dreams really do come true, I got to end the day chatting with both Barnett and Sciezska at the same time. Both remembered me and actually told each other about our previous meetings and posed with me for the most memorable photo of all. Barnett and Scieszka co-wrote a book called Battle Bunny, a “deliciously subversive piece of metafiction” according to Booklist. I told the authors that I love the book, but I am worried that library patrons will start to scribble all over future books using this one as inspiration. I haven’t yet figured out how to use this one in Storytime, but Barnett informed me that if you go to http://mybirthdaybunny.com/make-your-own/ readers can download and print the pages for their very own bunny story. Perhaps I will make my own called Funny Bunny and turn all of the fluffy animal characters into children’s book authors that I met one day in Las Vegas.

(All photos courtesy of guest blogger)


BookOur guest blogger today is Rikki Unterbrink. Rikki was a 2014 Penguin Young Readers grant recipient and is the Youth Services Director for Shelby County Libraries in Sidney, Ohio. She is a co-creator of the Teen Think Tank, a grass roots roundtable for teen and tween librarians in Ohio, a member of the Teen Services Division of the Ohio Library Council and a book reviewer for the Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group. This year she also received the Penguin Young Readers Award to attend her first ALA Annual. Rikki enjoys presenting at numerous conferences, performing family Storytimes, dressing up in hilarious costumes and playing with puppets at the library. She lives in Wapakoneta, Ohio with her handsome, band director husband (their life is just like The Music Man) and three crazy but charming cats, Ron Weasley, Katniss Everdeen and Chandler Bing (he’s adopted). You can find her posting for the Shelby County Libraries Facebook page, reviewing on Goodreads or you may contact her by email at steingri@oplin.org.

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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10. Mark Your 2010 Calendar for these two ALSC Events

  1. The 2010 ALSC Preconference, Drawn to Delight: How Picture Books Work (and Play) Today, will take place on Friday, June 25, 2010, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., during the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.
  2. Speakers include award-winning author/illustrator Brian Selznick and Megan Lambert, Instructor of Children’s Literature Programs at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art; additional speakers will be announced at a later date.

  3. The ALSC National Institute will be September 23-25, 2010, in Atlanta, Ga. The institute will be held at the Emory Conference Center on the campus of Emory University.
  4. Ashley Bryan, Carmen Deedy, John McCutcheon, Brian Selznick, and Walter Dean and Christopher Myers are scheduled to attend. An evening reception at the Center for Puppetry Arts is planned. Specifics regarding registration and programs will be posted on the ALSC Web site as plans develop.

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11. The Penguin Young Reader’s Group Award

If you’ve never been to ALA Annual Conference, apply today for the Penguin Young Readers Group Award!

This award, made possible by an annual gift from the Penguin Young Readers Group, enables up to four children’s librarians to attend their first ALA Annual Conference. Librarians must work directly with children in elementary, middle school or public libraries, and have one to ten years of experience as a children’s librarian by the opening of the Annual Conference. Each winner will each receive a $600 stipend to attend the conference. All applications must be in December 1, 2009. For more information or to apply for the award, visit the ALSC Web site.

Questions? Please contact Linda Ernst, chair of the ALSC Grant Administration Committee, at lindaern@kcls.org.

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12. ALA Youth Media Awards LIve Webcast

The American Library Association (ALA) will provide a free live webcast of its Youth Media Awards, a national announcement of the top books and media for children and young adults, on Jan. 18, at 7:45 a.m. EST. The award announcements are made as part of the ALA Midwinter Meeting, which will bring together librarians, publishers, authors and guests to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center from Jan. 15 to 19.

For the complete press release, click here.

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13. ALA 2010 Midwinter Meeting

The ALA 2010 Midwinter Meeting is January 15 – 19, 2010, in Boston, Massachusetts.

The ALSC daily schedule with room locations is listed on the ALSC Web Site.

If you will be in Boston, on Friday, January 15, from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m., plan to attend ALSC Speed Networking. The object of the evening is to meet as many professionals as you can. Participants will be organized to move around the room, meeting new colleagues and exchanging ideas every couple of minutes. The event is free. Please RSVP by January 4, 2010.

For more Midwinter Meeting information, visit the ALSC Web Site, the ALA Web Site and ALA’s Official Midwinter Meeting Wiki.

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14. Youth Media Awards to be announced Monday

The American Library Association 2010 Youth Media Awards will be held this Monday, January 18, beginning 7:45 a.m. EST. If you aren’t able to attend in person, visit http://alawebcast.unikron.com/ for a live webcast. The number of available connections for the Webcast is limited and the broadcast is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The ALA will instantly announce presentation results using Twitter. Members can view live updates on the ALA Youth Media Awards press kit and via tweets at http://twitter.com/ALAyma. Members can also follow live updates via the Youth Media Awards RSS and the ALA Youth Media Awards Facebook page.

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15. The ALSC Board at Midwinter

Much work will take place at ALA Midwinter (January 15-19 in Boston). To understand more about the work of ALSC, you may visit ALA Connect where the ALSC Board Midwinter agenda and documents are available to be downloaded and viewed. The URL is http://connect.ala.org/node/91780.

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16. 26th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference

The 26th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth will be held on Thursday, April 8 & Friday, April 9, 2010 at the Kent State University Student Center, Kent, Ohio. The conference provides a forum for discussion of multicultural themes and issues in literature for children and young adults.

“New Horizons – the Next 25 Years!” is the theme of the conference, featuring authors Pam Muñoz Ryan and Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrator, R. Gregory Christie.

The Thursday, April 8, evening program will feature a keynote address by the 12th Annual Virginia Hamilton Literary Award winner, Pam Muñoz Ryan and a performance by The HeartBEAT of Afrika. On April 9th, Friday, a variety of local and national speakers will present workshop sessions on multicultural picture books, notable books for a global society, young adult novels for girls, cultural graphic novels and puppet books. Friday’s conference agenda will include a “conversation” session with the three featured presenters.

The registration fee for both Thursday evening and Friday is $150; for Thursday evening only, $40; Friday only, $120. Contact the Office of Continuing and Distance Education at (330) 672-3100 or (800) 672-KSU2 to register. Or register on-line at http://www.yourtrainingresource.com (Click Program, Conference.)

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17. Connecting Cultures & Celebrating Cuentos: National Latino Children’s Literature Conference

Registration is now open for the 3rd Annual National Latino Children’s Literature Conference which will be held April 23 and 24, 2010 at The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. For more information, visit the conference website: http://www.latinochildlitconf.org. The Conference is sponsored by the School of Library & Information Studies and the Office of the Provost and the Division of Academic Affairs at the University of Alabama.

The conference was created to promote high-quality children’s literature about the Latino cultures and to offer a forum for librarians, educators, researchers, and students to openly discuss strategies for meeting the informational, educational, and literacy needs of Latino children and their families.

Early-Bird Registration (on or before April 15) for the 2 day event is $105. After April 15, the registration fee is $120. More registration information is available at the conference website.

Conference Chair Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo was featured April 22, 2009, on an ALSC Blog podcast.

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18. ALA Youth Media Awards

On Monday morning, January 10, 2011, The American Library Association (ALA) will announce its Youth Media Awards as part of the midwinter conference. Beginning at 7:45 am PST, nineteen different awards will be announced including:

  • Coretta Scott King Book Awards which honors African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults that demonstrate sensitivity to “the African American experience via literature and illustration.”
  • John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished American children’s book published the previous year.
  • Michael L. Printz Award awarded to a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature.
  • Randolph Caldecott Medal awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American Picture Book for Children published in the United States during the preceding year.
  • Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal awarded to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in English during the preceding year.
  • Schneider Family Book Award which honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.
  • Theodore Seuss Geisel Award is given to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year

For the first time,  the Stonewall Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award will also be announced as part of the ALA Youth Media Awards. This award is administered by the ALA’s Stonewall Book Awards Committee of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Round Table and is awarded annually to English-language works for children and teens of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered experience.

To allow as many interested people as possible the opportunity to hear the announcements, the ALA will provide a free live webcast. The number of available connections for the webcast are limited. Online visitors interested in following the announcements live can bookmark http://alawebcast.unikron.com. Visitors can begin logging in to the webcast at 7:30 am PST; the Youth Media Awards will begin at 7:45 am PST.

It’s always an exciting time!  Hope you can join us!

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19. Midwinter Advance Registration Reminder

Just a reminder that discounted advance registration for ALA Midwinter 2011 ends on Monday, November 29th. Registration includes access to:

  • over 200 discussion groups
  • 0ver 2000 committee meetings and events
  • Exhibits
  • Youth Media Awards
  • much, much more!

Complete information about the midwinter conference, to be held in San Diego from January 7th through 11th,  is available here.

See you in California!

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20. Dessert Party! #ALA11

What do chocolate, a naughty red cat, radishes, amazing librarians and flotsam & jetsam have in common? They were each well represented at the dessert party thrown by MacMillan Children’s Publishing Group last night.

I spoke with the adorable Jack Gantos about his new book Dead End in Norvelt. It sounds brilliant and it probably is, considering the author. I don’t want to go off on a tangent here, but isn’t Hole In My Life one of the best books you’ve read ever? Seriously, like EVER?? (I also heard last night that Jack does a fantastic reading of his new book on audio – check it out!)

I chatted with the gifted naturalist April Pulley Sayre about birds and other things we both adore. April has some wonderful new books out this year: If You’re Hoppy (which is getting all kinds of well-deserved attention) and Rah, Rah, Radishes! A Vegetable Chant. Radishes! is a lovely book, illustrated with photos taken by April at her local farmer’s market: support your local farmers, eat lots of veggies and read this freshly grown book!

I also had the chance to meet Loree Griffin Burns, the talent behind the award winning Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam and the Science of Ocean Motion (which is now in it’s fifth printing) and last year’s fabulous The Hive Detectives:Chronicle of a Honeybee Catastrophe. Loree is delightful! She talked a little about the work she does at school visits; contact her if you are looking for a dynamic author to invite to your community.

I also met some amazing librarians. Librarians who are out there working every day to connect these authors and their books with the kids who need to read them. The kids who may not be able to identify asparagus, who may not understand why honeybees are so important, or who may need to read about a kid who kinda sounds a little familiar. Thanks authors, editors, publishers and librarians for all of the wonderful things you do! (Shout out to the awesome Karen MacPherson woot-woot!)

Oh, I forgot to mention the chocolate – it was delish.

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21. The Red Cape Event of the Season

The poopiest place to be at #ALA11 tonight was the Super Diaper Baby 2 party. Here are some highlights:Tinkle tinis and hot dogs were served. Yes, tinkle tinis – get it?The super awesome and talented Dav Pilkey signed copies of Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers and let us take them home with us even though the book hasn’t been released yet! He also showed us a moving video about his inspiration for the book – it will be available on his website in a week or so, take a few minutes to watch it, it will squeeze a few tears out of you.There were plenty of red cape wearing librarians in attendance.And we all got to be the star on a book cover. Thanks Dav Pilkey for the pottyful new book and thanks Scholastic for the red cape event of the season!

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22. ALSC President’s Program: Melba Pattillo Beals

By Monday morning of Annual Conference, I’m usually starting to feel the lack of sleep and overload of information catch up with me. This year’s Charlemae Rollins ALSC President’s Program was an invigorating and moving experience that woke the audience, figuratively and literally. To begin, the St. Ailbe’s Children’s Choir of Chicago gave a rousing performance of gospel songs which brought everyone to be ready to hear Melba Pattillo Beals speak. Beals is the author of Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock High School and White is a State of Mind: Freedom is Yours to Choose.

Beals urged the audience to be louder about the role of librarians in education. She asked us: without librarians, where would we be? She would not have known who she was, she says, and would not have realized that she as a person was valued. Beals implored us to open up our hearts and souls to our communities, to let people know the impact that libraries can have on their lives.

You can read more about this program on the PLA Blog.

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23. 2009 Caldecott/Newbery/Wilder banquet

Greetings! I’m Anne Heidemann, Children’s, Tween, and Teen Services Department Head for the Canton Public Library in Canton, Michigan.

I was delighted to be able to attend this year’s awards banquet celebrating the 2009 Caldecott, Newbery, and Wilder awards. It is always an exciting evening and the glamour and pomp in the air is palpable. After a delicious meal (deep-fried risotto, anyone?), the speeches started with Beth Krommes’ acceptance for the 2009 Caldecott Medal for The House in the Night. Krommes related a charming story about how when she received The Call, she mistakenly assumed the person on the other end was a potential illustration client and began writing down her contact information, only realizing after a few moments that Nell Coburn was actually the chair of the 2009 Caldecott committee. Krommes told us the tale of how this book came to be and what a tremendous effect this experience has had on her life. Having received this great honor, she is filled with wonder, gratitude, and great hope for the future.

Following Krommes was Neil Gaiman, accepting the 2009 Newbery Medal for The Graveyard Book.  Gaiman’s speech was enchanting, as was his demeanor and humility. Gaiman divided his speech into numbered sections ‘for no reason’, an effective method of lightening the mood and bringing the audience along through the many ways he is appreciative and grateful to have received this prestigious award. Who knew that winning a literary award could make a father cool in the eyes of his children? He also addressed the issue that had many people talking after the awards press conference: what does it mean that a popular book won the Newbery? In Gaiman’s eyes, it isn’t about whether a book is good or good for you, it’s about books you love. We needn’t choose sides. Gaiman also endeared himself to children’s librarians by noting that despite his having been a ‘feral child raised among the stacks,’ libraries are not child care facilities.

The final speech of the night was Ashley Bryan, accepting the 2009 Wilder Medal for his substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.  Often by the time the final speech of the night rolls around, the crowd has been sitting for hours after a rich meal (and possibly a few cocktails), and it can get a little sleepy in the room. With a rousing, interactive speech like no other I’ve ever heard, Bryan completely reinvented the acceptance speech. He had everyone in the room participating in call and response poetry and singing spirituals. One day shy of his 86th birthday, Bryan showed more energy on the dais than I can recall having seen. Three terrific speeches from three captivating artists - what a night!

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24. Minors and Internet Interactivity: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights

During the 2009 Annual Conference, the American Library Association’s Council adopted the Minors and Internet Interactivity statement as part of ALA’s Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights. As stated in the introduction to the Interpretations,

Although the Articles of the Library Bill of Rights are unambiguous statements of basic principles that should govern the service of all libraries, questions do arise concerning application of these principles to specific library practices. […] These documents are policies of the American Library Association, having been adopted by the ALA Council.

Please read Minors and Internet Interactivity, which is available on the ALA Web Page (Mission & History–> Key Action Areas–> Intellectual Freedom –> Policies, Statements, Guidelines.) To provide for ease in commenting, it is also included here in its entirety:

Minors and Internet Interactivity: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights

The digital environment offers opportunities for accessing, creating, and sharing information. The rights of minors to retrieve, interact with, and create information posted on the Internet in schools and libraries are extensions of their First Amendment rights. (See also other interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights, including “Access to Digital Information, Services, and Networks,” “Free Access to Libraries for Minors,” and “Access for Children and Young Adults to Nonprint Materials.”)

Academic pursuits of minors can be strengthened with the use of interactive Web tools, allowing young people to create documents and share them online; upload pictures, videos, and graphic material; revise public documents; and add tags to online content to classify and organize information. Instances of inappropriate use of such academic tools should be addressed as individual behavior issues, not as justification for restricting or banning access to interactive technology. Schools and libraries should ensure that institutional environments offer opportunities for students to use interactive Web tools constructively in their academic pursuits, as the benefits of shared learning are well documented.

Personal interactions of minors can be enhanced by social tools available through the Internet. Social networking Web sites allow the creation of online communities that feature an open exchange of information in various forms, such as images, videos, blog posts, and discussions about common interests. Interactive Web tools help children and young adults learn about and organize social, civic, and extra-curricular activities. Many interactive sites invite users to establish online identities, share personal information, create Web content, and join social networks. Parents and guardians play a critical role in preparing their children for participation in online activity by communicating their personal family values and by monitoring their children’s use of the Internet. Parents and guardians are responsible for what their children—and only their children—access on the Internet in libraries.

The use of interactive Web tools poses two competing intellectual freedom issues—the protection of minors’ privacy and the right of free speech. Some have expressed concerns regarding what they perceive is an increased vulnerability of young people in the online environment when they use interactive sites to post personally identifiable information. In an effort to protect minors’ privacy, adults sometimes restrict access to interactive Web environments. Filters, for example, are sometimes used to restrict access by youth to interactive social networking tools, but at the same time deny minors’ rights to free expression on the Internet. Prohibiting children and young adults from using social networking sites does not teach safe behavior and leaves youth without the necessary knowledge and skills to protect their privacy or engage in responsible speech. Instead of restricting or denying access to the Internet, librarians and teachers should educate minors to participate responsibly, ethically, and safely.

The First Amendment applies to speech created by minors on interactive sites. Usage of these social networking sites in a school or library allows minors to access and create resources that fulfill their interests and needs for information, for social connection with peers, and for participation in a community of learners. Restricting expression and access to interactive Web sites because the sites provide tools for sharing information with others violates the tenets of the Library Bill of Rights. It is the responsibility of librarians and educators to monitor threats to the intellectual freedom of minors and to advocate for extending access to interactive applications on the Internet.

As defenders of intellectual freedom and the First Amendment, libraries and librarians have a responsibility to offer unrestricted access to Internet interactivity in accordance with local, state, and federal laws and to advocate for greater access where it is abridged. School and library professionals should work closely with young people to help them learn skills and attitudes that will prepare them to be responsible, effective, and productive communicators in a free society.

Adopted July 15, 2009, by the ALA Council.

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25. People Told Me that the ALA Conference Would be Big…

People told me that the ALA Conference would be big.  I saw the numbers and told my husband, friends and family before I left that tens of thousands of librarians would be there.  Still, I found myself completely overwhelmed by the sheer size of the event when I finally got there.  Do I go to awards events and see authors speak?  Buckle down and try to attend informative programs that could help me be a better children’s librarian in the future?  Sit in on meetings to learn more about how to get involved in ALA?  Take some time out and “do Chicago”?

In the end I did a mix of all of the above.  The Newbery, Caldecott and Wilder Award speeches were definitely a highlight.  Eight-six year-old Author/Illustrator Ashley Bryan gave a warm, invigorating speech with call and response that touched everyone in the audience and brought them to their feet.  Neil Gaiman’s speech wasn’t too shabby either.Another highlight was Chicago itself.  I made time to visit the Field Museum, resplendent with pirate paraphernalia and the Chicago Art Institute where all of the paintings from the board game Masterpiece live.

Despite the feeling of “so much to see, so much to do @ ALA Chicago” I left feeling that I had managed to schedule in the perfect mix of business and fun.  Next time I attend an ALA Conference (and I am sure there will be a next time) I hope to do so as a part of a committee.  On Tuesday morning, I left ALA Chicago with a warm, fuzzy feeling that should keep me going strong as I finish up my MLIS and move out into Libraryland. 

Lindsay Klick
ALSC Student to Staff Volunteer

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