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1. 5th Urban Sketchers Symposium in Paraty


Though I was in Brazil for 10 days, the actual symposium in Paraty ran for 3 days, each of which was crammed with workshops, demonstrations, talks and SketchCrawls, not to mention all the extra-curricula drawing through lunch and dinner.

I was teaching a full day on Thursday and on Saturday morning, but the rest of the time I got to take part in whatever was happening.

There was so much to choose from and of course lots of things clashed, but I had a go at everything I could fit in, trying to squeeze every last drop out of the precious time.


All the instructors were teaching through most of the workshop slots, which meant that we were only able to opt to take part in one workshop being given by a fellow instructor. It was so hard to choose, but in the end I went for something totally different to my approach, so I would learn something new, I chose Paul Heaston.

Paul usually works with a fine-liner and does mostly very small, very intricate drawings, which are incredibly beautiful and very cleverly put together. One device he uses is a fish-eye lens perspective, to try and squeeze everything which is in his field of vision into his tiny A6 sketchbook. I'd never met him before, as this symposium was his first time.  Turns out he's lovely as well as brilliant, and very funny. Excellent combo.


I tried my best to learn how to draw the fish-eye style.
 It was so much harder than I thought! Paul asked us to start with thumbnails and I discovered to my surprise that doing a thumbnail of a view was, for me, the most difficult of all! My thumbnails all kept growing and growing...
After a few pathetic dry-runs I did one final sketch which worked, more or less. Here is Paul trying to whip me into shape:


I went to a couple of excellent lectures, one about the nature of learning, by my new friend Matthew Brehm, and one by Karina Kuschnir from Rio, about gathering research information through sketching, which was very pertinent to the work I am hoping to do with Manchester University.


I did one evening event with Richard Alomar, about sketch-mapping. He asked us to create a concertina record of a walk down one street, taking note of anything which snagged our attention. It was amazing - I had walked down the same street many, many times while we were there, and thought it very much like all the others; I only really got to know it through Richard's session:


On the last afternoon of the symposium, there was a new feature: the Big Crit, where we instructors gave one-to-one feedback on people's work. It was arranged like speed-dating with just 5 minutes per person (although it did stretch at the end, as the crowds thinned). Everyone said it was very useful, so I think it is likely to become a regular feature.


Straight after this, we had a huge SketchCrawl for all 240 Urban Sketchers, plus any locals who wanted to join in. We gathered together for a group photo then all sketched together in the square until the light was completely gone.


That evening we held a blind auction. Each of the instructors (and some other sketchers too) created a piece of work during the symposium, to be auctioned in aid of next year's symposium fund. I found it quite stressful to do, as I left it until the last minute and had to be sure to do something good enough during the final sketchcrawl. Fortunately it worked okay. This is my piece and the lovely Nelson Paciencia, who bought it:


Then we celebrated with the end-of-symposium party. It's normally reasonably formal, with speeches, but this was Brazil. The locals started dancing fairly early on. Well, it would have been rude not to join in...


We ended up doing a massive conga (in quite a small space - fun in itself). After that, it was impossible to go back to anything formal, so we just kept partying instead!


Later that evening, like each of those before it, a smaller group of us went on to the local music bar, Paraty 33, where we drank Caipirinhas (way too nice) and carried on drawing and bopping into the small hours. I was of course amongst the last small knot of hardened boppers who finally crawled out at 4.30am.




I can't remember the last time I had so much fun. After several days of intensive sketching and partying, I was of course exhausted, but couldn't have been happier when every day we got up and started all over again! 

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2. Back in the Real World


Hello! Yes, I am back from my adventures (sigh). There is no way I can put into words the amount of fun, fellowship and inspiration that was packed into the 10 days I was in Brazil. 


The atmosphere at Urban Sketchers symposiums is always electric with excitement and creativity, but this year was definitely something extra special. Maybe it was that the Brazilians were such lovely, friendly, fun-loving hosts (we partied hard - it was GREAT!). 


Maybe it was because Paraty was the perfect location: small enough that we took it over, so that sketchers were peppered through every street, literally from dawn until dusk most days. 


Maybe it was also partly because this was my 4th time and, each year I go, I revisit more friendships from previous years and feel more at home as an instructor and correspondent. Also, I got to sandwich the symposium itself between extra 'bonding' days with smaller groups of my fellow-sketchers. A dozen of us went out on a boat trip together the day before it all kicked off - when I opened this sketch onto my scanner, a scattering of sand spilled out:


I filled 5 sketchbooks, so there's no way I am going to be able to show them all here, even spread over a few posts, but I will be gradually adding them to an Usk album on my Flickr page as I scan them. I've done a few already. You can see lots of photos on my Facebook page too.


The workshops all went really well although, on the two sessions I did on Thursday, we encountered some rather surreal and unexpected circumstances, which I will tell you about next time. This is a photo from the final workshop on Saturday:



It's been really hard trying to settle down to normality again. I think today is the first day when I have not felt that at least 20% of my brain was still in Brazil with my chums. I didn't expect to miss everyone so much!


Anyway, as you can imagine, there's lots to catch up on back home, so I'd better get on. I will come back and tell you more in a couple of days.


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3. YALSA NEEDS YOU – for our Award & Selection Committees! Volunteer Form Deadline is October 1st!

Happy Summer! Hope you are all surviving and thriving as your summer reading programs come to an end this year. Don’t forget to look toward autumn, as YALSA’s Fall Appointments season approaches!

As President-Elect, I’ll be making appointments to the following YALSA committees and taskforces:

*Please note that the PPYA Committee is an all-virtual committee for the coming year. YALSA members with book selection and evaluation experience and who are comfortable working in an online environment with tools like ALA Connect, Google Docs, Skype, etc. should put their names forward for consideration.

The Fine Print

  • Eligibility: To be considered for an appointment, you must be a current personal member of YALSA and submit a volunteer form by Oct. 1st. If you are appointed, service will begin on February 1, 2015.
  • For those who want to serve another year: If you are currently serving on a selection or award committee and you are eligible to and interested in serving for another term, you must fill out a volunteer form for this round (this is so I know you’re still interested and want to do serve another term).
  • Qualifications: Serving on a committee or taskforce is a significant commitment. Please review the resources on this web page before you submit a form to make sure that committee work is a good fit for you at this point in time: www.ala.org/yalsa/getinvolved/participate
  • Questions: Please free to contact me with any questions or issues at candice (dot) yalsa at gmail (dot) com

Thanks for all the time and talent you share with YALSA!

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4. KidLitCon Update!

2014KidLitConLogoThe 8th Annual Kidlitosphere Conference is rapidly approaching. KidLitCon is an annual gathering of children's and young adult book bloggers. It is incredibly fun, educational, and rewarding. This year, KidLitCon will be held in Sacramento, CA, at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, on October 10th and 11th. The theme is Blogging Diversity in Young Adult and Children’s Lit: What’s Next? As one of the organizers of this year's conference, I wanted to give you all a quick update of what's been going on with the KidLitCon planning. 

My friend and KidLitCon14 co-chair (with Sarah Stevenson), Tanita Davis from Finding Wonderland, has an excellent new post up at the Kidlitosphere Central blog: What Do We Mean When We Talk About "Diversity" and How Can YOU Contribute to the Conversation? 

Tanita discusses the general buzz around diversity these days, and acknowledges that it can be difficult to even define what we mean by seeking more diversity in books and blogging. There are, after all, many types of diversity. She makes a few suggestions for both diversity-themed and more general session topics that might be submitted for KidLitCon. She concludes:

"We blog, because blogging gives us a voice. We blog about diversity, because we’ve all got different voices. Use yours.Sign up to join a panel or a session or to pitch an idea for this year’s KidLitCon. You can be a part of a game-changing conversation."

So how about it? Do you, in all your uniqueness, have something to contribute to this year's Kidlitosphere Conference? Session proposals will be accepted for one more week, through August 1st. Program Coordinator Charlotte Taylor from Charlotte's Library is standing by for your submissions. If you have an idea but wish to discuss it more informally, you can always email her

We also shared a post recently by this year's Author Coordinators, Melissa Fox from Book Nut and Reshama Deshmukh from Stacking Books, about ways that authors and publishers can get more involved with KidLitCon. Here is their enthusiastic conclusion:

"KidLitCon does have the best of everything: Good books, good conversation and amazing KidLit bloggers under one roof!! We hope you can join us and we look forward to seeing you there!"

Even if you aren't interested in making a presentation, or being actively involved as an author or publisher, you are still more than welcome and encouraged to come to KidLitCon and observe (or participate from the audience). We're expecting librarians, authors, teachers, parents, booksellers, publishers, and readers. Registration Coordinator Maureen Kearney from Confessions of a BIbliovore is ready to accept your KidLitCon14 registration form at any time. Registration closes September 19th.

 

I've submitted my registration form, and can't wait for KidLitCon. October. Sacramento, CA. Kindred spirits talking about ways to get books into people's hands. Don't miss it!

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.  

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5. Reflections on the Future of Library Services for & with Teens Session at the ALA Annual Conference

The YALSA Future of Teens and Libraries taskforce led an interactive panel discussion at the ALA Annual Conference where we reflected on The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action report. The session was hosted and moderated by Adrienne Strock, taskforce Chair. Taskforce panelists included Sandra Hughes-Hassell, report co-author; Jack Martin, K-Fai Steele, and Margaret Sullivan. Special guest Traci Slater-Rigaud, Director of the National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Awards kicked off the session by encouraging libraries to get involved in the awards and noted the similarities in our work, particularly the focus on youth development.

As a way to collectively reflect on the report’s significance, the panel highlighted specific content from the report in the areas of demographic shifts, technology, and connected learning. The panel began by examining the demographic shifts presented in the report as well as observable shifts in our library communities. We discussed the importance of engaging non-dominant youth in library settings and debated the library’s role in learning and closing the growing achievement gap. We then considered the importance of technology as a tool, the way in which technology is changing how society interacts and learns, HOMAGO (hanging out, messing around, and geeking out) as a model for engagement, and the need for librarians to continue to keep up with technology as it relates to teen interests and needs. Lastly, we talked about the importance of connected learning, describing what it looks like, noting why it is so powerful and important in library spaces, and reflecting on how partnerships can leverage the strengths of connected learning for more powerful and meaningful growth opportunities for teens.

The main themes from the report that emerged in our conversation included the call for a paradigm shift in services to teens, the growing need for partnerships, and the importance of librarians embracing a facilitator, non-expert role in their work with teens. One specific aspect of the paradigm shift brought up by an attendee was shifting customer and staff expectations about noise. Panelists and audience participants shared excellent feedback that encouraged cultural shifts though catchy signage and designated noise times, educating staff and customers on new expectations while shifting their mindset about noise in the library, and getting staff and customers excited about the activities being introduced to teens by demoing them for staff and customers with opportunities for adults to partake in the fun and engaging learning opportunities.

Slides can be found on the taskforce’s ALA Connect page, and those unable to attend can still get involved!

  • If you haven’t already, check out the report!
  • Reflect, share, and talk to each other using #act4teens via Twitter, Tumblr, blogs, and your favorite social networks.
  • Dive into the actionable sections of the report. Start by following the recommendations (p. 25). Then dig into the questions and guide to local assessment and planning (p. 31) section.

Lastly, the taskforce would love to know what you think! Reflect by commenting on this post. Tell us what excites and frightens you about the report. Share what areas of the report you find the easiest and most challenging to implement locally. Let us know what tools and resources you would like YALSA to provide.

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6. 21st Century Teens: Literacy in a Digital World

At the 2014 ALA Annual Conference, YALSA hosted 21st Century Teens: Literacy in a Digital World, a full-day workshop. Thanks to the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and Blink, this workshop was free for attendees who applied earlier this year. The workshop was broken into shorter presentations by librarians, authors, and other experts on topics relevant to teens and the librarians who work with them.

The session kicked off with Common Core 101, a presentation by Kathryn Lewis, director of media services and instructional technology for Norman (Okla.) Public Schools and chair of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Common Core task force about the Common Core Standards as they relate to public and school librarians. She talked about the big picture ideas of the Common Core, including that it is focused on results, not on prescribing a curriculum. Both public and school librarians should be familiar with the standards, especially since research and media skills and reading are integrated throughout the standards. She also emphasized the importance of reading choice, since students are more likely to read higher complexity materials if they are interested in the subject matter, and the importance of students being able to enjoy the pleasure of fun, easy reading.

Librarians can support the Common Core in a variety of ways, whether they work in a school or not:

  • Provide opportunities for students to have collaborative discussions or to present in front of their peers, like through book clubs or teen advisory groups, to help to emphasize the Speaking and Learning standards (see: English Language Arts Standards, Speaking and Listening, Grade 8)
  • Present to parents in the community about the myths and facts surrounding the Common Core
  • Pair fiction and non-fiction materials in displays, handouts, and programs
  • Select more narrative non-fiction materials for your collection
  • Model the use of databases to your teens and their parents

For more resources, visit the Common Core State Standards Implementation Assistance Toolkit and the Common Core State Standards Action Toolkit for Public Librarians.

The morning continued with Click Here: Teens, Technology, and Literacy, an author panel featuring Lindsey Leavitt, Neal Shusterman, and Scott Westerfeld, moderated by Jack Baur from Berkeley Public Library. The authors discussed how technology informs their work, as well as how it affects their relationship to readers. Here are some Tweets from the panel:

[View the story "Click Here: Teens, Technology, and Literacy" on Storify]

To close out the first half of the workshop, Erin Jade Lange, author of Butter, presented Never Read the Comments. Drawing from her experience as a television news producer and her own adolescence, Lange talked about teenage cruelty as it exists in the world and in teen literature. Here are some Tweets from her talk:

[View the story "Never Read the Comments" on Storify]

Lunch was followed by Nobody Looks Like Me: The Importance of Diversity in Literature, an author panel featuring David Levithan, Marie Lu, and Graham Salisbury, moderated by Walter Mayes, librarian at The Girls Middle School in Palo Alto, CA. The authors discussed how they define diversity, how they represent the world through their characters, and what authors and librarians can do to get people reading books with various viewpoints. Here are some Tweets from the panel:

[View the story "Nobody Looks Like Me: The Importance of Diversity in Literature" on Storify]

Matt Wallaert from Microsoft presented Not Everyone Has a Smart Phone, introducing the Bing in the Classroom program and the research Microsoft is doing into digital literacy and search. In his talk, Wallaert defined digital literacy as the ability to use technology to do something you want to do. Microsoft researchers are looking at how searches, especially natural language searches, are tied to digital literacy. Through schools participating in this program, researchers have discovered that schools with lower teacher-to-student ratio tend to do more searches. They have also found that girls tend to search less than boys. He offered a few suggestions for promoting searching in libraries:

  • Get people moving around the library more by getting away from clustering computers into traditional computer labs
  • Offer a search question of the day and tie it to a prize drawing
  • Teach iterative searching and how to ask good questions instead of teaching Boolean and keyword searches
  • Play Mystery Skype in a classroom setting, where each class has to guess the location of the other classroom by asking each other questions

For more information about ad-free search and how to earn tablet computers for your school, visit Bing in the Classroom.

Closing out the day, Abby Harwood from the Carnegeie Library of Pittsburgh talked about Libraries on Location, specifically her library’s successful CLP BAM! (Books and More) program doing outreach in schools during lunch. This service is intended to simulate library services in a school lunchroom, so they might check out books, create library cards, and do recreational activities like crafts, music, technology, and games. By providing outreach to schools in this manner, class time is saved for instruction, they can reach the entire school, and scheduling is simplified, as they visit on a regular, pre-arranged schedule. For more on the program, view the Prezi from the library’s longer ALA presentation or check out the chapter “Turntables and tater tots : lunchroom outreach that works” in Library Youth Outreach: 26 Ways to Connect with Children, Young Adults and Their Families.

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7. The Call for Session Proposals for KidLitCon14 is Now Live!

I 2014KidLitConLogo am pleased to announce the call for proposals for the 2014 KidLitCon. The 8th annual KidLitCon will be held in Sacramento, CA on October 10th and 11th, with sessions held on both days. This year’s theme is Blogging Diversity in Young Adult and Children’s Lit: What’s Next?

From the proposal submission form: 

“We are looking for presentations and panels that will inspire and edify Kidlitosphere bloggers. While we’re specifically interested in presentations that address what bloggers can do to make a meaningful difference in increasing and promoting diversity in children’s and young adult literature, sessions covering other topics such as reviewing critically, trends, social media, marketing, technology, and industry relationships are welcome.”

This year’s Program Coordinator is Charlotte Taylor, who blogs at Charlotte’s Library. Charlotte prepared this year’s submission form with assistance from last year’s Coordinator, Jackie Parker from Interactive Reader

The last day for proposal submissions is August 1st. I hope you'll consider participating. Click here for the Proposal Submission Form. The registration form will be available soon. 

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8. YA @ ALA: From the Research Committee

Gearing up for the ALA Conference is exciting, especially as a first timer! I just wrapped up my first year working with YALSA as a member of the Research Committee and will be the Research Committee Chair starting in July. So for me, there is certainly no better time to get out, meet people and learn some new tips, tricks and techniques! However, as this first time ALA conference attendee is quickly learning, there are tons of programs to choose from. So what I’ve gathered here is just a sampling of programs that are relevant to Young Adult services that caught my eye.

Book Time!

I am always up for spending time with books or talking books and there are some sessions lined up that look to be interesting. Blurring the Lines of Books, presented by Erin Reilly-Sanders from Ohio State University is presenting on books that “blur the lines between media, form, and genre, transcending tradition and setting expectations on edge.” I’ve certainly stumbled across some fantastic books that are unique and hard to categorize, so I’m intrigued to learn more!

Nonfiction Reader’s Advisory is not your typical RA topic, which is exactly why it caught my eye! Jennie Rothschild and Angela Frederick are presenting Stranger than Fiction: Reader’s Advisory for Nonfiction. This session will address nonfiction/fiction reads alike, noteworthy new titles, how these titles can tie into Common Core standards and, of course, linking the right book to the right reader.

A session on The 2014 Alex Awards could give you some great new titles to share with teens (or to add to your own booklist). Not sure what the Alex Awards are? All the more reason to come! Author John Searles will be in attendance to speak and sign books, he won in 2014 for “Help with the Haunted.”

Graphic novels, comics and manga are an integral component of any teen collection and there are plenty of sessions on these materials too! Check out Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years on Saturday morning or Best and Worst Manga on Sunday morning. You can also browse the Graphic Novel Petting Zoo or gain insight on comics at Let’s Talk Comics: A Roundtable Discussion.

Programming

Naturally, there are many sessions on different ways to engage with our teen patrons. The first program that caught my eye is Virtual Passport: Connecting Teens Through YouTube, presented by Christina Fuller-Gregory and Mary Kate Quillivan. I’ll let their description do the talking:

“Imagine this…breakfast in London, lunch in Morocco, and dinner in South Africa. You can do this and more through the global community of YouTube. Teens in Columbia, South Carolina are discovering that they don’t only have to be consumers, but can be creators of this original content.

To foster these experiences we have developed My World, a unique programming series that teaches and empowers teens to create original visual art using new media. The hope is that this leads to career paths and hands-on learning opportunities that will open the world both locally and globally for teens.”

Another session will bring some focus back to books in Teen Reading Lounge: Engaging Teens Through Interactive Humanities Based Programming.  According to the program description, the Teen Reading Lounge, is a book discussion series created by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, and was designed to “encourage teens to read and talk about literature that matters to them, engage teen audiences in out-of-school time learning in the humanities and increase the capacity of libraries to conduct public humanities programming for teen audiences.”

The topic of book groups naturally leads into connecting teens with authors, and there’s a program for that!  The Art of the Author Visit: Connecting Teens with their Favorite Authors will provide techniques and offer “the insider’s perspective on what makes an ideal library visit from popular YA authors Leigh Bardugo and Jessica Brody.”  The session will cover marketing techniques, community outreach and keeping the author happy.

Summer programming is another huge component of teen services. Caris O’Malley from the Maricopa County Library District is offering A New Approach to Summer Reading. “The Maricopa County Library District built an open source software for managing summer reading programs called The Great Reading Adventure. Come to learn of its origin and development and how it can change how your library approaches summer reading.” Sounds pretty cool!

Everyone is talking makerspaces these days, and of course you’ll find those sessions at ALA. Teaching Teens How to Fail: Library Spaces and the Maker Movement looks to be a fun and interesting session based on The Free Library of Philadelphia’s maker programs and the philosophy behind it. “Much of the philosophy behind making is mentoring youth in tinkering and experimentation; teaching the making process as one of inquiry and inevitable failed attempts. We see the library as the ideal environment to mentor youth as they learn that it’s okay to fail.”

Of course, there is always a program (or two, or three) that just doesn’t work. For that, check out We F’ed Up, But We Fixed It: Thriving When Things Go Wrong. (Great title!) The description sounds great: “”Failure” doesn’t have to be the “f-word.” We all fear the program that no one comes to, but we’re not alone in failing, and in that empty room is a lesson that can make future efforts successful. A panel of librarians will discuss initiatives that didn’t turn out as planned and how they recovered from their mistakes and went on to flourish.”

Outreach

Trying to find new ways to reach out and connect are always important. I’m excited to check out Teens, Turntables, and Tater-Tots: Lunchroom Outreach with CLP – BAM! (Books and More), presented by librarians from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. They will discuss “how to develop a cafeteria-based outreach initiative on any scale or budget. Learn how you can give students “a taste” of what your library offers by providing readers’ advisory, circulation, card registration, craft programs, music, gaming, and more to entire school populations—all during lunch!”  

Another cool outreach based presentation is the The Ally-brarian, presented by Jordan Moore.  The session will discuss reaching out to underserved populations that the librarian is not a part of and how librarians in the majority can reach out and advocate for those who are minorities, creating a more inclusive library.  “The “Ally-brarian” works to help those who would normally not “see themselves” in the library, either as a patron or professional, find a welcoming place.”  

Research

Taking a look at current research and what it suggests can help librarians plan for the future.  The Future of Library Services for and with Teens, presented by Linda Braun will do just that.  Based on the National Forum on Teens and Libraries, this session looks to be an interactive discussion on the forum’s findings and implications.  

Of course there are a lot more sessions that discuss teens and teen services, this is just a small sampling that caught my eye and interest.  What are you looking forward to at ALA this year?  See you there!

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9. YALSA Board @ Annual Preview: Board Advocacy Best Practices

Do you believe in teen library services?

The YALSA Board does, too, which is why we volunteer to do what we do, just as you as members, do.

As mentioned in The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report, it is imperative that YALSA continue to advocate for teens and libraries. Although discussions, projects, and groups are in place to support the general membership in their roles as advocates, the Board itself has not discussed what board members, as informed individuals, can do to support YALSA’s advocacy efforts.

In order to address this, the proposal that will be presented before the Board at ALA Annual consists of four components:

  • a plan for YALSA as an organization and as individual board members to adopt advocacy best practices
  • an update to the YALSA Board Member Responsibilities list to include advocacy efforts
  • an update to the YALSA Board Member contract to include advocacy efforts
  • a Board Member Advocacy checklist

Together, as a board, as an association, and with you, we want to amplify our voices to ensure that teens everywhere have access to the excellent teen library services that all communities deserve.

More information may be found in the board documents for ALA Annual that will be posted today and Monday, June 16th, 2014.

Questions, concerns or suggestions? Please send them to the following members of the YALSA Board Standing Committee on Advocacy:

Candice Mack (Chair)
Email: cmack [at] lapl.org
Twitter: @tinylibrarian

Jennifer Korn
Email: Jennifer.Korn@cincinnatilibrary.org
Twitter: @korncakes

Chris Shoemaker
Email: cinf0master@gmail.com
Twitter: @doseofsnark

Thanks for all that you do for and with YALSA! Hope to see you at ALA Annual in Vegas!

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10. YALSA Board @ Annual Preview: Advocates’ Advisory Panel

According to YALSA’s The Future of Libraries for and with Teens report, libraries “must look to other organizations and individuals who share similar values about empowering and supporting teens in gaining the skills they need to be engaged citizens.” The library board will be considering how they may be able to accept that challenge at the Annual Conference in Las Vegas.

Up for discussion is the creation of an Advocates’ Advisory Panel. The Panel, made up of non-members in related fields (afterschool agencies, research, youth development, education), would serve as an ad-hoc group to advise the YALSA Board on various topics related the Future of Library Services for and with Teens Report, the 2015 strategic plan, and other topics as identified by the Board. They would also act as informed advocates in sharing news and updates related to YALSA and the teen library services community with their respective networks.

I look forward to further exploring how this might work in just a few weeks. Check out this and other Board docs to learn more. Questions? Ideas? Feel free to contact me: @shantasmagoria, shannon.peterson@gmail.com

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11. Happy Hour Vegas Style

Everyone loves a good happy hour and Las Vegas offers plenty of options.  Whether you are on the Strip, Downtown or any of the surrounding valley neighborhoods you can find a great happy hour nearby.

Courtesy of Yelp

Courtesy of Yelp

If you’re staying on the Strip, head to the Fashion Show Mall across from the Wynn. The Fashion Show has several great restaurant options, like El Segundo Sol, Maggiano’s, and Ra Sushi that offer special happy hour deals.  If you’re in the mood for some south of the border cuisine, stop in at El Segundo Sol between 4pm to 7pm for their “Loco Hour.”  The Loco Hour menu features tasty street tacos and bottomless margaritas to quench your thirst on a hot summer evening in Las Vegas.

Courtesy of Review Journal

Courtesy of Review Journal

For steak lovers, check out happy hour at Herbs & Rye on West Sahara Avenue. A short drive from the Strip and well worth the trip, Herbs & Rye offers happy hour every day from 5pm to 8pm and 12am-3am. This popular happy hour is a local’s favorite and offers diners half off on steaks!! Choose between a cut of filet mignon, Kansas City strip, or you can try the steak challenge. Herbs & Rye offers diners the Nectaly’s 60oz Ribeye with 3 side options, and if you can finish it by yourself it’s on the house. Warning: this steak can feed 5-6 people. A can’t miss happy hour experience.

Courtesy of Ferraro

Courtesy of Ferraro

Restaurant row on East Flamingo offers several happy hour options and is located only a few minutes from the Las Vegas Convention Center. If you’re in the mood for Italian food head over to Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant which offers nightly specials from 4pm to 7pm and reverse happy hour at 11pm to 2am. Two other happy hour options in neighborhood include Bahama Breeze and Gordon Biersch. When you walk in to Bahama Breeze you feel like you’re on a Caribbean island. Their happy hour features yummy island inspired appetizers for half off regular price Monday thru Friday from 4pm to 6pm. Gordon Biersch Brewery & Restaurant is well known for their hand crafted beers and their legendary garlic fries. Happy hour runs every day in the Bar and Beer Garden area from 3pm to 7pm.

Courtesy of Thrillist

Courtesy of Thrillist

Most importantly, don’t miss out on the YALSA Happy Hour on Saturday June 28th at The Peppermill Restaurant and Lounge. The Peppermill is located just minutes from the Las Vegas Convention Center on Convention Center Drive and Las Vegas Blvd. The Peppermill opened its doors in 1972 and is a unique vintage Vegas spot that has been featured on the Food Network and films like Casino. Happy Hour will be in the Fireside Lounge from 5pm to 7pm with special drink prices featured from 5pm to 6pm. After Happy Hour head into the restaurant area for some Vegas sized portions of your favorite old school diner food.

References:

Bahama Breeze
El Segundo Sol
Ferraro’s
Gordon Biersch
Herbs & Rye
Maggiano’s
RA Sushi
The Peppermill

By Stefanie Bailey, Local Arrangements Committee I am a Youth Services Assistant and soon to be graduate of the University of North Texas’ Master of Library Science program. I’m a huge YA literature fan and enjoying traveling, yoga, and checking out new restaurants around Las Vegas.

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12. Preparing for BIALL 2014

By Katherine Marshall and Isabel Jones


On 12 June 2014, hundreds of librarians and resource coordinators will gather in the historic spa town of Harrogate to attend the annual British and Irish Association of Law Librarians Conference (BIALL). The meeting provides an opportunity for delegates to convene and discuss the pressing issues in their field.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Data, Data, Everywhere.” The programme aims “to highlight the proliferation of ever-growing quantities of data, and the emerging technologies that have become available to exploit opportunities and manage the challenges” that this expansion has brought to the information management profession. The conference will offer a series of sessions on the use of social media, project management skills, and the use of e-books in the academic sector.

Here are some of the things we are most looking forward to at this year’s BIALL Conference:

  • Keynote address: “Data, Data, Everywhere” – Delivered by Phil Bradley, Information Specialist and Internet Consultant,  this presentation will focus on big data, social media, and the increasingly changing role of websites
  • The Brave New World of Free, Open Data, and Open Access – Don’t miss out on this pre-conference seminar led by Karen Blakeman on 11 June. This useful session will provide tips on how to locate open access scholarly literature and find high quality information
  • Saturday Kitchen – This year BIALL is hosting a “Saturday Kitchen” event where exhibitors and suppliers, including OUP, will provide an overview of their current and planned projects or new services
  • Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Collections in the UK – This parallel session will focus on how best to use databases to find treaties and international and foreign law reports

Yorkshire

If you have any spare time before, during, or after the conference take time to explore all that Harrogate and Yorkshire have to offer.  From castle ruins and art galleries to World Heritage sites and fantastic scenery, there is much to do in this part of Northern England. Harrogate is also home to the famous Bettys Tearooms, which serve up a delicious selection of teas, cakes, and biscuits. The Tearooms are open until 9 p.m. daily, so there is plenty of time to pay a visit after a busy day in sessions.

If you are joining us at the conference don’t forget to visit the OUP stand to browse key titles and journals and pick up a copy of our latest catalogues. You will also have the opportunity to demo our fantastic suite of online research products.

To keep up-to-date with the conference as it happens, follow @biall_uk, @OUPIntLaw, and @OUPCommLaw, using the conference hashtag #BIALL2014.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Katherine Marshall is Senior Marketing Executive for Academic Law titles at Oxford University Press. Isabel Jones is Senior Marketing Executive for Commercial Law titles at Oxford University Press.

Oxford University Press is committed to developing outstanding resources to support students, scholars and practitioners in all areas of the law. Our practitioner programme continues to grow, with key texts in commercial law, arbitration and private international law, plus the innovative new ebook version of Blackstone’s Criminal Practice. We are also delighted to announce the new edition of the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, one of the most trusted reference resources in international law. In addition to books, OUP publishes a wide range of law journals and online products. Follow our law teams on Twitter at @OUPIntLaw and @OUPCommLaw.

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Image credit: Gunnerside Beck, Yorkshire Dales, UK by einklich.net. CC-BY-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The post Preparing for BIALL 2014 appeared first on OUPblog.

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13. mermaids and sea monkeys invade the clpe headquarters

This drawing was going to be a simple Sea Monkey and a signature on a wall, but it's always too tempting to draw an entire mermaid. So if you ever visit the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, near London's Waterloo station, Iris will give you a big wave.



I've been wearing my Seawigs dress a lot, but I hadn't have a chance yet to wear this lovely number from Sika Designs, so I thought I'd give it a twirl.


Photo tweeted by Charlotte Hacking

With my super-fashionable, trés-expensive yellow hat, of course.



My co-author Philip Reeve and I had a great time talking with teachers at the CLPE conference, particularly highlighting the way drawing and making comics can inspire a love of reading in kids (and adults!). Philip explained how he gets cross when people credit Oliver and the Seawigs only to him, and forget to mention the illustrator (me!) because the pictures are such a vital part of the story, and we came up with the ideas for it together. (It's like leaving out a name in Laurel & Hardy, Morecambe & Wise, Reeves & Mortimer... why would you?) And we encouraged the teachers never to try to wean kids away from stories with pictures; we live in a very visual society that is getting more and more so, and to try to convince children that so-called 'proper books' are the ones without pictures is to tell them that books are irrelevant to their lives. They may want to read some books without pictures at some point in their lives, but there's nothing wrong - and A LOT of right - about them reading and developing their literacy in text and image at the same time.



We arrived a bit early at the conference, so were lucky enough to be able to sit in on a fabulous talk by Tim Wright. Tim's an internet-based writer, and does all sorts of creative stories online, pulling in audiences interactively and setting up programmes that will let the story keep going without him. He understands the power of visual images with story, and the need for people to interact with online stories to engage with them. For one project, he was following a trail set out in Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped, walking across Scotland, and marking his way online as he went. Some people didn't just read the story passively online, but actually showed up along the route, wanting to walk with him, and to take turns reading recorded passage from the book for the daily postings. Right now he's doing a #golfonthemoon project; I didn't quite get it, so I'll need to explore the hash tag more, but I think it's basically people mocking up pictures and videos to make it look like they've been playing golf on the moon. A playful Moon Hoax. I love that about the Internet, how people can play with ideas like this, and feel instantly inspired to create their own little stories in a larger framework.

But Tim did express fear over the way that kids never have Alone Time; they always have a device with them and can be contacted and scrutinised by their peers during every waking hour. But it's not just kids, I find myself spending less time completely alone than I used to; I need to be careful about this; I get a lot of creative energy from collaboration, but sometimes I just need to sit down and work out problems without talking to anyone. It's all about getting a good balance.



We were very glad to see our talk followed by Tom Fickling and Liz Payton from The Phoenix Comic, a perfect example of great reading material for kids that inspires them at the same time as helping them grow in textual and visual literacy. And Marcus Sedgwick, who's also made a graphic novel, Dark Satanic Mills, with his brother Julian Sedgwick, a great example of visual story collaboration. Which is a fascinating contrast to Marcus's book She is Not Invisible, which I enjoyed very much and which features a blind narrator and deliberately cuts out every visual reference.

A huge thanks to the team who ran the conference! The venue - a converted old school - is lovely, and I was dying to explore the picture book collection. I didn't get photos of everyone, but here on the left is Eddie Burnett, the bookseller for the day from Jubilee Books. (Eddie used to run his shop on a bus!) And left to right: Primary Advisory Teacher Sue Dunn, CLPE Chief Executive Louise Johns-Shepherd, CLPE Marketing Manager Fatim Kesvani, CLPE Literature & Library Development Manager Ann Lazim. And thanks to Teaching and Learning Manager Charlotte Hacking for tweeting lots of photos on the #c21writing hashtag (click to find more photos and updates), to Oxford University Press's Elaine McQuade for coming along and taking us out for lunch, and to CLPE Primary Advisor Teacher Andrew Kite, who was our contact person for the day; it was a good one!

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14. Book Expo America!

Next week is Book Expo America at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City, and I'm super excited to be making the trip up for it. I get to visit with all my New York buddies, plus share my two new books The Troublemaker and Nana in the City at the conference. It's going to be a fun few days!

·Wednesday, May 28th: BEA kicks off with the 20th Annual Children's Book Art Silent Auction 

This is one of my very favorite events of the year! If you're attending BEA (even if you're not, but happen to live nearby) come to the Javits and bid on some great original art to raise money for the ABFFE (click on the link for all the deets). This little guy below (from Nana in the City) is looking to go home with a new friend.



·Thursday, May 29th: day away from the Javits

I'm going to skip the conference to hang out with my friend and former editor, Frances Foster, along with my good friend (and editor extraordinaire) Noa Wheeler. One of the things I miss most about living in NYC is being able to easily take the subway to the UWS to visit Frances and her husband Tony. I haven't seen them since I moved away from the city in January. It's going to be really nice to spend the afternoon with the Fosters :)  


·Friday, May 30th: full day at the Javits

12-12:30 pm -- I will be in the Autographing Area, signing and giving away a buncha Troublemaker's. Info is HERE. Please come snag a copy and say hello!


3:30 pm -- I'll be at the ABC/CBC Author and Illustrators Tea, chatting about The Troublemaker and Nana in the City with a group of awesome booksellers. I wish there was a way to clone myself so that I could also sit at the tables of the other authors— what a lineup (It's crazy to think I'm even going to be in the same room with all these guys)! Info is HERE. Right after the Tea I'll be hopping on a bus back to Baltimore. A short but full trip! I hope that if you are also heading to BEA next week, I will get to run in to you some point . . .


Wishing you all a lovely Memorial Day weekend. Hooray, summer is almost here!!!

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15. ALA Annual 2014: Travel Tips and Preparing for Vegas

By Soraya Silverman

I can’t believe it’s almost June!  Annual is just around the corner so here are some tips and advice for traveling to Las Vegas and getting ready for the conference.

What to Bring for the Convention

Photo from bigstory.ap.org

Photo from bigstory.ap.org

At the end of June, Las Vegas temperatures average high 90’s to mid 100’s with little cloud coverage, hot winds, and dry, dry air.  If you’ve never experienced desert heat before, here are some suggestions on what to bring with you.

The conference for the most part is business casual. Bring light, comfortable, and sweat resistant clothing.  Although it may be hot outside, the air conditioning inside the convention center may feel chilly so it’s a good idea to bring a blazer, a long sleeve shirt or bring a nice sweater to wear inside. The Las Vegas Convention Center is one of the largest single-story convention centers in the world, so be sure to bring comfortable shoes.

Photo from modny73.com

Photo from modny73.com

If you have a tablet or portable laptop, it’s an excellent idea to bring it with you to take notes during the panels.  A must bring is business cards because you’ll have all sorts of opportunities to network and meet new people and will probably be exchanging business cards often. As an added bonus, it’s also easy to drop a card at the plethora of giveaways in the Exhibit Hall.

The Exhibit Hall has all sorts of giveaways and freebies (see my previous post on Exhibit Hall tips) and if you’re able to bring an extra suitcase for free or limited fees, you may want to consider it as opposed to shipping everything back.  Shipping fees can add up with books especially.  I think I spent almost $50 to ship my swag from Midwinter when I could’ve just brought a suitcase to bring it home for the same price.  Or If you think you’ll have more than 50 pounds of stuff then you can forego the extra luggage.

Photo from mikesdailyjukebox.com

Photo from mikesdailyjukebox.com

What to Bring for Exploring Vegas

If you’re planning on checking out our night life, keep in mind that the upscale clubs and bars have very strict dress codes.  General rules are no jeans or hats, tennis shoes, shorts/capris, jerseys, or t-shirts.  This doesn’t mean wearing a suit on but dress to impress and you’ll be fine.  Don’t forget that if you plan on dining in any of the upscale restaurants, you’ll also want to dress up.

Photo from stoneyroads.com

Photo from stoneyroads.com

Bring a bathing suit with you too!  Most of the hotels have amazing pools available for guests to use as a nice way to cool off.  If you have any free time or if you have little ones coming with you, we also have two water parks here, Wet n’ Wild and Cowabunga Bay (which is new and will hopefully be open by summer.) It can be crowded though, so aim for weekdays if possible.

To handle the weather I do have several tips.  First and foremost is staying hydrated.  This is probably the most important and least realized fact about visiting Vegas.  Keep water on you or make sure you have easy access to water while you’re out because it is very easy to become fatigued while walking around under the sun in desert temperatures.

Photo from i00.i.aliimg.com

Photo from i00.i.aliimg.com

Wear sunscreen too!  Even if you think you don’t burn easily, the desert sun can be harsh.  Consider bringing an umbrella with you not for any rain, but for the sun.  Also, if you’re from a humid area or have allergies, the air here is probably drier than you’re used to.  You might want to think about bringing a saline nasal spray if you’re especially sensitive to dry air, and many people find that they need to use more moisturizer and or/lotion while they are visiting.Some people think the sun is brighter here, so don’t forget your sunglasses.

Overall though, really just prepare for the weather.  If you pack with that in mind then you should be fine.  Remember, we have all sorts of tips on our Wiki page if you’d like more info on visiting Las Vegas.  We’re just counting down the days now.  See you all in June!  :)

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16. Dining Vegan, Vegetarian, & Gluten Free in Vegas

by Stefanie Bailey

As you may have noticed from our past blog posts on dining in Vegas, there are no shortages of restaurant options in this town. Las Vegas is not only a place for partiers and gambling enthusiasts, it is also a place for food lovers. However, for individuals on special diets dining out can be more challenging. Not to fear, Las Vegas has many restaurants that cater to people that are vegan, vegetarian or gluten free.

Start your morning off right with a stop at Sunrise Coffee, located close to the airport. This little coffee house gem offers vegan breakfasts burritos, croissant sandwiches and delicious baked goods. If you’re on the east side near University District, check out Tiabi Coffee & Waffle for their delicious vegan waffles. Other local breakfast spots around town include Ronald’s Donuts (vegan and amazingly yummy even for non-vegans), Pura Vida Bakery & Bystro, and Red Velvet Café.

Photo: courtesy of Sun Rise Coffee

 

Photo: courtesy of Eating Vegan in Vegas 

 

As a tourist town Las Vegas tries to cater to all visitor’s tastes and diet needs, and there are several vegan-friendly restaurant options in most of the Strip casinos. Wynn and Encore Resorts offer vegan menus at many of their restaurants and also feature a vegan page on the room service menu. Slice of Vegas Pizza inside the Mandalay Bay offers diners vegan and gluten free menu items to enjoy in a fun and casual atmosphere. If you want to enjoy alfresco dining with a view of Las Vegas Boulevard, check out Dal Toro Ristorante inside the Palazzo. It offers diners both vegan and gluten free menu options, and the vegan Avocado Pesto Linguine or the gluten free Penne alla Genovese are not to be missed.

daltoro

Photo: courtesy of Dal Toro

If you’re Downtown during lunchtime or dinnertime, check out the Triple George Grill on 3rd Street. The restaurant offers a separate vegan menu for diners so make sure to try the Gardein Chicken Marsala or the Vegetable Vegan Burger and Truffle Fries. If you’re in the mood for pizza, head next door to the fun and lively Pizza Rock. Pizza Rock offers a gluten free vegetarian pizza and a gluten free pancetta gorgonzola pizza. There are also several new restaurants in the downtown area catering to vegan diners, including Nacho Daddy, MTO Café, and Simply Pure at the newly opened Container Park. So if you’re looking for a variety of vegan options Downtown is a good bet for a dining destination.

Photo: courtesy of Eating Vegan in Vegas

Photo: courtesy of Eating Vegan in Vegas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before your trip to Las Vegas, you can check out Eating Vegan in Vegas Blog online at http://eatingveganinvegas.tumblr.com/. Eating Vegan in Vegas features mouth-watering food photography and great restaurant tips for eating vegan around town.

References:
Dal Toro
Eating Vegan in Vegas
Nacho Daddy
MTO Café
Pizza Rock
Pura Vida Bakery & Bystro
Red Velvet Café
Ronald’s Donuts
Simply Pure
Slice Of Vegas Pizza
Sunrise Coffee
Tiabi Coffee & Waffle Bar
Triple George Grill
Wynn Resorts Las Vegas

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17. doing it right when everything is going wrong

Me at the Rural Libraries Conference

Apologies in advance because this isn’t really about libraries as much as about conferencing. Maybe more of an etiquette post than anything.

I skipped April. Not on purpose. I was supposed to go to TXLA and came down with a weird lingering flu. I’m usually a “push through the pain” person but not enough to get on an airplane with a fever and potentially make other people sick. No one needs that. So I missed TXLA which was a huge bummer. They were incredibly understanding about it. And then there was a week of school vacation where I teach so I decided to hunker down in MA and get well and make sure I could make it to the Rural Libraries conference in Michigan. Upstate Michigan. The UP, where it was still frozen enough so that the ferries we were supposed to take to Mackinac Island were possibly not running. So now I was in a situation where I was rarin’ to go but the conference might not happen at all.

My main contact, Shannon White from the Library of Michigan, did an amazing job with a very difficult situation. She gave low-drama email updates (to me but also all attendees) as we got news from the ferry and told me what the timeframe was in case we’d have to cancel. When I arrived in St. Ignace (via Michael Stephens’ place, so great to see him) the weather was terrible and the flight we were supposed to take was cancelled. Many people including us were stuck there overnight when we would have preferred to be at the conference venue, the Grand Hotel. I was put up in a decent hotel and fed dinner and we discussed jockeying for ferry positions the next morning. I had warned everyone in advance of even taking this speaking gig that I was not a morning person and someone graciously got up early and got a timestamped ferry ticket for me for later in the day. This was a huge deal.

The Grand Hotel is one of those places that is fancy but also deeply committed to service. All of their 385 rooms are different. When I finally got to the hotel at about 1 pm on the day I was speaking, I was put in a crazy-looking suite that overlooked the water. Which was terrific except that there was a crew of hotel-opener people (the hotel officially opened the day after the conference closed) that was going over the front of the place with leaf-blowers and lawn tools and who knows what else. I moved my room to an equally quirky suite on the back of the hotel where I rested after a day and a half of on-again-off-again travel.

My talk about the 21st Century Digital Divide was done in an oddly-shaped room without the benefit of slides. I’ve talked about it elsewhere (short form: people who could not see or hear me talked through it) but it was a suboptimal setup which we all tried to make the best of. I got a lot of positive feedback from the state library folks despite some of the shortcomings and they made a special reminder announcement before the next keynote about not carrying on conversations while people were speaking. I heard it was great, I was asleep. My workshop the next day about maintaining conference momentum went really well and, again, I got great support from the organizers as well as the hotel when I decided I needed last-minute handouts.

All in all, despite a situation where there were a lot of things that were out of people’s control, the conference was memorably great for me personally and I think for a lot (most?) of the attendees as well. As much as people made joking “Never again!” comments, there was something about working together in unusual settings through various kinds of adversity that brings people closer together. I felt well-taken care of and appreciated as well as well-compensated. And, personally, I had a great time. The people I talked to all felt the same. Thanks, Library of Michigan.

A few links for people who like that sort of thing

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18. Connected Learning: Education With Style

teen fashion showLast week the Metropolitan Museum of Art revealed the renovation work on its fashion galleries, reopening them to the public. Michelle Obama remarked about the important role galleries like this play in the fashion world. Showing everyone that fashion isn’t just for the elite, or only worn on the runway.

Fashion is something we all interact with every day, but many of us overlook the complicated skills needed to work in the industry. Journalism pieces like Planet Money’s T-Shirt Project have shed light on what it involves to take a drawing and turn it into a piece of clothing. Michelle Obama also commented on the variety of tools a designer needs to have at their fingertips. “It’s a career that involves, science, engineering, accounting, marketing and so much more. Maybe they’ll learn about the math behind Charles James’s designs. And they’ll think to themselves, maybe I should pay closer attention in geometry,” she said speaking to students. This is another perfect example of connected learning, providing opportunities to learn new skills while diving into a passion for fashion.

Our teen cosplay club printed this crown with our 3D printer to go with a costume.

Our teen cosplay club printed this crown with our 3D printer to go with a costume.

The Johnson County Library has been encouraging teens to show their style since 2008 with our first teen fashion show (pictured above). Since then we have branched into a cosplay club that meets regularly to design, sew, critique and wear costumes from their favorite books, movies and TV shows. The cosplay club is a great example of connected learning happening naturally and quietly at the library. Club members are required to make a project plan for each costume, set goals and deadlines, define budgets, and critique designs and help other member learn new skills (like 3D printing). The club has made appearances at local conventions in group costumes (most recently the Sailor  Avengers) and continues to encourage members to grow and improve. Not all of these teens will become fashion designers but the skills they have learned to budget, plan and collaborate will serve them well in whatever career they choose. The Library is happy to provide a place for them to explore their passions.

If you want to find out more about connected learning please start with the wonderful posts on the YALSA Blog, starting with this one. Don’t forget to mark your calendars to attend the YALSA President’s Program, A Burning Need to Know: How Passion Connects to LearningMonday, June 30,  1-3 pm.

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19. Connected Learning: Connecting with Coaches

energyOver the past two weeks, the YALSA President’s Program task force has been meeting with connected learning coaches who will facilitate discussions in Las Vegas to discuss their experience with and use of connected learning ideas. The diversity of these discussions cemented the feeling that connected learning comes in all shapes and sizes and we can’t wait to hear from you at our program at ALA Annual.

As we dove into discussion with the coaches a few themes kept recurring and we wanted to share them with you. Connected learning is already happening in many libraries, some just don’t have that term in their vocabulary to label what they are already doing. Libraries are poised to be the place where passion-directed learning happens. Already a community hub, we can help connect teens with the resources, mentors and spaces that will help them follow their passions. Now that we know what connected learning is and can see it already happening in our libraries, we can begin to foster it with intention.

As we begin to plan programs, services and classes with connected learning in mind, we have to stay flexible. Self-directed and passion-based learning is difficult to direct without derailing the learners enthusiasm. This is an easier goal for public libraries, who likely do not have to prove the learning happening at their programs, and can let the process take as long as it needs to. Schools face the challenge of identified outcomes to every class or program, but there are some great examples of librarians using the concepts of connected learning to add additional value to their testable outcomes.

Connected learning is happening in all types of libraries, as evidenced by the diversity of our coaches. At A Burning Need to Know: How Passion Connects to Learning they will help participants identify connected learning already happening in their environments, and as a group we will discuss ways to level up what we are already doing. There are small things we can do to bring big rewards to our teens.

If you want to find out more about connected learning please start with the wonderful posts on the YALSA Blog, starting with this one. Don’t forget to mark your calendars to attend the YALSA President’s Program, A Burning Need to Know: How Passion Connects to Learning, Monday, June 30,  1-3 pm.

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20. sea monkeys invade worth abbey

This weekend the Federation of Children's Book Group conference had an infestation! Two Oxford University Press publicists, both named Charlotte, both have mothers who can knit and both mothers made wonderfully cheeky Sea Monkeys. Here's Charlotte Armstrong, with the Sea Monkey who kept cracking jokes, asking how to get this lady off its bum.



We had several people ask where they could get a Sea Monkey, and the answer is... you can knit one yourself! Or find a friend who can! Free pattern on my website, developed by my studio mate Deadly Knitshade; do click over if you want your very own Sea Monkey.



When Philip Reeve and I first started doing Oliver and the Seawigs events, we focused more on how we met, and decided to start writing books together. But these days we're having more fun talking about the actual story. Here we are, enacting the scene when Mr and Mrs Crisp meet at the top of Mt Everest.


Photo tweeted by @FCBGNews

Now I saw this 'Going Down' advice in last Saturday's Guardian, and I'm setting out to prove them wrong.



Anyone can rock glasses and a frock if they can draw, they're wearing a squid on their head and playing a ukulele. True fact.



One of the great things about the conference was getting to hear other authors give presentations. Here's a drawing I did in pen of illustrator and writer Cressida Cowell, talking with Caroline Horn about her book series, How to Train Your Dragon.



Cressida also talked about having big films made of her stories, and how she was offered the chance to write the screenplay, but turned it down so she could focus on her books. You might have seen the first film already, and here's the trailer for the second film, coming out this summer:



Another fascinating thing was listening to her talk about her childhood holidays on an uninhabited island in Scotland, where they were able to run completely wild and encounter weird and wonderful wildlife:



The next day, after our event, Philip and I got to hear writer Meg Rosoff talk about writing, about how our brains are a sort of colander; we experience lots of things, and most of the things we forget. But some of the things mash down inside and begin to form something as they liquify and ferment, and start to create something new. She said she took comfort, years back, in something Philip said about writing books and throwing many stories away before hitting on the one he's happy with; she'd struggled with periods where she just couldn't get a book to work. But looking back, she'd realise that this time was important, is was when the story she really wanted to tell was quietly arranging itself in the back of her head. I should add that Meg also has a recent film adaptation of her book, How I Live Now, which I definitely want to see:



I didn't manage to get a photo of Meg, and the drawing didn't really turn out (I drew a colander on her head and it didn't look like her at all.) But I bought a copy of her latest book, Picture Me Gone, which I'm very much looking forward to reading. Marilyn Brocklehurst was running a great bookshop on site, so I also picked up a copy of Alex Milway's brand-new Pigsticks & Harold illustrated book, which is a lovely cross between a chapter book, picture book and comic. And Letters to Klaus, which is going out of print and contains a lovely gallery of illustrated envelopes by Satoshi Kitamura, David McKee and others. (You can have a peek at it over on Booktrust's website.)



Thanks so much to FCBG for inviting Philip and me, to Louise Stothard and Damian Kelleher for introducing us, to Marilyn Brocklenhurst for selling our books, to Hattie Bayly and Charlotte Armstrong from OUP for looking after us, to the monastery for yummy food (Worth Abbey's a gorgeous place; I'd wish I'd had more time to explore), and to everyone who made our visit so much fun!

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21. Houston SCBWI Conference

Whose ready to paint the town red?
toucan1_RobertaBairdname7210169276_10202340498926460_8832901140860917211_n10259884_10202376855515352_4150280214564264238_nNational_small-300x165

See you there!

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22. ASIL/ILA 2014 retrospective

am14_header_sitetop_1 (1)

In early April, the American Society of International Law and the International Law Association held a joint conference around the theme “The Effectiveness of International Law.” We may not have been able to do everything on our wishlist, but there are plenty of round-ups to catch up on all the news and events: ASIL Cables posted throughout the conference; the International Law Prof Blog wrote a piece on three female judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), who were honored at the conference; IntLawGrrls posted a group photo of all members attending this year’s conference; and DipLawMatic Dialogues blogged from a librarians perspective on the proceedings of ILA-ASIL, including a piece on the Clive Parry Consolidated Treaty Series.

We were delighted to see so many friendly faces. Below is a slideshow featuring some of the authors, editors, and contributors who stopped by to say hello during the week.



Oxford University Press is a leading publisher in international law, including the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, latest titles from thought leaders in the field, and a wide range of law journals and online products. We publish original works across key areas of study, from humanitarian to international economic to environmental law, developing outstanding resources to support students, scholars, and practitioners worldwide. For the latest news, commentary, and insights follow the International Law team on Twitter @OUPIntLaw.

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Image credit: All photos courtesy of Oxford University Press staff./em>

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23. 2014 Houston SCBWI Conference

Saturday, April 27 I attended the Houston SCBWI annual conference.
I started out earlydriving. Houston is a pretty big city and it takes a while to get across town.

Our keynote speaker was Gary D. Schmidt, the author of the Newberry Award winning book, The Wednesday Wars, and many other wonderful books.                                                                                                                                               His talk was brilliant and his depth of feeling was so inspiring.          “Our stories are complicated ones…they are never one dimensional.”  His bio reads, ” He lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by.”   I know… pretty cool all around guy, right!

The_wednesday_warsNext….”Qualities of a writer: humility, good humor, grace, patience and gratitude” says Stephen Fraser, literary agent with the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. That’s good advice you can apply to all aspects of life!

He’s been voted the top agent for both picture books and Middle grade fiction. …and he rocked and awesome bow tie!

Other speakers included Kendra Levin, Senior Editor at Viking Books,  “Don’t save anything for the next book, you may get hit by a bus tomorrow” Lol!

Julie Ham, spoke about The Elements of Award Winning Non-fiction.

Jim Hoover, Associate Art Director at Viking books, walked us through the process of making  picture books and how the direction of a book can change.                                                          Then he lead a very informative illustrator break out session about what makes a good promotional postcard. The following morning he presented a story boarding workshop.
What a fun guy, great personality, and he dances too!
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These are some of the postcards I picked up at the conference.

But the best part about the conference…and something I didn’t see coming at all …                       I was the 2014 Grand Prize winner of the illustrator showcase!!                                                        So thank you  Jim Hoover, I’m so grateful!                                                                                                  And thank you to the SCBWI conference staff, it was one of the best!

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24. Celebrity Chefs + Vegas Restaurants

By Stefanie Bailey

The Las Vegas Strip is a foodie’s paradise lined with some of the top names in the fine dining industry. Walk into any Strip casino and you are pretty much guaranteed to find a celebrity chef restaurant. Several top chefs even boast more than one gourmet room in town. Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck each have more than four restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip. Other top names include Gordon Ramsey, José Andrés, Nobu Matsuhisa, and soon Giada de Laurentiis will join the ranks.

Emeril dessert

Photo: courtesy of http://www.emerilsrestaurants.com/emerils-new-orleans-fish-house

After a long day at the ALA Annual Conference, make sure to treat yourself to dinner at one of the many celebrity chef restaurants. Your meal will not come without an extravagant price tag, but keep in mind that it could be a once in a lifetime dining experience. If you decide to dine at one of these exclusive restaurants, it’s recommended that you do your research (look at reviews and view menus online) and make reservations ahead of time.

Nobu

Photo: courtesy of http://www.hardrockhotel.com/las-vegas-restaurants/nobu

The assortment of celebrity chef restaurants offers diners a variety of international cuisines including French, Spanish, Japanese, and Italian. You can also find top steak houses like Gordon Ramsay Steak at the Paris and Mario Batali’s Carnevino at the at the Palazzo. For classic French cuisine dishes, head to Guy Savoy at Caesar’s Palace. Spanish Chef José Andrés offers diners a taste of authentic Spanish cuisine at Jaleo, inside the Cosmopolitan. Come for lunch and snack on some delicious Spanish tapas, or dine at the restaurant for dinner to savor a delicious dish of paella.

Roast

Photo: courtesy of http://www.jaleo.com/las-vegas/photos

If you don’t want to break the bank but still would like to try a celebrity chef restaurant there are a few options for you. Todd English P.U.B. inside Crystals at City Center offers pub favorites at a relatively reasonable price. Sample the fish & chips, cheeseburger sliders, and a few of the house brews. Also check out Lagasse Stadium, an upscale sports bar and restaurant located at the Palazzo. The restaurant offers bar favorites and several New Orleans style dishes like Jambalaya, Po-Boys, and Emeril’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

Slider

Photo: courtesy of http://www.toddenglishpub.com/

The newest addition to the list of celebrity chefs in Las Vegas is Giada de Laurentiis. She will be one of the few female celebrity chefs to open a restaurant in Las Vegas. Her restaurant GIADA will feature Italian cuisine with a California twist, and will be located in the new Cromwell Boutique Hotel that is set to open around Memorial Day weekend. The Cromwell is located near The LINQ, a new attraction which features a towering Ferris wheel, shops, dining, and nightlife. So grab a bite to eat at GIADA and then head over to Vegas’ newest attraction the High Roller at The LINQ for a priceless view of the entire Las Vegas valley.

You can also find a listing of more celebrity chef restaurants on the YALSA at ALA’s 2014 Annual Conference wiki. Whatever your food craving it’s sure to be satisfied during your stay in Las Vegas. Happy Dining!

Reference:
Emeril Lagasse – http://www.emerils.com/
Giada de Laurentiis – http://www.giadadelaurentiis.com/
Gordon Ramsay – http://www.parislasvegas.com/restaurants/gordon-ramsay-steak.html
Guy Savoy – http://www.caesarspalace.com/restaurants/guy-savoy.html
José Andrés – http://www.jaleo.com/jose
Mario Batali – http://mariobatali.com/
Nobu Matsuhisa – http://www.nobumatsuhisa.com/
Todd English – http://cheftoddenglish.com/
Wolfgang Puck – http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/

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25. Some highlights of the BPS conference 2014 Birmingham

By David Murphy and Susan Llewelyn


Psychology must be one of the most diverse disciplines there is; it encompasses understanding language development in infants, techniques to help sports competitors improve performance, the psychology of conflicts, therapy for mental health disorders, and selection techniques for business amongst many others. The BPS Annual Conference is probably the best chance to witness the breadth of the discipline each year in the United Kingdom.

Things to do at the conference

This year’s conference in Birmingham has some fantastic highlights. The session on psychology in the military is highly topical and has some leading figures in the world speaking such as Keynote speaker, Professor Simon Wessely. There is a great deal of research looking at aspects of parenting throughout the conference  as well as  sessions covering a range of areas including mental health, diet, managing physical illness and educational attainment among others. Professor Sergio Della Sala is a neuropsychologist who has a great ability to communicate information about brain functioning in an easily understandable and entertaining fashion; his talk is sure to be a high point.

However, sometimes at the BPS conference its worth just going with the flow and attending talks in areas that you aren’t very familiar with, you will hopefully find them very interesting, and they may well give you new ideas which could even be a turning point for your career to go off in a new direction, or help you think in a new way about your own area of research or study.

Things to do in Birmingham

Birmingham has a range of extraordinary heritage, so the Museum & Art Gallery should be top of the list for those wanting to fully appreciate the scope of the city’s history.

It is also thought that some of Birmingham’s sights and history inspired the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The Hobbit fans among us might want to take the Tolkien Bus Tour the weekend after the conference.

We hope to see you at the conference this year, do come up and say hello if you are attending.

Susan Llewelyn is Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University, and Senior Research Fellow, Harris Manchester College, Oxford.  David Murphy is the Joint Course Director of the University of Oxford Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Programme. They are co-editors of What is Clinical Psychology? 

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Image Credit: St Martins church and Bullring -Birmingham -England (G-Man).  Public domain.

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