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1. Annual 2015: San Francisco on the Cheap (Part 2)

(Did you miss part 1? Click here!)

This is a guest post by Trevor Calvert, a member of the Local Arrangements Committee for Annual 2015 in San Francisco.

As promised, here are even more great ways to enjoy what San Francisco has to offer–on a budget.

Neighborhoods and Landmarks

Twin Peaks
With the 25th anniversary of the television show imminent, why not use this as an excuse to visit a site 1,000 feet above S.F. and with a 360-degree view? It’s a great place to visit but can be windy and chilly, so bring a sweater.

Chinatown is a fantastic place to wander around in, whether you like to eat your way through a neighborhood or prefer to shop or people watch, Chinatown offers it all. It’s the oldest Chinatown in North America, and with its beautiful, historic buildings and landmarks it’s certainly one of San Francisco’s jewels.

The Mission
The Mission District runs along the parallel streets of Mission Street and Valencia. If artisanal coffee, award-winning burritos, fanciful ice-cream, local (and sometimes strange) boutiques, and public art interest you, then the Mission is definitely a place to spend an afternoon. Some highlights, La Taqueria, Humphrey Slocombe ice-cream, murals on Balmy and Clarion alleys, the beer-garden at Zeitgeist, and sitting in the grass at Dolores Park.

Museums and Galleries

Palace of Fine Arts
One of the most lovely places in San Francisco is the Palace of Fine arts in the Marina District. Built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific exhibition, it’s known for its lagoons (home to geese, ducks, swans, and turtles) and Roman-Greek-inspired architecture. If, after strolling around the lagoons, you feel like exploring the world of science, than look no further the Exploratorium interactive museum housed on site. Few afternoons can beat wandering the grounds with a friend and / or a good book.

Musee Mechanique
If idyllic walks through sculpted gardens to the ambient sounds of ducks and frogs is not your preference, and if instead you prefer the whirly-twirl cacophony of old-timey penny arcades, than perhaps the Musee Mechanique on Pier 45 is just the place. Home to over 200 mechanical marvels (some dating back to the turn of the century), the Musee Mechanique still proves surprising and inspiring.

De Young Fine Art Museum
One of the best fine art museums in the world, the De Young is not to be missed. Admission is $10 for general admission, and it is well worth it. With site specific installations from several artists including James Turrell and Andy Goldsworthy, and architecture which emulates the natural landscape, the De Young is a glorious place to spend an afternoon.

Walking Tours

San Francisco City Guides
Because San Francisco has such a quirky and fascinating history, a guided walking tour may be more up your alley, and luckily the city offers free walking tours.

Wanderers Union
The Wanderers Union is a group dedicated to long-distance wandering. And while no organized trips are available during ALA15, they have graciously added their courses and maps to their site, which you can find here:

Nature and Parks

Marin Headlands
The Northern California coastline is stunning, usually windy and clear, explorers can cross the Golden Gate Bridge and head into the headlands for gorgeous views of the ocean, hiking through California poppies, wild strawberries, monkeyflowers, and more. What used to be a military site (there are still barracks along the coastline to explore) is now governed by the Golden Gate Parks National Conservatory and is easily accessible via the 76 Muni Bus.

There is so much to do and see in San Francisco that this list points more to what has been missed and overlooked than what has been humbly provided. San Francisco has an elusive yet individual personality that I think you will enjoy getting to know during your stay, and I hope these suggestions provide a good introduction.

We’re adding more and more things to do and know on the YALSA wiki all the time. Be sure to bookmark it and keep checking back!

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2. Goodbye, YALSA! Hello, ILF and B&N!

There’s nothing better than a crowd of librarians and authors to remind me how lucky I am to be in this line of work, and to inspire me to keep on writing and earning my place among this bunch.

This past weekend, Austin hosted the annual YA symposium of the Young Adult Library Services Association. I participated in the Saturday evening Book Blitz — in which authors seated behind stacks of publisher-donated books get blitzed by librarians snagging their share of signed copies — as well as a Sunday-morning panel discussion including (left-to-right in Paula Gallagher’s photo above) Jonathan Auxier, Lisa Yee, Andrew Smith, moderator/organizer/wrangler Kelly Milner Halls, Bruce Coville, and Laurie Ann Thompson.

It’s going to be a full week, as I’ll also be speaking at the Indiana Library Federation’s annual conferenceShark Vs. Train is a winner of the Young Hoosier Book Award — and then reading Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! at a Barnes & Noble back here in Austin.

If you’re interested in hearing me talk for, oh, 27 minutes and 59 seconds, but won’t be making it to either of those events, I’m happy to offer a third option: this podcast interview that author Jason Henderson recorded with me last week. Enjoy!

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3. Annual 2015: San Francisco On the Cheap (Part 1)

This is a guest post from Trevor Calvert, a member of the Local Arrangements Committee for Annual 2015 in San Francisco.

San Francisco in the summer is beautiful. Clear, warm days and cool (okay, sometimes windy and cold) evenings make is a perfect city for the contemporary flaneur. Some may recall the “coldest winter was summer in S.F.” quote often attributed to Samuel Clemens, and while the authority control on that is in doubt, the sentiment is not. Make sure to pack light-yet-warm clothes that you can stuff into a knapsack during the day, and later don at night. it’s a gorgeous city, and you’ll want to walk it. Luckily, it’s not terribly large!

San Francisco is only seven by seven miles, but that area includes Gold Rush-era architecture, beautiful Victorians, breathtaking parks, pleasing urban parks , and lots of hills to trolley or walk. If you want to spend money here, it’s really easy–but if you like to travel a little lighter, and perhaps see the city as many of its residents do, then read on for a list of inexpensive and free activities in San Francisco (culled from an informal Facebook survey to ensure authenticity and from this writer’s experiences).

Of course the San Francisco Public Library is a must, but you may also want to visit the Prelinger Library: “an independent research library located in San Francisco’s South-of-Market neighborhood. It is open to anyone for research, reading, inspiration, and reuse.”

Prelinger Library
The library is primarily a collection of 19th and 20th century historical ephemera, periodicals, maps, and books, most published in the United States. Much of the collection is image-rich, and in the public domain. The library specializes in material that is not commonly found in other public libraries.”

Center for Sex and Culture Library
From the site: “The Center for Sex & Culture Library and Archive was born from, and is sustained by, donated collections of books, magazines, journals, zines, comics, dissertations, works of art, videos, memorabilia, and the personal papers of key members of the community. The collection is unique in the world in its dedication to collecting and preserving information about sex as we have known it, do know it, and continue to learn about it, worldwide.”

The Library at the Interval
A crowd curated collection dedicated to long-term thinking is one reason to visit, another is the original artwork by Brian Eno, their 10,000 year clock, or if you are thirsty, their coffee by day and cocktails by night.

Night Life

One of the best drag clubs around! See great themed musical reviews in a club that is LGBTQ and hetero friendly.

Empress of China
While this is not free, the happy hour on the rooftop cocktail lounge (with views of Nob Hill, Coit Tower, North Beach, and more) offers 50% off drinks from 3:00 to 6:00.

San Francisco Ghost Hunt
Ever wanted to go looking for ghosts? Maybe San Franciscan ghosts? The SF Ghost Hunt is relatively inexpensive ($20 a person) and offers not only a chance to check out what goes bumping around in the evening, but also offers a great way to see the city.

We’re adding more and more things to do and know on the YALSA wiki all the time. Be sure to bookmark it and keep checking back!

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4. 2014 AES Convention: shrinking opportunities in music audio

Checking the website for the Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention in Los Angeles, I took note of the swipes promoting the event. Each heading was framed as follows: If it’s about ____________, it’s at AES. The slide show contained nine headings that are to be a part of the upcoming convention (in no particular order because you start at whatever point in the slide show you happened to log-in to the site).

  • Archiving & Restoration
  • Networked Audio
  • Broadcast & Streaming
  • Product Design
  • Recording
  • Project Studios
  • Sound for Picture
  • Live Sound
  • Game Sound

The list was interesting to me on many levels, but one significant one that struck me immediately was the absence of mixing and mastering (my main areas of work in audio). A relatively short time ago almost half of these categories did not exist. There was no streaming, no project studios, no networked audio and no game sound. So what is the state of affairs for the young audio engineering student or practitioner?

Yamaha M7CL digital live sound mixing console left half angled
Yamaha M7CL digital live sound mixing console left half angled. CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Interestingly, of the four new fields mentioned, three of them represent diminished opportunities in the field of music recording, with one a singular beacon of hope.

Streaming audio represents the brave new world of audio delivery systems. As these services continue to capture more of the consumer market share they continue to diminish artists ability to earn a decent living (or pay an accomplished audio engineer). A friend of mine with 3 CD releases recently got his Spotify statement and saw that he had more that 60,000 streams of his music. His check was for $17. CDs don’t pay as well as vinyl records used to, downloads don’t pay as well as CDs, and streaming doesn’t pay as well as downloads (not to mention “file-sharing” which doesn’t pay anything). Sure, there may be jobs at Pandora and Spotify for a few engineers helping with the infrastructure of audio streaming, but generally streaming is another brick in the wall that is restricting audio jobs by shrinking the earning capacity of recording artists.

Project studios now dominate most recording projects outside the reasonably well-funded major label records and even most of that work is done in project studios (though they might be quite elaborate facilities). Project studios rarely have spots for interns or assistant engineers so they provide no entree positions for those trying to come up in the engineering ranks. Not only does that limit the available sources of income, but it also prevents the kind of mentoring that actually trains young engineers in the fine points of running sessions. Of course, almost no project studios provide regular, dependable work or with any kind of benefits.

Networked audio systems provide new, faster, and more elaborate connectivity of audio using digital technology. While there may be opportunities in the tech realm for engineers designing and building digital audio networks there is, once again, a shrinking of opportunities for those aspiring to making commercial music recordings. In many instances, these networking systems allow fewer people to do more—a boon only to a small number of audio engineers working with music recordings who can now do remote recordings without having to be present and without having to employ local recording engineers and studios to complete projects with musicians in other locations.

The one bright spot here is Game Sound. The explosive world of video games is providing many good jobs for audio engineers who want to record music. These recordings have become more interesting, higher quality, and featuring more prominent and talented composers and musicians than virtually any other area of music production. The only reservation here is that the music is intended as secondary to the game play (of course) and there is a preponderance of violent video games and therefore musical styles that tend to fit well into a violent atmosphere. However, this is changing with a much broader array of game types achieving new levels of popularity (Mindcraft!).

I do not fault AES for pointing to these areas of interest for audio engineers (other than the apparent absence of mixing and mastering). These are the places where significant activity, development, and change are occurring. They’re just not very encouraging for those of us who became audio engineers because of our deep love of music and our desire to be engaged in its production.

 Headline Image: Sound Mixing via CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay

The post 2014 AES Convention: shrinking opportunities in music audio appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. You’re Invited to Bring It to YALSA’s 2015 Symposium! (OR Bringing it Together in Portland, 2015 OR Let’s Bring It Together at YALSA Symposium 2015)

Every day, you find ways to connect teens with the resources they need and want. Now it’s time to share your experiences and ideas with librarians, educators, researchers, young adult authors and other teen advocates at YALSA’s first expanded symposium.

YALSA is currently seeking program proposals and paper presentations for its 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium, Bringing it All Together: Connecting Libraries, Teens & Communities, to be held Nov. 6-8, 2015, in Portland, Ore.

The 2015 theme addresses the key role of connection that librarians have for the teens in their community.

Today’s 21st century teens have unique needs and face significant challenges that they cannot deal with successfully on their own. Library staff are uniquely positioned to help teens by not only connecting them to resources in the library and their hometown, but also to resources from affinity communities that thrive online. How can library staff connect with partners, provide programming, enhance collections, and help teens build both print and digital literacy skills so that they can be successful in the future? How can library staff connect with colleagues to form personal learning networks, increase impact and tell their stories? Join YALSA as we explore how to connect teens to their community and beyond.

Programs will cover the entire spectrum of topics related to providing services for and with young adults, including readers’ advisory and maintaining young adult literature collections. YALSA is seeking proposals in the following categories:

  •    Programming
  •    Collections
  •    Digital and Print Literacy
  •    Youth Participation
  •    Spaces (physical and virtual)
  •    Partnering/Collaborations

YALSA invites interested parties to propose 90-minute programs centering on the theme, as well as paper presentations offering new, unpublished research relating to the theme. Applications for all proposals can be found http://www.ala.org/yalsa/yasymposium . Proposals for programs and paper presentations must be completed online by Dec. 1, 2014. Applicants will be notified of their proposals’ status by Feb. 1, 2015.

Get your proposal in soon and let’s connect in Portland in 2015!

-YA Services Symposium Marketing and Planning Task Force

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6. Island-Hopping with a Sketchbook

Okay, I promise, I'll stop banging on about Brazil soon. But, the thing is, I haven't even mentioned the boat trip (what on earth is going on with my knees below..?):

It was Brenda's idea - she's the kind of person who gets things done. She organised us all, then pep-talked us into it again, when we saw the cloudy weather that morning and started to dither. Here she is, in the red, as we make our way to the pier and the little boat we hired. Well done Brenda!

Because it was a wonderful idea. Despite the lack of sunshine, it was still warm enough to sit up on the top of the boat and sketch together, as beautiful scenery glided by. 

The sea was peppered with pointy islands. It was incredibly restful. 

We anchored just a small way from a tropical island and the more gung-ho members of the party jumped off the boat. A few of us swum all the way to the island. Then our captain rowed the others across to join us. We saw blue butterflies the size of your hand and bright red crabs scuttling on the rocks. A spotty fish came to investigate my toes... Bliss.

The next island we visited had a little bar cum cafe - we didn't swim to this one, but were ferried in shifts in the dingy, so I was able to take a sketchbook. 

I had an odd but delicious sandwich, deep-fried (!), then sat next to my mate from New York, Mark Leibowitz, drawing the view with the boat, above.

The sandwich lady had two little dogs which sat doe-eyed beside each of us in turn (you can see Mark studiously ignoring their pleas). I think it was Brenda who turned out to be the soft-touch (I gobbled mine down - no sharing!). 

We started back shortly after that, because the weather was getting worse. Instead of idling along, we picked up the pace, so it started to get chilly. 

Undeterred we sketched on: 

We piled on what little clothes we had with us (which is why, once again, I donned my fetching bag-lady look):

I was sketching in two different books, both home-made. One from ages ago, my first foray into sketchbook binding, but also one of the concertina books I made not long ago. It was perfect for folding out so I could draw bigger (although I had to hang on to it tight, once the boat really got going):

We made it back to shore before it rained and, as soon as we were stationary, it wasn't even that cold.

We found time on our walk back to do a quick throw-down of the sketchbooks, to get a proper look at what everyone had done:

I hope you appreciate how brave I am being in putting up that photo - what DO I look like? The pink T-shirt was meant for swimming, in case the sun was out: even I wouldn't deliberately match pink and orange!

We had a lovely time and, just like in Rio, it was great to spend several hours with a small group of friends, sketching together, getting to know one-another better and sharing a special experience. Thanks again Brenda. Good one.

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7. Getting Ready For Annual 2015 – It’s Never Too Early

The YALSA Local Arrangements Committee is super excited that ALA15 will be in San Francisco. We hope you’re looking forward to coming to the city by the bay and would like to offer some tips on how to make that happen!

First things first: secure your conference registration. If your supervisor needs a gentle nudge to offer support, ALA has some tips for you.

Additionally, the programs that YALSA sponsors will undoubtedly keep you on the leading edge of your profession. Other perks like free and cheap books, unparalleled networking, and vendor discounts may sway your supervisor.

Next, get funded! If your library can support you going to the conference but can’t justify the financial support, here are a few tips to get some assistance:


“F Special – San Francisco – 2013″ by scottloftesness is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Lodging in San Francisco can be on the pricier side, and hotel rooms can be on the miniscule side. Luckily, you’ll be spending your time out and about at both the conference and the amazing sights that SF has to offer. To save, use the YALSA confererence wiki (which we will be adding to all year) to find a roommate. Sites like VRBO.com and Airbnb.com can lead you to find interesting places that you can share with a group. Another lodging option is to commute like the rest of us and stay in the East Bay, as Oakland and Berkeley are just a 30-minute BART ride away.

Speaking of BART, San Francisco’s public transportation is a great way to save on your expenses. BART runs from both SFO and the Oakland International Airport (where you may find cheaper flights) and you will definitely not need a car while in San Francisco. Streetcars and buses are convenient and offer a unique look at our city.

In the coming months, we’ll be sharing more tips on how to make ALA15 the best conference experience, offering suggestions for food, activities, and more. We look forward to seeing you there!

Sarah Levin

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8. One Adventure Ends, as Another Begins...

Sadly, the 5th Usk symposium had to come to an end eventually (sigh), but we went out with a bang. After Saturday afternoon's sketchcrawl...

...I had a wash and brush up, ready for the evening's party. It was another really late one for those of us who just didn't want it to end, as well as for the Brazilian organisers, like Eduardo and Fernanda, who were just so relieved that it had all gone so well and could finally relax. We danced the night away!

And then people began drifting off home. So many goodbyes! On Sunday, I felt quite melancholy as I sat alone, painting this picture:

But, I needn't have worried: it was only a pause in the action. 

The next morning, I packed up my gear and left Paraty (although those stones did their level best to stop me):

But I wasn't headed home just yet. I got a bus (an extremely comfortable bus, as it happens) bound for Rio, with my sketch-buddies Liz, Esther and Suhita. It took over 4 hours, but we chatted the time away to nothing.

When we got there, we quickly checked into our hotel and then immediately got ourselves back out, on a mission to meet up with a few more sketches who'd arrived the day before.

The others were already set up and sketching, right in the city centre. There was just enough light left for one street sketch, surrounded by bustle and noise and cars and buses and traffic police... and mosquitoes, who immediately set about my exposed ankles. You can just spot me in the photo below, doing the drawing above, if you look carefully:

Then we hit a very posh cafe lined with MASSIVE mirrors. I copped out a little, by not attempting to capture the reflections of reflections of reflections:

We ate and sketched, until finally even I began to wilt.

But after a night's sleep, we were ready to start all over again. We met up with even more sketchers and embarked on an extraordinary day of sketching high up in the air, on Sugarloaf Mountain. But that's another story...

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9. I visited a children’s book conference in the North of...

I visited a children’s book conference in the North of Michigan this past weekend and spent most of it sketching and listening. I’m not going to review the conference, but I’ve posted a few of the sketches I did (mostly of speakers but some audience members). You can also see the layout of my portfolio things which were on display during the weekend.

I really should mention though, that I did really enjoy painting in a butterfly garden (the watercolour & ink above) and getting to know a few really awesome people. 

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10. Afraid of Colour? - Afraid of Water?!

So, I thought I'd tell you a bit about the Afraid of Colour? sketching workshops I ran for the Urban Sketchers Symposium, in beautiful Paraty. Things were rather more dramatic than I'd anticipated... 

Even before I left the UK, the weather forecasters were saying that my first and main teaching day was going to be dreadful weather. They predicted heavy rain and they weren't wrong. I had one 3.5 hour workshop first thing and another all afternoon. My allocated spot was lovely -a grassy area by the harbour, with colourful boats...

...and the lovely houses we found all over the historic area, with brightly coloured windows and doors. I guided my group there on Thursday morning and found a nice shady spot under a tree, where we sat on the grass. 

I briefed them in and did a very quick demo of using colour before line (you can read more about the specific exercises of the workshop in my post about the dry-run I did in Sheffield): 

People had just got settled and begun painting when it started - huge raindrops. One, two... then, all at once, a deluge!  

We were SO lucky. I was one of the few instructors whose workshop spot had a rain bolt-hole. There was a lot of flapping and squealing and scrabbling around, gathering up gear, but we all made it under the cover of the empty fish-market before any damage was done.

It was a bit grubby, but housed us all easily and we had views out, so that was fine. 

All around us the rain came down and thunder boomed above our heads. It all added a certain drama and we had a great time. It was a lovely group. The 3 exercises went well and I briefed in the last one with a slightly longer demo piece:

I had been slightly concerned about having enough time, because of wanting to do 3 different exercises, but my spot was so close to the Casa da Cultura (the symposium's base-camp) that we got there in a couple of minutes, so I even had a little time left over at the end of the workshop and squeezed in an impromptu demo of how to use the watercolour pencils, by drawing one of the group Ievgen:

He was one of the symposium's sponsors, from PenUp:

At the end, we took this lovely group shot. Big smiles all round. Excellent.

After lunch, I met group number 2 back at the Casa de Cultura. But as soon as we got outside, we realised we had a problem. Though my spot was just around the corner, there was no crossing the road - it was like Venice!

Now, we had already noticed that Paraty has an unusual relationship with the tides. The streets are all created from huge stones and dip in the middle, enabling the sea to flow in and out. This would originally have been a great way to clean the streets twice daily.

This is more how it usually looks at high tide, an easy paddle, with crossing places at high points:

But that day there was a freak, extra-high tide and things went a bit crazy. All the instructors were in the same boat, trailing crocodiles of sketchers down the narrow pavements, trying to find a way to get to where they needed to be:

It took my group about 15 minutes and in the end involved us walking along the top of a narrow harbour wall, an inch under-water in places, with sea either side! The sky was about to burst again, so we headed back to the fish market. I did my quickie demo again, then people got painting. A few worked out on the grass, but we suddenly realised: the water was still rising and they were now cut off from the rest of us!

They paddled through to join us before things got worse but, 5 minutes later, we saw it was STILL rising and was about to inundate the floor of the fish market. So the whole group had to paddle back out onto the grass again, where we finished the workshop on our own island. 
Some people were fretting about ever getting back to civilisatiion! It was all a bit distracting, but I soldiered on, knowing the tide would go back out eventually. Luckily it wasn't raining, but it was now really windy and we were all freezing (dressed for Brazil, not Sheffield!!).

As soon as we were able, we got ourselves into a cafe to warm up. It was a slightly ragged end to the workshop, but quite an experience all round. Luckily my Saturday morning slot was normal - nice, sunny, Brazil weather, no floods:

Thank goodness. It was so lovely to sit out on the grass to brief everyone in and do my quickie-demo:

I had some really lovely feedback from people about the workshop and the handouts I'd created so, despite a certain amount of interesting adversity, in the end I think it was all a big success. Phew. 

Here I am with my 'sunshine' group: 

Thanks to everyone who opted for my workshop (you always fret that nobody will...). I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did and picked up at least something from my package of colour tips. I miss you all!

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11. Tales from the Lead-Up to the Symposium

Today is my last day in the studio for nearly 2 weeks: I am off on a book-tour trip to Spain. There is so much exciting stuff happening at the moment! I will of course tell you all about that when I get back but, in the meantime, I still have plenty to tell you about my extraordinary time in Brazil.

The historical centre of Paraty, where this year's Usk Symposium was based, was a lovely, calm place and very pretty, so perfect for sketching. 

There was quite a lot of variety to draw too. I had a full day to get my bearings before the symposium, so I decided to use one of the concertina sketchbooks I made recently to record my day and what I could see as I walked around.


You can see the first couple of sections more clearly - the sketches of the church and the vultures - in my first symposium post. That was my morning, pottering around, sitting down beside other sketchers, or wherever caught my interest. 

At lunchtime, we found a brilliant little self-service place, where you paid by the weight of food eaten - a rather novel and very handy idea. We ate there almost every day and more and more sketchers joined us each time until, on the last day, you couldn't move for urban sketchers:

In the afternoon, I sat on a doorstep to draw this wonderful church across the Praca da Matriz, half-obscured by trees dripping with vines and covered in epiphytes. Unfortunately for me, the woman in the house behind me was doing her cleaning... 

I was suddenly enveloped in a cloud of dust and muck that she swept through a gap under her front door. Bits in my eyes, bits in my mouth... it also filled my paint palette. And then, just a few minutes later, I was sprayed with water from a passing van's windscreen washer. A rather eventful half hour! 

There were quite a few work-horses in Paraty. Some were pulling carts, but this one was for tourists, with a trap. He was unsure of me, because of the eye-flaps, which meant he could hear and smell me, but not see what I was up to, so I tried to be as quick as I could. 

In the evening we did 'drink and draw' sessions, first in a little bar and then at a restaurant. These are a regular feature at symposiums. We all go out together and draw each other across the table. It's great fun and much better than photos when you are looking back. We often pass the books round, so people can add their names to the drawings of themselves - it's a good way of remembering people's names:

Okay, that's all for now, but I have plenty more, which I will set up to publish while I am away. I still haven't told you about my workshops, the flood (!) or my trip to Rio. Watch this space!

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12. 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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13. 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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14. 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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15. 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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16. 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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17. 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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18. 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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19. 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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20. 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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21. 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


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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22. 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.


Bahama Breeze
El Segundo Sol
Gordon Biersch
Herbs & Rye
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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23. 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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24. 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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25. 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.


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.”


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.”  


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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