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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: ALA Annual 2015, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. I Left My Heart at ALA Annual

Around 8:00 a.m. PST on June 26th, 2015, I sat at a Starbucks, downing as much coffee as possible before my first day at ALA Annual began. As I anxiously flipped through Facebook, a theme spread like wildfire through every post: Marriage equality is the law of the land! Love wins! SCOTUS FTW! I could hardly believe my good fortune to be in what felt like the center of the universe for this landmark decision. Awestruck, I gathered up my things and headed to a 3.5-hour preconference: Rolling Out the Rainbow Carpet: Serving LGBTQ Communities. Later that same day, I heard Roberta Kaplan give the opening keynote speech. Two days later, I donned my rainbow regalia and watched the San Francisco Pride Parade.

In addition to all of that amazingness, my conference experience was made special in the following ways:

  • Attending a preconference. I gained so much in the way of programming ideas that the preconference practically paid for itself. Also, David Levithan magically appeared as part of a panel discussion and then signed books (squee!).
  • Fun, yet practical sessions. I learned the best strategies for approaching my manager with creative (read: far-fetched) ideas. I learned how to fearlessly weed print and digital materials. I learned how to fail gracefully and embrace “relentless optimism” (my new favorite phrase). I learned about the art in Caldecott winners and got a chance to apply that knowledge to upcoming contenders. All this, and more, were immediately applicable to my work.
  • The Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder banquet. Putting on a fancy dress and eating dinner with lovely individuals is great. What’s even better? Hearing Dan Santat and Kwame Alexander’s emotionally charged speeches, and then telling them that they made me cry a little bit. I also got to tell Dan Santat how, upon reading The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, I ran around my library showing everyone Beekle’s backside, saying “Look at his little butt! Look at it!!”
  • Meeting authors. Cece Bell referenced the movie Heathers while being unbelievably sweet. After I gushed effusively over I’ll Give You the Sun, Jandy Nelson told me she wanted to take me with her everywhere—especially while writing. Tim Federle told me that my necklace was “funsies.” Authors are rock stars, and I will unapologetically geek out over these interactions for the rest of my life.
  • Exhibit hall happenstance. While booking it around the exhibit hall, I screeched to a halt in front of the world’s coolest and most versatile LEGO-Train-Light-Tinker Toy Table. Not only were we in the market, but it even fit my library’s color scheme. Serendipitous! I sped down an uncrowded aisle only to see Raina Telgemeier sitting in a booth all by her lonesome. Magical! I came across my grad school’s booth and there was my advisor! And there were cookies!!  Exhibit hall happenstance: it’s a thing.

Before attending ALA Annual, I spent a lot of time researching it and getting advice from veteran conference-goers. The best piece of advice I got was to talk to everyone. Though extroverted, I am not always outgoing with strangers. But these are librarian-strangers—the best kind of stranger! By chatting with those around me, I managed to befriend people in libraries near my own (what are the odds?), learn major takeaways from sessions I’d missed, exchange business cards, programming advice, book recommendations, laughs, and hugs. Putting yourself out there is the best thing you can do.

Thank you so much to Penguin Young Readers Group and the award committee for allowing me the incredible opportunity to attend the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco.

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FullSizeRender

Photo courtesy of the guest blogger

Today’s guest blogger is Heather Thompson. Heather is a Children’s Librarian / eMedia Coordinator and science programming enthusiast at the Cook Memorial Public Library District. Heather was a recipient of the Penguin Young Readers Group Award.

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

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at [email protected].

The post I Left My Heart at ALA Annual appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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2. The Value of ALA Annual: Reflections from a First Time Attendee

This summer my husband and I packed up, threw a couple of dogs in our car, and moved from Texas to Massachusetts. I had resigned from my amazing job as an elementary librarian in Coppell, TX and accepted the Media Specialist position at Shrewsbury High School (just outside of Worchester, MA).   Our summer was spent looking for houses, attempting to understand the foreign language that is real estate, and playing Tetris with all of our belongings.   On the bright side, between packing, driving, and across country flights, I have finished a record number of audio books.

In the middle of all this, I flew to San Francisco for my first ALA Annual conference. I fortunately received a Penguin Young Readers Award, an award that is given to support 4 members of ALSC who have fewer than 5 years experience in the library to attend their first ALA Annual.  This experience may not have been a moment of calm amidst my chaotic summer, but it was a reinvigorating weekend that went beyond my expectations.

Conference attendance provides the important opportunity to increase your involvement in ALSC and ALA as well as network with colleagues. This is the core justification for my continued participation at ALA conferences. I am a member of the ALSC Membership Committee, and as a part of my commitment to this committee, I helped to organize the ALSC 101 event. I have had the opportunity to learn more about the division through the committee, but ALSC 101 helped to provide a greater understanding of opportunities for involvement within ALSC.

Each opportunity to work on a committee or volunteer in any way helps ALSC support library services to children. We are a passionate group of individuals and our voices carry weight within the world of libraries, children’s literature, and education. Take the opportunity to become involved.

Our community is a powerful resource for any librarian. I was able to speak with many others who work with children and teens in the library. There were also a number of sessions I attended about school libraries, STEM programming, and diversity.  This conference allowed me to take advantage of the wealth of experience from other conference attendees as I bring a stack of new ideas and perspectives to my library.

As I write this, I am one week away from my first day at a new school, with high schoolers for the first time, and across the country from everything I know. The conference was not a reprieve from my chaotic summer. In the span of 4 days, I attended my first Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Banquet, explored San Fransisco, watched an incredible city wide Pride celebration, met a number of phenomenal authors, snagged a few amazing ARCs for review, and hung out with some the coolest librarians I know. It was busy, it was crazy, it was fun, but most importantly it was transformative. My first ALA Annual gave me the confidence to take on my new role and the knowledge that there is a large community within ALSC and ALA to support my library, my students, and me.

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EmilyEmily Bredberg works as a High School Media Specialist in Shrewsbury, MA. She has spent the few remaining weeks of her summer reading and hiking through some of New England’s beautiful forests. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @BredbergReads.

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

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at [email protected].

The post The Value of ALA Annual: Reflections from a First Time Attendee appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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3. The party that was Caldecott

The place: San Francisco. The occasion: ALA Annual. The party: Caldecott. From January 2014 – January 2015, I studiously studied. I looked at over 500 picture books, and along with 14 other intrepid souls, decided which of those were the most distinguished. Our committee is incredibly proud of our list of books. And this year at ALA annual, we got to celebrate with the distinguished artists in the class of 2015.

At the banquet - photo by Angela Reynolds

At the banquet – photo by Angela Reynolds

Starting with a great street party for Melissa Sweet (which included yummy tacos & a baby shower), and then the next night a dinner with all 6 honor winners, followed the next evening by “Dinner with Dan”, and then Sunday  the Caldecott-Newbery-Wilder awards banquet, it was a wild and fun ride!

But it wasn’t just fine dining. At each of these events our committee got to have some quality time with the illustrators that we honored. And we felt honored to do that. Each one of them thanked us profusely. I can speak for myself only (though I have a feeling many of my co-committee members will be shaking their heads yes), but I felt like I should be thanking them for their work, for their contribution to children’s literature. In Dan Santat’s award acceptance speech, he said the Caldecott changed his life. I must say, it changed ours, as well, Mr. Santat. 15 people became fast friends, confidantes, cohorts, colleagues. We bonded over art, over time spent together, and yes, even tattoos. This great party we called San Francisco created memories to last a lifetime.

Beekle tattoo - photo by Angela Reynolds

Beekle tattoo – photo by Angela Reynolds

At the banquet, I was asked by Mac Barnett if serving on the Caldecott Committee was exciting as it sounds. I had to say a resounding yes to that. And you know what folks, only an ALSC member can do this. I’ve been a member for 21 years, and yes, I worked hard to get to a place where I could serve on this illustrious committee. But so can you. If it is your dream (as it was mine as a starry-eyed grad student), then work towards it. The rewards are immense, and they go far beyond a fancy cocktail dinner (though those are certainly nice, too). Thanks to all the publishers who wined and dined us, to all my committee members who opened my eyes to so many viewpoints, to the illustrators and authors who make amazing books, and to ALSC for being there to hold up children’s books as shining stars. Thank you all!

The post The party that was Caldecott appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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4. 2015 ALSC Book & Media Speeches Now Online

2015 Pura Belpre Award Winners

Winners of the 2015 Pura Belpre awards (image courtesy of ALSC)

The ALSC award acceptance speeches from the 2015 ALA Annual Conference are now available from the ALSC website. Speeches includes the winners of these 2015 awards:

Each of these is available as a downloadable PDF. For a full list of 2015 ALSC Book & Media Award winners please see the ALSC website.

The post 2015 ALSC Book & Media Speeches Now Online appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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5. Program-a-looza!

Last month’s ALA Annual conference saw the arrival of a mostly school-age sibling to Guerrilla Storytime and YA Smackdown.  On Sunday and Monday morning, Amy Forrester and Kahla Gubanich of the Denver Public Library and Multnomah County Library’s Danielle Jones gathered youth services librarians in the Networking Uncommons for a speedy discussion of easy, inexpensive programming for children from birth to age 12.

Program-a-looza circleAt Monday’s session, each participant offered an outline of a successful program, including crucial details such as accompanying snacks and the best ways to reuse old supplies.  (This is how I learned some Minecraft enthusiasts enjoy perler beads.  Thanks for the tip, Aaron!)  The Denver Public Library contingent plans lots of passive programs–including animal science activities and a spy training event–which may require a bit more set-up but can appeal to kids of all ages, last for hours, and be reused.  Danielle shared her preschool success with an Elephant and Piggie party featuring readers’ (or listeners’) theater complete with pig ears and elephant trunks.  Elementary-aged kids at my library have flocked to our annual Field Day: relay races, water balloon tosses and other outdoor games topped off with a watermelon snack.  Others mentioned older kids loving weeks-long shelfie competitions and Minecraft parties with origami, LEGOs, and the aforementioned perlers.

Look at all our great ideas for Emerging Reader Programs!

Look at all our great ideas for Emerging Reader Programs!

After a round of pre-proven ideas, we started a speed cycle of sticky-note brainstorming, scrawling suggestions and details to build on initial concepts.   In two-minute bursts, we raced through emergent reader programs, superhero suggestions, preschool computer classes, imaginative play programs, and more.  Check out convener Amy Forrester’s comprehensive list of the (legible) sticky notes for each theme on her blog.  And don’t worry if you missed last month’s program-a-looza; just come join the programming party at Midwinter 2016.

Robbin Ellis Friedman is a Children’s Librarian at the Chappaqua Library in Chappaqua, NY, and a member of the ALSC School Age Programs and Services Committee. Feel free to write her at [email protected]

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6. Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet Videos

The award acceptance videos from the 2015 Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet are now available. These speeches took place at the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. Below are the three videos from each of the winners. You can also watch the video of the full banquet (running time 1 hour 45 minutes 54 seconds). Enjoy!

Kwame Alexander – Newbery Speech

Dan Santat – Caldecott Speech

Donald Crews – Wilder Speech

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

Sonia Manzano

Sonia Manzano, Auditorium Speaker

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

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

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

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

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

The post Empathy and Oscar the Grouch: Sonia Manzano #alaac15 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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

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

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9. Library games at #alaac15

Library games at #alaac15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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10. #alaac15 Caldecott/Newbery Reception

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The post #alaac15 Caldecott/Newbery Reception appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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11. My Top Transforming Takeaways from #alaac15

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

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

Angela Chadbourne
Youth Services Librarian
Santa Clarita Public Library

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12. Gratitude

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Takeaways from this year:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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14. Somewhere over the Rainbow

It was a wonderful time to be in San Francisco. Libraries, a cultural embodiment of inclusion and acceptance, happily shared in the celebrations honoring equality. In this past year, with our focus on diversity in all its aspects, materials, services and our own ranks, it was particularly fitting that we would be at the center of this latest piece of good news. Rainbows were everywhere.

I am struck again and again by the passion of our members. Library work is more a calling than a profession and in this digital age, our work is more vital and less understood. In my presidential year, I was particularly gratified that children’s librarians are embracing their role in helping families determine how and what media to use to help children learn and thrive. The leadership discussion of the ALSC white paper on media mentors was a highlight of the conference for me. The awards ceremonies are always grand and I am always impressed with our members desire to discover the best of the best of what is published for children each year.

My president’s program, MORE TO THE CORE, focused on the premise that excellent informational books are created, loved and read with the same alacrity of our most loved fiction. Words and images combined to ignite imagination and inspiration continue to move the next generation to greater empathy and understanding of our world. We heard from both a creator, award winning illustrator and author Melissa Sweet and practitioner, RIF’s Judy Cheatham. Both speakers’ passion for great literature for children was evident and affirming.

Great books are at the root of children’s ability to understand and empathize with others. That ability gives us hope and moves us all forward to the better world we imagine. This June in San Francisco we were there as we moved a little closer together. I like to think there is a great children’s book waiting somewhere in the imagination of some child that will describe this time for others to remember, imagine and understand.

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15. #alaac15 Prescription for Reading Success

I attended the session “Early Learning in the Library: Tools, Partnerships, and Promising Practices” and was enthralled with the information presented by the guest speakers, who were grantees in the IMLS program. Since 2013, IMLS has funded $8.5 million in early learning projects in communities nationwide.

One of the most interesimls_rx_pad_imgting? A partnership that is brewing with the national organization Reach Out and Read. Pediatricians in the Reach Out and Read network routinely distribute books to babies during well visits – but the IMLS partnership looks to have pediatricians “prescribe” a visit to the library as well, so young families are encouraged to continue to read and share books with their young ones. Click here for more information, and to view the contents of the “Prescription for Success” toolkit.

 

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

The Pride Parade really made me a Nervous Nelly today!

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

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

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17. Managing Youth Services Innovators at #alaac15

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

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

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

For youth services employees seeking a change or new project:

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

For youth services managers seeking to motivate and support staff:

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

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

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

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18. Program-a-Looza at #alaac15

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

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

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

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19. U is for Ukulele

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

U is for Ukulele

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20. #WNDB: Talk to Action at #alaac15

Warning: paraphrase alert!

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21. Pura Belpré Celebración #alaac15

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

Highlights included:

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

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

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22. Babies Need Words Everyday at #alaac15

Warning: these are paraphrases!

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

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24. Winging My Way Back from #alaac15

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

Photo by Abby Johnson

Photo by Abby Johnson

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

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

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

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25. Weekend of celebration at #alaac15

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

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

Batchelder  [PDF – 652K]

Belpré  [PDF – 595K]

Caldecott  [PDF – 616K]

Carnegie  [PDF – 936K]

Geisel  [PDF – 1MB]

Newbery  [PDF – 2MB]

Sibert  [PDF – 1MB]

Wilder  [PDF – 1MB]

 Enjoy!

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