I began my first day at #PLA2012 in beautiful Philadelphia with a much needed latte and bagel at Old City Coffee. Like probably many of my fellow attendees, I did not attend the pre-conference events, but started bright and early this morning with the general sessions and of course scouring the exhibit hall for the latest books and products.
It’s hard to distill just one or two big, important things from the sessions I’ve attended so far. There’s already so much swimming through my head, already two tote bags full of arcs, catalogs, business cards, swag, etc, and a third coming along nicely (how am I going to get this all back to my library?). I probably won’t fully digest most of this new stuff until I’m well at home, back at work, and ready to push towards the next big thing, or at least the next storytime. That said, here’s what’s sticking with me so far:
At this morning’s session on ECRR, the audience heard from three different libraries that have added early literacy stations, play areas, and other elements to their buildings. These elements emphasize the continued value of public spaces for all ages, and provide interactive, informal learning opportunities in the five areas of ECRR (talking, singing, writing, reading, and playing). Some of these libraries had serious funding and consultants, others just printed and lamenated their own in-house designs, or put amazing learning stations together on a shoestring budget. Either way, providing early learning opporunities to our youngest patrons, however we can, is so crucial and not as difficult as you think. I’m excited to take some of the ideas I saw at this session back to my supervisor.
This afternoon I heard the amazing and inspiring Kevin Henkes talk about the art and meaning of children’s books, and children’s knowledge and imagination. He also read from his fantastic new early reader, Penny and her Song.
More later on the new Muzzy, the cutest knitted fair trade finger puppets from Bolivia ever, the chaos that was the Reading Terminal Market, and the art of being vegan at a conference.