Back from Chicago

As always, the ALA Annual Conference was fabulous. The events were fun and exciting, the programs were thought-provoking, and the exhibits were spectacular. Publishers were generous with free promotional tchotkes and advanced reader copies of upcoming books.

Belpré Celebración  Front row (L-R) Benjamin Alire Sáenz, David Díaz, Gary D. Schmidt, Sonia Manzano. Standing (L-R) Sandra Ríos Balderrama (co-founder of the Belpré Award), Lucia M. González (co-chair of REFORMA's CAYASC and past Belpré honoree), Denice Adkins (REFORMA President), Ana-Elba Pavón (Co-Chair of REFORMA's CAYASC), and Oralia Garza de Cortés (co-founder of the Belpré Award).

Belpré Celebración Front row (L-R) Benjamin Alire Sáenz, David Díaz, Gary D. Schmidt, Sonia Manzano. Standing (L-R) Sandra Ríos Balderrama (co-founder of the Belpré Award), Lucia M. González (co-chair of REFORMA’s CAYASC and past Belpré honoree), Denice Adkins (REFORMA President), Ana-Elba Pavón (Co-Chair of REFORMA’s CAYASC), and Oralia Garza de Cortés (co-founder of the Belpré Award)

The Pura Belpré Celebración was one of my favorite events of the conference. The authors’ acceptance speeches were emotional and left most of the audience in tears.  I highly recommend reading all three of this year’s winning titles. I bought multiple copies to give as gifts.

The session What’s Hot in STEAM Education provided practical information on improving literacy skills in traditionally underserved communities. I especially liked the idea of using building block parties as a way to promote narrative skills, build science vocabulary, and encourage teamwork.

Some of the most interesting conversations occurred outside of the formal presentations. While grabbing a snack at the hotel, I overheard a table of senior attendees discussing today’s limited use of descriptive vocabulary words, and its effect on reading skills. They also discussed Temple Grandin’s speech (which I wasn’t able to attend due to a scheduling conflict) and talked about ways Alzheimer’s patients might benefit from Grandin’s studies on thinking in pictures.

After a meeting, I stuck around the ballroom and chatted with a new acquaintance about ways to incorporate more movement activities into library programs, and how doing this might help us engage kinetic learners. We also brainstormed ways to incorporate dance into library STEM programs (or STEM into dance programs) by using movement activities to illustrate science vocabulary words such as velocity and gravity.

The ALSC Library Service to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers Committee met during the All-Committee meeting on Sunday morning. It was sad to say goodbye to members who finished their terms on the committee, but exciting to meet next year’s additions. The committee is responsible for selecting the winner of the  ALSC/Candlewick Press “Light the Way: Outreach to the Underserved” Grant. Please visit the ALSC website to learn how to apply.

 

Rebecca Hickman, Youth Services Librarian, Alvin Sherman Library, Research, and Information Technology Center at Nova Southeastern University.

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