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FaceTime with Rep. John Lewis at #alamw17

Representative John Lewis was signing March: Book 3 at 4pm on Sunday, and I wanted to be there!  I headed over to where he was signing and the line looked long. They were about to close it but I snuck in at the end. One swipe of a credit card later and the fabulous Ellen Myrick from Publisher Spotlight was handing me the box set of the books. The people in line bubbled and murmured with excitement to meet the real life hero.  Here is a picture of my moment:  I was (and still am) giddy with ALL THE FEELS after meeting him. Here is photographic proof: In true fan girl fashion, I waited with a group of people to watch him leave. Then my librarian husband and 2 year old son rang in with FaceTime. We were quietly chatting when around the corner comes JOHN LEWIS walking. I switched…

ALA Midwinter 2017

Sunday STEAM Learning #alamw17 

I attended two different STEAM related sessions today and learned a ton!  First I went to the Ignite Sessions. 6 different speakers each spoke for 5 minutes a piece with timed slides to keep them on schedule. I am so amazed people can make such strong points in 5 minutes, incredible!  Angiah Davis, a librarian with the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, spoke on “Engaging Youth With Steam”. My biggest takeaway from this talk was simple, but powerful. When working on STEAM programming Angiah advised reaching out to community partners. She has partnered with Home Depot to offer a kids building event, a harpist to offer harp lessons (every kid got a harp and learned a song) and had an African dance group teach dance. She recommended both Bill Nye and Science Bob’s websites for a plethora of other ideas too.  Author/Illustrator Brian Yanish also spoke during the Ignite Sessions about…

ALA Midwinter 2017

Welcoming rainbow families in your library #alamw17

I’m belatedly blogging about the incredibly valuable ALSC Mini Institute session on Friday, “Serving ALL Families in Your Library: Inclusive Library Collections & Programs for LGBTQ Families & Children,” presented by Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo (University of Alabama) and Megan Roberts (LGBT Center of Raleigh Library). Whether you know it or not, if you serve young people in your library this session is relevant to your work. In the US there are over 125,000 same-sex couples raising children, between 2-3.7 million children under the age of 18 growing up with an LGBTQ parent or parents, and LGBTQ families are present in 96% of counties, many in rural and suburban communities, not just major cities. There are also the legions of LGBTQ young people growing up everywhere around the country. For ease of discussion, Campbell Naidoo and Roberts used the term “rainbow families,” and I’ll do the same here. What do these…

ALA Midwinter 2017

Kwame Alexander at #alamw17

(I love Lisa Nowlain’s take on Kwame Alexander’s talk, by the way.  Mine feels much more inappropriately prosaic, but here it is.) I always love hearing Kwame Alexander talk.  His speeches are also poetry. He began by saying that we need to feel that we aren’t going backwards.  As Langston Hughes said, “But I don’t care, I’m still here!” What should we do? Remember:  We are the army! He read a poem using book titles.  Librarians, fire your cannons!  Books have a job to do and words plant seeds. He told about his work with kids in Ghana.  Books connect us to each other.  Books don’t segregate.  We do. What should we do? Remember.  Recognize.  Resist. You have to sing somewhere.  Words connect us all.  You’ll feel empowered if you lift your voice, wheher people listen or not. We’ve been here before.  This is just one more river to cross. …

ALA Midwinter 2017

The Importance of Metrics in Youth Services at #alamw17

How do we use metrics and quantitative data to express our value? Throughout this conference I have spoken with a variety of librarians from around the country (who work in a wide range of settings) about this very topic, and it seems like a question everyone is asking! This afternoon I attended a session sponsored by PLA titled “Managing with Data: PLAmetrics” that showcased different reports and filters, and it left me wanting more. (For more information check out http://www.plametrics.org) I want a more indepth conversation about metrics within our profession. As youth librarians, what data should we be collecting? What questions should we be asking? How can we band together and share this data so we can truly assess the impact our profession is having on our communities at large? Librarians serving youth have tremendously powerful anecdotal evidence of the impact we are making, but we are often missing the statistical…