ALA Annual 2018

Fun After Hours! #alaac18

While the sessions, exhibit hall, and committee meetings are invaluable to my experience of ALA Annual… there is a lot to be said for after-hours events and networking moments that happen spur of the moment just by looking up from your phone and connecting to someone for a few moments. Taking a conference bus, talking to people online, or saying hello to the table next to you at Starbucks can be a way to connect to another librarian! It is one of the most underrated and yet amazing experiences that can come from Annual! Lots of librarians seize on this by planning late-night dinners and social events– and one that had been popping up my twitter over the years was Drunk Story Time! To me that combined lots of things that I love– drinking, story time, and connecting to other librarians! And yet– it was so intimidating! @MelissaZD (twitter) or Mel’s…

ALA Annual 2018

A Night of Children’s Book Excitement #alaac18

I feel like a fancy librarian for attending the Newbery, Caldecott, and now- Children’s Literacy Legacy Award (YAY!!!) for all five ALAs that I have attended. I also felt fancy for wearing a giant sheer bow fascinator that was an instant conversation piece! But– this awards reception remains a staple for my conference (sorry wallet) because of the pure joy that is expressed there– something all the award winners and ALA/ALSC presenters reminded us over and over. So really, I attend for the glamour and speeches (although you can do this all for free by just sitting in the chairs on the sides after dinner!) As a librarian, I book talk daily– sometimes it even spills into my personal time with RA to my hair stylist, barista, and anyone who happens to cross my path. And as we all know– you may never know the impact of handing a book to a…

ALA Annual 2018

STEAM-y Library Programs at #alac18

You can’t be a children’s librarian today without being inundated with STEAM, STEM, STREAM requests from your admins, patrons, councilmembers, educators, and children themselves. It has been a buzzword for the last 10 years or so… but what does that actually mean at your library? I really liked this program because it talked about the theory and why of STEM and how we were already doing a lot of it and just additional framework for how we can think and talk about STEM as we develop programs and empower parents. As one presenter put it– we want parents to feel like they have achieved things and accomplished things! And then beyond the framework– there was a chance to interact and play with materials and PRACTICE discussing STEM questioning with ourselves and colleagues in the room. I mention that because as one of the presenters mentioned– this takes practice, there is no…

ALA Annual 2018

All about the mentors…#alaac18

ALA Annual is many things to me. The best time of year? yes! Librarian Christmas (or huge celebration?) Yes! Professional development? yes! Networking? Yes! Lots of decked out librarians in their finest cat or mermaid creations? Yes and yes and yes and yes! lol! But one thing that ALA Annual means to me is mentorship. When I was a wee librarian at my first ALA- now 5 years ago- I immediately signed up for a conference mentor through NMRT and I have been lucky enough to keep meeting with her years later! ALA is overwhelming… conferences are gigantic and jam-packed and even when you are not #alaleftbehind you can develop serious #FOMO when you are there! It is impossible to do everything, and you may or may not luck into doing just some of the things you wanted to do! So search out what interests you in the organization and…

ALA Midwinter 2018

Wrapping up my 1st Midwinter #alamw18

And… it’s a wrap! My first Midwinter experience is officially done! It’s been a super quick five days in Denver. I have had some highs– Bill Morris Seminar, talking storytime, attending my first council session, and many more; and some lows– icy streets, SNOW, way overpacked bags.But all in all, it was a wonderful and illuminating experience to attend the infamous Midwinter Conference. My takeaways: ~Midwinter is mostly meetings and there is not much program– but it is a chance to really get to know committees and what they do. There are also lots of OPEN meetings where you can just drop in and hear about a division or round table. ~Attendance is a lot lower at Midwinter– according to Council documents we were about a thousand people less than last year in Atlanta… and while that may be disappointing to vendors, it is a great opportunity to network! You see…

ALA Midwinter 2018

Youth Media Awards #alamw18

There are not many reasons to get up at 7 am on a Conference day when your first meeting isn’t until 10 am, but then, not every morning is the Youth Media Awards! For those of you not there… allow me to paint a picture. Denver is cold– and the streets remain a bit icy, but yet hoards of library people are up and about– you wouldn’t need to consult your Scheduler, just follow the herd of people to a packed room. The room was abuzz with people chatting about their favorite books of the year and the excitement over what books might win! I had to search for my friend and my saved seat, but it was nearly impossible with all of the excited people. Once I found her, we started discussing predictions and just general excitement over what was to come! Every year I read the results as they…

ALA Midwinter 2018

Local library love #alamw18

Conferences are so busy– and they keep you engaged for crazy long hours– that it is easy to forget that you are in a new city! I am always trying to be better at exploring the local scene when I travel to conferences– and this year is especially hard for me because I am right next to the Conference Center, and I hate the snow! But one thing I absolutely love and try to do is to see a local library in the city I am visiting. I love looking at the children’s rooms and collections and how they market and manage their spaces. Some of the cutest things from Denver Public Library main branch: This adorable play mailbox! I wanted to write my own letter and leave it! Or this little easel that allows young artists to practice- who may not be ready to stay seated- or able to…

ALA Midwinter 2018

Storytime Goddesses at #alamw18

  After my first ALA Annual, my friend, (shoutout Debby) said we had to join Twitter to connect with all the librarians and book people there! I signed up- and started all these wonderful library connections! Including hearing about really cool unofficial events– like a “Storytime Deep Dive” in the Networking Uncommons hosted by the amazing Mel (of Mel’s Desk!!!) She magnanimously hosted an informal storytime chat where children’s librarians and youth services team members got together to talk about storytime gripes and philosophies. It was really great to talk to children’s library staff from around the US- in the hour or two I sat there, we had a children’s librarian from Hawaii and one from Alaska! While I love fangirling to children’s authors and illustrators, it means so much more to sit down with people who write the blogs that I consult for storytime, programming, and general library ideas!…