ALA Annual 2015

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. 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. Jump Back Paul: The Life and Times of Paul Laurence Dunbar by Sally Derby, illustrated by Sean Qualls One by Sarah Crossan Untwine by Edwidge Danticat The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin Fellow conference-goers, what books are making it into your carry-ons for the trip home?…

ALA Annual 2015

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…

ALA Annual 2015

Listening in at Notable Recordings at #alaac15

This afternoon, I got the chance to do something I have long wanted to do at an ALA Conference: I sat in on the Children’s Notable Recordings Committee meeting. Anyone is welcome to sit in and listen to the meetings as this committee discuss the nominated children’s recordings. The entire list of titles that the Committee will be discussing during the Annual Conference can be found online. Like Notable Books, the Notable Recordings discussion follows the CCBC Discussion Guidelines by introducing the book first, sharking positive comments, and then sharing concerns and criticisms. As the introduction, a committee member had determined a clip from the recording to be played for the entire committee. This might be part of a track on a music CD or a portion of an audiobook. It seems like committee members tried to choose a portion that would reflect strengths of the book (i.e. a particular…

ALA Annual 2015

Celebrating at #alaac15

This conference is all about the parties! See, having served on the 2015 Newbery Committee, the past few conferences have been all about work. At the 2015 Midwinter Meeting, my committee was locked in a room together most of the time and many of us departed for home soon after the award announcements were made. At this Annual Conference, we get the chance to come together again to celebrate all the hard work we did this past year. And it has been a blast (with more to come!).   Last night, Penguin (publisher of Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming) and Abrams (publisher of Cece Bell’s El Deafo) invited the 2015 Newbery Committee for a celebration of our Newbery Honor winners. As you can see above, they provided copies of the winning books for us and we had the opportunity for the authors to sign them. We were given a fabulous…

ALA Annual 2015

#guerrillastorytime at #alaac15

Literacy is not a luxury and that’s just what children’s librarians at the Guerrilla Storytime events are trying to profess when we gather to share ideas and learn from each other. The first Guerrilla Storytime of the 2015 Annual Conference happened this afternoon and I wanted to share a little taste of what it’s like: (Video taken by Abby Johnson at the Guerrilla Storytime event) Children’s librarians from all over the country gathered at the ALA Networking Uncommons to demonstrate storytime skill and activities, to share tips on managing storytimes, and to learn from each other at this grassroots event. While Guerrilla Storytimes happen at the ALA Annual and Midwinter Conferences, lots of librarians are making them happen at their state library conferences, too. The folks at Storytime Underground have created a Guerrilla Storytime toolkit that can help you bring this awesome training opportunity to wherever YOU happen to be!…

Blogger Abby Johnson

Valuing Choice This Summer

One of the activities we’re encouraging kids to do this summer is add to our Kids’ Choice book display. Not only is this a fun way to get kids involved with the library, but it’s a great way to show kids that we value THEIR choices for summer reading. Last week, Sarah Bean Thompson of the blog Green Bean Teen Queen posted about one of the toughest parts of the Summer Reading Club: seeing patrons devaluing the reading choices their kids are making this summer. Summer is a great time for kids to read what’s FUN for them, and it’s hard to see some adults telling kids that they need to read “at their level” or to put down the graphic novel and pick up “a real book”. If you see this at your library, you may want to keep some elevator pitches in your back pocket. Let adults know that reading…

Blogger Abby Johnson

Make Displays Work for You

In May, my library holds a huge annual pet fair. Technically, it’s a program run by our Reference Department and they cover all aspects of the program. But we love to help promote awesome programs our library is doing, especially family-friendly programs like the pet fair. One way we help promote the pet fair is by putting up a display of pet books starting a couple of weeks before the program. Not only does this help spread the word, but we know that families who attend the program are likely going to stop in the library… where they’ll see a display of books on a subject they’re sure to be interested in. Circ stats for the win! We’ve also put up a big display of art books when our local schools hold a reception at the library for their best art students (the art is displayed in the library for…

Blogger Abby Johnson

Unlocking Achievements in Summer Reading

We are constantly analyzing and tweaking our Summer Reading Club to make it easier and more fun for both patrons and staff. Last year, I talked about how we went “prizeless” and this year we’re taking it a step farther and giving out a free book to every child who finishes the Summer Reading Club (instead of plastic prizes or raffles). Having just one prize to hand out simplifies things immensely for my staff and a book is a great prize to encourage further reading. But then the question remains: what about those kids who want to do more? Certainly we will have some children who complete the Summer Reading requirements in June and look to us for more to do. Without handing out prizes all summer, what can we offer them to keep them occupied (and keep them reading!)? This summer, we’re going to try a card with additional “achievements…