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…

ALA Annual 2017

#alamw17 Publisher Previews

My main activity at ALA Midwinter Meeting today was two publisher previews – Scholastic and Boyds Mills Press.  The second one fed me lunch, which was much nicer than waiting in line for high-priced fast food. Even more than the books previewed, the sessions were a nice chance to talk with more children’s book people whom I haven’t seen since the last conference or to make new connections. It’s gotten where I love the world of ALSC – These are my people! A lot of the faces I’ve seen many times before.  Perhaps after awhile we’ll remember exactly when and where we met — but I know they’re children’s book folks, and thus my people! As for books — It sounds like it’s going to be another good year!  I liked that Wendy Wan-Long Shang and Madelyn Rosenberg wrote a book about a boy who is half Jewish and half Chinese…

ALA Midwinter 2017

#alamw17 Scholastic Literary Event

This morning’s Scholastic Literary Event spotlighted some fantastic middle grade fiction. Four authors were there to present readings from their newest books: Gordon Korman, whose newest book, Restart, looks at a bully who’s lost his memory and is finding he’s a very different person – if everyone around him will let him be. Natasha Tarpley, whose novel, Harlem Charade, blends mystery and art, with a protagonist who’s living on the streets and trying to find out what happened to his grandfather, who was attacked. Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang, whose novel, This is Just a Test, takes an often hilarious look at a Chinese-American Jewish boy in the early 1980s, who’s worried about nuclear war and his two warring grandmothers. Each author gave a brief talk, introduced his or her book, and, in a fun departure from the usual author readings, engaged the other authors in creating a little…

ALA Midwinter 2017

Enjoying the Small Moments at #alamw17 on Saturday

There are so many amazing things going on during Midwinter that it can be overwhelming! I’m learning to accept the fact that I can’t turn into Hermione with her time-turner. I would love to be in multiple places at once. Because I know I can’t make it to everything on my schedule, I’ve been prioritizing a few sessions and otherwise going with the flow. Yesterday that led to some really great moments and conversations! A snapshot for you: I attended the Bloomsbury, Disney, HarperCollins, Macmillan Book Buzz, as well as the Penguin Young Readers Book Buzz sessions. What could be greater than hearing publishers share what they are most excited about in their new lineup of titles? The enthusiasm and insight they provide on the authors, illustrators and stories is always incredibly helpful. After a session I talked with a really nice school librarian near me about collection development in…

ALA Midwinter 2017

Art vs. Crafts at #alamw17

I just posted about a program I attended at ALA Midwinter Meeting about Creativity brought into the library using an Open Art Studio approach. They talked at length about how doing Art is not the same thing as doing crafts. This was somewhat ironic timing, because I had just spent an hour at a program called “DK Maker Break.” DK was promoting a new book coming out called Out of the Box about making things from cardboard. We all made owls. Now, I had a lot of fun, and the book is packed full of ideas and projects. But — I could really see the point that was going to be made in the next session I attended. First, I could easily see that my owl wasn’t very “good,” especially compared to the examples we were shown. Even compared to the people next to me making owls. My conclusion: I’m…

ALA Midwinter 2017

Planes, Trains, and History in the Making #alamw17

I, Too, am America What an amazing weekend it has been, and it’s only half over! First, the country witnessed  the presidential inauguration on Friday.  All politics aside, it is a touchstone event in our nation’s history. I haven’t missed viewing an inauguration since Carter (it is within the realm of possibility that  I saw Nixon and Johnson’s, too)  Anyway,  /while I was waiting at the gate  at the airport, I was able to catch the vice presidential and presidential oaths of office before boarding my flight to Atlanta. Being able to   And, as per usual, there were plenty of librarians on the plane.  Oh, and Packers fans.  Lots of Packers fans. Someone said something about a football game on Sunday.   This afternoon, I had the opportunity to ride the train. It is probably can best be described as an adventure (or at least fodder for an amazing story)…

ALA Midwinter 2017

#alamw17 The Creative Edge

My first afternoon session today was run by two people from Avon Public Library in Connecticut, “The Creative Edge: How One Small Library Is Leading the Way in Creative Arts Programming.” Mary Fletcher’s official title is Creativity Specialist.  She has been in charge of a program where they have brought the arts into the library. Arts are not crafts.  Art is an open-ended process.  Art has no planned product.  Art is open-ended.  Art has no adult sample to copy.  Art can be spontaneous. A pre-planned craft can discourage creative choices. The presenters showed us many pictures from their Open Art Studio.  I liked the image of a wall covered with buildings made of paper.  No two buildings are exactly alike.  Together, they form a wonderfully diverse town. I was writing furiously.  I’ll include some good nuggets below: Art is guided by the child’s choices. When children are fascinated, they make…