ALA Midwinter 2015

Diversity: Special Needs at #alamw15

Lately, I’ve been investigating and thinking about ways we serve young people with special needs, and how it ties in with the heightened focus on diversity. At yesterday’s “Diversity Matters: Stepping It Up With Action!,” publishers and librarians engaged in a fascinating dialogue about practical ways we can include all voices. We should: hire more diverse staff; reach out to authors from underrepresented backgrounds; do targeted outreach; and develop partnerships with community organizations. But, as many audience members pointed out, our efforts should not only address race, culture, and sexual orientation, but should also include people with special needs. Here are a few highlights of special needs resources found/represented at #alamw15: *Remarkable Books about Young People with Special Needs: Stories to Foster Understanding by Alison M. G. Follos (Huron Street Press, 2013) *Children with Disabilities in the Library – an ALSC online professional development course. *Schneider Family Book Award, which…

ALA Midwinter 2015

How I Spent the Past Two Days of #alamw15

For the past two days I haven’t been live blogging.  Why? Because, I’ve been in award deliberations.  This year, I had the honor of serving on the GLBT-RT’s Stonewall Book Award Committee.   Starting last March, I began to receive a whole slew of books- ranging from Children’s/Young Adult, to Non-Fiction, to Literature, and was tasked (along with other committee members) to highlight books that held merit.  The award is the first, and most enduring award honoring the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience. This evening, we announced the Literature and Non-Fiction award and honor books- tomorrow morning we announce the winners in the Children’s/Young Adult category. Literature Winner: Prelude to a Bruise by Saeed Jones Literature Honor: The Two Hotels Francfort by David Leavitt Literature Honor: Bitter Eden by Tatamkhulu Afrika Literature Honor: Frog Music by Emma Donoghue Literature Honor: My Real Children by Jo Walton Non-Fiction Winner: Living Out Islam: Voices of Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Muslims by Scott…

ALA Midwinter 2015

ALSC Collection Management Discussion Group #alamw15

Hands down, my favorite part of an ALA conference is the ALSC Collection Management Discussion Group. Whether you select children’s books for your branch, a small military library, a school library, or an entire library system, you are welcome to join this open discussion group to talk about the issues unique to this part of librarianship.  Popular topics include comparing vendors, the challenges of collecting self-published books, how floating collections work at public libraries across the country, or how to deal with Common Core.  E-books? DVDs? Cataloging issues?  The topics run the gamut and are really vital to compare and discuss with people who are dealing with exactly the same issues. Like so many things in our division, finding colleagues to share the load is great for moral and for saving yourself the time & effort of re-inventing the wheel.  Join us!

ALA Midwinter 2015

Doin’ Business at All-Committee #alamw15

In my position at ALSC I work with many of the 60 committees that move ALSC forward. These committees range from the Membership Committee to the Advocacy & Legislation Committee to the Liaisons with National Organizations Committee. Each has its own function and purpose within the organization. Most of these committee came together this morning at the ALSC All-Committee meeting. When people ask me, “what do committees do?” I often point them the All-Committee session. This when committees come face-to-face to talk about the business of the association. They talk what’s happening in their libraries, how to connect with new members, how to best serve our current membership, i.e. the things that drive us as a profession. To do so, each committee reviews the ALSC Strategic Plan and evaluates whether their current/future actions fall within this document. I should also add a big shout-out to our virtual committees who meet…

ALA Midwinter 2015

#alamw15 LeVar Burton’s Words of Wisdom

A father reading to his daughter

Full of nostalgia from a Reading Rainbow childhood, LeVar Burton’s voice carried me away as he read his book The Rhino Who Swallowed A Storm. The story contains a lovely message of love and support from friends and families in a world of chaos. Levar wants to become a resource for children that face tragedy in honor of  one of his heroes, Mr. Fred Rogers. LeVar learned to use television as a part of a larger ministry devoted to making a better place for children. Fred Rogers also taught him to be true to himself.  LeVar said the “idea (for his new book) sprang from the headlines of the day.” He wanted to create a new myth about recovery from depression and anxiety caused by the world we live in. He felt that children didn’t have many examples or role models to help them deal with their feelings and fears. With the stigma that…

ALA Midwinter 2015

Guerrilla Storytime #alamw15

Ok, you guys, I am COMPLETELY re-engergized after attending this kinda unofficial (hence “guerrilla”) session where a whole group of fabulous children’s librarians came together in the Networking Uncommons to share storytime tips, tricks, songs, and a PARACHUTE!!! If you don’t know about guerrilla storytime, you can get more info about the movement from their site storytimeunderground.org . Guerrilla Storytime in the Uncommons at Midwinter was every day at 12 – look for it at the next conference or use the great resources on their website and get connected. I learned some really fun new songs and learned about Jbrary, a terrific songs resource.

ALA Midwinter 2015

Witches, Goonies, and Winnie-the-Pooh: Jason Segel at #alamw15

You know it’s going to be a cool conference when the first person you spot standing outside of McCormick Place is Jason Segel. I’d just hopped off the bus and there he was, hanging out before his talk! Way cool. Segel, an actor and writer, was this morning’s interviewee during the Auditorium Speaker Series. He talked about how his own childhood experiences with night terrors inspired his children’s book, Nightmares! (co-written with Kirsten Miller). “I dreamed witches were eating my toes.” Sounds kind of adorable? “It’s adorable if you’re the eater, not the eatee,” he quipped. He’s been writing since age 22, and is heavily influenced by Roald Dahl, Tim Burton, Goonies, and Labyrinth. While writing The Muppets screenplay, Segel re-read A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh for inspiration and to get in “kid brain” mode. Segel’s primary interest is exploring the human condition of always wanting to be something more, of…

ALA Midwinter 2015

ASCLA & Toon Books: Françoise Mouly on the Importance of Comics

Hello again, #alamw15 followers. Françoise Mouly just gave a very brief presentation on the importance of comics historically and now.  As she pointed out, comics are accessible to those of all literacy levels; for centuries pictures were the communication tools of the illiterate.  Françoise pointed out how the medium can be used in different ways.  Artists, such as Shaun Tan, have told entire stories without words (i.e. The Arrival), while those like Brian Selznick integrate the illustrations into their works, making them a vital aspect of the story (i.e. The Invention of Hugo Cabaret). The final point, and real highlight was a quote Françoise shared from her husband, Art Spiegelman- “good comics can be a gateway drug to literacy”. Good food for thought!