Everybody has a different conference experience. Some folks run around from event to event and class to class, while others peruse the exhibit floor to learn about new releases, meet authors, and get up to date on the latest technology. Some folks are die-hard book cart drill team fans, and others are inspired by the words of the leaders in our field. But one thing united all of these choices of activities: you could find someone else from ALSC wherever you went!
My own Annual started this year with a quick train ride from NYC, and I soon arrived at the ALSC Happy Hour that was held at Gordon Biersch, right down the street from the Convention Center. While I wish I could have attended the pre-conference “Drawn to Delight”, enough ALSC-ers at the happy hour had attended and were more than happy to fill me in on the day’s events. One of the reasons I like attending the social events that ALSC offers, is because it allows me to chat and network with people who I might not otherwise meet. Members of the ALSC Board were there as well, and were more than happy to answer any questions about the organization, which is always a helpful thing!
The next day I hit the exhibit floor, and then attended the President’s Program offered by our sister organization AASL on Leading the Transformation of Education for the 21st Century. Allison Zmuda led us in an interactive examination of our own work, the new AASL standards, and the mission statements of our schools. I always find sessions like this inspiring, not only because I walk away with some tools to bring back with me, but because I recognized some best practices that are already happening in my library!
Of course I had my own committee work to attend to as well. On Sunday morning I met up with the rest of the Library Service to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers Committee to fine tune our work for the coming year and to welcome our new chair.
I do have to say that the absolute highlight of my conference was attending the Newbery Caldecott Awards Banquet on Sunday night. This was the first time I attended, and what an adventure it was! A room filled with people who are in love with children’s books as much as we are! A mix of publishers, authors and library types were in the room, and the overwhelming feeling of the place was one of celebration and joy. The speeches of Jerry Pinkney and Rebecca Stead (not to mention those of Thom Barthelmess, Rita Auerbach, and Katie O’Dell) were both touching and inspiring.
These are some of my highlights of the 2010 ALA Annual Conference. What are some of yours?