ALA Annual 2011

Annual in New Orleans: A Student-to-Staff Perspective

Since September of last year, I have been ALSC’s awards intern. It was a pleasure to continue my work with ALSC as their Student-to-Staff volunteer at Annual Conference. As a first-time Annual attendee and visitor to the Big Easy, I had no idea what to expect. There were many times when I was overwhelmed, such as the first time I stepped into the Exhibition Hall that housed over 900 exhibitors. But there were also many great moments.

In between greeting and distributing surveys, I had the chance to listen to seven, unique ALSC workshops. During these workshops, I had the opportunity to hear panels that included many talented individuals–including best-selling authors and illustrators, book and media award winners, and an expert in the field of autism. All aspects of the ALSC workshops I attended were enjoyable, but some of the highlights included: Pat Mora’s poetic way of speaking; Carla Killough McClafferty’s description of waking up at Mount Vernon and seeing the same sunrise that George Washington saw over two-hundred years ago; Ingrid Law’s advice that when you can’t write well, keep writing poorly and, eventually, good things will come; and discovering Cynthia Lord’s touching book about a sister who has a brother with autism.

In addition to the workshops I attended, I was also an attendee at the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet, which was one part of Annual Conference that was exactly as I expected: fabulous. I have never heard a speech as honest as the one given by Caldecott Medal winner, Erin E. Stead. Newbery Medal winner, Clare Vanderpool’s, speech offered humorous and anecdotal stories about growing up in the Midwest, which, being from Iowa (cue: applause), is something I can relate to. Wilder Medal winner, Tomie dePaola, left me with an image of a charming, four-year-old, tap-dancing and singing Tomie.

Altogether, Annual Conference was a positive experience that I would not have been able to be a part of without the support of the American Library Association and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Thank you to ALA, UWM, and ALSC!

Our guest blogger today is Allison Payne, MLIS student at the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at

One comment

  1. Lisa

    I’m a past student-to-staffer. It’s a great program! If you’re a library school student, find out how your university chooses its student-to-staff representative and try to get involved for next year’s conference. If you are assigned to assist ALSC, so much the better! 🙂

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