ALA Midwinter 2014

Maintaining the Momentum of Midwinter

The Midwinter meetings in Philadelphia were abuzz with the activities and planning of committees, workgroups and any gathering, (scheduled or impromptu), of two or more ALSC members!  We are fortunate that our membership and our profession continue to not only keep pace with developments in the field, but initiate advancements for both our colleagues and our clientele.  Here are a few highlights:

  • The Joint Meeting with ALSC/AASL/YALSA currently chaired by AASL President, Gail Dickinson offers an opportunity to learn about projects and programs focused on youth.  Those in attendance agreed to contribute common talking points in defense of Net Neutrality.
  • The Morris Seminar, (chaired by Mary Burkey and Luann Toth) brought together ALSC members new to book discussion and paired them with vintage discussion leaders to hone their evaluation skills and practice articulating their opinions.
  • Priority Group Chairs Pabby Arnold, Rhonda Kasemodel Gould, Keira Parrott, Carol Phillips, Julie Roach, Kay Weisman, and Judy Zuckerman met early, (7 am sharp!).  In serving as the liaison between ALSC leadership and committee chairs, they discussed ways of streamlining, supporting, and enhancing committee work.
  • ALSC & Leadership is the place to put faces to all the names we see on articles and posts throughout the year and make “in person” contact with our colleagues from around the country. Committee chairs and any interested members come together to hear about activities and projects that are in planning or in progress.  Maria Salvadore announced Susan Roman as the winner of this year’s ALSC Distinguished Service Award. This session also provides a forum for brief remarks by candidates for ALA President and an update from the ALA Washington Office to alert us on issues affecting libraries service to youth. We were especially delighted that Dr. Donna Celano, co-author with Dr. Susan B. Neuman of Giving Our Children a Fighting Chance, was able to join us to present that research, and spark an excellent exchange of questions and answers from those present.  Indeed, there was such an interest in continuing the conversation that the Board decided to dedicate the next community forum to this topic.  Many thanks to chair Matt McLain and the members of the Early Childhood Programs and Services for their assistance and for the valuable list of resources they compiled for this event!
  • Meetings with the ALSC Executive Committee and the ALSC Board of Directors were lively and productive.  As always, members asked excellent questions and gave each issue their full consideration.  I am so grateful for their careful attention and commitment–and good humor–they are truly a wise and witty bunch!
  • The ALSC/REFORMA Joint Executive Committee also met to discuss joint projects and collaborations for the future including 20th and 25th Celebraciones for and expanding promotion of the Pura Belpre Award.
  • The All-Committee Meeting is one of my favorite events at Midwinter.  It is always so impressive to see the depth and breadth of the plans and activities of our committees and the innovative ways they are expanding their reach to membership and to our outside partners.
  • Of course, the Monday morning Youth Media Awards Press Announcement is the pinnacle of youth services activities at Midwinter!  And what a fabulous array of award winners there were. I am so proud of our committees, the winners, and the creators of these spectacular books, recordings and video that provide us with exemplary materials with which to do our jobs.  My congratulations to all!  (And many thanks to ALA’s Macey Morales for her herculean efforts that result in everything running so smoothly during this huge event.)
  • Monday evening’s, ALSC & YALSA Joint Membership Reception is always bittersweet.  It is that last chance to catch up with colleagues and relive the highlights of Midwinter, but it is also a time to say “good-bye till Annual”.  This year’s event was sponsored by 3-M Cloud which provided refreshments and door prizes, (including an iPad mini).
  • Finally, my very favorite part of Midwinter, (yes, even more so than the YMAs), is networking with fellow ALSC members–from an early morning breakfast with a library school student, to chatting with our new Emerging Leader, Soraya Silverman-Montano (who is also serving on our Local Arrangements Committee for Las Vegas), to stimulating conversations with cutting-edge colleagues on engagement and access with ever-evolving technologies. It is those encounters that leave me revved up and ready to get to work!

None of the above events and opportunities would have been possible without the efforts of the amazing ALSC staff.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

If you were not able to attend Midwinter, please know that we need and welcome your engagement through virtual committee work, submissions to ALSC publications, queries and contributions on ALSC-L, participation in our online communications via ALSC Community Forums, Facebook and Twitter and , of course, on this ALSC Blog!  The Board and the committees are exploring ways to involve ALSC members who are not assigned to committees in activities of the organization.  I would love to hear any ideas you, the membership, might have to that end.  Please email me you thoughts and/or suggestions at

We had great discussions and productive planning at Midwinter–stayed tuned for more developments!



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