ALA Midwinter 2020

ALA Midwinter Planning Guide #alamw20

Can you believe we are less than two weeks away from ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia?! Have you had a look at the event scheduler to plan your days? There is so much going on, it can be a little overwhelming. Here are some sessions and meetings that will be of interest to youth librarians (all descriptions found on the Midwinter website).

ALA Midwinter 2020 logo

  • 2020 Notable Children’s Recordings Committee Meetings– Friday, January 24 8:30 am-4:00 pm, Saturday, January 25 8:30 am-5:30 pm, Sunday, January 26 1:30-9:00 pm
    • 2020 Notable Children’s Recordings Committee will discuss and evaluate children’s audio recordings to identify the best of the best produced in 2019. Conference attendees are invited to attend to observe the discussion which leads to selection of the Notable Children’s Recordings list which is widely used as a collection development resource. The committee looks for recordings for children 14 years of age and younger of especially commendable quality that demonstrate respect for young people’s intelligence and imagination; exhibit venturesome creativity; and reflect and encourage the interests of children and young adolescents in exemplary ways.
  • 2020 Notable Children’s Books Committee Meetings– Friday, January 24 1:30-4:00 pm, Saturday, January 25 11:00 am-2:00 pm, Sunday, January 26 1:30-4:30 pm, Monday, January 27 1:30-4:30 pm
    • 2020 Notable Children’s Books Committee will discuss and evaluate children’s books to identify the best of the best published in 2019. Conference attendees are invited to attend to observe the discussion which leads to the selection of the Notable Children’s Books list which is widely used as a collection development resource. The committee looks for books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry, and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children’s interests in exemplary ways.
  • When Stars Are Scattered: Refugees and Outstanding International Books (USBBY)– Friday, January 24 8:00- 10:00 pm
    • The US Board on Books for Youth will present the new list of Outstanding International Books. In addition, authors Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed will speak about the forthcoming graphic novel for middle school, When Stars Are Scattered, which describes Mohamed’s experience growing up in a Somali refugee camp.
  • The Library, Not Just for Books: Connecting Library, Maker, and Social Emotional Learning– Saturday, January 15 10:30-11:30 am
    • The Library, Not Just for Books, welcomes participants to explore the role the Library can play in the running of a Makerspace and how to infuse Social Emotional Learning. This interactive workshop will explore the “Why” behind the integrated approach by taking a look at some of the ways skills are built when Information Literacy, maker informed practices, and Social Emotional Learning are infused within activities/lessons and the philosophy of the Library.
  • Leadership and ALSC– Saturday, January 25 3:00-5:30 pm
    • ALSC committee chairs will meet with their PGC’s, along with hearing what is new in ALSC from President, Cecilia McGowan.
  • Young Changemakers in 21st Century Libraries– Saturday, January 25 3:00-4:00 pm
    • In January 2019, the Massachusetts Library System (MLS) and the Democratic Knowledge Project (DKP) at Harvard University assembled a cohort of librarians from ten Massachusetts schools and public libraries to design professional development resources for implementing DKP’s Ten Questions for Young Changemakers—a framework for civic learning that seeks to help youth develop into successful (i.e. equitable, effective, and self-protective) civic agents in this digital age. Learn about the training materials and learning modules produced by the public librarians in this cohort, and hear suggestions for building cultures of civic engagement with teens in the public library setting.
  • Auditorium Speakers featuring Maia and Alex Shibutani– Sunday, January 26 9:30-10:30 am
    • Maia and Alex Shibutani, a.k.a. the ShibSibs, are two-time Olympic bronze medalists, three-time world medalists, Four Continents Figure Skating Champions, and two-time U.S. National Champions. At the 2018 Winter Olympics, they became the first ice dancers of Asian descent to medal at the Olympics and are only the second sibling duo in the history of the sport to share an ice dancing medal. They travel the world and enjoy spending time together (most of the time), eating food (all of the time), and meeting new people (any time!)  KUDO KIDS: The Mystery of the Masked Medalist is the first in a middle-grade series that marks the writing debut of Maia and Alex Shibutani. Co-authored by Michelle Schusterman, recognized by the American Library Association’s 2019 Rainbow Book List, the book is set at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The fun-filled, fast-paced mystery is inspired by the Shibutanis’ own familial bond and experiences traveling the world with Team USA. Available May 2020, just before the 2020 Olympics, the book captures the curiosity and life experiences that the ShibSibs share with their combined 1.4 million followers on social media channels and through their original YouTube videos, with more than 11 million views.
  • All-Committee Meeting– Sunday, January 26 8:30-10:30 am
    • The various ALSC committees meet with their Chairs to have face to face meeting. All who are interested are welcome to attend and fill out a committee volunteer form. Staff Liaisons will be in attendance.
  • Navigating Queer Realities in School Libraries– Sunday, January 26 1:00-2:00 pm
    • This session considers the roles of school librarians in supporting emerging interest and legislation recognizing the varied contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals and groups. It explores effective practices in terms of collection development, instruction, online resources, programs, exhibits, and events; and offers suggestions to strengthen future approaches. The analysis is based on a literature review surveying LGBTQ inclusive materials and curricula. Implications are of particular interest to school librarians and others involved in augmenting understanding of the roles and contributions of LGBTQ people.
  • Federal Funding Snapshot: Early Literacy Projects– Sunday, January 26 1:00-2:00 pm
    • The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funds over 1,000 projects annually through its Grants to States program, a significant slice of which advance early and family learning. Drawing from annual report data that helps identify patterns, IMLS will share national-level analysis that characterizes variations in early literacy projects, including their beneficiaries, partners, and results. A panel of state perspectives will offer more detailed examples of literacy projects deemed particularly innovative and adaptable. From prenatal storytime workshops to laundromat partners, this snapshot of early literacy projects may inspire your next program or offer insight on how to measure effectiveness.
  • Toxic Stress, Early Brain Development, and What Libraries Can Do to Support Young Children Experiencing Adverse Childhood Conditions– Sunday, January 26 2:30-3:30 pm
    • Toxic stress in early childhood can have a cumulative toll on physical and mental health, including developmental delays. In this session, we will present a neuroscience-informed, library-based program for families to support brain development and early literacy. We will explain the impact of toxic stress on developing brains and how community-led efforts can partner with academic institutions to create impactful programs, provide an overview of the Robin Hood Foundation/Fund for Early Learning’s portfolio of innovative early childhood programs, and outline the work of Brooklyn Public Library to develop a brain-building storytime in low-resourced neighborhoods that buffers against toxic stress.
  • Youth Media Awards– Monday, January 27 8:00-10:00 am *live webcast*
    • Each year the American Library Association honors books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens. Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, the ALA Youth Media Awards, including the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Coretta Scott King Book Awards, guides parents, educators, librarians, and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by committees composed of librarians and other literature and media experts, the awards encourage original and creative work in the field of children’s and young adult literature and media.
  • Literacy, Movement, Mindfulness: Bringing Story Yoga to Your Library– Monday, January 27 10:30-11:30 am
    • The ways that libraries provide programs for children and their families are changing. Are you interested in bringing early literacy, creative movement, and mindfulness into your library’s programming? Story Yoga can be a new way to help children and their families learn and have fun. Sharon Babbitt, Youth Services Librarian and certified ChildLight Yoga® Yoga & Mindfulness for Children instructor, will guide you through start-up materials, book selection, props, songs, tips, and a basic lesson plan to get you on your way.
  • Joint Member Reception– Monday, January 27 5:30-7:00 pm
    • On Monday, January 27, 2020, members of ALSC & YALSA are invited to a Joint Youth Reception. Come here to unwind, mingle with peers and enjoy light hors d’oevres as well as a cash bar. Share your opinions about the 2020 ALA Youth Media Awards!

Make sure to check the meeting locations in the scheduler. What are you most looking forward to at Midwinter this year?

This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group, and VII. Professionalism and Professional Development.

Cassie Chenoweth, Children’s Librarian at Orange Beach Public Library in Orange Beach, Alabama, is writing this post on behalf of the Public Awareness Committee. She can reached at

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