Guest Blogger

Live from Kansas City…

…it’s #ALSC2022! I’m thrilled to be at my first-ever conference – for ALSC, for libraries, for… anything! Looking ahead to this weekend, I’m keeping my mind open and ready to learn from the experience. While the official festivities have yet to begin, I’m here to share some initial thoughts.

I arrived in Kansas City late last night after a day-long Amtrak ride across Illinois and Missouri. Something I love about train rides (in addition to bringing all of my full-sized toiletries with me) is the chance to peer out of the window and catch glimpses of people’s lives. In the world of libraries, we often hear the refrain “know what your community needs”. So much of what we do revolves around understanding people’s lives and anticipating what could be beneficial to them. Through the window of my coach seat, I whizzed past open fields with cows grazing, charming homesteads, and red-brick Midwestern towns that surely were built up in the heyday of train travel.

These scenes reminded me of how many different ways there are to live, and also got me thinking about all the differences contexts from which we, the attendees of #ALSC2022, will be coming from. One of the things I’m most looking forward to here is connecting with others and hearing about how library service to children looks in different places. I know I often get caught up in my day-to-day work and end up with tunnel vision. I’m grateful for this opportunity to step back, take a breath of fresh air, and let myself open up to new ideas and ways of thinking about my work.

Today I had a lot of free time before the opening dinner with Christina Soontornvat. Exploring a new city is one of my favorite things to do, so after a lazy morning I decided to head out and see as much of Kansas City as I could. There’s nothing I love more than riding a city’s public transit to get a view into the everyday life of its residents. I hopped off the bus in the Plaza-Westport area and then walked along beautiful Brush Creek before making my way back up north to the Power & Light District. Just as my interstate train ride had given me perspective, the view from the bus as well as from the sidewalk gave me a chance to hear the heartbeat of KC. I hope to take these small glimpses with me along with everything I learn at ALSC Institute 2022.

Here’s to a great weekend!

Guest contributor Eleanor (Ellie) Richardson (she/her/hers) is a Youth Services K-3 Specialist at Arlington Heights Memorial Library (IL). She is currently finishing up her MLIS degree (so close!) and is excited for the opportunity to learn from her peers at ALSC Institute 2022. The aspect she’s most looking forward to is meeting other youth services professionals to share their passions and get inspired. Ellie is a self-proclaimed public transit fanatic, so when she’s not at the conference you’ll likely see her riding around on KC’s buses and streetcars. 

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

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