I had the tremendous pleasure of attending the ALSC National Institute in Kansas City from September 29 to October 2. The educational programs were wonderful! If you haven’t had a chance to look through the slide decks, check them out here. The authors and speakers at the General Sessions were AMAZING. The line-up included Christina Soontornvat, Angela Joy, Adam Gidwitz, Hena Khan, B.B. Alston, Julian Randall and Young Vo. ALSC was not playing with their panelists! I came home with a renewed appreciation for kid lit writers, and a ton of new books to read.
While the programs and panelists were wonderful, my very favorite take-away from the National Institute was how much I love Children’s Librarians! It was amazing to be joined together with people who have committed their professional lives to “engage communities to build healthy, successful futures for all children” (ALSC Vision Statement). We are such a positive, outgoing, energetic group of people with a wonderful bias toward action.
One of my favorite moments in the Institute happened during the education program of staff sergeant Philip Espe, Librarian, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. The program was called “Wake Up Your Musicianship for More Inclusive Storytimes.” Do you know what we did during this program? We sang! We sang together! It was so lovely and so simple. I filmed a bit of us singing “Are You Sleeping.” It still fills my heart with joy! Apologies for having my voice sort of booming in the recording- I couldn’t resist singing along and didn’t realize quite how loud it would be on the film.
It was such a beautiful thing to be in a room full of people lifting their voices in song together. It was even more beautiful to know that we were doing this among peers who will be branching off all over the country to take the message home. We can make beautiful things happen every day in the work that we do. It doesn’t have to be fancy. The heart that we bring, and the community that we build through the stories and songs that we share are EXACTLY WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS RIGHT NOW. Thank you, Children’s Librarians, for being you. I love us! I love you!
(Video courtesy of Liza Purdy)