ALA Annual 2023

“9 to 5” on a Saturday for #alaac23

Dolly Parton’s part of the conference was in Friday’s opening session, when she virtually accepted her honorary membership in ALA! I took her inspiration to heart and had a wonderful “9 to 5” this Saturday. Listen to her sing and enjoy looking through some of the photos of the conference so far:

My 9am session on Saturday, “Reimagining School Readiness Toolkit for Libraries,” had a fantastic lineup!

Moderator: Michelle D. Weissman Randall, PhD (she/her/hers) – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Presenter: Michelle D. Weissman Randall, PhD (she/her/hers) – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Presenter: Kathleen Campana, PhD – Kent State University

Presenter: Amy Olson – Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives

Presenter: Julia Shaheen – Stark Library

Presenter: Celeste Swanson (she/her/hers) – Lane Libraries

Presenter: Penelope Shumaker – State Library of Ohio

Presenter: Pamela Brockway (she/her/hers) – The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County

Presenter: Betsy Diamant-Cohen, DCD (she/her/hers) – Mother Goose on the Loose

Presenter: Kymberlee Powe (she/her/hers) – Connecticut State Library

As a former Stark Library employee, I was already biased to love my former coworker Julia’s stories, but they were truly a testament to the benefit of using the RSR toolkit! A “hard pass kid” who says, “no, if you give me a book my dad will make me read it,” runs to the bookmobile with rocks gathered in his shirt to show the librarians what he had drawn on his “Story Stones” (a project in the toolkit)? And eventually took books home? My heart! Another testimonial that stuck out to me – “this training content is vitally important in an age where schools test the life out of everything, and it will really improve the services that libraries provide. We need to make sure that creativity, exploration, and question development are provided to our youngest children and their parents.” Check out the free toolkit at

OK now, how did ALA’s Short Story Dispenser so accurately portray how I looked getting from the first session to the Exhibit Hall?! It’s a big convention center.

It was well worth booking it across all of the walkways – I buy our World Language collection so I was ecstatic to meet Jorge Argueta this morning!

This video exemplifies the roar of the Exhibit Hall floor and the excitement and dedication authors put into their book signings!

Finally, although I went back to the Exhibit Hall in the afternoon and then worked on this post, I have to highlight lunch. As a member of last year’s Scott O’Dell Historical Fiction Award Committee, it was an honor to meet the authors and editor of the winning book, African Town, as well as members of the O’Dell family. We all got a little teary at one point, as the poignant book and awesome award deserves! Check out the award website at

More conference content to come soon, but it goes by so quickly! I’ll be back at the Bloomington Public Library shelving books from Dolly Carton soon.

Today’s guest post was written by Alex Bell. Alex (she/her/hers) is a Children’s Librarian at the Bloomington Public Library. Since her time as chair of the 2022 Notable Children’s Books Committee was virtual (but still amazing) she is very excited to see ALSC colleagues and friends in person again. She’s looking forward to the Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy Banquet and the closing session by Amanda Gorman and Christian Robinson! Even though she lives in Illinois she still *relishes* the chance to eat Chicago-style hot dogs while in the city and will also be snacking on some Garrett’s popcorn! She’s not on Twitter but you can follow her library TikTok account, @bpl_kids

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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