ALA Midwinter 2019

How Libraries Can Save the World – Sylvia Acevedo at #alamw19

“It gave me hope. I wasn’t alone.” Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo said those words about her local childhood library in yesterday’s keynote speaker session. Acevedo grew up in a very poor household. Her parents were immigrants from Mexico and Acevedo spoke about the educational and civic opportunities her public library gave her, saying it was her first experience with civic engagement. The library, funded by the community and for the community, is a place where people of all backgrounds come together. Girl Scouts also helped Acevedo become the woman she is today, teaching her that she could make a plan to achieve her dreams. She shared how learning to sell cookies to fund her planned activities taught her perseverance, resilience, and that she could achieve her dreams no matter what anyone else thought. Acevefo said that she wrote her book to share her story, so that kids like her could…

ALA Midwinter 2019

Advancing Racial Equity at #alamw19

Yesterday, I spent the day at the PLA pre-conference Advancing Racial Equity in Public Libraries presented by Gordon Goodwin from Race Forward. It was a really valuable day if learning as we looked at how institutional racism has contributed to inequity and how we can identify implicit racism and fight against it. We discussed whether we agreed or disagreed with statements like “Hiring and promotion decisions should be based solely on merit”, digging deep into what those statements might mean to us and to our communities. And as a group we identified some policies that might have unintended negative consequences for groups of people, demonstrating implicit institutional bias: Only providing outreach services to licensed daycares might miss children who stay with relatives or other caregivers: families who might really benefit from that outreach. Locating all your foreign language materials at a certain branch and instructing your patrons to go there…

ALA Midwinter 2019

A Visit to the Seattle Central Library at #alamw19

I’m here, I’m here in Seattle for ALA Midwinter 2019! We got in yesterday and one of my favorite things about traveling to different cities for ALA Conferences is checking out their local libraries. Whether big or small, I feel like I always come away with neat ideas. The Seattle Central Library is a stunner with 11 floors and a distinctive steel and glass structure. When we came upon it, my colleagues and I literally gasped. The Children’s Center is on the first floor, a glassed off area reserved for families and caregivers with children (and curious librarians!). I love the feel in the Children’s Center – the light wood floors and hanging lamps make it feel very bright and inviting, even when it’s dark outside. They have a lot of neat art features throughout the library and I snapped photos of a couple of them. I love that they…

ALA Midwinter 2018

Cheering for #alayma

THE highlight of the #alamw18 conference for me is sitting in the audience at the announcements of the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards. Just to give you a little flavor, here was the line when I got to the convention center 30 minutes before the program was scheduled to start: This photo does not accurately portray the number of twists and turns and line segments there were so that people could still actually walk in the convention center. Once inside, it’s a magical wonderland filled with people who LOVE youth books.   I hope that you got to tune in for the live broadcast of the awards. In case you didn’t, ilovelibraries.org has the full list of winners and honorees. I love that there were so many diverse and #ownvoices authors represented throughout the awards and many winners and honor books from small presses. It was a great year…

ALA Midwinter 2018

Fine Free at #alamw18

How are overdue fines preventing you from meeting your library’s core values? Yesterday, I attended a session on going fine free at your library presented by three library administrators who have gone fine free in some form. The effects of fines and fees is an important issue for youth librarians to consider since children and low-income families are disproportionately hurt by libraries enforcing overdue fines. Peter Bromberg, Gretchen Caserotti, and Sara Houghton presented on why and how their libraries have eliminated overdue fines and what effects they have seen. They started the session by asking why libraries have overdue fines. Although librarians were quick to answer – to ensure our materials come back, to teach responsibility – there is little to no research that supports that fines are effective in these ways. Instead, fines are barriers for the families that need our library resources the most. If you’ve not considered…

ALA Midwinter 2018

Snow Day! at #alamw18

  It was a very snowy day in Denver today! It made me very glad that ALA provides shuttles (sponsored by Gale) to transport attendees to and from their hotels and the Convention Center. Even though my hotel is close to the Convention Center, having the shuttles as an option on a day like today was very nice. And everyone was very patient waiting for shuttles that were maybe having to take their time a bit more with such slushy roads. Yay shuttles!

ALA Midwinter 2018

Failure is an Option

Yesterday, I attended an #alamw18 preconference on collective leadership presented by Cassandra O’Neill. One of my biggest takeaways from this pre-conference is one that I think is super relevant to youth librarians. As she was talking about the process of implementing collection leadership techniques, Cassandra emphasized that things might not work the first time. And that’s okay. It’s okay to fail as long as you don’t give up, as long as you keep learning and trying. She suggested that this is a big idea to emphasize with staff as you’re making changes. It might not work right away. And that’s okay. Librarians, and especially youth libraries, like to be excellent. We like to be great right away. And if you’re great right away, that’s fantastic. But if you try something new, something different, and you’re not great right away, that’s also okay. In fact, it’s expected. When we’re trying out…