Blogger Amy Steinbauer

Story time and… (Improv Your Story Time)

A few years ago, I presented at ALA Annual about how story time could be improved with improv techniques. To me, improv and story time naturally go hand in hand. They both rely on flexibility, spontaneity, and giving and receiving. While I haven’t been practicing improv as much anymore, I have really hit a sweet spot in my story times, and I think it is the improv coming out. For months, I had been feeling the blahs… and now. Everything has clicked into place. So what has suddenly changed? Me!

ALA Midwinter 2019

Let’s do better #alacouncil #alamw19

It’s a somber time at council this last day of #alamw19 We have been voting over the last few days to make the work of libraries more supportive for civil rights of diverse genders, disabilities, sustainability, and the social justice of fines at libraries, etc. All huge and giant issues for the library and the issues that we see in our daily lives of work.   But, by now you may have heard that there was a violation of the code of conduct at an ALA Council forum on Monday afternoon. If not– check twitter. And this morning– more than 100 people are in this room– sitting in the aftermath of failing a person… and failing ourselves. If we can’t guarantee a safe space to discuss council issues for all people– not just the majority being white persons– I wonder how are we failing in our libraries?   This is…

ALA Midwinter 2019

ALA Council at #alamw19

ALA Council meets three times during each conference– on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday mornings. The sessions are open unless noted and there is no better way to really get to know what ALA does and how it operates. It can seem like everyone is speaking a different language, but there is a fine art to the procedures… one that is learned over time. But you do need to immerse yourself in it to figure the moving parts out. If you work for a large and or complicated library system– you will have an easier time! The reason it can be so nitpicky– is that the implications of words and policies are ripples outward that we may not see– so we have to be especially careful the how and why of how we choose words, something council is sure to debate! This is my 2nd year in Council, and I love…

ALA Midwinter 2019

Story Time Deep Dive at #alamw19

I have been lucky to connect with the amazing Mel (of Mel’s Desk) at past conferences, and she has been gracious to host some story time deep dives, at the Networking Uncommons, where attendees can come and chat about story time and youth services and brainstorm answers! If you are unfamiliar with Networking Uncommons it is a free space like a makeshift empty meeting room with tables and chairs to have informal meetups or just hang and chat. There are some art supplies and button makers if you feel the need to do some crafting! See my awesome coloring page from the Office of Intellectual Freedom that I started during this meetup! This year, the spot is super hard to find– across the street from the convention center and away from all the action of midwinter. But, we were joined by one other children’s librarian, and for 2 hours we…

ALA Midwinter 2019

Being a tourist at #alamw19

This is your reminder to actually visit the city you are conferencing in, like here in Seattle for #alamw19! Sometimes attending a conference can be like going to the airport in a new state… are you even really there if you don’t leave and go out and see the city? We can get really bogged down by all the good work, networking, and cool events; that we forget to enjoy the city we are visiting. Tonight, my good friend and I dared to brave the 10-minute walk (ha!) to have some local food– including the amazing S’More sundae featured below from Shug’s! I always try to maximize my conferences– and use them as opportunities to explore cities that I may not otherwise see. So far this trip, I got to reconnect with a friend from college whom I haven’t seen in 8 years! It’s a good time to blast on social media that…

ALA Midwinter 2019

#alamw19 and the Anxiety of the Exhibit Hall

It’s that time of year… time for the giant sprawling exhibit hall of brand new books (both free and at discount), vendors, networking, free snacks, and ANXIETY. Sometimes the exhibit hall offers FOMO with getting the coolest tote bags, hottest books, and precious minutes to gush with your favorite author… it’s real, and I think we all experience it– even if we are actually there. And while it is endless amounts of fun and discovery… it is also so hard for some people (ME!) who can be socially awkward. I am a super extroverted person… it’s one of the ways I can shine at being a librarian… but I also feel horribly uncomfortable and awkward in situations with lots of people, and also with all the people looking to sell something to you. So- I offer some tips to survive. Even if you are #alaleftbehind, one day you may experience…