Blogger Andrew Medlar

A Great Day @ #PLA2016

What a great day here in Denver! I was excited to begin #PLA2016 by following in Lisa Mulvenna’s footsteps and paying a visit to the beautiful Koelbel Library of the Arapahoe Library District, in Centennial, Colorado. ALSC Executive Director Aimee Strittmatter and I were welcomed by Betsy Brainerd and the incredible team there. I was so inspired by everybody’s enthusiasm, warmth, and good spirits, and especially appreciated learning about their early literacy work, new spaces for all ages of kids, and willingness to try new ideas, learn from them, and try more new ideas. Very fun! Then on to the Colorado Convention Center! Mary Kuehner mentioned in her post earlier today about Anderson Cooper’s “excellent opening session talk” (hear, hear, Mary!) this afternoon, and the opening to the opening was pretty fabulous, too, as PLA President Vailey Oehlke entered from the back of the room and danced all the way across the auditorium and onto the…

Blogger Andrew Medlar

Share Your Thoughts on the Institute and HB2

I’m reaching out today, International Transgender Day of Visibility, to share information regarding the 2016 ALSC National Institute and last week’s passing of North Carolina’s HB2 legislation, with the objective of gathering more member feedback within the next few days. Thank you to everyone who has already expressed thoughts, concerns, support, and questions regarding this extremely important situation. This is not an abstract issue. In addition to this law’s conflict with ALSC’s core values, purpose, and diversity work, in the past week ALSC leadership has heard from members who are personally affected by it in a very real way. During this time we have been consulting with ALA management and President Sari Feldman; ALA Conference Services; the ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT); the ALA Public Awareness Office; the Institute Planning Task Force; the North Carolina Library Association; the Charlotte Marriott City Center; and, most importantly, as I mentioned, ALSC members on ALSC-L…

Blogger Andrew Medlar

Wrapping Up #SXSWedu

A lot of great things happened at SXSWedu since my last post! On Tuesday, ALSC hosted a booth at the SXSWedu Expo, which was free and open to the public. Executive Director Aimee Strittmatter and I had the opportunity to speak to the thousands of attendees of all ages from all over the world about the transformative power of libraries. Many were drawn in by our cool magnetic building tools, which we brought to show, as our 2012 White Paper shares, “The Importance of Play, Particularly Constructive Play, in Public Library Programming” and of the awesome STEAM learning opportunities libraries provide. While advocating for the essential role of all libraries in every community, we were delighted to be able to specifically highlight the amazing work being done right there in central Texas as Aimee as I were joined in our booth by Kathleen Houlihan from Austin Public Library and Sally Miculek from Georgetown Public Library who were able…

Blogger Andrew Medlar

Libraries and Learning @ #SXSWedu

Greetings from Austin! It’s exciting to be here at SXSWedu for what the organizers call an “annual celebration of innovations in learning”! As an evolution of the cultural festivals and conferences begun 30 years ago here in the Texas captial, SXSWedu brings thousands of educators together for keynotes (Temple Grandin kicked off the day today), workshops, summits, playgrounds, a policy forum, mentoring, and networking to share and develop their passions and talents for making the future brighter for kids. And that’s where ALSC comes in! As we work together to create a better future for children through libraries, our position in the education ecosystem is a vital and transformative one, so that’s why Executive Director Aimee Strittmatter and I have come to share the story of the essential role that libraries play in early, out-of-school, and informal learning, and to benefit from the wisdom of our colleagues in other organizations who…

Blogger Andrew Medlar

Moving Forward into March

In March the wind / blows down the door and spills my soup / upon the floor. It laps it up / and roars for more. Blowing once / blowing twice blowing chicken soup / with rice. –Maurice Sendak, Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months (HarperCollins,1962) While thoughts turn to a marvelous March ahead, I do have to say that it was a pretty fabulous February! I began last month in Tucson, at the Educational Book & Media Association Annual Meeting where publishers and distributors come together to learn and do business. It was an honor to serve on a panel continuing the call for greater diversity in materials for our kids and to take this vital message to do what I believe is the necessary next step of putting dollars and cents behind the case for doing what we know is the right thing to do. It…

ALA Midwinter 2016

A Magnificent Midwinter #alamw16

I’m excited to share some of my adventures from Midwinter a couple of weeks ago and update you on the ALSC Board’s work together in Boston. Kicking things off on Thursday, I attended an Information Policy Workshop with our veep, Betsy Orsburn, and our Executive Director, Aimee Strittmatter. As one of the key elements of ALA’s Strategic Directions, learning more about this important area was very insightful and you can learn more about the day here. Friday began with the happy task of welcoming attendees to the 2016 Bill Morris Seminar: Book Evaluation Training, which is held every other year thanks to the generosity of the William C. Morris Endowment. The Morris Seminar provides mentoring in children’s media evaluation techniques, and I couldn’t be more grateful to this year’s spectacular co-chairs Deborah Taylor and Sylvia Vardell and to all of those who shared their experiences and wisdom with attendees, one of whom, Lisa…

ALA Midwinter 2016

Welcome to 2016 & See You at Midwinter!

Cheer, cheer, cheer the year, A new one’s just begun. Celebrate with all your friends, Let’s go have some fun! Clap, clap, clap your hands, A brand new year is here. Learning, laughing, singing, clapping, Through another year. –Anonymous (to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”) Happy New Year, everyone! Seeing out the old year, one of my final presidential activities of 2015 was also one of the most interesting. I was very happy to represent ALSC at the “Breakthroughs in Parent Engagement and Early Literacy” forum, presented by New America and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, sponsored by the Joyce Foundation, and held here in Chicago at Erikson Institute’s Technology in Early Childhood (TEC) Center. It was led by Lisa Guernsey and Michael Levine, authors of the book Tap, Click, Read: Growing Readers in a World of Screens, which Lisa talked about when she presented the keynote at…

ALA Annual 2016

On the Road Again, Reaching Out

One morning in mid-December, Hogwarts woke to find itself covered in several feet of snow . . . [and] no one could wait for the holidays to start. –J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone As the days get shorter and colder in the northern hemisphere and the holidays arrive, it’s been a busy season! A couple of weeks ago I was in Denver (where it’s already snowed about as much as at Hogwarts) reaching out to those gathered for the LENA Research Foundation conference (#lena2015), the theme of which was “Parents Have the Power: Solving the ‘early catastrophe’ through science and parental investment.” It was an ideal opportunity to share the work ALSC is doing with Babies Need Words Every Day and in our partnership with PLA on Every Child Ready to Read, and I joined a panel with a pediatrician, health policy professor, and early learning innovator to…