Aside from checking out great new titles, sitting in on book discussions, and listening to speakers, I had the opportunity to meet with the members of my virtual committee who were attending ALAMW too. Bonus! The ALSC Advocacy & Valuation Task Force is a two year task force focused on advocacy and valuation using outcome/output measurement. One of our most shocking take-aways so far is that many members don’t know about or use the Everyday Advocacy website and newsletters, created specifically to help YOU with advocating for youth services. Take a few minutes today to check out the important work Jenna Nemec-Loise is doing and participate in her January 5 challenge to set a 2016 advocacy goal for yourself.
Everyone knows about ALSC committees like Newbery & Caldecott, but there is a galaxy of other committees full of dedicated librarians that make ALSC tick and support us all in our work. Serving on a process committee like Membership, Grants Administration, or Organization and Bylaws provides opportunities to build relationships with other librarians, while also building leadership skills, looking at ALSC: The Big Picture, and guiding how ALSC operates and serves us all. Not all of these groups require attending a conference, there are virtual committees too. These can be really excellent for finding mentors and building a librarian community if you’re feeling isolated. Check out the roster of opportuntities on the ALSC Committees page & fill out your volunteer form today! Join us!
Did you know that ALSC has its own YouTube Channel? Neither did I. One of the themes of my year is exploring all the avenues ALSC uses to share information with its members and this is a fun one! I heard about this today in a committee meeting and had to check it out. The ALSC Channel has author and illustrator interviews, Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder acceptance speeches, and great information from members and leaders in ALSC.
People quickly and quietly walking past the Networking Uncommons everyday at 11:00 a.m. will be surprised to hear a burst of song and the rattle of egg shakers. It’s Storytime Underground‘s Guerrilla Storytime meet-up, ready to enthusiastically tackle the toughest storytime quandry with rhymes, song, props, and laughter. There are several regular elements to a Guerrilla Storytime at an ALA conference: tackling storytime weaknesses (I don’t have a good “hello” song, help!), drawing random storytime prompts (Show us your favorite finger play – go!), and lots and lots of sharing (cookies too). Today someone expressed discomfort using a parachute in storytime, so out came the parachute and we demonstrated favorite songs, rhymes, and ideas to do with kids. We also talked about our own concerns with using parachutes in limited space and with small children and how fears have been dispelled in practice. What do you say to grown-ups to make…
Hands down, my favorite part of an ALA conference is the ALSC Collection Management Discussion Group. Whether you select children’s books for your branch, a small military library, a school library, or an entire library system, you are welcome to join this open discussion group to talk about the issues unique to this part of librarianship. Popular topics include comparing vendors, the challenges of collecting self-published books, how floating collections work at public libraries across the country, or how to deal with Common Core. E-books? DVDs? Cataloging issues? The topics run the gamut and are really vital to compare and discuss with people who are dealing with exactly the same issues. Like so many things in our division, finding colleagues to share the load is great for moral and for saving yourself the time & effort of re-inventing the wheel. Join us!
Ok, you guys, I am COMPLETELY re-engergized after attending this kinda unofficial (hence “guerrilla”) session where a whole group of fabulous children’s librarians came together in the Networking Uncommons to share storytime tips, tricks, songs, and a PARACHUTE!!! If you don’t know about guerrilla storytime, you can get more info about the movement from their site storytimeunderground.org . Guerrilla Storytime in the Uncommons at Midwinter was every day at 12 – look for it at the next conference or use the great resources on their website and get connected. I learned some really fun new songs and learned about Jbrary, a terrific songs resource.
The Notable Children’s Books committee gets a lot of love from this blog and much deserved. This is the rare committee that allows all of us to listen in to the evaluation process. The discussion is rich, respectful, well-thought out, sometimes heated. It’s so wonderful to listen to a group where 11 librarians have all read and pondered the same books. Do you realize what a time & space commitment reading ALL of the books for 0-14, fiction, non-fiction entails? Give this committee your time, love, and attention whenever you have downtime in your afternoon. If you’re looking for something to do RIGHT NOW, they just started discussing the picture books!!!
This morning, I had the completely unexpected experience of breakfasting with a couple of consultants from 20th Century Fox. They’re visiting ALA to talk to librarians and scout around the booths looking for books that would make great movies. We had a great conversation about what sells, why the big fantasy blockbusters do so well overseas, what Hollywood is looking for vs. what we readers are looking for, and how much of their goal is to honor the books. There were four of us children’s librarians and we had some ideas of what we would like to see, but you know when you’re on the spot, you can’t remember that book you’re ALWAYS thinking would make the best movie? Now it’s your turn, what movie adaptation are you dying to see? Thanks for asking, Fox! (Full disclosure, Fox is affiliated with HarperCollins.)