ALA Annual 2019

News You Can Use #alaac19

One of my favorite parts of ALA is hearing about all the work that has been going on in other divisions, round-tables, and groups. While it’s easy to get caught up in all the great sessions that directly apply to children’s librarianship, there’s a lot of value in attending other sessions. We, as children’s librarians, are not an island unto ourselves. By remaining aware of issues in other aspects of the library world we can be better advocates for our families we serve, effective team players in serving our library’s overall mission, and better informed research-practitioners.   A good way to stick a toe in the water and branch out is by attending one of the many fantastic “News You Can Use” sessions at Annual. These sessions “offer the latest updates from experts on policy, research, statistics, technology, and more, based on new surveys, reports, legislation/regulation, and projects” from across…

ALA Annual 2019

Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy Banquet #alaac19

In a large banquet room last night, we laughed, we cried, and we applauded the many wonderful achievements of the Newbery, Caldecott, and Legacy award winners. I, for one, know I definitely cried at least three times – once for each of the incredibly moving speeches by Sophie Blackall, Meg Medina, and Christopher Myers (accepting on behalf of his late father, Walter D. Myers). It feels so important to honor these individuals that have given us books that are cherished and loved by multitudes of children (and adults) across the country. Plus, the handsomely illustrated programs done by Sophie Blackall weren’t too shabby! Keep your eye out on ALSC’s own Youtube channel for some clips of the speeches and reaction videos from honorees.  

ALA Annual 2019

Rights to Privacy for Minors #alaac19

Jam-packed in a late afternoon session today, librarians gathered to learn more about minor privacy rights in public and school libraries. Intellectual freedom issues are not restricted to adults, especially with the rapidly changing technology and digital landscape of today. The session was aptly entitled “So, are you going to tell my parents?”. Protection of minor’s circulation records, internet and digital data, as well as their actual physical presence in the library were all up for discussion. Coming away from the session I felt a weighty sense of responsibility for the young patrons I serve and lots of questions to investigate once I come home. For example, what are my state’s laws and statutes that protect minors in the library? Does my library fall in line with COPPA? What exactly did my own library say in their privacy policy and are my co-workers familiar with it? These are the sorts…

ALA Annual 2019

Book Signing How-To #alaac19

If you’ve spent any time on the exhibit hall floor you know that one of its major draws is the book signings (and the free swag!). As an extroverted-introvert, or an introverted-extrovert depending upon the day, I do find myself getting occasionally shy around authors and illustrators who have so kindly lent their time to us librarians. It can be unnerving to wait and stumble out a few sentences to these awesome human beings, but I love walking away with a signed book I know I am going to cherish and the experience of meeting its creator. While I really do relish those few brief, and slightly scary, seconds to express in a tongue-tied, awe-inspired way the impact a beloved author’s book have made on me and my patrons on the exhibit floor; I also try to strategically hit up the newer or perhaps lesser known authors that have come….

ALA Annual 2019

A Way with Words #alaac19

It is undeniable that Jason Reynolds has a way with words. Sitting in the keynote today, it felt as if all of us in that very large room were hanging on every syllable of his talk, breathing one breath. Even the overflow room was completely captured by the power of his spoken word. His energy carried across the stage and the emotion in his talk was so heartfelt, it was easy to forget that we weren’t right there with him in his stories. Such is the power of a real poet and storyteller. “Come as you are, all are accepted, no one is turned away, here you can build community”, Jason said when talking of what makes a place sacred, important, and life-changing. A place for the people, a place like the library. This reminder that the library is a sacred place for our communities and we are its stewarts…

ALA Midwinter 2019

Wrapping Up #alamw19

While my flight home might have been unexpectedly canceled, I still feel like I’m floating on air from #alamw19. It is a wonderful feeling being surrounded by fellow library lovers. You are never short of things to talk about while killing time waiting for a session or presentation to begin. A mentor once told me that the world, and the library world in particular, is a pretty small place, and I think I am beginning to understand what she meant. Just a few sentences into meeting a new person at #alamw19 and I find that we are connected in some way whether it be by our co-workers, professional service/committee work, other library friends, or just a shared adoration of a favorite book. It reminds me a little of the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game, with less Kevin Bacon and more librarians. Sometimes I have even found that I have…

ALA Midwinter 2019

Mission Impossible at #alamw19

Yesterday, I set out on mission impossible at #alamw19 and I am sorry to report that I was not successful. My mission you ask? To simply walk across the exhibit hall without adding anything to my treasure trove. Others had cautioned me that bags get heavy, books add up, and airlines have luggage weight limits. However, no one really warned me that I would be constantly stumbling upon favored authors and illustrators ready and willing to sign their newest, FREE books with nary a line in sight! Every lap I took, the floor seemed to magically refresh with new signings that I just HAD TO GET. Not only that, there were countless knowledgeable publishing representatives from both small and large presses ready and willing to enthusiastically discuss their new releases and answer my questions. It was easy to turn what should have been a five minutes walk into an hour…

ALA Midwinter 2019

Building Global Readers #alamw19

Highly caffeinated, thrilled to be here, and slightly sleep deprived, I’m amazed to already find myself more than halfway through the second day at #alamw19. It has been an absolute whirlwind of non-stop activity and I am patting myself on the back for packing comfortable shoes and snacks. The seemingly ends miles of the convention center have certainly been wearing holes in the soles of shoes! In my limited spare moments I find myself pulling out my 2019 USBBY Outstanding International Books list from the United States Board on Books for Young People’s reception last night to research titles I definitely want to get my hands on. USBBY is the United States section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) that works to “promote international understanding and good will through books for children and adolescents” and produces an annual list of honored international titles for children grades…