Midwinter is over, and I’m left with so much to reflect on! What upcoming opportunities do I have to foster community engagement? How can I shift power to my community? There is no good design without empathy. How can I create safe spaces to fail? How can I be more supportive of marginalized voices? I’ll be mulling this all over as I return to my library, right now the most pressing question is…how am I going to fit all these books in my suitcase?
Those of us who serve middle school children are uniquely poised to help them become aware of college and career opportunities. We can enable youth to be successful by helping build confidence, self-awareness, and social-emotional skills; it’s a chance to assist them in making connections to the community and the things that interest them. Middle school achievement is the greatest predictor of college career readiness, so it’s the perfect time to encourage future readiness!
I attended tonight’s screening of The Public followed by a Q+A with Emilio Estevez. Some fun facts: The idea for the film came to Emilio after he read Chip Ward’s Los Angeles Times piece. The movie features some wild reference questions, all of which was sourced from real librarians. Emilio made an effort to cast homeless individuals in the film. One of the original locations for the film was supposed to be a Los Angeles area library, but the library turned them down because they’d had issues with people filming there in the past. The culprit? The West Wing! (“I called my dad and yelled at him”)
This is the Midwinter session I was most excited for, and it did not disappoint! CiKeithia Pugh, from The Seattle Public Library, opened the session by reminding us that access and inclusion are not equity. It will take intentional, focused work to shift power to our communities. Pugh encouraged us to ask ourselves how we’re sharing power in our work. It’s something I’ll be reflecting on. As librarians, it falls to us to make sure that the things we say we value are reflected in practice. We need to be mindful of dominant power structures: how they affect our work, our own role as individuals connected to a powerful institution, the ways we cling to the power we hold. When we use data to create programs, are we evaluating what we’re not being told? Pugh encourages librarians to supplement every statistic with community-led data. It’s all a part of her…
The introduction to computational thinking kicked off with a massive game of rock, paper, scissors! The game may seem simple, but it models computational thinking beautifully! Each hand position is a symbol that represents an object, the game involves pattern recognition, background knowledge, and a thorough understanding of the logic. A recording of the session will be available, Paula Langsam and Claudia Haines packed so much wonderful information into the session that it’s definitely worth checking out.
How does your library support innovation and inspire creativity? Sarah Studer and Arnold Phommavong both suggest the solution is to seek out more voices in examining the problems your community is facing. Studer has had success mobilizing the 3 C’s: creativity, compassion, and community. In tackling homelessness while working at Impact Hub, she gathered a diverse group of people—including homeless individuals—and started the discussion by examining what home meant to each participant. Connecting over shared experiences was a great starting point and a way to get everyone to engage. Her experience has proven that it’s the people who are most affected by a problem who will know how to solve it. Impact cannot happen in isolation, it requires collective action and collaboration. Both Studer and Phommavong stressed the importance of creating a safe space to fail, to create solutions and revisit them. Phommavong focused on human-centered design, or the design of…
As a first time Midwinter attendee, it can be difficult to navigate the conference, so I was delighted to attend the ALSC membership dinner and connect with other librarians! It was easy to get involved: a few weeks ago, I signed up to share a meal with a small group of youth services librarians and was paired with four brilliant, talented professionals. Tonight, we met up, bonded over our love of children’s literature, and had some truly fantastic Indian food. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet new librarians, learn from my peers, and ask questions about ALSC.