ALA Annual 2019

#alaac19 Odyssey Award Ceremony

Audiobooks are near and dear to my heart, and even though there have been times when I had to leave on Monday, I always try to stay until Tuesday. And that is because I simply cannot miss the Odyssey Award Ceremony! This year’s ceremony was wonderful, brimming over with excitement and awe. We were treated to readings by some of the most talented narrators in the business—Rebecca Soler, Dan Bittman, Gabra Zackman, Brian Amador, Cherise Booth, and Elizabeth Acevedo (who narrated her own book!). The books that were honored today range from darling picture books to gritty teen fiction, written by authors Courtney Summers, Carson Ellis, Susan Wood, and Varian Johnson. There is something really powerful about experiencing a live reading. You watch as a shade comes down, and the narrator takes on a new persona—a troubled teen, a curious tween, a magical storyteller. They are enchanting and inspiring, and…

ALA Annual 2019

#alaac19 Let’s Celebrate!

The Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy Banquet is quite an experience. It is crowded and loud and busy, and also wonderful and inspiring and moving. At the banquet, we have a chance to meet new friends, catch up with longtime friends, and hear stories and words of wisdom from the talented illustrators and writers who are recipients of the Newbery, Caldecott, and Children’s Literature Legacy Awards. This year, I was so struck by the mood in the room, which was fairly bursting with encouragement and joy. It was an incredibly powerful atmosphere, almost overwhelming in its energy and love. It was such a pleasure to hear from Sophie Blackall, the illustrator of Hello Lighthouse, who, upon hearing a child say that she didn’t know that girls could be authors, simply answered, “Girls can do anything.” She called out to the many female artists and illustrators who went before her, presenting us with a powerful…

ALA Annual 2019

#alaac19 ALSC 101 is Awesome!

Today, I attended ALSC 101, and let me tell you, this was the place to be! ALSC 101 is a session that answers questions from new and prospective ALSC members and helps members to get the most out of the organization. I’m part of the Membership Committee which planned ALSC 101, so admittedly, I am a bit biased, but I have to say, it was a really awesome session! I especially loved the panel discussion, which featured a wide range of ALSC members with differing levels of experience in the organization. ALSC’s award and selection committees are fantastic, and in fact, many of the ALSC members who participated today had experience serving on these committees. But while they said that they had a wonderful time, when asked what their best ALSC experience has been, they focused on the work that they’ve done while serving on task forces and process committees….

ALA Annual 2019

Food for Thought #alaac19

Jason Reynolds’ keynote address set the stage for this year’s Annual Conference. I hope to keep these thoughts in mind as I make my way through all that this conference has to offer. Lots to think about after we return to our libraries and our communities, too. His words speak for themselves: “Narrative is what will be used to fortify you. There is another place that shares the same principles. Y’all better know the answer to this one. Another place that says ‘come as you are.’ All are welcome. No one is turned away. You can build family here, and you can use that family to then enact service.” “Imagine what it would be like if young people were the safe havens for their families and friends, for the people around them, for the homeless and all the kids that have less than them. Imagine what it would be like…

ALA Annual 2019

Here We Go! #alaac19

Brace yourself, Washington, D.C., there are a whole bunch of librarians coming your way! I love going to conference in big cities and seeing ALA librarians everywhere you look. When I checked into my hotel today, I noticed that I have a special librarian key card—The Princess in Black. How cool is that? Not to mention, it was very fun to laugh with the somewhat shell-shocked staff as they commented on just how many librarians they’ve seen already. And this party is just getting started! I’m getting ready to go the opening general session where author Jason Reynolds will be speaking. What an awesome way to open up the conference! After that, it’s the exhibit opening, and meeting up with friends. In the next few days, I’m looking forward to hearing author Tomi Adeyemi speak, and I’m also planning on attending the Leadership & ALSC Meeting, where we’ll get a…

ALA Midwinter 2019

Seattle Sights #alamw19

I wrapped up the conference by seeing the Seattle sights, and I’m so glad that I had the chance to do so. So often, I have to fly back home before I can see much more than the conference center, but this time it worked out great. And really, having done this, I might make a real point of exploring every time, as I think that I sometimes forget to experience the amazing cities that we visit. This year, I was lucky to run into a dear friend from Chicago (I love it when you run into librarian friends at conference!), and we explored the city together. Of course, we saw the Space Needle, and it was incredible! The weather was fantastic, and we had so much fun looking at the city and trying to identify landmarks. We also had a chance to visit the Chihuly Gardens, located right near…

ALA Midwinter 2019

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! #alamw19 #alayma19

Just got back from the YMAs, and it was just as wonderful/exciting/thrilling/heartwarming as I had hoped. It is such a thrill to see these talented authors, illustrators, narrators, and librarians honored for the work that they do. The atmosphere in the room was amazing, exploding with excitement and passion. As each winner and honoree was announced, I heard shouts, clapping, exclamations of “Yes!,” “Perfect!,” “I’m so glad!.” What an overwhelmingly positive atmosphere. When I attend the YMAs, I’m reminded again of how much I love being part of the good work that we do as librarians. Congratulations to all on a job well done!

ALA Midwinter 2019

Yes, We’re Ready to Code! #alamw19 #ReadytoCode

I’ve gone through many obsessions in my life (knitting, gardening, Pokémon-ing), but currently, I’m all about coding. Coding for littles, middles, and bigs—all of it is fantastically interesting to me. Happily, this year’s Midwinter Conference has had a lot to offer. Today, I attended a really great program led by Claudia Haines of the Homer (AK) Public Library, Paula Langsam of the D.C. Public Library, Juan Rubio of the Seattle Public Library, and Marijke Visser, from the ALA Office of Public Policy who also serves as the Ready to Code Lead. The first part of this session was devoted to a discussion about some important issues that we as librarians grapple with when introducing computational thinking into our programs. It was really cool to listen to these librarians and teachers and get some insight into how they think about the work that we do. Here are some of the questions…