- ALA Annual Conference 2022

Escape Room at #ALAAC2022 and Play Virtually from Anywhere!

Looking for an “Escape?” Friday night at #ALAAC2022 is “ALA Play” sponsored by the Games and Gaming Round Table. Visitors can try out all different kinds of games including RPGs, card games, and board games. Can’t make it to ALA but want to join in some of the fun and games? You can! There is a virtual escape room that you can play to win prizes. (Prizes will be sent to winners after the end of the conference.) Escape rooms are great programs for public and school libraries. Patrons can learn about different topics while having fun completing them. You can theme your escape room to particular events, books, or activities happening at your library. Click here to learn more about the ALA GameRT escape room. Or, if you are ready, you can go directly to Mystery Island. Guest Conference Blogger Soline Holmes (she/her/hers) is a librarian and the Library/Technology Department…

- ALA Annual Conference 2022

Comics Challenges with the #GNCRT at #ALAAC2022

I started my #ALAAC2022 experience with the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table’s (#GNCRT) Friday Forum which focused on Comics Challenges. Taking place from 11-3, there were three unique panels comprised of creators, publishers, and librarians. The first panel (which, full disclosure, I also moderated) was about challenges among award-winning books. The second panel focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion in comics. The forum ended with a panel about concrete tips on how to address comics challenges.

ALA Annual Conference 2021

#Newbery and #Caldecott Virtual Banquet at #alaac2021

Usually, on this night, I am dressed up and sitting with a group of librarians to celebrate the #Newbery and #Caldecott Awards. This year, I still wanted it to be special. So, I treated my family to Yogurtland. I wore my “This Is How I Roll” t- shirt featuring a book truck. And, I got to visit the homes of amazingly talented authors and illustrators and listen to their inspiring words from my living room. I loved every minute of it. I encourage you to watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPOrSDaxsaE There are so many favorite moments, but a few highlights… In her Caldecott acceptance speech, illustrator Michaela Goade was truly an inspiration as the first indigenous/BIPOC woman to win a Caldecott. I want to listen to her speech over and over from her beautiful description of her home in Alaska to her discussion of her illustrations for “We Are Water Protectors”…

ALA Annual Conference 2021

Amanda Gorman and Loren Long @ #ALA Annual Conference 2021

On Wednesday morning, #ALA Annual Conference 2021 began with an amazing opening speaker session with Amanda Gorman and Loren Long. They were interviewed by “rock star” (to quote Gorman) Carla Hayden. Really, all three of these speakers are ROCK STARS! Gorman introduced us to her new book, CHANGE SINGS, which will be available in the fall. She has been working on the poem for over 3.5 years and wanted it to come out as close after the Inauguration as possible (before she even knew that she would be the Inaugural Poet). Gorman and Long discussed the transformation of her poem into a children’s book. As Gorman explained, poems are “divisible by units of sound, and children’s books are divisible by units of scene.” In thinking about turning the poem into a book, she had to think about “page turns,” and she wanted to give the huge topic of CHANGE texture,…

ALA Virtual Conference 2020

Every Word a Poem with Sophia Thakur at #ALAVirtual20

I will admit that I was not familiar with poet and storyteller Sophia Thakur before her featured presentation at #ALAVirtual20. Several minutes into it, my family could find me crying in the kitchen at her beautiful and inspiring words. (Shedding tears of joy/inspiration/amazement is a common occurrence for me at ALA, and now my family gets to witness this during the virtual conference). Thakur is a “performance poet” from the United Kingdom. Throughout her presentation, she recited some of her poems, but EVERYTHING she said was itself a poem. I am hoping for a transcript because I was desperately trying to write down every word that she said. She epitomized her statement that “Poetry is in the gap between art and conversation.” She talked about literacy and empathy. She encouraged people to tell their own stories because literacy is a tool to explore the self. Reading empowers through windows, mirrors,…

ALA Virtual Conference 2020

Welcome to #ALAVirtual20

Welcome to #ALAVirtual20! I had been looking forward to my first visit to Chicago and the home of #ALA, but I am still excited to spend the next few days immersed in everything LIBRARY! I started my conference with an ALA Happy Hour via Zoom. Mixologist Andres Arias showed us all how to make Palomas. The Paloma, one of the best-selling cocktails in Mexico, was first created in Mexico and is similar to a margarita. With drinks in hand, we then broke into small groups to meet each other and discuss our favorite drinks, Chicago, and, inevitably, Covid19.  We were then challenged to some trivia about Chicago, home of 5 major league sports teams in addition to some amazing libraries! While I knew Chicago was famous for its deep dish pizza, I learned that brownies originated in Chicago (at the Palmer House) and about Holy Cow dark chocolate potato chips…

ALA Annual 2019

Tough Stuff: What’s OK in Middle Grade Books? at #ALAac19

This morning, I attended a great discussion at the Pop Top Stage of the Exhibit Hall.  I was so excited to hear some of my favorite middle grade authors talking about their craft and what they feel they can and cannot do in their books.  A panel of six female middle grade authors discussed their “awkward” moments from childhood.  They then went on to discuss how they write middle grade fiction.  )For purposes of the discussion, “middle grade” was defined as the transition period between being a kid and growing up.) Middle grade novels allow authors to deal with the harsh realities of life but show the silver-lining and the hopefulness of a child.  The authors agreed that middle grade books should give readers HOPE.  These books provide educators and parents with a way to address the tough topics with which children deal.  We can’t ignore these tough topics because…

ALA Annual 2019

This Recap Does Not Give Justice to Justice Sotomayor at #ALAac19

  Sonia Sotomayor entered to a standing ovation to which she replied, “My favorite people! I love librarians” because librarians open the world to children and give them opportunities they otherwise could not have. Early in the discussion, she came down off the stage and wandered through the audience hugging and shaking hands with adoring fans! She said so many inspiring things, here are a few of my favorite quotes and details: She is “living proof of how libraries can affect people for life.” She loved going through the old library card catalogs! Her first chapter books were “Nancy Drew.” In 6th grade, “Lord of the Flies” really affected her-she wanted to become a lawyer so she could help people see that laws serve us as a community Laws help us make sacrifices for the greater good Our greatest obstacle in life is fear. “Most important skill for librarians is…