ALA Annual 2011

Back to reality

Yesterday was my first day back at work after a magical #ala11 weekend.  During my pre-work run, the following appropriate songs came up on my Ipod shuffle, in this order: I’m So Tired by the Beatles – Does ANYone get enough sleep at ALA?  Not this librarian!  And small wonder, given how much fun I had… Early in the Mornin’ by Buddy Guy – Appropriate not only because Buddy Guy is a Louisiana native son, but also for the bluesy lyrics “Now it’s early in the morning … and I ain’t got nothin’ but the blues”.  Hello, Post-ALA Depression! Dawning of a New Era by The Specials – Don’t you feel as if you now have enough energy and inspiration and ideas to change the world – or at least your library system – or at least your own tiny corner of your library system?!  It could well be the…

ALA Annual 2011

Swag bags for the soul

We love our ARCs, pens, posters, buttons, and endless vendor bags, but it’s the intangible goodies that mean the most at #ALA11. Grand inspiration, practical ideas, and poignant moments – these are what I hope to take away from ALA, whether they come from a session, the exhibit floor, or a conversation with a colleague. To name just a very few of the nuggets I’ve tucked into my brain: Dr. Robinson’s thoughtful description of the range and common features of Autism Spectrum Disorders, and her valuable advice to build relationships with the parents and caregivers of kids with ASD, to get to know the kids, and to remember that non-verbal does not mean unintelligent and that kids with ASD do want human connection – it’s just a lot harder for them. I’ve got new energy, information, and motivation to go back and improve our early literacy services, our teen web,…

ALA Annual 2011

Series build community

Hiking to the far end of the convention center #ALA11 raised my first blister of the conference yesterday evening, but it was worth it.  3 writers and 1 editor of series books for kids and teens shared why they (and we!) heart series books. Booklist Forum – “Keep ‘Em Coming: Fiction Series Creators Talk Shop” Lauren Myracle, Dan Gutman, Jonathan Stroud, David Levithan Some tidbits: Lauren Myracle: 13 plus 1 – title came about because Barnes and Noble said that if it was called Fourteen, they’d have to put it in the YA section.  But they were FINE with “13 plus 1”!  Go figure. Did everyone know this but me? – Emily Jenkins (Toys Go Out) and E. Lockhart (Boyfriend List) are the same person!  No wonder I love all those books. Dan Gutman – hllarious on the topic of all the permutations of the Weird School series, which “are all…

ALA Annual 2011

Comfort is a shoe-in!

When, while packing for #ALA11, the urge comes upon me to include fabulous footwear that will blow those NY publishers/editors out of the water, I take a deep breath and remember that they will be standing around in an air-conditioned exhibit hall all day – while I will be slogging from convention center to hotel to convention center in 90+ degree heat. Right! Sensible footwear it is! But the last time I was in NOLA for Annual, it rained so much that my shoes literally disintegrated, and my feet and legs swelled so much I had to apply Body Shop Cooling Spray every five minutes. The peppermint smell was overpowering, but it was better than smelling like sweaty feet. My answer to the Shoe Dilemma? Pack lots of comfy pairs and avert your eyes from the exhibitors’ sleek footwear. Eva Mitnick

Blogger Eva Mitnick

Counting the days until ECRR 2

The second edition of Every Child Ready to Read is coming next month – at long last! Our library system adapted the first version several years ago, and it radically changed the way we think about and present storytimes and outreach to parents and caregivers.  Though we struggled with the terminology (it took weeks for me to say “phonological awareness” with carefree ease), and it took lots of practice to slip all those messages and tips about the 6 skills into our storytimes and workshops in a natural way, it has now become second-nature.  We finally internalized the 6 skills! But it bothered me that there was so much emphasis on those skills, when it seemed to me that the most important message was “Read to your kids, because it’s the best way to prepare them for school and reading – plus, it’s fun!”  And research tells us that talking,…

Blogger Eva Mitnick

Creating a new crop of Library Kids

Summer is two whole months away, and yet I’ve been wallowing in all things Summer Reading Program 2011 since the end of last summer. Really, our planning began while last summer’s program was still in full swing.  We knew we wanted to make some big changes, so my Youth Services office cast a keener-than-usual eye on the goings-on in our 72 branches and Central.  What was working?  What wasn’t?  What great ideas in individual branches should be implemented system-wide? We looked at counting books vs. minutes, when and if to offer incentives (and if so, which ones?), contests, online products, raffles, programming, and dozens of other elements. When the program was over, we asked our Children’s Librarians to submit reports soliciting their opinions about the 2010 program and soliciting ideas for the next.  And after the CSLP manual and graphics were released in October, we invited discussion on our internal…

ALA Annual 2010

Mixing business and pleasure

Could there possibly be  another profession whose members throw themselves into their jobs with as much zest and joy as librarians do?  Every ALA conference I attend convinces me that we are truly blessed among all professionals. My first ALA was in San Francisco in 1987 — I was a new college graduate and had been accepted to what was then known as UCLA’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science.  My mom is a librarian and I literally grew up in libraries (was even brought to a few library school classes at Berkeley as an infant), but I had never encountered librarians en masse. The tote bags!  The swag!  The sensible shoes!  The sheer enthusiasm of everyone I talked to!  I was hooked. Countless ALAs later, I’m still hooked on the excitement of our annual conference.  Even after more than 20 years, there’s always something to learn and plenty…

ALA Annual 2010

Taking Libraries into the Community: Beyond Brick Borders

I’m back home after a whirlwind of a long weekend in D.C. and it’s strange indeed to be wearing a sweater against the cool and overcast weather here in Venice, CA after that astonishing and record-breaking D.C. heat. Here’s a report on the first ALSC program I attended this weekend.  Please find handouts and more information under the program name on this page. Taking Libraries into the Community: Beyond Brick Borders: Presented by Shawn Brommers of South Central Library System in Madison, Wisconsin; Mary Fellows of the Upper Hudson Library System, and Evelyn Walkowicz of the Henderson District Public Libraries in Las Vegas, NV. Ms. Brommers discusses a variety of community programming, including: Motheread/Fatheread – literacy program using children’s books to teach adult (parent) literacy; for example, working with incarcerated dads. Reach Out and Read – bringing books and early literacy info, through pediatricians and clinics, to new parents Think…