ALA Midwinter 2018

Takeaways from #alamw19

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?

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

Let’s do better #alacouncil #alamw19

It’s a somber time at council this last day of #alamw19 We have been voting over the last few days to make the work of libraries more supportive for civil rights of diverse genders, disabilities, sustainability, and the social justice of fines at libraries, etc. All huge and giant issues for the library and the issues that we see in our daily lives of work.   But, by now you may have heard that there was a violation of the code of conduct at an ALA Council forum on Monday afternoon. If not– check twitter. And this morning– more than 100 people are in this room– sitting in the aftermath of failing a person… and failing ourselves. If we can’t guarantee a safe space to discuss council issues for all people– not just the majority being white persons– I wonder how are we failing in our libraries?   This is…

ALA Midwinter 2019

Goodbye Emerald City, Hello Polar Vortex #alamw19

I’ll be heading back to the Midwest tomorrow, where we’ll be seeing some of the coldest temperatures on record. While I’m not looking forward to that bitter cold, I am looking forward to getting back to serving my patrons. A conference always has that effect on me. I feel rejuvenated and hopeful, especially after the results of the YMAs. Merci Suarez Changes Gears is a book I’ve been plugging since it came out and I was so thrilled that it won the Newbery Medal. I am also a huge Neil Gaiman fan and am so pumped that he’ll be giving the 2020 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. I’ll also be doing a Mock Caldecott with staff as we did one last year and we all had a great time. Hello, Lighthouse, this year’s winner, was one of the titles I had set aside for our Mock Caldecott. Another highlight of…

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 2018

Future Ready with the Library #alamw19

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!

ALA Midwinter 2019

ALA Council at #alamw19

ALA Council meets three times during each conference– on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday mornings. The sessions are open unless noted and there is no better way to really get to know what ALA does and how it operates. It can seem like everyone is speaking a different language, but there is a fine art to the procedures… one that is learned over time. But you do need to immerse yourself in it to figure the moving parts out. If you work for a large and or complicated library system– you will have an easier time! The reason it can be so nitpicky– is that the implications of words and policies are ripples outward that we may not see– so we have to be especially careful the how and why of how we choose words, something council is sure to debate! This is my 2nd year in Council, and I love…