Welcome PLA Attendees

Hi there and welcome to Book Blather. I know some of you may have found me via the PLA presentation BEYOND DUCT TAPE WALLETS. I just wanted to give a warm welcome! Below are links to some of the programs I talked about

And here are some of the posts that will be posting in the couple of weeks

  • Friday Night Madness: Zombies vs Humans
  • Book Club Discussions: Cruel Beauty, Eye of Minds, & Pawn.
  • Dry Erase Boards
  • Teen Librarian Survey Results
  • Teen Space Reorganization

If there is something in particular you would like me to do a post-write up, especially if I mentioned it during the presentation, just let me know and I’ll add it to my list!

YALSA Forum and ALA Midwinter

ALA is always somewhat of a whirlwind and this Midwinter was no different. My conference actually earlier than normal due to the YALSA Symposium. I was one of the 15 stipend award winners that got to attend; something I am still thrilled I got to be a part of. It was two days of brainstorming and sharing ideas with people both inside and outside of the library world about how we could work together on creating better teen services. I won’t go into too much detail, but I thought I’d throw out some of the highlights

  • One of the presentations: Teens and Libraries Pew & Rene Hobbs
  • The teen panels was probably my favorite session. It was interesting to hear how the teens interacted with social media and their library. There was a lot of hate for Facebook, but mixed love for twitter and tumblr. It was also nice to see how excited teens get when they connect w/teen librarians/libraries. You don’t need to be “cool” you just need to care!
  • I loved the small group discussions. The themes that hit hard over the two days were creating communities for teens and breaking out the library stereotype. We need to create space where teens can learn (and fail!) without any high risks attached. I’ve been in this mindset for a while, so it was so nice to see I wasn’t alone.

There is so much I could talk about, but I would recommend checking out our twitter hashtag: yalsaforum. There are TONS of good idea and quotes from the session.  Also, check out the Day 1 Storify Slideshow by Linda Braun. There will also be three virtual town halls that I recommend everyone being a part of! They’ll be on March 19th, April 16th, & May 21st from 2:00 – 3:00pm EST. I walked away with several good ideas (which I’m hoping to start highlighting here) and I’m excited to continue the conversation during these town halls!

After YALSA Forum I literally rolled straight into Midwinter. Most of my time was spent in various meetings from leadership to committee to even a board meeting. I don’t even think I could detail a day by day rundown anymore as everything has blurred together!

However, I do want to talk about Fabulous Films for Young Adults (FFYA). Some of you may know this already, but for those you don’t I was the chair of FFYA this year. It was also my third year serving on this committee. The past 3 years have been a blast filled with movies, conversations, and new friends. This year, we created a fantastic SURVIVAL list (or aka Then Things Went Terribly Wrong!) We selected 25 of the best titles from over 60 nominations. I’ll be highlighting some of the movies this year and would love to hear what you think!

I am a little sad to be leaving FFYA, especially since the list only has one year left. It has been a great experience and I wouldn’t trade if for the world. I’m anxious to see what the new theme will be and to start adding nominations to the list! It’ll a;sp be interesting to see how FFYA transitions from being a selection list to being on The Hub and how it morphs into something new in 2014. But as sad as it is to leave, I’m excited to start my term on Great Graphic Novels! This is one of my dream committees and something I cannot wait to start.

I didn’t get to attend any buzz sessions this year, so I doubt I’ll be doing any features about what I got/what I’m excited about right now. However, I will highlight mine and my teens favorites as we read them!

Summer Reading & School Visits

Today is the official start of Summer Reading. However, I have spent the last month (okay, really longer) preparing for it to begin. Beyond fliers and events and prep work there is also school visits. I spent 10 days visiting 3 different schools and got to talk to 1477 teens! The first half was spent talking about what my SRP was about, but I also did a lot of book talking (my next post will be about these books). To say that I was exhausted was an understatement. But if I can get even a fraction of those kids to join my numbers will rock (my highest participation total has been 304). A lot of people debate if school visits are really effective. Even I wonder how much pay-off all that work produces. I mean, we do surveys at the end of the summer, but I know only a fraction of those teens fill it out. And I can’t just go by school totals since I talk to 8th graders who would be moving onto high school. So, I’ve always been left wondering if all that time is worth it as far as SRP numbers go.

This year I’m hoping to have an answer. Since my program is online, the teens register themselves. Our system, Evanced, allows me to pick and choose what they have to answer to register. I thought I would be smart and added a “How did you hear about SRP” program, which includes a school visit option. I’m highly excited to see what the outcome will be. At the moment I already have 61 (!!) teens signed up and 11 signed-up because of school visits. That’s roughly 18%. I’m hoping that average will stay around that mark, but we’ll have to see how the summer goes. I’ll be sure to post updates as the summer moves along.

ALA Midwinter: Beyond the Exhibit Hall

When many bloggers or non-professionals hear about the American Library Association (ALA) they think about the floor. The big glitzy exhibit hall where the publishers man booths and there is swag and ARCs to be had. As a librarian, I love this part, too, because I get to take amazing books back to my teens or talk to my vendors, but it’s a very, very small part of my ALA experience. I’m talking less than 10% of what I do. You may think I’m pulling your strings, but I’m not! And I’m about to prove it.

ALA, especially Midwinter, is about meetings. I am on YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) Fabulous Films for Young Adults, a list were we pick 25 titles that best fit a theme. This years was Song & Dance and we picked an amazing list. I already talked about that over here, so I won’t go on about the titles again. However, I will talk about how much time and effort goes into this list. At midwinter, my fellow committee members and myself, spent 10 hours in a room whittling down the titles. And this was almost 10 hours of pure discussion as we had completed all the viewing before ALA. That’s right, I said before ALA! We had over 100 titles nominated this year, which means I spent easily 200+ hours watching movies on my own time. I don’t watch a single title while I’m at work. This also doesn’t include the time I spend on our discussion board proclaiming why I loved or disliked a title or if it had teen appeal. It’s a lot of work, but I love it! I love knowing that our list will be used across the nation to buy materials in libraries.

In fact, I love it so much, I have accepted the position of chair (aka head) of the committee for next year! Of course, this meant I spent another 2-3 hours in leadership meetings that would make the transition between outgoing and incoming chair go smoothly. Since I’ve been on the committee for the past 2 years, I had a good grasp on things, but it was still nice to be able to talk to my chair about things I may not have know about.

Enough about the meetings you say? Okay, okay fine. Then lets talk about BFYA or Best Fiction for Young Adult. Another YALSA  selection list that looks at books published in a 16 month time period and selects the best. The best part for me (and many librarians) is the teen session that happens the Sunday of every conference. Local teens come in and share their thoughts on the books that are nominated. This year they spent 2.5 hours commenting on 10 pages worth of books. Their comments were insightful and amazing and I enjoyed every minute they spoke. If you search twitter for #BFYA you’ll see many of the teen comments. They also write reviews during the year and send it to committee members. (For those wondering, these are the teens you see wandering in YALSA t-shirts on floor Sunday morning.)

What else? Let’s talk about the awards. Midwinter is seriously the Oscars for Librarians; this is when we learn who won the Printz, Newbery, Caldecott, & much more. The excitement is hard to explain during the Youth Media Awards (YMA) unless you witness it first hand. The gasps and cheers as each award is announced fills the room. There is video of the YMA, but I doubt it can equal to the thrill of being there. Of hearing your friends scream and jump in their chairs because one of their favorites one. (Or feel the heartbreak when a favorite lost.)

The cool thing about this years awards was that Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley won both the Morris and the Printz. Honestly, I think only one other person could have done that in my mind, which would have been John Green (if the Morris has existed then). It was a special treat hearing him and the other Morris & Non-Fiction noms/winners give their speeches. If his Morris speech is any indicator, we’ll be in for a very special treat when he gives the Printz speech at Annual.

I would be remiss not to talk about the book buzzes. I was lucky enough to attend 4 this Midwinter either through special breakfasts, lunches, or buzz sessions. I love these sessions because I learn so much about what is coming out by all the publishers. I love the packet I walk away with.  It includes information such as titles, authors, pub dates, and descriptions, which is invaluable to me as I begin my ordering process when I return to work. I did a special Book Buzz post if you want to see what books I’m most excited about after sitting through the sessions.

Last, but not least, I want to touch on networking. Not only do I room with fellow librarians, but I have lunches and dinners with them as well. This is a time were we share programming ideas, rant and rave about books, and just talk about working in libraries in general. These meetings have lead to me having invaluable support groups that I reach out to all year long who encourage and help me to become a better Teen Services Librarian.

That my dear readers, is my ALA in a nutshell. I hope it was a good glimpse of what happens beyond the floor. This world is open to anyone who buys a full badge, including non-librarians! And if anyone has questions regarding ALA I am more than happy to answer them.


Fabulous Films for Young Adults

As some of you may know, I spent my second year as a committee member on Fabulous Films for Young Adults. Each year we create a list surrounding a theme; this years was Song and Dance. I’m not sure what I’m all allowed to say and what I’m not so I’m going to play it on the safe side. We had 100+ nominations come in, of which we had to whittle it down to no more than 25. Let me tell you this was no small feat! It took us hours of persuading, arguing (NICELY), and pleading to get our final titles. There were hearts broken as beloved titles were given the ax, but all of us agreed we ended up with an AMAZING list. So without further ado, here is our list:

  1. 8 mile
  2. Almost Famous
  3. Bride and Prejudice
  4. Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog
  5. Drumline
  6. Idlewild
  7. Newsies
  8. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  9. Once Upon A Mattress
  10. Rodger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (the new one w/Brandy and Whitney)
  11. Save the Last Dance
  12. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  13. Selena
  14. The Sound of Music
  15. Step Up
  16. Strictly Ballroom
  17. Sweeney Todd
  18. West Side Story
  19. Chopes
  20. Every Little Step
  21. Foo Fighters: Back and Forth
  22. Mao’s Last Dancer
  23. Only When I Dance
  24. War Dance

Isn’t that a fantastic list??? We had such a great committee this year and I can’t wait to work with them again next year as I take over as chair! While our theme is not official yet, I can tell you we have a couple of really good suggestions I’m excited about. We do take field submissions, so I hope once Feb 1st rolls around all of you will nominate a title. (Check out Kelly’s post on why field nominations are so important)