March 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Best in The West: ALA Program Guide


In this Article
‘ISTE or Bust’

Planning to catch this year’s American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in Anaheim, CA? If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to make every second count. That’s why we’ve asked seven savvy librarians to give us the skinny on the top five sessions they plan to attend during the June 21–26 event. As you’ll see, they came up with an eclectic mix that’s bound to make nearby Disneyland’s power couple, Mickey and Minnie, a mere distraction.

But ALA isn’t the only meeting that has a lot to offer. Librarians can also take advantage of the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) conference, which takes place June 24–27 in San Diego, just a hop, skip, and a tank of gas away. According to ISTE’s organizers, the forward-thinking gathering will feature “nearly 20,000 enthusiastic ed-tech professionals and corporate representatives from around the globe.” Sound tempting? Then you’ll want to read why librarian Tiffany Whitehead (“ISTE or Bust”) is skipping ALA in favor of ISTE.

SLJ’s editors will be at both shows. At ALA, look for us at booth #2234, where we’ll offer special discounts to Book Verdict, our new online collection development tool that provides access to more than 300,000 reviews of books and media from SLJ, Library Journal, and The Horn Book. You can also find out more about our August 9 virtual event, “SummerTeen: A Celebration of Young Adult Books,” and our October 17 ebook summit, now called “The Digital Shift: Libraries, Ebooks, and Beyond.” And don’t miss our popular Spa Day raffle, where three lucky winners each receive a $150 certificate to help ease their weary conference-going bones.

Wherever you land, we hope the following recommendations deliver some exciting new ideas that you can put into action.—SLJ staff

slj1206w_ALA_CHarvey(Original Import)Carl A. Harvey II

School librarian,
North Elementary School,
Noblesville, IN

AASL President’s Program

Saturday, June 23, 10:30 a.m.–noon, Anaheim Convention Center (ACC) 213AB

As the American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) current president, I’m probably a little biased, but this session tops my list. Lori Takeuchi, director of research at Sesame Workshop’s Joan Ganz Cooney Center, will share the results of a nationwide survey of more than 800 parents of kids ages three through 10, which reveal how parents feel about raising children in a digital age. Takeuchi will answer audience questions and share in-depth case studies on how parents’ attitudes toward technology, as well as their family values and routines, help shape the experiences of today’s kids. This is powerful information to take back and use in your schools.

Best Websites for Teaching and Learning

Saturday, June 23, 8–10 a.m., ACC 213D

Here’s a great opportunity to find out about some excellent online tools to use with students as AASL unveils its 2011 Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning.

AASL 101

Saturday, June 23, 4–5:30 p.m., ACC 203B

This program is highly recommended especially for those new to ALA’s conference scene. I remember going to my first ALA annual and leaving unsure about the experience. Luckily, I tried it again and was hooked. A chance to attend an AASL 101 back then would have taught me a lot about ALA and AASL—and I would’ve caught the fever even sooner!

Closing General Session and Inaugural Event, Featuring J. R. Martinez

Tuesday, June 26, 9:30–11 a.m., ACC Ballroom DE

While serving in Iraq, Martinez, the author of the upcoming biography Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spirit, suffered severe burns when his vehicle struck a landmine. During the next three years, he underwent 33 operations and worked tirelessly to recover. Come listen to his inspiring message of perseverance and resilience. We librarians need to embrace Martinez’s attitude—in order to achieve anything we set our minds to.

AASL Awards Luncheon

Monday, June 25, 12–2 p.m., Hilton Anaheim Huntington

Come grab a bite, listen to keynote speaker Carmen Agra Deedy, and celebrate the amazing accomplishments of school librarians as they’re lavished with the recognition they so richly deserve. In these tough economic times, we need to relish the positive rather than focus on the negative.

slj1206w_ALA_MIsrael(Original Import)Melissa Jacobs Israel

Coordinator of library
services, New York City
Department of Education

Libraries in the Cloud

Friday, June 22, 8:30 a.m.–noon, ACC 201B

As more and more libraries move beyond brick-and-mortar spaces and drift into the cloud, librarians need to understand their new roles. This session will give us a greater perspective on the best emerging practices and the pros and cons of cloud computing, and help us learn about productivity tools that we can implement in our schools.

YALSA Teen Advisory Boards—Keeping Teens Interested

Monday, June 25, 10:30 a.m.–noon, ACC 209B

School and public libraries are longtime partners when it comes to reaching teens—and we should continue to keep this diverse audience engaged. I’m curious to find out if there are any lessons that school librarians can learn from our public libraries and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), especially when it comes to keeping teens interested in what we have to offer. Perhaps it will lead to a conversation between New York City’s public library system and our school libraries.

AASL When Worlds Collide: An AASL and Common Core Mash Up

Saturday, June 23, 8–10 a.m., Hilton Anaheim Laguna A

School librarians nationwide need to start building lessons based on the Common Core Learning Standards. In New York City, we’ve aligned our school library Information Fluency Standards with the Common Core Learning Standards and now offer four-day professional development workshops on unpacking Common Core standards, developing lesson plans, and understanding text complexity. It’s imperative to understand the work that’s being done by AASL and school librarians across the country. The Common Core Learning Standards offer opportunities for all school librarians to step up and lead students through critical thinking, informational text, and text complexity.

Critical Thinking in a Digital Age: The Positive Influence of Web 2.0 Tools

Saturday, June 23, 1:30–3:30 p.m., ACC 205B

Social learning and Web 2.0 are powerful tools for student learning. As educators and librarians, we need to embrace them to help students navigate in a digital age.

ALSC Nonfiction Book Blast: Booktalks and Activities for Your Library

Saturday, June 23, 10:30 a.m.–noon, ACC 304AB

The Common Core Learning Standards’s and NYC’s Citywide Instructional Expectations are built on understanding, analysis, and responses to informational texts, which are nonfiction books and factual articles from vetted sources. Use this opportunity to engage students and teachers with booktalks and activities in your library while using the Common Core Learning Standard’s focus on text complexity and informational text. By drawing more users into the library, you’ll instill lifelong learning and reading skills.

slj1206w_ALA_CMcDowell(Original Import)Chantell L. McDowell

Teen services librarian,
Charlotte Mecklenburg
(NC) Library

Books We’ll Still Talk About 45 Years from Now

Friday, June 22, 12:30–4:30 p.m., ACC 204A

As a YALSA member and YA librarian, I’ve always wanted to be a part of its book-selection committee. The aspiring writer in me would also like to know what it takes to create quality young adult literature, especially classics that’ll endure for years to come.

Leaders Wanted/LIS Doctoral Program Options Fair: Cultivating Diversity in LIS Education

Saturday, June 23, 10:30 a.m.–noon, Anaheim Marriot Marquis South

Once I’ve completed my doctoral program in leadership studies at New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce University, I’m seriously considering pursuing a second doctorate in library science. Sounds like this is a good place to learn more.

Leading Professional Development That Matters… and Works

Friday, June 22, 12:30–4 p.m., ACC 201B

This preconference seminar takes advantage of the growing library field—and will hopefully offer different professional development models that can enhance my career.

Auditorium Speaker: Teens Making a Difference Featuring William Kamkwamba, Talia Leman, and Gaby Rodriguez

Saturday, June 23, 1:30–2:30 p.m., ACC Ballroom DE

As a teen advocate, I enjoy interacting with kids who want to make a difference or who’ve already made one. I’m looking forward to hearing about the wonderful journeys and choices that have inspired these three young people to stand up and take charge.

Auditorium Speaker: Sapphire

Sunday, June 24, 10:30–11:30 a.m. ACC Ballroom DE

Sapphire is the author of the best-selling novel Push, which was made into the Oscar-winning 2009 movie Precious about an illiterate teen who’s raped by her father and rescued by a determined teacher. It would really be a pleasure to hear Sapphire speak. She’s an inspiration, and I’ve always admired her work.

slj1206w_ALA_JPeters(Original Import)John Peters

Children’s literature
New York City

Science in the Stacks

Saturday, June 23, 10:30 a.m.–noon, ACC 209A

According to ALA’s program guide, this session is “centered around 36 Discovery Exhibits, which provide experiential science learning that’s integrated with traditional library resources.” Intriguing!

Publish or Bust!: An ePublishing Odyssey

Saturday, June 23, 4–5:30 p.m., ACC 207B

In an apparent case of one library providing a new service by catching a cultural wave while it’s on the rise, this session will report on a library-based experiment in the growing area of self-publishing. Though the resulting book was apparently not for children, I imagine the process would be similar no matter the intended audience.

The New Nonfiction: What Is It, and Does It Matter?

Sunday, June 24, 1:30–3:30 p.m., ACC 202B

I review a ton of nonfiction every year, and so I’m always on the lookout for new trends and perspectives on the stuff.

When Miss Rumphius Meets Hugo Cabret: Scaffolding Using Picture Books

Sunday, June 24, 1:30–3:30 p.m., ACC 210C

Unfortunately, this program on making reading more active through evaluating picture-book themes and concepts takes place at the same time as the program listed immediately above it, but if I lace on my sneakers, maybe I can slip back and forth between the two presentations. That sort of thing has never happened to me, but hey, there’s always a first time.

I Want a Truck Book! Reorganizing Your Picture Book Collection to Meet the Needs of Young Patrons and Their Caregivers

Sunday, June 24, 4–5:30 p.m., ACC 210D

Becuase I’ve spent most of my library career working with mammoth picture-book collections and struggling to find ways to make them accessible—to librarians as well as patrons—this program addresses an enduring interest.

ALSC and YALSA Joint Presidents’ Program: The Digital Lives of Tweens and Young Teens

Monday, June 25, 8–10 a.m., ACC 304AB

As a member of the Great Web Sites for Kids committee and a freelance reviewer of apps and ebooks, I expect this program to be chock-full of relevant and valuable new insights into the digital experiences of young users.

slj1206w_ALA_JSchumacher(Original Import)John Schumacher

Brook Forest Elementary
School, Oak Brook, IL

When Worlds Collide: An AASL and Common Core Mashup

Saturday, June 23, 8–10 a.m., Hilton Anaheim Laguna A

Schools around the country are working on implementing the Common Core standards. This session will inspire school librarians to take a leadership role that will help teachers implement the new guidelines.

Think, Create, Share, Grow: Setting the Stage for Collaborative Inquiry

Saturday, June 23, 1:30–3:30 p.m., Anaheim Marriott Orange County Salon 1–2

Michael Stephens was one of my library school professors, and he stressed the importance of “library as place.” Thanks to Michael and my partnership with Iowa’s Van Meter School, I’m drawn to sessions and discussions about library spaces, collaboration, and inquiry-based learning.

When Miss Rumphius Meets Hugo Cabret: Scaffolding Using Picture Books

Sunday, June 24, 1:30–3:30 p.m., ACC 210C

I’m pumped about any session that mentions two of my favorite books. I hope it’ll remind attendees of the importance of using picture books with kids of all ages.

Share the Wealth: Contribute to the AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner Lesson Plan Database

Sunday, June 24, 8–10 a.m., ACC 205B

I’ve used the AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner Lesson Plan Database, and now it’s time to contribute to this valuable resource. I am excited to learn more about the process of submitting a lesson.

The New Nonfiction: What Is It, and Does It Matter?

Sunday, June 24, 1:30–3:30 p.m., ACC 202B

I’m looking forward to this session almost as much as the Newbery/Caldecott banquet. A new framework for evaluating nonfiction intrigues me.

slj1206w_ALA_ATran(Original Import)Allison Tran

Teen services librarian,
Mission Viejo (CA)

Not Another Boring Vampire Romance: Going Beyond the Norm in Young Adult Paranormal Literature

Saturday, June 23, 8–10 a.m., ACC 209AB

I’m ready to hear something new about the ever-popular genres of paranormal and fantasy YA literature, and this librarian-moderated panel featuring authors Kendare Blake, Ken Oppel, Jackson Pearce, and Cindy Pon sounds fascinating. According to the panel’s official description, it will “give particular insight in how approaching this best-selling genre from a unique perspective as both a reader and a writer makes it even more relevant and interesting to a more diverse audience of teen readers.”

Being a Social Teen Advocate

Saturday, June 23, 4–5:30 p.m., ACC 204C

As an active social media user, I’m always eager to learn new ways to use these technologies to reach my library community. This session, presented by technology expert Linda W. Braun, will discuss how to use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+ to attract library teens. I’m looking forward to the brainstorming part of the session when we all exchange ideas.

Best Fiction for Young Adults

Sunday, June 24, 1:30–3:30 p.m., Hilton Anaheim California D

This is always one of the most talked about ALA sessions, and I always use YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA) list as a selection tool for my library’s collection. I look forward to hearing local teens talk candidly about their experiences with the books nominated for the 2013 BFYA list.

Passive Programming That’s Anything But: Reaching Young Adults Subversively

Sunday, June 24, 4–5:30 p.m., ACC 207A

As a budget-conscious librarian who plans a lot of passive programming for teens, I’m always scouting for new ideas. According to this session’s description, “Participants in this program will learn why passive programming is an important aspect of YA service and how to inexpensively implement and maintain these programs.” It’s exactly what I need to spice up my passive programs.

Odyssey Award Presentation and Program

Monday, June 25, 4–5:30 p.m., ACC 213D

Each year the Odyssey Award goes to the producer of the best English-language
audiobook for children and young adults in the United States. I’m absolutely addicted to audiobooks—I love the way a talented narrator can make a good story even more vibrant. I’m looking forward to celebrating the 2012 Odyssey winners, chosen by a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and YALSA members.

slj1206w_ALA_PWilley(Original Import)Paula Willey

Baltimore (MD) County
Public Library

ALSC and YALSA Joint Presidents’ Program: The Digital Lives of Tweens and Young Teens

Monday, June 25, 8-10 a.m., ACC 304AB

When I talk to kids about their online lives, they ask me, “How come our parents think everyone online is a rapist?” And when I talk to parents, they tell me, “Kids don’t realize how dangerous it is to be online!” I need authoritative information about the way kids use the Internet in order to make good recommendations to them and their caregivers.

The New Nonfiction: What Is It, and Does It Matter?

Sunday, June 24, 1:30–3:30 p.m., ACC 202B

I’ve been reviewing nonfiction for SLJ for four years, and sometimes the life of a reviewer can feel like a lonely one—this upcoming panel sounds like my kind of people! If nonfiction and the criteria for evaluating it are changing, I better brush up on it.

Leaders Wanted/LIS Doctoral Program Options Fair: Cultivating Diversity in LIS Education

Saturday, June 23, 10:30 a.m.–noon, Anaheim Marriott Marquis South

Why not consider getting a Ph.D.? I’ve been a librarian for more than a decade, helping people research what they find interesting… maybe it’s time to turn those skills back on the profession that means so much to me.

Teen Advisory Boards—Keeping Teens Interested

Monday, June 25, 10:30 a.m.–noon, ACC 209B

After reading in a recent issue of SLJ about zombie survival training as a teen program, I realized there are some seriously clever and creative YA services librarians out there. I intend to steal all of their ideas!

Get Them Talking About Books!: Using Protocols to Assist Students with Making Book Choices and Developing a Reading Plan

Monday, June 25, 1:30–3:30 p.m., Hilton Anaheim Palos Verdes B

Kids turn to one another for reliable book recommendations, but booktalking is a learned skill. For example, kids can often be too vague (“Um, I just really liked the book”) or way too specific, reciting whole runs of dialogue without any context. I want to walk away mastering how to teach that to kids.