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ALA Annual Conference (and what you can do when you’re stuck at home!)

24 Jun

This week Chicago hosts the ALA Annual Conference where librarians from across the country will come together for networking, continuing education and the chance to meet authors and illustrators while learning about upcoming new releases. And as much as I love traveling to the ALA Annual Conference sometimes it’s just not feasible. So what can you do if you’re #ALALeftBeind?

There are amazing continuing education opportunities that you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home to participate in.  Check out WebJunction – a website built specifically for library training including self-paced courses as well as webinars across a wide-range of topics that librarians face.

If you can’t make it to the Annual Conference, check out ALA Online Learning many of ALA’s divisions host online learning on a variety of topics that interest librarians in all fields.

You can also check out state associations and local chapters who often have day-long workshops or conference based around a specific topic. These are most often more affordable and easier to get to.

And don’t forget to check out universities who often have continuing education opportunities. I’ve taken a class from the School of Library & Information Studies through the University of Wisconsin-Madison which I really enjoyed and they have a number of online courses they offer each semester at a low cost.

So even if you can’t make it to the ALA Annual Conference, don’t despair – there are plenty of other places to go to continue your education. It’s also important to attend continuing education opportunities for the networking aspect. Although I’m an introvert, it’s always refreshing to be around other librarians where I can bounce ideas off them and talk about library issues without having explaining it – they just get it. And that’s what I like most about this career, I am continually learning something new and it’s amazing.

Must Listen: Book Lover’s Podcasts

22 Jun

get-booked-logo-e1441883061578I love the Get Booked podcast – it’s a book recommendation podcast where people submit questions for reading suggestions for themselves, as gifts, for their book club, etc. and receive suggestions from the hosts and Book Riot contributors. 9 times out of 10, I know very well that I’ll never read the books they suggest, but I love hearing about them – it’s a great way to hear about books from a wide-variety of genres and the ladies who host are so fun!

 

artworks_mediumIf you’re a kid lit author or illustrator and like to drink (both alcoholic and non) this is the group for you. I’m neither an author or illustrator, but I enjoy this podcast just the same – it’s fun to listen to other people geek out as much as I do about kid lit! They talk writing, interview authors, and in general have a lot of fun together – which is awesome!

 

downloadThis is a podcast hosted by a 5th grade teacher focusing on middle grade books. She talks classroom shop – always looking for ways to connect middle grade students to books they’ll love. My favorite part of this podcast is when she offers up suggestions and the format she uses is great – a quick overview of the story and three reasons why she loves the book. She’s got some great ideas to encourage readers and reading habits!

 

The-Yarn-logo-500-300x300The Yarn is hosted by Colby Sharp and Travis Jonker and each season has had a little bit of a different focus – but it’s always enlightening with a focus on kid lit author interviews. The first season of the podcast the guys focused on looking at Matthew & Jennifer Holm’s book – Sunny Side Up from many different angles – book designer, author, illustrator, colorist, editor and more.

 

These are just a few of the podcasts I listen to and if you’re looking for some more great examples, check out Brightly’s article, Press Play: 8 of the Best Kids’ Lit Podcasts (and a Few for Grown-Ups Too)!

 

In My Own Backyard…

21 Jun

I saw this article circulating on Facebook just a couple of days ago and was really excited to share with my blogging community. Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse made waves in 2015 when Ariell Johnson became the first African-American woman to open a comic book store on the East Coast. And Johnson’s making waves again with a $50,000 Knight Foundation grant awarded to the store to create Amalagm University a place “where hopeful writers and illustrators can take classes on drawing, writing, pitching and publishing.”

Johnson not only stocks the usuals in her comic book shop, but also focuses on providing a wide variety of materials including diverse authors and illustrators as well as material provided by independent authors. Johnson wants to be able to provide upcoming authors and illustrators access to education that they may not be able to afford otherwise.

What’s more? Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse is in Philadelphia – my own backyard! I’m not a HUGE comic book fan, but I’m definitely going to make a trip to North Philly to check out this store and grab some comics for myself!

Children’s Resource: Reading Beyond Booklist

16 Jun

ReadingBeyondLOGO-_FINALI’m so excited to promote this amazing booklist, just in time for summer reading and all those parents looking for books for their kids who read beyond their grade level.

The Reading Beyond booklist is a list of “75 titles chosen by the ALA-CBC (American Library Association & Children’s Book Council) Joint Committee to provide guidance to parents, caregivers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and anyone interested in discovering books for children who read at an advanced level and are seeking more challenging, but still age-appropriate, books.” (CBC website)

The list is broken down into three areas:

  • Kindergarten & 1st graders reading at a 3rd grade level
  • 2nd & 3rd graders reading at a 5th grade level
  • 4th & 5th graders reading at a 7th grade level

This list was curated with special care looking for diverse titles in different genres in the hopes that there is something for each and every child looking for some new titles. And I know, because I was able to be on this amazing committee working on this list for the past year. It was not an easy list of books to come up with as there was a lot of back and forth – whether the content was appropriate for the reader, whether the reading level was too easy or too difficult and ensuring that diversity was well represented with the list.

Share this great curated and annotated reading list with friends, family and your libraries!

Pennsylvania Library Association’s Directors’ Institute

8 Jun

logo.pngI get to spend the next few days at an LSTA funded program for library directors learning about my leadership strengths and how to develop them to use at work. I am a strong believer in continuing education and that can be seen by my two graduate degrees, additional online courses and the leadership programs I’ve attended. What I like most about continuing education is that when it’s in the library world, I don’t have to explain myself – all of these colleagues have either experienced what I’m going through or know someone who has and it’s a refreshing place to be.

Before this particular institute, we were required to read Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams and Why People Follow Them by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie. At the end of the book, you take an online test to discover your five strengths. Mine (which are no surprise to myself) are Discipline, Consistency, Harmony, Learner and Input. The book and report from the online test then teaches you about how to use your strengths in the best way. I’m excited to learn more about this information over the next few days and networking with other directors.

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