Tag Archives: YALSA

Please be creative for me!

At Midwinter this year, YALSA will have a Not-So-Silent Auction.  Committees were asked to donate a basket for people to bid on.  After wracking my brain to come up with something that might sort of connect with my committee (WrestleMania Reading Challenge Jury), I came up with:

“The Librarian’s Survival Kit For Those Days You Really Wrestle With”

or something shorter that still uses the word “wrestle.”

I need ideas for what to include in the basket.  If you have any, please shout them out!  Here is what I have so far:

  • Advil (or some other painkiller) for the headaches
  • Chocolate for a sweet break
  • A box of instant brownie mix for the time you need to bribe or thank someone
  • Starbucks gift card for a caffeine fix
  • Band aids for the days spent turning too many pages, pushing too much paper
  • Some nice soap for the days spent weeding too many old dusty books
  • Foot lotion for the days you never sit down
  • a copy of Desk Set or some other librarian movie for the days you need inspiration (I wish Party Girl was available on DVD)
  • A nice bookmark so you never lose your place
  • A bottle of wine for the days but nothing but a stiff drink will do

But I want to include more.  What are things you think a librarian should not live without?  Should I include the old stereotypical eyeglass chain?  Please be creative for me!


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We’re only 3 weeks into the school year?

True to my expectations, I’ve been absent from my blog, and I miss it dearly.  The new school year has been very busy.  Our library circulation statistics for the first two weeks of school was double what we had last year, we’ve had an increased number of teachers wanting to use the library, which has been overwhelming but so very awesome.  Even my student aides are great!

A lot of people have been on edge this year, though.  We have a new principal, new assistant principal, a new performance review process, budget cuts, lower than predicted enrollment, and we didn’t make AYP last year.  The new principal has been one of our assistant principals for a few years, so he’s not new to the school, but his philosophies are different enough from our former (and much-loved) principal that many people are anxious.  Some people have already judged the new AP in a poor manner.  People are anxious about their jobs and the money available to assist them in doing their jobs due to the budget cuts and potential for more cuts due to low enrollment.

The new review process is centered around data and evidence.  I’m excited about the potential I see in it since my biggest frustration with education continues to be ineffective/lazy/burned out teachers.  But I already see/hear people trying to BS their way through it.  “Just tell me what to put down that will make them leave me alone,” said one poisonous teacher.  Another said at a meeting concerning the new process to focus on your best lessons and just don’t include other stuff.  This really irritated me because I think reflection is a big step missing in the process some teachers go through year after year.  I think the new review system is an excellent way to demonstrate reflection and adjustment based on student achievement, but many just seem to want to know what new song and dance routine to throw at the administration so they can keep doing the same old thing.

So, needless to say, it seems like, after the third week of school, many people are already tired, frustrated, and plumb wore out.  Whining seems to be constant; people are snappish and quick to take offense.

We are short one staff member in the library due to a family emergency, so the extra traffic has been juggled between just two of us.  I’ve come down with a cold this weekend and would love to take another day to rest up (I spent more of today asleep already) but I just don’t feel like now is a good time to be out.

Besides being sick and dealing with the work stress, things have been good.  I turned 35, we’re celebrating our 7 year wedding anniversary, and fall is coming.  I do miss my personal time.  I haven’t read a book since school started, even my magazine and internet reading has fallen terribly behind.  My DVR is filling up and I haven’t had time to catch up with many family and friends.  I feel very out of touch with the bigger world of libraries and YA lit and am really looking forward to the YALSA YA Literature Symposium for the chance to just immerse myself in it all.

I promise my  blog is not dead, just quiet.  I can’t wait to come back and share all the thoughts that keep tumbling through my head, needing an outlet.

P.S. Will I see any of you at the Symposium?

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ALA Annual Washington D.C. 2010 Recap

ALA Annual was a blast this year!  It has taken me a bit to get my recap together as I am working summer school right now, but here it is.  (Better late than never – behind the cut!)

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Photo Friday 7/2/2010

Me with the awesome Libba Bray at the YALSA Michael L. Printz Awards this past Monday:

She is the cover story for this month’s School Library Journal.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend!

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Thursday Tidbits 7/1/2010

I’m back from ALA and I think I have recovered! It was a great conference and I will write about it in the coming week. For now, to ease back in to the blogging habit, I thought I would do my old Thursday Tidbits to share stuff I am loving right now.

  • Are you watching The Fabulous Beekman Boys on Discovery’s Planet Green?  I am loving this show so much.  Two NYC guys who have been together for 10 years buy a farm out in the country.  They grow vegetables and care for 80 goats, some pigs and chickens, and one awesome llama named Polka Spot, with lots of help from Farmer John.  They also make and sell soap from their goat milk.  One of the guys, Josh, still maintains a job in NYC so he commutes every week, leaving Brent to work full-time at the farm.  The editing, of course, really plays up the fights and drama, but you can tell Brent and John love each other and the life they have built.  My favorite thing is that they have a goat cam in their barn, so you can go online to watch the goats (and Polka Spot!) whenever you want.  I admit to pretty much having it open on a browser tab at all times.  Goats are awesome.
  • BP’s Coffee Spill – very funny!  Less funny: an oil-soaked wave.
  • If you didn’t follow Jamie’s Seventeen Magazine Project while she was doing it, it is worth going back and reading her blog about it, and what she has done since.  The next time someone complains that all teens are getting less intelligent, show them this.
  • Why LOST fans should start watching Fringe, if they are not already.
  • A blind fox becomes a foster dad – very moving.
  • I embrace this 100% - Why I’ll Never Be an Adult (strong language, FYI).

That’s it for today.  Coming soon: ALA-related posts and pictures, MANY book thoughts, and why you should get your library involved with Wrestlemania this year!

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Will you be at ALA Annual 2010?

I am so excited for ALA Annual this year!  I was talking to a friend about it yesterday and freely admitted that my library dork side takes over for conferences.  While I have yet to experience a meaningful local conference, I always come away from the national ones feeling inspired and rejuvenated, and having learned something – actually, many somethings!

If you haven’t planned on attending but are local to the D.C. area, you might want to reconsider.  Registration is still open.  Even if you just spring for the $25 exhibit hall pass, you can get a lot out of the exhibits: freebies, author readings and signings, cooking demos, networking…check out all the options related to graphic novels alone!  A not-so-secret secret is that some vendors give out free passes for the exhibit hall.  If you are local and are interested, leave me a comment before Thursday morning and I’ll forward you some of the emails I have received.

If you cannot attend, you can always consider the ALA Virtual Conference.

If you will be attending, please say hi!  I am seriously shy in person and am often sitting alone, keeping myself busy by reading or checking my phone, so feel free to come up to me.  Here is a picture of me from last weekend so you might recognize me:

I do have long hair, but due to the D.C. hotness, I will probably have it back or up a lot anyways.

As the chair of the YALSA Local Arrangements committee, I am required to attend a lot of the YALSA events.  You are guaranteed to find me at the following:


7 – 9 pm: Spectrum Scholars Professional Options Fair


9 am – 5 pm (will leave early): YALSA pre-con It’s Perfectly Normal

4 – 5 pm: YALSA 101

5 – 7 pm (at some point): YALSA happy hour

7 – 9 pm: Kidlit happy hour


8 – 10 am: YALSA Leadership Development

10:30 am – 12 pm: YALSA All Committee

12 – 1:30 pm: Margaret A. Edwards Luncheon

4 – 5:30 pm: Lights! Camera! Booktrailers!


9 – 10 am: YA Author Coffee Klatch

10:30 am – 12 pm: 2010 Alex Awards


10:30 am – 12 pm: Yes We Can

12 – 2 pm: YALSA Membership Meeting

8 – 10 pm: Michael L. Printz Program and Reception

I have many other things I hope to attend, but those are the things I am committed to attend.

I hope to meet people and reconnect with friendly faces!  Please say hi if you see me!


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ALA Midwinter – Boston

I attended ALA Midwinter in Boston last weekend and had a great time.  It was a short trip due to everything going on at home, but I was able to squeeze in a fair amount.

Friday, I attended an hour long session – YALSA 201 – about becoming involved.  It was interesting to hear the variety of things available.  I dropped in at the YALSA Happy Hour but didn’t stay long as I knew no one and couldn’t bring myself to let go of my shyness and approach groups of strangers.  So I visited the exhibit hall and was able to score a few ARCS, including the two I was really hoping for: This World We Live In and The Dead-Tossed Waves.  After the exhibit hall, I attended at one of YALSA’s ticketed events: Games, Gadgets, and Gurus.  I was able to check out some card and board games that would be great for my school library and meet some awesome people.

Saturday, I attended a YALSA leadership development for committee chairs.  It was a very positive experience and I came away with ideas for my committee, motivation for myself, and the feeling that YALSA cares about the members and their involvement and wants to make leadership within the organization a positive experience.

After that was YALSA’s all-committee meeting where I met with my fantastic local arrangements committee for Annual and we brainstormed.

I returned to the exhibit hall where I was able to pick up many more books and peruse possible library purchases.

I dropped in at the Kidlit Tweet-Up in the lobby bar of my hotel.  It was great to meet fellow bloggers and others in the Kidlit/library world.  It was particularly exciting to meet a couple people who read my name tag and said, “I read your blog!”  Sometimes I forget that there are readers out there!

That evening I went to dinner at the Union Oyster House with Susan from Wizards Wireless and PBS Booklights.  Susan and I met in grad school and it’s always great to catch up with her.  Dinner was soooo good!

Sunday I attended a Web 2.0 session, which was informative, and gave me an opportunity to meet other YALSA people.  I checked out of my hotel, grabbed some lunch, and attended the teen feedback session on this year’s BBYA list.  It was great to get teen opinions and I was able to post my thoughts on Twitter throughout the session thanks to the free wi-fi in the convention center.

I flew home that evening.  This was my first trip using Jet Blue and I was very happy with my experience.  On the way to Boston, I paid an extra $10 for a seat with additional leg room, which was worth it.  On the way home, I was able to use the TV to watch the red carpet arrivals at the Golden Globes.  (My favorite moment was George Clooney pointedly referring to himself and Billy Bush as idiots before making his escape from Billy.)  The plane landed (early!) just as Ricky Gervais was starting the actual show, so I had to rely on my DVR to catch up.  I will definitely use Jet Blue again!

It was a great weekend and so inspiring to me as a librarian.  I have attended non-ALA-related conferences (which shall remain nameless) where I come away with nothing after spending my day listening to people use the day as a bitch-session or receiving basic training on working the AASL standards into library-oriented lessons (said conferences are NOT related to AASL).  I imagine those types of things are helpful to some, but two of my grad school professors were on the team that wrote Information Power so every school library class I took was centered on that book, making it easy to adapt to the new standards.  Do other school library programs not teach the AASL standards?

I also enjoy the ALA conferences because I seem to come across more people who became librarians because they wanted to be a librarian, whereas at these other conferences I tend to meet people who became school librarians because they wanted to get out of teaching but still have summers off.

I love being a part of YALSA and hope I can continue working on committees in the future.  The members are creative, energetic, and passionate about their careers.  School librarians seem to be in the minority, so I encourage other middle and high school librarians who love working with teens to get involved!

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Teens’ Top Ten 2009

This week, YALSA announced the winners of the Teens’ Top Ten. Voting was conducted online in August and September, and it is exciting to see John Green’s Paper Towns top the list! Congrats to him and to nerdfighters everywhere! DFTBA!  I have to admit that I was a little surprised he beat both Breaking Dawn and The Hunger Games since they both have their fans, but yay for John!

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