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!