The Magic That Was ALA Annual: A Recap

So a few weeks have passed since the glory that was #alaac14. We’re mostly surviving. I thought writing this post would help keep the magic alive. Well this post and this picture.

Twitter Friends IRL

Words cannot capture how it was amazing to meet all these folks in real-deal life, these folks and so many more. We were also fortunate to attend some pretty amazing sessions and wanted to share the highlights for those of you at home. For other great ALAAC 2014 recap posts be sure to check out Storytime Underground’s full recaps from all FOUR GUERRILLA STORYTIMES Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday as well as write ups by Amy here and here, SLJ and SLJ Teen. One more glorious picture before I start session talking of Angela, our Mentor/Fairy Godmother and us. So much love!

Angela and Us!

The Apps Are All Right

This was an awesome session to kick off our conference with superstars Carisa Kluver, Cen Campbell and Tess Prendergast. Missing in action was Barbara Klipper but her slides and notes on apps for kids with autism can be found on the LittleeLit post which is linked above. Much of what was talked about can be found there but a few gems included hearing about Jason Boog’s new book, Lisa Guernsey’s TEDx Talk How the iPad Affects Young Children and lots of new and exciting initiatives which we look forward to hearing about on LittleeLit!

What No Tchotskes? Creating an Experience Based Summer Program

Next up was this super refreshing and inspiring discussion about moving away from traditional incentive based Summer Reading Programs/Clubs and developing programs that allow young participants to set their own summer goals. Presenters Amber Creger from Arlington Heights Memorial Library Kids’ World, Elizabeth McChesney, Director of Children’s Services, Chicago Public Libraries and John Ferrari, Assistant Director of Youth Services, Lisle Public Library all shared examples of ways in which they’ve transformed Summer Reading at their libraries to develop and encourage design thinking. We came away with so many ideas for school age programming- like literature based building challenges- so stay tuned!

Teaching Teens How to Fail: Library Spaces and the Maker Movement

This was our last session of the day and we took the opportunity to kick back and drool over the amazingness that is MakerJawn at the Free Library of Philadelphia. This was a great introduction to the maker movement, why the library is a perfect maker space and how the wizards of MakerJawn have created a team of maker mentors to help kids explore their relationship with failure through working on some cool projects. Check out their blog which is linked above for information about all things maker and awesome.

Children’s Librarians in the Lead: Managing Change, Inspiring Innovation & Empowering the Next Generation

This was by far our favourite session of the conference and clearly we were not the only ones absolutely enthralled by it: Nicole Martin wrote a great piece on the ALSC blog and Arianna Lechan wrote this post, complete with a reading list! In fact it was so good Lindsey and I talked about it the whole plane ride home. Difficult to capture in a quick recap but some of the messages I took home were: as children’s librarians we have the competencies necessary to lead including experience supervising, strong communication skills, project management experience and the ability to problem solve; instead of faking it trust in the fact that you were hired because you have the required skills and abilities; and harness those storytiming skills because they will serve you well! Thanks to Amber, Kiera and Gretchen for an inspiring panel.

Whet Your APPetite: Rapid Reviews of Apps for Children from Preschool to Tweens

Whew, is it our last session already? The weekend truly flew by but this was an incredibly informative session as to be expected with folks like Cen Campbell, Paige Bentley-Flannery, Claire Moore and Marianne Martens at the helm. The real value here was in being able to see and hear about TONS of new apps in (what felt like a short) 90 minutes. Check out LittleeLit’s post which has links to the handout as well as Cen’s and Paige’s slideshow and our favourite: Marianne’s list of multicultural apps which she created  (#WeNeedDiverseApps!) and includes a cool, local First Nations app called “Story of Kalkalilh” by Loud Crow!

So that about rounds out our session recap. It is truly difficult to put into words the magic that took place between sessions aka meeting so many of our heroes, and new faces too. Thanks to all of you for making Vegas so special! Final shout out to Ingrid for giving us a business card with a phone number and a time written on it, because there’s an ever-so-slight chance we might be included in this super cool project by Kyle Cassidy to be narrated by Neil Gaiman. With that, I’m out!


2 thoughts on “The Magic That Was ALA Annual: A Recap

  1. Thank you for the recap! I enjoyed these sessions at ALA, too. I was wondering… do you know when the session recordings/transcripts will be released on the ALA website?

    1. Hi April, thanks for reading 🙂 I was wondering the same thing- for a couple sessions the handouts and presentations were posted on the conference website, but they can also be found on LittleeLit, other than that: nothing! I will ask on Twitter, see if I get a response and report back!

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