Tag Archives: conferences

48 Hours of Awesome


It’s hard to believe that it’s Monday and I’m back at work. While on one side I’m inspired and anxious to read, read, read after attending the conference but on the flipside I’m back to catching up on everything that happened this week and the feeling of librarian togetherness just isn’t the same as being surrounded by 500+ librarians who are excited about a lot of the same things that you are.

I saw so many interesting panels, got to talk to several awesome librarians, meet and geek out at some of my favorite authors–this event is like a rock concert for librarians. I think I had only two complaints–and neither had to do with the quality of the symposium. Each panel was unique and different and at the end of the sessions on Saturday and Sunday I was beat because my mind was so excited from everything that was racing around in it.

I’m fairly certain I’ll add in another post about what I went to and links to what was talked about, but I wanted to write about the panel that impacted me the most. Surprisingly, it was the fanfiction/art one. Hearing the panelists speak brought back these memories of me when I was a teen. It was 1997 and the TV show Spy Game was on. No, not the movie but the TV show. I loved this show so much I wrote a letter (actual snail mail) to the network begging them not to cancel the show. Heartless people they were, they canceled in anyways. So I looked for people online who also loved the show and discovered people wrote stories where the two main characters got together. Yes, I was “shipping” even back then, even before I knew what it was.

The panelists talked about how teens seek how fanfiction, write it themselves, or create art because they are not ready for the world they have discovered to end. That was how I felt about Spy Game. And just like teens now, I thought I was the only person in the world who felt this way. I had completely forgotten about this time in my life until the panel brought it back to me and I’m grateful.

Before I leave this post for the day, I just want to mention the other moment that struck me from the symposium. It was in the Fickle Future panel, and two authors (Ellen Hopkins and Beth Fehlbaum) made me tear up as they described the teens who approach them after visits, when everyone else has left to tell them how their stories helped them. The authors mentioned how important it is to have stories like theirs in libraries, and to fight for them to stay, because there are so many teens like this, much more than we realize. That broke my heart a bit.

It was these moments of intense empathy and connections with my inner teen that helped remind me of why I love working with tweens and teens. The symposium reawakened my energy and enthusiasm. I’m excited to read more, create more, and engage the people who come to my library. The next symposium won’t be until 2014 in Austin, Texas. I’ll be there–will you?


Conference Bound!


I’ve been looking forward to this since I learned I would be going in July, but it’s hard to believe that it’s just a few days away. That’s right, I’m going to YALSA’s Young Adult Literature Symposium!

I’ve been to conferences before (Reaching Forward, ALA annual in Chicago) but this is the first time that I’ll be going to an event for my people. Teen librarian is my dream job and knowing that I’ll be in sessions with tons of dedicated librarians who are passionate about the same thing makes me so happy. [Disclaimer: Of course, being a children’s librarian is also my dream job. But I think teen librarian edges it out for the number one spot.] I’m going to be going with my coworker, our library’s fantastic Teen Librarian and my mentor. Road trip!

I’ve printed out the list of programs and trying to decide on my favorites. As of right now, these are the ones I’m most interested in seeing.

  • YA Literature and Fan-Created Work [It’s being presented by Robin Brenner, of No Flying, No Tights fame–it’s a no brainer, I have to go]
  • The Future of Review Guidance [It’s been presented by several people, one of which is Carla Riemer a classmate from my LEEP cohort 14.1!]
  • When a Book is More than Paper: Transmedia Trends in Young Adult Literature [I’m really interested in these kind of mashup style books that tell a story via multiple formats–apps, texts, videos, etc.–and I want to hear more about them.
  • Make it Pop: How to Use Pop Culture in Your Library [I’m torn between this one, because I love pop culture and this other program that’s going on at the same time: The Next Generation of Author Visits. I’d like our library to do more author visits so I think this would be beneficial. I’m hoping my coworker and I will split and each go to a different session.]
  • Get Real: Contemporary Young Adult Fiction as the Next Big Thing [I feel that title says it all.]
  • A Fickle Future: YA Authors Discuss Trend-spotting and Timeless Keys to Literary Success when Facing the Disconnect of the Digital Age [What is the future of YA lit? Are the big trends predicted or created?]

I’m anxious to hear what everyone has to say and come back with some great new ideas to improve our YA (for us, this is our middle school section) collection. I can’t wait to brainstorm with our Teen Librarian, to have tons of planning time on the drive so we can come up with some great new ideas. And I’m excited to meet a group of amazing librarians!

I plan on posting a recap post next week of what I’ve learned. If you’re interested you can follow everyone’s thoughts by checking out the hashtag #yalit12 on Twitter. I’ll also be posting on Twitter at @whirlysquirl. See you next week!