Calling all children’s librarians…

…school media specialists, educators, and other assorted amazing folk who work to bring creativity, literature, technology, and information alive for children!  If you live in or around the tri-state area (NY/CT/NJ) and are interested in brainstorming about topics like book trailers, eBooks, podcasting, digital storytelling, and social media, then please join us for the

3rd Annual KidLib Camp

an Unconference at Darien Library

August 11, 2010


Perhaps you are wondering, “What the donuts is an unconference?”  Good question, my friend!  An unconference is kind of like an unbirthday!

Actually, no.  It’s not at all like an unbirthday.  But it is a chance for professionals to get together in a somewhat informal environment to talk about topics of interest.  Everyone who signs up to attend the unconference submits discussion topics they’d like to learn more about.  You can also volunteer to lead discussions on subjects of your choice.  Then, on the day of the unconference, we vote on which major discussions we’d like to have, and break up into smaller groups.  Every person is an active participant and has the opportunity to share their experience, skills, and thoughts.

Besides being a day of inspiring discussions, intense brainstorming, and true professional development, it is also a chance to meet other brilliant, creative, and funny children’s librarians!

To find out more and sign up, click here.


Takeaways from Trendspotting Ebooks Symposium

Highlights from CLC’s Trendspotting Symposium, Ebooks: Collections at the Crossroads, included a fiery, funny, and provoking talk by keynote speaker and library super geek, Eli Neiburger, and continued with a fascinating panel discussion that included Mr. Neiburger, the remarkable Barbara Genco, Harper Collins President of Sales Josh Marwell, and an exec from Overdrive, Mike Shontz (moderated by Kate Sheehan aka the Loose Cannon Librarian.)

Some takeaways:

  • Josh Marwell from Harper Collins said that the 26 checkout limit is NOT set in stone.  It is “a work in progress.”  (Also, bravo and major props to an HC man stepping into a roomful of wary librarians. That’s bravery.)
  • Dedicated ereaders (black and white devices whose sole purpose is to read ebooks) will be obsolete in a few years.  The future is in multifunction devices.
  • For libraries to adapt successfully in this brave new world of digital content, we need to Geek Up.  Libraries need to hire more geeks and train existing staff to be more geeky. That is, we must be comfortable navigating, creating, storing, archiving, and curating digital content.  And, we need to be able to confidently help our patrons do so as well.
  • It’s impossible to know what libraries and the ebook market will look like in 5, 10, 15 years.  But, as Barbara Genco put it, “we are beyond the tipping point.”  Ebooks and digital content are here to stay- and growing exponentially.  We need to dig in, learn, and experiment now- even if it’s scary and we aren’t exactly sure where we are going.
  • Librarians are really good at what we do- helping patrons, building collections, fostering community.  We are not so hot at marketing those value-added services and skills.  Even in the midst of being cut out of some of the digital community (ie, Kindle and Apple’s App Store) we can nevertheless put our awesome librarian skills to work.  We can be the learning labs in which our users play with content creation.  We can be the Genius Bar-like staff that assist them in creating their own stories, videos, apps, and photo collections.  We can be the storehouse, archive, and curators of this unique content.

In case you’d like to browse through the day’s tweets, there were two hashtags (one official, one grassroots): #clcebks and #clctrendspotting.

photo courtesy of Flickr user Pen Waggener

Highlights from the EJK Discussion Panel

I was surprised to find that yesterday’s Ezra Jack Keats event at the New York Public Library was not the announcement of the 2011 award winners (that will be May 10th), but a discussion about the award, its history, and the current state of picture books.  Although I was initially pumped up to hear the award winners announced, it turned out to be a rather pleasant surprise, as the conversation was smart, illuminating, and directed by some of the most interesting and well-read women in the biz.

The discussion ranged from the frustration in finding quality picture books about and by people of color, to the importance of arts education in shaping and encouraging future writers and illustrators, to the explosion of ebooks and children’s book apps and the place of picture books in this brave new world.

Although some of the arguments and predictions reiterated points that I have heard before, it was nevertheless refreshing to hear a panel of experts talk so passionately and confidently about the future of the picture book.  This was no doom and gloom affair, but rather a confirmation of what all savvy librarians and teachers already know to be true: the picture book is alive and well, thank you very much.

One point, made by Lisa Von Drasek, that really stuck with me was that librarians and teachers have a responsibility to spread the gospel of the picture book as a medium for all ages (not just babies and toddlers) to the parents in our communities.  It’s all well and good to attend panel discussions, conferences, and participate in the kidlit blogosphere, but that’s a little like preaching to the choir.  The places we really need to reach are the mommy, daddy, and caregiver networks.  This has really got me thinking about how to use this blog to reach out farther and better to parents and caregivers.  Hmmm….  Definitely some very good food for thought.

Many thanks to the amazing and brilliant panelists, and to NYPL and the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation for organizing and hosting the event.

NYPL lion photo courtesy of Flickr user Mike_fleming; picture book photo courtesy of Flickr user Enokson.

2011 Ezra Jack Keats Panel Discussion: Tomorrow @ NYPL

If you’re in or around the New York tri-state area and looking for a lovely way to spend Saturday afternoon, stop by New York Public Library’s Children’s Center for

An Afternoon with the Ezra Jack Keats Awards.

Saturday, April 2nd

New York Public Library
Children’s Center at 42nd Street
Room 84
42nd Street and 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10018

The Ezra Jack Keats Awards are presented annually by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and the New York Public Library to new authors and illustrators of picture books/illustrated books for children ages 9 and under.  I had the pleasure to attend last year when the stirring Most Loved In All The World and the graphic and delightful Only A Witch Can Fly won.

The extremely distinguished panel of children’s art and literature experts includes:

  • Deborah Pope, Executive Director Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
  • Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, 2008-2009 EJK Award Chair
  • Nina Crews, Children’s book author and illustrator
  • Pat Cummings, Children’s book author and illustrator
  • Lisa Von Drasek, Bank Street College of Education Library and

Moderated by Barbara Genco, the 2010-2011 Award Chair (Library Journal.)

Horn Book @ Simmons Colloquium: The Recap

Autumn in New England…. a sunny Saturday at picturesque Simmons College…. a gathering of some of the superheroes of children’s literature including Roger Sutton, Rebecca Stead, Helen Oxenbury, John Burningham, and Peter Sis (just to name a few) along with librarians, teachers, students, publishers, editors, and general lovers of kidlit.  Needless to say, Libraryvoice was in state of perfect nerdy bliss at the first ever Horn Book at Simmons One-Day Colloquium.   [I truly hadn’t had this much fun talking about kid’s books (with grownups, that is)  since the amazing Bill Morris Seminar at last Midwinter!] Continue reading

Fun and Freebies at ALA Midwinter

lovely book sculpture/tunnel

lovely book sculpture/tunnel

I’m here in Denver at my first ALA conference.  It’s pretty awesome.  I’ve heard tell that all the cool stuff really happens at Annual, and that Midwinter is just meetings and business, but I’m having a blast.

Last night, after journeying from NY to Minneapolis and then on to the Denver International Airport, I finally arrived in Colorado as it began to snow.  As I sat in rush hour traffic, my cabbie Dualli and I talked about the insane housing prices in New York.  He informed me that I could rent a beautiful two-bedroom apartment in a good area for about $700 in Denver.  Sigh.  After wiping the drool from my mouth and the tear from my eyes, I looked up to see we had arrived at my hotel, The Curtis (which is, hands down, the coolest hotel in Denver).

My first stop was to the Cap City Tavern for the YALSA Happy Hour.  Now, it is true, I am not a YALSA member.  Nor am I a Young Adult librarian.  But YALSA is super inclusive and fun and darn it, they throw a mean happy hour.

Next was the YALSA Mixer and Tech Playground at the Hyatt Regency.  The Tech Playground started at 8pm Denver time, which is 10pm New York time, so I was a tad sleepy-eyed.  I did however, hang out long enough to play around with some great Avatar-making sites, hear all about Blogfest, podcasting programs, and awesome audio books.

Today I spent most of my day visiting the exhibits and getting as many free books, galleys, and posters as I could carry.  I found out a few very important things:  1) If you do not want to hear about the latest in medical database technology (and being a children’s librarian, I really don’t) do NOT make eye contact and smile sweetly at the lady with the sequined vest.  2) Publishers have all sorts of hidden treasures not on display.  They can be persuaded to unearth said treasures if you engage them in conversation about their newest offerings and talk about how much you love to blog about and review advance reading copies. 🙂 3) Drink lots of water.  Colorado is seriously dry.

Tonight I’m off to the Random House party.  From the buzz I’ve been overhearing, it’s supposed to be quite the hot ticket.  Time to find my fancy shoes…..

A few items of note:


Somewhat cute but strange hardcover art

I got a look at the new paperback cover of Candyfloss.  I like this way better than the stripey socks from the Hardcover.  Way more reflective of the story and finally showcasing the cute illustrations!

Candyfloss in paperback

Candyfloss in paperback

Proof!  The sequel to The Hunger Games!  Drooool…..

img_00051 And, the latest Just Grace:  img_0010(Yay!)

Great Website Alert: Autism Resources for Libraries

via the Librarian in Black:

Here is a great resource: Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected.  Many library users have autism, and most library staff don’t know the first thing about interacting with them appropriately.  We’ve just never been trained.  This website offers resources about communication, customer service tips, a video, workshop resources, contacts for more information, and a lot more.  Public libraries and school libraries especially should check this site out.