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Friday Finds – July 12, 2013

This Week at TLT:

Taking teen patrons to a conference and SURVIVING – read about Heather’s tips and learn from her experience.

Christie and Karen each give their ALA 2013 highlights (they stalked a lot of awesome authors!)

Read up on the Free Comic Book Day panel Karen and Christie took part in at ALA 2013. Learn Christie’s new catchphrase!

Catch up with Part 2 of Robin’s series on How to Tumblr.

Christie gives us a peek at some this Fall’s most anticipated new titles.

A book review leads to Karen’s committment to call out unhealthy relationships portrayed as ideal in YA.

The Neptune Project gets the Teen Program in a Box treatment by the author herself! Find out more about Polly Holyoke.

Previously on TLT:

Because No Always Means No: a list of titles dealing with rape and sexual harassment.

Around the Web:

There’s been a lot of discussion in the Twitterverse this week on the inclusion of violence in Young Adult literature. For context, read this Storify of Patrick Ness’ initial comments.

And here is the article to which he refers.

And a previous list of books Patrick Ness recommends that many people believe are ‘unsuitable’ for teens.

We came, We saw, We stalked: Karen’s ALA Highlights

Last week Heather, Christie and I went to ALA in Chicago. It was epic!

Top LtoR: Karen & Christie, author Sharon Biggs Waller, Vordak, author Jonathan Maberry
2nd Row LtoR: author Cory Doctorow, author S. J. Adams and Christie, Free Comic Book Day Panel, Heather Booth reading Rose Under Fire
3rd Row LtoR: author Mindy McGinnis, Free Comic Book Day Panel, author Simone Elkeles
Bottom LtoR: author Tim Federle, author Sean Beaudoin, author Jennifer McGowan, Heather, Karen and Christie

See the complete ALA 2013 TLT Photo Album here

TLT Meet Up!

First, this is the first time that Christie and I have actually met Heather in person.  She feels like part of the family.  In fact, Heather and I just wrote an entire book together – The Whole Teen Library Handbook – but this is the first time we have met, in person, face to face.  In fact, I stayed at her house and it was totally fun.  So here we be, three of the TLT team.

Cory Doctorow Talks, We Should All Listen

At one point, I went and listened to Cory Doctorow talk about intellectual freedom, patent craziness, and more.  He made an interesting statement about how our outdoors playgrouds are often empty because parents are afraid to let their children play because we live in such a dangerous world, and yet we let our children play freely on the most dangerous playground of all – the Internet.  He made a great case for how we must do better in helping others understand this information rich world we live in while protecting their privacy and learning to evaluate the information we see.

New Adult? Or is it “New Adult”?

I also attended a session on New Adult Literature which made me very happy because I was glad to hear others saying what I thought about the issue.  1) The genre has always existed.  2) The name is troublesome because when I hear new adult, I think “oh look, here is some NEW Adult Fiction.” What do we call new titles in this genre, New New Adult?  If it were a perfect world, which it is not, we would call it Young Adult (because that’s what they are, young adults in the 19-24 age group) and call Young Adult fiction Teen Fiction, especially since the teens refer to themselves as teens.  In fact, walk into a Barnes and Noble store and they even have it labelled Teen Fiction.  3)  Yes, teens are and will read New Adult (just as they do Stephen King and Mary Higgins Clark and more) but it should be in the Adult area, not YA (or Teen Area as I like to call it). 4) New Adult has a lot of the same diversity issues as Young Adult.  You can find an overview of the session here and a link to their NA RA blog.

Karen Geeks Out Over the 3D Printer

To have a totally geeky moment: I FINALLY SAW A 3D PRINTER.  I have been truly fascinated by the 3d printer concept in part because I couldn’t figure out how it worked and what the final product looked like.  There was one in the Exhibits Hall as well as some finished products, including a model of a bridge and a working whistle.  I really want one.

Meeting the Authors – and You!

From Left to Right: Christa Desir author of Faultline, Sharon Biggs Waller author of A Mad, Wicked Folly and Mindy McGinnis author of Not a Drop to Drink

Another great part of ALA is seeing people you know and love, meeting new people, and meeting some of the authors that write the books you love.  I spent a lot of time with fellow TLTers, my mentor and adopted mom, and met some amazing authors, publishers, and Erinn Batkyefer from The Library is Incubator Project for the first time.  Even though we have been working together for 2 years now on the It Came from a Book project, this is the first time we have met in person.  She stood in line with me while I waited to get a signed copy of Fire and Ash by Jonathan Maberry.  Speaking of Maberry, I got the very first signed ARC of Fire and Ash, the final book in the Rot & Ruin series.  I also was willing to stand in line to meet Sean Beaudoin, because I like not only his books, but a lot of his online writing.

I had dinner with debut author Mindy McGinniss and an author you may have heard of, Veronica Roth.  I had the most fascinating conversation with Roth about Divergent and a scene in it, which she said if she was writing it now she might leave out.  I also got to talk to Michael Grant about the BZRK series, which is a great series and should probably be marketed as awesome Sci Fi instead of awesome YA, because I think it has just as much adult appeal (and adult voice) as the works of Michael Crichton and Phillip K. Dick.  Having now met author Mindy McGinnis in person, it looks like we may be presenting together in April at TLA (I’ll tell you more when I can make an official announcement).

I am not going to lie, I had the best time ever at ALA.  I feel like I learned a lot, met a lot of great fellow librarians and authors, and really just felt invigorated and full of new ideas that I wanted to take back and try.  And yes, I discovered a lot of new books that I want to investigate further.  In fact, I used my phone to take pictures of the covers.  I will write about the books in a separate post.

Did you go to ALA? Share your highlights with us in the comments.

Free Comic Book Day Panel OR How Christie Needs Practice With Microphones

In case you missed it on the blog or on Twitter, Karen and I spoke with the amazing Kat Kan, Mike Pawuk, and Pamela Jayne on the Graphic Novel Stage on Monday during the ALA Annual Convention about Free Comic Book Day Programming. The panel was sponsored by Diamond Comics, the awesome people who are behind Free Comic Book Day

L-R: Karen, Christie, Pamela, Kat, & Mike

Notice the microphones? Yea. Well, I’m usually loud enough in *any* room that I don’t need them, and I don’t remember the last time I used one. I didn’t use one to present at the Texas Library Association this past April, don’t use one in my programs, and even our Rock Band microphone is broken so I don’t use it. We were asked a series of questions, and the last one for the panel was has there been any surprises that you’ve had with Free Comic Book Day in your community?

I answered, yes, the ownership that the patrons take of it. There’s always a line for the comics and they’re always asking when the next one is, and they’re proud that their library is having this ultra-cool event, so much so that they’ll take their free comic to school the next Monday and show it off- Look what I got at my library on Saturday! And their friends (or those that didn’t go to a library participating in Free Comic Book Day) will get all upset because they didn’t get a comic, and say “I GOT SCREWED!” 

Now, I don’t work with microphones, and was doing pretty well until then, but I raised my voice, and if you were anywhere on the Exhibits floor on Monday around 12:30-40 p.m., “I GOT SCREWED!” echoed throughout the area. That was me. I did wear a grown-up shirt, I want to point out, so I was professional looking when I did it. It even had a collar.

If you’re interested in the other questions and answers, keep on going….

-How did you decide to have a FCBD event at your library?
I’ve had FCBD programming at my various libraries since it started in 2002, at my first library in Roanoke, Texas. There wasn’t a comic shop in the town, so we had special performers come in- the first year we had a graphic artist talk about how to create comic panels, the second year a different artist during the town festival. I’ve carried it with me wherever I’ve worked.

Karen: The first year someone posted on Yalsa-bk, “What are you doing for Free Comic Book Day?”  The next year I made sure not to miss it and have done so almost every year since.

-What kind of programming did you have?
The past 5 years I’ve had giveaways in conjunction with the local comic shop, as well as special programming. This past FCBD we had low tech gaming that was tied into comic books: we set up tables with games that were tied into comics in some way (Star Wars Monopoly, Marvel Chess) and watched the Adam West Batman Movie. Previous years we’ve had cartoonists, art lessons, local superhero legions come in and pose for photos, even the 501st Vaders Fist able to come in for part of the day.

Karen: I have had caricature artists several years.  I also make comic book panels and graphic novel page layouts using the shapes feature in Publisher to create blank pages for my teens to design their own comics/gns.  You can also use the Comic Book app on your iPhone (they were developing one for Android as well) to create pictures and actual comic book pages.

Made using Comic Book app on the iPhone

-Some logistics (where in the library was it held, who ran it, what kind of displays, etc.)

Karen and I work in the same system but different branches, and the programming is usually very separate, although we constantly bounce ideas off of each other. I staff my own events, and my husband volunteers to help out. Additionally, I’ll have some teen volunteers to help set-up and take down tables and chairs. Bowles is in a community building: we have our library (3000 square feet), plus a separate computer lab designed for housing classes, a game room, a rec center complete with gym and workout floor, a police office front, and two community rooms which is what we use for programming.  Displays depending on who was coming- we always had the FCBD posters, and posters from Cosmic Comics (our local shop, which had their own event as well); if we were doing more of a Star Wars themed event, we’d have pulled Star Wars books from across the system, while if we were having an artist come in we’d pull drawing books, or if we were talking about anime we’d pull different types of anime books.

Karen: Before joining Christie at this library system, I worked at a library in Marion where I had a large teen area.  I usually had my program right there in the teen area.  I did not have all my programs here, but this one I did because it was usually a come and go program and it worked well in the teen area.  Plus, this allowed my teens to browse my graphic novel collection while they were waiting.

-What kind of turnout/feedback did you get?
We always get a lot in just for the comics- so much so that we have to limit it to one per person per day, otherwise we would run out of comics before the day was out and have some very upset patrons. For programs, it depends greatly on the weather, the program itself, and what else is going on in the community. This past FCBD we had about 25 stay for the program part itself, but we were out of the 200 comics before the end of the day- however, it was also our city’s Cinco de Mayo parade and festival, which is huge within my community, which is why I didn’t schedule a performer for the day. The previous year, we had almost 100 with superheroes, and we had over 300 with the 501st. We had 50 with the artist class, which was room capacity.

Karen: We always got pretty good turn out for our Free Comic Book day events.  Even outside of the actual program, we had the comic books available all day at our Reference Desk and we usually gave out 200+.  Our comics were donated by the local comic book store, but the current comic book store asks us to pay for them at the discounted price of $.50 a title.  The teens themselves are very enthusiastic about the event, and it usually provides me an opportunity to have conversations with adults about the value of comic books.

Comic Shops
-Do you participate with comic shops?
-How so?
-How did you go about partnering with them?
I’ve partnered with comic shops and I’ve always approached them.  I always go in person and introduce myself- being a comic lover helps- and get to know the shop and the owners. I’m also not a one-time visitor; for example, with the current shop, Cosmic Comics, a lot of my kids will go there for their Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and I’ll purchase gift cards for prizes for other events. I’ve also always had to purchase my comics from the shops I’ve worked with- I know other librarians have talked about how they’ve gotten free comics from shops, but I’ve always offered to pay, and that seems to work really well because I know that it’s a cost for the shops to do this event, and it keeps going up every year. And Mike (the owner of Cosmic) takes really good care of me- he’ll make sure we get above and beyond what we ordered, and sneak in other comics that perhaps didn’t sell as well so that we have plenty for FCBD.
-Did you bring in any guests? (creators, etc.)
-How did you find/contact them?
-How were they to work with?
I’ve done caricture artists, and done artist classes. I haven’t had the budget to bring in graphic creators yet. We have Funimation and Reel FX in the area, as well as some other studios, and while they have been receptive to getting some of their creative team to come out, I haven’t been able to get them- I have faith, however. 

Karen: I did one year have a local to Ohio illustrator come in and do a drawing workshop with the teens.  I found him using my ninja library research skills.  Most big cities have a good database of local caricature artists, which is how I found ours.  When booking a caricature artist it is important to ask how many caricatures they can draw by the hour.  They charge by the hour, and it is not cheap, so we could only ever afford 2 hours.  You want an artist who can draw upwards of 10 to 15 per hours as opposed to one who can do five per the hour.  Also, they probably have online reviews which you will also want to check out.

-Do you have a large graphic novel collection in the library?
-How does it circulate?
My graphic novel collection is not huge my any standards, I have approximately 680 titles out of 10,000 collection. My current ordering budget is $7200 for the entire year, and that has to be split up throughout all the collection, so I have to be selective about what I buy. It is a very busy collection, and circulates a lot, both within the system and in-house. I also have a great set of teens that are constantly suggesting titles to purchase and series to track down- my to-buy list wish list is bigger than my annual budget.

Karen:  We have a graphic novel collection at both my current and my previous library.  To be honest, I am not a huge graphic novel reader – but I am a huge graphic novel supporter.  In fact, I get asked daily for graphic novels and they are increasingly popular with my MG readers as well.  I would love to pull my MG GNs out and create a separate section in the J FIC area as well to meet this high demand item, but it would require some cataloging and space that are issues for the moment.  I am always surprised not only by how popular they are, but they are just as popular with the girls as they are with the boys.  In fact, my Tween has recently read quite a few.

Karen’s final words:  It was such an honor to be a part of this panel.  And it was amusing to me to see my coworker and best fiend turn crimson as “I got screwed” echoed throughout the exhibit hall.  It was also an honor to sit up there with Kat Kan and Mike Pawuk and be a representative for those librarians who really don’t know a lot about graphic novels, but support the medium because it has value and teens love them.  And yes, yes I did wear my hair in Princess Leia buns, because I was having an epically bad hair day.  It happens.  But we can pretend I was making some Meta tie in to how Free Comic Book Day was on May 4th this year.  Yeah, let’s go with that.

We Came, We Saw, We Talked, We Stalked: Christie’s ALA Highlights

We Came
I had a blast at ALA Annual in Chicago. Buses and transportation got a little weird, but I loved the energy with the Blackhawks celebration and the Pride Celebration and everything else going on. So much fun! And add into the mix all the authors and librarians and the craziness that we have anyways, and it’s always a good time!

We Saw
There were some sessions that I missed due to the rooms being overfull past the point of fire codes (YA Dystopian Authors, Cory Doctorow and DRM) which is something that needs worked on. I did run into a lot of my conference family and even people I’ve worked with in the past that I never see except for conferences which is always a wonderful time. I attended a wonderful session on graphic novels entitled Let’s Discuss This: A Roundtable Discussion which featured Gail Simone, John Green (from Disney’s Phineas and Ferb and Teenboat), Paul Pope, Gregg Hurwitz, and Jeffrey Brown talking about the comic industry.
John Green and Gail Simone
And I was also able to attend the Scholastic Brunch, where I was treated to reader theater and learned about new titles by Gordan Korman and others…
Gordon Korman with his new series The Hypnotists

Kat Falls and her new book Inhuman

Brandon Mull and Spirit Animals #1: Wild Born, a multiplatform series

We Talked
I represented the Rainbow Project (of which I am chair this year) at the SRRT All Committee meeting and on the exhibits floor to help find titles for this year’s list. Karen and I also spoke about Free Comic Book Day on the Graphic Novel Stage.
Free Comic Book Day Panel
We Stalked
And then there were the authors….  I got to talk to Marie Lu (Prodigy/Legend) and SJ Adams (Sparks), Malinda Lo (Ash, Adaptation), and then got mutually stalked by Tim Federle (Better Nate than Never, Tequila Mockingbird). That Guy got to talk with Cory Doctorow (Homeland, Big Brother) and they are sharing emails.
Me and SJ Adams (Adam Selzer)

Me and Marie Lu

Me, That Guy, and his side of the family
Heather, Karen, and me
And I got to meet Heather in person and part of our family came over, so a good time was had by all!  What were your highlights of ALA?

How I Survived Conferencing with Teens and You Can Too

The other day I talked about how ALA 2013 was going to be a commuter conference for me, and mentioned that I would be bringing teens along for the first time.  All of this contributed to an e..x..h..a..u..s..t..i..n..g weekend, but honestly, I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity and would do it again in a heartbeat.  What’s the tradeoff that makes it so worth it?  Let this picture tell you the thousand words of why:

She met Ellen Hopkins!
Oh my gosh! The teens were so over the moon excited about it all, it was better than Christmas.  In the pic above, she had just met and spoken to an author (Ellen Hopkins) for the very first time.  If you could bottle that excitement and joy, you’d be a millionaire.  

Our trip wasn’t just about hobnobbing with authors and picking up galleys, though don’t get me wrong – that was crazy exciting for these teens.  The six teens I brought to Chicago were there to share their opinions and perspectives about the Best Fiction for Young Adults nomination list
The mic and crowd were intimidating, but the teens shone.
And share, they did. You can view the whole session on YALSA’s blog, or read the Storify of tweets of comments and impressions during the session.   
So how does all of this work exactly?
For the BFYA teen session, be on the lookout for the callout from YALSA this fall for teens in the Philadelphia area for the Midwinter Meeting, and next spring for teens in the Las Vegas area to come to the Annual Conference.  The application process involved describing my teen group and including some reviews and opinions on the nominees from my teens.  It’s helpful to plan ahead if you think you might want to do this so that you have some reviews at the ready when the time comes.  
If you’re not near one of the upcoming conference cities, that doesn’t mean your teens can’t participate in something similar.  You could host a teen book summit with libraries nearby, work to get your teens involved in any reader created selection lists in your state, or play off of the Teen Top Ten nominees during Teen Read Week.  
I was fortunate to have partnered with a school librarian on this endeavor, and she had access and practice in the nuts and bolts of moving teens around.  Permission forms and parent contact was her domain!  We were also lucky to be able to walk and take public transportation to get around, which eliminated a lot of my worry over driving teens around or ensuring that they arrive safely on their own.
Some tips: 
Remind them to bring water and wear comfortable shoes.  
Explain, in as much detail as possible, what you expect from them and what they can expect from the event
Communicate your time table clearly with parents.
Collect cell phone numbers from the teens and give them yours.  This is not a level of intimacy I’m typically comfortable with, but when one of our teens was separated from the group on the Exhibits floor, wow was I glad she had my number and quickly found us!
Plan timing carefully and build in some cushion so you are sure to arrive where you need to be when you need to be there.
Take a deep breath, and have some fun — that’s what your teens are doing!
What seemed most valuable to the teens was being taken seriously.  
Is it possible to convene a teen committee to review potential summer reading titles for the school?  Could you create a yearly Local Favorites list that is similarly teen informed?  If so, what about opening the deliberations on the titles up to the public so that the teens get a wider audience and a chance to demonstrate how informed and thoughtful they are?  Bring in technology too!  You could encourage Vine submissions for teen book votes for a barrage of six second platform videos that could loop on your website or in the teen lounge.
The author connection
Truth: meeting authors and getting galleys was a HUGE draw for our teens.  We were fortunate enough that Simon & Schuster and Penguin both hosted events that teens were invited to, which lead to  signings and conversations with Ellen Hopkins, D.J. MacHale, Julie Berry, and Holly Goldberg Sloan.  Visiting the Exhibit floor got the crew up close and personal with Frank Beddor too.  This was big (see photo above if you’ve forgotten already how amazing it was for teens to meet an author).  But Annual is not the only place to meet an author.  For many of us, hosting an author event at our own library is simply cost prohibitive.  But partnering with other local public and school libraries might make it possible.  
Frank Beddor, author of Looking Glass Wars
Don’t limit yourself to the library world either.  Check out your local book stores for author signings and coordinate a trip for a handful of teens.  Be on the lookout for smaller regional conferences and events.  Here’s the deal: one thing librarians can offer even the most jaded teens is access.  We offer them access to information and resources, books and their authors.  Staying connected to the book world around you and enables you to extend that information to your teens.  You become the conduit through which they can delve even deeper into their favorite books, and forge connections to other teens who share their interests.  
Teens from several library groups connected and immediately bonded over books.

How do you work to connect teens with authors and the larger book world?  Have you hosted authors that work easily with libraries?  Taken teens to author signings?  Escorted them to conferences and events?


Heather’s Commuter Conference: ALA Annual 2013

At one point, I was a conference hound, but since the birth of my second child, I’ve backed off significantly.  Now, after a loooong [for me] hiatus, I’ll be back at Annual this year!  I’m excited to see old friendly faces and have some new conversations.  AND, for the first time, I’ll have a face-to-face meetup with Karen and Christie!

This year will be a real working conference for me.  I’ve been honored to be the Youth Participation Coordinator for YALSA as a part of the Local Arrangements Committee, and will be bringing a small group of my own teen book group down to “The City” for the Best Fiction for Young Adults Teen Feedback Session.  If you’re attending this year, I strongly urge you to make it to this session, as it’s a great opportunity to peek into the minds of a diverse group of teens regarding some of their favorite new fiction – – and what they wouldn’t recommend.  You’ll also see me dropping off handouts and making sure presenters have what they need at various YALSA sessions.

I’m really hoping to see Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity, my favorite book of last year, whose new book I’m anxiously waiting to get my hands on.

With so much of my conference events lead by my tasks for the Local Arrangements Committee, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to plan for exploring the events outside of the teen services realm.  It’s always so interesting to me to pop into a session and learn about a totally different aspect of librarianship.  There’s so much diversity in our profession, and we can learn a lot by branching out and peeking into a session beyond the ones were we know we’ll have a buddy to sit next to.

Another big difference for me between this year and some others is that I’m local to Chicago, so no fun hotel parties for me; it’s back home at night.  Though I’m very appreciative that I can attend this year, going to a conference in your home town is really a different experience — more like full time work all weekend plus all of the regular home stuff than the three day learning/sight-seeing/networking party that it might be in, say, New Orleans.  So, if you see me yawning at the early session, it’s not because of the late night, it’s because I was on the early train downtown.  I still plan to swing by the lake, because there’s nothing like Lake Michigan in the summertime, and am looking forward to squeezing in as much as I can between trips in and out of Union Station.

Happy Hour? When what we do is different than what we say we do

In case you missed it, Heather, Karen, Robin and I were on Twitter on Thursday night (and on email too but you can’t see the emails, poor you because they had way more sarcasm and snark) discussing the YALSA Happy Hour that will be going on in Chicago. 

Disclaimer: Heather and I are members of YALSA and have been since library school. Karen is an on again and off again member as finances allow.  We have worked on a variety of YALSA committees. We are BIG YALSA supporters here on Teen Librarian Toolbox!

The problem we’re having is not the Happy Hour.  Meeting and mingling and drinking with YALSA people is awesome and should be done more often – let’s start local meet-ups!  Our problem is with the evening’s “entertainment.” 

(Screen capture from the YALSA blog as of 6/22/2013 8:15am CDT):

Now, I know that the YALSA Office, President & Board always work hard to do fun things when the conferences and meetings come into town, and it’s a huge job. Trying to find a place to hold all of us is hard, trying to find a time that doesn’t conflict with the majority of YALSA meetings, and the things that we know in advance that publishers are doing is difficult, and trying to balance that with the non-existent budget and the fact that everyone is spread everywhere in the hotels all just makes you want to pull your hair out.  We appreciate the work YALSA, President Jack Martin, and the Board do.  Really.

Here’s where I have issues with the whole message coming across in this.


First, there’s the inconvenience.  Everyone’s coming from conference things on Saturday, so you want us to either wear what we’re going to wear to the fashion show ALL DAY, or run to our hotel and change then come to the fashion show. Um, yea. Then, there’s the fact that anyone who’s not local is going to have to PACK special clothing to be in the categories (because I don’t know a lot of people who wear GALA attire to conferences- actually, I don’t wear anything that would remotely fit any of the four categories to conferences, but that’s beside the point).  Karen doesn’t even own anything that resembles gala attire because she can’t afford it on a librarian’s salary.

Second, and most importantly, you’re telling me that AFTER I go to all this trouble, someone is going to go around and pick the best of the best based on appearance, and that if my appearance isn’t good enough, we’re all gonna know it in the extra special round. Now, I spend a LOT of time and energy telling teens that the need to work on their self esteem and not let their looks (and what they were born with) make them feel second best. That is part of what we do as teen specialists. We are on the battlefield of diffusing the hurt and confusion from bullying and name calling, and trying to stem the tide of suicidal thoughts, cutting, and other self harm because of body image issues, and yet my organization wants to have their event so that we can show off the best dressed and the prettiest, because that’s what a fashion show is.

Third, you’re stepping all over Librarian Wardrobe, which is actually fun and interesting and breaking ground, and something people opt into specifically because they are interested in the fashion angle. I wanted to go to the one in Anaheim last year but didn’t make the conference due to surgery recovery and hope to make their event this year.


I have nothing against drinking. I had a lovely time in college, did a number of bar bands (going around the night before games to the local bars and performing for alumni), I have wine with dinner, and I currently have limoncello and some other alcohols in my fridge. 

BUT.  Let’s look at the last line again:

Remember to bring plenty of cash for the bar. That way when Jack taps YOU to participate in the fashion show, you’ll be able to say an enthusiastic, “Yes!” Expect FUN and HAPPINESS at this always-exciting YALSA event!

I’m guessing it’s really trying to be a cute way of saying it’s a cash bar so bring money, but it comes across as slimy and gross and fits right into all the wrong things that we’ve been pointing out here on TLT. It acknowledges that we’re uncomfortable being judged on our appearance!  It points out that under normal circumstances, professional women and men aren’t tapped by the President of their professional organization for reasons so surface and irrelevant to the work we do.  It comes across like this:

Be liquored up so that when the President of the association comes around to tap you, you can say yes without any hesitation because now you’ll agree to do stuff you wouldn’t if you were sober!   


Heather pointed out that this is at least the second time IN CHICAGO that YALSA has had a fashion-themed Happy Hour. We are supposed to be the creative people- where IS that creativity?!?!?! I talked with That Guy this morning, and we came up with a list of things that could get people pulled up to award prizes that would involve little/no effort for bring materials and still make a Happy Hour fun. (forgive if they get geeky- That Guy was working, and I am off today, so we go to the engineer side a little)

  • Best Use of the Color Cerulean
  • Best Use of Scarves
  • People with Prime Numbers of Nametag Ribbons (those association ribbons people tag onto their badges like flags)
  • People with n Letters in their Names, where n is a perfect square (16 letters, 25 letters, etc)
  • People who are named after literary characters
  • People who dress after their favorite literary characters
  • People holding a book (not an ARC)
  • People holding an ARC (not a book)
  • Most extravagant shoelaces
  • Dress as your favorite author
  • People dressed as Doctor Who companions (could actually be anyone but the person choosing could say a Doctor quote and see if the person would actually go with them- thereby being a Doctor’s companion)
  • Most shocking/tasteful/colorful SOCKS
  • Best use of skulls
  • Best use of the current Collaborative Summer Reading Theme
  • Twitter/Blog bingo- make up cards with YALSA members twitter/blog info, and then people have to go around finding those people to win prizes
Or, ya know, we could do what other associations within ALA, or other non image based professional organizations do. Go to a location (bar, coffee shop, restaurant), rent out the back room, ask for donations, serve hors d’oeuvres, charge for drinks and let people pay for their own real food, invite the authors who are in town to come join us, and have a good time.  No demeaning gimmicks required.

Heather’s note: 

Am I a killjoy?  Probably.  But WOW am I tired of the librarian conversation rolling back around to what we as librarians wear & how we present ourselves physically.  The YALSA Happy Hour is probably the biggest regular informal gathering of YA librarians in the country.  I’m disappointed that we’ll spend it talking about how we look or don’t look — even in the professional attire categories that are listed — instead of what we do.  

What we do is exciting and diverse and innovative, and we can learn so very much more from one another than where we bought that scarf.  I would love to see YALSA focus the Happy Hour on encouraging the kind of sharing that is possible when you get a whole bunch of us together, and I’m disappointed in this focus on image.  

So hey, YA librarians out there – I don’t care what you’re wearing.  Are you comfortable?  Are you approachable?  Are you, um, not smelly?  Then I say you’re dressed just fine.  Let’s not further sort ourselves by those who match the folks on stage and those who don’t.  That is not what our profession is about.  I want to hear how you connect with your teens, what the last book was that blew you away, which app you can’t stop telling people about, how you handled that horrible situation at your library the other day, what that teen said to you that had you crying tears of joy the whole way home.  I didn’t get into this profession for the comfortable shoes or the cardigans, the colorful hair or the tattoos, the punny t-shirts or the tote bags.  Did you?

Karen’s Note:

I spend my time telling my teens that you are more than how you look.  That “It Gets Better.” That women and men are equal.  Now I am going to go to a professional conference where apparently I will be an unwitting participant in a fashion show, just by showing up.  This is part of everything that I preach against (even in jest or fun, because we can find ways to have fun that don’t emphasize looks or dress).  And to make it even worse, a man (YALSA President Jack Martin) gets to choose who will or won’t be in the fashion show.  That’s right, once again a man is deciding who is worthy.  I am sure that Jack is an awesome guy, but I am tired of living in a world where guys are the deciders, where looks, dress and appearance are primary motivators, and where a gathering of young adult librarians seems to focus on a message radically different than the message we are (I hope) preaching to our teens.  We spend enough of our lives worrying about whether or not we look right or “good enough”, having anxiety about whether or not we will be chosen (you remember picking teams in PE, right?) – I don’t want to pay to go to a conference with my PEERS and have to worry about these things all over again, as an adult.  As everyone tweeted about who wore what at the Oscars this year I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why aren’t we talking about these actresses accomplishments in the arts as opposed to judging what they wear?”  That’s what I want you to judge me by, my accomplishments as a librarian, not whether or not I have an awesome gala outfit.  

Sweet Home Chicago: Christie G’s Highlights for Annual 2013

Can I say that I am SO excited for Annual? Chicago is a fun city to visit, but doubly so for me because I have family close by, and some are going to be able to make the drive and see me while I’m there! BONUS! But there are so many fun things to do (aside from meeting authors and meeting up with my conference family)- I’m always double booked on the things I have on my schedule. Here are my MUST DOS for this conference:

FRIDAY (flying in from Texas)

Bleak New World: YA Authors Decode Distopia– Friday, June 28, 8-10 p.m., Sheraton Ballroom 5.  Join Booklist Publications for this year’s Books for Youth forum, featuring a stellar lineup of YA authors, who will discuss the wildly popular genre of dystopian literature for teens. Speakers will include: Lois Lowry, Cory Doctorow, Veronica Roth, and Patrick Ness.

SRRT All Task Force Committee– Friday, June 28, 7:30 – 9p.m., Hilton- Buckingham Room. I’m going for a bit to this, representing the Rainbow Project as I’m serving as the Chair this year. Interested in learning more about the Rainbow Project or other committees within the Social Responsibilities Round Table? This is the place to start.


Multicultural Programming for Tweens and Families– Saturday, June 29, 8:30 – 10 a.m., McCormick Place Convention Center, S404d.  In the spirit of El día de los niños/ El día de los libros, celebrate many children, many cultures, and many books throughout the year. Hear from a panel of librarians and community partners who will share successful programs such as a Día Family Book Club, a weekend full of multicultural events, and a culture-focused, one book-one city initiative. Stay for an I-DÍA Showcase featuring hands-on program activities, and receive how-to handouts from libraries across the country.
SUNDAY (also Family Visit Day- YEA!)

Cory Doctorow: More Than a Book-Lined Internet Cafe- Sunday, June 30, 3-4 p.m. McCormick Place Convention Center, S105a-c.  LITA President Zoe Stewart-Marshall welcomes digital rights activist, science fiction writer and Boing Boing co-editor, Cory Doctorow. This lively, thought-provoking talk will look at how libraries can and do stand on the front lines of the debate over the role of free information, and free information technology in ensuring the healthy maintenance of a free society. And yes, he will talk about DRM.

Graphic Novel Stage: Free Comic Book Day at the Library– Monday, July 1, 12 noon – 1 p.m.,  McCormick Place Convention Center, Exhibits Floor, Graphic Novel Stage.  Held the first Saturday in May, Free Comic Book Day has become a highly-anticipated annual tradition for comic book and graphic novel shops and fans. Libraries can also tap into this excitement by hosting their own Free Comic Book Day events. This panel will show librarians how to put their own FCBD together, including tips on partnering with local comic shops, utilizing their graphic novel collections, acquiring comics to give away, and more. Oh, and Karen and I are part of the panel.

TUESDAY (flying back from Texas)
Closing Session: Octavia Spenser– Tuesday, July 2, 9:30 – 11 a.m., McCormick Place Convention Center, S100a. Find out what Octavia Spencer has recently been busy with—including appearing on 30 Rock and writing her first novel. Spencer is keynote speaker at the Closing General Session. She’ll be talking (among other things) about her upcoming first novel, Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit (October 2013, Simon & Schuster).
Are you going to be at ALA Annual?  What are you planning to hit?

Friday Finds – June 21, 2013

This week at TLT:

We have a list of your favorite Dads in YA.

Robin talks about text complexity in the language arts classroom and the latest article from NPR.

Previously on TLT:

It the wake of the success of the Harry Potter franchise and the Hunger Games movie, an awful lot of YA books are being optioned for movies these days. Here’s a review for a novel that I think would make a can’t miss book-to-movie hit.
Around the web:

Something to think about: Better sex scenes in books will keep kids from learning about sex in porn.

From Lee and Low, some thoughts on the causes behind the lack of diversity in children’s and youth literature.

Printz Award Winner John Corey Whaley shares information about his second book, Noggin over at Entertainment Weekly Shelflife. Karen is completely fascinated by the concept of this book and can’t wait to read it.

Lauren Oliver’s upcoming novel, Panic, has already been snatched up by Universal.  Sadly, the Delirium TV show was not picked up by Fox.

Christie found this link of teens reacting to the Catching Fire trailer.  Christie especially loves the sweetheart at 1:02, the overly emotional blonde girl, and the guy in the red checked vest who stared slackjawed the whole time!