Get to Know the Real Orlando Area Neighborhoods and Haunts, Part 3

Orlando is a city of neighborhoods; each with their own distinct character and appeal.  To truly enjoy Orlando, venture off International Drive and explore the diversity of Orlando through its neighborhoods.

Mills 50

Centered on the intersection of Mills Avenue (SR 15) and Colonial Drive (SR 50) and affectionately called Little Saigon by locals.  Described as Orlando’s intersection of culture and creativity, this hipster hub fosters a mix of artists, restaurants, businesses, specialty shops, markets and bars. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see larger-than-life surrealist graffiti and murals covering walls, dumpsters and electric boxes.


Dandelion Communitea Café– a vegetarian teahouse set in a historically refurbished and colorful, bungalow-style home. Check out the “Dandy” for nightly events and performances as well as monthly full- and new-moon parties and drum circles.

BART–A family-owned and operated beer bar, arcade and art gallery, BART is located in the heart of Orlando’s trendy Mills 50 district. A rotating variety of classic video arcade games are almost all free and include everything from Pac-Man to Frogger. The cozy storefront bar also features an impressive selection of craft beers and wine.


Hawker’s Asian Street Fare—Their motto is “Eat the Streets”, featuring Asian style street vendor fare without leaving the neighborhood.

Mamak Asian Street Food– offers delicious dining, carryout and delivery to Orlando, FL. Mamak Asian Street Food is a cornerstone in the Orlando community and has been recognized for its outstanding Chinese cuisine, excellent service and friendly staff.

Pho88 –the signature dish is rice noodles in a savory soup served with paper-thin slices of beef that cook the moment they hit the broth, and it’s served with stalks of fresh cilantro, basil, lemon wedges and fresh bean sprouts. Be sure to get a creamy iced coffee for dessert.  Vietnamese Cuisine.

Little Saigon– Little Saigon Restaurant’s dishes are made from the best ingredients, freshest meats, and vegetables. They have a delicious selection of unforgettable Vietnamese dishes: rice vermicelli, popular pho (rice noodle soups), chicken with lemon grass, fish with ginger sauce, shrimp with tamarind sauce, and so much more! Vietnamese Cuisine.

The Strand— The Strand was conceived as a small neighborhood restaurant featuring the “New Old,” contemporary interpretations of classic culinary fare. Seasonal dishes made from scratch, with daily Chef’s specials inspired by fresh ingredients. Craft beers and wines.

Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa– a sleek, Latin/Caribbean-inspired place specializing in Barbacoa served in tacos or on rolls.

Anthony’s Pizza –preparing Italian cuisine with the finest meats and cheeses, freshest ingredients, specially prepared dough and homemade sauces.

Tako Cheena– a hipster dive serving a delicious fusion of Korean and Mexican flavors wrapped inside tortillas.

Bubbles and Ice– makes a huge range of sweet boba drinks (the bubbles are chewy rounds of tapioca), and shaved ice with exotic toppings such as sweet red bean, coconut or fresh tropical fruit.

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Get to Know the Real Orlando Area Neighborhoods and Haunts, Part 2

Orlando is a city of neighborhoods; each with their own distinct character and appeal.  To truly enjoy Orlando, venture off International Drive and explore the diversity of Orlando through its neighborhoods.

The Milk District

Centered around the landmark T.G. Lee Dairy, site of one of the largest milk producers in the state, this hip, bohemian stomping ground features a variety of popular bars, casual eateries, boutique shops and live music venues.


Sportstown Billards –Established in 1958 in Orlando’s Milk District, Sportstown Billiards was responsible for launching Central Florida’s craft-beer craze in the late 2000s. Serving over 250 craft beers, a full menu of bar fare and an expansive array of arcade and board games, Sportstown is more than a pool hall. Tables can be rented by the hour, and there’s also ping pong, air hockey, basketball shootout, darts and foosball.


Beefy King — Serving the BEST Roast Beef sandwich for over 40 years!  Offering a variety of mouthwatering Roast Beef, Ham, Turkey, Pastrami, Corned Beef, Bar BQ Beef and Bar BQ Pork all served hot, fresh and made to order!

Tasty Tuesdays– A solid rotation of 12 trucks convene for Tasty Tuesday, with over 30 food trucks each month. While trucks serve food at the weekly meet up, The Milk Bar, Spacebar, Sandwich Bar, and Etoile Boutique all open their doors to guests at the event. Trucks convene rain or shine, so bring an umbrella if the weather is bad or enjoy the indoor seating. Visitors are encouraged to grab plates from multiple trucks and give everything a try. Share amongst friends and family to get a taste of all the different culinary options offered. Tasty Tuesdays are located in the Milk District. Trucks are parked in the back lots of 2424-2432 E. Robinson Street between Bumby & Primrose.


Milk Bar– Great little beer bar in the Milk District. They have a couple video game consoles that are available to play for free and are a nice distraction if you’re waiting for someone to arrive. Bar tenders aren’t snobs, but knowledgeable and friendly.

Bull & Bush—oldest authentic pub in Orlando.  Cold beer and warm atmosphere, best darts in town.

Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar– Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar was conceived as a college-town coffeehouse. The coffee is top shelf only, fair trade and organic or rain forest alliance.  Coffee is roasted in house.  All of our gourmet soups are drummed up fresh in our kitchen.  Lots of veggie and vegan choices as well as non-veggie foods. Serving breakfast and lunch foods all day including great quiches, grilled wraps and panini that will keep you coming back for more. Try the ANZAC COOKIES.

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Get to Know the Real Orlando Area Neighborhoods and Haunts, Part 1

Orlando is a city of neighborhoods; each with their own distinct character and appeal.  To truly enjoy Orlando, venture off International Drive and explore the diversity of Orlando through its neighborhoods.

Thornton Park

With its brick streets, moss-covered oaks, European-style shops and charming bungalows, Thornton Park on the banks of Lake Eola is a feast for the eyes!  After spending whole morning at the conference and an afternoon at the pool, spend the evening walking around Thornton Park and grab a dinner. Thornton Park was great for that purpose.  It is an 18-minute cab ride from International Drive.


SoCo– Southern contemporary cuisine with the menu designed by executive chef Greg Richie, acclaimed chef of Magnolias in Charleston and the Abbey in Atlanta.  Wholesome food presented in an environment of true southern hospitality, Soco offers guests the tradition of time-honored classics, combined with the excitement of the contemporary. Pork Belly Biscuits, need I say more.

Dexter’s– A local’s established casual hangout that takes food and wine very seriously. Full bar, excellent service, and award winning Sunday brunch.  Build your own sandwich or enjoy a carefully prepared entree, everything is made fresh when you order it. The menu inserts and wine lists change every other month, so there is always something new and different to enjoy! Fusion cuisine, sidewalk cafe and menus for organics and local farm raised fruit, vegetables and meats.


The Falcon Bar and Gallery An independent and cutting edge experience in the arts & music in a bar setting. Enjoy the finest craft beers in Thornton Park District.

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Contact Congress Feb. 15 – 20 to Support Federal Library Funding

President Obama released his draft FY17 budget today.  The next step is for Congress to take it up.  Congress will spend the spring and summer working on their version, with the ultimate goal to have a final budget passed in fall.  In the President’s budget, proposed funding for the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) is down by $500,000 over last year, grants to state libraries are down $900,000, and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant program (a funding opportunity for school libraries) is level funded at $27 million.  These are all vital programs that support the nation’s libraries.  ALA’s President, Sari Feldman, issued a statement today expressing disappointment.

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Teen Creative Writing & Art Contest for Teen Tech Week

As part of Teen Tech Week, YALSA is teaming up with the Connected Learning Alliance, Deviant Art, the National Writing Project, and Wattpad for the Twist Fate challenge.

The challenge is to get young people (ages 13-17) telling stories about what happens when a hero becomes a villain, or a villain a hero (through writing, video, digital art, animation, etc.) and sharing them across the Deviant Art and Wattpad platforms. It’s happening March 6-April 6th, and to ramp up for it there will be a series of free webinars with guests including Mimi ito, Christina Cantrill, Candice Mack, Josh Wattles from DeviantArt, and Jing Jing Tan from Wattpad:

Connecting the Creative Sparks of Young Makers to Supportive Communities of Practice Feb. 11, 7pm EST

Storytelling and Making Redefined: Get to Know the Wattpad Community Feb. 18, 7pm EST

Meet the “Deviants”: Networked Artists and Makers of DeviantArt Feb. 25, 7pm EST

Digital Literacy with Digital Sketchpads

What will the Covina Public Library be doing for Teen Tech Week? We will be hosting two active participation events and one passive activity in promotion of Teen Tech Week. The first activity will include hosting a Digital Literacy Day, providing a tutoring session focused on Google images, skills in Microsoft Word, and tutoring on the use of a digital sketchpad tablet. This activity will teach digital literacy skills directly related to success in school.

The second activity will spawn from the Digital Literacy Day in which teens more timid or unable to visit the group tutoring session via the Digital Literacy Day will have the opportunity to make one-on-one appointments during Teen Tech Week. During the appointments teens will be given tutorials one-on-one and will be based on the topics presented on Digital Literacy Day. In addition, teens will have the opportunity to be tutored on subjects specific to their needs. For example, teens will learn the basics of photo editing.

The final activity will be passive where reading resources may be checked out from a book display. Resources purchased through the grant and items from the library’s collection will be displayed to encourage digital literacy in a passive form. To prepare for this activity, all books will be selected from the collection and the grant and will be labeled “Teen Tech Week.” When teens check out any labeled item, their name will be placed in a drawing and a name will be selected for a chance to win a prize.

All activities will be presented in an effort to promote community and connected learning geared towards this age group. Through participation, teens will qualify for prizes including gift cards and resources that promote digital literacy. Random drawings will also take place from checking out digital literacy books, attending the tutorial sessions, and attending the Digital Literacy Day event.

We believe the most vital measurements of success include connected learning and skills building exercises, resulting in using knowledge hands-on. For Teen Tech Week, this means the library will purchase digital sketchpad tablets for each teen computer station and tutor teens on their use. By providing access to essential resources, this will enable teens to be empowered. In addition to providing connected learning, the digital sketchpad tablets will encourage teens to be passionate thinkers and idea makers. For instance, converting drawings to the computer for manipulation encourages creativity and mechanical thought processes. All this will be done in an effort to encourage teens to learn and have fun with learning new technologies so that they can become lifelong learners and be successful in school and life.

Covina Public Library is nestled just 25 miles east of Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley. We serve many low income families and seniors and promote the library as a family library. As a community center, Covina Public Library endeavors to make a difference in the community by being a Family Place Library, providing story times, crafts, movie days, tutoring for all ages, and seasonal events and activities.



A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

Following up on his final State of the Union address, President Obama announced the “Computer Science for All Initiative.” In his weekly address on January 30th, Mr. Obama said that computer science is a “basic skill right along with the three R’s” that is vital for the 21st century economy. Details of the initiative include $4 billion in state funding and $100 million directly for local districts to provide training and support for increased access to computer science courses, particularly for girls and minorities. Libraries are already embracing the youth coding movement, but we have more work to do.

From programming with Ozobots and MaKey MaKey sets to hosting video game design competitions, school and public libraries are engaging teens in exciting ways to promote computer science skills. While it may seem daunting to offer coding classes for youth in your library, rethinking our role as co-learner and creating strategic partnerships will ensure successful learning outcomes. The Future of Library Services for and with Teens emphasizes that we are not expected to be experts nor keepers of information, but must learn to be comfortable working alongside teens to learn together. Meanwhile, libraries are partnering with their local CoderDojo, FIRST Robotics leagues, and makerspaces to connect STEM-based learning opportunities within their communities. Promoting outreach with women and minority-based groups such as Girls Who Code and Black Girls Code will support efforts to get more girls hooked into STEM and encourage young women to choose technical careers. As The Future of Library Services for and with Teens explains, when libraries embrace our role as both formal and informal learning environments, teens are able to develop 21st century skills, content knowledge, and expertise, engage in peer-supported learning, and connect with a broader community based on common interests. However, more needs to be done to widen our efforts.

In Linda Braun’s recent YALSAblog post, she says that annual events like CSEdWeek and the Hour of Code are great opportunities to celebrate coding in the community, but they need to be a part of something bigger. She asks “what if libraries and other formal and informal learning organizations focused on Hour of Code as a way to expand and enhance STEM learning and 21st Century Skill development and used the event as a way to celebrate that learning? Or, what if learning organizations participated in Hour of Code as a piece of a broader program focused on skill development and/or college and career readiness?”

How will your library answer the call?

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Planning your Trip to Orlando Part 2– What to Bring to Florida and What to Leave at Home?

You received the announcement, “Registration is Open!”  I hope you have made your hotel reservation and registered for the conference.  Now, that you have made the commitment to attend Annual Conference in Orlando, on to some important questions…..what to pack and what to leave home?

The well-traveled librarian who has attended many conferences has immeasurable experience in this department. So, let’s start with the basics.  What to bring?

Step 1:  Clothes

          This is Florida.  Not the Florida you see on the Disney Channel, but the real Florida.  It will be hot.  It will rain nearly every day and the humidity is always 100%.  Add to the experience of our unique Florida weather, the fact that you will be walking A LOT.  So, in short, you will be loads more comfortable if you wear comfortable clothing and plan on changing them twice a day.

          The most popular conference attire here in Florida for the ladies is the simple blouse or cotton t-shirt (appropriately adorned with library ephemera), slacks, jeans, or skirt, and very comfortable shoes and for the gentlemen, polo or t-shirt (appropriately adorned with logos), slacks or jeans, and comfortable shoes. The true Florida natives (I am one) do not recommend flip flops, but a shoe or sandal with support.  A sweater or light jacket for the early morning chill of the conference hall is always good to have on hand.  Unless you are the keynote speaker, leave the blazers, suits, and ties at home, no one will be wearing them.  Don’t forget your bathing suit for a dip in the hotel pool, maybe a sundress or maxi dress or a button down shirt for a nice dinner or show on the town.

Step 2:  The Bag

          While you are in the convention center, it is a good idea to have a backpack or a strong tote bag, and a water bottle.  A small umbrella is good for keeping your hair dry during the daily showers should you decide to go outside of the convention center in the afternoon.  The following items are a must for any convention attendee:

  •       Cell phone
  •       Tablet or ipad or small notebook
  •       Business cards
  •       Address labels
  •       Snack
  •       ID, credit card, some cash, and conference badge

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YALSA NEEDS YOU – for our Competencies Update Taskforce!

What skills, qualities and competencies do library staff need in order to provide the best services and support to the teens and tweens in our communities?

Volunteer to help YALSA update its “Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth” document, with particular emphasis on aligning the document to the principles in the Futures Report, since the document was last updated in 2010!

More information about the document, taskforce charge and more may be found below:

YALSA’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth: Young Adults Deserve the Best (2010)

Competencies Update Task Force (Charge)

Review the current document called “Young Adults Deserve the Best: Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth” and update the language and content, as needed, to ensure it reflects the mission and core values of teens services as described in The Future of Library Service for and With Teens: A Call to Action. Provide a draft for the Spring Executive meeting, and submit a final report with recommended changes for Board consideration by Annual 2016. Task force size: 5 – 7 virtual members, including the Chair.

Previous Competencies Update drafts:

Please email me at candice.yalsa [at] if you are interested in serving on this important taskforce!

President’s Report – November & December 2015

Happy Winter!

Can you believe it’s already February?!

It’s been a whirlwind since ALA Annual, and here’s what I’ve worked on in November & December 2015:


  • Attended YALSA’s inaugural YA Services Symposium in Portland, OR, and welcomed participants at Opening Reception, Author Luncheon for Jack Gantos (who I like to call the “Johnny Cash of YA Lit”) and Closing Ceremony Poetry Slam
  • Solicited feedback and topics for the Fall Executive Meeting from Board members.
  • Recruit board members to take the lead on various proposals, discussions, and more
  • Participated in, coordinated and led discussions at YALSA Fall Executive Meeting, which was held in Portland, OR, after the YA Services Symposium
  • Assigned Executive Committee members to blog about different topics from the YALSA Fall Executive Committee Meeting and Strategic Planning sessions
  • Called for discussion and vote on adoption of YALSA’s revised Board Meeting Guidelines
    • Motion passed, the guidelines have been adopted and will be added to the YALSA Handbook
  • Called for discussion and vote on
  • Hosted first YALSA Member Townhall Tweet-up of the year on November 30th, 2015
  • Hosted second YALSA Member Townhall Tweet-up on December 18th, 2015
  • Filled chair and member vacancies on YALSA’s Financial Advancement Committee (Thanks so much, Jane Gov, Alida Hanson and Tiffany Williams!!!)
  • Filled vacancy on 2017 Alex award committee (Thank you Diana Tixier Herald!)

Works in Progress

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