My second ALA annual conference is done and I am starting to feel like a seasoned pro. However, I am still learning so many new things I missed my first time around. I attended YALSA 101 last year and was inspired to be more active. A few months later though, I had forgotten about time requirements for “book” committees, what exactly were award committees, and there was something about badges. I decided to attend YALSA 101 again this year to brush up on what is offered in my YALSA membership and learn where I could volunteer my services.
Speaking of selection versus award committees, I have some clarification. Juries select grant or award winners, like the Great Books Giveaway. Selection committees are the book committees that select specific media and booklists such as Great Graphic Novels for Teens or Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. Book committee members are responsible for obtaining review copies, but many are provided by publishers or shared by committee members. Selection committees usually have a two-year commitment. Being a selection committee administrative assistant, the person who distributes the nomination lists, organizes the committee and acts as its secretary, is a lot of work. However, it can be a foot in the door to join a selection committee. Strategic committees run the business of YALSA. Strategic committees carry out many roles like planning Teen Read Week and Teen Tech Week, membership recruitment, running The Hub and YALSA Blog, and more. Except for the Executive Committee, all strategic committees meet virtually, with no requirements to attend conferences. Most strategic committee appointments last for one year.
One topic of YALSA 101 was advocacy. I did not realize how many options there are to easily approach our legislators to advocate for libraries. I can participate in National Library Legislative Day by going to the offices of my legislators in my state or Washington, D.C. I can tweet or email them if I am unable to travel and I can do this anytime I want to. One idea I came away with is inviting a local politician who is a stakeholder such as a school superintendent, town selectman, or school board member to come be “Librarian for Day” so they can see my job in action.
I had forgotten about YALSA’s YouTube channel. YALSA Academy has a series of short, five minute long videos for training or inspiration. You can take a quick break and get ideas for maker spaces, coding, Twitter basics, or starting a mock Printz award program. Any librarian can create a video for YALSA Academy, so think about showing off something you do for summer learning/reading, Teen Read Week or Teen Tech Week. As a brand new feature, the YouTube channel also has “snack break” videos that are about fifteen minutes long. These videos give guidance on partnering with a local museum or assessing program impact.
At Annual Conference in Orlando YALSA and YOUmedia co-sponsored a program titled, “The YOUmedia Network & YALSA Forum: Connecting around Connected Learning.” The focus of the event was to bring YALSA members and the YOUmedia community together to learn about each other and discover ways to connect and collaborate. K-Fai Steele, the point person for the YOUmedia Network at the National Writing Project, and Jack Martin, YALSA Past President, facilitated the conversation.
After a short introduction to the program the conversation began with participants talking about what skills they had that they would be able to share with others AND what they would want to learn from someone else. One of the things I loved about this conversation was that it quickly demonstrated that among the group there was a lot of knowledge and skill and there were many opportunities for learning together and from each other. To me this was a great example of one way that connected learning can manifest itself. Continue reading
At each YALSA Board meeting the Fiscal Officer, that’s me, facilitates a Board discussion about a topic related to the financial health and well-being of the association. Over the past several years the Fiscal Officer, the Executive Director, and the Board have worked to determine the types of fiscal discussions that will be most useful in this environment. We don’t want to simply go over the numbers included in the report – that can be done just as effectively in a non-face-to-face environment. What we do want to do is to have a fruitful discussion that can help in long-range planning for the ongoing fiscal health of the association. At the 2016 Annual Conference in Orlando the focus of the fiscal discussion is on planned giving.
In the Annual Conference Fiscal Officer Report document the following quote helps to frame the importance of this planned giving discussion.
“…every non-profit should be focused (in part) on finding benefactors to leave them planned gifts because there is no better way to plan for the future growth and strength of your organization.” From the Fundraising Authority website
So, ALA Annual Conference to be held in Orlando is 7 months away. Proposals for presenting have been accepted and presenters have been notified. Keynote speakers, author events, and preconference workshops have been announced. And now, reality has set in. Can I afford to go? Let’s break down those expenses for a full conference attendance.
The expenses breakdown:
Airfare—Flights from select hubs can be as low as $200 round trip. Plan to book at least four months in advance for the best rates. Lower your cost with use of frequent flyer miles.
5 nights–$160 to $400 per night depending how early you book and how close to the convention center the hotel is. Remember there is a reservation deadline for the best conference rates through the ALA website. Share a room to bring your cost down.
Register by the early bird deadline for the lowest cost.
6 days—estimated $40.00 per day, for a total expense $240.00. The average cost of a meal from the food vendors in the exhibit hall are $11-$15 and restaurants in the convention area may cost between $20.00 — $100 per meal. Lower your food costs by taking advantage of exhibitor presentation meal invites. Visit the local grocery store (Publix or Walmart on Sand Lake Road) and pick up some inexpensive meals and snacks to keep in your hotel room refrigerator. Most hotel rooms in the convention area have fridge/mini microwave combos and coffee pots. Occasionally, giveaway snacks are offered to attendees. Have the snack or bag it for later.
Conference attendance is 7 months away, begin your planning now. With a savings of $215 per month through June, a full conference attendance is within your reach!
Some other tips to off-set your expenses.
- Ask your school district or employing institution if there are professional development funds for use.
- Seek funding from your school’s PTA/PTO or other parent organization.
- Request support from a community-based organization such as your local Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, or other group that supports education.
- Graduate students inquire about grants from your institution.
- Remember conference attendance may be deducted from your taxes as a professional expense. Check with your tax professional.
Vandy Pacetti-Donelson is a Library Media Specialist. She is a library advocate and Board Director for the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME). Find her online at www.eliterateandlevelingup.com or follow her on Twitter @VandyPD.