ALA Annual Visit: Nature and Outdoor Fun

Chicago is a beautiful place in the summertime. After a long, cold (although in this year’s case not so snowy) winter the city comes alive. The cultural, cuisine, and sports attractions are all wonderful ways to pass a summer day, but it would be a shame to visit this city without also taking advantage of what nature has to offer.

Of course, the largest natural feature of the Chicagoland area is the Lake Michigan shoreline. On a warm day hitting the beach is a great option. North Avenue Beach, right on Lake Shore Drive, is a popular destination. With amenities like jetski, bike, and kayak rentals, volleyball courts, lockers, as well as concessions, there is something for everyone. The beach’s most iconic feature is the beach house, a blue and white building, built to look like an ocean liner.

North Avenue Beach

Also on Lake Shore Drive, but a little closer to downtown is Oak Street Beach. With great views of the city skyline and all the amenities of concession and rental, it does tend to be a little more crowded on hot days and there is only street parking. Farther south is Montrose Beach, another wonderful place to while away a summer day. A unique feature of this beach is a bird sanctuary. Over 300 species have been sighted there with early morning being the best time for bird watching. But, anytime of day the meadow and dunes is a peaceful contrast to the manicured park and busy city that surrounds.

For those who wish for a less sandy outdoor experience the Lincoln Park Conservatory is not to be missed. There are multiple display rooms within a Victorian style glass conservatory as well as beautiful surrounding gardens. Part of this large complex, that is attached to the Lincoln Park Zoo, is a hidden lily pond. Called the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, there is a stone walkway with prairie-style architectural structures, a pavilion, council ring, lots of shady trees, it’s a sanctuary in the midst of a bustling city.

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

The Chicago River is a natural feature nestled right in the middle of a cityscape that also offers opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Take a boat architecture tour led by Chicago Architecture Foundation docents. For those who desire more adventure, book a tour (the Ghosts and Gangsters of Hustlertown is one example) with Wateriders, or simply rent a kayak and paddle at your own pace.

However you choose to spend your time in Chicago, remember that even in the midst of the crowd and concrete of the city there are still opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and find some refuge in the more natural world.

Bridget Farrell is a middle school librarian in a northern suburb of Chicago.

The YALSA Update: Teens’ Top Ten voting starts and more!

Teens’ Top Ten Voting Begins Monday! The Teens’ Top Ten opens for voting on Monday! Teens can vote for their favorite books from the past year at the Teens’ Top Ten website through Sept. 18. We’re giving teens four weeks to vote this year, to make sure that every teen’s vote counts. Winners will be announced in a webcast featuring World Wrestling Entertainment Superstars and Divas (plus a few special guests!) during Teen Read Week, Oct. 18-24.

Canada: The New Frontier for the WrestleMania Reading Challenge For the first time, YALSA and World Wrestling Entertainment will open registration for the WrestleMania Reading Challenge to Canadian residents, excluding Quebec. Registration at this time is open only to residents of Canada (excluding Quebec). Canadian librarians can sign up using an online form through Aug. 31.

Go Back to School with YALSA Relive your school days and sign up for YALSA’s top-notch professional development! We’re offering three classes for the fall session (including two brand-new courses). Join us for AIMing at Tweens: Advising, Involving, Motivating (taught by Teri Lesesne); Graphic Novels and Teen Readers: The Basics and Beyond (taught by Francisca Goldsmith) and Reaching Teens with Gaming (taught by Beth Gallaway). Read descriptions and register at’ YALSA’s Online Courses page. Registration ends Oct. 2.

After the jump, find out about how to propose a session or win a travel stipend for the YA Lit Symposium in 2010, encourage your patrons to nominate you for the 2009 I Love My Librarian Award, sign up for Teen Read Week, and more.

Continue reading

And now it’s over

After all the build-up and excitement of the 2009 American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago, it’s now over. Attendees are heading back to their respective positions to implement new new programs, develop new strategies, and apply new techniques to the field. And, of course, share all the exciting news with colleagues.

But what if you’ve forgotten that pithy quote, the moment of wit, the sharp phrase? Well, thanks to Twitter and hashtags, you can quickly search for your favorite ALA moments.
Continue reading

Annual Conference- BBYA

Even though it is only April, I’m already starting to get excited about Annual Conference in Chicago.’  Chicago is one of my favorite cities (even if ALA is late this year and so the Taste of Chicago won’t be going on at the same time). Those of you who are not sure about the ALA/Proquest Scholarship Bash, the Art Institue of Chicago is wonderful and worth seeing while you are there.’ 

The reason that I am most excited about this year’s Annual Conference though is that I am a member of the Best Books for Young Adults Committee (aka BBYA).’  This will be my first time meeting with the other BBYA folks and I’m really looking forward to some good debating on the many great titles that have been nominated so far.’  Continue reading

a quiet Sunday in DC

Yesterday was a blur of activities: meetings, ceremonies, bus rides. It began bright and early with a trip across town to a breakfast hosted by HarperCollins. Terry Trueman, Chris Crutcher, and other luminaries were there along with Patty Campbell, Joni Bodart, Betty Carter, YALSA Past Prezs Bonnie Kunzel, Pam Spencer Holley and others. Aftr some refreshment, it was off to the YALSA All Committee meeting, the working session where a great deal of planning and discussion takes place. I am serving as co-chair of the next YALSA preconferene with the terrific Stacxy Creel from St. John’s University (and former colleague of mine in Houston and on the QP Committee).

Lunch was next: Margaret A. Edwards’ lunch, that is. Lois Lowry’s pseech was warm and funny and inspirational. Her award was certainly well deserved. There were other authors on hand to witness her award. Judy Blume sat at a table nearby and I almost swooned in delight.

My afternoon was spent on the Odyssey Committee, a new joint ALSC/YALSA committee which will present an award for the best sudio for children and/or YAs at midwinter.

Back to meetings today with a glimmer of hope to see some of the exhibits as well. The weather is still lovely and librarians are everywhere!

Posted by Teri Lesesne

USBBY at ALA

The USBBY Committee is meeting today to talk about a wide variety of subjects. Did you know that YALSA has representation on this committee (me, for one and Ty Burns). The committee meets at IRA and NCTE and ALA since its members come from these organizations. Check out the information on USBBY at its web site: http://www.usbby.org/

Posted by Teri Lesesne

ok, I am already over the moon

On the short cab ride in from the airport, I saw the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building and the White House. Then, my hotel is literally across the street from the convention center, so I strolled on over to pick up my badge holder and conference program. It is a gorgeous day outside, so I think I will head out for an early dinner and then come back to the room to listen to my final audio for the Odyssey meeting Saturday.

I hope to see many of you here in DC. If not, I hope the blog and wiki will suffice to make it seem like you are here with us.

Psted by Teri Lesesne

DC on my mind

Even though I am sitting at a workshop in San Antonio, I am mentally packing for ALA Annual. I know I will have my CD player and headphones so I can listen to the last of the audios nominated for the Odyssey Award (and if you do not know what this award is, go check it out at the YALSA web site). Other than that, the Crocs are going in next along with loose cotton clothes for walking outside and a jacket for sitting in meeting rooms. Soon, I need to organize my day by day agenda. All this pales, though, when I begin to think about scoring ARCs at the exhibits, meeting and talking to colleagues, seeing new authors, watching the awards programs, and discussing listening and reading with committee members.

I hope to see many of you in DC. For those of you who cannot attend, check the blog for updates and for information.

Posted by Teri Lesesne

a look back

If you have been reading the posts to YALSA, you know that NOLA treated us like visiting royalty. Even the few glitches turned out ot be blessings (ask anyone staying at the Marriott on Canal about the new elevator system). The meetings went smoothly; there was WAY too much food, and things ran like clockwork.

Make plans now to become active in YALSA and come to conference. I have been so pleased to have had the chance to meet colleagues, to talk to the leadership of this group, and to participate in the important discussions about our future.

Posted by Teri Lesesne