Those of you looking to network with fellow YALSA members can meet for dinner at Grottos www.grottosrestaurant.com Saturday January 16th @ 7:00. Reservations have been made for a large YALSA group. This is an opportunity for those people not invited to publisher dinners to still have an excellent meal. Sign up at Friday’s Happy Hour and meet other people who may be joining for dinner before that night.
This wasn’t my first Midwinter conference, but it was the first conference I’ve attended since I was hired as a librarian. Previously I went to as many different meetings as I could trying to soak up as much knowledge as I could about the teen librarianship field. This time I felt more focused. I went to vendors, sessions, and other attendees with real challenges I had at my branch instead of hypothetical ones, and I was amazed at all of the information I gleaned from conversations I had with other librarians when I asked how they handle the problems.
On Friday night I ran into someone I went to library school with, who was only at ALA for Friday. She was looking for a job, and wanted to check out the gaming extravaganza. I’m so glad I met her there, because I was able to introduce her to many other attendees just like others had done for me when I first began. See for me at least the greatest part of YALSA is all of the people. We are a community focused on teen librarianship, but we are also very supportive of each other. I’ve heard many stories of one librarian being the only one involved in ALA at their library, and YALSA being the only resource for them when they feel like they are all alone on the edge of the library world.
If you aren’t a member of YALSA I do encourage you to at least sign up for the listservs we have. It is just one of many resources YALSA offers to help librarians connect to each other. Many people say there is no reason to recreate the wheel, and they are correct. Even if you are the only teen librarian in your system, (or the only one serving teens for that matter) You can build off the great things others have done, by just asking your peers questions you don’t have the answer too. Its alright not to know everything, and to be unsure. As librarians we are trained on how to find information, instead of knowing all information, which is an important distinction.
This conference I’ve learned many new ways to approach teen services that I never would have thought of if I hadn’t talked with others over lunches, dinners, or drinks. I encourage you, if you get a chance to go to a conference to attend more that just the sessions and the exhibit halls. Talk to strangers who attend too. You never know what you might learn, because you know Librarians rock 😀
This photo was taken at Hard Rock Cafe in Philadelphia. Its me and three committee members from Popular Paperbacks.