Awww, you can smell it in the air…the smell of books…Inboxes and mailboxes are becoming crowded with invitations and offers, and the things most librarians live for- information and connections. You can hear the whispers of librarians’ on the breeze, as many make plans of their impending journey to Chicago, which for a week will be the temporary home to thousands of librarians, teachers, administrators, and support staff members. All of us brought together by the embracing umbrella of ALA, the American Libraries Association.

I don’t know about you, but I am extremely excited! And, if you can’t attend the conference, it’s no sweat because thanks to ALA and groups within it such as YALSA, people can access live webcasts, podcasts, blogs, tweets, and conference information from their homes and’ libraries.

I sincerely recommend if you are wavering on attending this conference…do attend! As a member of YALSA, mid-winter was my first librarian conference experience.’  By going to some of YALSA’s mixers and informational events, I have met some wonderful people that I will probably consider to be my best friends for life.’  These people share your successes and your same struggles.’  When I leave a YALSA evet now, I feel inspired, empowered, and supported.

Also, you will learn so much valuable information about teen programming, access, challenges, and readers’ advisory not only from librarians but from teens themselves. (Definitely check out the Best Books, Quick Picks, Audio, Reluctant Readers, etc. sessions). These sessions will let you know all about quality selection materials especially in a time where we can only afford to buy the best we can find.

Not only are the sessions engaging, but take a moment to find out about how you can serve on committee with YALSA.’  I started out as a member and now find myself on 3 committees where I can learn and share with others about things I am passionate about. You don’t have to be a member to access resources, but the benefits and assistance that YALSA provides is a bargain for the memberhip fee.

And, don’t even get me started on the hundreds of exhibits that you can attend at the exhibit halls.’  They are worth every penny of your pass cost.

Again, if you are thinking of attending, hesitate no more and plan your travel accomodations.’  However, if you know it is just not in the budget for you to attend, check out on the ALA and YALSA websites all the live broadcasting/web-sharing opportunities so that you can be a part of all the excitement as well!

About Krista McKenzie

I am a Children's Specialist at the Ruth Enlow Library in Garrett County, Maryland. I work with kids from the ages of 0 to 18 and am also a reference librarian. In addition, I am member of the YALSA Legislative Committee, and the Children's Services Division of the Maryland Library Association.

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