YALSA Midwinter Institute

The Whole Library Experience was the theme for the YALSA Midwinter Institute in San Diego. The morning got underway with Paige Battle’s ice-breaker activity. She asked participants to come and select adjectives on strips and then sort ourselves into two groups according to whether we thought the adjective described a teen or a librarian. Actually, a third group formed for those who thought their adjectives could describe either teen or librarian. There was quite a bit of laughter as we talked about the stereotypes both groups have.

Our first speaker was Linda Braun, former President of YALSA, who has just written a white paper on this topic of Whole Library Experiences for YAs. Her suggestions included not forgetting the parents of the teens, working with circulation and reference staff about the needs and interests of YAs. We who work with YAs need to be aware of “those who are not us” and how we can assist them in offering services and materials to teens. Read More →

Title: Note to Self
Platform:’  iPod Touch, iPad,’  iPhone (requires IOS 3.2 or later)
Cost:’  ‘ $0.99

note to self image

screen shot for Note to Self

Why this app?’  I was forever a fan of sticky notes.’  Then, I used desktop stickies when they came along with the laptop.’  Now, though, I find myself using this app in several different types of situations.’  At a recent conference, there was no Internet access in the room and my little USB modem struggled to find a signal as well.’  I was desperate to tweet out things and so turned to NOTE TO SELF. Read More →

Title: Words with Friends
Platform:’  iPod Touch, iPad, ‘ iPhone
Cost:’  free-$2.99′ 

Also available in HD version for iPad for $2.99

At the beginning of the school year I received an invitation from a friend who is a school librarian in Alaska to play a new game called WORDS WITH FRIENDS.’  Frankly, I had heard nothing about it.’  So, I scurried over to the APP Store and downloaded the free version for my iPod Touch.’  I was hooked:’  Scrabble games with friends or random opponents and all online. ‘ ‘ In some schools, students are coming in to the library at lunch and other free times to challenge one another (and to challenge the librarian, too) to games.’  I currently have 5 games going concurrently and love when I get a notice that it is my turn to play the tiles.

Scrabble Board for Words with Friends

Words with Friends board

Read More →

Here is the link for the Celebramos Libros list of books by and about Hispanics, Latinos, Chicanas.’  It is very much an early draft.’  Our hope is that folks will download it, add to it, and repost it somewhere.’  I know we have barely scratched the surface, but this is a place for us all to begin to build a more comprehensive list.’  The list contains only YA (and a few tween) titles.’  However, I know there are many more to be added.’  Of special interest, we believe, are the authors who may be publishing with small presses that you know but others might not.

You can find the list here:


Teri Lesesne and Rosemary Chance

Name: Poem Flow
Platform: iPhone (OS 3 or later), iPad, iPod Touch
Cost: ranges from $0.99 to $2.99

POEM FLOW is an app available for the iPhone (requires OS 3 or later), iPod Touch, and iPad. It was one of the first apps I ever downloaded to my iPod Touch several years ago. After all, I am a former English teacher, one who recalls her own students’ distaste for all things poetic back in the 80s and 90s when I was teaching middle school (and I doubt that has changed much since then either).

app on iPod Touch

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I have been a member of USBBY (The US Board on Books for Youth) for some several years. I served as YALSA’s liaison to the Board and now serve as the NCTE rep. It is the American arm of IBBY (The International Board on Books for Youth). The focus of USBBY and IBBY is to bring attention to literacy throughout the world and to celebrate literature from other countries. Each year, USBBY sponsors lists that include books for children with disabilities and outstanding international books. You can read more about the organization at its web site (www.usbby.org).

You are invited to join a new Community on ALA Connect open to people interested in promoting international understanding and good will through books and literacy services to children and teenagers. Once you join the
community (you don’t need to be an ALA member) you can post pertinent information, register information about upcoming conferences of interest to the community on the calendar, post documents or open online discussions and chats.

Hope you will check it out at:

As Banned Books Week comes to a close, I am attending the IBBY Regional Conference in Chicago. Several years ago, I volunteered to serve as a liaison from YALSA to USBBY (The US Board on Books for Youth, the American division of IBBY, International Board on Books for Youth). Now, I serve as the NCTE liaison. Every 2 years, the US hosts an IBBY Regional Conference. For two days, we listen to presentations from educators, librarians, and leaders from other countries discuss the importance of books and reading. Read More →

I am fortunate to serve as chair of the STANDING COMMITTEE AGAINST CENSORSHIP of the National Council of Teachers of English. That means I often receive information about incidents of censorship. This has been a busy week thus far. One of our own members had her web site blocked from a school district due to political content. Laurie Halse Anderson, author of SPEAK and TWISTED, wrote about threee separate incidents of censorship on her blog. And Ellen Hopkins was un-invited to a school presentation when a parent complained about her books.

The one word that keeps resonating for me through all of this (and more) is ACCESS. When censors challenge materials and want them removed, they are in essence denying someone access to the thoughts and ideas contained at the web site or in the book or movie. Denying access creates limits for our students. One more venue of ideas shut down because someone deems the ideas somehow “wrong.”

How can we ensure access for our patrons? What can we do to erase limits? How about some of these approaches?

1. read one or more of the books counted among the most challenged this year or this past decade. AND TANGO MAKES THREE, THE CHOCOLATE WAR, SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK are among those listed at the OIF web site.
2. create a Banned Books Week display for your library.
3. make certain that you are familiar with your reconsideration policy.
4. volunteer to speak about censorship at a community event.
5. blog, tweet, post information about dealing with censorship.

Take a stand against censorship not just during Banned Books Week but all year long.

Beginning October 5, 2009, YALSA will offer an online course’ aimed at’  those who are working with tweens and young teens.’  There have been a few requests for more information about the course and its requirements.’ ‘  I am including here some basic information about the various activities and exercises.’ ‘ ‘  All the materials for the course will be available at the class wiki.

Read More →

I have my bundled registration and hotel reservations for MidWinter. I love being able to do registration and hotel reservations in one smooth visit to the ALA web site. So, are you coming to Boston in January? Here is the best reason I know to be there:

This is where the press conference that announces all the media awards is LIVE! I cannot begin to describe the electricity in the air as the winners are announced. Where else can you see grown women and men jump and cheer or locate the various publishing houses in the audience when they applaud and scream with one voice?

Please come to Boston. Register now @ www.ala.org.