ALA Annual Conference-Washington DC

Exhibit hall at ALA

More pictures at my Flickr site ( …

Wow! I just returned from the ALA Annual Conference in DC. Not my very first ALA conference, but the first one where I had a purpose and knew what I was looking for. About 6 years ago, I attended the ALA Annual Conference in Atlanta (not far from where I live). I love Atlanta—the shopping, R. Thomas, night life, I have friends there, I sort of know my way around…it has it all. So, needless to say, while I was there for a conference, I did not do much “conferencing”…I just did what I would normally do on a trip to Atlanta. Back to DC–it is also a city that has it all, however, I do not have friends in DC and I do not know my way around and for some reason it does not feel as “safe” to me as Atlanta does. Therefore, all I did was “conferencing.” I was there to represent SCASL and to find speakers for our conference in March. I think I got alot accomplished and am now busy touching base with those I met.

 Speaking of people I met—I met so many wonderful authors! Here’s my list:

Judy Blume, Mo Willems, Bruce Coville, Michelle Knudson, Patrick Jones, Judy Schachner, Alan Katz, Bryan Collier, Charles R. Smith, Jr., Daniel Kirk…I know I am forgetting some, but holy moly, that’s a lot and I loved every minute of it.

I listened to Susan Patron accept the Newbery medal for Higher Power of Lucky. I went to the Coretta Scott King Book Award breakfast (a MUST DO for every ALA Annual Conference goer).

I even attended a session that got me thinking…”Using hot technologies for PR in your library.” That wasn’t the exact name of the session, but close enough. Basically, they talked about how you can use Web 2.0 tools to promote your library. It was geared towards public libraries, academic libraries, etc., but I could really see how I can use the tools as well. The kicker for me is that most Web 2.0 tools are blocked at school. Oh well. All my promotion will have to happen at home. I’m going to have a page off of this blog that points you to all of my Web 2.0 tools. I am using a lot and to be honest it’s getting a little overwhelming. Listing them in one place is good for me and you!

I get to go to AASL in Reno in October. I am looking forward to that…a whole national conference of nothing but school librarians…because, one thing I learned at this conference…and it’s not something I have come in contact with often (I guess because just about all the librarians I run into in South Carolina went to the same library school and we have a common foundation) is a weird “oh your just a SCHOOL librarian” attitude when meeting someone who perhaps works in Archives or at a University Library. What’s that all about? Just because our life is mostly kids books and children, you think we don’t do research or know about “real” library stuff? To me, we all offer the same service–information. We give it to our patrons in a different way, however. Can’t we all just get along 😉


About Valerie Byrd Fort

I live in South Carolina. I am passionate about libraries, books, and reading. I am also a mom. This is my blog about those things.
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1 Response to ALA Annual Conference-Washington DC

  1. clnelson says:

    Valerie I am SOOOOO jealous. I would LOVE to go to Reno too. But I’m already committed to SC EdTech in October and SCASL in March. With the new job and all, how dare me ask about going to another conference? I went to NECC and it was fabulous too. I went to a preconference called Edublogger Con, and rubbed elbows with folks like David Warlick, Chris Lehman, Jeff Utecht, Joyce Valenza, and Doug Johnson. It was so much fun and I just became a sponge that day, absorbing all their knowledge they shared! I guess all I can do is ask about AASL. All they can do is say yes or no–so the way I look at it, I have a 50/50 shot. I am so excited too about the possibilities of Web 2.0 in schools and especially school libraries.

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