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ALA Midwinter & the Youth Media Awards

09 Feb ALA Midwinter & the Youth Media Awards

Librarian and Media Specialist Katie Posey attended the American Library Association’s midwinter conference and Youth Media Awards in Boston this past January. 

Librarian Katie Posey

Librarian Katie Posey

Can you imagine 10,000 librarians converging on the Boston Convention Center in January?! I certainly can because I was there for the American Library Association’s (ALA) Midwinter Conference January 8th-12th.

This experience was fantastic as it included my attending the conference with a British School Librarian—my friend Helen—meeting other librarians, connecting with the Massachusetts Library Association, meeting a variety of book publishers, discovering upcoming new books to add to Advent’s collection, meeting authors, and interacting with other attendees in stimulating seminars and talks (such as “Curiosity Creates: Research and Best Practices in Creativity Programming for Children,” to name one).

I also attended an excellent discussion with a panel of Middle Grade Fantasy Authors including S.E. Grove, James Riley, Monica Tesler, and Sharyn November. These authors spoke about their writing process and engaging young readers with exciting and imaginative stories.

YMAAnd that’s not all! Monday morning found me sitting in a room filled with librarians and people from the publishing world to hear the biggest announcement in the children’s book world—the Youth Media Awards ceremony for the best books published in 2015. That includes the Caldecott, Newbery Medals, Coretta Scott King, and Printz award winners, among many others.

It was exciting—basically like attending the Oscars for the world of children’s books. The only things missing were the gowns and refreshments, but those issues are for the suggestion box. You can read the full list of award winners here.

During the opening reception for the Exhibit Hall on Friday night, I was privileged to meet Ruta Sepetys, author of the amazing historical fiction text, Between Shades of Grade, and author of the upcoming novel, Salt to the Sea (which was one of my top reads for 2015). Ruta writes astounding historical fiction for upper Middle Grade and Young Adult readers, which highlights moments in history that have largely been ignored (such as the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff during WWII—“the largest maritime disaster in history”).

Throughout the conference, I met a handful of children’s authors, made new librarian friends, connected with old ones, and engaged in stimulating conversation related to the world of library services for children.

StairsThe Exhibit Hall was always buzzing with activity and excited talk about books, libraries, and authors. And take a look at the stairs leading down to one of the entrances of the exhibit hall: If you’ve read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, you’ll recognize the stairs are from the cover of the sequel, Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics.

Surrounded by librarians at ALA Midwinter, I realized what a priceless opportunity it was—to grow and consider the different perspectives of those in the field of library science. There are always new ideas to consider, new strategies to practice, and new ways of thinking about how to nurture lifelong readers within the library space and beyond!

Needless to say, it was an amazing experience, and I will certainly look forward to more conventions and meetings in the future with the American Library Association. I’m very thankful to Advent for giving me the opportunity to attend and experience ALA Midwinter in Boston!

ALA Midwinter

From left: debut author Melanie Crowder; Snicker of Magic author Natalie Lloyd; Advent’s librarian Katie Posey; Helen Swinyard, librarian from London.