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Hello! from ALA Midwinter in San Diego

Sarah Justice, president-elect, and I here in San Diego for the American Library Association Midwinter Conference. This is the time for our meetings with the American Association of School Librarians and Affiliate Assembly where we represent you and the our association at meetings with other delegates from other state school library media organizations.

Sarah and I took this morning to familiarize ourselves with the meeting schedule and convention center. We were even caught on camera by the ALA photographer! (Thanks to my own media assistant who found me on the ALA Flickr site and sent me the link!)
On Saturday, we will represent you and our association at the AASL roundtable discussions, where we will work on topics of interest and importance to school librarians around the country. On Sunday, we will attend the Affiliate Assembly and work with our colleagues in Region 4, continuing to discuss those issues important to our profession.

On Monday morning, we hope to attend the announcement of the book award winners. You can view the program on the ALA website:

We hear that you all are bracing for another winter storm while we are enjoying the 60 degree weather here in California. Watch for more updates about the conference and our meetings, and we hope to make it safely back to the east coast without too many snow or ice delays on Monday night! 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 4:53 PM

Boston -- Fame, Fortune and a "New" Name

Thanks to my trusty side-kick, NCSLMA President-Elect Deanna Harris, who faithfully blogged about our experiences pal-ing around together at ALA Midwinter in Boston last weekend. Yes, we really did see and hear Al Gore -- I even got up close for an autograph of his newest book, Our Choices. As you may have seen on this blog (and on Facebook), we had our picture taken with another celebrity, "Flat Sara", a life-size cutout of ALA Presidential candidate, Sara Kelly Johns. (Sara is a former AASL President & she's looking for support from AASL members when we vote for ALA President in the spring.) Out of obligation to our host city, Deanna and I slurped down some tasty clam "chowdah" and did extensive field-testing of their famous Boston Creme Pie. We can confirm that they know how to make a scrumptious dessert in Boston! 

Of course, there were more substantive things that happened in Boston. One of the more intriguing moments was when AASL President-Elect Nancy Everhart described her plan to visit an outstanding school library in all 50 states! Nancy's excellent adventure (she'll be rollin' cross-country in an RV) might be the ticket to your fame, since Nancy is looking for an exemplary school library in NC to visit. I will provide her with our state's recommendation for this honor in April, so put on your thinking caps and consider nominating yourself or someone else. An "offical" NCSLMA nomination form will be posted on the website soon, but in the meantime here are the specifics that Nancy is looking for in her 50-state school library tour:

  • The school librarian is fully certified and a member of AASL
  • The facility and activities going on in the facility are engaging and visually stimulating.
  • The school library makes the most of the resources available.
  • Schools should be diverse and at various levels – elementary, middle, high, K-12, etc.
  • The school administration agrees to a site visit with media coverage which may include television, radio, and/or web coverage
  • Appropriate permissions are obtained which include photos, video and potential research
  • The school visit will occur on a day that fits Nancy's schedule
  • Evidence of learning will be provided
  • Tour schedule will be finalized in May and June and announced at ALA Annual in Washington, DC in June 2010.
Besides fame as a stop on Nancy's 50-state tour, there's fortune to be had as an AASL member. Several AASL awards are still up for grabs and we would LOVE to see an NCSLMA member bring home the money. The application deadline is February 1, 2010, so time is of the essence! For more information, including an application, go to Award winners will be honored at ALA Annual in Washington DC in June 2010. Given the current budget environment, there's no better time to showcase your library program, demonstrate your very best practices, and support the work you love by bringing home an AASL Award!

The other interesting news out of Boston is that AASL has officially adopted the professional title of "School Librarian" to describe the work we do. According to ALA's Cognotes, "a recent AASL survey indicated confusion, misperceptions, and inconsistencies about job titles in the school librarian profession." Affiliate Assembly requested that the AASL Board of Directors "choose a title for its professionals that is clear to other educators, administrators, and the public, and that presents a common nomenclature for all publications and advocacy efforts."

So, School Librarian may be an old name, but it's our new professional title for the 21st century. While most people are very familiar with this old new name, they are likely not as conversant with what it means to be a 21st century School Librarian. If we are at our very best, we're making this clear every day through the work we do in school libraries across North Carolina. (I don't know about you, but I wear this professional title proudly and make it part of my signature line.)

Happily back in NC (but still lovin' Boston),
your NCSLMA President and School Librarian
-- Kelly

connecting . learning . leading

[email protected]
kellybrannock at Twitter
Kelly Brannock on Facebook

Posted by Kelly Brannock at 5:40 PM

And the Winners Are...

Well, Kelly and I were wimps this morning. We didn't venture out in the cold, wet freezing rain and snow to head to the convention center for the live and in-person 2010 Youth Media Award announcements. But we did manage to get logged on and watch the live webcast in the comfort of our hotel room (while still in our pajamas!) and enjoy some of the excitement of being the first to learn who the winners are.You can read the entire list of winners and the press release at .

Newbery Award winner: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Caldecott Award winner: The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

Printz Award winner: Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Belpre' Award winners: Return to Sender by Julie Alvarez (text) and Book Fiesta! by Pat Mora, illustrated by Rafael Lopez (illustrations)

Siebert Award winner: Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 6:14 AM

ALA Midwinter: Round and Round

Saturday was a great day for networking with librarians from all locations and backgrounds, but especially our fellow school librarians.

We started our day with AASL Affiliate Assembly roundtable discussions. The topic of this year's discussions was on setting and size of school libraries and the unique problems that arise with each. Kelly and I, along with Deb Christensen, joined the 'suburban' table since we both teach in schools that seem to fit that definition best. Other discussion tables included rural, urban, small, and large.

The folks at our table included librarians from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Delaware, and the discussion focused on issues that uniquely affect suburban schools. The main issue we reported out to the larger group is that in suburban schools we are starting to serve a wider range of students, students from the very poor to the more affluent. How do we make sure that we have the instructional strategies, the teaching tools, and the resources to meet the needs of that wide range of students?

And speaking of name dropping, we had the opportunity to hear Al Gore as he delivered the Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture. Gore discussed his latest book,Our Choices, about the climate crisis. This book is accessible to younger readers. Kelly got up close and personal with Gore when she had her book autographed.

Lots of librarians, including Kelly, are tweeting during the conference. So if you'd like more updates and information, you can search the tag #alamw10 for their comments and postings. 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 3:53 AM

ALA Midwinter: Pictures!

Here's Al Gore on the big screen. We really did see him on stage. We promise! It was just easier to take a picture of the bigger than life Al Gore than the tiny Gore on stage.
Here we are posing with "Flat Sara", the life-size cardboard display of ALA Presidential candidate, Sara Kelly Johns, former AASL President.
Kelly, Sandra Andrews - UNC-G and AASL Affiliate Assembly chair, and Deb Christensen - NCSLMA Past-President
Kelly and Deanna posing at the Backstage Library Works booth in the exhibit hall.
Kelly and Deanna "getting to know" Oscar the Robot, the Emery-Platt book distributors mascot.

Posted by Ms. Dee at 6:58 AM

ALA Midwinter: Who's Who from NC

Kelly and I arrived in Boston Friday afternoon. (We hope our friends in NC enjoyed the warmer temperatures on Friday because it's cold here!)

Our afternoon was spent organizing ourselves for the weekend -- registering, finding our way around, locating the rooms for our meetings. We attended the Exhibitor's Reception and roamed around looking for some familiar faces, and it's a veritable "Who's Who" from NC in Boston.

NCSLMA Past-President Deb Christiansen and Piedmont Director Catherine Barone are just two doors down from us. Deb currently serves as past recording secretary for AASL Affliate Assembly, and Catherine is on the YALSA Teen Read Week committee.

We ran into a couple of folks from the hometown universities -- Sandra Andrews, Chairperson of Affiliate Assembly, and Linda Gann from UNC-G and Linda Teel from East Carolina University. (We'd also already seen Sandra Hughes-Hassell from UNC-Ch on our flight to Boston.) These ladies were enjoying the clam chowder at the reception and making their way around to find those deals at the exhibitors.

At dinner at Legal Test Kitchen (very yummy!), we conversed with Kevin Cherry, NC native and former State Library of NC staffer, who now works with ILMS.

We're off to brave the cold this morning as we head back to the convention center for our roundtable discussion! Watch for pictures and more postings!

Deanna Harris, NBCT
NCSLMA President-Elect 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 4:34 AM

Affiliate Assembly, Here We Come!

Kelly Brannock and I are headed to Boston this weekend to represent the association at AASL Affiliate Assembly at ALA Midwinter. The purpose of Affiliate Assembly is

" provide a channel of communication for reporting concerns of the affiliated organizations and their membership to the AASL Board of Driects; to facilitate discussion of activities and concerns of AASL as reported by the AASL president, Executive Direction and Board of Directors; and to report the actions of the AASL to the Affiliates. (AASL Bylaws, Article XI, Section 2.)"

As your representatives, we look forward to discussing the status of school libraries and media coordinators in our state with other delegates. As a member of Region 4, we will meet with delegates from Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Keep checking the blog this weekend for updates about what's happening with our national association and the issues that affect school libraries!

Deanna Harris, NBCT
NCSLMA President-Elect 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 1:52 PM