Some takeaways from the 2013 ALA Conference in Chicago:
1) I got a chance to present a poster session. See http://ala13.ala.org/node/12048. It was great to get such a good turnout at the conference. I presented on how you can utilize patron talent for programming.
2) President Obama addressed the current American Library Association annual conference in Chicago to tell librarians that their assistance will be needed to help enroll those who need to sign up for health insurance. See
3) In her presentation 20 programs under 20 dollars (http://ala13.ala.org/node/10082) Pamela Jayne, a youth services librarian at the Boone County Public Library in Kentucky, explained the various affordable programs that she has implemented. Some of these programs include bottle cap mosaics, a candy casino (where teens use candy to bet on card games), building a PVC pipe marshmallow shooter, and a spy society game (where teens have to decipher various codes). I did not realize that simple everyday items can be manipulated to make something new. For instance Ms. Jayne wanted to host a Star Wars teen program. She took pool noodles cut them in half and then placed duct tape at the bottom of the pool noodle to make it into a light saber. I also like how Ms. Jayne was able to take bottle caps and have the teens make a mosaic out of them. She even created an R2D2 robot using an empty toilet paper roll and a plastic Easter egg top.
4) The program, Attracting Reluctant Male Readers, (http://ala13.ala.org/comment/853#comment-853) was good as well. Chicago area author, Barbara Binns, and school librarian, James Klise discussed the reasons for the lack of enthusiasm among young male readers. Binns stated that she believed that reading is not a skill that we are innately born with (such as walking, eating, breathing, etc.), However Binns noted that literacy is now a 21st century survival skill. To develop young readers rewards should be handed out early and often. However, it was noted that boys take longer to develop and that fear/embarrassment made be a cause for a disinterest in reading. The presenters encouraged the audience to look at acquiring various titles that attract male readers. These titles included Acceleration, Bell Jar, Ship Breaker, Chaos Walking Series, Never Fall Down, The Compund, Homeboyz, and many others. Klise indicated that there were several things that can be done to encourage young male readers. He talked about how effective displays work, you need to buy books that focus on external conflict, give book talks to young male readers, have one on one librarian time with the readers, and above all give the reader a book to keep. Klise noted that giving the reader a book to keep helps encourage them to read. He also talked about making sure to give students a personal choice in regards to their reading material. Binns talked about how we should not forget the importance of non-fiction as many male readers prefer real life stories. Finally Binns noted that male readers pick up books whose characters and themes the readers can identify with.