I’ve been talking a lot about girls and girls reading, as well as girls in YA fiction, over the last year. And while talking on the blog is important, I also think it’s important to take these conversations to other venues in order to keep the discussion fresh, vibrant, and engage new voices and ideas.
This morning, I’m in Connecticut, preparing to present at Connecticut Library Association Conference. I’m so thrilled to have been invited, and I’m even more excited to be given the floor to talk about two of my favorite topics: reader’s advisory and contemporary YA fiction.
While I think most of the information here is useful to all readers, those who attended either or both of my sessions will benefit from having heard what some of the information is in context of the bigger discussion. But either way, I thought these would be good resources for any reader interested in either or both topics.
Because I didn’t feel like keeping things consistent, I decided to present on one topic through a Google slideshow and the other through Prezi. Both are embedded below and should be pretty straightforward in their use.
Not Your Mother’s Teen RA
For this discussion, I dove deep into talking about how we can be better readers advisors for teens by being more aware of the digital resources out there for us to take advantage of. You can see the entire presentation at this link.
I believe the notes field is also visible, which is where I pulled some of my sources for further digging. The presentation is chock full of links for further reading, as well, including loads of inspirational sites for making, borrowing, and being inspired by other people’s RA savvy. At the very end, I’ve given some tips for how to not become overwhelmed but instead be motivated by those efforts.
If the notes field isn’t showing up, my biggest point I want to make is that it’s more than worthwhile to read danah boyd’s It’s Complicated, to learn about the context to the statistics when it comes to teens using and growing up with the internet. While we can say that 95% of US teens use it, that number represents teens who are very active on the internet, as well as those who hop on for an hour each week at their public library.
All of my data came from the 2012 PEW Internet research study on teens and technology.
Keeping it Real with Contemporary Realistic YA Fiction
I’m not going to talk about this one a whole lot because I think the Prezi is self-explanatory. This should give you a pretty good overview of contemporary realistic YA fiction, a definition of the genre, and a way to think about this genre in new and creative ways.
There’s also a pretty sizable list of 2014 titles that have been recently released or will be coming out in the future.
For some reason, I can’t get the Prezi to embed properly, but if you click here, you can view it and be able to zoom in and out and around for maximum effect.
I just got back from a whirlwind trip down to Indianapolis to present at the Public Library Association conference. When I say whirlwind, I really mean it. My plans went a little askew because of a winter storm, but in the end, we made it down to Indy Wednesday evening and I made it back to my house in Wisconsin on Friday morning.
PLA was too short for the amount of fun it was. And I think this is the first time ever that I’ve felt presenting at a conference was completely fun without some kind of attachment to it. I didn’t feel nervous like I have in the past. It felt comfortable and good, and both of those things coalesced into making the experience so enjoyable.
After arriving on Wednesday night, I got to see both Angie Manfredi and Sophie Brookover. Angie and I made a quick trip through the exhibit halls — where I got to surprise and be surprised by seeing a friend there when neither of us knew the other was going — and let me just say that PLA exhibits are fun, low key, and enjoyable. This isn’t ALA exhibit opening night. This opening night involved enjoying some pita, hummus, spiced chicken, baba ghanoush, and some dessert. We picked up a few galleys, chatted with the vendors, and had this excellent picture snapped and shared by Penguin:
This conversation starter was so fun. We knew what we had to say, and we were confident in the message we wanted to impart (that “new adult” can and should be something much bigger than what’s being sold and packaged AS “new adult”) was what attendees took away. We got to hear from a number of people who had been working with 18-26 year olds, including libraries doing programs and collection work for this emerging adult group and a university librarian who works with this group and helps them find pleasure reading. The mix of experience and knowledge was perfect. We took copious notes during the session, which we plan on typing up and posting in our “new adult” resources page on the readadv blog — and if you attended the session or are curious about “new adult,” you can find those resources right here.
I had a lot of fun giving this presentation and learning from everyone else in the room. I’ve never felt so CONFIDENT about giving a presentation before, and it was such a neat experience being on that side of the fear/anxiety/worry spectrum. I think a lot of it had to do with remembering while I’m at the front of the room, I’m also there to learn from those in the room — it’s a collaborative effort, even if I’m the one (with Sophie!) who has to get the conversation started.
After my morning presentation, I had lunch with a friend, and because I had so little time between sessions, I had to run out of lunch earlier than I’d like. Perhaps I was too casual, as I was the last one to arrive to the second session…and I was the one with the technology. But we got it together and were prepared well before the start.
The teen programming session, which was a traditional panel, included Andrea Sowers, Angie Manfredi, and Katie Salo. We’ve been collaborating together since early in 2010. I had a really bizarre moment while I was sitting up on this stage and this was my view:
Hold on. That doesn’t quite capture it. Let me borrow this photo from Jason Walters:
So the weird moment was that I was sitting in seats just like that only five years ago. I was attending sessions just like this one in hopes of figuring out the secrets of teen programming success. But here I was now, sitting at the front of the room, facing out, rather than sitting in the back. Kind of surreal. And it hit me when I had that realization that what I had to say wasn’t necessarily about how I do great stuff (because, honestly, I don’t make new worlds here) but it was about how important it is to build a network like the one sitting beside me and how important it is to try, fail, then try again.
During our panel, I think it became clear how much we all work to collaborate with one another. We’d set up the discussion like a Q&A, and Angie moderated, asking us to weigh in on a few questions. When asked about my most successful teen program, all three of my fellow panelists jumped in saying they’d used my program idea and modified it, then explained how they had succeeded or failed doing the very same things.
This panel was also a LOT of fun. The four of us have very different experiences, come from very different libraries, with very different needs and outcomes. Angie was able to work in her standard line about how today’s teens aren’t interested in Buffy and how important it is to just stay abreast of your local teens interests and cater to them. If you want to see what others had to say or share during our panel, there are a few tweets at the #teenprog to explore. I’m positive that the ladies I did this with will also blog about it and I’d be happy to round those up.
After the panel finished, we were approached by folks who wanted to ask questions to us directly, and I had the privilege of meeting people who read Stacked (!!!) and who were kind enough to say nice things about it. I also got to meet a local to me librarian, which is always such a joy to me. It was nice to bounce ideas and thoughts with people, and it was even nicer to remind people of that very revelation I had: I’m not an expert but a colleague who is happy to share experiences and ideas where they’re helpful and useful.
When the second session finished, I was back in the car and on the road home. It was a bummer not to see more people or sessions beyond mine, but I’m SO excited to dig into the PLA tag and discover more. What an enjoyable conference and enjoyable set of presenting experiences to have.
I’m going to be riding high on them for quite a while and I’m so grateful to everyone who came out, who interacted, and who (without being paid) said such nice things about my sessions and this blog (which will forever thrill me to the core).
I’m really thrilled to announce that this year at the Public Library Association Conference, I’ll be presenting on two topics.
First, I’ll be presenting with Katie Salo, Angie Manfredi, and Andrea Sowers on the topic of teen programming. This will be a standard program session, but attendees will walk away not only with ideas to try for teen programming in the library (including on passive programming), but I think between the four of us, you’ll get a sense that not everything will be successful and that is okay.
Today I got news that my ConverStation — a fancy word for a Conversation Starter — with Sophie Brookover was accepted, as well. We’ll be talking about “new adult” fiction. It will not be a rehash of our ALA conversation, though some topics will lend themselves to discussion. Part of this is because “new adult” is a rapidly changing topic and we’ve been thinking and talking about this for months now. The other reason is that Sophie and I, along with Liz Burns, have authored an article to be published early next year in The Horn Book Magazine on the topic, and while working through the topic in print, we’ve had some real “ah ha” moments.
I’m excited to not only be able to have both of these opportunities, but because PLA is a much smaller, more focused conference than ALA is, I’m eager for really valuable discussion both about these topics and others. There’s also something really satisfying in being able to present with some of your core professional colleagues on topics you talk about privately on a regular basis. It’s never about the being on stage and presenting — it’s about the discussions that come after with other people who give you a lot more food for thought.
I have been sitting on a ton of really exciting news. At least, it’s news that’s exciting for me. I can’t say it’s exciting for anyone else. But now I feel like I can share them.
First, I’m beyond thrilled to share I’ll be speaking at the Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries conference (WAPL) in May down here in my own back yard at the Grand Geneva! I don’t know how many Wisconsin folks read this blog or will be attending, but I’m beyond excited. The Youth Services Section board actually reached out to me to talk about blogs and using them in library services. The presentation time isn’t quite set yet, but it has a title — The Buzz on Blogs: Finding, Evaluating, and Using Youth Services Blogs. If you’re going to WAPL, let me know.
I am probably way too excited about the fact I get to go to this conference and speak and then still sleep in my own bed at night.
Second is this…
I had no plans to go to BEA this year. None. I hadn’t even given it a passing glance. But, I was extended an amazing invitation to speak at the Book Blogger Con at BEA this year on a topic that I’m pretty excited about.
So I took it.
I’ll be attending BEA, and I’ll be speaking on Wednesday at the Blogger Con at the panel entitled Book Blogging and the ‘Big’ Niches. More specifically, I was asked if I’d speak to how to blogging niche has changed and where I think blogging will be heading in the future. Can you hear my laughter from there? I’m really excited and honored about this. If you’re going, the panel is on Wednesday, May 29th at 3:30 Eastern Time.
Of course, I’ll be around BEA, as well.
Finally — I said this was really exciting for me — I have a follow up to something I alluded to last summer, regarding a proposal for a panel discussion at ALA in Chicago. I will be on a panel with Liz Burns and Kristi Chadwick talking about my favorite topic: Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) of books. I don’t have a time or a date yet, though I know it’ll take place in the convention center. The title of our program is All About ARCs: The Ins and Outs of Requesting, Using, and Abusing Advanced Reading Copies.
And this is separate from the “new adult” conversation starter that I would so love your vote for, too.
I’m beyond excited and completely humbled by all of these incredible opportunities right now, I can’t even express it. It feels weird to share it all at once and weird to share it at all, but I do hope to see familiar faces and I hope I get to meet new-to-me faces at any of these things, too. I may be an introvert, but I’m not shy about saying hello and hearing from people and talking with them!
If you’re going to any or all of these, I’d love to know! And if you have any thoughts on any of these topics, I’d love to hear them, too.