I just turned in my school’s votes for this year’s SC Young Adult Book Award Nominees.  To say I was disappointed is an understatement.  We have 300 students in our school.  I sent one ballot for every student to our English classes = 300 ballots.  The ballot asks students to circle the titles they have read and write the title they want to win on the line at the bottom.   This allows me to track which of the titles are being circulated as well as recording votes for the program.  I received a total of 32 ballots back, with only 10 containing votes I could record.  Sigh.  While the number of votes I can record is usually low, I typically get at least half of the ballots back with some votes on them.   Since the number I received back are so few, I can’t run any statistical analysis of the titles this year.

Now, I have to figure out what went wrong this year.  Two (of four) teachers emailed me back stating that the kids said they didn’t read any of the titles.  Hmm, but the books stayed off the shelves, so SOMEBODY checked them out.

We did all of the usual promotions:

  • Bulletin board outside the library
  • Display of the books at the circulation desk w/ Follet bookmarks
  • Books were taken to classrooms for the book swap activity
  • When kids asked me for a good book, I always talked up the YABA books before taking them to the shelves to find books

Possible reasons why “nobody” read them:

  • limited copies (only 2 per title)
  • our long circulation period (3 weeks) plus ability to renew means one person monopolized a book the whole time = highly possible
  • apathy = kids just didn’t want to participate (in reading them)
  • apathy = kids just didn’t want to participate (in the voting process)
  • not enough and/or enthusiastic enough promotion of the books

Possible solutions for next year (in addition to our normal promotions):

  • Purchase a class set of at least one title to use for book club and English novel assignments (budget permitting) – Two members of the YABA committee are from Aiken and I’ll get their recommendation on which one(s) to purchase
  • Have (ahem – MAKE) English teachers participate in the banner completion
  • Utilize the school’s website to promote (both front page and media center page)
  • Partner with the public library’s Summer Reading program (“Own the Night”) and have something special (sigh, yeah prizes) if students read a certain number of books from the YABA list AND write a review on our library’s blog 2 Read or Not 2 Read or comment on another person’s review with their own review of the book

What else can I do?  Have any suggestions, please comment!

ALA Annual – Personal/Food Edition

Okay, I would have written posts from ALA, but I still am not used to dealing with my iPad and it’s limitations – getting used to the onscreen keyboard and/or the Zagmate bluetooth keyboard is taking longer than I thought.

I’m really frustrated at not being able to upload my photos to Flickr from the iPad.  FYI, using the SD card photo adapter puts photos into an album on the iPad that are not accessible thru the Flickr app.  Grrrr.  Here are my photos.

Screen shot 2011-06-30 at 12.43.42 PM

This post is going to be a recap of a more personal than professional nature so you have been warned!  See the previous post if you want my notes/reflections on the sessions I attended.

Joe Myers, Kathy Sutusky, and I arrived in New Orleans Friday evening after long delays from Columbia and Atlanta.  We missed all of the Friday events except for the AASL Affiliate Assembly (8-10pm!)  We ate dinner at a diner up from the hotel – I think it was called the Streetcare Cafe.  I got a shrimp po’boy!  Yum.

I spent all day Saturday at the Convention Center.  Attended a morning session then visited the exhibit hall where I picked up a handful of freebie ARCs.  We returned to the hotel to drop off our loot and ate lunch at the hotel restaurant, Bourbon House – expensive, but delicious – I had the shrimp seafood platter.

IMG_1184I had told Kathy and Joe that I would go and do whatever they wanted, but that I HAD to attend the book reading and signing by Nalini Singh – one of my favorite authors – and no, she is NOT an young adult author!  Hey, I’ve got to take a break from YA books now and then.  So after lunch I rushed back to the exhibit hall for the event.  Afterwards I walked some more of the exhibit hall then attended another session before heading back to the hotel.

Since Kathy had been invited to a vendor dinner, Joe and I walked down Bourbon Street looking for a good place to eat – we lasted for about four blocks before I’d had enough of the “sights” and we took side streets over to Jackson Square.  We ended up having dinner on the balcony of the Riverfront Restaurant where the food was good (some kind of meat/rice ball appetizer and the blackened chicken pasta entree), but the highlight was the BEST banana fosters bread pudding I’ve ever eaten –  it was HUGE!  Easily could have served three (or more!)  Good thing we had a good hike back to the hotel.

When we got back to the hotel Ida Thompson from Richland One had arrived and I visited with her while she had dinner at Bourbon House.  And, okay, I did order the bourbon BBQ shrimp appetizer.  I couldn’t let her eat alone – it would have been rude!  <grin>

The entire Sunday morning was spent at the second part of the AASL Affiliate Assembly (7:30 am – 12pm!)   For lunch Joe and I walked over to the Riverwalk and ate at their food court.  I don’t recommend it.   I attended one more concurrent session.  Since Kathy was attending the Newbery dinner, Joe and I were on our own again.  We had every intention of trying another restaurant, but it was pouring down rain and neither Joe or I was up to walking in the rain so we ate at Bourbon House again.  I’m so predictable, had the shrimp seafood platter again, but I did resist desert!  However, a couple of hours later I did have to head to the McDonalds to get a hot fudge sunday with nuts!  I was SOOO off my diet on this trip.  Don’t tell my doctor!

Monday, Kathy and I slept in a little and had the breakfast buffet at Bourbon House – which was ridiculously priced at $20 each!  If we’d know we would have gone somewhere else.  After breakfast we walked to Jackson Square so I could take some photographs.  It was HOT!!!!  I lasted about 30 minutes before I was ready to head back to the hotel.  We both were soaked, but I guess I can say I walked (and sweated!) off all the rich food I’d eaten over the previous days.

I was on my own for the afternoon so I returned to the exhibit hall to see what I could snag before they closed.  Picked up a few more freebies and bought two books for myself.  I decided to walk to the end of the convention center and eat at Mulate’s.  We’d passed it every day in the shuttle and it advertised authentic cajun food.  I got a shrimp po’boy (big surprise!)  Walked back to the exhibit hall to turn in my raffle slip and headed to the Wrap Up event where Pat DiNizio from The Smithereens was performing.  I didn’t win any of the raffle prizes, but I enjoyed the event anyway.

I headed back to the hotel and met up with Kathy, Joe, Ida, and @dianatc and we ended up at Deanie’s Seafood restaurant.  Instead of hush puppies or bread they serve spicy red potatoes that were delicious.  I wasn’t as pleased with my soft-shelled crab, but it was my own fault for ordering something other than shrimp!  Later that night Kathy and I ordered room service and I got a cheeseburger and we both ordered bead pudding!  The burger was HUGE and the bread pudding w/ praline sauce was delicious.  Again, don’t tell my doctor!  I deliberately didn’t check my blood suger the whole time we were there.

Joe and I had planned to attend the closing keynote, Molly Shannon, but the after eating at IHOP and waiting 20+ minutes for the shuttle we feared that getting the shuttle back in time to checkout would be tricky.  We decided not to chance it and just crashed in the hotel lobby until Kathy returned from the Caldecott breakfast.  Then it was off to the airport for a long wait for our flight.  There were two lines to the security checkpoint – one was LONG and the other had NO ONE so after a few people passed us in the long line, we followed them.  Turns out that line led to the body scanner!  After a weather delay in Charlotte, we finally arrived back in Columbia for me to have the long drive home!

There you have it – the “rest of the story” of my trip to NOLA!  Oh, all photos are my own, so no credit necessary!

ALA Annual – Professional Reflections

Okay, I’m going to split my ALA reflections into two posts: Professional and Personal/Food reflections!  That way those who don’t care what I ate & saw during my trip can skip that post.

Here is a copy of the final attendance schedule for “official” events I attended:

Screen shot 2011-06-29 at 4.07.34 PMThis reflects what I actually attended and not what I bookmarked to attend!  I spent HOURS going through the schedule prior to leaving for conference and had two or three sessions for most time frames.  I deleted what I didn’t attend so I could remember what I did.  <grin> I really liked the online scheduler – and it displayed perfectly on my iPad.

There was also an iPhone app for conference that is very primitive in my opinion.  It timed out A LOT.  While I liked having it, it was difficult to use and didn’t do what I needed.  For example, you could search to see which authors were appearing, you could save it to your exhibit schedule, but it only saved that you wanted to visit the vendor’s booth – not the authors name and signing time.

Mostly I used my Evernote account to transfer the schedule from the ALA website and type in the additional events I wanted to attend – author signings and evening events not on the ALA schedule.


Friday was pretty much a bust.  We spent all day at either the Columbia or Atlanta airport or on the plane.  Delays, Delays, Delays!  So we missed the opening keynote given by Dan Savage, as well as, the opening of the exhibit hall.  Bummer!

We did arrive in time to attend the AASL Affiliate Assembly I (8pm-10pm).  Having never attended one of these before it was interesting.  The majority of the event was the “review of concerns” seeking approval.  There were seven issues that were up for voting and we were tasked to pick an issue and discuss in groups.  Since I’m not yet a voting member for SCASL, I was there to observe only.  I decided to sit in on the group from our own region that concerned ebooks.  The concern asks that AASL establish a committee/task force to create some type of tool that includes information on legal parameters, purchasing models, and circulation/lending models relating to both ereaders and ebooks.  The request is to be proactive instead of reactive to the issues involving ebooks/ereader issues (such as HarperCollins stupid 26 lends policy and things like CIPA guidelines as related to ereaders.)

FYI:  I warn you I didn’t take very many actual notes from any events!  Much of this is based on my [poor] memory!


Concurrent Session: The Embedded Librarian: Engage, Evolve, Educate–A new model of school librarianship

“What is an “embedded” school librarian? A new model of school librarianship that is committed to immersive collaboration with faculty and administration. Audience members will see examples of what an embedded librarian model looks like in a preK-12 program and come away with ideas on how to make this model work in their setting.”

Jennifer, Karyn, and Stacy all work at the Little Red Schoolhouse (K-12) and their library programs are part of students’ grades – as in they are a course on the report card.  They each shared examples of projects that illustrate cross collaboration – for ex: social studies, art, library, etc.

Stacy Dillon shared her fourth grade Book Election project – where students used the election process to choose book candidates for a primary and then an actual election.  This coincided with the actual Presidential elections in order to help students understand the process using something they were familiar with – books!

Jennifer Hubert Swan shared her social justice project with 8th graders.  They had to choose a social issue, research it and advocate for their issue to sell it to the class.  Yes, this is a simplified description, please visit the website for further details.

Karyn Silverman shared her TEDxHumanRights project where students again chose a social issue and had to present a 10 minute TED like talk to their classmates.

Buffy Hamilton shared information about various examples of collaboration and embedding her library program has within her school.  You can follow her blog post with her slides from the presentation to learn more about her program – too much shared and my notes are scarce.

Concurrent Session: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Information Science

“Looking at the present and future of Information Science and Information Technology through the eyes of a panel of science fiction and fantasy authors. Imagine the possibilities, explore the realities, think about the consequences. Sponsored by LITA Imagineering Interest Group.”

Speaker: Carrie Vaughn, Author
Speaker: David Weber, Author
Speaker: Jim Ottaviani, Author
Speaker: John Scalzi, Author
Speaker: Orson Scott Card, Author

Bill Willingham, was also present and had the audience in stitches.  I particularly loved his “comercial break” during his presentation.

Gail Carriger was also on the panel and I was interested to learn she is an archeologist!  That was one of the professions I was interested in as an undergrad.

Each author said a little about information and technology, and some plugged their new books/series!  As a perk, the first 200 audience members received a goody bag filled with copies of the authors books!  Awesome!


AASL Affiliate Assembly II (7:30 am – 12:00 pm!) – lots of “speeches” by folks coming/leaving the group with the change in administration.  Lots of advertising for various committees and new publications/products from various committees.  Finally down to business of voting on the various “concerns.” There was a real brouhaha when the ebook concern was brought up for voting!  It almost didn’t get approved due to disagreement over the wording of the action activity and a discenting group who thinks due to the fluctuating nature of the issue (meaning there is no industry standards yet) we should sit back and wait until the standards are set.  Whereas, our group believes (and rightly so IMHO) that we should be jumping into the fray and making the issues of libraries/school libraries part of the discussions BEFORE the decisions are made!  We (AASL/ALA) should be at the table during these talks instead of behind the 8 ball AFTER the policies are in place.  Thankfully, the concern was approved – otherwise it would be another year before the item could be brought up again!

Concurrent Session: Teens Reading Digitally: Going Handheld and Mobile

“iPad, Nook, Kindle, Sony eReader, iPhone, smartphone, the list could go on. These are all devices teens can and do use for reading all types of materials from comic books to textbooks. Join Linda Braun, Wendy Stephens, iDrakula author Becca Black, and Figment Publishing founder Jacob Lewis to learn how teens are reading digitally, what’s available in the digital reading world for teens, and how you can support teens digital reading needs and interests.”

Very interesting session.  Wendy Stephens was not on the panel.  Linda Braun shared lots of “apps” and resource for reading digitally.  Two I copied down that were new to me were: Copia and inkling.

Bonnie Kelley shared how Pinellas County Schools used Kindles to replace textbooks in Clearwater, FL.  She shared a lot of the positives with using the Kindles: customizable  to reader needs, interactive reading (sharing notes, highlights, comments), etc.; however, I would have liked her to share what impact it had on student LEARNING!  Not once did she mention if test scores or grades improved.  She did mention one resource, CK-12 textbooks, that can be ‘purchased’ in the Amazon store for free!  I will be sharing that tidbit with my faculty!

Jacob Lewis shared information and statistics about teen writers and readers and why/how he started

Becca Black (aka Rebecca Cantrell) participating via Skype shared how she came up with the idea for the iDrakula app/products.  I loved her sharing how she approached a teen in a restaurant and asked him who he was texting so intently.  The young man pointed to the girl seated next to him!  She asked him why he was texting instead of just talking and he pointed at the adult seating across from him and whispered “so he [his DAD] can’t hear us!”


The only “official” function I attended on Monday was the WRAP UP REV UP Exhibits Closing.  I didn’t win any of the raffel prizes, bummer!, but I did enjoy the live music from Pat DiNizio from The Smithereens.

We planned to attend Tuesday’s closing keynote, Molly Shannon!, but the shuttles were running so slowly we were concerned we wouldn’t get one back to the hotel and we had to checkout by 11am.

So there you have the “professional” part of my ALA reflections!  This trip let me know what I have in store for next year (most of time taken up with AASL Affiliate Assembly!)  I was pleased with the AASL concurrent session offerings, but due to going out for lunch and/or weird overlapping session times, I didn’t get to attend as many as I’d hoped.  I do wish I’d not spent as much time in the walking the exhibits (since I didn’t really stop at many) and the Wrap UP event and instead had attended a couple more sessions.  Oh, well, you live and learn.