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.

Upstate Technology Conference 2011

Last week I had the opportunity to once again attend and present at the Upstate Technology Conference (UTC) in Greenville, SC.  This is one of my FAVORITE conference to attend.  Not only because I get to meet up with my friends from around the State, but because the sessions I attend here provide me with new knowledge and challenge my thinking.

My sessions were ones I’ve done previously at the ETV Workshops, Aiken TechFest, and other venues.  My morning session, Web 2.0 Speed Dating, went very well and I was pleased to have a fellow Aikenite there (sorry I can’t remember his name, but he works at LBC Middle!)  This session has never bothered me and has typically gone very well.  It is my afternoon session that continues to bother me – “Evernote to the Rescue!” I have varied my delivery, updated the content, re-organized the content, and more, to no avail.  The session just doesn’t satisfy me.  Oh, it’s not the topic – I LOVE EVERNOTE!  I think I finally hit the nail on the head – it’s the TIMING of the session.  I think I’m so pumped up in the morning – I’m borderline hyper – and so tired in the afternoon that it is ME that is the problem, not the content.  You see every time I’ve done these workshops I’ve done them in the same order – Web 2.0 in the morning and Evernote in the afternoon.  And every time I feel the same – happy about the morning session and blah about the afternoon session.  So from now on I’m going to ask to do one session on both days in the morning instead of both session on the same day.

I attended Tamara Cox’s session on cell phones and learned some new and interesting ways to utilize the tools in the library and classroom.  Unfortunately, cell phones are verboten in my district.  Until this changes I’m limited in what I can and cannot offer in terms of services/programs using cell phones.  She did have some tools that we can use our iPod Touches and some that can be used outside of school that I will be exploring.

I attended Chris Craft’s session on student engagement – and while I still think there is such a thing as intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, I agree that the issue is complicated and engagement means something different to everyone (both to the teacher and the student!)  That motivation and engagement are individualized and we should be customizing our instruction and delivery for each student.  We shouldn’t “assume” we know what motivates a student – we should build relationships with each student to learn how best to serve their needs.  That’s easy for me to say as what I do in the library is customized for each patron – for the most part.  Yes, some instruction is group and is a one-size fits all, but ultimately we help each student as each student needs (or wants) us.

Another great session I attended was Pat Hensley’s session on QR codes.  While I know how to create and scan QR codes, it was great to hear other examples of how to incorporate QR codes into the curriculum.  I think I got the most fun out of assisting the two “novices” next to me in how to text to Poll Everywhere and then scan QR codes!  Seeing them get excited about something new made me happy!  It reminded me how I realized in my Web 2.0 session that while I’m familiar with tools that I’ve been using for years, there are still teachers out there who haven’t even heard of them.

My only disappointment with a session was one on the Nook eReaders given by representatives from Barnes & Nobel.  I went hoping to hear tips on how to use it and/or incorporate it into the classroom/library.  Instead I left early after (whether intentional or not) they lied about another company’s eReader.  Guys, you don’t have to bad mouth other products to sell your own – it should stand on it’s own merits.  And trust me, the Nook will hold up without how you went about selling it to your audience.  I know, I have a Nook Color and it is a pretty sweet device.  I also have  a Sony eReader, a Kindle, and an iPad.  So I know what each can and can’t do – and what you said made me sad.  This is why I walked out on your pitch.  If it was because you just don’t know the other products, then DON’T discuss them – just say I’m not sure how the other product works.  DON’T lie to me.  I’m just sayin’.

But on a brighter note, as always the most fun is gathering with my colleagues and friends.  In fact, I missed some sessions just because we were too busy talking to make it to a session on time.  Thanks Pat for remembering to take pictures.  Every year I say I’m going to and every year I never pull out my camera.  Sigh.


Lt to Rt: Cathy Nelson, Fran Bullington, Chris Craft and ME!

Photo Credit:  ”001″ by Loonyhiker  (aka Pat Hensley) –