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Adventures in early literacy

ALA Midwinter 2013: 4 Highlights

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It has been almost an entire week since I drove home to Vancouver from Seattle in the pouring rain, chattering like crazy to my husband about every detail of everything that happened over the weekend. I wanted to post about Midwinter as soon as I got home, but the problem with that is, sometimes more details than are necessary or really important are shared. It’s the things I’m still thinking about a week later than might be worth sharing. So here we go! I’ve included the ease of implementing rating for my library based on a scale from 1-5, 1 being hard to implement, 5 being easy.

1. Facebook is cheap or even FREE advertising for your library.

For a $10 a day Facebook libraries were able to increase their “likes” by more than 100%. That’s bananas, people! You have to keep those people around, though, by posting interesting, eye-catching, and funny images to the page in addition to all the events, news, etc. items we’re all already posting. You need to have several admins and get on a schedule so there will be at least one post every day.

Ease of implementing: 4 stars (might have a few PR hoops to jump through, but I’m already an admin so yay!)

2. El Día de los Niños

I’m on the Public Awareness Committee for ALSC and we are mainly working on promoting Día to library and non-library people alike. And clarifying some misconceptions. For example, did you know that just because the day is written in Spanish, doesn’t mean we only celebrate Latino culture? It’s about ALL children so plan an event that includes the prominent culture in your community, or an event that includes many cultures. To register an event or learn more about Día go here. AND plan events all year round, not just in April.

Ease of implementing: 5, I’ve already entered our library’s event, have you?

3. Community is important to our survival.

Peter Block did a session on Sunday about community engagement. He put it all on us. Leaving the session I realized he hadn’t really given me any specific ideas to take back home, yet my brain was working on overload with so many ideas to really, truly engage the community. Hold more programs where instead of one person presenting something, everyone in attendance is having conversations on that something. Maybe a safety/emergency preparedness program. Many of us have these and we get someone from the fire department or the public health department or wherever to come talk to people about what to do in the case of an emergency/fire/aliens/whatever. The way Peter talked about community, this session would have a facilitator, not a leader. The purpose would be getting people in the same community talking to each other, getting to know each, so in the case of an emergency they’d know who their neighbors are and how they can help each other. The facilitator would provide information, but would mostly be getting people to talk to each other and get to know each other. That’s building a strong community. I’m sure I’m butchering what he said, but that’s what I got from the first part of his session.

Ease of implementing: 1 This is going to be tough. I’m going to start by attending my neighborhood meetings and being part of my community more.

4. POSSIBILITIES are endless

Peter broke us in to groups of three. You had to talk with two other people you didn’t know (so if you sat next to your co-worker, you can’t be in a group with them), knees less than 9 inches from each other. He asked us to talk about crossroads in our lives, then about what we were committed to and about possibilities we saw for those commitments. We were not to be held accountable for making these possibilities happen so they should be pie in the sky (I’ll talk about mine in a later post). I’m telling you all: DO THIS. Do it alone, or with a stranger like we did. I don’t think it matters. But seriously, ask yourselves these questions and answer HONESTLY:

What crossroads am I at in my life (you are always at some kind of crossroads)?

What am I committed to? What possibilities are there for that commitment? Dream big! What would you love to make happen, if anything is possible?

Ease of implementing: 4 You don’t HAVE to implement anything. Just open your mind and think big. My bet is you will end up with some ideas to implement, I know I have! The tough part is being honest with yourself.

If you are feeling brave, answer those questions in the comments. I’m curious about what you all have to say!

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Author: Kendra

Children's Librarian in the Northwest. Lover of toddlers, twitter, and TV (T's, too, apparently!).

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