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ALA Midwinter

Over the weekend, there was lots of discussion about drama at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. I feel as though my thoughts wouldn't add anything new, especially when two bloggers/librarians have written excellent posts. If you haven't already, read Kelly from Stacked  and Jennie from Biblio File posts. I think a discussion needs to happen about conference etiquette and the fine line between bloggers and librarians. I find this discussion fascinating, since I'm a blogger and a librarian. And be sure to comment-both have great discussions happening!

I did want to talk a bit about what I did at ALA Midwinter Meeting (and yes, it was a meeting for me-I had so many meetings it was crazy! One day I had meetings and publisher events from 7AM to 10PM! It's a lot of work, but it's a ton of fun and totally worth it!)

This January, I finished up my second term on Fabulous Films for Young Adults (FFYA). I can't tell you how many times over the course of my two years on this committee that I heard "what do movies have to do with libraries?" A lot actually! Did you know that libraries have movies available for check out? And that lots of libraries also check out TV Shows? Did you know that libraries even host movie programs? Sometimes it's a chance to catch a movie you may have missed on the big screen on another big screen (or at least a medium screen-we show ours via our Auditorium Projector. I also love the Kansas City Public Library Main Branch-the library was a bank before it was a library and the library converted the vault into a small theater perfect for movie showings!) Or what about libraries who show movies and host movie discussions or book to movie discussions? And even libraries who host family movie events including sing-a-longs of popular films!

The goal of FFYA is to provide a selection tool for librarians and teachers as well as a program guide. Each year the committee chooses a theme. Nominations are accepted from committee members as well as the general public. Anyone can fill out the nomination form and nominate a title! (This is true for most YALSA committees, so get your nominations in this year!) This year's theme was Song and Dance. Throughout the year (from February to December) the committee takes nominations, watches and discusses the films. At the Midwinter Meeting, our committee met over two days to discuss and narrow down our list of films to 25 (we had over 100 films nominated!) If we wanted to watch part of a film, we could do so if we felt we needed a refresher. We also had the option to watch films at the meeting if the majority of committee members hadn't seen a nominated title. Our committee did a ton of work throughout the year, so we had a majority vote on all of our films! We did do a lot of refresher watching though.

We started off with an initial vote-yes or no and counted maybe's as yes. We then had the opportunity to discuss each film with each member who wanted to say something having the chance. Then we would vote again. And again, and discuss, and vote and discuss, and vote until we had our final list of 25 Fabulous Films for Young Adults.

This year the committee decided to create read alikes and listen alikes that we will be sharing throughout the year. I really like this idea of tying films together with books and think it help librarians as they plan programs.

I loved my time on FFYA! It was a fun committee to be on (you get to talk about movies!) and I got to hang out with some very cool people! Seriously, our committee rocked! If you're looking to get involved in YALSA, I highly recommend FFYA-it's a fun committee and great way to get started in committee work. If you're not a member of YALSA, you can still contribute to FFYA by nominating titles. I wish this year's committee the best of luck!

Didn't I get a chance to do anything else but have meetings at Midwinter? Yes, I did. I got to attend three different publisher breakfasts which not only are a great way to network and eat yummy food, but also to find out about upcoming titles for kids and teens. I love these breakfasts because I come away with lots of notes about books to order and tell my staff about. I also love hearing the publisher comments about titles, especially the it's this meets this blurbs they give. I also attended Random House's publisher preview which wasn't a breakfast, but a fantastic preview anyway without the food!

I got to catch up with my wonderful ILOAs (my fabulous network of librarian friends who are the most brilliant, creative and supportive librarians I know!) We had several meals together and late evenings of talking and catching up which was a blast, especially since I only get to see them twice a year!
 Photo Credit: Kelly

And of course, a trip to the exhibit hall was in store opening night. It was crazy and I left early-it was a mad house! Last year's Midwinter was much more laid back and this year seemed so much crazier and it wore me out very quickly-plus I had a committee meeting to get to!

Bright and early Monday morning I attended the Youth Media Awards!
Photo Credit: Kelly

This was my second YMAs to attend live and it was a blast. I love cheering with everyone in the audience and hearing the surprise gasps when something unexpected happens (like the Schneider award not being given out for a picture book this year)

I also did lots of networking and talking with fellow librarians who I know only online and talking about books library programs, and YA services. If you're a librarian who has never been to ALA or hasn't been involved in ALA, I highly, highly recommend it! There's nothing better than getting together with other librarians and talking about what you love and coming back to your library with new ideas. ALA is always an exhausting few days, but it's well worth it!


  1. I haven't gotten to an ALA conference yet, but hopefully midwinter next year. It is actually in driving distance! Great wrap up post, now I am off to read about the controversies!

  2. I hope you get to attend!:) I'll be busy with committee work but maybe we could meet up!

  3. I'm always sad by how little time I get to spend with you at these things because you're mad busy (and involved!). But I'm glad we got to see each other anyway, and it was lovely having our candid lunch discussions. I think we GET one another.

    Can't wait to see you in Anaheim, Sarah!

  4. Oooh, I love the film list! How did the theme come about? My husband always makes fun of me for it, but I LOVE movies like Save the Last Dance and Step Up (set in Baltimore!!). What a fun opportunity to be a part of!

  5. Kelly-I know! I felt like I was way too busy this time around (not that Anaheim will be much better!) I'm glad we're ILOAs!!:)

    Katie-The committee suggests themes and votes on which theme they'd like for the year. I really loved our Song and Dance theme!:)

  6. It's so great to hear what a wonderful experience you had on the FFYA committee! I'm hoping to be appointed to a selection committee next time around, so it's really inspiring to hear positive experiences like yours.

    Glad you had such a fantastic time at Midwinter. Hope to meet you at Annual!


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