Saturday, April 28, 2012

Texas Library Association Conference 2012 - Wednesday

8:30 AM: General Session with Brad Meltzer. I'll admit that I'm not a morning person, and I dragged my feet there. I was tired, cranky, and wanted more breakfast, but as soon as Brad began to talk, all of that fell away. He's a prolific speaker who has seen and accomplished things I would never have dreamed of doing, and he is filled to the brim with love for librarians.

My tweets from the session:

10:30 AM: Toddlers, Touch Technology, and Family Learning. The El Paso Community College at Northwest shared how they accomplished setting up a technology-based storytime that uses iPads, SMART Tables, Early Learning Stations, and more.

I was hoping that the session might include a section on which apps they use, but since most of the content had to be written by themselves, they were unable to give us a list. They did say that each app they wrote is developmentally appropriate for 3 years to 5 years.

12:00 PM: After a brief stop to pick up more freebies at the exhibits, I grab lunch at the Phoenicia Cafe around the corner. Delicious! On the way there and back, I take the opportunity to stroll through The Discovery Green some more. I can't get over how beautiful it is!

1:00 PM: Every Child Ready to Read Updated. A look at the updated Every Child Ready to Read initiative from the American Library Association and the Public Library Association. The speaker, Viki Ash, helped to develop the program.

Judy Blume (left)
2:00 PM: My originally scheduled session was rescheduled to a different day, so I popped in to an interview with children's and young adult rock star, Judy Blume. Can you believe that it's been 40 years since the publication of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing? Neither can I. But Judy is still going strong, working on a movie and also writing a new book. She discussed her writing process, her efforts to combat censorship, and tips for aspiring authors.

"Start on the day that something different happens." On how to start writing a new book.
"If I die on a first draft, no one will be able to tell what I was working on." On her writing process.
"You only write because you can't help yourself." On why she writes.
"If you're not totally consumed by them, then forget it!" On her characters.

She explains that there is never such a thing as a "safe" book. There will always be someone who objects, and if that person is vocal enough, they will put their fear into the hearts of others. She advises, "Don't decide you don't like a book unless you've read it!"

If kids stumble across material they're not ready to read, they will gloss over the parts they don't understand or invent an easier explanation. The worst that can happen is they will begin asking questions, and parents should see this as a good opportunity to discuss these issues with their children.

3:30 PM: I had a few minutes between sessions, so I dashed down to the exhibits (I'm a galley junkie, what can I say). As I was wandering around, I turned a corner and almost walked smack into John Green. No, I didn't say hi, since I was too busy recovering from a temporary swoon.

4:00 PM: Graphic Novels for Elementary Children. I was pretty disappointed in this session. The presenter was a children's graphic novel writer who spent most of the time discussing is own work.

6:00 PM: Two of my fellow coworkers and I headed out to eat dinner at the House of Blues in Houston. The food was fantastic, and I'm glad to know we have one in Dallas, too!

8:00 PM: President's All-Conference Party. This was a 1920s-themed extravaganza complete with gambling and The Charleston. No one from our group won anything in the raffles, but we still had a good time!

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