OLA Superconference 2011

my swag
Just a small sample of the free swag I took home!


I arrived at Superconference 2011 excited and eager to begin my day! It was my first time attending the conference, and as a new librarian I had heard such great things from colleagues.

The first session I attended was called ‘Wired For Fun: An introduction to online gaming’. I choose this session as my library is currently trying to figure out how to effectively make use of our brand-new Wii. So far, I have organized a Wii Tournament over March Break, but I would eventually like to incorporate the technology into regular use.

I know that some library systems were encouraging participants to leave sessions that were not useful or interesting to them, but I found latecomers (and there were plenty!) very distracting.  Besides that slight annoyance, I found the actual session useful. I thought some of the slides were quite text heavy and the fonts were sometimes hard to read, but the presenter had told us that taking notes were not necessary as the presentation would be available online.  Since I am not a ‘gamer’, a review on the types of games available (racing type games remain #1) and actual game title recommendations proved valuable. I was also pleased to hear that the Wii is the most utilized game console for library systems.   During this session, I was given homework: to understand what MMORPG’s are all about. If you knew that MMORPG’s stand for Massively, Multiplayer, Online, Role-Playing Games, then I am impressed. You probably have some mad gaming skills, and like millions of others play games like Second Life or World of Warcraft.  I’m just fine playing my Nintendo Duck Hunt, but figure I should probably know what all my teens are talking about.

After the session, I explored the EXPO. I was happy to see a familiar face, author Sharon McKay signing books (she had visited our library just months prior).  I knew Franklin’s author/illustrator, Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark would be attending so I found our copies of Franklin in the Dark and had them signed. I also able to talk to various library vendors and walked away with very heavy armfuls of great library swag, including free signed copies of books!

I then met two of my MLIS colleagues at Joe Badali’s (yum!) and returned for the Child & Youth Expo. Like many others, I too was disappointed with the lack of YA offerings, and really wish I could have attended the CLASY event a couple of weeks ago. Of what was available, my favourite poster session was Caledon Public Library’s postcard program that provided children/youth the opportunity to exchange postcards with others from around the world. Overall, I was pleased to see plenty of smaller systems (like mine) showcased and not just the bigger systems. 

At the end of the day, my favourite session was ‘Library 2 Library’. The presenters from Oshawa and Cambridge P.L. were so enthusiastic about what they’re doing that it was inspiring! Reaching out to schools and building community relationships is important, so any tips to improve such relationships are very much welcomed. In fact, I just had a local school visit this morning, and was able to incorporate some of the presenter’s ideas to get the classes back in the library. I can’t wait to get my hands on their Powerpoint and review their success stories and advice!  

Although I only attended Friday’s sessions, I was able to follow OLA happenings via Twitter. Lots of participants were tweeting about OLA not providing free WIFI,  the many authors signing books, great sessions, free swag and the Orpheus choir flash mob. To search for more Twitter OLA tweets, search #SC2011. Also, click here to view some pictures of OLA on Flickr! Wherever I may be next year, I hope I will be able to attend OLA 2012.

Reading Trends 2010/2011

I recently came across an article by Scholastic discussing the 10 trends in children’s books from 2010. I think all librarians working with children/young adults should keep up to date on current reading trends to be able to provide exceptional reader’s advisory. I am constantly reading book blogs, journal reviews, scanning bookstore shelves, bestseller lists and of course, reading as much YA as I possibly can.  I think you will find their findings interesting and useful:

  1. The expanding Young Adult (YA) audience: More and more adults are reading YA books, as the audience for these stories expands.
  2. The year of dystopian fiction: With best-selling series like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, readers can’t seem to get enough of fiction that suggests the future may be worse than the present.
  3. Mythology-based fantasy: Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series set the trend – and now series like The Kane Chronicles, Lost Heroes of Olympus and Goddess Girls are capitalizing.
  4. Multimedia series: The 39 Clues, Skeleton Creek and The Search for WondLa are hooking readers with stories that go beyond the printed page and meet kids where they are online or via video.
  5. A focus on popular characters – from all media: Kids love to read books about characters they know and recognize from books, movies and television shows. Titles centered around those popular characters (like Fancy Nancy, David Shannon’s “David,” or Toy Story characters) are top sellers.
  6. The shift in picture books: Publishers are publishing about 25 to 30 percent fewer picture book titles than they used to as some parents want their kids to read more challenging books at younger ages. The new trend is leading to popular picture book characters such as Pinkalicious, Splat Cat and Brown Bear, Brown Bear showing up in Beginning Reader books.
  7. The return to humor: Given the effects of the recession on families, it is nice to see a rise in the humor category, fueled by the success of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Dav Pilkey’s The Adventures of Ook & Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future, and popular media characters like Spongebob, and Phineas & Ferb.
  8. The rise of the diary and journal format: The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is the most well-know example of this trend, but the success of Wimpy Kid is leading to popular titles such as Dear Dumb Diary, Dork Diaries, The Popularity Papers, and Big Nate.
  9. Special-needs protagonists: There is a growing body of literary fiction with main characters who have special needs, particularly Aspergers Syndrome and Autism. Examples: My Brother Charlie, Marcelo in the Real World, Mockingbird, and Rules.
  10. Paranormal romance beyond vampires: The success of titles like Shiver and Linger, Beautiful Creatures, Immortal, and Prophesy of the Sisters shows this genre is still uber-popular and continues to expand.

We can use these trends from 2010 to predict some of the future reading trends for 2011. I think 2011 will see an increased presence of angels (not the happy white angels, but the dark fallen angels). I’ve read Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, and really want to get my hands on Halo by Alexandra Adornetto. I think dark angels is a nice change from the drawn-out vampire craze.  Do you agree with their findings, and do you have any predictions for 2011?

Best Winter Songs for Storytime

While preparing for storytime, I came across these great winter songs. They all share familiar tunes, and would be easy to teach your little ones!  I can’t wait to teach my pre-school class! Happy Holidays!

I’M A LITTLE SNOWMAN (tune:  I’m a little teapot)
I’m a little snowman
Short and fat
Here are my buttons
Here is my hat
When the sun comes out
I cannot stay
Slowly I just melt away.


 You put your right mitten in, you take your right mitten out, you put your right mitten in and you shake it all about. You do the snowkey pokey and you turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about.     (more: left mitten, right boot, left boot, hat, snowsuit)

SNOW IS FALLING ALL AROUND  Tune: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”
Snow is falling all around,
Falling, falling, to the ground.
I catch snowflakes on my tongue.
Building snowmen is such fun.
Snow is falling all around, Falling, falling, to the ground.

  I LOVE SNOW  (Three Blind Mice)
          I love snow. I love snow.
          Soft, white snow; soft, white snow.
          It falls on the ground so soft and white.
          Sometime it falls all through the night.
          Did you ever see such a beautiful sight
          As soft white snow?

DANCE LIKE SNOWFLAKES (sung to the tune of Frere Jacques)
Dance like snowflakes,
Dance like snowflakes,
In the air.
In the air.

Whirling, twirling, snowflakes,
Whirling, twirling, snowflakes,

Here and there.
Here and there

POSTPONED!!! Upcoming CLA Workshop in Ottawa – Libraries & Teens: Making the most of library services for teens and young adults‏



Due to funding issues, the CLASY event will be postponed until January 2011.

First off, I apologize for the lack of postings. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks round here. I currently have a HUGE stack of library books that are calling out my name. I’ve chose Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, so look for a review soon! 🙂

Ok, so now for the CLASY event. I posted about the group a while back but now that the event details have been arranged, I can share this info with you! 

Libraries & Teens: Making the most of library services for teens and young adults

How and why should libraries recognize and advocate for teens as assets in the community? What can we do to make sure that the library becomes an asset in teens’ lives?

This one-day event will explore how libraries are rethinking goals, re-prioritizing resources, redesigning spaces, and reaching out to this very important client group.

Speakers will:

    * Share strategies for planning and maintaining strong teen programming.
    * Explain how to formalize a commitment to youth as part of strategic goals and plans.
    * Share successful models of service and identify ways to connect and communicate with teens.
    * Explore trends in reading material for teens.

This workshop is also an opportunity to connect with fellow library professionals who are excited and passionate about teen services. Roundtable discussions and poster presentations will allow for further brainstorming, conversation and sharing of ideas.

Date: Monday, October 4, 2010, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
More information: http://www.cla.ca/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Libraries_and_Teens&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=10011

I will be volunteering at the event. I plan on working on my networking skills as there seems to be many opportunities to mix and mingle!  See you there! 🙂

Do you know about… CLASY?

No, it is not a typo. Today’s post is about the newly formed group Canadian Libraries Are Serving Youth (CLASY). Founded by some of my UWO MLIS colleagues Stephanie Vollick, Erin Walker and Sarah Gleeson Noyes, the group aims to create a national network for library staff serving young adults.

According to their Facebook group, CLASY’s goal is to “have as many libraries as possible commit to contributing one thing per year, whether it be a program idea, webinar or pathfinder”. One established pathfinder is the ‘Reference for Teens’ (a go-to resource for all subjects, with annotations describing their function).  When faced with a reference question about an unfamiliar subject or topic, it can be difficult to know which resources to use. This recently produced list aids librarians when unsure where to begin.

I was also impressed with the time and effort put in to create an ‘A-Z list of programs for teens offered in Canadian Libraries’. For any YA librarian, this list is perfect for obtaining ideas or inspiration. I seriously wish my library offered ‘Learn the Art of Hena, Nail Art, Photography for teens, and Yoga’ programs when I was a teen!

Recently CLASY announced that they are planning a professional development event tentatively called “YA Day” for the Ottawa, ON area in October. I am super excited as I was unable to attend their first event in London, ON in May.  If interested in speaking opportunities or volunteering (like me!) please visit their website.

Bite Sized Marketing

Bite Sized Marketing: Realistic Solutions for the Overworked Librarian (2010) By Nancy Dowd, Mary Evangeliste, & Jonathon Silberman

I just finished this wonderful resource book for librarians. Although I have a bit of practice with marketing summer library programs, I am always looking for ways to improve my skills.

What I liked about the book:

  • Written by library related professionals & published by ALA
  • Up to Date-2010!!!
  • Broken up into sections of different types of Marketing (WOMM, Bringing Your Library to life with a story, How to Market Electronic Resources, Public Relations 101, Outreach, Advocacy, The New Marketing Tools, Design, Branding, Marketing Best Practices).
  • Informative and easy to follow directions
  • Included examples

So what is WOMM, you ask?

According to the authors, WOMM is ‘Word of Mouth Marketing’.  WOMM is the idea that 10 percent of the population influences the other 90%. We just have to reach the 10 percent, influence them and give them the tools to share the info. Hmmm… interesting.  Do people really trust information from people they know over a stranger? YES, of course. It all makes sense.  It reminds me of this movie we watched in University called ‘Merchants of Cool’ where the ‘cool kids’ influence the other kids, so marketing groups try to attract these cool kids and get them to wear and support their clothing.  THIS ISN’T A NEW IDEA.  So, how do libraries get such ‘influencers’ on board? The text suggests that we need to create a product that people can be passionate about, then get it into the hands of those people whose opinion other people respect. According to the authors, influencers are easy to identify. “Look for people with a charismatic personality and persuasive communication style and with a social network. Having influencers spread your message will dramatically increase your ability to get buy-in for your campaign (p.9)”. They may be leaders of social groups, influential bloggers, or community leaders, but don’t forget the kid on MySpace or leading discussions on message boards.

It is also equally important to give the influencers the tools to share their satisfaction, and let them influence people they know and drive people to use your product. Thankfully, libraries have now realized that they must keep up with trends to stay relevant. Since Web 2.0 technology (Facebook, Twitter, etc) has replaced the need for expensive marketing budgets, the new style of word of mouth marketing has emerged. These tools are great to reach any audience (especially teens) with messages about programs and services. When examining online library spaces for youth via Web 2.0, it is clear that influencers do exist. Giving young people an opportunity to voice their opinions will no doubt yield powerful results for your library.

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