Librarian Skills: Attending a Conference

My favorite conference of the year is coming up this weekend!  The CYPD Conference is this Sunday and Monday.  Not only is it my favorite to attend, I’ve been luck enough to be on the board that plans this fabulous event.

CYPD was my first big library conference, and I’ve been lucky enough to have mulitple conference experiences since then (but still not ALA Annual, that’s the dream).  Here are a few tips and tricks to help you have a great time at your next conference!

A large bag, you need one.  Be it a tote bag, backpack, or a huge purse of doom, you need something to carry stuff!  Vendors will have swag for you (sometimes even a bag!) and you need a way to comfortably carry it around all day.  Instead of carrying my everyday purse, I also just pitch the essentials my conference bag.  Much simpler and less to keep track of.

WEAR LAYERS.  At some point, you will either be too hot or too cold.  The group/committee has very little control over the temperature in the building.  Bring a sweater.

Wear comfortable shoes.  Your feet will thank you.  (If you’re into the whole FitBit thing, make sure it’s charged before the conference.  Don’t miss those steps!)

Bring snacks!  Sometimes the conference will have snacks in the budget, other times not.  Don’t risk it being a no snack conference!  (Especially if you’re prone to hanger.)  Bringing some change for a vending machine isn’t a bad idea either.

Divide and conquer.  At some point, you will want to go to two conference sessions that are going on at the same time.  Unless you have a Time Turner, you will have to pick one of the two.  Talk to coworkers and friends who are going to the same conference before you go and see what sessions they’re going to.  There’s a good chance one of them is planning on going to one of the sessions you were also interested in.  Ask if they’ll share their notes from the session with you.  Offer to share your notes with them.  Help out your fellow librarian!

Be kind to vendors and speakers.   Vendors and speakers travel long miles and put in lots of prep work for these conferences.  Be courteous, and please use your manners.

Other suggestions?  Is anyone else going to CYPD this weekend?




Book Clubs for Kids

At last month’s CYPD conference, I gave a presentation called “You Can Find Me in the Club, The Book Club!” (cue the 50 Cent music).  I talked about the two book clubs our library has for kids, how they work, and what we do during meetings.  Since I’ve been working away at various book club related tasks today, I thought I’d share some book club info with you.

What are your book clubs?

My library hosts two book clubs for kids.  One for kids ages 5-8 called “The Page Turners” and one for our tweens ages 8-12 called “inbeTWEEN the Lines.”

What do the book clubs do?

We meet once a month to discuss a book and do different activities related to that book.  The kids get a free copy of the book (while supplies last) to keep.

Why do you have book clubs for kids?

Why not?!  Book clubs give kids the chance to talk about books.  It can help them define what they like to read (or what they don’t like to read).   It also encourages them to read outside their comfort zone in terms of reading ability and their normal reading tastes.

The book clubs have also given me the opportunity to get the know the kids one on one.  Because book clubs do have a fairly big discussion element, we get to talk about more than just the books.

How do you select the books?

I DO WHAT I WANT!!!  Actually, I try to think about what the kids would like to read and what books might bring more kids to the book clubs.  We mostly read fiction (picture books for the younger group) but I do try to include some non-fiction and graphic novels.  There is also something classic-y every year (i.e. Where the Wild Things Are, Pippi Longstocking, etc.).  In the summer, I try to tie the selections into our Summer Reading Program theme.  In 2013, we read all award winning books in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal.

Where do you get the books?

I have purchased the books through the Scholastic Literacy Partnership and Book Depot.  Both have been fabulous in terms of selection, price, and how quickly the books are delivered.

What have you read?  

The Page Turners (5-8 year olds)

  • Silverlicious
  • The Snowy Day
  • Make Way For Ducklings
  • Bad Kitty
  • The Sandwich Swap
  • Junie B. Jones and the Yucky, Blucky Fruitcake

inbeTWEEN the Lines (9-12 year olds)

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Savvy
  • The Adventures of Captain Underpants
  • Hatchet
  • The City of Ember
  • Dewey the Library Cat

My library doesn’t have a very big programming budget.  How can we start a kids book club?

In Indiana, there are Book Club kits available through the Indiana State Library.   The kits contain 15 copies of each title and check out to your library for 3 months.  If you’re outside Indiana, check with your state library to see if they have a similar program.  I also think this would be an excellent grant opportunity.  Reach out to your Friends of the Library group to see if they could help fund this project.

Have any more questions about kids book clubs?  Ask away!

CYPD Recap

Just came back from another fabulous CYPD Conference this weekend!  This year was a very different conference experience for me because I was fortunate enough to serve on the CYPD board.  For the past several months, I’ve had the privilege of working with some fabulous people to help put together an amazing event.  And I can’t wait to do it again next year!

But back to this year’s conference.  With a theme of #NOWTRENDING, librarians and library support staff from across Indiana came together for two days of great sessions all about working kids and teens.  From learning how to be a library rock star to programs about teaching animation techniques to kids, there was something for everyone.

We also had some fabulous speakers.  Like Adam Gidwitz!

I was fangirling too much to remember most of his speech, but it was AWESOME!

I was fangirling too much to remember most of his speech, but it was AWESOME!


And David Slonim!

"Creativity thrives within constraints."

“Creativity thrives within constraints.”


I enjoyed all of the sessions I attended.  Every year I am surprised and absolutely amazed at what other libraries in Indiana are doing.  I always come away with new ideas.

And my staff is always terrified when I come back because those new ideas mean changes.

Eh, they’ve survived thus far.