Children's Fairyland. Why was I there?
I went to the ALSC Institute in Oakland and it was amazing! I can totally understand why many librarians consider this a not-to-miss conference. I will definitely try to make it back to one in the future. One of the benefits of a national conference is that you get to rub elbows with librarians of all stripes and job titles from all over the country. But the added bonus for me is that the content was so focused on children's services. I can't remember the last time I attended a conference (except maybe my first back when everything sounded interesting!) and felt like almost everything could apply to me and my situation.
The reason I was able to attend this conference was that Melissa Depper, Marge Loch-Wouters, Amy Koester, and I presented on preschool programming beyond storytime. We encouraged people to tweet using hashtag #unboxST and you can view our slides. I couldn't have asked for a better team of colleagues to present with. Of the group I am clearly the least experienced presenter, but their confident, relaxed attitudes helped me feel comfortable and find my groove. Thanks for your awesomeness, ladies!
It was great hearing a few ideas from the audience at each of our sessions, and I encourage you to keep sharing your ideas with us-- we love to experiment and hear about your successes (or not successes, that's a real part of the process too!)
I'll leave you with one more photo from Fairyland. Because I just can't help it. I've never experienced anything quite like it before. I will say, it was nice to be in a children's space (theme park? amusement park? entertainment center? not sure exactly what I'd label it) that was free of product placements and advertising. I think popular characters are great and have their place in motivating kids to read and learn, but I enjoyed seeing something different.