ALA’s Adventures in Disneyland

Lest my post title mislead you to think I just took off my mouse ears and hopped off a rollercoaster, I did not. No time for adventure park shenanigans for this editor. And I’m left wondering why I would have wanted to go there anyway, what with all of the fantastic sessions at ALA this past weekend. (Okay…some cotton candy would have been nice, but other than that…) Here’s a quick list of things my brain is processing:

The “new nonfiction” – Is there such a thing? If so, what is it? How do we define exceptional nonfiction? And how does a “new nonfiction” meld with the new Common Core standards? (I was very glad to hear folks mentioning Lerner titles such as Vanishing Golden Frogs (Sandra Markle) and authors such as Sally M. Walker as examples of this upper echelon.)

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Technology (as if this doesn’t already permeate every area of our lives…) – How are readers using technology? How are they thinking about books as part of that equation? Are they thinking about books as a separate format for delivery of information?

Shared content across libraries – Are you still in your building? Or has the cloud moved us into another realm of content stewardship? And if so, what additional opportunities do we have to get eBooks into the hands, minds, tablets, or smartphones of readers?

Restructuring classrooms for participatory learning – Domenica brought up this point earlier in the week, and the idea of the flipped classroom made its way around ALA too. Where do we learn? When do we mentor? What should we observe versus instruct or apply?

Bridging gaps – I love, love, love connections. In the ALCS/YALSA Presidents’ Forum, one of Stephen Abrams’s points was the idea of giving kids scaffolding upon which to use their excellent minds. And what I see as a strength in CCSS is the opportunity to make connections and build those graduated levels of learning. But I also like the idea of public libraries connecting with school libraries, librarians connecting with teachers, educators connecting with publishers, and all of us connecting with ideas. (On an aside, are you exploring the idea of Makerspaces? I was thrilled this morning to read Buffy Hamilton’s post about libraries as exploratory gathering points such as these. Check it out.)

Bottom line: We are in a watershed among publishing and education. I, for one, find it fascinating…a giant opportunity to leap up to the next level. Is it an adventure? Absolutely! What did you learn at ALA?