(Submitted by iYouth officer Erin Quarterman)
I attended the 2012 Washington Library Media Association conference at the Yakima Convention Center in Yakima, WA for the pre-conference and Friday sessions. The theme of the conference was “Empower Student Learning: Library Information & Technology.” I was able to assist for a pre-conference session called “Book Binding” led by Anne Bingham. I’m currently doing a Directed Fieldwork at University Prep and Anne is my supervisor. Her session focused on how the information literacy skills of presentation and access are fulfilled by book arts (or “3D information literacy products”!). I helped pass out materials and also helped demonstrate how to make these books. I put together a slide show that showcased examples of Book Arts and listed the state core competencies that Book Arts fulfills.
The author breakfast series featured teen author Dana Reinhardt who spoke about why she writes for teenagers. Anne was responsible for coordinating this author visit and it was wonderful to meet Dana and talk about how she views writing and reactions she’s had to her books. She also led an interesting session about how publishers design book covers, using her own book covers (and rejected book covers) as examples. I didn’t realize until that session that almost all book covers are edited with PhotoShop or that sometimes you have to sacrifice accuracy to the story to convey something about the book. For instance, Dana’s book The Things a Brother Knows, a story of a returning veteran and his younger brother, an important detail is that the brother has long hair. But the cover featured two silhouettes and if one of them has long hair it doesn’t look like two brothers anymore. (The Things a Brother Knows is also One of NPR’s five best teen books of the year and on the ALA Top Ten Best Fiction for Teens list.)
Mark Ray’s (un)keynote focused on technology saying that it is no longer technology is “no longer imminent, it is immanent”. He asked us to be unflinching digital, meaning “being an unapologetic, informed consumer, promoter and producer of technology, digital content and digital citizenship.” Mark also challenged teacher librarians to be “socially adept, professionally adaptive, and instructionally active.” He had us move around the room based on whether or not we had used certain technologies to give us a better visualization of how technologies change. (He also had us write down our greatest fear about ebooks on a piece of paper, crumple them up and throw them away. I think that they were all thrown directly at him [some more enthusiastically than others]! Check out the video here.)
Other highlights of the conference were Dr Bette Hyde’s session “Early literacy initiatives, in WA and beyond” (check out the Washington State Early Learning and Development Guidelines here) and the “Teacher-Librarian Common Core Coaching TLC3” session which gave us the currently known information regarding the Common Core State Standards.
If you go to the conference for the first time, be sure to take advantage of all of the First Time Attendee activities by following @WMLALIT on Twitter and the conference hashtag (this year it was #WLMA12). All in all it was a great experience and the preconference was well worth the price. Next year I will be sure to sign up for the business lunch and dinners since they are great for information and networking.