Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Adventures in the Exhibit Hall - Anne

I explored the ALA exhibits on Saturday, and I was trying to absorb everything I could. The night of, I felt rather exhausted. Now that I am back at work, I feel completely re-energized and excited about the future of libraries.

Here are a couple of things I learned about:  

·         This awesome story map from California Libraries is incredibly helpful for strategic planning: as well as findings from Pew Internet:

·         I was psyched that the ILS vendors I visited were integrating their catalogs directly with various kinds of e-books (3M, OverDrive, and Baker & Taylor’s e-books) to make it easier for patrons to see these electronic resources with less clicks and confusion.

·         Evanced's new software Spaces and SignUp give what we currently have a major face-lift.  The interface looks much better and it moves much more seamlessly from our calendar to the room registration system. It allows patrons to reserve rooms online and not have to call the library. We just go in and approve a patron's or groups request. How easy is that!

·         I watched a demonstration from 3M and thought it was interesting how they have a private cloud and a consortium cloud. From what I gathered, it might allow our patrons to gain access to our materials first. I also liked that patrons could take notes in library e-books. I love to highlight e-books. Each patron’s notes would be saved on his or her private account and not shared with the public. With 3M, libraries own the e-books, and I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

·         I talked to a representative at Midwest Tape about Hoopla. I liked that it looked like an Apple product and the system worked similar to Netflix. The library does not own the items. The library determines how much money they would like to spend or the number of circs. that they allow. It had a token system similar to other sites we are using. You can download a trial app of it.

·         I looked at early learning spaces for Caroline and found this cool company called Burgeon Group from Portland, Oregon. They customize pieces or you can use what they have.  It was like having something from a children’s museum in the library.

·         I met the children’s blogger, Mel, from Mel’sDesk during the poster sessions, and I talked to her about how to go about incorporating literacy messages into storytimes after the release of Every Child Ready to Read 2 (ECRR2). Her handout is at the bottom of this link:

·         I discovered that New York Public Library is working with its local schools to share materials: and about how it is important for public libraries to reach out administrators and ask what we can do to help with Common Core implementation.

·          American Association of School Librarians comes out with lists of best websites and apps and puts them on the web. I learned this from the ALA Cognotes that they handed out. I can't wait to look over these with our school librarians and staff.

·         I scowered children’s book vendors to find nonfiction books that would help fill in some of our gaps in that section.

·         The list goes on…

I’m looking forward to future conferences. I remember reading the ALA Cognotes that they passed out about what was happening that day at the conference on the el ride home and I was bummed I didn’t get to see the digital printer demonstrations or go to the gaming pavilion, amongst other things…  It is hard to do it all. I’m glad I hit a number of the places I wanted to go to.

I thoroughly enjoyed running into so many library staff, librarians, and professors that I knew in the field. I asked each person what they were excited about seeing at the conference and I listened to a variety of responses. It allowed me to figure out what I wanted to do next and what they were passionate about at the moment!  I also had a lot of fun side-conversations with other attendees whether it was when I was resting my feet at a stage or standing in a line to go to the bathroom.

The most helpful thing I did was print out a map of the exhibit hall ahead of time. I circled the booths that I wanted to visit and wrote next to each one why I was planning on seeing it. This saved me time and energy from traipsing around without knowing where I was going.

The exhibits can be loud and hectic. My resting spot away from the crowds was the What’s Cooking Stage. I had a blast picking up new cooking techniques and now I really want to try canning and preserving after hearing Sherri Brooks Vinton talk about her book. I'm looking forward to checking it out at the library!

Thank you for this great opportunity!

Anne Bensfield
Youth Services Librarian


  1. Thanks for sharing all of this, Anne. I checked out the Best Apps for Teaching & Learning 2013 on the AASL website that you pointed out. It’s nicely divided into five classes: Books, STEM, Organization & Management, Social Sciences, and Content Creation. (Is there a list of the apps currently loaded on the iPads in the Youth Services department?)

  2. Great question, Sarah! We have an Excel spreadsheet with the list of which apps we purchased and which review sources we used. I can email that to you, so you can take a look. I'm going to this event on Friday called Beyond the Screen: Using the iPad to Engage Communication and Relationships in Children 24-36 Months and I am sure I will have more ideas after I attend. Maybe, we could get together and talk apps?