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Trip Report – Annual Conference, New Orleans 2006, American Library Association

July 5, 2006

I was inspired.  For more reasons than just this one.  But during ALA 2006 New Orleans, I attended Next Stop Blogging: Building a Professional Blog for your Library sponsored by Library and Information Technology Association.  After that session, I knew it was time to move past memos produced on printer and photocopier as a way to share not only this program but other learning experiences of all kinds.

Normally, all library staff are required to submit a Trip Report following participation in any Continuing Education program.  This will be my first submittal via blog instead of by hard copy.

Follows is a listing of the sessions I participated in during the conference.  If you would like to read comments on each program please follow the link to more.

The Stacks – 2006 ALA Annual Conference Exhibition    6/24/2006
Over 1600 booths with products and services designed to help you manage the library of the Millennium.  Also, Meet the Authors: An opportunity to meet and get autographs from favorite adult and children’s authors and illustrators.  The Stacks were located in the exhibit halls in the Morial Convention Center and were open Saturday, June 24 – Tuesday, June 27.   Live Homework Help Raving Fan Breakfast    6/25/2006
Featuring Iris Garrott, Youth Services Manager, McCracken Public Library/Kentucky and Ned Himmel, Assistant Library Director, San Jose Public Library/California.
Combine a service that supports education with a service that attracts kids to library resources and you’ve got a winner. That’s what more than 1,000 libraries using Live Homework Help (LHWH) have discovered.  Learn how libraries with Live Homework Help raise their library’s visibility and create a buzz with students, parents, teachers and their local media.

LAMA -BES   Developing Spaces for Early Literacy: 0-5 in 90 Minutes    6/25/2006
Description:    Designing spaces that support early childhood literacy is challenging; young children need appropriate environments to stimulate learning. Hear about a variety of solutions as well as how to communicate your needs to architects, interior designers, and the community.

ALSC   More Than Words: Communicating with Your Staff    6/25/2006
Description:    First in a new series of programs that addresses the competency of communication. A communication specialist will address general communication principles and communicating with staff. The discussion will include typical problems and ways to solve or prevent them. Then a panel of three librarians from three different sized libraries and the keynoter will serve as “consultants’ to issues and situations raised by the audience. Panelists will include Mary Fellows of Upper Hudson Library System and managing librarians from both a small and large library.

LITA   Next Stop Blogging: Building a Professional Blog for your Library    6/26/2006
Description:    How to start and maintain a professional library blog. Topics include selecting and installing blogging software, tips for successful publishing and marketing, writing style tips and featured plugins (software widgets) that can extend the functionality and usefulness of your library blog.

PLA -LD   Exploring the Technology of Gaming    6/26/2006
Description:    This program will concentrate on the validity, opportunities and adoption of the provision of adult and teen games as the emerging new literacy and literature of the immediate and long term future. Gaming technology represents a fundamental learning and information exchange of the future and by adopting it, libraries have the opportunity to get ahead of the curve in an important emerging component of society.

PLA   AUDITORIUM SPEAKER SERIES – PLA President’s Program Featuring Anderson Cooper    6/26/2006
Description:    In Dispatches From The Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival (Harper- Collins Publishers; June 2006) Anderson Cooper relates everything he saw and experienced as a correspondent and an anchor in 2005 with the same journalistic curiosity and emotional accessibility that rivets his television audience. Traveling to some of the world’s most dangerous places and finding scenes almost too shocking to watch, Cooper shares his front-row view of unforgettable events from the destruction of the tsunami in South Asia to the hunger crisis in Niger to the deadly Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The indelible snapshots of loss and hope stay with him long after he has moved onto the next news cycle. Dispatches From The Edge reveals how witnessing so many others in pain and turmoil finally unlocks some of his own grief over the death of his father and brother and forces him to examine why he is always moving from story to story. Equal parts narrative, memoir, analysis and reporting, Dispatches From The Edge is a completely fascinating account of a year in the life of one of America’s most influential journalists.  Anderson Cooper has been a reporter for fifteen years. The anchor of CNN’s prime-time evening news show Anderson Cooper 360°, he joined the network in 2001 and has been hosting the program since March 2003. Previously, he worked as a correspondent for ABC News and was a foreign correspondent for Channel One. Cooper has won several awards for his work including a National Headliners Award and an Emmy Award. A Yale graduate, he contributes regularly to Details magazine. Anderson Cooper lives in New York City. Dispatches From The Edge is his first book.  Sponsored by HarperCollins
Exhibits Closing Reception: SupERTuesday Closing Reception sponsored by Exhibits Round Table, the Exhibitors and ALA    6/24/2006
The theme for this year was A Day of Giving. Donations were taken for the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund.

Comments for:

The Stacks – Vendors and Exhibitors

Penguin Group (USA), Jumpstart’s Read for the Record: Whose life will you change on August 24, 2006?

Join partners Pearson, Starbucks Coffee Company, American Eagle Outfitters, Mrs. Laura Bush, Honorary Chairperson and “Today” host Matt Lauer in reading The Little Engine That Couldtogether in homes, libraries, parent groups, preschool centers and major public venues. Jumpstart is a national nonprofit working toward that day that every child in America enters school prepared to succeed. Jumpstart works with preschoolers, parents, and teachers to create powerful early learning experiences that enable children to reach their full potential.  Join us on August 24 as we set a world record in support of school readiness for all children.

Virgina Commonwealth University, Secrets of the Sequence Videos/Lessons

Links offering free 8- to 10-minute videos focused on a particular biology topic, ensuring time for classroom activities and discussions.  Easy to use lessons are available online
to stream or download the videos. All 50 videos have an accompanying classroom-tested lesson that encourages students to further explore the video topics. Each lesson includes background information, state and national science standards, discussion questions and answers, teacher notes and an activity that will ensure a hands-on, “minds-on” experience. This seems to be a great addition for the library’s new website.

The Shopping Basket Co.

A recycling success story in Middle Tennessee producing four sizes and twelve colors of sturdy shopping baskets.  Its the basket you grab when you have only a few items to pick up at the grocery store or when you shop at the university book store.  And at your library too!  Small carts that hold two baskets, which can be imprinted with you logo, are also available.

A free, new online matchmaking database for librarians seeking authors and for publicists seeking large and enthusiastic audience for their authors.


High performance compression of digital images

Thompson Gale

I met with Melissa Behrens to discuss promotional support for Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center.


BrailleInk. is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the experience of reading by providing materials with both print and braille in a unique, easy-to-use format that encourages shared reading and promotes braille awareness.  Focusing on children’s books, they currently have two titles available: Guess How Much I Love You(by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram, with uncontracted braille) and The Dot (by Peter H. Reynolds, with contracted braille).


Following the complex social relationships of New Orleans, as a great city responds to a terrible crisis, the documentary film The Katrina Experience, explores the power of culture to heal.


McNaughton DVD Lease plan takes the guesswork out of identifying upcoming hits with monthyl selection lists. DVDs arrive packaged, processed, cataloged and ready for circulation.


LibrarySparks, an Upstart publication, is a resource of programming ideas for children’s librarians.  Engaging activities to reach every reader.

Vocera Communications

Instant Voice Communication to improve customer service and staff efficiency is made simple with the only wearable, hands-free, instant communication system for library personnel.

Ten Speed Press

Favorite board books from the Tricycle Press division were the World Snacks series which included First Book of Sushi and Yum Yum Dim Sum, Busy AnimalsCountry Babies Wear Plaid

Ebaru Publishing

The Violin Book Series by Eden Vaning should be very popular with our customers. 

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

A novel approach to non-fiction introduces Novel Graphics from Hill and Wang.  Titles highly reviewed include The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptationby Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón, Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography and Ronald Reagan: A Graphic Biography.

Video Resources Software

GrammarKey – AceMath – Discover Intensive Phonics – Reading Horizons – On Common Ground – The Unfinished Nation – The Mechanical Universe – The Human Condition – The Examined Life on DVD, CD-ROM and the web.

Calliope Puppets

Calliope Puppets provides thought provoking and educational puppet theater performances and workshops of the highest artistic quality for families, educators, and children.

Rocket Books

Rocketbook DVD Study Guides, Classic Literature Visualized.  Rocketbooks are highly stylized and interactive literature study guides with chapter summaries, in-depth analyses and pop quizzes.  Professionally designed for today’s high school and college English students, they are the ideal companion for the modern reading experience.


BMS Catastrophe provides a wide range of disaster recovery services.

Greenwood Publishing Group

New from Libraries Unlimited, the Reader’s Advisor Online brings books and readers together.

Cocodrie Press

Berthe Amoss was product developer for More Than A Card, Inc. and is now President of Cocodrie Press, LLC. She designs advent calendars for the National Gallery of Art, The National Cathedral, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cleveland Museum, and The Art Institute of Chicago, as well as greeting cards for corporations and hotels, such as the Windsor Court in New Orleans. The latest Advent calendars are the National Gallery of Art’s Magnificat and Cocodrie Press’ Our Lady of Tenderness Icon.  Their poster, Mandatory Evacuation of NOLA’s Ark, was specially imprinted with the ALA Conference dates.

The Stacks – Meet the Authors

Among the numerous authors present and signing their works, I met and received autographs for books by Denise Fleming, Laura Numeroff, Peter Sis, Kathleen Kudlinski, and Michael Dennis Brown.  I also scored plenty of ARCs, mostly for YA, but the highlight was getting the advance copy of New Moon by Stephenie Meyer!  I felt like the conference was a complete success at that moment and I could go home totally happy!!

Raving Fan Breakfast

Founder & Chief Executive Officer of, George Cigale, welcomed guests to the breakfast and gave an introduction to the Live Homework Help service.  Speakers Iris Garrott, Youth Services Manager, McCracken Public Library/Kentucky and Ned Himmel, Assistant Library Director, San Jose Public Library/California provided an overview of the promotional efforts of the product at their libraries, two of the most successful programs in the country.  A question and answer session followed.

Developing Spaces for Early Literacy: 0-5 in 90 Minutes

Presenters Kim van der Veen, Bruce Adams, and a representative from Labrosse Ltd., explained the Interactive Design Matrix, allowing that libraries instinctively offer unsupervised play with limited rules, have limited replacement budgets for walkable parts, and imploring that tethered/secure play pieces offer security and limit staff time in maintaining play areas.  Libraries hope for a safe, strong, clean play area; require limited staff, repair, replacement; consider the play space as a site for art/design which supports our mission and attains an elegant WOW feeling. Children and their families seek a fun, clear learning environment allowing preschoolers to learn, achieve goals, and repeat use for specific target ages offering joint activities for both parent and child on scale and paced for that same elegant WOW experience.  Examples of successful projects at Phoenix Public Library and King County Library systems were shared.  These areas must engage parents to want to bring their children and should not create a “no” environment.

More Than Words: Communicating with Your Staff

Panelists encouraged participants to realized the importance of clarifying what the message is, how it is delivered, and how it is received.  You should make sure that staff is ready to hear you and make sure you tell them your purpose.  Supervision should be done at a distance.  Always close the loop on all communications.  Not only must you send it, but make sure they received it, understood it, and expect feedback on it.  Strict policies of office hours for communication with staff only should be observed with no interruptions.  In turn it is ok to request your own time to not be disturbed.  Voice mail messages allow you a delay to plan your response.

Next Stop Blogging: Building a Professional Blog for your Library

Moderator Michelle Boule introduced presenters Jason Griffey, Karen Coombs, and Steven Bell to an overflow crowd.  This blog is a direct result of all instruction offered at this session.  Recommendations for hosted and server based software were explained.  It was advised that blogs make very good intranets for staff communications.  Subjects such as feed aggregators, licensing, tagging, style sheets, using wireless markup language were explained.  Flickr,, technorati, and LibraryThing were recommended.  This session is blogged on Hidden Peanuts who gives a wonderful review. 

Exploring the Technology of Gaming

I was not able to attend this session but have accessed the excellent support materials shared by the presenters.  Several bloggers have also covered this program.

PLA President’s Program Featuring Anderson Cooper

A most excellent presentation despite the inadequate sound system, Anderson Cooper thanked the librarians for having faith enough to come to New Orleans and encouraged the audience to help their communities to remember and never forget what happened in the Big Easy.

Exhibits Closing Reception

Volunteer librarians gathered prior to the 9:00 a.m. exhibits opening to don their yellow shirts before heading out to assist in the rebuilding effort at area libraries and neighborhoods.  As the exhibits opened, attendees stood in line to donate to the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund.

New friends, new ideas, and a new awareness were tremendous assets I carried home with me to Kentucky.

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