The American Association of School Librarians hosted the 17th National Conference, experience, education, evolution, in Columbus, OH from November 5-8. The gathering featured many informative sessions including a keynote by Caldecott Medal-winning author Brian Selznick on the power of stories. Selznick’s newest creation, The Marvels, shows how fiction is often better at telling the truth than facts.
The IdeaLab was another fantastic event showcasing effective practices. Computer monitors were set up for presentations on tables around a large room and participants browsed topics of interest.
I hosted a space at the IdeaLab on LGBTQ Inclusion @ Your Library. Several hundred librarians stopped by to discuss strategies for effective collection development, curriculum connections, programming, and special events. As with other library events, participants’ responses to the content were mixed. Most were approving of the ideas, many indicated they lacked experience with LGBTQ content, several expressed concerns about promoting access because of potential negative administrative and/or community response, and a few people said quietly, “I am glad you are here.” That was nice of them to say, but, it would be much better if they didn’t feel the need to speak quietly or if these conversations simply weren’t so problematic. All LGBTQ youth deserve school (and public) librarians who are fully prepared to support them with robust access and effective services.