This post is an article from the Summer 2017 issue of the OYAN Review and has been edited slightly for publication on the blog. It was written by Julie Jeanmard of the Cottage Grove Public Library.
After attending OLA this year in Salem, I would have to say I have my first author crush. I think anyone who attended Maggie Stiefvater’s event this year would agree with me that she is an excellent orator full of wonderfully hilarious stories and experiences. She regaled us with stories about traveling Europe to discover new scenes in researching her novels. She spoke about her love for cars, including a story about accidentally being responsible for setting John Green on fire while racing him. She also relayed her personal journey towards becoming a published author, starting with a rejection of her early manuscripts from her college’s English department. I loved what she said about planning out books like a road trip. She plans out the major destinations of the book and then might take detours, but she comes back to the original outline and continues down the path of the preplanned story. Her presentations Friday evening and Saturday morning were the highlight of my week in Salem.
Some other interesting tidbits I learned came from the session about makerspaces and also the youth classroom management skills session. The Maker Community session was composed of librarians from various Oregon libraries who shared their experiences with creating and sustaining makerspaces. I like the concept of having a space for all ages to come together and learn from each other. In the past, when I had thought about makerspaces, I had isolated the concept to a specific age group. But why not have younger children learn from adults or adults learn from teens or any other variation of this cross-learning? In the future, I think this will be helpful to think about in planning a new variation of a makerspace.
The Crushing It in the Classroom session focused on skills that public librarians can use when teaching information literacy in a class setting. They differentiated skill sets to use for younger middle schoolers versus older high schoolers. The reason for this difference is due to the development of the type of thinking (concrete versus abstract) and the maturity/interest levels of younger compared to older teens. For middle schoolers, it is better to tailor example searches to be simple and teach basic Boolean methods. The searches for this age range should be relatable topics. For upper grade levels, ask the students what they are interested in searching and show more advanced search options.
Overall, this year’s OLA experience was a whirlwind of activity but rewarding from the sessions attended and the various librarians I interacted with. I would like to see the author event continued in some future conferences, but even if it was just a one-time event, I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Maggie Steifvater’s new book will be available on October 10th, 2017. The first chapter is available to preview on her website.
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