Everything New And Full of Opportunities at the YSS Spring Conference
By Terry Rabideau, NYLA/YSS Third Year Director and 2014 NYLA/YSS Spring Conference Chair
Everything was new and full of opportunities as the planning began for the 39th annual YSS Spring Conference! Many people seized upon this new opportunity. They deserve special recognition and thanks for all the creativity and hard work they invested into coordinating the successful event. Inspiration for our theme, “Everything is New Every Minute: Full of Opportunities,” began with Brian Kenney, Director of The White Plains Public Library. The planning committee and special advisors to the committee took the theme and ran with it as everyone assumed responsibility for the many different aspects of the conference.
Tee Cotter, Port Chester-Rye Brook Public Library, was the registrar for the 229 attendees and preparer of the conference evaluation summary. Nancy Coradin, Westchester Library System (WLS), coordinated the Westchester Library System Multi-Language Book Fair, which took place the day before the conference. Raquel Cavalcanti, White Plains Public Library, arranged for the food menu at the Dinner For All In Honor of Past YSS Presidents the evening before the conference (attended by 45 people) and negotiated the agreement with the conference book vendor, The Voracious Reader of Larchmont, NY. Rosemary Rasmussen, White Plains Public Library, mapped out the New Library Spaces: An At-Your-Own Pace Tour for attendees who wanted to visit libraries in the area before and after the conference and assisted with coordination of the workshops. Debra Gaffey, White Plains Public Library, coordinated all the attendee folder materials, including labels, nametags, receipts, certificates, fliers, as well as author/illustrator materials. Donna Pesce, Chappaqua Library, coordinated a popular raffle of 16 gift baskets. Bonnie Grant, White Plains Public Library, coordinated the displays of 14 enthusiastic vendors. Rebecca Newman, Mount Vernon Public Library, coordinated the exciting Westchester Author/Illustrator Garden that included 14 children’s and YA authors and illustrators who greeted attendees and signed books. Tata Cañuelas, White Plains Public Library, coordinated the Conference Service Project and presented a workshop. Zahra Baird, Yonkers Riverfront Library, contributed the idea for the Westchester Author/Illustrator Garden and facilitated the League of Extraordinary Librarians photography shoot. Kimberly Zettwoch, The Hampton Library in Bridgehampton, presented a workshop and assisted with the raffle, workshop coordination and service project. Deborah Hempe, Middle Country Public Library, presided at a workshop and ably served the committee from a distance, preparing for her role as 2015 Spring Conference Chair. Liz Liddington, Waterford Public Library, assisted with the raffle and managed the YSS Booth in her capacity as 1st Year Director. Rebecca Gerald, Dutchess Boces School Library System, lead a team of four people to coordinate all the audiovisual and technical needs for the conference: Merribeth Advocate, Dutchess Boces School Library System; Melinda Grey, Arlington Central School District; David Laiosa, Retired Math Teacher; and Rick Rabideau, MassMutual Financial Group.
Thanks and appreciation is expressed to all the speakers and workshop presenters, 35 in total, who shared their knowledge, experience, expertise and wisdom throughout the day. They included:
Roger Sutton, The Horn Book, Inc.
Tata Cañuelas, Children’s Librarian, The White Plains Public Library
To facilitate with the presentations, 26 conference attendees agreed to serve as workshop presiders and monitors. Other jobs done by volunteers included registration and distribution of conference materials, assistance with the YSS booth, raffle, Author/Illustrator Garden, book sales and photography. It is clearly evident that the Spring Conference is a total team effort!
Who attended the conference? NYLA President Sara Kelly Johns and NYLA Executive Director Jeremy Johannesen were among the 229 total attendees, many of whom (58 out of 132 who completed the evaluation), were attending a YSS Spring Conference for the first time. Of the total number of attendees who completed the evaluation, 98 out of 132 reported that they worked in children’s services in a public library or library system, while 64 out of 132 reported that they worked in tween/young adult/teen services in a public library or library system. There were also 10 graduate students and one undergraduate student in attendance.
The featured speakers, Roger Sutton and Steve Sheinkin, received the comment “Both speakers are great!” Of Sutton’s presentation, “The Future Of Publishing For Young People,” one attendee noted that it was a “nice perspective hearing from an editor.” The same attendee noted of Sheinkin’s presentation, “Real Stuff Makes Great Reading,” that it was “very appropriate with all the Common Core stuff.”
The top five rated workshops, in terms of the number of E ratings received, were: “Essentials of Book Blogging For Youth” with Betsy Bird; “Table Talks: Best of Tween and Teen Programs” with Ken Petrilli, Steve Fondiller, Lorraine Squires, Donna Pesce, Joyce Rienzo, Jessica Centuori, Jolie Hamer-Conroy, Erin Singleton and Ben Lainhart; “Family Science Night” with Priscilla Scaife and Pamela Tebbano, “Developing a Diverse Graphic Novel Collection” with George O’Connor and Mike Buono; and “Early Literacy Storytime: Blending Tradition with Technology” with Gail J. Brown and Marie Aspinwall.
Anyone wishing to view the handouts, supplementary information and links from the Spring Conference presentations can access them online from the YSS Events page.
The Westchester Author/Illustrator Garden was a lot of fun, also! Conference attendees enjoyed cheering the authors during introductions at the luncheon. One evaluator suggested to “Please continue to incorporate authors” and went on to say “it is invaluable to meet them face to face and exchange feedback.” Thanks goes out to The Westchester Library System and The White Plains Library Foundation for sponsoring this aspect of the conference.
There was an overwhelming response to the Conference Service Project. A total of 360 books and 10 board games were donated. These materials have been donated to two centers for at-risk youth -- Woodfield Detention Cottage in Valhalla, NY and The Hawthorne Cedar Knolls Union Free School District, located in Hawthorne, NY. Thank you, everyone who participated in the service project!
Adding to the excitement of the day were the photography opportunities for the “League of Extraordinary Librarians.” John Aiello, of the Pearle River Public Library, photographed librarians in super hero accessories for the League of Extraordinary Librarians Calendar. Check out the YSS Facebook page for the photos. The best of the best will make the cut for the calendar! Thank you, John, for catching librarians in action!
Finally, to all the conference attendees: Thank you for your part in making the day a success! You registered, showed up and engaged! Be sure to do it again -- join YSS at the upcoming 2014 NYLA Annual Conference, November 5 – 8, in Saratoga Springs, NY and 2015 YSS Spring Conference, March 27, in Islandia, NY.
And, keep in mind, every spring and fall, YSS conference planners need speakers and helpers. You may have a great program or set of skills worth sharing with other colleagues in youth services. Think of this as a new opportunity. Don’t hesitate to volunteer! Look for the YSS Active Member Form in this newsletter. Please fill it out and send it in to let the YSS Board know how you would like to help at future events.