Scholarship Report: Heather Acerro – ALA Midwinter Meeting

Event:  American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting — Seattle, WA — January 25-29, 2019

Attendee: Heather Acerro – Head of Youth Services, Rochester Public Library

What was your biggest takeaway from the event as a whole?

My biggest takeaways from attending ALA Midwinter and participating on the 2019 Randolph Caldecott Committee are the skills and colleagues that I gained through this experience.  In terms of the Caldecott Committee–which involved preparing for meetings, reviewing picture books throughout the year, writing and presenting about picture book art, and participating at in-person meetings at midwinter–my skills in evaluating and discussing art and picture books have increased considerably. I developed a unique methodology based on the preparation materials and the discussions with colleagues.  During the past two years, I have had the opportunity to share my collection selection and evaluation methods with Rochester Community & Technical College literature classes.  Now, after my attendance at ALA Midwinter meetings, I feel that I have much more to share with literature students. I have also gained a wonderful group of fourteen peers who passion for and ideas around youth services work and literature will continue to benefit me and Rochester Public Library for years to come.

What’s one (1) idea that you gained from the event that you plan to implement now that you’re back?

Each year ALA hosts an “online pajama party” to encourage children to watch the live webcast of the Youth Media Awards press conference.  After attending the Youth Media Awards Press Conference, meeting with colleagues in the exhibit hall, and discussing the activities around this big event, I would like to work with area teachers to host Mock Award programs throughout the year and then celebrate by participating in the pajama party. (

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

I would highly recommend participating on an award or booklist committee and attending ALA Midwinter for in-person book discussions.  It is valuable to not only learn book evaluation skills, but also how to respectfully and productively have discussions with colleagues.  These discussion skills do not only apply to books, but can be used for discussing any topic that requires careful listening, thoughtfulness, and clear articulation.