Scholarship Report: Jon Allen – ALSC National Institute 2018

Event: Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) National Institute — Cincinnati, OH — September 27-29, 2018

Attendee: Jon Allen – Librarian I, Rochester Public Library

How does attending this event relate to your current role in your library?

This is event is the single most relevant conference I know of relating to my job as a Youth Services Librarian where 100% of the content of the conference is focused on services to children/youth.  I am able to learn what other libraries and experts are doing and how I might be incorporate their practices/research into my own work.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

My favorite session was called “When Leveling Helps, When it Doesn’t, and How Libraries Can Make the Best of It” in which James Erekson, Coordinator of Masters in Reading Degree Program and Associate Professor at the School of Teacher Education, University of Northern Colorado talked about the history and intent of leveling systems and how they are used today in conjunction with various national and state standards.  It was a controversial topic and has been a source of frustration for many youth services librarians around the country for some time now.  It was very enlightening to learn the history of such systems and the presenters gave some good advice as to how to deal with their use in the community/schools vs. at the (public) library.

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

One of the biggest takeaways was learning about Anji Play which is a Chinese philosophical approach to play and learning in children ages 3-6.  I am eager to try to implement parts of this philosophy into our programs.

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

Anji Play – perhaps not in an official “branded” way but to use a similar approach in designing programs.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

I would definitely recommend this conference to all Youth Services Librarians as it really is the best youth centered conference for librarians out there.  This is the second time I have been and each time it has been extremely rewarding and enriching.  They announced the location in 2020 will be in Minneapolis!