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ALA 2019 Through the Eyes of Student Lisa Ladd

Lisa Ladd is a master of information sciences student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who was awarded the Marcellus Turner Student Travel Scholarship this year. She used it to go to the American Library Association 2019 Conference. Here is a recap from her of that experience.

I have just returned from ALA in Washington, D.C. Here are some of the highlights from this amazing conference.

In my mind, this year’s conference was all about accessibility, visibility and reaching out to those populations that are under-served or marginalized.

I learned how to read and teach wordless picture books from author/illustrator Christian Robinson. I listened to Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler discuss their collaborative project on a new novel, “Cursed,” which will also be a Netflix series, about Nimue of the Arthurian Legend. George Takei spoke movingly about being incarcerated in a Japanese American Internment Camp as a child, and about his upcoming book. I attended a session on teaching LGBTQIA issues and that community’s history. I learned about defining and embracing the instructional role for public youth librarians. And I listened to an enthusiastic instructor share how she reached her students through teaching the language of hip-hop lyrics and applying it to things such as Shakespeare or social justice.

Representing my own library, I joined colleagues from Dartmouth College at the movie “Change the Subject,” highlighting our students’ attempt to get the U.S. Library of Congress to cease using the descriptor “illegal alien” in its cataloging practices. I also met up with fellow students at the SIS Alumni Reception, and snapped a few pictures of the capital.

A personal highlight was joining a fellow SIS student on a bus to the Library of Congress. We were allowed onto the floor of the reading room, into the stacks to look at the card catalog, and also to the office of the Librarian of Congress. As we were turning, I discovered Carla Haydn standing next to me. She was graciously greeting all of us on the floor and promoting her hard-working staff, who were staying late to give us a tour.

I made new connections and also met up with others from my past. Finally, I must say that I will need more bookshelves after returning with many wonderful advanced reader copies from publishers eager to share their upcoming releases. If you have never been to ALA, put it on your bucket list; it is jam-packed with people who are just like you – librarians, and people who love books.