2010 Mayor Daley's Book Club Spring Conference

The Mayor Daley's Book Club Spring Conference was held on Saturday, May 15th.
This annual conference is sponsored by the Chicago Public Schools Department of Libraries and Information Services and is the culminating event of the year for participating book club members in grades 7th -12th. 
Middle and high school book club students hear greetings from Mayor Daley, special guests and attend literacy and career oriented workshops lead by nationally known speakers, authors, artists and corporate professionals.   The highlight of the day was the High School Battle of the Books Competition where three high schools competed for the citywide championship trophy (Whitney Young High School was the winner).   This year, the DiscoPoet - Khari B. served as the Master's of Ceremonies.  Authors Allan Stratton, Earl Sewell, Kate Gingold and Monica McKayhan were special guests and provided workshops for the students.  

I began reflecting on this event this morning during my morning meditation and came up with a list of reasons why the Mayor Daley's Spring Conference is a success and positively impacts the lives of CPS tweens and teens: 

1.  The cooperation of the Department of Libraries and DuSable High School Campus staff members and students to make this event successful.  It could not have been done with them.  The DuSable High School Campus librarian, Sara Sayiah is just an angel sent down from the heavens!

2.  The numerous companies that donated books for the students:  Kimani Tru, Triumph, and Follett Resources.  All of the students left this conference with a bag full of books to kick off their summer reading.

3.  Our Special Guests for this event provided great workshops:
   The DiscoPoet - Khari B. - his flexibility in the gym and giving a presentation that about writing poetry and performing.      http://www.disco-poetry.com/index2.htm
   Allan Stratton - for sharing his very personal journey when he wrote 'Chandra's Wars' and autographing hundreds of copies of his book for the students.    http://allanstratton.com/
   Monica McKayhan - for providing a great workshop where students learned how to identify their talents and things that they like to do.  Thanks for the book Monica!  http://monicamckayhan.com/  
   Kate Gingold - for providing an insightful workshop on historical narrative and reality television.  The students enjoyed meeting this local author.    http://www.kategingold.com/   
   Earl Sewell - for autographing hundreds of books and giving a great workshop for all of the middle school students.  The "Keysha's Drama Series" really touched the lives of the students this year.   http://earlsewell.com/homepage.html 

4.  There were over 25 additional workshops provided on a number of subjects. 
  • Writing and getting your book published
  • Reader's Theatre (Chicago Public Library's Teen Volume)
  • Financial Literacy
  • Book Illustration
  • Bookmaking
  • Database usage for research for students
  • Motivational speakers
  • Family genealogy
  • Preparing for college financially
  • Public speaking etiquette
  • Mexican and African-American storytelling
  • Performance poetry
  • Hip-Hop Yoga and Relaxation Techniques
 All of the presenters were great and appreciated because they donated their time, talent and gifts for the students.  Special thanks to authors Naleighna Kai/J.L. Woodson and Top Ladies of Distinction - Lincoln Park Chicago Chapter for securing external donations for the students that attended their sessions.

5.  The Mayor Daley's Book Club facilitators for taking time out of their busy Saturday to chaperone their students at this event. 

Carol Rezmer, CPS Librarian and Mayor Daley's Book Club facilitator said it best, "Books become more real when kids meet authors."  This is so true.  Connecting kids to books, authors and giving them the experience of meeting adults that work in a variety of professions is a valuable experience that the students will never forget.


  1. I feel like I was there just by reading your blog. The pictures are great too! Very interactive. I think this is a wonderful event for the students.

  2. It was a great event.

  3. Well done! What a monumental task to run an event like this. As a first-timer, I was very impressed.

  4. The conference was a great success. Your blog is just as great! Thanks for sharing.

  5. This looks like a wonderful event! IF I'm in the midwest next year, I'd love to drive up and attend just to 'steal' some ideas!
    Thanks for sharing this!

  6. Looks like a great turn out and a wonderful event.