2010 BCALA Conference

Birmingham, Alabama
With the opening of the 2010-2011 school year just around the corner in Chicago, I've neglected several posts! Now it's time to catch up.

Earlier this month I attended the Black Caucus of the American Library Association conference in Birmingham, Alabama. This was the first time I have attended a BCALA conference and I walked away with some valuable resources and experiences. I would also like to give special thanks to the current BCALA President Jos Holman for listening and responding to my questions about BCALA. BCALA is very fortunate to have a contentious and caring leader in Holman and I can foresee BCALA moving forward during his tenure to continue to support African-American librarians.

Kevin Knotts, me and Kim Wayans

The keynote speaker Dr. Terrence J. Roberts, a member of the "Little Rock Nine," addressed attendees about the importance of community, social responsibility and tolerance. Presentations by author Ray Charles Robinson, Jr. (son of the late Ray Charles), actors Kim Wayans and husband Kevin Knotts and Chef Brian Terry were thought provoking, insightful and inspiring. I enjoyed seeing librarian Marcus Lumpkin represent Chicago by presenting the YOUmedia teen learning space at the Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center. Binnie Tate Wilkin was a joy to meet and I just loved her presentation on African-American Images in Newberry books. Dorothy Guthrie's powerpoint promoting the use of the Coretta Scott King Award winning books was just plain brilliant and finally, my favorite quotes from Roland Martin’s address at the closing breakfast were:

Roland Martin and I....
Yes he took the picture with my Blackberry!

"My battery on my Blackberry can die, but I haven't had a book die out on me yet"

"Reading is not an option, it’s a requirement"

“I don't travel anywhere in the world without a book"

I also participated on a panel discussion called, “Defending the Right to Read: Reality Literature for Teens and Tweens.” The following is from the wikispace, http://defendingtherighttoread.wikispaces.com/:

Donated books for the
raffle from Scholastic Books

Street Literature, otherwise known as Urban Fiction, is a literary genre that provides readers with reality based stories about the streets that are authentic, unapologetic and truthful. While these books are popular with adult readers, the genre has now attracted a new audience of teen and tween readers. Questions discussed during the session included: should librarians purchase these books and promote them? Are these books really literature? Should teens and tweens have free access to them? Though there were members of the audience that did not express the same view toward the promotion and use of books within the genre, it was a great experience for me to educate and share my love of the books that positively impact the lives of my students.

Defending the Right to Read Librarian Raffle

During the discussion, the panelists explored the impact and appeal of Street Literature on teens/tweens, why librarians should include these books in their collections and how school and public librarians have promoted the books in their library programs. The wikispace was created as a means to communicate, collaborate, and share ideas and information with librarians, teachers and supporters of the genre. I encourage you to log onto the site and join the discussion.

The Defending the Right to Read panel was organized and moderated by Keshia Garnett, Manager of the Indian Trails Library Division - Wheeling, Illinois and the participants of this panel discussion also included Tamela Chambers, Library Media Specialist - Bradwell School of Excellence, K.C. Boyd, Library Media Specialist - Wendell Phillips High School.

Bye for now!  K.C.


Defending the Right to Read Wikispace - http://defendingtherighttoread.wikispaces.com/

Dr. Terrence J. Roberts Homepage - http://littlerock9.com/TerrenceRoberts.aspx

Ray Charles Robinson, Jr. Homepage - http://www.raycharlesjr.com/

Amy Hodgepodge Homepage - http://www.amyhodgepodge.com/

Interview: Roland Martin – http://tinyurl.com/2d6dok8

Coretta Scott King Book Awards - TeachingBooks.net

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