Transforming Our Libraries, Ourselves: First Andrew Carnegie Book Medals, Revamped ALA Awards Presentation, New Inaugural Brunch Highlight 136th Annual Conference

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Attendees say ALA's Annual Conference is the "best gathering for professional development opportunities, exhibits and vendor reps, and networking possibilities that a librarian is likely to find" and "the gold standard in professional development and networking." Join the discussion during ALA's 136th Annual Conference in Anaheim, California, June 21-26.

Hear from the two winning authors of the first Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction on Sunday, June 24, from 8 to 10 p.m.

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"The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction recognize literary excellence." said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation and past president of New York Public Library. "But more, they also celebrate the important role librarians play in opening up the world of imagination, education, and aspiration to new readers and avid book lovers alike."

The ceremony includes medals and $5,000 to each winner, as well as $1,500 for the remaining finalists. (For the shortlist, see page 72.) Afterward, meet and mingle with the winners and ALA President Molly Raphael and Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. Tickets are $30, $25 for Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) members, and will be available onsite. The awards are made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York and are cosponsored and administered by Booklist, ALA's review journal, and RUSA.

The ALA Awards Presentation occurs Sunday, June 24, 3:30-5:30 p.m., during the President's Program.

Closing General Session, Tuesday, June 26, 9:30-11 a.m. J. R. Martinez, 2011 winner of Dancing with the Stars, speaks. He is author of Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spirit to be published in November. The Closing General Session will be followed by an Inaugural Brunch Tuesday, June 26,11:15 a.m.-1 p.m. Join President Raphael as she honors incoming President Maureen Sullivan and division presidents-elect.

The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library.Agencies (ASCLA) and the Public Library Association (PLA) are teaming up to offer "Consultants Give Back"--an opportunity for libraries to receive free 30-minute consultation sessions from professional library consultants. (Consultants interested in offering their services as a part of this event can register on-line at http://svy.mk/I9tc12.) Consultants with expertise in a wide variety of topics--like RFID, marketing and communications, executive searches, buildings and facilities, strategic planning and library trends will be available during the "Consultants Give Back" office hours, Sunday, June 24, 1:30-5:30 p.m., as well as at other scheduled times throughout the conference.

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Join in ALA's Think Fit Yoga program Sunday, June 24, at 7 a.m., before the morning's meetings and conference rush. Certified instructors will guide participants through a 60-minute session that includes strength building, a body-balancing workout, and a quick cool-down on the California Terrace of the Anaheim Convention Center. To register, visit the "ticketed events" section of the Annual Conference registration page and sign up. Cost is $15.

Making the case for time off and support for travel and expenses to attend a conference, especially in times of tight budgets and reduced staff, requires a solid understanding of the potential benefits to the workplace, to a supervisor, and to colleagues. A new resource--Making Your Case for Attending is--available at alaannuals.org to help potential attendees communicate the many ways that conference attendance can pay big dividends.

The resources include:

* An outline of why attendees will be more valuable to the institution after the conference, with benefits such as bringing back implementable ideas and best practices that can make a library more effective, save money, and serve users better; becoming a more effective library advocate; strengthening the library's network and reputation; and injecting fresh energy, excitement, and professionalism into the library's work;

* A series of suggested steps to follow, including a sample budget worksheet and memo to a supervisor to help document the benefits of attending, as well as plans for how what's learned will be reported and shared on return;

* Links to resources that help a potential attendee zero in on programs and other conference events that apply to his or her particular area of work; and

* "In the Words of Your Colleagues," dozens of testimonials from the 2011 Annual Conference post-conference survey that show how attendees feel they benefited across the board, including what they learned both formally and informally, the connections they made, the inspiration, the energy, what they got out of the exhibits and how much fun they had. …