The Column Explained . . . : Plus Conference Roundup, Part 2!

Author photo: Betsy DiamantAuthor photo: Betsy Diamant-Cohen is an early literacy trainer and Executive Director of Mother Goose on the Loose, Baltimore, Maryland. Annette Y. Goldsmith is a lecturer at the University of Washington Information School who teaches online from her home in Los Angeles, California.

For more than two years, Children and Libraries has been hosting this column, and we thought it was time to share our vision. “Research Roundup” is a grouping of resources meant to give readers easy access to tools for doing their own research or to familiarize them with research done by others. We have included short descriptions of research studies that have a direct impact on librarians’ work with children. We have directed readers to specific resources. We have shared our column with a guest researcher. We have also provided descriptions of ways research has been successfully used.

Once a column theme has been chosen, the content may include links to relevant websites, descriptions of research studies, information about related upcoming conferences, lists of open journals, and/or focus on particular works.

Since the column began, it has covered music in children’s programming, the economic value of children’s programming, good websites for gathering useful statistics, open source journals, conferences that might be of interest to children’s librarians, media mentorship, international children’s books, digital media, and the value of math for young children.

To make this column as useful as possible, if there is a topic you would like to see, please let us know.

This is our second column about conferences of value to children’s librarians. For the earlier column, see “Conferences to Expand Your Horizons” in the Summer 2015 issue. Here are conferences we think you might enjoy presenting at or attending. Do tell us about your favorites too!

Children’s Music Network (CMN)

At the annual conference, attendees share songs, ideas, and resources, plus teaching tools, songwriting techniques, community building skills, and marketing tips. There are spontaneous song swaps and networking, as well as structured workshops and presentations. Nonmembers are welcome to attend. Where: Hyannis, MA. When: October 13–15, 2017. Legendary Canadian roots singer and producer Ken Whiteley is the keynote speaker.

Digital Shift—now called TechKnowledge

Library Journal and School Library Journal’s free annual day-long virtual conference for library professionals from around the world focuses on the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital transition’s impact on libraries and their communities. Expert speakers and panelists present on topics of interest to school, academic, and public libraries. This year’s theme is Creating Equity through Technology, and the conference will be held on October 18, 2017.

International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY)

IBBY, a worldwide organization that promotes peace and social justice through children’s books, holds an International Congress in even years. (IBBY is also represented by regional conferences in odd years: see the entry for USBBY below.) The next IBBY Congress will be in Athens, Greece, from August 30 to September 1, 2018, and hosted by IBBY Greece. The theme is East Meets West around Children’s Books and Fairy Tales. This Congress coincides with the celebration of Athens as the UNESCO World Book Capitol for 2018, so there will be lots of festivities in store!

Learning and the Brain

This provider of professional development for educators holds three conferences a year—Fall, Winter, and Spring—along with one-day seminars and summer institutes. The Fall conference is in Boston November 10–12, 2017, with the theme Merging Minds and Technology: Transform Classrooms with Robotics, Brain Science, and Virtual/Maker Spaces. Very à propos for children’s librarians!

National Storytelling Festival

Every year, on the first Friday in October, the National Storytelling Festival brings together storytellers from around the country in Jonesborough, Tennessee, for three days of exceptional storytelling. Librarians who have attended rave about the storytelling skills they have gained, as well as increasing stock of good stories to tell. Children’s author Carmen Agra Deedy will perform at this year’s event, held October 6–8. To view the 2017 brochure, visit (See also Tellabration!, below.)

Public Library Association (PLA)

PLA holds a conference once every two years. Because it focuses on public librarians, many relevant topics for children’s librarians are covered. The next conference will be held in Philadelphia March 20–24, 2018, with a theme and challenge to all attendees to Imagine the Possibilities.


It’s not exactly a conference, but this international fall celebration of storytelling also brings opportunities for networking and learning. Check the website to find the closest venue for this year’s Tellabration! on November 17. You may discover a local storytelling guild or other group where you can attend story swaps and hone your skills as a teller! (See also the National Storytelling Festival, above.)

United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY)

USBBY is one of approximately seventy national sections of IBBY (see entry above). This IBBY Regional Conference, held in odd years, is October 20–22, 2017, at the University of Washington Information School in Seattle. The theme, Radical Change beyond Borders: The Transforming Power of Children’s Literature in a Digital Age, pays tribute to our late colleague Dr. Eliza T. Dresang, author of Radical Change theory. This conference offers the rare opportunity to hear China’s Cao Wenxuan, winner of the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen award for text, commonly called the “little Nobel.”

Come to UW a day early—October 19—and (for free!) you can also hear Young People’s Poet Laureate, Margarita Engle, deliver the Spencer G. Shaw Lecture. This prestigious children’s literature lecture honors the memory of beloved librarian, storyteller, and professor Spencer Shaw. For details, see &


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