So I am addicted to conferences… my review of TXLA17

I was incredibly fortunate in that my employer paid for a full conference pass to TXLA17. This was my first conference and first time receiving professional development outside of work and oh my word, I am now addicted. Sign me up for ALA Annual, TXLA18, and whatever else I can attend!

First, can I talk about ALL. THE. SWAG?! I met around a dozen authors who gave me free signed copies of their books and I managed to score dozen more ARCs. Check out my list below! I ended up with seventy new books, mostly YA, some middle grades, kidlit and adult fiction. I was incredibly sore from carrying 3-4 bags both days. Some of my favorite authors included Bob Shea, who told me “It will be alright,” when I indicated that I was the mother of a 3-year old boy, Jeff Zenter, who is from Nashville, which is close-ish, to my hometown of Louisville, KY. He is also INCREDIBLY friendly (because he’s from the midsouth)! Also, I really liked Jenny Han, who had on the most adorable banana-patterned dress and gave out nail decals!

In addition to books, I was able to add to my notepad drawer at work with several post-it notes and note pads from different vendors and UNT!

Y’all thought I was joking…
Some of the flair from the conference (minus the UTSA Fiesta pin).
My first librarian-related item and a sweet bag!
Putting the swag into pictures… plus I got a bunch of new totes!
Starbucks nail decals? Yes, please!
Friday’s lines to get into the exhibit hall – out the door!
random swag!

Of course, it wasn’t just free stuff; professional development also took place. On Thursday, I attended 1 work-related session and one fun session. At my first program, I listened to staff from UTA Libraries discuss their implementation of card swipe and how they combine user data from the card swipe entry and exit with data from Voyager, Illiad, study room reservations, and the registrar (all while scrambling any identifiers like student ID numbers) to determine if library use correlates to student success – very important in an era where we CONSTANTLY have to prove our worth to stakeholders. They project to have preliminary results next year.

On Friday I attended two mini sessions, one on planning your library career and the other on leadership lessons for managers. I also attended a larger session that featured a presentation from the director of Anythink Libraries. Cool but not as applicable to academic libraries.

In total, I attended to sessions for fun: Writers of Mystery (where I listened to fascinating personal stories from Joseph Kanon, Randall Silvis, and Josh Malerman) and my favorite, Kidlit vs. YA Authors: Lip Sync Battle 2, essentially a lip sync battle between various authors. So much hilarity.

If you are interested in knowing what titles I received, here you go! Hopefully I will review them soon!

  1. Little Monsters by Kara Thomas
  2. Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden
  3. What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
  4. The Go Between by Veronica Chambers
  5. Dear Martin by Nic Stone
  6. Gertie Milk & the Keeper of Lost Things by Simon Van Booy
  7. The Losers Club by Andrew Clements
  8. Odd & True by Cat Winters
  9. Waste of Space by Gina Damico
  10. Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner (author of The Serpent King) *AUTOGRAPHED!*
  11. Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin *AUTOGRAPHED*
  12. Lostboy by Christina Henry
  13. Rocket and Groot: Keep on Truckin’ by Tom Angleberger
  14. A Sky Full of Stars by Linda Williams Jackson
  15. Dear Reader by Mary O’Connell *AUTOGRAPHED*
  16. Goldeline by Jimmy Cajoleas
  17. The Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge
  18. You Don’t have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
  19. The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale *AUTOGRAPHED*
  20. One Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson
  21. The Life She was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman
  22. Finding Mighty by Sheala Chari
  23. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han *AUTOGRAPHED*
  24. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid *AUTOGRAPHED*
  25. When I Am Through with You by Stephanie Kuehn
  26. Dinosaur Empire! By Abby Howard
  27. The Frog Princess Returns by E.D. Baker
  28. Burn Town by Jennifer McMahon
  29. Release by Patrick Ness
  30. Breaking by Danielle Rollins
  31. Ballet Cat: What’s Your Favorite Favorite by Bob Shea *AUTOGRAPHED*
  32. The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart *AUTOGRAPHED*
  33. Loving Vs. Virginia by Patricia Hruby Powell *AUTOGRAPHED BY ILLUSTRATOR*
  34. The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler *AUTOGRAPHED*
  35. We Are All Shipwrecks by Kelly Grey Carlisle *AUTOGRAPHED*
  36. Tales from the Haunted Mansion Vol. II
  37. Defectors by Joseph Kanon *AUTOGRAPHED*
  38. Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis *AUTOGRAPHED*
  39. Black Man Wheel by Josh Malerman *AUTOGRAPHED*
  40. Max Tilt: Fire the Depths by Peter Lerangis
  41. Forest of a Thousand Laterns by Julie C. Dao
  42. Absolutely Alfie and the Furry Purry Secret by Sally Warner
  43. Rapunzel and the Lost Lagoon by Leila Howland
  44. Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrell
  45. Behind Closed Doors by Miriam Halahmy
  46. Animal Rescue Center: The Homeless Foal by Tina Nolan
  47. The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey
  48. In a Perfect World by Trish Doller
  49. We Come Apart by Sarah Cossan & Brian Conaghan
  50. Note Worth by Riley Redgate
  51. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan
  52. In 27 Days by Alison Gervais
  53. The Book of Massively Epic Engineering Disasters: 33 Thrilling Experiments for Young Scientists by Sean Connolly
  54. Genuine Fraud by e. lockhart
  55. Just Fly Away by Andrew McCarthy
  56. This Would Make a Good Story Someday by Dana Alison Levy
  57. Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker
  58. Genevieve’s War by Patricia Reilly Giff
  59. Royce Rolls by Margaret Stohl
  60. The Stout-Hearted Seven: Orphaned on the Oregon Trail by Neta Lohnes Frazier
  61. Lone Stars by Mike Lupica
  62. I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski
  63. The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano
  64. Carmer and Grit by Sarah Jean Horwitz
  65. The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts by Avi
  66. Revenge of the Star Survivor by Michael Mershcel
  67. Time Twisters: Time and Space by Kathryn Lay
  68. The Boy Who Harness the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer *AUTOGRAPHED*
  69. A Cat is Better by Linda Joy Singleton *AUTOGRAPHED*
  70. Blobfish Throws a Party by Miranda Paul *AUTOGRAPHED*



#EarthDay and #libraries – what the what?

Traditionally, Earth Day has been about recycling, conserving water, biking and walking instead of driving, and picking up litter. In this new era, that simply won’t suffice. Today, I want to talk about the significance of librarians and libraries to Earth Day.

If you believe in alternative facts and do not find fake news to be fake at all (or a real issue) then this post is for YOU. And there are a lot of people who believe fake news. Check out this infographic from Statista, a credibleresearch and statistics database.  On the left you will find fake headlines, and real headlines on the right. Beneath the headline is the number of people who remember seeing the headline and believed it to be very or somewhat accurate. What this says to me is that people are believing nearly everything they read! This is dangerous!


I don’t condemn these individuals, rather, I think more education is needed. Somewhere along the line, the ball has been dropped in teaching individuals how to evaluate sources.

But since this is an Earth Day post, let’s talk about the scientific method, a tried and true method for evaluation. There are six steps in the SM.

  1. Observation – What is occuring? What do you see? Are you interested in discovering more? What is happening?
  2. Question –  Create a question you can use in your experiment. Why is this happening?
  3. Hypothesis – This is where you suggest an answer to your question based on your observations. I think this is happening because…
  4. Experiment – This is where you test your hypothesis (an educated guess). It’s not just ONE experiement, but rather a series, and the data from each will help you in Step 5. I will test my hypothesis.
  5. Analysis – In this step you will review your data from your series of experiments.
  6. Conclusion – What did you discover from your experiments? 


Of course, facts don’t come from one scientist employing the SM. At first theories are developed based on tests using the SM. Remember theories, laws, etc. from school?

When multiple scientists have conducted the same experiment and receive the same result, we generally consider that knowledge as fact. Why? Because it has been tried several times and there is evidence of the truth. So does that mean if you read that a study concluded XYZ to be factual I can share that information as truth? NO! Let me give you a famous example:

We are all aware of the on-going vaccine debates. Many individuals believe that vaccines cause autism but there isn’t any actual evidence. But what about that study? In 1998, a study was conducted by Dr. Andrew Wakefield that showed a significant link between autism and vaccines. The report spread like wildfires and is still spreading today. But it was wrong. In 2011, the British Medical Journal conducted an investigation that discovered Wakefield deceived the public and damaged public health. Wakefield’s study was full of errors, admitted errors. Furthermore, it’s been reported that Wakefield was not honest in the medical history of his patients. And finally, no other studies have come to the same conclusion as Wakefield. As a result of his misinformation and individuals not following proper information evaluation, vaccines administered against measles, mumps, and rubella dropped. And sure enough, diseases that were nearly eradicated reemerged a few years ago, most notably at Disney Land in California.

So how does one evaluate information? In this digital age it involves a few clicks of your mouse and keyboard! Let me give you a few infographics! The first one has been shared by libraries everywhere and is concise. The second gives you more information!



If you are unsure if something is trustworthy, you can always seek out a librarian. We can help you come to that conclusion. In fact, many of us are actively involved with universities and the public to help fight the spread of misinformation (also known as fake news and alternative facts). Which brings me to my next point: why libraries matter in this fight against misinformation and fight for science.

In addition to teaching individuals how to evaluate information, we also provide access to that information for many who do not otherwise have the means. Local and university libraries spend millions of dollars on research databases, online news subscriptions, books, magazines, and films. We can help students and the public locate quality information! Check out what your libraries are up to, now.


On this Earth Day, I implore you to read, research, cross-check, and question what you see on the internet, TV, and in newspapers.