Cognotes 2019 Annual Conference Highlights - 2
Thank you for attending the 2019 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition! It doesn't go unnoticed that your
attendance and participation throughout is what makes our conference a success - and we were overjoyed to see
the excitement that you communicated - whether in person or on social media.
We took advantage of being hosted in the city of politics and created what turned out to be a very successful
"advocacy for libraries" campaign. Through your support at the Opening General Session, over 4,000 messages
were sent to the Senate, and in just five minutes! And the numbers are still climbing. Thank you for your advocacy!
As always, we try to create the type of conference that will allow you to be the best that you can be personally, as well as professionally. Our featured speakers told personal and motivating stories from which we can all
benefit. The JobLIST Placement Center hosted over 200 people at their Orientation and many of the educational
sessions were overflowing with attendance.
I want us all to succeed beyond measure. My focus over the next year is built on four principles for our members and our profession: 1) we must take responsibility for our role in education and defining what teaching
looks like; 2) we will truly welcome and value all of the voices at the table, inclusion should be overtly seen,
broadly encompassing multiple characteristics from different perspectives; 3) intellectual freedom and information literacy means that we should fight to eliminate the producers of fake news and exhibit a strong ethical approach to providing our stakeholders with useful and accurate information; and 4) we must encourage an investment toward personal growth and professional development, with a strong collaborative approach as we work
with our patrons, our community, and each other.
We will faithfully keep a collective eye on present-day objectives while also paying special focus on where we're
headed, and we'll tend to legislative policies that may affect our libraries and our communities. The conversation
continues at the January 24 - 28, 2020 ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Philadelphia, which includes toptier speakers, award winning authors, topical discussions, book award announcements, a dynamic Exhibit Hall
with events and more than 400 exhibitors showcasing the latest technologies, titles, services, and products. You'll
also benefit from the always popular Symposium on the Future of Libraries, sponsored by ALA's Center for the
Future of Libraries. So, book early to get the best rates - registration and housing opens September 11, 2019.
We also look forward to seeing you at the 2020 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, June 25 -
30, which believe it or not, we've already begun planning!
I thank you for your participation in this year's Annual Conference - and for all that you do.
ALA President Wanda Kay Brown
Wanda Kay Brown
Librarians Learn to be "Perfectly You"
By Sara Zettervall, Hennepin County Library
Mariana Atencio arrived on a one-way
ticket to the United States from Venezuela at
age 24. She had a student visa to study journalism but brought far more than the typical
aspiring young writer. With insight into the
importance of personal stories and a vision
for human connection, she eventually found
success as a reporter at MSNBC. On June
24 early risers started their day by basking in
her joyous glow while absorbing the lessons
of her new book, Perfectly You: Embracing the
Power of Being Real.
Atencio's main point was, "you don't have
to be perfect - just perfectly you." This is the
distillation of what she's learned through life
experience and reporting, where she found
her own voice but also saw the power of other
people finding theirs. The stories she shared
demonstrated how seeing, embracing, and
sharing our own imperfections gives each of
us the ability to connect to and help other
people with their own struggles.
From a young age, Atencio explored the
world because her father believed she should
look beyond the borders of her own country.
He sent her to summer camp in Minnesota
when she spoke no English. There, she learned
the seemingly ignorant questions people ask
such as "Do you go to school on a donkey?"
- are simply their way of trying to build
connection to life as they understand it. She
carried that lesson into high school, when she
Journalist Mariana Atencio signs a copy of her new book Perfectly You for Angela
Monk during her book signing session after the Auditorium Speaker Series.
returned to the U.S. as an exchange student.
Like many young people, she didn't always
have empathy for her peers, but she made the
connection to her earlier experience of feeling
"othered" and turned it into the beginning of
a passion for authentic self-expression.
As an adult, Atencio knew she wanted to
share her gifts for storytelling and human
connection by being a reporter, but she real-
ized this just as her home country began to
fall apart. This drove her to come to the U.S.
permanently, and it gave her a multilingual,
multicultural, empathetic perspective. She
believes "we are all storytellers" and that stories
can build "bridges of culture, language, political views, and understanding."
Despite the harrowing news she's covered - from devastating hurricanes to mass
shootings - she emphasized that she always
finds people who "put kindness first." For
example, when she and her TV crew were
trapped on an island while covering Hurricane Florence, they learned all the bridges
were closed, and hotels were full. Half-joking,
Atencio asked her last interviewee of the day if
he'd be willing to host a group of visitors. Not
only did he say yes, he helped them navigate
the storm-wracked island while housing and
feeding them for five nights. Not only did her
host write a glowing review of her book, but
his sister greeted Atencio on her book tour like
she was a member of their family.
The stories she heard during her book tour
have helped build other connections as well.
One reader shared that the book's chapter on
Atencio's loss of her father helped her grieve
the loss of her son. By speaking up about it,
that reader in turn attracted the attention of
another grieving parent in the audience, who
found solace in the connection they subsequently built through shared losses.
Atencio closed with an example of storysharing that made use of the audience. She
asked participants to write down: "What
makes you perfectly you?" After a few minutes, she called for five "brave volunteers,"
and there were several people who shared
very personal stories of depression and loss,
but added that those things made them into
the librarians they are today. She parted with
the thought that this was no longer only her
book, "it's a win for all of us."
Cognotes 2019 Annual Conference Highlights
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