Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thinking about KidLitCon

This year will mark the fifth KidLitCon - a conference for bloggers in the kidlitosphere (from all perspectives (author, teacher, librarian, editor, etc) and for all age ranges from board book to YA). Colleen and Jackie, this coming year's co-organizers, have posted a survey to get input about what people have liked at prior KidLitCons and what people would like to see at this one.

I made it to the first three events, sadly missing this year's, and plan to go this year, so I quickly filled out the survey. But I wanted to write about what I said here in case it sparks reactions in any of y'all. (Plus, ya know, urge you to go fill out the survey!)

For me, a lot of the fun of the event is meeting people who share the same passion - children's literature - and love to talk about it. I like meeting fellow bloggers... and I like having group events where we're all thrown together rather than small groups breaking off into familiar clusters. I get the sense that we can be... not clique-y, as most of us don't know each other that well, but insular: we find folks we know/feel comfortable with/only see once a year and don't make the effort to meet others. Those of us who've been doing this awhile now probably need to lead the effort to introduce folks around.

This is not to say, by the way, that I wouldn't instantly pull up a chair so I can talk with, say, Mother Reader since I haven't seen her in so long. I will do exactly that. It's to say that we all need to be aware that each year brings us folks who know no one among us.

In terms of panels, well, this is tougher. With 100ish people there, we're all gonna be at different levels, we all come from different perspectives, and we all have different priorities. I think the goal in panels has to be balance: some topics appeal to all equally, some have a strong, specific focus (reviews), some technical, some creative.  I think we always need to look at topics that we as a community can grapple with together (how blogs can help books find an audience, for example), and I think we need to focus on how to help the kidlitosphere move beyond speaking to the hard-core, committed book lovers of the world and into becoming a voice that creates new hard-core, committed book lovers.

Those are my first-blush thoughts, also shared via the survey. I hope you'll all chime in on the survey or here in the comments. And I hope to see you at KidLitCon!


Beth G. said...

I've never been to a KidLitCon, but I'm hoping to go this year!

MotherReader said...

Great thoughts and well-put. I'm excited about the new opportunity the fifth year gives us to really look at what we've done and how it can be better.

One of the things I think is most important to broaden our outreach during the conference is to make sure that there is a Friday evening event - and to really encourage folks to consider it as part of the experience. When I've had a bit of time to reconnect with my BFF's - blogging friends forever - I feel a little more open to spending the next day meeting more new people.

Shelly B said...

Sounds like a great time! I would love to be able to attend one year so that I could actually meet many of the KidLit bloggers that I follow and chat with online.

Amy LV said...

I would love to talk about how we can invite more people to join this community, particularly teachers who often do not know how much valuable information they can find in the kidlitosphere!

LaurieA-B said...

I am looking forward to being part of the conference this year, especially as it is here in Seattle. I am a middle school librarian in Seattle Public Schools, so I can help with Amy LV's idea to invite educators to participate in KidLitCon.

(Personal to Greg: Perhaps we can have a family dinner with your cousin Judy Pincus Amster and the rest of the Amsters? She's my mother-in-law and lives a few blocks from me.)

Gregory K. said...

Thanks for the thoughts, y'all. And I do hope to see all of you in Seattle! (And Laurie - perhaps we can!)

Charlotte said...

I agree with Amy--I feel sometimes as if we just talk to each other, and that there are hoards of people out there who would value all the disperate children's book things we do, if only they knew about them!