I’m Your Neighbor at 2013 ALA Diversity and Outreach Fair

ALA_ChicagoLast weekend I’m Your Neighbor took to the skies and traveled to Chicago for the 2013 American Library Association (ALA) Conference. I’m Your Neighbor was selected to be a presenter at the Diversity and Outreach Fair on Saturday afternoon, along side programs such as the Coretta Scott King Book Award Committee, REFORMA and the Chinese American Librarians Association.

ALA says, “The Fair highlights library services to underserved or underrepresented communities, including people with disabilities; poor and homeless populations; people of color; English-language learners; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people; new Americans, new and non-readers; older adults; people living in rural areas; incarcerated people and ex-offenders; and mobile library services and bookmobiles.”

Kirsten Cappy, Anne Sibley O'Brien and Lanie Honda presented I'm Your Neighbor at the ALA Diversity and Outreach Fair in Chicago June 29th

Kirsten Cappy, Anne Sibley O’Brien and Lanie Honda presented I’m Your Neighbor at the ALA Diversity and Outreach Fair in Chicago June 29th

Kirsten Cappy, Anne Sibley O’Brien and Lanie Honda spoke with dozens of librarians, authors and community organizers from around the country about I’m Your Neighbor and the pilot city-wide read I’m Your Neighbor, Portland. Our display included our fabulous logo, descriptions of both projects and pictures from engagement events. We also had the featured books from the I’m Your Neighbor, Portland library collection set out on the table and the banner available for people to add to our list of “I’m Your Neighbor” in different languages.

The response we received was tremendously positive. Many had need of a book list like this. but had not had the time or resources to create it. “This is amazing,” said a librarian from Queens Public Library in New York, “Thank you for doing my work for me!”

Several commented on how welcoming and inclusive the name and logo were. A librarian from Hartford Public Library who runs the “You Belong Here” for new arrivals said, “We struggled a long time with what to name our project. You nailed it. So universal. So welcoming.”

I'm Your Neighbor display

I’m Your Neighbor display

Important connections were made as well. We were delighted to meet the team from Welcoming America and to schedule some time to talk collaboration with them.

Anne Sibley O’Brien and Lanie Honda spent the remainder of the conference speaking one-on-one with publishers who were enthusiastic about both the book list and city-wide read. Several recommended forthcoming publications and titles from their catalog to add to the ever growing book list.