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Acclaimed graphic novelist to speak at BOCES school library conference

     The first graphic novelist to be nominated for a National Book Award is heading to Syracuse Oct. 26 as the keynote speaker at the 2016 Greater Central New York School Library Systems Conference at the Syracuse OnCenter.
     About 250 educators are expected to attend the annual event to hear Gene Luen Yang, whose 2006 graphic novel, “American Born Chinese,” won the prestigious American Library Association’s Printz Award and the Eisner Award for Best New Graphic Album.
     Yang was also appointed as the National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress, the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader. His selected platform is “Reading Without Walls,” a challenge to every reader to:
·       Read a book about a character who doesn’t look like you or live like you.
·       Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about.
·       Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read for fun. This might be a chapter book, a graphic novel, a book in verse, a picture book, or a hybrid book.
     “If you really want to go for the gold star, read a book that fits all three criteria!” Yang says.
     The conference at the OnCenter is meant to gather teacher-librarians, educators and public librarians “to learn from and with each other,” said Doreen Bergman, coordinator of the School Library System at the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Board of Cooperative Services (OCM BOCES).
     “We want to celebrate student learning in and through the school library, especially because our teacher librarians have vast resources and digital expertise that can form the basis for tremendous partnerships with teachers and even our public librarians,” she said. “That, in turn, can result in incredible learning opportunities for students.”
    Workshop sessions focus on topics such as science inquiry and standards, coding, engaging girls in STEM, the value of robotics kits in “Maker” spaces and, of course, books. The overall theme is “Future Ready.”
     OCM BOCES is sponsoring the event in conjunction with the School Library Systems of CiTi BOCES (Oswego County), the Syracuse City School District, Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES and Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga BOCES.
     The keynote speech runs from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., with workshops to follow until 3:30 p.m.
     As part of a grand prize drawing, one lucky recipient will receive a robotics Mobile Maker Kit worth $500, courtesy of the Central New York School Librarians, who are supporting the event with the Central New York/Oswego County Teacher Centers and more than 30 conference exhibitors. The river’s end bookstore in Oswego will also be on hand to give a presentation and share popular titles with educators.