A fellow librarian, with just enough wiggle room within her budget for one professional publication, asked about the cost versus the benefit of professional magazine subscriptions. First, whether it's School Library Journal, Library Media Connection, or Booklist, they are all beneficial (please add more in the comment section). Occasionally, there are webcasts offered that involve no subscription at all. One thing's for sure: the publications all fit the budget just right with their free Skype offerings and Webcasts!
- As a subscriber to School Library Journal there's still an opportunity to join a free live webcast event on October 13 from 1:15 to 2:00. Students can submit questions to James Patterson, author of Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, about writing, middle school, or anything they can think of.
- Sometimes a publisher will offer a Skype event with an author. Sourcebooks recently did with author Jennifer Nielsen's Elliott and the Pixie Plot. Go ahead and download Skype to your computer to be prepared when an opportunity comes along. Sometimes free books are even thrown in.
- Scholastic and Dear America are teaming up for a webcast with Lois Lowry, Andrea Davis Pinkney, and Kirby Larsen on October 26 at 12 p.m. central time. Create a login at Scholastic and join the event (Scholastic is free, of course, but there are many professional resources here).
The big difference between Skyping and Webcasts is that Skyping can work with smaller audiences because more dialogue can take place (individuals can step up to the camera and speak; webcasts aren't usually set up that way). Also, a live stream of video is seen. Webcasts can accomodate a larger audience and multiple viewing areas. Skype allows up to three additional parties in different viewing areas that can be invited to join in on the video chat.
Almost all publications have a smaller free online version available for subscribing to, so look them up, log in and be ready scoop up information. It's there for the taking!