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The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is a network of more than 4,200 children’s and youth librarians, children’s literature experts, publishers, education and library school faculty members, and other adults committed to improving and ensuring the future of the nation through exemplary library service to children, their families, and others who work with children.
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26. ALSC Award Confidentiality: Let us know what you think!

For decades many ALSC book and media award committees have observed time-honored confidentiality policies. The question has been brought to the ALSC Board: For research purposes, should there be a designated statute of limitations on these confidentiality policies?

That’s a big question to think about, and we want your input!  Please complete the following survey by Wednesday, May 18:


Let us know what you think!

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27. ALSC Member of the Month – Melissa Morwood

Each month, an ALSC member is profiled and we learn a little about their professional life and a bit about their not-so-serious side. Using just a few questions, we try to keep the profiles fun while highlighting the variety of members in our organization. So, without further ado, welcome to our ALSC profile, ten (plus one) questions with ALSC member, Melissa Morwood.

1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?

Courtesy photo from Melissa Morwood”

“Courtesy photo from Melissa Morwood”

I am a Senior Children’s Librarian for the Palo Alto City Library, and I have been here for 11 years. I present weekly storytimes for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, host class visits, plan and present school-age and family programming for our customers, and help folks on both the kids and adult reference desks.

2. Why did you join ALSC? Do you belong to any other ALA divisions or roundtables?

I initially joined ALSC to feel a sense of community with other children’s librarians across the country, since for many years I was the only youth services staff person at my branch. I have gained so much through my membership- the ALSC blog posts are always fantastic, and they help me to grow as a librarian, and to provide better service to our customers.

3.  Are you ready for Summer Reading?

I’m in charge of our library’s Summer Reading Program for the third year in a row, so I’ve been thinking about Summer Reading since January! We’ll be doing early Summer Reading registrations as part of a kindergarten library card campaign this year, so it’s only a few more weeks until we have to be ready for the program to go live. And I always look forward to our Kick-Off party, which features music, ice cream, and lots of happy families.

4.   Are you starting to make plans for retirement?

Yes! I’ve still got 19 more years until I can retire, but my husband and I are already making plans to move to California’s north coast where we went to college at Humboldt State University. We love the smaller towns, the laid back atmosphere, and the combination of redwoods, farmland, and desolate beaches. It’s a gorgeous area with friendly people.

5.    What’s the last book you recommended to a friend?

Phoebe and Her Unicorn, by Dana Simpson. I just read it last week, quickly followed by the sequel Unicorn on Wheels. The books are humorous yet sweet, and it cracks me up how endearing Marigold is to the reader, despite being such an egomaniac. Some of my other favorite graphic novels include Roller Girl, Baba Yaga’s Assistant, and This One Summer.

6.    What’s your favorite piece of technology?

My iphone. When I’m not at work, I enjoy not being tied to a desktop computer if I need to send a quick email or get directions. I also love having my phone’s camera capabilities ready at all times for when my 11 month old twin niece and nephew inevitably do something super cute.

7.   Do you have any family traditions?

Every year on Christmas Eve my husband, dog, and I curl up in our pjs and watch Love Actually. It’s been our annual tradition for close to 10 years now, and I always look forward to it.

8.   What is the last song you sang?

The More We Get Together. It’s my closing song each week at Baby Storytime, and we do the sign language along with it. I do two Baby Storytime sessions every Tuesday morning, and I had over 140 attendees between the two programs this morning!

9.   If you could bring back any extinct animal, which would it be?

Definitely dinosaurs (preferably herbivorous dinosaurs…) Regardless of how badly all of the Jurassic Park movies end, I still always turn to my husband and say “I’d TOTALLY visit Jurassic Park!”

10.  How do you incorporate STEM/STEAM activities in your work with children? 

I’m actually doing my very first STEM-based program tomorrow afternoon! We’re having an Engineers at Work program, where kids in grades 2-5 will be challenged to create marble runs out of household materials, and then we’ll have races to see how well each run works. I was inspired to try STEAM programming after watching ALSC webinars presented by Amy Koester, who makes STEAM programming look so fun and easy.

11.  What’s your favorite thing to do when you are not working?

Hanging out with my husband and talking about children’s literature. He’s a kindergarten teacher, and it’s so much fun to recommend books for him to read to his class- they love the Mercy Watson and Princess in Black series. It’s great to be able to geek out regarding the ALSC Book & Media Awards, and have him not only listen but actively participate in the conversation. He’s super supportive of my dream to serve on an ALSC award committee someday.


Thanks, Melissa! What a fun continuation to our monthly profile feature!

Do you know someone who would be a good candidate for our ALSC Monthly Profile? Are YOU brave enough to answer our ten questions? Send your name and email address to alscblog@gmail.com; we’ll see what we can do.

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28. Dare to Dance: Introducing Dance Movements and Music into your Storytimes

Are you ready to energize your storytimes with dancing that goes beyond movement songs? Are you ready to dare to use your body to motivate caregivers while promoting children’s developmental needs for coordination, balance and gross motor skills?

Dancing Girls

Kids enjoy the Music in this Public Domain image from Cane River Creole National Historical Park

Our library expanded the role of our storytimes into a program that offers more than reading books, nursery rhymes and singing songs. We introduced Dance Time to teach children basic dance steps while listening to an age appropriate song.

There is so much librarians can do to enhance the library experience through dancing. Dancing provides opportunities for adults and children to learn to:

  • Follow the beats of the song with their feet and or hands
  • Balance their body parts
  • Coordinate their body movements

Additional benefits of dancing include:

  • Improve muscle tone
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Increase ability to feel comfortable about oneself

Although dancing is a natural channel of expression for many cultures, children from other cultures, including some that are predominant in the United Stated, are hardly exposed to it. In some cultures, babies are exposed to music and dancing from birth, with moms dancing around holding their babies in their arms regularly. Soon baby and mommy-and-baby dancing transforms into a semi dancing lesson with caregivers holding and moving their toddles’ hands and arms while following the beats of a song. As the child’s motor skills develop, the caregiver will now focus on simple steps using the child’s legs and feet. Dance will continue be part of the child’s life in elementary school where different dances are taught in music class.

Coming from a culture where this type of exposure to dance is widespread, in my work as a Youth Services Librarian, I noticed that lack of coordinated body movements following a rhythmic patterns in children attending our programs. Naturally, this observation changes depending on the cultural background of clients.

As a result of my observations, I supplemented our storytimes with a portion of the program called Dance Time. During Dance Time, children and caregivers are encouraged to dance to a tune following three basic dance steps that are reinforced at every storytime. When I introduced Dance Time for the first time, many children and parents were reluctant to follow me. However, after a couple months of Dance Time, these same clients appeared more relaxed and moved happily following the beat of the music.

Music is contagious and is an excellent tool to uplift spirits and transform a library program into a lifelong learning experience. Many librarians already use children’s songs during storytime. However, have you offered a “dance activity” or “movement song” to invigorate your programs? Let us know about it in the comments below.

If you feel ready to dare, try the following dance songs in your storytime:

  • Palo, palo Music Together. Palo, Palo. [Arranged and adapted by Gerry Dignan and K. Guilmartin]. Music Together: Bringing harmony Home [CD]. Princeton NJ: (2007)
  • El baile del perrito (Wilfrido Vargas)


Photo courtesy of guest blogger

Photo courtesy of guest blogger

Our guest blogger today is Kathia Ibacache. Kathia is a Youth Services Librarian at Simi Valley Public Library. She has worked as a music teacher and Early Music Performer and earned a MLIS from San José State University and a DMA from the University of Southern California. She loves to read realistic fiction and horror stories and has a special place in her heart for film music.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

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29. Wilder Times Ahead!

WilderBeverly Cleary                                           Ashley Bryan

Katherine Paterson                                  E.B. White

Donald Crews                                            Virginia Hamilton

Virginia Hamilton                                     Jerry Pinkney

What do all these talented people have in common?

They are just a few recipients of the Laura Ingalls Wilder award, presented  to “an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.” First given in 1954 to Laura Ingalls Wilder, the award was originally presented every five years and has evolved; it is now given annually.

What author or illustrator do you think has made their mark on American children’s literature?  The 2017 Wilder Committee is seeking your suggestions of  authors and illustrators to be considered for next year’s award. Has your favorite author been recognized already? Check out the entire list of previous Wilder medal recipients. If not, let us know who you are thinking of and why!

So what exactly does “substantial and lasting contribution” mean? According to the criteria, these books “occupy an important place in literature for American children and that over the years children have read the books and that the books continue to be requested and read by children.”  If you are detail-oriented or historically minded, you might enjoy exploring the definitions and criteria behind the awards.  In reviewing these specifications, I can see the well-thought out process behind the awards, and it makes me appreciate the procedures that have been developed. Interestingly, the Wilder Award can be awarded posthumously, and regardless of a person’s place of residence.

Please submit your suggestions via the form at http://www.ala.org/alsc/wilder-medal-suggestion-form. Note: The page can only be accessed by ALSC members—so you must be logged into the ALA website to view the form.

Please share your ideas with us!

Happy reading,

Robin L.  Gibson, 2017 Wilder Award Committee member, Westerville Public Library, Westerville, Ohio

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30. An April-full of ALSC Adventures

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”

― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Welcome! (Taken at Arapahoe Library District's Koelbel Library)

Welcome! (Taken at Arapahoe Library District’s Koelbel Library)

I kicked off last month at the Illinois Youth Services Institute, in Normal, presenting on Media Mentorship with one of the co-authors of our white paper on the topic and newly elected “New to ALSC” Board member, Amy Koester, encouraging everybody in the audience (and you, too!) to tweet “I am a #mediamentor”. Congratulations to my fellow Prairie state children’s librarians who imagined and delivered a wonderful inaugural event.

Then I headed up several thousand feet to Denver, for the Public Library Association conference, the theme of which was “Be Extraordinary.” The week was absolutely that, and more, and you can discover some of the experiences there by looking back at the live blogging that several ALSC members did, including pictures from the awesome ALSC Happy Hour and from my invigorating visit, along with our Executive Director, Aimee Strittmatter, to the beautiful Koelbel Library of the Arapahoe Library District, in Centennial, Colorado.


I had an especially transformative National Library Week this year by visiting 5 libraries in 5 states in 5 days! I began at the Kate Waller Barrett Branch Library in Alexandria, Virginia, built in 1937 and named after, as its website says, “a humanitarian, social crusader and political reformer.” Then on to a building built more than three-quarters of a century later, the beautifully modern Silver Spring Library, part of the Montgomery County Public Libraries in Maryland, followed by a visit to the Tippecanoe County Public Library’s Downtown Library in Lafayette, Indiana, where the “people chairs” make for very comfy reading. Next, a stop back home at Chicago Public Library’s Hall Branch, where Charlemae Hill Rollins served as children’s librarian many decades ago. Then it was westward to the Oxnard Public Library’s Main Library in California, where it was clear upon entering their “Area Para Los Niños” that the community was having a very happy week! All of these visits to ALSC members and our libraries, along with my many others this year (which you can discover on Twitter with #ALSCtour) have made me even more amazed at the work we do and the libraries in which, and from which, we do it. Not to mention even more excited about celebrating these spaces at my President’s Program at Annual (Monday, 6/27, 1:00, Convention Center #W110A), and you can check out a quick video about it, filmed in Ms. Rollins children’s room, here:

On the Friday of National Library Week, the singular Pat Mora presented a joyous Arbuthnot Lecture–¡Alegría en los libros!–at the gorgeous Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) and you can also enjoy it hereGracias to SBCC, the Santa Barbara Public Library System, and the University of California at Santa Barbara, which includes the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education and the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies. BTW, applications are now being accepted to host next year’s Arbuthnot Lecture starring Jacqueline Woodson, so please consider applying by May 15 here.

In Santa Barbara's fantastic new Central Library Children's Room with '16 Arbuthnot Chair Julie Corsaro & Children's Librarian Gwen. (Photo by Aimee Strittmatter)

In Santa Barbara’s fantastic new Central Library Children’s Room with ’16 Arbuthnot Chair Julie Corsaro & Senior Youth Services Librarian Gwen Wagy. #BabiesNeedWordsEveryDay (Photo by Aimee Strittmatter)

Then I was delighted to be reunited with Pat again several days later, this time in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the 20th anniversary of El día de los niños/El día de los libros, the nationally recognized initiative founded by Pat that emphasizes the importance of literacy for all children from all backgrounds. With support from ALA’s Washington Office we had a joyful morning of books (and cake!) at the U.S. Captiol along with Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Rep. Mark Takano (CA-41), Sen. Jack Reed (RI).

Congressman Mark Takano of California reads "Book Fiesta!" while Pat Mora, me, and kids from CentroNia and Payne Elementary celebrate. (Photo by Aimee Strittmatter)

Congressman Mark Takano of California reads “Book Fiesta!” while Pat Mora, me, and kids from CentroNia and Payne Elementary School celebrate. (Photo by Aimee Strittmatter)

Thanks, everybody, for a delightful Día and an awesome April! I’m looking forward to May’s flowers and want to congratulate all of those who stood for election on this year’s ALSC ballot–both those who won and those whose names will I hope appear again soon!

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31. Announcing the Blog’s #TopTenContest

ALSC Blog Top Ten Contest

ALSC members are invited to submit their entries in the Top Ten Contest. Winners receive their choice of two prize categories! (Image courtesy of ALSC)

ALSC members love lists! The ALSC Blog is holding a contest to find out which members have the best lists. And they don’t just have to be book lists. Keep in mind your audience: ALSC Blog readers are world travelers, children’s literature enthusiasts, pillars of knowledge, youth librarians, and community engagement specialists. Send us your top 10 and we’ll hold a vote for the top ten list of top ten lists!

Winners will be able to choose from two categories of prizes including individual 2016 Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet tickets. Participants must be personal members of ALSC. Lists must be submitted by Friday, May 13, 2016 at 5pm Eastern/4pm Central. Help us spread the contest by tweeting about is using the hashtag #toptencontest. For more information and rules, please see the Top Ten Contest tab.

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32. 2016 ALSC Election Results

Many thanks to all of the candidates who ran for division office this year. We appreciate their willingness to put their names forward for the division. Here are the results from the 2016 ALSC elections:

Vice President/President-Elect

Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, Oakland, CA

Board of Directors

Karen MacPherson, Takoma Park Maryland Library, Takoma Park, MD

New to ALSC Board of Directors

Amy Koester, Skokie Public Library, Skokie, IL

Fiscal Officer

Paula Holmes, Upper St. Clair Library Board, Upper St Clair, PA

Newbery 2018 Committee

Angie Manfredi, Los Alamos County Library System, Los Alamos, NM
Sujei Lugo, Boston Public Library, Jamaica Plain, MA
Thaddeus Andracki, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Chicago, IL
Janice Del Negro, Dominican University GSLIS, River Forest, IL
Catharine Potter, Falmouth Elementary School, Falmouth, ME
Carol Goldman, Queens Library, Forest Hills, NY
Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA
Susan Giffard, Ethical Culture School, New York, NY

Caldecott 2018 Committee

Sylvia Vardell, Texas Woman’s University, Denton, TX
Dean Schneider, Ensworth School, Nashville, TN
Katie Salo, Melrose Park, IL Jeanne McDermott, Amagansett Free Library, Amagansett, NY
Naphtali Faris, Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, MO
Michelle Young, Lihue Public Library, Lihue, HI
Sarah Hinkle, West Linn Public Library, West Linn, OR
Heather McNeil, Deschutes Public Library, Bend, OR

Sibert 2018 Committee

Madeline Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA
Mary Michell, Skokie Public Library, Skokie, IL
Debra Marshall, Wilson Elementary School, Coppell, TX
Adrienne Gillespie, Stoller Middle School, Portland, OR
Danielle Forest, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS

Wilder 2018 Committee

Viki Ash, San Antonio Public Library, San Antonio, TX
Susan Faust, Katherine Burke School, San Francisco, CA
Merri Lindgren, Cooperative Children’s Book Center / Univ of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

Visit the ALA 2016 Election page.

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33. Comics Update!

It’s time for our semi-annual comics for tweens roundup.  Here’s a few comics that your tweens will adore!

source: Goodreads

A group of teenage girls used to be the Zodiac Starforce: they spent their freshman year fighting monsters. But that’s pretty much over two years later…or so they think it is until their leader, Emma, is attacked by a monster and infect her. Good for tweens and teens, Ganacheau’s bright coloring and magical girl style is fun to real.

source: Goodreads

AT LONG LAST, Amulet #7 has arrived! Your young patrons will be so excited! Emmy, Trellis, and Vigo visit Algos island, where they can enter lost memories, looking for knowledge they can use against the Elf King. This series continues to be great. Use it for displays to get your teens excited about comics!

source: Goodreads

Originally a webcomic, Help Us Great Warrior is a delightful tale of a deceptively tiny Great Warrior protecting her village from evil-doers. But she has a huge secret. How will her friends feel about her protecting them when they find out?

source: Goodreads

Sixth in the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series, this juvenile nonfiction graphic book takes on the Battle of the Alamo. Your kids that already like NHHT will, of course, love it, but it’ll stand well on its own.


source: Goodreads

We’re getting a new Raina this year! Did you know we were getting a new Raina this year?? It’s out in September, and here’s the copy to read to your kids to get them excited about the fall:

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.

Our cross-poster from YALSA today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a library consultant at the Mississippi Library Commission.

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34. Fresh Graphic Novel Picks

Image from Penguin Random House.

Image from http://bit.ly/1StCQOy.

Hurrah! Spring has officially arrived- at least for the most part.  Although it seems to be a daily surprise here in my part of the country whether or not we will have spring or winter temperatures, I thought it was a great time for sharing some fresh, new graphic novels with you! Below are a few of my favorite titles that have been published so far this year. I’m sure you and your patrons will enjoy them!

Complete Chi’s Sweet Home: Part 2 by Konami Kanata. Vertical Comics; 2016.

Cat lovers of all ages will adore this manga series! This recently released title collects volumes four through six from Kanata’s original series. Follow Chi in her adorable adventures as she learns how to live with her adoptive family, the Yamadas, and searches for her mother.

Unicorn Vs. Goblins: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson. Andrews McMeel Publishing; 2016.

The third volume in the Phoebe and Her Unicorn series delivers plenty of laughs, just like the previous two titles. Readers will follow Phoebe and her narcissistic unicorn best friend, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, on some goofy adventures. The pair visit summer music camp, hangout with Marigold’s sister, Florence Unfortunate Nostrils (ha!), and encounter a goblin queen. An especially great pick for tween readers.

The Great Pet Escape by Victoria Jamieson, Henry Holt and Co.; 2016.

The amazing creator of Newbery honor book Roller Girl has now given us this gem! Have you ever wondered what classroom pets do once the students and teachers have went home for the day? Jamieson gives us a hilarious look at the after-hours antics of the pets of Daisy P. Flugelhorn Elementary as they attempt to escape, get into a food fight, and more. Younger readers in kindergarten through second grade will be cracking up, I know I was!

The Nameless City: Volume 1 by Faith Erin Hicks. First Second; 2016.

Image from http://bit.ly/21fQDus.

Image from http://bit.ly/21fQDus.

This title is slated to be the beginning of a new series from Hicks and it is filled with adventure and intrigue. Two kids from opposite sides of a long-held conflict become friends in the City. It remains nameless due to the constant invasions by other nations, seeking to control the only passage through the mountains to the ocean in this well-developed fictional world. Recommended for older tween readers, this graphic novel takes on more serious issues of identity while providing plenty of fun action.

What are some of your favorite graphic novels published this year so far? Happy reading until next time!

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35. Lessons Learned from Storytime

Storytime is a learning environment and we all have lessons learned — including librarians. While I am a better storytime librarian than when I started, I am still far from perfect. And I’ve learned a lot about what kinds of books and materials work best for me in storytime. But in order to do that, I had to make some mistakes.

Five Storytime Lessons Learned

Never Repeating Themes
At my first library, I never repeated storytime themes. I figured I had to get five years worth of themes since I was primarily doing an all-ages storytime and my youngest patrons would age out in five years. That led to some great creative themes, but it also meant shelving dinosaurs storytime for FIVE YEARS. And besides, repetition is great for kids.

Lack of Inclusive Books
Whoa, have I made this mistake more than once! I used to do holiday storytimes because that was what had always been done. And I stopped doing that in 2012 after realizing that I was excluding patrons from storytime. I used to love using Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox until I had a storytime friend who did not have ten fingers and ten toes. I didn’t double-check to make sure that I had non-traditional families represented until Mommy and Mama brought their child to storytime. Inclusive storytimes make everyone feel welcome.

No Recorded Music
I didn’t use recorded music in my storytimes until 2014. I have a decent singing voice and mostly sang a capella. I knew who Jim Gill was, but couldn’t sing any songs by him. Until a grandmother said to me that her grandchild really missed the music that Miss J used. Also: using recorded music frees me up to dance crazily with the kids and model that behavior for caregivers.

Using a Floor Easel in Toddler Storytime
At my current library, I used a floor easel flannelboard since that’s what I was familiar with. Big mistake. The toddlers wound up all around the board petting it and ignoring me. I switched to tabletop easel the next week to avoid the toddler swarm. Make adjustments week to week; don’t wait until the problem becomes familiar to patrons.

Not Knowing When to Stop
There are days when it’s better to just close the book. I knew that. I just couldn’t always come to terms with it. Now I am an absolute pro at saying, “Grown-ups, it seems like our little ones want to get up and move. We can do an activity now and we can read another time.” Having those speeches memorized is really helpful and makes storytime flow naturally.

I could go on (not laying down expectations, reading a book that I didn’t love, not knowing how to get caregivers involved, doing difficult product crafts, no early literacy tips, forgetting to double-check that my book is in good condition) but I feel like I’ve already laid out enough mistakes for one day.

I don’t beat myself up over any of these, by the way. It’s all part of learning. But I do constantly and continuously try to improve. Part of that is realizing that it might be time for a change for the betterment of storytime and a better user experience for my patrons.

How about you? Have you made any changes to storytime? Do you have lessons learned?

– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library

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36. Celebrating Moms (and Grandmoms!)

There is no shortage of amazing picture books about mothers and grandmothers, but there is definitely always a need for more books that include mothers from different cultures and walks of life. If you’re planning a story time, display, or book list for Mother’s Day, include these books to reflect the diversity of your patron population:


(image taken from Donna Jo Napoli’s website)

With warmer days getting closer and closer, beach stories will soon be in high demand in no time. Hands and Hearts is not only a gorgeously illustrated story about a fun trip to the beach, but it also incorporates American Sign Language to tell this story of a mother and her young daughter  discussing their big outing.



Where do many families celebrate Mother’s Day? At grandmother’s house, of course! Full Full of Love  follows a large extended family as they enjoy a fabulous feast at grandmother’s house, which features lots of hugs and kisses in addition to the scrumptious dishes.

(image taken from Candlewick Press)


(image taken from HarperCollins Publishers)

Making cookies with mom is a treasured childhood memory for many, as is celebrated in Mama & Me.  Spanish words (the English equivalent is incorporated after the Spanish word is introduced)  are included in this warmly told and illustrated tale about a precious bond between a mother and her daughter.



(image taken from Scholastic)

A definite scarcity in picture book: mothers in wheelchairs or mothers that have physical disabilities. In Mama Zooms, we see a young boy who imagines that he has many adventures with his mother as they ride in her wheelchair.

What are your favorite picture books about mothers? Let us know in the comments!



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37. Transforming Ideas into Reality

As I attended the North Carolina Library Association’s (NCLA) Executive Board Meeting this past week in Black Mountain, NC at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly, (https://www.blueridgeassembly.org/) I was struck by the passion of my colleagues from across the state who are committed to improving the lives of our library patrons and communities by brainstorming new ideas to encourage change. As Vice Chair/Chair Elect of the Youth Services Section of the NCLA, I’m excited to see how these ideas bring growth and new possibilities. It makes me consider how ideas are able to move beyond the planning stage to become fully fledged concepts, whether these ideas take root as a project within our individual libraries or grow to strengthen the existing work of our professional associations. Passion, people, and purposeful promotion are all necessary to take those valuable ideas beyond board room discussions and move them into practical implementation within our communities.

How do we get those lightbulb moments to turn into reality? (Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

How do we turn ideas into reality?
(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

The Power of Passion

As we all face more and more commitments, it is critical that our efforts are targeted to the services that truly matter. When we are passionate about an idea, we are more likely to stay connected to ensure its successful implementation. Self-motivation is key to develop our passion into a purpose. This passion is necessary to ensure new concepts move forward from an individual’s idea to an organization’s goal. Passion appears to be at the heart of our successful initiatives, such as evidenced by our LibrariCon attendance. LibrariCon is our Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center’s annual anime/graphic novel/sci-fi mini convention featuring anime viewing, panels and forums, Artist Alley, Chibi Corner, Manga Lounge, Cosplay Runway, and more. As we prepare for its 10 year anniversary celebration, this event has evolved into a destination experience for our customers due to the passion and dedicated commitment of library staff and volunteers.

The Need for People

Working with people help our ideas to soar (Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

Connections with people help our ideas to soar.
(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

No matter the passion, great ideas need a team of people to make them a reality. Whether it’s a committee coordinating a conference or introducing a new service to a pre-existing summer reading program, it is necessary to bring more staff on board to assist with the details of any project. Internally, our system’s recently formed Youth Services Advisory Council (YSAC) serves as a forum for members of Administration and Youth Services Managers to discuss current issues in our field and to form sub-committees on various projects to ensure ideas are reviewed. Through staffers’ commitment to move youth services forward, we have developed innovative ideas to enhance our children’s summer reading program, have planned early literacy centers at our branch locations, and have streamlined festival programming.

Purposeful Promotion   

All the ideas in the world won't be realized without purposeful promotion (Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

Promotion develops individual ideas.
(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

Promotion and purpose go hand in hand in ensuring the best ideas are strengthened and receive necessary support when evaluated. It’s necessary to examine our current projects to guarantee our library’s mission and vision are best supported by our current work. Sometimes the need to create new ideas helps to ensure our library’s goals remain relevant as our communities’ needs change. When we realized some of our families would appreciate a twist to the traditional story time routine, youth services staff developed a vibrant partnership with our local parks and recreation department to combine movement with stories and music. Advertised by word of mouth and through our system’s internal Community Relations Department, this vibrant series of story times has become a valuable addition to our busy programming schedule, successfully served by strong promotional efforts.

A passion, people, and promoting for a purpose are all necessary to make our best ideas bloom into reality. What ideas have you been excited about seeing develop into fruition? What tips have you learned to make your concepts connect? Please share in the comments below!

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38. ALSC Member of the Month – Chelsea Couillard-Smith

Each month, an ALSC member is profiled and we learn a little about their professional life and a bit about their not-so-serious side. Using just a few questions, we try to keep the profiles fun while highlighting the variety of members in our organization. So, without further ado, welcome to our ALSC profile, ten questions with ALSC member, Chelsea Couillard-Smith.

  1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?
Photo by Sara Pinnell, courtesy of Chelsea Couillard-Smith

Photo by Sara Pinnell, courtesy of Chelsea Couillard-Smith

My official title is Senior Librarian in Collection Management Services, but what I actually DO is select all children’s and teen print materials as well as audiobooks, e-books, and e-audiobooks. My library is a 41-branch city/county system that includes the city of Minneapolis, and in addition to materials selection, I get to work on lots of other collection-related projects, too. I’m so fortunate to have a job that allows me to focus on the collection, and I absolutely love my work! I’ve been with HCL since June 2015, and prior to that, I spent 4 years as the Youth Materials Selector for the Sacramento (CA) Public Library.

  1. Why did you join ALSC? Do you belong to any other ALA divisions or roundtables?

I joined ALSC right out of graduate school because I was just starting out as a youth services manager, and I knew I would need the support and resources that ALSC provides. What I didn’t expect was to find such a wonderful community of amazing peers and mentors who have really helped me find my place in ALA and in the library profession. I’m currently co-chairing the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee, and I’ve previously served on the Public Awareness and Newbery Award committees (shout out to FLORA & ULYSSES). I’m also a member of YALSA and the Intellectual Freedom Round Table.

  1. If given the opportunity, would you prefer to be on American Ninja Warrior, Hell’s Kitchen, or The Amazing Race?

I’d love to be on The Amazing Race! I really enjoy traveling, and it would be fun to see all those amazing places in such a unique way. A college classmate (and rugby teammate) of mine actually won a couple of years ago, so I’ve been thinking lately that it might be time to put together a librarian team!

  1. What’s the last book you recommended to a friend?

For a co-worker’s baby shower, my Dad wanted to gift a book that the baby could grow into, so I suggested WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON by Grace Lin. It’s such a gorgeous book, so it makes a great gift. But I also like that it’s both a great read aloud (for a younger child) and a great independent read for a broad age range.

  1. What forms of social media do you use regularly?

I use Facebook mostly because it keeps me connected to my personal and professional worlds, but I dabble in Twitter, too, and I try to use Goodreads regularly. I can’t find the time to add anything else!

  1. What’s your favorite thing to do when you are not working?

I love the outdoors, so when I’m not working (or reading), I’m probably hiking, camping, or biking. And this will be my first summer with a garden, so I’m looking forward to that new challenge.

  1. What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read?

I have a very low tolerance for scary stuff. I’m still haunted by a particular GOOSEBUMPS title I picked up as a kid that involved murder by decapitation (using a guitar string), and a “children’s” adaptation of DRACULA affected my sleeping habits until about middle school. Don’t even get me started on SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK!

  1. What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

Kate DiCamillo’s RAYMIE NIGHTINGALE has really stayed with me. She manages to keep the story so firmly centered on the girls and their emotions in spite of the chaos in their families. The most fun I’ve had recently was reading the second volume in Varian Johnson’s heist series, TO CATCH A CHEAT. I love the humor and the intricate plotting.

  1. Do you normally celebrate holidays? What’s your favorite?

I am a Christmas FIEND. I usually start listening to Christmas music in November because we have a house rule that I can’t start before Halloween. I love all the traditions: baking, selecting and wrapping presents, decorating the house, spending time with family. There’s a peacefulness to the season, one that comes from the cold and the stillness of Midwestern winters, I think, that really appeals to me.

  1. Do you remember the first book you ever read?

When I was 5 years old, my family spent about a year living in Lesotho in southern Africa. My parents were planning to homeschool me, so they made some books to teach me to read. I’m told that I read through all the books they’d made and demanded more, so they decided to send me to “real” school instead. I’d love to read one of those homemade books again!


Thanks, Chelsea! What a fun continuation to our monthly profile feature!

Do you know someone who would be a good candidate for our ALSC Monthly Profile? Are YOU brave enough to answer our ten questions? Send your name and email address to alscblog@gmail.com; we’ll see what we can do.

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39. Museum passes

ticket-imageThis month I am thinking about the trend of public libraries offering museum passes for check out. The idea is to partner with local museums and other fun, family-friendly, educational and/or cultural places and create an agreement that allows the library to circulate day passes to the partnering institutions. From the small amount of research I’ve done, I see there are many ways to go about doing this. Some libraries are high-tech and have web portals that allow patrons to print off museum passes from any computer. Some libraries have actual tickets that circulate like any other physical materials in the collection. Does your library have circulating museum passes? Do the tickets allow an entire family in to a facility for free? Do the tickets cover any kind of additional fees (like parking)?

Here are some examples of this kind of service – this is just a few, there are many more out there:

Please share your knowledge about how this program works. If you offer at your library, is it a popular service? How is this service funded – through donations or grants? Any words of wisdom to share? How many days is the ticket valid or how long can each patron keep it? Have you used this unique kind of circulating material as a patron? Tell me all about it in the comments.

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40. Poetry Month Wrap-Up Illustrated

I did a fair amount of live-blogging for PLA this month, so all my serious thoughts were all dried up – except to say that PLA is incredible and I learned a ton.

So, to wrap-up Poetry Month, I wanted to share a display my coworker Krishna put together:


We had slots for children to write their own pocket poems, and some of them are too good not to illustrate (no grammar or spelling altered).

Poem #1: dope


My interpretation:


Poem #2: My Zootch


Here’s what Shel Silverstein had to say about that:


Poem #3: untitled


My interpretation:


To all budding poets, I salute you!

All illustrations copyright Lisa Nowlain, 2016.

Lisa Nowlain is the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Fellow and Children’s Librarian at Darien Library in Darien, CT. She is also an artist-type (see more at lisanowlain.com).

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41. Prince, Putumayo, and Streaming Music

News broke of Prince’s unexpected departure from this world during our monthly book order meeting last Thursday. It was impossible to avoid the flood of quotes, photos, and music performances on social media, but many fans found it challenging to listen online to  “Little Red Corvette,” or “Diamonds and Pearls,” in memoriam. Prince was a huge proponent for artist’s rights and this is why listeners cannot find his work on streaming services like Pandora and YouTube. Prince did not totally abandon placing his music online, and the artist utilized Tidal, the subscription service owned by Jay Z, and SoundCloud to share new music. Lucky for me I somehow kept a copy of Purple Rain in my office – something every children’s librarian should have tucked away!

The search for Prince’s music was the perfect opportunity for libraries to market their own digital services, and USA Today even gave public libraries a shout out in an article providing listeners with alternative options. In response, libraries such as Highland Park Public Library and Green Tree Public Library shared Hoopla’s Prince offerings with their users.

About six years ago my library eliminated CDs for mass circulation and the children’s library has been the only place where CDs continue to exist. Parents and caregivers still request music, especially storytime cult classics like Hap Palmer’s Getting to Know Myself. As playing this type of media becomes increasingly difficult, we have been guiding families to Hoopla, the streaming service which we introduced two years ago. Luckily Hoopla has a comprehensive Raffi collection, as well as They Might Be Giants and Putumayo World Music.

Many libraries opt to provide another streaming offering, Freegal, if not having the ability to offer both services. Freegal offers users the ability to stream unlimited content which includes exclusive Sony Music Entertainment options. Despite having different pricing structures for libraries, both services are valuable for being free to library users, and also claim to give artists a percentage of their earnings.

If you provide digital music services for your library how is it received? Are parents, caregivers, and kids using these resources?

Claire Moore is a member of the Digital Content Task Force. She is also Head of Children and Teen Services at Darien Library in Connecticut. You can reach Claire at cmoore@darienlibrary.org.

Visit the Digital Media Resources page to find out more about navigating your way through the evolving digital landscape.

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42. 2016 Día Booklists

 2016 Building STEAM with Día Booklists

Download your copy of the new 2016 Building STEAM with Día Booklists (image courtesy of ALSC)

ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee has developed two new booklists for this celebratory year of Día.

The 2016 Building STEAM with Día Booklists continue the theme of identifying promising resources to supplement (S)cience, (T)echnology, (E)ngineering, the (A)rts, and (M)ath programming while reflecting a variety of cultures and languages.

The 20 Years of Día: Share the Gift of Reading lists are a special tribute to encourage everyone to participate in the celebration of Día’s 20th anniversary. To help libraries and community members access these books as easily as possible, ALSC has collaborated with our Official Día Supporter, First Book, to identify which books are available through their First Book Marketplace. By registering with First Book, librarians and others serving children in areas of high poverty can access books at little or no cost. In addition to printed books, these titles may also be available as unlimited eBooks through the recently launched Open eBooks Initiative.

20 Years of Día Booklist

New for 2016! The 20 Years of Día Booklist is great for your celebration (image courtesy of ALSC)

Each of the lists are available for download in the ranges of Birth to Pre-K, Kindergarten to 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade to 5th Grade and 6h Grade to 8th Grade. Click the Free Program Downloads tab to download them all today!

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43. Update on the #ALSC16 Institute

Thank you to everyone for the robust and respectful discussion regarding the status of the 2016 ALSC National Institute following North Carolina’s passage of HB2 one month ago. I’m incredibly grateful to my Board colleagues for their careful consideration and knowledge-based decision making. We heard very loudly and consistently from ALSC members on this issue and while I very much share in the disappointment that we won’t be gathering together in Charlotte this September, I’m proud of how all of us in the ALSC community have handled this challenging, important, and very real issue that led to its cancellation.

Throughout this process, the work of ALSC Executive Director Aimee Strittmatter and of Kristen Figliulo, Program Officer for Continuing Education, has been nothing short of extraordinary, as has that of their office colleagues Laura Schulte-Cooper, Dan Bostrom, Angela Hubbard, Marsha Burgess, and Courtney Jones. Vice President Betsy Orsburn, Fiscal Officer Diane Foote, Division Councilor Jenna Nemec-Loise, and Budget Committee Chair Paula Holmes have also been particularly involved in this process.

If you haven’t yet seen the Board document that outlines the details involved in this decision, please do take a look at it here.

Support from across all of ALA has been tremendous. ALA President Sari Feldman is a great friend of ALSC and of library service to children and I hope you’ll join me in expressing appreciation to her for her advocacy and support, as well as to Mario Gonzalez, ALA Treasurer and Executive Board Liaison to ALSC. ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels and Senior Associate Executive Director Mary Ghikas, along with the Public Awareness Office and Office for Library Advocacy have been there for ALSC at every step along the way. And a very special THANK YOU to our good friends at the ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table, especially Chair Peter Coyl, Chair-Elect Deb Sica, and Immediate Past-Chair Ann Symons.

Please also help me express our incredible thanks to the Institute Planning Task Force, who have put so much dedication, care, and excitement into their work for many, many, many months. Thank you to Chair Emily Nanney and members Seth Ervin, Catherine Haydon, Jesse Isley, Karin Michel, Rebecca Thomas, and Priority Group Consultant Julie Dietzel-Glair. For those of you who will attending the ALA Annual Conference in June, please plan to attend the ALSC Membership Meeting on Monday (June 27) at 10:30 a.m. in the Orange County Convention Center Room W308, as we pay special tribute to the Task Force.

It was important that we took these weeks to make such a careful and considered decision, and while some elements of its implementation are still in progress, here is the latest information:

  • Our Quicklists Committee has compiled a Transgender/Inclusion Advocacy & Information resource. The aim of this list is to educate and support both library workers and the general public regarding the legislation and the issues of transgender rights. It includes several organizations to contact regarding advocacy, donating time and money, and a bibliography of related books, including picture books, fiction, and nonfiction.
  • Those who were registered for the Institute will receive a full refund of registration fees without penalty.
  • For those who had already booked airfare, ALSC has created a memo to airlines (including American Airlines, for which Charlotte is a major hub) requesting they waive the change fee or offer a full refund, in the spirit of solidarity, to those who booked travel to North Carolina over the Institute dates.
  • ALSC is now planning to hold a one-day workshop immediately prior to the 2017 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday, January 20, to accommodate as much of the Institute’s creative programming as possible.
  • ALSC also plans to offer much of the Institute’s educational content in an online format.

Specific details around which content will be offered, as well as its timing, pricing, and format, will be available in the coming weeks as ALSC works through the details, and Betsy and I will have additional information in our upcoming May ALSC Matters! columns. So stay tuned, and if you have any additional questions or thoughts, please feel free to share them in the comments section below or via e-mail at andrewalsc@outlook.com.

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44. Distinguished Service Award – Nominate!

Who inspires you? Have  you ever thought, “I want to be THAT librarian when I grow up”? Do you know an ALSC member who should be recognized for their work? If you can answer these questions, perhaps you should consider nominating someone for the ALSC Distinguished Service Award.

The nominee should be an individual who has made significant contributions to, and an impact on, library services to children and to the Association for Library Service to Children. They must be a personal member of ALSC.  The nominee may be a practicing or retired librarian in a public or school library, a library or information science educator, a member of the library press, or an editor or other employee of a publishing house. Nominations are open until December 1, 2016, so you have some time to think about this.

Who has won in the past? The award was established in 1991. Here is a list of the past winners, and the 2016 winner  is Pat Scales. Who will you nominate for the 2017 award? Our virtual committee awaits your suggestions.

Once you are ready to nominate, just fill in this form. The hard part will be choosing who to nominate. There’s someone you admire, someone you look up to, someone who has done amazing work for ALSC and has made an impact on library services to children. We count on you, ALSC members, to let us know who you think this person is.

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45. Create New Community Partnerships With A Volunteer Fair

Later this spring our library will be hosting its first ever Volunteer Fair.  We are so excited for this event as it brings value to the community and lays the foundation for new partnerships with many local organizations.

volunteerWe considered a volunteer fair for our community for several reasons.  First, our library is fortunate to be located in a village that is dedicated to civic service and philanthropy.  This event is also a great way for us to target and engage two elusive age groups for us– tweens and teens.  Finally, a volunteer fair supports one of our library’s missions: “to act as a responsive resource for lifelong learning.”  We hope a successful fair will further strengthen the library’s position as a vital center of the community and create lasting partnerships with local organizations.

Finding and securing participants in the fair has been a great education in the breadth of service opportunities available.  If you’re interested in holding a Volunteer Fair, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Begin with existing partnerships.  Does the library partner with any other local organizations for programming or outreach efforts?  Does your Friends group use volunteers?  Does your library display flyers or brochures from organizations that could use volunteers?
  • Collaborate with colleagues.  Are any coworkers actively volunteering?  Or do they have a connection to an organization in need?
  • Look at which other organizations are present at community events. Farmer’s Markets and festivals are a great way to make contact and learn about other local organizations.
  • Research national organizations that may have a local chapter nearby in need of volunteers.  These can include: American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, Alzheimer’s Foundation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and many others.
  • Perform an online search to see what opportunities are available in your area and contact those organizations directly about your event.  Websites like volunteermatch.org and createthegood.org are a good place to start.  Also your community’s website may list opportunities.

Enlisting participants may seem like a daunting task, but the mutual benefits of a volunteer fair encourage involvement and support.  The organization is able to recruit volunteers and increase public awareness of their mission while the library is able to connect its patrons with meaningful service opportunities.


Today’s post was written by Sophie Kenney. Sophie is a Children’s Librarian at the Glencoe Public Library and is currently serving on the ALSC Liaison to National Organizations committee.

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46. Moving? New library job? Some helpful hints

moving-truck-300pxWhether you’re a new librarian moving to take your first job, or an experienced librarian moving to greener pastures, here are some suggestions that might help.

I’m not saying I followed them all, but I should have! :)

Before you move:

  • Make sure you leave your previous job in good stead.  Give adequate notice, file paperwork, clean your desk, get your checkups in before your insurance runs out, return all your library books. :)
  • If you can, give yourself some time open roadbetween jobs – especially if you’re moving out-of-state.  Acquiring a new, license, registration, cell service, cable, electricity, etc., can be daunting if you’re working full-time.

At your new location:

  • Be a team player. It’s easy to think of yourself as the “outsider,” but work is more fun when you work together.  Be interested, be helpful, be approachable.
  • Know what’s going on. It’s your  home now. Who’s your mayor, your congressman, your baseball team? Subscribe to the local news in print, feed, or online.
  • Join your union – or at least hear them out.  They’re the folks working to earn better wages and benefits for you and they’re a good source of job-related information that you might not receive elsewhere.
  • Figure out who doesn’t mind answering questions, who doesn’t like to be pestered, who likes to joke around.  Work with that.
  • When you get that mountain of papers about insurance options – read it! And don’t miss the deadlines.
  • If you’re offered the chance to sign up for deferred compensation of some kind, do it right away before you ever have a chance to  miss the money.  Later, you’ll be glad you did.

A few don’ts:

  • Don’t get discouraged. If your new library is like every other library – there’s too much to do and not enough people to do it.  Relax; do the best you can do.
  • If you’re in a position of authority, don’t make  drastic changes right away.  First, find out what works and what doesn’t, and why things are done the way they are.  Be respectful.library icon
  • Don’t eat the boiled peanuts.  I hear they’re terrible! 😉



Image credit: Openclipart.org

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47. What Do You Do With An Idea (The Manager Version)


What do you do with an idea, picture book.

Picture book, What Do You Do With An Idea.

What Do You Do With An Idea is a brilliant picture book by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom, that many of us know and love. It has an inspirational message that all creators, makers, dreamers, and children’s librarians alike can appreciate: Hold tight to your ideas and see them become reality.

We all know that when we have an idea we need to consider it precious and valuable, but what if the idea is not your own? What do you do with an idea if you are a manager, or anyone else within a library, who has the power to help turn dreams into reality? How do we give meaning to the ideas of other people, while still upholding our jobs as a manager? It is a tight-rope walk between two vastly different terrains, but it is possible to achieve.

We all know that feeling. Someone is sitting in your office and they are bursting with excitement about some new idea/project/collection/program they want to do. Instantly our mind can go to a few places.

  1. This is way too much work.
  2. We’ve tried to do this before and it didn’t work.
  3. This person has had too much caffeine and they are on a different level than I am.

Those things might be our immediate response, but as a manager it is critical we take a step back and approach things a little bit differently. Here is what I’ve found to work when I am approached with an idea.

  1. Say yes. I know this sounds crazy. What if the idea is really big? What if they don’t have time to pull it off? What if the idea is really crazy? As long as the idea falls within their job scope, I suggest you start by saying yes. I’ve been inspired with the philosophy behind the book, The Answer to How is Yes.  You start by saying yes, you show a dedication to their idea, and then you work out the details.
  2. After saying yes you clarify what they see your role being. This is as important for a manager as it is a staff member. “What do you need from me?” and “When do you need it by?” are key questions to ask. You won’t necessarily be able to commit to their needs, but it is the starting point for a conversation.
  3. Last, you shape the parameters of the idea. If number one made you really nervous, number three should help you feel better. Just by saying yes it doesn’t mean that you have to turn the library into a circus in three weeks (although I think Children’s Librarians could pull it off). At this point you can offer suggestions about a timeline, about scaling the idea, and advice for who can help them pull the miraculous feat off.

With these three easy steps, managers can make sure that they are approachable and open to the ideas of others, while still maintaining their job role and supporting their staff members. It is important that managers are interested in ideas, and treat them carefully, after all the picture book that inspired this post will tell us:

“And then, I realized what you do with an idea… You change the world.” 

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48. Preschool Tinker Labs


A year or so ago I stumbled across the book called “Tinkerlab:  A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors” by Rachelle Doorly.  The book contains hands-on activities that encourage children to explore art, science, and more.  This book was so inspiring and was really the driving force behind a series of programs we now do at the library for children ages 3-5. These programs, by far, have been and remain to be, some of our most well attended programs.  The feedback we get from parents is fantastic.

What do these programs consist of?  We schedule one program each month of our programming sessions.  They are meant to be a time where children come to play, explore, tinker, and create.  The programs run for one hour and children ages 3-5 and their parent/caregiver are invited to explore stations that all revolve around the same theme.   We encourage children to investigate, explore, and participate in whatever way they want.  Sometimes a child will stay at one station for the whole hour, and we are fine with that.  While we do set out some directions/suggestions at each station, every activity is designed to be explored independently as well.

Some of our most popular themes have been:  It’s Dark in Here:  We played in the dark with homemade light tables, flashlights, and things that glowed.  ​We included translucent blocks and shapes, water beads, glow-in-the-dark letters and critters, and more.  Sensory Bin play:  We had fun with sand, popcorn kernels, beans, rice, water beads, and pipe cleaners.  We shared with parents the importance of play and using our senses to investigate the world around us.  Play Dough Picassos:  Children rotated through four different playdough stations:  Mr Play Dough Head, Play Dough Mats, Play Dough Bakery, and Play Dough Mud.  There was lots of creative play and discovery happening.  Marvelous Music:  We made beautiful music with carpet drumming and water xylophones.  We crafted egg shakers, balloon drums, and kazoos.  We ended with a marching band around the library!  
Crazy Painting:  
Children participated in marble painting, mesh dabber painting, painting with cardboard tubes, bubble wrap painting, popsicle painting, blow art, color mixing bag, stamps and ink and painting with different objects.  Building with DUPLOs: Children explored with LEGO Duplos by painting, stamping in play dough, counting, measuring, creating patterns, sorting, making tanagrams and building.



Click to view slideshow.

Kara Fennell Walker works as the Head of Youth Services with the Geauga County Public Library in Middlefield, Ohio. She is writing for the ALSC Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee. If you would like to learn more about her early reader backpacks, you can email her at kara.walker@geaugalibrary.info.

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49. Passive Programs for School Age Kids

Passive programs are a great way to engage kids, whether they’re hanging out after school, coming in on a school-free day, or are just looking for something to do! They often require minimal effort to prepare and get off the ground, but are then good for hours of fun and engagement. If you’re looking to add school age passive programs to your library’s offerings, want to freshen things up, or just try something new, take a look at some of these great options!

Book cover puzzle

Book cover puzzle

Make copies of a book cover, laminate, cut into puzzle pieces, and set them out (above)!

Put “postcards” out on a table and encourage kids to write a postcard to their favorite author or book character, like in The Show Me Librarian’s blog post. Bonus fun if you can find a place to display them in the library!

Take a look at this collection of passive program ideas from Jbrary.

We all know Pinterest is a great resource for ideas. There are lots of passive programming boards out there, so find your favorites or start with this one from Central Mississippi Regional Library System.

See what you can do with cardboard squares and plastic cups over at Library Learners.

Magnetic poetry wall

Magnetic poetry at La Crosse Public Library

Have some fun with magnetic poetry (left)! If you have a magnet wall like the one pictured here it’s extra easy, but you don’t need something as elaborate as this! Try painting some cardboard with magnetic paint and lean it against a wall or set it on a table, and you’re good to go.




If you have a magnetic surface, there are lots of cool options to consider. Those book puzzle pieces pictured above? There’s magnetic tape on the back of each piece, so they double as magnet puzzles (below).

Book cover puzzles on a magnetic wall board

Magnetic book puzzles at La Crosse Public Library

Mad Libs provides some fun, free downloads, and you can find lots of other Mad Libs-style downloadables elsewhere online. Print them out, set them on a table with pencils or pens, and let kids get extra silly! Or, find a paper Mad Libs booklet and set that out instead!

Build your own Tinker Toys and let kids create like at Never Shushed.

When it comes to passive programming, this is just the tip of the iceberg. What awesome passive programs are you doing with your school age kids?


Kelsey Johnson-Kaiser is a youth services librarian at the La Crosse Public Library in La Crosse, WI and a member of the ALSC School-Age Programs and Services Committee. 

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50. Gimme a C (for Collaboration!): How Our Standards Relate and Interconnect

This past November, I saw a post on our
North Carolina State Library blog about the SPLC-Committee-Wordle-300x240-300x240new Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries.  After reading, I was curious to see how they compared to our North Carolina School Library Media Coordinator Standards.  Similar to other states, our NC SLMC standards are based on guidelines from AASL, ISTE, Partnership for 21st Century Skills, ALA/AASL Standards for Initial Preparation of School Librarians and other state standards.  After reading this document and noticing that it is geared towards those serving ages birth to 14, I decided to also check out YALSA’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth* since I am in a high school setting.


I wanted to see if there were areas where we overlapped that might be used to promote more collaboration between school and public librarians.  I noticed that we had similar standards although some of our elements may come under different standard headings.  Some key places for collaboration are education, resources and digital access, professional development and advocacy.  Below, I have listed standards from ALSC and YALSA that I felt correlated with our NC school librarian standards.   You can match up your own state’s school librarian standards where mine are listed.

Educational Practices
ALSC Standard I.5. Understands current educational practices, especially those related to literacy and inquiry.

ALSC Standard II.2. Instructs and supports children in the physical and digital use of library tools and resources, information gathering and research skills, and empowers children to choose materials and services on their own.

YALSA Standard II.1. Become familiar with the developmental needs of young adults in order to provide the most appropriate resources and services.

YALSA Standard VII.5. Instruct young adults in basic information gathering, research skills and information literacy skills – including those necessary to evaluate and use electronic information sources – to develop life-long learning habits.

NC SLMC Standard 1.a. School library media coordinators lead in the school library media center and media program to support student success.

NC SLMC Standard 4.a. School library media coordinators use effective pedagogy to infuse content-area curricula with 21st Century skills.

In order to facilitate your local public librarians’ ability to keep up with educational practices, make a point of sharing any new state educational guidelines that are issued and also any school improvement initiatives that your particular school is implementing.  They may be able to facilitate your school meeting some of your initiatives.  Each semester I have the public librarians and the college librarians come in to do a session with our seniors before they start their Graduation Projects.  We instruct them on accessing the resources at the school library and also at the public and college libraries and review proper citation guidelines for using resources.  We are discussing also having them come in next year to do sessions with our juniors.

Resources and Digital Access
ALSC Standard II. 1. Creates and maintains a physical and digital library environment that provides the best possible access to materials and resources for children of all cultures and abilities and their caregivers.

YALSA Standard VI. 5. Be an active partner in the development and implementation of technology and electronic resources to ensure young adults’ access to knowledge and information.

NC SLMC Standard 3.a. School library media coordinators develop a library collection that supports 21st Century teaching and learning.

There are a number of public librarians from different states that are creating student access policies with school librarians so students can have easier access to digital and print resources.  Charlotte-Mecklenburg in NC has successfully been running their One Access collaboration format for a year now.  Our county is looking into developing a similar program.  Currently our high school librarians have worked with the public library to provide digital access for our students.  If there is a resource that you think would benefit your students and it is something that your library cannot afford, see if it is available at the public library and if there is a way that your students may be able to access it.

ALSC Standard III.7. Delivers programs outside or inside the library to meet users where they are, addressing community and educational needs, including those of unserved and underserved populations.

YALSA Standard VII.3. Provide a variety of informational and recreational services to meet the diverse needs and interests of young adults and to direct their own personal growth and development.

NC SLMC Standard 4.c. School library media coordinators promote reading as a foundational skill for learning.

Who doesn’t want help with running a special program or author visit to your school.  Public librarians are also good sources for book talks, helping with Battle of the Books events or collaborating on a makerspace activity, especially if you haven’t created one of your own yet. If your public library is located where your students live, see if you can help with afterschool programs or a weekend program, that way your students can see you in a variety of libraries and become aware that both librarians are there to support them.

Professional Development
ALSC Standard VII.9. Participates in local, state, and national professional organizations to strengthen skills, interact with fellow professionals, promote professional association scholarships and contribute to the library profession.

YALSA Standard III2. Develop relationships and partnerships with young adults, administrators and other youth-serving professionals in the community be establishing regular communication and by taking advantage of opportunities to meet in person.

NC SLMC Standard 5.b. School library media coordinators link professional growth to their professional goals.

We all enjoy going to conferences, in part to exchange ideas with fellow librarians. But there is often the issue of lack of time and funds.  Why not set up a local one-day conference and invite local school, public and academic librarians?  I am a member of the Azalea Coast Library Association which covers several area counties; we are about to have our first one-day conference with participants from all types of libraries including librarians from our local hospital.  No one has very far to travel and the very low registration fee includes lunch.  Another idea is to set up an after-school or workday coffee break with your public librarians to share information about what is taking place in your libraries.

ALSC Standard V.6. Communicates and collaborates in partnership with other agencies, institutions and organizations serving children in the community, to achieve common goals and overcome barriers created by socioeconomic circumstances, culture, privilege, language, gender, ability, and other diversities.

YALSA Standard III.3. Be an advocate for young adults and effectively promote the role of the library in serving young adults, demonstrating that the provision of services to this group can help young adults build assets, achieve success, and in turn, create a stronger community.

NC SLMC Standard 1.c. School library media coordinators advocate for effective media programs.

Working by yourself to advocate for a strong library program may be difficult at times but working with all local librarians together could provide opportunities to showcase the benefits to the community of not only the school library program but also the public library program.  By collaborating on joint ventures, you will be better able to make the community aware of how library use from toddlers through young adulthood creates life-long learners, which benefits the community as a whole.

If you are the only librarian in your school you may sometimes feel (with budget and time constraints) that you have a difficult time meeting your own standards for evaluation.  Remember that there are also public librarians you can collaborate with to make it easier for both of you to meet your own individual goals.  Look through ALSC’s and YALSA’s competencies to find areas that you both share and that would benefit your program.  There are many more standards that overlap with our own school librarian standards. Comment with any ideas that you have for connecting one of your school librarian standards with ALSC’s and YALSA’s standards. Or, if you are a public librarian point out a standard that you feel you would be able to collaborate on with a school librarian easily.

*YALSA’s revised standards are due to be published in the summer of 2016. Visit this link to see a draft of the updated competencies.

Joann Absi is the media coordinator at Eugene Ashley High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. She is a member of of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School-Public Library Cooperation and currently blogs for Knowledge Quest. 

The post Gimme a C (for Collaboration!): How Our Standards Relate and Interconnect appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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