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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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1. Andrew in Asia

Andrew Medlar getting ready for his trip to the Philippines

Andrew is reading Pedro and the Monkey by Robert D. San Souci, illustrated by Michael Hays (Morrow Junior Books, 1996) at the Dr. José Rizal sculpture in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. Dr. Rizal (1861-1896) “is the Philippine national hero, the ‘father of his country,’ the founder of its modern literature, the inspirer of its educational system” (Reines, Bernard. A People’s Hero: Rizal of the Philippines. New York, Praeger Publishers, 1971.).

The National Library of the Philippines is sponsoring an International Conference of Children’s Librarianship in Tagaytay City next month and I’m very excited to be attending to represent ALSC! The theme of the conference is “Connecting and Linking of Information through Transformed Children’s Libraries to the Digital Era,” and I’ll be giving a presentation on the first evening, October 13,  on the topic of “Envisioning a 21st Century Children’s Library.”

This topic is right up ALSC’s alley as our core purpose is creating a better future for children through libraries, and I’m looking forward to reaching out and sharing how we’re moving together into our association’s envisioned future in which “libraries are recognized as vital to all children and the communities that support them.”

I would love your help in telling this story! What is your vision of a 21st Century Children’s Library for your community? We’re talking collections, technology, programming, spaces—and anything else you can think of. What innovations in library service to children can you imagine developing in the 85 years still to come in this century, and what traditions and proven tactics will we be carrying forward?

Please share your ideas you’d like me to spread around the world by September 16 in the comments section below or by clicking and submitting them here. If you have a picture of something special you’re doing now that you feel represents the future and you’d be willing for me to include it in the conference presentation, please e-mail them to me at andrewalsc@outlook.com. You can also tweet pictures and any other thoughts using #21stkidlib.

And please follow me on Twitter (@ammlib) where I’ll be gearing up for the trip by exploring Filipino folklore (find my reading list here), practicing ordering coffee in Filipino (Higit kape mangyaring), and warming up my taste buds at some of Chicago’s delicious Filipino restaurants. And throughout the trip (October 10-16) I’ll be sharing my experiences and the amazing ideas of our colleagues across the globe using #andrewinasia.

Thanks!

********************************************

Andrew Medlar is the 2014-15 ALSC Vice President/President-Elect and the Assistant Chief, Technology, Content, & Innovation, at Chicago Public Library.

 

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2. Chain Reaction Challenge

We’ve all seen Rube Goldberg machines: overly complicated machines that use everything from dominoes, to motors, to squirrels in order to complete a simple task. But have you ever thought about hosting a Rube Goldberg competition at your library?

Back in July, I hosted the Chain Reaction Challenge: an event where families were given supplies and two hours to construct a Rube Goldberg machine. I admit that I had my doubts about the program initially – especially since our target age was grades K– 5. However, I found that this is a great family program that emphasizes teamwork, critical thinking, and STEM!
CRC 1Interested in hosting your own Rube Goldberg program? Here are a few components you might consider:

Theme/Objective:

Our theme was Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’, and the objective was to have a golf ball roll from one side of the machine to the other and trigger the next machine (creating the chain reaction). While having a theme is pretty optional, it’s imperative to have an objective so that the teams know what they’re working toward. I felt that the golf balls were an excellent choice for this age group, but there are other objectives you could do, such as:

  • Machines must have dominoes
  • Machines must incorporate gravity in some way
  • Machines must involve matchbox cars
  • Machines must start and end with catapults
  • Machines must start and end with a string being pulled
  • Machines must involve trained squirrels (okay, I’m joking on that one)

Supplies:

While many Rube Goldberg machines require motors and technical aspects, we wanted this to be a simple, age-appropriate program. We told families that they were welcome to bring supplies from home, but we also provided a lot of simple, everyday items:

  • CRC 3Paper towel and toilet paper tubes
  • Small cardboard boxes (such as tissue boxes, frozen dinner boxes, etc.)
  • Lots of duct tape
  • String, yarn, wire, pipe cleaners
  • Legos, tinker toys, blocks
  • Various other toys
  • Things that make noise (bells, chimes, buzzers)
  • Things that roll (cars, cylinders, balls)
  • Wooden dowels
  • Balloons
  • Rulers, crayons, markers, scissors
  • Just about anything you can find

CRC 2

Maker Know-How

I was lucky enough to partner with a local nonprofit organization http://tekventure.org/ that specializes in the maker movement. Therefore, we had engineers on hand to mentor the teams and give them some ideas and suggestions for how to build their machines.

But you do not need engineers to run this program! You can just as easily start the program with a slideshow to demonstrate some simple machines (such as ramps, pendulums, etc.). Or even have handouts with suggestions on it. As a matter of fact, the teams that participated in this program came up with most of the ideas themselves, and many of them had zero maker experience prior to the program!

Awards

We had awards for ten different categories, such as: tallest machine, most colorful, most musical, etc. This worked well for us because we had five teams that participated, so each team was able to get two awards! However, the biggest reward was watching the finished machines run. There was a great sense of accomplishment for both kids and adults to see that they created a simple, working machine.

(all photos courtesy Guest Blogger)

********************************************

Erin WarzalaErin Warzala is a Children’s Librarian at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  She is passionate about early literacy, STEM/STEAM programming, books of all genres, and tea.  She blogs somewhat regularly at http://fallingflannelboards.wordpress.com/ and can be followed on Twitter at @fallingflannel.

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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3. Youth Services Basics: Cross-Training by Building Confidence

Are staffers outside of youth services ever responsible for staffing your children’s desk in a programming pinch?  Would employees outside of your department feel comfortable and confident in providing this service or would they feel stunned like a deer caught in the headlights?

At our community branch library, information services staff members also staff our children’s services desk, and we receive a great number of children’s reference questions at our adult information services desk.  Staff members outside of youth services must be familiar with the needs of children and those that work with them. Being cross-trained to provide customer service to customers of all ages is a necessity, but how do we ensure that staffers receive the training necessary to handle the unique needs of our young customers?

My colleague recently presented training for library staff outside of youth services. Not meant as a substitute for advanced youth services training in reference or readers’ advisory, this overview highlighted many of the traditional questions staffers receive when they work in the children’s services department. This training served as a perfect introduction for those employees who may occasionally need to staff this service desk.

Where are the BOB books?     

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

During this youth services basics training, my colleague used questions that have been previously asked by customers as training examples. Just as when working in the information services department, training participants realized that questions are often not as simple as they appear.  The question, “where are the BOB books?” is a perfect example.  The answer could mean numerous things in our library system, depending on the needs of the library user, and could include a request for a standard beginning reader series; it could also serve as a request for the TV inspired books based off the popular Bob the Builder character, or the extremely popular Battle of the Books (BOB) competitions sponsored by our public school system.  Understanding how this one type of question, “where are your BOB books?” could mean various things to different people, was rated by attendees as one of the most valuable pieces of information they learned during the training.

Let’s Take a Tour

As part of the training, participants toured our children’s department at our Headquarters Library.  This touring component provided staffers with a close and personal look at our collection and was helpful to staffers from each of our branches as our youth services departments are structured similarly in each of our eight library locations.  By including this hands-on training component, participants were able to view exactly where items were located, from the juvenile biographies placed at the end of the children’s nonfiction collection to the difference among board books, picture books, and beginning readers.  Knowing our collection is critical in providing excellent customer service, and this tour helped our trainees gain confidence in providing that service for our young patrons.

Priorities of Programs and Services

Questions about children’s programming, and the specialized services offered within the children’s services department, are often questions asked by patrons.  Adults may frequently register their children to attend special programming, request information on how to duplicate the story time experience at home, or request tutoring resources. Staffers must be able to quickly address these questions while also being aware of the unique services offered within the children’s department, such as our picture book bundle service, where customers may check out a group of books organized by a specific theme. Children’s unique interests and needs must be understood by all staff, not just those librarians specializing in children’s services.

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

This training helped staff members without a background in children’s services to gain a better understanding of the interests and needs of our young patrons. Our goal is to prepare our colleagues to feel as comfortable and confident as they can when working with children and their families, instead of feeling caught like a deer in the headlights! What topics do you believe are important to introduce to staff members outside of your department if they were to staff your children’s desk? How do you ensure staffers are most effectively able to reach out to your customers?  Please share in the comments below!

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4. Back to School Booklist – Humor

So, the kids are going back to school. Or are already back in school. Down here in Mississippi, this is the fourth week of school! Middle school is hard. The adjustments, the transitions. A lot of turmoil. So what I’m saying is that I think our kids deserve a laugh. If you need a quick display idea or just something to hand a kid who’s dreading going to school on Tuesday, here’s a list of really hilarious middle grade:

 

Source: Goodreads

Source: Goodreads

The Ginny Davis books by Jennifer Holm (of Babymouse fame!). These are old enough that your middle school readers might not be familiar with them, and they’re great. Filled with photographs, journal entries, and looking like a scrapbook, this colorful series will grab a tween’s attention–and make them giggle, too.

Source: Goodreads

Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle – every single person I talk to about this book says “HILARIOUS” in all caps. Nate wants to be in a Broadway show so bad that he’s willing to risk pretty much everything to make it to an open casting call for ET: The Musical.  Hijinks and shenanigans ensue! Per my friend Jessamyn, a school librarian–if your kids like audiobooks, this is the one to hand them. Federle does his own narration and with his acting background, totally nails it.

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Goodreads

 

 

It says “funny” right in the title! But seriously, these books (including I Even Funnier and the upcoming I Even Funniest) are hugely popular in my library and I can often hear my tweens giggling at them in the stacks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Goodreads

 

 

A very nearly honorable league of pirates. A sailor’s daughter shipped off to finishing school who wants nothing more than to sail the seven seas. A talking stone gargoyle. Need I say more?

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Goodreads

 

 

 

A retelling of Rumpelstiltskin with a quest, a lot of magical creatures, and tons of butt jokes. Because his name is Rump. This one is adored by everyone I give it to.

 

 

 

 

One of the reasons that we read is to escape. Let’s remember that when giving books to stressed out tweens and teens.

*
Our cross-poster from YALSA today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a youth services librarian in Mississippi, and has worked with ages birth-18 for the last 5 years.

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5. Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

Ahhh, the fall. A sweet, sweet time for those in charge of booklists, displays, and story times. Back to school and fall books are perennial favorite subjects until it’s time to rediscover the fall and early winter holiday collection. However, if you’re not quite ready to break out your fall books collection, Hispanic Heritage Month is an ideal time to highlight or expand your collection of books that celebrate the diversity of Hispanic cultures. What started as a week-long celebration in 1968 is now a month long (September 15-October 15) of Hispanic history, arts, and culture.

 

marisol

(image taken from author website)

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match captures the reality of many biracial children in an upbeat and endearing spitfire of a character. Marisol doesn’t see anything weird with mismatches: green polka dots and purple stripes, peanut butter and jelly burritos, or brown skin and red hair are pretty cool in her eyes. When Marisol tries to match, she finds that things are confusing and boring. Thanks to an intuitive teacher, she regains confidence in her unique viewpoint and look. This bilingual story is charmingly illustrated and told through a very realistic child narrator.

papa

(image taken from HarperCollins website)

Arthur Dorros and Rudy Gutierrez’s Papa and Me is a loving, gentle, and authentic look at a father-son relationship. Papa is encouraging, wise, and just plain fun to be with. Spanish words are sprinkled throughout the story. (See also Mama and Me by the same author.)

tooth fairy

(image taken from Random House website)

As a huge fan of cross-cultural children’s books, The Tooth Fairy Meets El Raton Perez is one of my favorite Latino-oriented picture books.  When Miguelito puts his tooth under his pillow and falls asleep, two magical creatures appear in his room to lay claim to his tooth. The Tooth Fairy asserts ownership because Miguelito is in the United States, but El Raton Perez, the tooth-collecting mouse who collects teeth in Latin America and Spain, defends ownership due to family tradition. Thankfully, they both work out a compromise.  This is a fun and unique way of presenting a rite of passage in many cultures.

 

rebozo

(image taken from Random House website)

What can you do with a rebozo (a long scarf)? You can accessorize a dress, play hide and seek, keep a grandmother or baby brother warm, use it as a blindford while attempting to burst a pinata…so many things! Not only is this is celebration of a close-knit family, but it’s also a tribute to creativity.  (See also What Can You Do With a Paleta? by the same author.)

What are your favorite picture books featuring Latino characters and culture? Tell us in the comments!

 

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6. Happy 20th Anniversary Early Head Start!

Did you know that Head Start was founded back in 1965, with Early Head Start joining the ranks in 1994? Both agencies promote the school readiness of young children from low-income families through agencies in local communities, making Head Start a perfect partner for the ALSC Liaison with National Organizations committee, and libraries in general. Head Start also promotes and enourages the role of parents as their child’s first and most important teacher, just like libraries do.Smiling kids

For the last two summers, I have worked with my local Head Start agency, which has 21 centers in Suffolk County, NY, to help promote the summer reading programs in our local libraries. One easy thing to do? If your library is part of the CSLP, you can share some of the great information on family literacy that promotes parents and summer reading.

A father reading to his daughter

Photo rights maintain by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)

On a state level, the NYS Library maintains a website, Summer Reading at New York Libraries that offers tip sheets for parents and caregivers on the importance of reading aloud in multiple languages, and an early literacy manual to download for childcare providers. I made 21 copies of the manual to share with each Head Start center in Suffolk County; encouraging the Head Start staff to share information on local summer reading programs with their families before the end of the school year.  I also gave out any early literacy give-away item that I had purchased with our Family Literacy Services grant to both the public libraries and the Head Start sites. And, I have presented twice now at their yearly staff conference on topics such as “how to choose books for babies and toddlers” and “best books for early childhood.” The teachers and classroom aides really appreciated having a librarian come and share books that they can use in their classrooms.

A more extensive, and long term partnership has evolved over the last two years with our Head Start agency. They administered an early literacy pre-survey to families last summer for my office (I am the youth services coordinator for the Suffolk Cooperative Library System, with 54 member libraries). We provided the survey in both English and Spanish to over 1600 families, with over 900 being returned. Questions ranged from “I play with my baby or child every day” and “I know where my public library is in town” to “my baby or child participates in the summer reading program at our library.” It is our hope that we can administer a post-survey, asking the same questions, to returning families this September to see if we are creating change in early literacy knowledge and habits. Please feel free to contact me at lisa@suffolknet.org with any questions or comments about our local partnership with Head Start.

So help Head Start celebrate the 20th anniversary of its Early Head Start program this year by picking up the phone and making a call to your local site today. Because it’s never to early to start planning and building a partnership, one book and family at a time.

Lisa G. Kropp is the youth services coordinator of the Suffolk Cooperative Library System and a member of the ALSC Liaison with National Organizations committe and the Managing Children’s Services virtual committee. She also writes the First Steps column at School Library Journal.

 

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7. Thoughts on the CCSS

How ironic that the more fluid the study of math and science becomes, the more rigid becomes the study of language and literature…

Solve for x

© L Taylor

…in which math becomes form and reading becomes function.

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8. How to Conference Like a Champ

Thanks to the kind people at ALSC and Penguin Young Readers, I was able to travel to my first ALA Annual Conference this summer. Tennessee to Nevada travel would generally not be in my public library’s budget, so I was thrilled to have received a stipend help with the cost of attendance. (Thanks again, Penguin!) Here are my top Annual Conference tips from a newbie.

Stay at a conference hotel. I made the mistake of not booking my hotel the moment I knew that I was going to attend. (I was lost in the chaos that is summer reading planning). Transportation in Vegas was a challenge and those free shuttles would have been helpful. Fringe benefits of staying at a partnering hotel include: being surrounded by other attendees, sharing non-shuttle transportation costs, and being in closer proximity to social events.

It is okay to travel alone. I went non-stop the entire time I was in Vegas, sun-up to sun-down. (Isn’t the normal Vegas traveler’s schedule just the opposite?) I was able to hit the sessions and events of my choosing, not trying to divide and conquer with other staff members, and sometimes missing out on a session I am very interested in because another had already claimed it. I may be selfish, but with all sessions open for the taking, I felt like a kid in a candy shop.

Avoid temptation in the Exhibit Hall. As a children’s librarian, I am known to save various odds-and-ends in case I one day have a use for them. I never knew the extent of my hoarding tendencies until I was let loose in the Exhibit Hall. (Let’s be honest, there is no reason I would need enough paper-clip holders that I would have to add an extra baggage fee to my return flight home.) When faced with freebies, ask yourself: Do I need this? Can my library use this? If you can immediately answer ‘no’ to these questions, or if you hesitate coming up with a unique use for 890 temporary tattoos, practice politely saying ‘no, thank you’ to the swag.

Attend at least one session that is not directly applicable to your job. You may be surprised to find quite a bit of useful information that is helpful to you in your current position. As a children’s librarian, I am rarely asked my input on building projects, if it doesn’t directly impact the littles’ space. However, I attended “Environment by Design” session and left with some big ideas for future use of space.

Plan at least one day into your trip for sight-seeing.This is one of my biggest regrets of the trip. I learned so much valuable information, saw all kinds of great library related goodies, was entertained and educated by the speakers, but saw very little of Las Vegas. Luckily, I had an aisle seat on the flight in and caught a glimpse of both the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam. I would love to visit again and take in the sights, but with my busy schedule, I will be hard pressed to find the time for this trip in my foreseeable future. One extra day built into my trip would have afforded me quite a bit of sightseeing.

Present right away! (Also, take good notes!).Present what you learned, or even a simple conference itinerary with highlights, to your director, board, and staff immediately upon return. I’ve been back in my library for two months now, and in the chaos that is Summer Reading, I still haven’t had a chance to present to the staff. While we are already implementing some program ideas brought back from the conference, with each passing day, I fear that I’m going to forget some great tidbit of information that I had hoped to pass on to our staff. Hopefully my notes will jog my memory!

**********************************************

Photo courtesy of Joey Yother Photography

Photo courtesy of Joey Yother Photography

Our guest blogger today is Amanda Yother. Amanda is the Children’s Services Coordinator at the Putnam County Library in beautiful Cookeville, Tennessee. She loves learning through playing and revisiting her favorite novels from childhood with her book club kids. Amanda was a recipient of the 2014 Penguin Young Readers Award. She can be contacted at amandayother@pclibrary.org.

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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9. Serving the Underserved: Lunch at the Library

hunger-in-america1-300x300There are many ways for us to serve the underserved in our library communities.  Whether we provide outreach in local preschools or daycares, visit incarcerated youth, or serve children with disabilities, outreach is a crucial part of inclusive library service.  This summer, we at the Glen Ellyn Public Library served–quite literally–children with a different type of need.

Food for Thought

Here’s a brief look at some statistics and information about hunger in our  communities.  The numbers might surprise you.

  • According to the USDA in a 2013 study, 49 million people in the US live in homes that are “food insecure” – meaning that they do not always have access to adequate amounts of food to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle.
  • 1 in 8 Americans rely on help from food banks each year.
  • 20% of households with children and 9% of elderly people living alone are food insecure.
  • In 2012, 16.1 million or approximately 22 percent of children in the U.S. lived in poverty.
  • Good nutrition, particularly in the first three years of life, is important for establishing a good foundation that has implications for a child’s future physical and mental health, academic achievement, and economic productivity.  In other words, healthy bodies mean healthy minds.

Summer Reading, Summer Eating

Last summer, our library launched their 2013 Summer Reading Program entitled Read to Feed.  Children of all ages were encouraged to keep track of the number of hours they read during the summer.  Not only did they read to accomplish an individual goal, but a community wide goal was set, challenging all of the kids to read 70,000 hours throughout the course of the summer. In response to the community’s commitment to reach their reading goal, the local Rotary Club committed to making a donation to the local food pantry, providing funding to feed 500 local individuals.  This year, when the idea came up of having the library participate in the Summer Meals program, sponsored by the Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB), we felt that this would naturally coincide and continue with the mission of last year’s summer reading program.

After evaluating our school district’s free and reduced lunch statistics, we realized that we qualified to offer free summer meals in our library community.  The NIFB made a site visit in preparation for the summer meals program, providing the required training for staff that would supervise the program.  In addition, our School Liaison shared the news with various community contacts, making sure that the word got out to the families that needed the most.  And so, for several weeks throughout the summer on Mondays through Fridays from 12 – 1 pm, the library was an open site, serving free boxed lunches to children 18 and younger.

Hungry for Connection

The main focus of this program was to provide healthy, well-balanced lunches to children free of charge.  However, soon after we launched the program, we noticed something else significant happen.  Our library has a group of kids who use our building as a safe haven during the summer months.  They may have working parents that are not home, so often times, they stay for hours on end utilizing our collections and our services.  In some cases, these children might not have anywhere else to go.  And once the Summer Meals program began, we observed a change  in some of those kids.  Some of these kids began to open up to us even more than usual, interacting with staff and starting conversation.  In some cases, even our rapport with the children’s caregivers grew as well.  We were able to connect with new families that have never utilized the library before, promoting the library and all of its services.  We also served some of the families that already were regular library users.  It may have been the summer lunches that initially drew families to the library, but I do think that it was the personal connection with staff that kept them coming back.

In A Nutshell

Think about how this program fits in with your library’s mission.  What might be the added value of a program like this in your library community?  The first step would be to determine and evaluate your school district’s free and reduced lunch statistics.  If your community qualifies, reach out to a local food pantry or food bank to see if there is a comparable program in your area.

You may also want to consider the cost and the impact of a program like this.  The main cost to the library is not the cost of food; boxed lunches are delivered daily free from the food bank.  The primary cost is staff time.  Staff would be needed to be available to set up and clean up the room, monitor the room during the hour-long program, communicate with the food bank about delivery times and number of lunches delivered, and make sure that the proper documentation is in place.  Once that is taken care of, the program runs quite smoothly.  The impact, though, can be much greater.  While many of us promote reading programs during the summer, the fact is that food insecurity could be inhibiting some children from being able to primed for learning and reading.  A child that does not have access to quality and well-balanced meals may not be as mentally equipped or motivated to read.  And with a program like summer meals, the library can help serve that need.

 

If you are heading to Oakland next month for the 2014 ALSC Institute and want to learn more about how to implement a summer lunch program at your library, be sure to check out Summer Lunch at the Library  presented by the California Summer Meal Coalition, the California Library Association, and the amazing staff from the Sacramento, Fresno County, Oakland, and Los Angeles Public Libraries.  For more information about the upcoming 2014 ALSC Institute, click here!

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10. Apply for the 2015 Bechtel Fellowship

ALSC and Bechtel Fellowship Committee are now accepting online applications for the 2015 Louise Seaman Bechtel Fellowship.

The Bechtel Fellowship is designed to allow qualified children’s librarians to spend a total of four weeks or more reading and studying at the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature, a part of the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

The Baldwin Library contains a special collection of 130,000 volumes of children’s literature published mostly before 1950. The fellowship is endowed in memory of Louise Seaman Bechtel and Ruth M. Baldwin and provides a stipend of $4,000.

Applicants must be personal members of ALSC, as well as ALA members to apply. Deadline for submissions is Wednesday, October 1, 2014.

For more information about the requirements of the fellowship and submitting the online application please visit: http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/profawards/bechtel

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11. Back to School E-Edition

As students head back to the classroom many libraries are planning outreach opportunities to their local schools and learning institutions. For my library, this season’s goal is to bring increased visibility to the library’s digital offerings and provide programs to serve the technology needs of our community. If you are looking for ways to highlight your eCollection and other similar initiatives here are some suggestions for the new school year.

Digital Family Open House

Each year after the December holidays we host an event for patrons to bring in their new devices for tutorials on downloading eBooks. Timely as it may be, throughout the year we find many families who are still unaware that you can check out an eBook from the library. This September we are inviting families to bring in their devices for an Open House event to serve all their tech needs. While everyone is in back to school mode, this gives us an opportunity to feature our collections through Overdrive and 3M, and new services like Hoopla and Zinio for parents and their kids.

School Visits

Contacting your local school board and scheduling a visit is also a way to market the library’s digital services. Language teachers may be interested to know that the library subscribes to language-learning databases like Mango Languages and Muzzy Online. Try to discover what databases your local schools subscribe to in order to maximize available resources. For a few years we have offered an online submission process for teachers to alert the library of town-wide projects. Most recently, a local parent group of children with special needs has expressed interest in learning more about our eAudio collections. Within the past year we have seen a spike in our eAudio collection, while circulation for physical audiobooks has declined. Hearing parent voices has allowed us to focus more on building this new collection.

Techsploration

For the first time this August we offered a roster of Kindergarten Readiness programs for the community. A decision made early on was to bring back Little Clickers, an introduction to computer skills for preschoolers created by Gretchen Caserotti. It was the perfect time to reinstate this successful program, especially after learning that many new students were entering elementary school lacking basic computer skills. This was concerning due to the move towards online testing in our school district. Many parents were appreciative and encouraged us to offer another popular computer class called Techsploration which builds on the skills learned in Little Clickers, while having participants explore programs like Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.

Have you thought about raising awareness for your digital collections this September? If so, what are some steps that you are taking to promote these services to families?

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

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12. Summer Partnership with Somali Students

Tukwila WA is one of the country’s most diverse cities. In part, it’s a hub for many Somali immigrants who attend mosque, visit the local ethnic shops and restaurants, and find support at the Somali Community Services Coalition (SCSC).  SCSC has a vital presence in Tukwila, offering an array of social services for their clients, Somali language instruction for non-Somali-speaking adults, and both afterschool and summer programs for children.  These refugee children are placed in the appropriate grade level by age when they arrive in the U.S.A. If a 5th grader doesn’t know English, nor is literate, it’s a struggle to keep up, especially with parents at home who can’t help them with their lessons, so I formed a partnership with the Youth Program Manager of SCSC to help reduce the summer slide. We made arrangements for two dozen elementary students to visit our library once a week during their summer school period. Our main goal was to improve the students’ reading skills, but we also hoped the Somali children would become familiar with library staff and feel comfortable using the library. I lined up our teen Book Buddy volunteer to help out with one-on-one reading sessions. Additionally, I was tasked with providing library materials to match different themes each week.

Working with this group required a fair amount of flexibility and creativity.  Challenges began on the first day – we wouldn’t be doing activities based on a theme, we’d simply be reading. I had to quickly come up with some activities and reading games that would work for children ranging in ages 4-10.  Those leftover science storytime materials from the previous night sure came in handy! In preparation for the following weeks, I thought of different ways of using our Bananagrams, and I took ideas from Reading Games for Young Children by Jackie Silberg. Her book offers a ton of ideas that can be adapted for early English language learners. I tried to make our reading activities fun for all the children.

The sessions were chaotic and meetings sometimes fell through. Managing this boisterous group was demanding, usually requiring constant interactions with several young people at once. But contributing toward the success of these students felt rewarding, and it was truly fun! They were so enthusiastic about learning!  I’ve been asked to resume working with the students in the afterschool program this fall and I’m looking forward to our continued partnership.

-Gaye Hinchliff, member of School-Age Programs and Services Committee, is a Children’s Librarian at Foster Library, a branch of the King County Library System

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13. Blowing the Best Bubbles: Part 2

This summer has been a busy one full of fun science programs at my library.  A couple of months ago, I blogged my plans for a preschool bubble lab that I had scheduled in July. I thought I’d write a follow up post about how the program turned out.

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photo by Michelle Willis

A few days before the program, I prepared my bubble solutions according to the recipes I had found. I labeled the jars but decided to add a few drops of food coloring to two of them so each would be a different color.

On the day of the program, we set up each table with a cup of each bubble solution, observation charts for the children, and my volunteers. We were ready to go.  The first snag we ran into was that the combination of it having rained heavily for several days prior to the program and the general excitement over bubbles made for a rather energetic group. It was easy to see that they did not have the patience for a book reading, so I did a very abridged reading of the book I had planned, just covering how and why bubbles form.

We then moved on to our discussion of the day’s activity. When we talked about the various bubble solutions that we were going to test and I tried to elicit observations from the children about the three solutions, we ran into a second snag. What became immediately obvious was that I should have left the solutions the same color. Although the solutions with the glycerine and the corn syrup were slightly more viscous than the detergent solution, the children focused in on the difference in color alone. There was no convincing them that the color did not matter, so we moved on to the next part of the program.

photo by Michelle Willis

photo by Michelle Willis

We divided into groups to test the solutions. This was the moment we were all waiting for and, to my relief, there were no snags. We tested each solution in turn and each child was able to try each one. They drew their observations on their observation charts and we worked as a group to determine which solution we thought was easiest to blow bubbles with and which we thought had bubbles that lasted longest.  When we gathered together again to share our results with the other groups, it was clear that the solutions with the glycerine and the corn syrup worked best. We talked about why this is the case and even hypothesized about how if we added more glycerine or more corn syrup, the bubbles might last even longer.

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Bubble Observations

Judging by how the children were eagerly explaining their observations to their caregivers and how many came back to tell me they made their own bubbles at home, I would call the program a success. The children left with knowledge about bubbles and I left with the knowledge that sometimes programming is like science.  Things may not work out quite as you expect but the end result is still worthwhile.

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Michelle Willis works as the Head of Children’s Services at the Scotch Plains Public Library in Scotch Plains, NJ and a member of the Early Childhood Programs and Services committee.

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14. What’s So Funny? Or How I Met Jon Scieszka Three Times in One Day

My husband and I meet a Mike Myers Dr. Evil look-alike on the Vegas strip

My husband and I meet a Mike Myers Dr. Evil look-alike on the Vegas strip

There were many things that made me laugh in Las Vegas at ALA Annual this year. There were zany, homemade costumes worn by street performers and sky high food prices (an $18 burger? You can’t be serious), but the best laughs were found inside the Las Vegas Convention Center. This being my first ALA Annual, I had spent a lot of time in advance researching which authors and illustrators would be visiting the publisher’s booths in the exhibit hall. When I looked at my final list, I realized that many of these picture book icons had one thing in common: they all wrote or illustrated humorous books that I love to use in Storytime. Following are my experiences in just one day of ALA Annual in which I met these talented people and ways in which you can use their books in preschool or family Storytime.

Jon Scieszka (1st time)

Rikki Unterbrink and Jon Scieszka at the YALSA Coffee Klatch

Rikki Unterbrink and Jon Scieszka at the YALSA Coffee Klatch

9:00am – I signed up for YALSA’s YA Author Coffee Klatch for several reasons, but the top reason was a chance to meet Jon Scieszka. I was five years old when The True Story of the Three Little Pigs was published (the book celebrates its 25th anniversary this year) and eight when my mom brought home an autographed copy of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. She had just met Scieszka at a teacher’s conference. I had never seen an autographed book before and thought it was pretty much the coolest thing in the world. I read the story many times and continued to read any Scieszka books I could get my hands on all the way into adulthood. So, when the other young adult author enthusiasts at my Coffee Klatch table asked which author I was most excited to meet, you know what I said. Wouldn’t you know that when the whistle blew and the authors made their way to each table that Jon Scieszka came to our table first. And sat right next to me. Scieszka talked about the first book in his new series, Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor which will be released on August 19th. Since each author only got five minutes at each table, there wasn’t much time for me to tell Scieszka how influential he has been on my life. It’s a good thing I got a few more chances!

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
in Storytime:

In advance, gather several items and place in a large bucket, basket or cauldron. Three pig toys or puppets, one wolf toy or puppet, a bundle of sticks, straw, a toy brick, box of cake mix or bag of sugar, handkerchief, and spectacles.

Before reading the story, inform the kids that you have gathered some items for your ‘story bucket’ and you need their help to figure out which popular folk tale you’re going to be reading to them. Pull out the sugar, handkerchief, and spectacles before the others and see if they can guess what the story it about and who the characters might be.

After the story, sing “The Three Little Pig Blues” from Greg & Steve Playing Favorites. Shakers are a nice addition to this song. Have children huff & puff and say “not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!” during the song.

Since it is the 25th anniversary of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and the wolf is attempting to bake a cake for his granny, end the program with cupcakes!

Dan Santat

11:00am – As I waited in line for Dan Santat, I called my mother in Ohio and told her that I had just sat next to my childhood hero, Jon Scieszka for coffee. She was very excited for me and recalled her experience meeting him all those years ago. I told her that I hoped for another chance to meet him and to get his autograph.

As a huge fan of The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz, illustrated by Dan Santat, I was definitely eager to meet Santat. I practically squealed with delight when I discovered the free book he was signing was the follow-up to Ninja Pigs, Ninja Red Riding Hood. If you haven’t read these books you’re missing out. Ninja Pigs would make a nice addition to the “Three Little Pigs” Storytime theme. Another great book of Santat’s to use in a “Bad Moods” themed Storytime is Crankenstein.

Crankenstein in Storytime:

During the story, have children moan and groan along with Crankenstein. Make sure to get into it yourself! Other good books to use in this Storytime are The Three Grumpies by Tamra Wight, The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen and The Not-So-Scary Snorklum by Paul Bright.

Songs and Rhymes:

Five Cranky Crabs
http://wiki.kcls.org/index.php/Five_Cranky_Crabs

Old MacDonald Felt So Glad
Storytimes for Two-Year-Olds by Judy Nichols, second edition

I’m So Mad
Jim Gill Sings the Sneezing Song and Other Contagious Tunes audio CD

Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

1:30pm – I couldn’t believe I was one of the first people in line for Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen. Both have exceptional talent and have published many award-winning and beloved children’s books. Put them together and you’ve got something magical called Extra Yarn, a 2013 Caldecott Honor recipient. When many authors and illustrators are signing books at the same time at ALA Annual things can get a little crazy in the exhibit hall. Often there are no signs to mark which line is for whom and where it ends. You may find yourself arriving at a booth only to find the end of the queue is somewhere in the next aisle at the back of the hall. I took great pleasure in telling people that I was near the front of the line. However, I found myself getting rather annoyed that people kept asking, “Is this the line for Jon Klassen?” and overlooking the fact that another very talented person was appearing with him! I understand that Klassen has won the Caldecott Medal, a Caldecott Honor, and numerous other awards but he was not the funny man I was there to meet. In my opinion, Mac Barnett is a comic genius bringing the library world some fantastic read-aloud stories including Count the Monkeys, Mustache!, Guess Again, and President Taft is Stuck in the Bath. He has also written a hilarious mystery series for middle grade readers called The Brixton Brothers.

from left: Rikki Unterbrink, Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen

from left: Rikki Unterbrink, Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen

I was definitely star struck when it was my turn to meet Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen. I am slightly embarrassed to say that I practically ignored Klassen and told Barnett how much of a fangirl I am for his work. I told him, “I want you to know that everyone has been saying this is the Jon Klassen line and I keep telling them it is the Mac Barnett line.” Well, Barnett thought this comment was hilarious and elbowed Klassen saying, “Did you hear that Jon? She said it’s the Mac Barnett line! Ha! I have fans, too!” Barnett took several photos with me and even purposely made Klassen lean farther out of the frame for one of them.

Count the Monkeys in Storytime:

I used this book during an evening family Storytime with much success. The book requires audience participation to help count the monkeys (which don’t actually appear in the book at all because they are scared of the various other animals in the book). Toward the end of the book, have a surprise guest reader sneak in the back of the room dressed as one of the lumberjacks from the book. He or she can carry mini flapjacks to share as a snack.

Extra Yarn in Storytime:

Extension activities to use before or after reading the story:
Have children and parents sit in a circle and toss a skein of rainbow yarn across the circle to someone. Have them loop the yarn around their finger and toss the rest to someone else. After the yarn has been tossed at least once to everyone, talk about the web you’ve made and how each person is important to your web and your world. If someone leaves the group, part of the web falls away. Have one or two people drop their yarn to illustrate this. Compare this to Annabelle’s magical yarn and how she uses it to change her world in the story.

Dancing Sheep action rhyme by Susan Dailey
(Use a sheep or llama puppet for extra fun)
http://www.susanmdailey.com/fingerplays.html

Mustache! in Storytime:

In the book, King Duncan hangs giant banners and posters of himself all around his kingdom as a “gift” to his people only to find that his subjects have painted mustaches on all of them. After reading the book, give children a washable marker and a picture from a magazine (or a copy of Duncan’s face!) and let them graffiti the picture with mustaches. Other fun books to read with this theme: Mustache Baby by Bridget Heos and Mo’s Mustache by Ben Clanton. For songs give each child a paper or fake mustache to hold and adapt Woodie Guthrie’s song “Put Your Finger in the Air” to “Put Your Mustache in the Air.”

Mustache Song:
(author unknown)
You are my mustache, my trendy mustache.
You make me happy, when skies are gray.
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you.
So please don’t shave my mustache away.

Jon Scieszka (2nd time)

I get my book signed by Jon Scieszka!

I get my book signed by Jon Scieszka!

2:00pm – This line was very long. Clearly, I was not the only fan of Scieszka’s at ALA and I was worried I would be too far back in line to actually receive a free book. Sure enough, when the representative from Penguin Young Readers Group approached me as I neared the front of the line, I was not surprised that they were nearly out of books. I asked if I could have him sign something else (I brought a special tote bag for just this purpose) and she said yes. However, as I got even closer to the front of the line I was handed a book! Some had left the line thinking they were not getting a book which turned out very nicely for me indeed. I received my copy of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and stepped up to have it signed. “Back for more, eh?” Scieszka said to me. He remembered me from that morning! Hooray! I told him the story about my mom bringing home his book so many years ago and how I had talked to her earlier that day to tell her how thrilled I was that we both finally got to share the experience of meeting him. He said, “That’s great. Tell your mom I miss her.” What a great guy.

Tom Angleberger

4:00pm – I was glad my husband, Travis, had tagged along to Las Vegas because he got the chance to meet Tom Angleberger with me. Travis has read all of the Origami Yoda books by Angleberger and I really enjoy his picture book, Crankee Doodle. Angleberger was just as we expected. Wearing a Rebel Alliance baseball cap and nerdy t-shirt, he looked like he had just stepped off the pages of one of his books. He was very gracious and friendly. We look forward to reading the final installment of Origami Yoda, Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus.

Crankee Doodle in Storytime:

This book just begs to be read aloud by two actors/librarians. After seeing this book performed in a similar fashion, I just had to do it during a family Storytime because it’s fun for both children and adults. Young children may not understand the reference to the song, Yankee Doodle, but older children and parents think it’s hilarious. In the book, Crankee Doodle’s pony tries to convince him to go to town to buy a new hat, but Crankee doesn’t want anything to do with going to town. Read this book using a horse puppet for the pony’s part and a tri-corner hat (we made one out of paper) and baseball cap for Crankee’s part. Follow up with a rousing sing-along of the original song.

Mac Barnett & Jon Scieszka (3rd time)

Jon Scieszka, Rikki Unterbrink and Mac Barnett with Battle Bunny book

Jon Scieszka, Rikki Unterbrink and Mac Barnett with Battle Bunny book

4:30pm – Proof that dreams really do come true, I got to end the day chatting with both Barnett and Sciezska at the same time. Both remembered me and actually told each other about our previous meetings and posed with me for the most memorable photo of all. Barnett and Scieszka co-wrote a book called Battle Bunny, a “deliciously subversive piece of metafiction” according to Booklist. I told the authors that I love the book, but I am worried that library patrons will start to scribble all over future books using this one as inspiration. I haven’t yet figured out how to use this one in Storytime, but Barnett informed me that if you go to http://mybirthdaybunny.com/make-your-own/ readers can download and print the pages for their very own bunny story. Perhaps I will make my own called Funny Bunny and turn all of the fluffy animal characters into children’s book authors that I met one day in Las Vegas.

(All photos courtesy of guest blogger)

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BookOur guest blogger today is Rikki Unterbrink. Rikki was a 2014 Penguin Young Readers grant recipient and is the Youth Services Director for Shelby County Libraries in Sidney, Ohio. She is a co-creator of the Teen Think Tank, a grass roots roundtable for teen and tween librarians in Ohio, a member of the Teen Services Division of the Ohio Library Council and a book reviewer for the Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group. This year she also received the Penguin Young Readers Award to attend her first ALA Annual. Rikki enjoys presenting at numerous conferences, performing family Storytimes, dressing up in hilarious costumes and playing with puppets at the library. She lives in Wapakoneta, Ohio with her handsome, band director husband (their life is just like The Music Man) and three crazy but charming cats, Ron Weasley, Katniss Everdeen and Chandler Bing (he’s adopted). You can find her posting for the Shelby County Libraries Facebook page, reviewing on Goodreads or you may contact her by email at steingri@oplin.org.

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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15. Keep the Conversation Going – Services and Programs for Individuals with Disabilities

Full disclosure: I am not only a Children’s Librarian who advocates for inclusive programs and services for children with varying abilities, but I am also the parent of a child with a life-limiting genetic syndrome that causes significant developmental delays.  I am motivated to a great extent by my daughter to ensure that libraries across the country have the tools and training needed to create and/or improve their offerings for people with disabilities. It is my goal to have her enjoy visiting the library as much as I did as a child.

Many libraries today are addressing the needs of children with special needs to ensure inclusion in story time programs and successful visits for materials and other resources.  Sensory story times are the most popular offerings, but even a classic story time structure with simple modifications can be offered to include children with special needs.  If you are just getting started with creating inclusive story times and need some basic information to get the ball rolling, there is a great webinar offered through Infopeople that was put together by staff from the Contra Costa County Library (CA) titled, Inclusive Library Programs for People with Intellectual Disabilities. The webinar is fully archived with access to the presentation materials including slides, handouts, and the Q & A Chat with the live participants.  This webinar includes great information on creating inclusive programming for all ages as well as a segment focusing on Inclusive Story Time.

One of the resources suggested in the webinar to help you design appropriate content and develop a better understanding and awareness of the disabilities of children in your community is to connect with parents and professionals.  Communication with parents can be twofold.  It will provide insight into what parents feel are the needed adaptations and/or accommodations for their children to participate in a library story time, as well as create a channel for promoting your inclusive programming within the community.  Parents of children with special needs seek each other out and build strong networks of their own.  Getting the word out through these networks to promote your inclusive programs will help garner the participation and support you’ll need to make your program successful.

I have found many great resources for aiding youth librarians in educating themselves on getting started with programs and services to people with special needs.  One of the common concerns among staff is having the knowledge and understanding for working with children with disabilities.  I wasn’t prepared to be the mother to a child with significant health issues and developmental delays, but the more I worked with my daughter and cared for her, the more I have learned.  This will be true of working with children with special needs in the library.  You will learn more as you do more.  You’ll be thrilled to see how happy parents and local professionals will be to help teach you what you need to know.  Below is a list of several of the online resources I have recently found that can help you prepare for creating an inclusive environment for children of all abilities.

Professional Development:

Info People Webinar (Archived from August 2013), Inclusive Library Programs for People with Intellectual Disabilities

https://infopeople.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=55

Charlotte Mecklenburg County Library (Online Learning Archive)

http://www.cmlibrary.org/Programs/Special_Needs/

Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies: Library Accessibility – What you need to know

http://www.ala.org/ascla/asclaprotools/accessibilitytipsheets

SNAILS – Special Needs and Inclusive Library Services, a professional network of librarians in Illinois working towards increasing and improving inclusive services

http://snailsgroup.blogspot.com/

Resources and Examples:

Brooklyn Public Library – The Child’s Place, Information on programs for children with and without disabilities. Also check out their pamphlet about “Universal Design”.

http://www.bklynlibrary.org/only-bpl/childs-place

Skokie (IL) Public Library Resource List; a comprehensive list of print materials for adults and children

http://www.skokielibrary.info/s_kids/kd_COI/COI_bib.pdf

Center for Early Literacy Learning, resources for adapting activities during story time

http://www.earlyliteracylearning.org/pg_tier2.php

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Bethany Lafferty is the Assistant Branch Manager/Youth Services Department Head at Henderson Libraries – Green Valley Branch in Henderson, Nevada.  She can be followed on Twitter with the handle @balaff1.

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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16. The Benefits of Virtual Committees

Over the last few years many ALA divisions, including ALSC, have transitioned to having more committees, tasks forces and other groups operate primarily if not wholly via virtual methods. While ALSC continues to acknowledge the need for several committees to conduct much of their work face to face, several committees have successfully transitioned to entirely virtual, and all committees are encouraged to make use of ALA Connect and other tools to conduct some of their work.

The change toward more virtual work provides numerous benefits to individual members as well the organization and profession as a whole.

• Recruiting a wider pool of members and talent – Many current and potential members do not have the luxury of travelling to conferences regularly. This may be due to cost, family commitments, health restrictions, job restrictions or other possible reasons. Previously some members did not seek appointment or turned down opportunities due to conference attendance requirements. The opportunity to participate regardless of these obstacles provides many members a greater sense of involvement and allows more of ALSC’s many talented members to participate and contribute.

• Recruitment and retention of members – The ability to contribute also encourages more members of the profession to initiate or continue membership.

• Increased productivity – Committees designated as virtual conduct few if any meetings face-to-face but tend to meet frequently – at least once per month. The ability to meet virtually, usually via ALA Connect’s chat feature, enables committees to have brief meetings often as opposed to waiting until conference to meet. Many face-to-face committees take advantage of the ability to meet virtually between conferences as well. The frequent meetings keep projects moving forward and allow committees to accomplish more.

• Better attendance at conference sessions – Members of virtual committees who are able to attend conference will have greater flexibility to attend and present sessions rather than being tied to committee meetings. It also enables members greater flexibility to serve on multiple committees either within ALSC or across divisions by freeing up conference meeting time.

Many virtual chairs and members of committees have had positive experiences serving on virtual committees:

“As co-chair of the Great Websites for Kids Committee (2012-2014), my mission is to work with a committee of nine members in maintaining the ALSC Great Websites site. Working virtually, committee members are able to accomplish a rigorous amount of work while keeping strict deadlines. At the same time we have established an online rapport and have had the luxury of occasionally meeting each other in person at midwinter or annual conferences. Committee members have often remarked how they feel that this committee is particularly unique in that we have been able to accomplish so much each year.” Kimberly Grad, Brooklyn (NY) Public Library

Virtual committees have some unique challenges. One of the biggest concerns virtual committee members mention is the challenge of achieving the rapport and personal connection with each other that people develop during face-to-face interaction. The META team is always seeking advice and tips for virtual committees and maintains a Best Practices resource on the ALSC wiki. If you have a suggestion or success story about developing the connections between virtual teams to share, please send to Jill Bickford at bickford@wblib.org.

– JIll Bickford for the Metamorphosis Team Task Force

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17. ALSC Online Courses: New Semester Begins Sept 8!

ALSC Online Education

ALSC Online Education (image courtesy of ALSC)

This fall, get back into the swing of professional development. A brand-new semester of ALSC online courses is now open for registration. Classes begin Monday, Sept. 8, 2014.

Registrants will find that ALSC has increased the number of courses offering certified education units (CEUs). The American Library Association (ALA) has been certified to provide CEUs by the IACET. Courses include:

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs Made Easy
Four weeks, Sept. 8 – Oct. 3, 2014
CEU Certified Course, 1.2 CEUs

Storytelling with Puppets
Four weeks, Sept. 8 – Oct. 3, 2014

Storytime Tools
Four weeks, Sept. 8 – Oct. 3, 2014
CEU Certified Course, 2 CEUs

Detailed descriptions and registration information is available on the ALSC website at www.ala.org/alsced. Fees are $115 for personal ALSC members; $165 for personal ALA members; and $185 for non-members. Questions? Please contact ALSC Program Officer for Education, Kristen Sutherland, 1-800-545-2433 ext 4026.

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18. District Days

Until September 7th, members of Congress will be at home tending to their constituents.  This time period, known as “District Days,” is a good time to touch base with both your Representatives in the House and your Senators to let them know about the importance of the work you do every day.

I know that most of you are tired, your Summer Reading program has just ended or is ending very soon and the start of the new school year is fast approaching, but here are some simple (and not so simple – for the energetic) things you can do:

  • If your summer reading challenge hasn’t ended yet and a big party to celebrate another successful summer is in the works, invite your legislators to it.  If it is over but you are hosting another event before Sept. 7th, invite them to that event.  You can find contact information for members here. The YALSA District Days site has some great information on how to plan an event and make it effective.
  • If your summer reading program is over, bring a photo album over to local Congressional offices, or if that won’t work, send it to them. You can ask kids to help you make it!  Some things you might include are:
    • Photos (of course) and or links to videos taken,
    • Statistics detailing the number of participants and the number of days, minutes or pages read (whatever measurement you use),
    • Statistics detailing the number of programs presented and the number of participants who attended,
    • Information linking the types of programs offered to their educational value (i.e. STEM programs, early literacy storytimes, etc.). http://www.edutopia.org/stw-college-career-stem-infographic; digitalyouth.ischool.uw.edu and click on the “Project Views” link,
    • Information on summer slip
    • Stories or comments from patrons about why they love summer reading and/or the library.
  • Personalized stories and numbers make a great combination. If an album won’t work, ask patrons to send comments individually to their representatives about how essential public libraries are to their daily lives.
  • Remember to check with your library administrators before the outreach begins to make sure everybody is on the same page.

Finally, if it is too late to do any of the above, remember to mark your calendars for a date in early June 2015 so that you can plan to participate next summer.  And, as always, stay tuned to this blog and our Everyday Advocacy weekly challenges for other things you can do during the year to advocate for your library.

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Today’s post was written by Helen Bloch, Librarian 2 in Children’s Services at the Oakland Public Library, for the Advocacy and Legislation committee.

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19. Sharing iDías : Diverse Programming at Your Library

One great initiative that the Public Awareness Committee works to promote is El día de los niños/ El día de los libros (Children’s Day/ Book Day), which was founded in 1996 by Latino children’s author Pat Mora. Día is a special way for libraries to emphasize the importance of advocating literacy to children of all backgrounds while also encouraging Dia_Hi_Colorfamilies and children to connect with multicultural books, cultures and languages. Exposure to diversity on a regular basis is very important for children and the public library is poised as the perfect space to provide diverse encounters. You can read more about why nurturing cultural diversity in your library is important by reading Jamie Campbell Naidoo’s wonderful ALSC white paper The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children.

At the recent ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Naidoo and Debby Gold of the Cuyahoga County Public Library presented a poster session titled “How Do You Día?”on behalf of the Public Awareness Committee. They invited all who visited the poster session to submit and share their own Día success stories into their iDía jar.

Seven awesome iDías were submitted and here they are!

* A public library donates a book for every child to celebrate Día and partners with other organizations to donate goods for diverse programming.

* At the Salt Lake County Public Library four people demonstrated science experiments in four difference languages to introduce diversity into the community.

* Dallas Public Library offers bilingual Día storytimes and crafts.

* A library shares Spanish language uses for materials and provides multicultural book talks.

* Each New Orleans Public Library branch hosts a yearly program geared towards Día  programming. Themes may focus on different countries and their cultures, such as Africa, China, India and Italy. Local authors are also brought in.

* A libraDia bookmarks, etc.ry in Commerce, CA invited author Antonio Sacre to read during a storytime program.

* A library holds multicultural craft events, including creating Native American dream catchers, basket weaving and Egyptian vases. They also invited an Indian dance troupe to perform.

What stellar iDías! I especially love the iDía to hold a science program in various languages. Thanks to everyone who stopped by the poster session and shared their success stories! Do you have an iDía that you would like to share? Tell us! Better yet, show us! Share photos from your diverse library program by posting on the Día Facebook page.

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Nicole Lee Martin is a Children’s Librarian at the Grafton-Midview Public Library in Grafton, OH and is writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee. You can reach her at nicolemartin@oplin.org.

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20. Nominate Yourself or a Peer for the 2017 Wilder Committee

Due to the ALSC Board of Directors recent action to annually award the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the 2015 ALSC Nominating Committee is seeking recommendations for candidates for membership on the Wilder Award Selection Committee. This ballot will be voted on in the spring of 2015 and members elected will serve on the 2017 Wilder Award Committee.

Do you work with a youth services professional whose knowledge, skills and experience you admire? Do you have a colleague who can communicate clearly, critically and concisely about children’s literature? Have you served on a committee with an ALSC member who embodies our core values like respect, collaboration and leadership? We want to know about them.

Don’t be shy – if you are interested in one of these positions and possess these qualities, put your own name forward as a possible Wilder Award candidate for the 2015 slate.

The members of the ALSC Nominating Committee look forward to your suggestions!

Please be sure that your nominee’s ALSC membership remains current. Nominees who have let their membership lapse are not eligible for consideration. Also consider encouraging your nominees to nominate themselves, as this provides us with more complete background information.

DEADLINE: Sunday, August 31, 2014

Access the ALSC Nominee Form for 2017 Wilder Committee.

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21. Collecting Graphic Novels: What Belongs in the Children’s Library?

graveyardI was so excited when the graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book arrived in my library this week. I’ve been looking forward to the graphic novelization for months – advance reviews were glowing, and it seemed like the perfect addition to our Kids Graphic Novel section, which serves all reading children in our library (mostly ages 6-12). Then I opened the book.

Gaiman’s Newbery Award-winner famously opens with the eerie, perfectly spine-chilling line, “There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.” The graphic novelization of a novel which begins with a family’s murder was always going to be on the dark side. I expected that. I did not expect to turn the second page of a book touted as acceptable for age 8 by 4 of the 5 major review journals and see graphic, bloody images of a family with their throats slit open, red blood pooling around them. These images are hinted at but not described in the novel ( I know, I reread the chapter to be sure!)

Where did you shelve The Lost Boy?

Where did you shelve The Lost Boy?

After quickly conferring with my coworkers, we decided to move the book to the YA Graphic Novel collection. The magic power of the internet helped reassure us in our decision: none less than the venerable NYPL had shelved the book either in YA or Adult graphic novels, depending on the branch. I was bummed to lose what I am sure will be a highly-circulating book to another department, and doubly bummed after reading it – the book was excellent, just not quite a fit for the Children’s Library. I was also glad this happened, as it made me think about how much I rely on reviews when adding to the collection, and how badly reviews had failed me this time around.

Here is my question to you, fellow graphic novel collectors for children: how do you decide if a graphic novel is appropriate for the children’s library, especially when the collection has to appeal to a wider audience than kids in grades 3-6? If a book is dark but not graphic, does it stay (The Lost Boy)? If the characters are battling in a fantastical setting (Battling Boy), does it go in YA or children’s? If there are romantic entanglements (a la Drama), where do you put the book? Where did you put The Graveyard Book?

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22. Consistency is Key

My library always has a huge turnout for our Summer Reading Program. My branch alone (one of ten in the system) has close to 5,000 kids and teens participate in our Summer Reading Program which means we are busy all summer long. For as long as I’ve worked at the library (eight years) we’ve always brought in hired performers once a week to help take the burden off of staff during a busy programming period. We also continue with our regular storytimes and offer many special programs done by staff.

This summer we decided to try something new. We offered consistent weekly programs for special age groups throughout the summer. We hosted “Monday Madness” for tweens-we defined tweens as grades 4-8. We also added a weekly STEM program called “Science Explorers” for grades K-5. The program was hosted at the same time, but the theme changed every week. Staff did everything from LEGOs and tea parties to the science of spiders, and building catapults.

What we discovered was something we had long suspected-our patrons loved having a consistent day and time set aside for certain age groups. Many parents mentioned how much they loved having a program day and time set aside just for the tweens who often feel left out in other programming. Since we limited registration to 25-30 participants for the Friday events the kids loved having a chance to explore all sorts of science topics in a smaller setting.

Offering weekly programs was a lot to take on in addition to our three days of storytimes a week, Thursday performers and additional programs like our dance party, digital storytimes, and evening storytimes. But it was worth it to add the additional programs to make sure we offered something for everyone all summer long.

We felt like we finally found a great programming formula that worked for our library during Summer Reading Program and we can’t wait to try it again next year.

 

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23. Work and Life

On a recent solo road trip, I grabbed a random book on CD from the 658s and ended up with “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance” by Tony Schwartz. This book was recently re-published under the title “Be Excellent at Anything: The Four Keys to Transforming the Way We Work and Live”. This was one of the best ways that I could have spent my 10 hours on the road. I’m an exempt employee who loves my job, so I tend to struggle with my work life balance, often leaning towards more work and less life.

The basic idea of the book is that we have four core needs that help us perform at our best: security, self-expression, significance & sustainability. We need to make sure that these needs are met so that we can be more efficient and focused when we are at work.

Significance: This is the “why” of your work. Why do you get up in the morning?

Security: Feeling accepted and appreciated for who you are.

Self-Expression: The ability to use your unique talents and skills.

Sustainability: Taking care of yourself so that you can take care of your work.

Sustainability is definitely my trouble area. Schwartz argues, with research to back him up, that powering through a 12 hour day is less productive than an 8 hour day with plenty of “renewal” breaks. Examples of renewal breaks include reading, taking a nap, going on a run or just getting outside for a walk.

Schwartz also argues that we run through a daytime cycle, similar to the 90 minute sleep cycle and we can only give 90 minutes of focused energy before we have to take a break. After 90 minutes, one becomes less productive. He recommends scheduling meetings for a maximum of 90 minutes and some for only 30 minutes. He said that in a 30 minute meeting, you tend to get more done because you don’t have the luxury of time.

He also talked about the myth of multi-tasking and the idea that we are always distracted, giving only a portion of our attention to any one thing; that we don’t fully engage in anything and definitely don’t spend enough time thinking about long term planning or big picture stuff.

Most importantly he mentions that it is important to turn off work and not check email constantly from home, but to fully engage in other activities in order to be better at work.

After I returned home I shared this book with my colleagues and I picked up a print copy for myself. After skimming through the material again I compiled a thirty-one item list of things to do to improve my work life balance. Change doesn’t happen overnight, so although I have only made half of these improvements, I feel good about my progress.

Right now I am looking very much forward to my second to last vacation of the year. I plan to leave work behind and enjoy my family and the last bit of summer.

If you are struggling to leave work at work, I highly recommend this read (or listen). If you are not sure if you could benefit from the book, take this Energy Audit quiz.

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24. ALSC Member of the Month — Beth Munk

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, Beth Munk.

photo 1(1)

Photo courtesy of Beth Munk

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

I am the children’s services manager at the Kendallville Public Library. I have been overseeing programming, collections, and staff here for 10 years.

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

I joined ALSC around 4 years ago because I wanted to get more involved in the library profession.   I have served on various local and state agencies boards helping organizations to achieve their missions. I’ve been involved in the Indiana Library Federation and Children and Young Person Division (CYPD) conference planning committees for years but was really interested in taking things to the next level.   Joining ALSC has allowed me to connect with librarians across the country and discuss the future of our profession.

3. What motivates you?

Forward movement. People can be divided into two categories – Builders or Maintainers –I’m a builder. Builders are innovators, creators, and explorers. They not only get to create new services, projects, and programs, but they also get to find ways to expand and enhance what is already there.   I heard someone say once that they “hate sameness.” That’s me, I am consistently telling my staff that we did a great job, but what can we do to make it bigger? Better?

4. What are you proudest of having accomplished in your professional career?

The thing I’m most proud of in my professional career is helping to bring the library to LIFE for the youth of Kendallville. I have pushed myself and my staff to be “there” wherever that may be, and promote the connections in our life to what the library has to offer.

5. Favorite age of kids to work with?

I LOVE to work with students in the upper elementary (grades 3-6). This group is able to enjoy a great picture book and a fun activity, but are also able to delve into deep converstations and participate in a multi-step project.

6. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

When I was little I went through a variety of careers that I was interested in…the one the stuck around the longest, was that of the sports broadcaster.   I went to Purdue University and received a degree in communications with the hopes of landing an on air job in the news.

7. What’s one “rule” you wished every librarian followed?

I wish every librarian would follow the “rule” to sometimes, “just give them the pickle!” This is a story told by Bob Farrell on the importance of customer service.   Basically, it boils down to sometimes you have to break the “rules.” What’s your “pickle” in your job/library? Is it more important than a happy customer?

8. Movies or plays?

This is a tough one, because I love both.   For many years I have travelled to Stratford, Canada with a group of high school kids to enjoy the Shakespearean festival and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for any movie. BUT there is a time to curl up on the couch with your kids and belt out “Let it Snow,” just one more time.

9. Have you ever photobombed someone?

I do my very best to never ever be photographed for any reason, so I have never photobombed anyone, but almost every time someone sneaks a picture of me there is someone making some face in the background.

10. What do you love about your work?

I love so many things about my work, but probably my favorite part is meeting authors and listening to their stories about why they write, what they used to do, or just the silly things they have been through. This in itself is wonderful, but taking that to a group of 4th graders and getting the feeling that I’m giving them some secret insight into the book or author we’re discussing is awesome!

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Thanks, Beth! 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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25. Hurray for Another Year of Intellectual Freedom!

ALSC Intellectual Freedom Commitee members are looking forward to a third year of BBW 2013contributing to the ALSC Blog. Our blog posts are usually scheduled for the third Saturday of the month and we have a whole pile of interesting topic ideas to work through.

The ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee serves as a liaison between ALSC and the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee and all other groups within ALA concerned with intellectual freedom; we advise the division on matters before the Office of Intellectual Freedom and their implication for library service to children; we make recommendations to the ALA IF Committee for changes to policies regarding library service to children; and we promote in-service and continuing education.

This year we are planning to follow our blog posts with an intellectual freedom themed discussion on ALSC-L and we are looking at some options for intellectual freedom trainings for youth services librarians. We have a busy year ahead of us!

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns for the ALSC IF Committee. We would love to hear from you!

Heather Acerro, ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee Chair

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