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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. Coloring page days of rage + Caption Contest

coloringpages-sm

Original comic by Lisa Nowlain

OK, so clearly this is a rant. Sometimes rants aren’t productive, but sometimes they’re a funny and loud way to start a conversation (especially when they’re not being yelled into your face). As someone who is passionate about open-ended creativity and art, who has studied and practiced art in a variety of formats as well as been a children’s librarian, I do feel passionately about the subject.

Coloring pages are a great child-calmer, and we have some in the library. I’ve recently whipped up a couple that are a little more open-ended and they go like hotcakes, but I’ve also been experimenting with putting out blank sheets and they get filled up even faster!

All in all, there’s nothing wrong with having fond memories of doing coloring pages as a child, and they can be quite meditative. But if we’re going to be intentional with our storytimes – which is so important and I’m so grateful for the storytime warriors who are outlining this so clearly – I say we need to be equally intentional with our crafts and activities. Art has an incredible potential for plugging into early literacy practices and inspiring kids to be confident and self-actualizing, if we let it.

And if we let kids do it! Letting kids get messy, make mistakes, and learn that their work and process are valid are steps to building happy and healthy adults. A recent Opinion piece in the New York Times shows that over-structured classrooms don’t intervene in educational slides, and “Other research has found that early didactic instruction might actually worsen academic performance.” Instead, children need space to play and discover things on their own – and though the article doesn’t touch on them, I believe coloring pages are an example of overly-didactic art instruction. Another study, for instance, shows that creativity is decreasing in American schoolchildren, and points to the lack of freedom kids are given as the main reason. There is a lot of freedom in a blank page and an encouraging adult, and in the informal learning space a library can provide.

CAPTION CONTEST!

At the suggestion of the wonderful ALSC member and former president Mary Fellows, I’m hosting a caption contest (ala the New Yorker) for my next post! Give your best shot in the comments. Winner to be announced next post (sorry, no prizes, just glorious celebration of your wit).

Come up with a funny caption in the comments!

Come up with a funny caption in the comments!

More resources on process art and alternatives to coloring pages:

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 www.lisanowlain.com).

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2. Managing the Youth Collection: Weed to Thrive

Like a garden, a collection needs to be weeded regularly in order to thrive. Many weeds are beautiful, but left to their own devices they will take over a garden and drown out the things you are actually trying to grow. A library is the same. We must weed out grubby and unwanted items to make room for popular titles, and attractive copies of classics, and other materials to round out our collections.

Just a few grubby items from juvenile fiction

Just a few grubby items from juvenile fiction

When I began in my current library, the collection needed to be weeded badly. Popular items were falling apart, and other items (including a vintage 1983 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles chapter book, which I failed to take a picture of!!) had been sitting so long that glue dust flew from the binding when opened. By the time I finished Juvenile Fiction (chapter books), more than 1500 items were discarded or replaced. Look how pretty the stacks look now!

juvenile shelves post weeding

Do not put off weeding until you are in this situation! Sit down right now and make a weeding plan. Decide the order in which collections will be addressed, and/or assign collections to staff members to focus on.  Determine the criteria you will use for weeding, and how you and staff will regularly fit time into your schedules for this important task. Look at your budget to determine how much money can be allocated to replacing shabby copies, or filling gaps in series and subjects.

Revamped Series Section

Revamped Series Section

If you have a large weeding project like mine, make a plan for how you plan to use the additional shelf space- displays? special pull out collections? a passive program in the stacks? -to get jazzed about the possibly daunting task before you. Motivate yourself and your staff by keeping track of circulation statistics and taking before and after pictures.

 

Go forth and weed!

 

Consider these sources for more on weeding:

 

“Why We Weed” from Awful Library Books.

 

-The CREW method (pages 69-70 are specific to youth collections) may be especially helpful if you are new to weeding. Keep in mind, however, that depending on your community and the use of your collections, the number of years you allow an item to sit on the shelf may vary. In my library, most juvenile fiction items sitting for more than one year need to be reviewed, as this is a high circulating collection. They may be put on display, or find themselves in the book sale.

 

Weeding Library Collections: A Selected Annotated Bibliography for Library Collection Evaluation from the American Library Association

 


Today’s blog post was written by Kendra Jones, a Children’s Librarian at the Tacoma Public Library in Tacoma, WA on behalf of the ALSC Managing Children’s Services Committee.

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3. Film & Books: Pixar’s Inside Out

From l-r, Fear, Disgust, Sadness, Joy, and Anger help run Riley's brain

From l-r, Fear, Disgust, Sadness, Joy, and Anger help run Riley’s brain

American audiences won’t get to see Disney/Pixar’s latest film Inside Out until June 19th, but the film recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. The resulting outpouring of affection for the film from critics and those lucky enough to view it hints to librarians that we may have another summer of children devoted to a specific movie on our hands!

For those who haven’t yet seen the trailer, Inside Out takes an anthropomorphic look at our emotions. The protagonist, a pre-teen girl named Riley, experiences a personality shift when Joy and Sadness (voiced by Amy Poehler and Phyllis from the Office!) get trapped outside of Riley’s brain’s Command Center, leaving Fear, Anger, and Disgust to take over her personality (perhaps this happens to all teenagers?)

Brave Horace by Holly Keller helps children accept their fears.

Brave Horace by Holly Keller helps children accept their fears.

At my library, we tend not to purchase books based on movies or tv shows. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, and we’ve broken it many times before, but though they’ve been in my carts, I haven’t yet purchased any titles related to this upcoming movie. Instead, knowing ahead of time how popular we expect Inside Out to be has allowed us to start to pull together a list of children’s picture books that deal with the same sort of emotions focused on in the film. Books like When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry and Stuck with the Blooz help children explore those conflicting emotions that it can be difficult to talk about, and as a great bonus, we already own them, so we don’t have to buy new books right at the end of our fiscal year!

What are your favorite emotion books for kids? Are you ask excited about Inside Out as I am?

 

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4. United Way-Partnerships that create Partnerships

Have you ever wondered-“Where can I get help with a big initiative in my library? Who would be a partner that can stretch beyond our walls and bring more partners to the table?” We have found this partner with our local United Way. With a new focus at the national level, the United Way has changed. With dedication to providing good education, financial stability, and healthy and strong communities, local United Ways are reaching out to their communities more than ever. Our local United Way responded to a county wide assessment that pinpointed three areas that we as a community needed to focus on-Early Literacy, Mental Health, and Low-Income families. The library was a natural partner with early literacy. We now have a partnership with United Way of Medina County that is funding our R.O.C.K.S. Program (Reading Opportunities Create Kindergarten Success). Medina County R.O.C.K.S. is an interactive workshop for parents and their kindergarten-age children. Parents listen to informational speakers while the children enjoy interactive learning and then parents and children complete a reading readiness activity together. Families receive materials to take home to practice, books, and much more!
Our United Way also partnered with us on our One Book, One Community initiative. They came to the table with the idea to collect enough copies of the book Wonder to give to every sixth grader in our county. They did it and collected over 2500 copies of the book. This is where the United Way has been most effective as a partner for us, reaching businesses and making those connections that otherwise we could not. The executive director at the time told me that asking businesses to donate books to kids was their easiest project. It was easy to convince individuals and businesses to support reading, especially a book that has the message of being kind. Choosing this book was our library response to the health assessment that indicated that 17% of the youth in our county in 2012 had seriously considered suicide.
I encourage you to seek out your local United Way and sit down and talk about how you can partner together. It has been a beautiful relationship for both the United Way of Medina County and the Medina County District Library and because of the United Way, we have found new partnerships. Check out their website at www.unitedway.org.


Holly Camino is manager of the Buckeye Branch at the Medina County District Library in Medina, OH. She is serving on the 2016 Arbuthnot Lecture Committee, the ALSC Liaison to National Organizations Committee, 2014-2016, and a Member of the ALA Committee on Membership Meetings 2015-2017. Holly is also a 2013 recipient of the Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times and American Library Association, “I Love My Librarian Award”.

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5. RPL BookBike: Shifting Gears, It’s How We Roll

Keri & Heather on trail

In April Rochester Public Library (MN) launched the BookBike outreach program. RPL’s BookBike, a little library on wheels, will visit locations within a one-mile radius of the downtown library this spring, summer and fall. Pulled by library staff on bicycles, RPL’s BookBike offers library books, library cards, program information, assistance with digital materials, bike trail maps and fun incentives for kids.

The BookBike is in its infant stages, but we are already making a difference in our community. We are connecting with residents who would not have thought to enter the library doors, promoting biking as a transportation option, and creating positive relationships with kids and their grown ups. We are looking forward to a summer full of fun, biking and pedaling good books. (Get it?)BookBike

In order to staff the BookBike we have made some hard choices about in-house programming, ultimately deciding to put the bulk of our summer efforts into outreach. We have a full schedule for May and June, with the rest of the summer expected to fill up soon. We don’t operate on a regular schedule, but work around special events and activities and fill in other days with visits to local grocery stores, parks and other locations.

The BookBike project was funded in part with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, through a Community Collaboration grant from Southeast Libraries Cooperating (SELCO).

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6. The ALSC Blog would love your help at #alaac15

AC15_LearnMore_250x124In just over a month, many librarians will be heading to San Francisco for ALA’s Annual Conference. There is a full lineup of ALSC programs at Annual including the President’s Program, the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Awards Banquet, hundreds of exhibits to explore, and much more.

If YOU are heading to the City by the Bay at the end of June, we’d love to have you live blog for the ALSC Blog about what you are experiencing and learning so everyone — especially those #leftbehind — can have a feel for what the conference is like.

Sound interesting? Just contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog Manager, at alscblog@gmail.com for all the information you need to volunteer as a live blogger from the conference.

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7. Distinguished and Diverse: Celebrate the 2015 ALSC Honor Books

2015 ALA Annual Conference

2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco (image courtesy of ALA)

ALSC and the ALSC Awards Preconference Pilot Program Task Force want to remind Annual attendees that registration slots for the 2015 ALSC preconference program are still avaialable. This program takes place 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Friday, June 26, 2015, at the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco.

The program, entitled Distinguished and Diverse: Celebrate the 2015 ALSC Honor Books, will spotlight 2015 Honor Book recipients for the Newbery, Caldecott, Batchelder, Pura Belpré, Sibert and Geisel awards. The keynote speaker for the program is K.T. Horning, and there will be a panel facilitated by Judy Freeman.

The event will feature authors, illustrators and editors such as:

  • Cece Bell
  • Jacqueline Woodson
  • Lauren Castillo
  • Mary GrandPré
  • Candace Fleming
  • Yuyi Morales
  • Jillian Tamaki
  • Katherine Roy
  • John Parra
  • Patricia Hruby Powell
  • Mark Siegel
  • Christian Robinson,
  • Jon Klassen
  • Melissa Sweet

This is the first year that such a preconference will be held. The charge of the Awards Preconference Pilot Program Task Force is “to develop content and the program for a half-day preconference that will feature 2015 ALSC-only award honorees.” Based on the success of this year’s preconference, ALSC may or may not choose to hold similar events in connection with upcoming Annual Conferences. ALSC members receive a special discount (use code: ALSC2015) on registration.

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8. Youth Who Take A Stand

Children ask two types of questions when they approach the reference desk: self-imposed  or those imposed by others such as teachers and parents. As a children’s librarian I have answered hundreds, if not thousands of children’s questions over the past 11 years. The excitement of a child with a self-imposed question is as apparent as the frustration of a child with an imposed question.

But what about when a child  wants to read a book, but her parents say no? I’ve seen it hundreds of times. For example, I just had a child today who wanted to read the next book in the I Survived series. The title wasn’t available and he wanted to place it on hold. Mom said, “No, you’re not putting anything on hold.”  I don’t think parents realize the devastating effect it has on their child when they are told, “No, you can’t read a book”.

I recently came across a news story that happened over a year ago. Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is a popular target for challenges, was banned from a middle school library in Idaho. A student took a stand against the parents who were blocking access to the book. She inspired fellow students to petition and when Alexie’s publisher caught wind of the situation  they sent out 350 free copies of the book for the students. Talk about a HUGE impact that those youth had on rallying for one book they believed in. Kudos to all of them for their tenacity and bravery.

If more kids were willing to stand up to the adults who tell them, “No, you can’t read such and such book”, perhaps we’d have fewer book challenges. I’m not saying that parents are wrong and I respect them for setting boundaries with their kids. As library professionals we need to find a way to help children come out of their shells and advocate for their own reading interests; with this skill they can be more successful readers and leaders in the future.

Janet Weber is a member of the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee and is a Youth Services Librarian at the Tigard Public Library in Oregon. She was on the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee when The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was named to the 2008 Notable Children’s Recordings list and she thinks the audio is extremely hilarious.

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9. Summer Stress Relief

Our Summer Reading Program starts tomorrow and goes through August 8. We have programs happening every day of the week and most weekends from June to the end of Summer Reading. My branch alone has around 5,000+ kids and teens participate in the Summer Reading Program, not to mention all the patrons that come through our doors and don’t turn in Summer Reading Program information. It’s going to be a long, busy Summer!

That’s why my staff and I came up with our Summer Stress Relief Basket this year. We cleared off a space in our workroom and created a space for us to take a break and relax. I added some Kinetic Sand-which is perfect for a quick relaxing brain break! I also included a copy of Secret Garden, the very popular and intricate adult coloring book. My staff have added chocolate and other treats and we’ll keep adding to it throughout the Summer.

Our goal is to remind ourselves that we’re doing a great job and to take a breather every once in awhile!

What would you put in your Summer Stress Relief Basket?

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10. Setting Up Storytime!

Storytime set-up. Photo courtesy of the author.

The last time I talked about my storytime set-up, I was in my last library. Since then things have changed and I thought I would share my new set-up.

My library has a dedicated storytime space. The room can hold up to 45 people comfortably but it definitely gets hot in there with that many bodies!

I now have a long countertop that I can utilize throughout storytime, so most of my belongings are stored here, on the back wall — out of reach of toddlers!

Storytime materials. Photo courtesy of the author.

I keep everything in the same order every week so I know where everything is without looking: CD player and CDs, bag where I store my puppets, clipboard that has my outline on it, books, song cube & parent hand-outs, bubbles, and flannelboards.

I try my very best to keep the bubbles hidden behind my flannelboard and easel, otherwise the kids would be demanding bubbles from the start of the program. But you can still see them if the kids are looking really hard!

I really like this set-up compared to my last library’s where most of my belongings were stored on my flannelboard easel’s shelf. I think that not rummaging through the shelf to find what I’m looking for makes for easier seamless transitions. The only thing I don’t like about this set-up is that I often turn my back to the group to get something. I try to keep talking while I do that so I’m still engaged with the group.

How is your storytime space set up? What do you think about it? Do you have anything you wish was different? Let me know in the comments!

– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Library
http://storytimekatie.com

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11. My Summer Wish List

Olaf, in Disney’s Frozen, is famously and surprisingly infatuated with all things summer. Children’s librarians, on the other hand, seem a natural fit to be preoccupied with these warm months ahead. As our busiest time of the year is on the horizon and our summer reading program begins in just a few short weeks, I’ve created my own wish list of my hopes and dreams for this year’s summer reading program. While it would be nice if our programs and prizes brought in the kids in droves just like that Disney blockbuster hit, I’m setting my sights on more realistic milestones to gauge the success of our program. So without further ado, here’s my summer reading wish list for 2015.

Marketing Magic   

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

We’ve always targeted the schools with summer reading publicity, assemblies, appearances on morning announcements, and promotional summer reading DVDs.  This year the print publicity students receive not only highlights our upcoming programs but also includes a reading log for children to record their reading over the summer.  In previous years, we’ve required participants to wait to begin the summer reading program until the children or their adults receive the reading record in person in the library.  By providing kids with the reading records early while they are still in school, we hope this will jump start their reading. As children will have their physical record in hand, this will hopefully serve as an encouragement and reminder to their parents to bring their kids to the library to collect their prizes. My first wish is that our enhanced promotional efforts with the schools increase our overall participation.

Older and Involved

Our children’s summer reading club begins for children from birth through fifth grade, with those children who have completed fifth grade having the option of completing the children’s program or joining the teen summer reading club instead. Unfortunately, we’ve observed less interest and participation with those kids in the children’s program once they have reached the upper elementary grades.  Our programs on superheroes and spy camps should be hits with the older kids, but we also hope some of the other changes we have implemented, such as adding a pick a prize option to allow children some variety with choosing their prizes and a wider selection of books for children to choose from when they receive their third prize, will add appeal to the older end of our age range. My second wish is that all our children, regardless of their age, are enthusiastic and engaged with our program this summer.

The Individual Impact            

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

It’s easy to be sucked in by the numbers and get stuck on those statistics.  This year, my greatest wish is that I am able to see the individual connections we make with children. I hope I observe how our summer reading participants relate to the books they are reading and how reading resonates in their lives.  Even with the hustle and bustle of the summer, I hope we all can take just a moment and acknowledge how our summer reading reaches each and every one of our participants, instead of rushing from one group to the next. My greatest wish is that I remember that this individual impact is what our work is all about.

My summer wish list includes my hope that our promotional materials increase our participation, that our older kids are as excited about our program as their younger siblings, and that we are all able to stop and recognize the summer reading program’s individual impact on our participants.  I hope at the beginning of the fall it will be evident that these wishes came to fruition, and if they didn’t, we’ll develop new goals in mind to enhance our program in 2016.  What does your wish list for your summer reading program include this year?  Please add your wishes in the comments below!

 

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12. #libtechcon15

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Folks at #libtechcon15 . Photo by Jay Heath

At my school (LREI), our Library and Edtech departments merged a few years ago. We are in a bit of a unique position since two of our dedicated tech people are degreed librarians, and the Department Chair of the Edtech department is actually our high school librarian. So our joint department numbers 9 strong with 6 of us holding MLS degrees. We are fortunate to work and play well together, but our sense from attending conferences and meetings was that we are a bit of a rarity.

In the fall, we hosted the first #libtechcon14 where we invited librarians and tech folks to come in pairs or teams for an unconference style day that would touch on some of the hard questions about communication, working together and the future of libraries. The event sold out quickly and once it was over, we were asked to consider hosting the conference again.

This time we widened our view and decided why not partner with another NYC independent school to co-host the event. I strongly believe that broadening the conversation and sharing resources is essential to our success in libraries and we soon partnered up with Ethical Culture Fieldston and their librarians and tech folks to host #edtechcon15 up in the Bronx.  We looked at what had worked well the first time around, as well as the reflections from participants that let us know what they wanted more and less of. We added an essential question portion asking big questions about collaboration, literacy and future job descriptions. One of the most powerful activities involved all participants anonymously writing down their hopes and fears on separate post-its in terms of library and tech. As job descriptions morph and lines blur, librarians and tech integrators are finding themselves redefining their roles in ways that are both exciting and scary.

I hope this conference will become a bit of a wandering staple the NYC independent school world.  I can see this model working not only for schools, but for public libraries as well —  to foster community between branches, departments or counties.  I know that I left energized with plenty of ideas as well as new contacts.

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13. Write a Letter to Curious George!

In March, we created a writing station for our children’s floor in order to boost writing and storytelling skills. We wanted something that would compel children of all ages to pick up their pencils so we knew no ordinary prompt would do. We decided that children would respond best if they were writing to one of their favorite characters – and since Curious George had us on his April calendar, we figured he would be the perfect character to start with!

Luckily, one of our librarians is a whizz with the arts so she was able to paint George’s portrait…

Writing Station

Writing Station

Beautiful, no?

Since we are librarians and we love fun, we added a little blue mailbox so the writers can mail their letters to George! And since we are early literacy professionals and will take every opportunity to teach caregivers about the importance of early literacy engagement, we added a little tip to each blank letter explaining why writing (even scribbling!) is beneficial to children’s brain development and school readiness.

Honestly, putting in a mailbox for children to mail letters rather than take them home was born out of selfishness to see what the letters to George would say. But it also has the added benefits of promoting opportunities for imaginative play and it gives us a self-directed programing number to include in our reports. In just one month, Curious George received over 1,500 letters from the children of Frisco!

Our staff checks the mailbox once a week and records the number. We pick out George’s favorite letters and document them for posterity. And since we didn’t want to hoard all the fun for ourselves, we posted our favorites to our library’s social media pages! Here are some for your enjoyment:

What did you do today? Did you be crazy? I went to the library.” Do you have cake? I wish I could eat the cake with you. Send Jaden a yellow hat. Love, Jaden. Are you Curious and your first name is George or should I switch it around? Hi, I’m Jake. You remember me from my birthday. Do you like Star Wars?

See all posted letters on our Facebook page.

Our next character to feature will be Pete the Cat since he will be visiting our library this summer. Not only is the writing station great for boosting early literacy awareness, but it also serves as promotion for our upcoming youth events and collections.

Do you have a writing station at your library? Tell us about it in the comments!

(All photos courtesy guest blogger)

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

Lisa K Bubert_headshotOur guest blogger today is Lisa Bubert. Lisa is a Youth Services Librarian with the Frisco Public Library in Frisco, TX. Early literacy and writing are her two passions and she enjoys taking any opportunity to put them together. Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

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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14. Catching Up With Committees

Spring has finally arrived, and those of us on the Public Awareness Committee thought there’s no better time than now to see what exciting projects some of our fellow committee members have been working on! ALSC offers so many great opportunities to serve on a variety of committees, many of which fly under the radar. I think you might be surprised to learn some of the awesome ways our members are working together.

Did you know that ALSC has an Oral History Committee? Deborah Cooper, Chair of the Oral History Committee, gave me the scoop on some of the interesting projects the OHC has in the works. The OHC has a long-term task of working on a large back-log of interviews with past leaders in children’s librarianship. Some of the interviews took place over 20 years ago! They have been editing the transcripts and working to get permissions to post the final versions for the public on the ALSC web site. Cooper shared some of the hurdles they have had to deal with, saying, “Sometimes tracking people down after so long is a little tricky. It is amazing how many layers there are to this project!” But the OHC is making progress with the finalization of some transcripts while others are at various stages of the editing process. Cooper hopes that many of these will be available on the web site in the next few months, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled. Until then, you can read all about ALSC’s history and ALSC members can log in to read the full transcript of two completed oral history interviews.

Every Child Ready to Read® @ your Library® Toolkit for Spanish-Speaking Communities is now available from the ALA Store (image courtesy of ALA)

Every Child Ready to Read® @ your Library® Toolkit for Spanish-Speaking Communities (image courtesy of ALA)

I’m willing to bet that many of you are familiar with Every Child Ready to Read, but did you know that there is an ECRR Oversight Committee? Dorothy Stoltz serves as the Chair of this committee and shared that ALSC/PLA released Every Child Ready to Read for Spanish Speaking Communities in 2014 and will soon be following that up with the release of a press kit to support your early literacy efforts and awareness campaigns.

Stoltz encourages members who are attending ALA Annual next month to join the ECRR Oversight Committee at two thought-provoking programs offering practical tips on early learning in libraries. She explains, “One will help you spice up your environment and the other will examine how to reach out to your teen parent population.” So be sure to add the “The Fusion of Play—and All Five Early Literacy Practices—into Library Environments” and “Early Literacy Outreach for Teen Parents: Engage & Inspire with ECRR 2.o” to your conference schedule!

Interested in getting involved yourself after reading about the rad projects you could be part of? Click here to learn more about how you can participate! It’s easy to help out and a great way to meet amazing library people and learn new skills.

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Nicole Lee Martin is a 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 nmartin@gmplibrary.org.

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15. ALSC Releases white paper: “Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth”

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) announces the release of a new white paper, “Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth.” This paper was written for ALSC by Cen Campbell, Claudia Haines, Amy Koester, and Dorothy Stoltz and adopted by the ALSC Board of Directors on March 11, 2015. The paper explores the role of children’s librarians as mentors of digital media and calls on youth service librarians to support families in their intentional, appropriate, and positive use of media.

Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth white paper

Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth white paper

ALSC’s next Community Forum will be held on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at 2pm Eastern/1pm Central and will also serve as a virtual release party for this white paper. Members are invited to logon to learn more about the paper, discuss its implications on the field, and share experiences as media mentors in their own communities.

ALSC is committed to assisting members as they explore this media mentor role in their own communities. Therefore, ALSC is offering two past webinars free to members through July, 2015 and has made available a collection of examples of current media mentorship practice. ALSC has also invited Lisa Guernsey, Director of the Early Education Initiative and the Learning Technologies Project at New America, to speak at Leadership & ALSC program at ALA’s Annual Conference to discuss the idea of media mentorship and implications on early childhood learning.

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16. 2015 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 2015 ALSC elections:

Vice President/President-Elect

Elizabeth “Betsy” Orsburn, Philadelphia, PA

Board of Directors

Christine Caputo, Free Library of Philadelphia-TOPSS, Philadelphia, PA
Vicky Smith, Kirkus Reviews, Portland, ME
Mary Voors, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, IN

Division Councilor

Jenna Nemec-Loise, Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL

Caldecott 2017 Committee

Stacy Dillon, Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School (LREI), New York, NY
Laurie Reese, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA
Ashley Waring, Reading Public Library, Reading, MA
Brian Wilson, Evanston Public Library, Evanston, IL
Erica Dean Glenn, Berkeley Public Library, Oakland, CA
Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, Chappaqua, NY
Janet Mumford, James McKinney Elementary School Library, Victoria, BC CANADA
Holly Jin, Skokie Public Library, Skokie, IL

Newbery 2017 Committee

Daniel Meyer, Kew Gardens Hills, NY
Brandy Sanchez, Daniel Boone Regional Library, Columbia, MO
Tony Carmack, Rocklin Library, Rocklin, CA
Jamie Watson, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD
Laura Lutz, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York, NY
Matthew Krueger, Irondequoit Public Library, Rochester, NY
Maryann Owen, Oak Creek Public Library, Oak Creek, WI
Betsy Fraser, Calgary Public Library, Calgary, AB CANADA

Sibert 2017 Committee

Elise DeGuiseppi, Pierce County Library System, Tacoma, WA
Ted McCoy, Springfield City Library, Springfield, MA
Gail Nordstrom, Viking Library System, Fergus Falls, MN
Louise Capizzo, Scarborough Public Library, Scarborough, ME
Michael Rogalla, Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL

Wilder 2017 Committee

Robin Gibson, Westerville Public Library, Westerville, OH
Luann Toth, School Library Journal, New York, NY
Virginia Walter, Venice, CA

A full list of election information including candidates and proposed amendments is available from the ALSC Election Information page.

To learn more about ALA’s election results, please visit the ALA Election Information page.

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17. Fairy Tales are Alive and Well

When I was a child, I would play in the attic of our farmhouse, with an oversized bridesmaid dress worn over my clothes. The dress was icy-blue taffeta, with covered buttons down the back. Dragging behind me, the dress rustled as it slid on the uneven wood floor. I would glide to the single attic window, overlooking my, er…ah…kingdom… I was a princess, a ruler, an adventurer; I was fearless. Little did I know, that I was practicing for my future career as a school librarian, teaching information literacy and other library skills, with a penchant for Fairy Tales.

Fischer. Mark. 2011. Chiang Mai. Thailand

“Thai Lanterns” Photo by Mark Fischer, 2011

In a few short months, I will begin my second position as an international librarian. My first stint abroad was to the Middle East. This second venture into international librarianship is to Chiang Mai, Thailand, where I will be my school’s first fulltime professional librarian, grades K-12. While researching my potential new home in Thailand before accepting this position, I came across photos of the Thai “Yi Peng” Festival, where sky lanterns are released. These photos reminded me of Disney’s Tangled, a spin on the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale, Rapunzel. In Tangled, there is a scene with sky lanterns, and I remember wondering about them when I watched the movie. Soon, I will be living a part of that Fairy Tale scene.

I started using Fairy Tales to begin library lessons each school year about 6 years ago. As a native English speaker, I found that teaching in schools where English is not a first language for students, but frequently is the first language for the school, can pose some challenges. Genres are included in my library lessons, and I just decided to start with fairy tales, mostly because I love them so much, and most libraries have them. I found that Fairy Tales are far more universal than I ever thought, and starting the year out talking about and extrapolating on these Tales have been wonderful ice-breakers, both abroad and in the United States. I have been happily surprised at how older students warm up to the genre, sharing their opinions and ideas on a range of Fairy Tales and their favorite characters. As the Tales are often universal in theme in some way, most children know the basics of them, so despite language barriers, they can be easily shared and discussed. Through this process I am constantly reminded of something very valuable; Fairy Tales connect people, and as my work life is often like living in one, I can say that Fairy Tales are alive and well!

Would you like to see more sky lanterns as featured in the movie Tangled? Click here.

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

Our guest blogger today is Brenda Hahn. Brenda’s permanent home is in Florida, where she and her family live when her international school is not in session. As a Teacher/Librarian, she has worked in U.S. public schools, public libraries and in several international schools. Brenda collects Fairy Tales from around the world and loves researching the theories behind them. She can be reached at neverendinglibrarian@gmail.com.

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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18. Every Child Ready to… Talk Read Sing!: Partnership in Action

Talk Read Sing

Taken from the Talk Read Sing website

Talking is Teaching: Talk Read Sing, a campaign of Too Small to Fail, offers libraries tools for high-exposure partnerships in early literacy, and a clear alignment with Every Child Ready to Read through its targeted parent engagement strategies to close the 30 million word gap.

As an advertising campaign to parents, it works on the evidence that organized drives to change behavior are most effective when they use “nudges” to remind people to make small changes in their daily routines.  The campaign asks communities to organize its trusted messengers (us!) to work together, putting that consistent message “Talk Read Sing” in front of parents throughout their day, and throughout their city.  And it gives us plenty of tools to do it.

Oakland CA was the kickoff city for Talk Read Sing last summer.  Billboards on freeways and bus shelters still invite parents, in English and Spanish, to talk with their children through playful slogans: “Let’s talk about the bus” or “Let’s talk about the weather.”  Bibs and towels distributed in our libraries and elsewhere: “Let’s talk about food” and “Let’s talk about bath time.”  The branding and creative assets produced by the campaign are available to libraries and other organizations who register at Too Small to Fail’s Community site.

OPL Talk Read Sing enthusiast

A Talk Read Sing enthusiast at the Elmhurst Branch of the Oakland Public Library (photo courtesy of the author)

Here, the coordinated distribution of free materials was managed by First 5 Alameda County, in partnership with many organizations (including OPL) involved in Oakland Reads 2020, a community in the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading.  The Talk Read Sing campaign is a natural strategy for school readiness, and works seamlessly within Grade Level Reading campaigns.

Our rollout meetings provided a perfect opportunity for me to share our own OPL “Talk Sing Read Write Play” brochures, which we developed from the ECRR2 curriculum.  Despite the fact that ECRR2 promotes two additional elements, the message is clearly the same, and partners were thrilled to have local materials to weave into the campaign.  Boom: our library brochures went city wide.

If you have a Grade Level Reading Community or a functioning literacy collation, you have the perfect network to build a Talk Read Sing campaign in your community.   Introduce yourself as a partner who can help engage parents around teaching behaviors that will help everyone meet common goals for early literacy.  And if you don’t have such a network yet, this campaign is the perfect carrot to get one going.  See SPFL’s Christy Estrovitz’s presentation “Inspired Collaborations” for some tips.

For the public overview of the campaign, including free resources: http://talkingisteaching.org/

For the community campaigning materials, register at: http://toosmall.org/community

And find out more at ALA Annual, Sunday June 28 from 1-2pm, at Babies Need Words Every Day: Bridging the Word Gap as a Community

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Our guest blogger today is Nina Lindsay, Children’s Services Coordinator at the Oakland Public Library, CA, who talks, reads, and—yes!—sings, every day.

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19. Where do I live? Finding a Home for Puberty Books

normal

Where should I live?

Certain collections are associated with a little bit more parental angst than others, and books about puberty, changing bodies, and human sexuality often seem to fall into this category. Some parents see their value and appreciate their inclusion in the collection, while others are aghast that a children’s library would carry such material.

While librarians agree that books dealing with these topics are important to own in a collection, the trickier subject of where these books should live often pops up, usually after a child has checked out a book with a puberty or human sexuality theme their parent is less than thrilled about. Do we keep these books in our offices and only offer them to those who ask, or is that censorship? Do we file them with the rest of the books and deal with whatever fallout may come as it happens, or are we inviting an unnecessary headache?

What about me?

What about me?

At my library, we use a two-fold solution. There is a collection in the Children’s Library called F5 Parents. The Parents collection contains a “best of” selection of parenting books, such as Raising a Digital Child and Your One-Year OldIt’s also home to a group of picture books we call “Special Topics” that parents can check out to facilitate conversations with their children about issues such as new babies, potty training, adoption, illness, and human sexuality. The younger human sexuality books, such as Hair in Funny Placeslive here, as do books designed to be shared between a parent and a child, such as It’s Perfectly Normal

Meanwhile, our Kids Self non-fiction section, which debuted Fall 2013 as a part of our non-fiction reorganization, holds the puberty and human sexuality books that are squarely aimed at the 10-14 year-olds who are experiencing these changes, such as The Care and Keeping of You and Will Puberty Last My Whole LifeThis allows kids to browse for books they might find helpful, while providing parents with a dedicated place to go for the same topics.

Where does your library keep the puberty books? Do you believe librarians should be cognizant of parental feelings on the subject, or check books out to children who want them regardless of potential parental objections?

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20. Sentimentality & Storytime

I’ve spent the week with a case of the sniffles. And not because of a cold, thank goodness! It’s our last week of our spring storytime session and it’s a mixture of emotions.

Storytime Evaluation Sheet [Photo courtesy of the author, originally posted on Instagram]

Storytime Evaluation Sheet [Photo courtesy of the author, originally posted on Instagram]

Thank Yous
This week has been full of thanks. From one of my toddlers who has finally mastered signing “thank you” in American Sign Language to the parent who thanked me for teaching her child how to say his name with our name fingerplay. And of course, there’s a lot of gratitude in our evalution sheets. The one pictures is actually from our winter session since I forgot to snap a picture earlier today.

Goodbyes
With all of that thanks comes the goodbyes. The graduates — some of which I’ve had in my toddler storytime since I started at my library a year ago. A year ago we were strangers and now we’ve both got separation anxiety as they move up to our preschoool class. And the families that are moving away, both far and near, who made sure to snap pictures with me and give me hugs at the end of their last class.

Thank you" picture; I'm the one with hearts coming out of my chest. [Photo courtesy of the author, originally posted on Instagram]

“Thank you” picture; I’m the one with hearts coming out of my chest. [Photo courtesy of the author, originally posted on Instagram]

Personal Connections
The babies who have become so comfortable with me after seven weeks that they reach out to be picked up and cuddled. The toddlers who run into class full-strength at my chair to get the seat next to Miss Katie. Seeing an entire room of patrons enthusiastically participating in our goodbye rhyme because they know it by heart now.

Basically, I’m a wreck and though I know I need that break before summer reading starts, I’m already missing my weekly kiddos. I’ll just have to keep looking at pictures and counting the days until kick-off.

Do you get sentimental at the end of storytime? I can’t be the only one with watery eyes! Let all those feelings out in the comments!

– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library
http://storytimekatie.com

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21. 10 Ways to Make Your Summer Reading Program Inclusive

Youth services library staff have summer reading on the brain this time of year. My library is always looking for ways to make our summer reading program  as accessible and inclusive as possible. Renee Grassi’s post inspired me to create this list, 10 Ways to Make Your Summer Reading Program Inclusive!

  1. Start by becoming familiar with materials in alternative formats. Examples include large print books or braille and audio materials.

  2. For patrons seeking sensory experiences while reading, look into having volunteers create tactile books. This can even be a craft program during the summer so that kids can create their own original books to interact with.

  3. Allow flexibility within the program when measuring success. For some readers, it may be more encouraging to define each “level” not by number of books read but amount of time spent reading or being read to.

  4. Determine if you can provide your summer reading program through the mail. My library mails braille and audio materials via the USPS to all our patrons. For our summer reading program, we send prizes, event calendars and more to the youth who have registered. This way, patrons who can’t visit the library can still take part in the program.

  5. Communicate with special education staff  at your local schools to see about outreach opportunities. These contacts will benefit you long after the conclusion of your summer reading program.

  6. Think of ways the summer reading program’s theme can be inclusive. This year, we’re focusing on heroes of all kinds. For the children at my library, we took this idea beyond Hollywood superheroes. For our patrons, a hero may be a teacher of the visually impaired, a service animal or the postal carrier who delivers their books to them.

  7. Review the way that participants report their progress. Are they using a log? Is there a website online they can make updates to? Make sure you provide options so that all kids feel comfortable registering and updating you on their progress!

  8. If your summer reading program involves storytimes, select books for an inclusive audience. There are many posts on the blog with great suggestions (here and here for starters) and also lists on Goodreads, like this one.

  9. When selecting the prizes your library uses for summer reading, make sure they are as inclusive as possible. In the past, my library has taken into consideration how tactile a prize is, if the object is high contrast and if it suits a wide age range.

  10. Communication is key. Use flyers and word of mouth to spread the word. Make sure your community knows that your library is a place where children of all abilities can take in the fun of summer reading.

  11. Bonus tip: Make sure you have fun while making your programs inclusive! :)

Do you have any suggestions to add to the list? What does your library do to increase its inclusiveness?

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Courtesy photo from Jordan Boaz

Jordan Boaz is the Children’s Librarian for the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library, a branch of the New York Public Library. She regularly plans innovative, inclusive programming and outreach for children with disabilities. Jordan is experienced with story times, summer reading programs and reader advisory. She currently serves on the Library Service to Special Population Children and their Caregivers committee. She can be reached at jordanboaz@nypl.org.

 

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

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22. Take action with #VLLD 15, and let your voice be heard!

As most of us can’t physically travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in National Library Legislative Day (NLLD)ALSC’s Advocacy and Legislation Committee has developed resources so you can contact Congressional leaders from home!

Check out these easy-to-use resources for taking action from your library community during the week of May 4-8, 2015.

Creating a Better Future Button

Image courtesy of ALSC

Contact Your U.S. Senators and Representatives 

Talking Points to Use with Legislators 

Letter to Congress Template 

Sample VLLD 15 Tweets

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23. Tuesday Morning

It is hard to describe to those who do not understand libraries, who haven’t been in a library in years, the value of the public library today.

We are community anchors.

Libraries are the center of life, a place of aspiration and hope.

Sometimes that can sound like rhetoric, even to me.

In Baltimore we have 22 libraries. One of them is at the corner of Pennsylvania and North Avenue. It is one of our largest branches and one of our most beautiful. The community it serves is one of our most disadvantaged. Every day the library is open, people of the community come to the library to use computers, attend baby storytimes and relax after school and work. Monday, April 27th was no different. By two o’clock the library had staffcustomers. Children, adults and teens were in the library along with staff when the violence that was taking hold in our city came literally right to the door. The brave and committed staff of the Pennsylvania Avenue Branch kept everyone safe that day. That is remarkable, but what is even more remarkable is that every single staff member showed up for work that very next day, to open the doors again at 10 AM.

When I began working in 1988, the branch manager of the Pennsylvania Avenue Branch was Betty Boulware. She was a dignified and statuesque woman of tremendous kindness and determination. She was diligent in keeping that branch looking its best and the staff busy with programs. Betty believed that it was even more critical to offer a beautiful, bustling library in a community that had so many challenges. Betty understood that if we gave the community something truly beautiful; they would come to love it and honor it.

Penny, the Girl on the WindowWhen the smoke cleared on Tuesday morning, April 28th, the National Guard was in Baltimore. They had come under cover of darkness, amid fire and glass strewn streets. Glass was everywhere. It seemed that every window along some streets was smashed. Local Businesses were in ruins. The CVS across the street from our branch burned all night, hampered by some punching holes in the fire fighters hoses. When the library opened at 10 AM that morning, our CEO, Carla Hayden, came herself to help staff put the sign on the door. It is a glass door. The whole front of the branch is glass and remained intact.

I am greatly saddened by the events that have happened in my city. There is so much work that needs to be done on the road to justice and to making Baltimore the city we who love it believe it can be. It is daunting but I am steadied and renewed by the vison of our branch, its untouched glass windows glinting in that Tuesday sun: an anchor, a center of life, a place of aspiration and hope.

(Photos courtesy of blogger)

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24. Make Displays Work for You

In May, my library holds a huge annual pet fair. Technically, it’s a program run by our Reference Department and they cover all aspects of the program. But we love to help promote awesome programs our library is doing, especially family-friendly programs like the pet fair.

One way we help promote the pet fair is by putting up a display of pet books starting a couple of weeks before the program. Not only does this help spread the word, but we know that families who attend the program are likely going to stop in the library… where they’ll see a display of books on a subject they’re sure to be interested in. Circ stats for the win!

Photo by Abby Johnson

Photo by Abby Johnson

We’ve also put up a big display of art books when our local schools hold a reception at the library for their best art students (the art is displayed in the library for several weeks prior). It’s not a program that the Children’s Room is in charge of or has anything to do with, but we capitalize on these events that we know capture the interest of our community.

Do you do any book displays that tie into programming at your library or community events?

— Abby Johnson, Children’s Services Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN
http://www.abbythelibrarian.com

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25. Disneyland for Librarians

There’s a new library in Nova Scotia. Central Library in Halifax opened mid-December with great fanfare. Thousands of people turned out for opening day. Thousands! Now, Halifax is about a 2-hour drive from our small, rural community, but it is still exciting to me that we have this library. It is simply amazing.

photo by A. Reynolds

photo by A. Reynolds

I get pretty excited about a new library anywhere. We have a couple in the works in our region, and we plan to take a page from the Central Library book and create spaces that draw people in. The thing that I love about the new library in Halifax is that though it is not near us, we are still benefiting from the buzz. Libraries are on people’s minds.

Photo by A. Reynolds

Photo by A. Reynolds

The building is just amazing. Honestly I feel like I am in Disneyland for Librarians when I go there. And I am not alone—I’ve had parents tell me that they’ve taken their kids to the city for a museum trip, and the kids kept asking “When are we going to the library?” It is that cool. With a giant Lite-Brite wall, a play area that is downright fabulous, a LEGO table, iPads galore, and a space that makes you feel right at home, why wouldn’t they want to go there? There’s even a gaming area and a lovely built-in puppet theatre.

The Teen area is a big WOW as well. There’s a recording studio, a craft/maker room, tons of great programs, another gaming area, really comfy seating, and staircases that remind me of Hogwarts (though these don’t actually move). And the colors! So bright and happy. Go there on a weekend and you won’t find a spot to sit. After school the place just buzzes.

Photo by A. Reynolds

Photo by A. Reynolds

 

Photo by A. Reynolds

Photo by A. Reynolds

Photo by A. Reynolds

Photo by A. Reynolds

So what can a rural library take from this? Central Library is a million miles away from anything we will ever have in our region as far as size goes. But we can listen to our patrons, and if they ask for something, we should try to do it. We can make our library comfortable, with ample plugs for devices and spaces where people can work on whatever they need to work on. We can allow covered drinks and food. We can make the space bright, modern, clean, and welcoming. We can add local art. We can make play spaces and quiet spaces.

I want our libraries to be the place that kids and teens choose to visit. I think we need to figure out how that happens, without building a 5-story gem. The building is part of it, but the feeling is the real draw. We can all learn from other libraries, and continually ask our communities how we can better serve them.

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