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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. Meeting with lions

Obi, the African Lion. Photo by Angela Reynolds

Obi, the African Lion. Photo by Angela Reynolds

I’m changing Summer Reading this year. When I was in Chicago for ALA last summer I saw their Summer of Learning and was duly impressed. I am going to try something similar this summer, using STREAM – Science, Technology, Reading, Experience, Arts, and Math. The Common Core is not a Thing here in Canada (yet) but I love the idea of experience-based Summer Reading Program. Yes, Reading is still a big part of it, the main focus even, but I wanted to offer some experiences rather than Pieces of Plastic as incentives. So I contacted the local zoo. Oaklawn Farm Zoo is small and owned by a couple that are known in our area as generous and kind folks. I had a meeting in their farm house to talk about offering 2 Library Days this summer– 18 and under get in free if they show their library card (and can earn a badge if we get that part figured out).  We sat at the table over tea, muffins, and homemade jam to discuss the details. They liked the idea as much as we did– we’ll be offering storytime and needle felting demos (using zoo-animal fur collected by the keepers). We’ll also take our portable StoryWalk and our Bookmobile for a total library/zoo day! Fun!

So, we have at least one great experience to offer for our Summer STREAM. And for me, the experience was even more amazing because when we first arrived, we heard ,”Oh, here comes the lion. Put your boots on top of the fridge.” Yes, that’s right. LION. For the winter, a lion cub lived in their house. Obi, the 6-month old African lion strolled in, rolled over on the floor, and allowed us to pet his belly. Library Days at the Zoo — YEAH! Plus, I got to pet a lion. I love my job.

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2. ALSC Member of the Month — Meagan Albright

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, Meagan Albright. 

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

reading

Courtesy photo from Meagan Albright

I’m a Youth Services Librarian at the Alvin Sherman Library, Research and Information Technology Center at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. My library is joint-use, it serves the residents of Broward County and the students, faculty and staff at NSU; I’ve been here for 7 years.

2.  Why did you join ALSC?

At my very first ALA conference (New Orleans, 2006) I kind of crashed the Early Childhood Programs and Services table at the ALSC All Committee Meeting. They were so friendly in inviting me to join their discussion, so when they needed someone to take notes on the program they were presenting I promptly volunteered, and I’ve been saying yes to every opportunity that’s been offered to me to serve ALSC ever since.

3.  When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A super hero! I read a lot of comics and was a huge fan of the X-Men animated series. Sadly, my only superpower so far is the ability to read really fast.

4.  E-books or Print?

Both, as often as possible. My rule for purses is that they must be large enough to hold both my iPad and a paperback book so that I’m never caught without something to read.

5.  Bonfire or Campfire?

Anything that you can make s’mores over is fine by me! I’m a former Girl Scout, and therefore in charge of managing the fire pit at our Teen Volunteer After Hours Party at the library. Some of the teens have never had real s’mores!

6.  Do you have a “guilty pleasure” TV show?

I know some people are over the “modern fairytales with a twist” trend, but Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Grimm, and the upcoming Queen of Everything are all on my must-watch list.

7.  How many books do you own?

I’m always lending out, giving away, and acquiring more books, so it’s nearly impossible to know the total. Let’s just say the bookshelves at home are always full!

8.  Favorite part of being a Children’s Librarian?

Getting paid in high-fives and hugs from the storytime crowd.

9.  Candyland or Chess?

I would love to play an edible version of Candyland! Sour Patch Kid gamepieces, a Licorice Castle made of Twizzlers, home-baked Mama Gingersnap  and an ooey, gooey, delicious Molasses Swamp.

10.  What do you love about your work?

Finding new favorite books (for myself and for my patrons),  connecting with passionate, dedicated librarians, and seeing the positive impact that libraries have on children and families every day.

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

Thanks, Meagan! What a fun continuation to our monthly profile feature! (Meagan can be reached at ameagan@nova.edu.)

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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3. Breakfast for Bill at ALSC Institute in Oakland, CA in September

One of the most anticipated events at the ALSC Institute in Oakland this September is the Breakfast for Bill, which all attendees are welcomed to as part of their registration (no separate tickets need to be purchased).  The event honors the late Bill Morris, who was head of library marketing at HarperCollins for many years.

WilliamsFederleRyanYangThis year’s Breakfast for Bill will feature a panel of four authors of tween novels: Rita Williams-Garcia, Tim Federle, Pam Munoz Ryan, and Gene Yang.

The emcee for the panel discussion will be Jamie Campbell Naidoo, professor at the School of Library & Information Studies at the University of Alabama, and author of Rainbow Family Collections (Libraries Unlimited, 2012). Naidoo

I will helping to run the event as part of the ALSC Institute planning committee, and had an online conversation with Jamie about our focus on authors of tween literature. Here is some of what we discussed:

What about tween literature appeals to you?

Jamie: While all children are influenced by the literature that they read, tweens are in their formative years at the beginning of adolescence trying to figure out who they are, their place in the world, and how this meshes with larger society, but particularly their family’s views. Literature for tweens can really shape their understanding of the world. Good tween literature can be the impetus for change in their lives and encourage them to be social activists for their peers around the world.

What is your take on the current state of diversity in tween novels?

Like all areas of children’s literature there is not enough diversity in books for tweens. I would even go as far as to say that there is probably less diversity in tween literature than picture books for children and young adult novels. There is a critical need for tweens in their critical stages of development to make connections with characters that are like themselves but to also make larger global connections with peer characters from other cultures.

Is there any trend in tween lit that you are excited about, or any trend that you wish was over?

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I so wish the crush and gushy tween BFF romance trend was over. I realize tweens are beginning to figure out who they are and who they might like (or not). But, I think they deserve a little more emotional depth and sophistication than these types of books provide.

Is there any voice or group that you don’t see represented in tween lit?

Where do I begin! There are so many voices that I don’t see represented in tween lit. Where are the tweens from low socioeconomic households? Where are the tweens from mixed race or bicultural families? Where are the LGBTQ tweens? Where are the homeless tweens? Where are the tweens that are differently able? Where are the tweens that are ethnically diverse? Sure you can probably find 3 or more tween titles representing these groups but are they really good titles? Are they recent and relevant?

What are you looking forward to hear about from our four featured authors?

I’d like to hear from each of them about the stories they liked to read as tweens and what features of those stories are present in their own works. I’d also like to learn what they think about the current state of diversity in tween literature and how we can fix it. On the fun side, what is their most embarrassing tween moment and has that ever featured in their books? Finally, their top 5 favorite tween books (either currently written or yet to come).

Did you ever get the chance to meet Bill Morris, the late editor with HarperCollins that this event honors?

Unfortunately, I never had the privilege of meeting Bill. I really regret that as I have heard from many that he was such an awesome man!

Penny: I was lucky enough to meet him at an ALA conference and to sit by him at lunch. He was hilarious! He loved to dish the dirt on the who’s who of children’s books, but not in a mean-spirited way. He was a delightful conversationalist, and could have held his own on a talk show!

Anything else about the William Morris Breakfast event that folks should look forward to at the ALSC Institute?

It is a breakfast. I don’t do mornings. There will definitely be some surprises to help me (and all those other night owls) wake up. I just have to think of what we can do to make folks squirt orange juice out their noses. :)

Penny:  I totally agree! I am “nocturnal” myself, but I am looking forward to this wonderful event!  We have lots of surprises planned for the attendees, including some local children’s authors coming to sit with the attendees at breakfast, as well as some fun games and prizes planned!

ALSC Institute

If you have not yet registered for the ALSC Institute, there is still time!

Go to:  www.ala.org/alsc/institute

Special thanks to Jamie Campbell Naidoo for his time – and I hope to see many ALSC members at this wonderful event!  

Penny Peck, author of Readers’ Advisory for Children and Tweens (Libraries Unlimited, 2010).

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4. Reminder: Submit Your Photo in the ALSC Blog Photo Contest by 4/23

ALSC Blog Photo Contest

Photos courtesy of ALSC

Show off your creativity! We’re giving you a reminder about the ALSC Blog Photo Contest. Send us your great photos related to children’s librarianship. We’ll even give you some ideas:

  • Library spaces
  • Programs
  • Displays
  • Crafts
  • Books
  • Children’s technology
  • Reading

May the best photo win!

Participants must be ALSC members to enter. Anyone, members and non-members, can vote in the final round. Be sure to visit the ALSC Blog to vote for your favorite library photo beginning April 25, 2014.

Prizes include tickets to the Newbery-Caldecott Banquet and $50 gift certificates to Barnes & Noble. Entries must be submitted by 8 am Central Time, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. For rules and entry form, see the ALSC Blog Photo Contest site.

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5. “How Do I Get On an Award Committee?”

ALSC announced that it will hold a live New Member Forum on Wednesday, April 23 at 3pm Eastern. This hour-long event is free and open to members and non-members. Registration is now open.

As part of the forum, ALSC Membership Committee Chair Amanda Roberson will examine ways of getting involved in with the division. Attendees are invited to discuss these topics and their experiences as members. The forum will take place on Adobe Connect. A recorded webcast of the event will be available following the live session.

ALSC encourages current members to participate in the forum as well. There will be time provided for questions and discussion. The event is free, but registration is required.

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6. Get Ready for Día!

What celebration are children’s librarians across the United State getting ready for on April 30th that involves families, fun, food and of course, books? Although every day is an opportunity to celebrate the joy of reading, El día de los niños/ El día de los libros (Children’s Day/ Book Day), founded in 1996 by Latino children’s author Pat Mora, “Día” is a wonderful way for libraries to reach out to their community and emphasize the importance of advocating literacy to children of all backgrounds. In addition, Día connects them to different cultures through books, craft activities and recipes.

 Your celebration can be as small as promotingDía at a storytime with a bookmark making craft or as large as an evening event with a special guest such as an author or storyteller. To get started with some excellent ideas, check out the Día Facebook page or the Día Pinterest account.Register your program on the Día Registry and receive special bookmarks, stickers, and posters. Don’t forget about the wonderful Día Family Book Club Toolkit available for free download! A special bonus offered this month only to help you prepare and incorporate Día into your library programming are the four free webinars offered through ALSC. What are you planning for Día?

______________________________________________________

Debra S. Gold is blogging on behalf of the Public Awareness Committee and has been a Children’s Librarian for Cuyahoga County Public Library (Cleveland, Ohio)  for the past thirty years.  She served on the Newbery Committee in 1996, the Caldecott Committee in 2004, and the Coretta Scott Book Award Committee in 2011 and 2012.

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7. Making without a Makerspace

What?! Makerspaces again?! No, not really. Though makerspaces in libraries has been a seemingly ubiquitous topic of conversation and debate the past several years, building one at your library is for another post on another day. Still, you’ve probably heard of all sorts of program-based maker ideas being implemented at libraries across the country, or maybe designed a few programs yourself (see Andrea Vernola’s recent post on Exploring Tech with Kids, which is full of great links and program ideas). But these programs can be expensive to run, the technology can become obsolete quickly, and the staff effort involved can be significantly greater than with other kinds of programs.

So is making, especially high-tech making like you see featured in all those library publications, out of reach for your financially-strapped or short-staffed library? Not necessarily. By reaching out to nearby private makerspaces and maker organizations, libraries who would like to try out a maker program or who cannot afford to offer access to more expensive maker equipment on their own can start to participate in this movement.

For instance, in the Baltimore and D.C. area a special company has popped up to provide kid-centric maker programs and activities to local libraries, schools, and other organizations. FutureMakers, founded in 2010, provides a wide assortment of maker projects and exposure to advanced tech equipment for kids ranging from first grade through early high school. My library system has had FutureMaker coaches come with 3D printers, vinyl cutters, MaKey MaKeys, miniature robot electronics, sewing machines, laptops, LEDs, electric drills for hacking Legos…they’ll bring pretty much anything that you can think of that involves making and can be transported in a van. The focus is on allowing the kids access to these great tools and giving them the creative space they need to make something uniquely their own.

FutureMakers logo

FutureMakers logo, attributed to https://kidsmakethingsbetter.com/

A few years ago, FutureMakers had been primarily working with local schools to bring the maker philosophy and technology into the classroom. By reaching out to them, our library was able to tap a ready-to-go resource that made maker programs almost instantly available to us for a per-program fee, which was not too much more than other performers we contract with regularly. Library staff who are supervising the programs are also encouraged to learn and even participate with the kids, which has been an easy and informal way for staff to learn more about making and about using maker tools and technology.

Collaborating with FutureMakers has been a great experience for my library, but not every community has a company like it to draw from. Other collaborators could be nearby private makerspaces or local vocational schools looking for a way to reach out. Those avenues might require a bit more effort, but could become valuable partnerships that could relieve some of the administrative and cost burden from library staff and library budgets.

Do you have tech or maker programs at your library resulting from collaboration with a local business or organization? How did that work out for your library? Any lessons learned or best practices? List them in the comments!

Rachael Medina is a Programming Coordinator at Baltimore County Public Library. She is a member of the ALSC Children and Technology Committee.

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8. Getting Our Kids Ready for Kindergarten – Book Based Programming

At our library we have started to offer “Book Based Programming” to help our youngest customers be ready for kindergarten.*

clip_image002

Jenny, guest blogger, on left sharing book based literacy tips with mother of a preschooler

We offer our parent/caregiver customers a “mini program” (often one-on-one) on how to read a book with their child. When approaching a parent we might say something like:

“Today, at our library, we are talking to parents about how to read a book with their children. We already know that we read books by reading the words on the pages.  So, we are talking with parents about ways to bring important literacy skills “out of a book” while reading with a child.  We have learned that, while reading, it is important to talk about rhyming words, point out alphabet letters, ask questions about what we read, and learn the meaning of new words.  By focusing on these important literacy and language skills, you can help your child become a reader and have success in life!”

The next step involves sitting with the parents and sharing a picture book. We talk with the parents about what to do before, during and after reading a story.  Here are some examples of what we share:

Before reading the story:

  • Talk with your child about the cover.  Ask “What do you see on the cover?” and “What do you think might happen in this story?”
  • Slide your finger under the words of the title, author, and illustrator as you read and explain those words.

While reading the story:

  • Follow the words you read with your finger
  • Pause and talk about the pictures and the words.
    • Ask questions about the pictures.  Ask “How many babies are there?” and “How does the crocodile feel?”
    • Ask your child “Where are the words on this page?” Point to a word and name the letters that make up that word.  Clap the syllables in the word.
    • Ask your child “On this page, do you see any letters that are in your name?
    • Point out any rhyming words – make up new rhyming words
    • Explain the meanings of new words
  • Make connections to something familiar to your child.  Ask “Have you been to a zoo?  What did you see at the zoo?

After reading the story:

  • Ask your child, “Who are the characters in the story?” Write a list.
  • Ask your child, “What might happen next?

Book based programming is a simple and easy concept.   All you need is a book and a parent!

However, you want to be prepared!  Read the book before sharing it with a parent.  You want to know what literacy aspects to focus on.

Book based programming allows us to have very meaningful conversations with our families.   After one program, a mother said, “I never knew there was so much I could do with a book!”

Are you doing something similar at your library?

*this type of programming is adapted from http://www.myreaditagain.com/ and The Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy

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

Jenny Oney is an Information Services Specialist at Main Children’s /Columbus Metropolitan Library in Columbus, Ohio where she loves to talk about early literacy to anyone who will listen!  She can be reached at joney@columbuslibrary.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. Librarians in Literature

I love reading about librarians in books. Sometimes they are annoyingly stereotypical-the bun-wearning shushing types. But other times they are more true to the librarians I know-creative, energetic, and maybe with some secret powers!

I got excited when I saw an upcoming release, The Ninja Librarians by Jennifer Swan Downey. (Sourcebooks, April 2014) The book is  ”Just a little story about your average sword-swinging, karate-chopping, crime-fighting ninja librarians.” (from Goodreads) It got me thinking about a few of my other favorite librarians in literature.

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

-Alcatraz must save the world from the most evil villain there is-librarians! They’re plotting to take over the world and Alcatraz must stop them.

Miss Brooks Loves Books! (And I Don’t) by Barbara Bottner, illusrated by Michael Emberly

-Miss Brooks is a great librarian who won’t give up on reader’s advisory-even when she’s faced with the toughest critic.

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

-Mr. Lemoncello isn’t a librarian, but he builds an amazing library and employs some great librarians-who happen to be inspired by real life librarians.

Who are your favorite fictional librarians?

Are you interested in reading more tween-related posts?  The YALSA Blog and the ALSC Blog both offer information of interest to librarians who work with tweens. 

 

 

 

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10. Unconventional Preparations for Storytime

Okay, fellow storytime librarians — you all know the lengthy preparations we take to ensure that our patrons attend the very best storytimes we can offer them. We choose books, songs, rhymes, and fingerplays. We make flannelboards and props. We create handouts and take-home information packets. We practice those literacy tips in the mirror until they sound natural and just roll off of our tongues.

Those are the expected practices.

But it’s time to talk about the unexpected preparations. The things you find yourself doing in the weeks, days, or minutes before your patrons get your undivided attention in your programming space. The untold stories of storytime prep.

The passenger seat of my car this past fall, full of storytime materials! [Photo courtesy of the author, originally posted on Instagram.]

The passenger seat of my car this past fall, full of storytime materials!

[Photo courtesy of the author, originally posted on Instagram.]

Like planning your storytime wardrobe the night before and singing your opening song in front of the mirror so you can make sure that your clothes will move in an appropriate manner.

Or keeping a new storytime CD in your car and switching to it the minute a commercial break hits the radio waves. And letting your fellow travelers watch your awesome hand motions while stopped at a train crossing or a red light.

And packing an extra sweater to change into once “the storytime sweat” hits you. Which is always around thirty minutes after your performance is over and you’ve finished your clean-up routine.

Or running to Michael’s and being the first customer in line because you read an amazing last-minute idea the night before and you just KNOW it’s going to make your storytime ever better.

And giving up your front passenger seat for storytime outreach. And the immediate apology to guests in your car, “Hang on, let me move all my things. Sorry about the portable flannelboard.”

Or testing out new action songs for your sister’s dog. If he wags his tail and tries to jump in, surely it will work for the toddlers, right?

So, let it out! This past week, I demonstrated my storytime outfit dance for my storytime moms and not only did it make them laugh, I also think it made them realize the care and thought that I put into storytime. It made the program all the more special.

What are your unconventional storytime preparations? Do you also schedule a bathroom break ten minutes before you get started? Let me know in the comments!

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

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11. Series Collecting: How do you know?

Unless your library exists in the digital world rather than the physical one, everyone has experienced the limitations of shelf space at one point or another. With 3,000+ titles published each year for children, weeding is a way of life for the children’s librarian, lest our shelves begin to look like a particularly literary episode of hoarders! Older books and series that no longer have an audience have to make way for exciting new books and series that will become a whole new generation’s favorite books.

We still have about 12 of each of Harry, Ron, and Hermione's adventures - and they're always checked out!

We still have about 12 of each of Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s adventures – and they’re always checked out!

So my query today, fellow collectors of books for children, is this: how do you decide to take the plunge on a new series? There are some obvious indicators, like a rave review for the first title or a first printing size that indicates the publisher believes the book has legs. I place some of my trust in the selectors at Baker & Taylor, and ask to see all titles in my carts which my warehouse (South) has purchased 400 or more copies of.

Beyond that, deciding to purchase a new series that has decent but not astounding reviews becomes a puzzle with many pieces – do we have kids that read this type of fiction? Do we have similar series already? Does that series have any distinguishing factors, either character or plot, that will make it stand out for the pack? I admit that we have become very wary of purchasing new fantasy series without stellar reviews, as their popularity (at least in our library) seems to be on a slow decline.

Coco Simon knows what girls like to read!

Coco Simon knows what girls like to read!

Our most recent series decision was a long time coming. We didn’t purchased those pink-and-purple, absolutely adorable Cupcake Diaries for the first 6 months of their lives, for a few reasons. The series was publishing at a fast rate, which meant we would have to devote ever-increasing amount of shelf space to it each month. Additionally, our library already had several multi-book series about girls, cooking, and cupcakes. Demand for the series rose and we made the decision to weed a few of the older cupcake/cooking series to make room for Katie and her friends. Of course, the series circ’d like hotcakes and I was kicking myself for not snapping them up immediately!

How do you know when to purchase? How do you know when to let a series go?

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12. Nominate the 2016 Arbuthnot Lecturer!

The 2016 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Committee seeks nominations for individuals of distinction to present the 2016 Arbuthnot Lecture. The lecturer, who will be announced at the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago, may be an author, illustrator, publisher, critic, librarian, historian, or teacher of children’s literature, of any country, who shall prepare a paper that will make a significant contribution to the field of children’s literature. Additional Information about the lecture can be found at http://www.ala.org/alsc/arbuthnot.

Nominations should include the following:

  • Name of nominee
  • Professional title/occupation
  • Biographical sketch
  • Justification for consideration
  • Major publications

The committee recommends that the body of the nomination be 2-3 pages with a separate bibliography. Nominations should be submitted as an attached document to committee chair Julie Corsaro at juliealsc@gmail.com. The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, May 14, 2014.

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13. The ALSC Board—active throughout the year

The ALSC Board of Directors conducts open meetings at Annual Conference and during the Midwinter Meeting, but the Board also attends to business between those occasions.

The members of the ALSC Board communicate with one another and conduct association business on the ALSC Board Electronic Discussion List, ALSCBOARD. I invite all interested individuals to stay current with ALSC issues and business proceedings by subscribing to ALSCBOAD at http://lists.ala.org/sympa/info/alscboard. Subscribers receive all posts to the list, (but cannot post messages themselves), including notices of online meetings which can be followed by members via ALA Connect.  The results of any actions taken by the Board in these online sessions are also posted the ALSCBOARD.

Archives of discussions on ALSCBOARD may be found at http://www.ala.org/alsc/compubs/alsc20/alscdisclist/edlarchives.

Please join me and my fellow board members in examining the issues that shape our organization. And be sure to check out the other ALSC electronic discussion lists at http://www.ala.org/alsc/compubs/alsc20/alscdisclist.  There are online communities dedicated to storytelling, preschool services, legislative issues, Día and more.  Remember, the more we get together, the happier we’ll be!

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14. Mandatory Reporting

As librarians we know that April is ‘National Poetry Month’ but did you know that it’s ‘Stress Awareness Month’ or ‘National Donate Life Month’? With so many monthly designations it’s hard to keep up. We become saturated with “awareness” and can overlook educational opportunities that are important in our profession.

April is ‘National Child Abuse Prevention Month’, a time to be aware that we all play a part in the emotional and physical well-being of the children around us. As librarians many of us are considered employed in “positions of trust” and are subjected to background checks and periodic drug screenings. But as our relationships with our communities expand we should always be aware of our expanded responsibilities. Do you meet regularly with your law enforcement agencies? Do you have a clear process for incident reporting and follow up? Can you recognize the signs of abuse in children and families? Do your local health departments offer training in this area? Are you a mandated reporter? These are things that you should be asking yourself and your administration.

Mandatory reporting efforts began as early as the 1960’s when the U.S. Children’s Bureau sponsored a conference aimed at the growing concerns around the effects of child abuse. Between 1963 and 1967 every state and the District of Columbia passed a child abuse reporting law. But as awareness and conditions expanded so did policies and statutes and by 1987 almost every state included sexual assault as part of the abuse, as well as mental and emotional abuse as well as neglect. (1)

Mandatory Reporting is becoming a hot topic in light of recent high profile abuse cases. Here in the District of Columbia, where I am a librarian, city council legislation passed in 2012 requires any adult who knows – or has reason to believe – that a child age 16 or younger is being abused is required to report the incident to the police or the city’s Child and Family Services Agency. This is a change from mandatory reporters being strictly “positions of trust”. In the wake of the Penn State scandal, More than 100 bills on the process of reporting of child abuse or neglect were introduced in 30 states and the District, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, with 18 states instituting a universal reporting law. (2)

Take time this month to be proactive, make yourself aware of the laws and statutes of your state. Below are some valuable resources that can help inform you and your staff, as well as spark conversation between your library and other service agencies.

Resources to consider:

The Child Welfare Information Gateway promotes the safety, permanency, and well-being of children, youth, and families by connecting child welfare, adoption, and related professionals as well as the general public to information, resources, and tools covering topics on child welfare, child abuse and neglect, out-of-home care, adoption, and more. Make sure to click on their “state specific resource” link. They also produce valuable fact sheets and handouts.

Founded in 1959 by Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, Childhelp® is a leading national non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect.

The Child Abuse Prevention Center is a national and international training, education, research and resource center dedicated to protecting children and building healthy families.

Family Resource Information, Education and Network Development Services (FRIENDS), the National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP), provides training and technical assistance to Federally funded CBCAP Programs. This site serves as a resource to those programs and to the rest of the Child Abuse Prevention community.

Don’t forget to reach out to your local Health Department and Child Services Agencies, they will have the most recent and local information for your community.

(1) Hutchison, E. D. (1993). Mandatory reporting laws: child protective case finding gone awry?. Social Work, 38 56-63

(2) Craig, T. (2012, Nov 16). Council advances bill expanding rules for reporting child sex abuse. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1152062603?accountid=46320

Lesley Mason, ALA ALSC Committee Member, Library Services to Special Populations and Their Caregivers and Children’s Librarian at DC Public Library

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15. Counting & Measuring: A Preschool Math & Science Program

I’ve been branching beyond straight preschool science programs lately to incorporate more of the overlap between all the STEM areas. My latest endeavor focused on counting and measuring–both math skills that are important in many science activities.

Photo by Amy Koester.

Photo by Amy Koester.

Doing simple tasks like counting and measuring in a storytime setting shows caregivers that they do not need to be scientists or mathematicians to be able to engage with their kids in science and math activities. We can all handle preschool-level activities in these areas, and our recent program illustrated that fact.

First, we read a story. I knew I wanted to use books with cooking in them to illustrate counting and measuring, and I ended up using one of my favorites, Pizza at Sally’s by Monica Wellington. There are lots of interesting things going on in the illustrations, giving the children and me plenty of openings to include counting, color matching, and cooking vocabulary into our reading. If you want to replicate this program, you can use any sort of cooking story you prefer.

IMG_1396

Photo by Amy Koester.

Next, we “told” the story of how pizzas are made. I created a felt set for making a pizza. It includes images of the common ingredients, like flour, tomatoes, and cheese. We told the story of our pizza from the bottom up. First we pretended to measure flour, salt, yeast, and oil to make our dough. We used our new cooking vocabulary as we talked about kneading, stretching, and tossing our dough to get to a pizza shape. We talked about and mimed making sauce, then grating the cheese. Finally, we talked about the types of toppings we wanted on our pizza, then counted them as we distributed them over the top. We ended up counting slices of green peppers, onions, and pepperoni.

We got hands-on with measuring by making no-cook play dough. Each child had a plastic cup and spoon, which they brought up to the measuring station. Our no-cook play dough recipe was very simple:

  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/4 c salt
  • 1/4 c water

I had plastic measuring cups on hand for the children to measure out their ingredients. Note that the recipe isn’t always super precise, so we added extra tablespoons of water or flour as the consistency of the play dough required.

Photo by Amy Koester.

Photo by Amy Koester.

And then we counted and measured as we played with the play dough. I set out a number of random cutting and stamping tools for use with the play dough. Some of the children pretended to make their own pizzas; others created designs in their dough; and others cut their dough into lots of pieces and then counted the pieces. I purposely didn’t give specific instructions for playing with the dough aside from encouraging counting and talking about what kids were doing–I wanted the caregivers to see how math and vocabulary flow naturally in so much of the play that preschool-age children do. When kids were done with their dough, they put it in baggies to take home.

Everyone got to take something home to encourage more counting and measuring. I set out a number of our counting and measuring books–both fiction and nonfiction–and I also created a half-sheet handout that included ideas for counting and measuring together, as well as a recipe for making pizza at home. I heard lots of chatter about how families would be making pizza together over the weekend following our program. Our program definitely inspired at-home conversations and hands-on activities around counting and measuring!

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16. Spring Fever!

Image from freefoto.com

Image from freefoto.com

I don’t know about you all, but the kids in my library are feeling SPRING FEVER!  There are quite a few ways to capitalize on this and harness it rather than just stare at in wonder.

One of the first things I like to do it take the kids outside.  Even though our school is firmly planted in an urban environment, right outside of our front door is a collection of city benches where I can bring the kids for independent reading or for a story time.  There is quite a bit of noise out there so I try to make sure any read aloud is short and boisterous.

A less weather dependent way of adding some spring to the library, is simply reading some books that are spring themed or related in some way.  Some of my favorites are:

clementine2Clementine and the Spring Trip, by Sara Pennypacker

 

 

 

 

CuriousGardenThe Curious Garden, by Peter Brown

 

 

 

 

9781596436244

and then it’s spring, by Julie Fogliano

 

 

 

 

0152014926

In for Winter, Out for Spring, by Arnold Adoff

 

 

 

 

What are some of your favorite books to read aloud to welcome Spring?

 

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17. ALSC Notable Children’s Book Committee welcomes suggestions

Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children’s books for inclusion on the Notable Children’s Books list. According to the Notables Criteria, “notable” is defined as: “Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding.” Books intended for children, birth though age 14, that have been published in the United States in 2014 are eligible for consideration.

The ALSC Notable Children’s Book Committee welcomes suggestions for books to be considered.  Please send your title suggestions to chair Edith Ching at ec.notables15@verizon.net

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18. When it’s Time for a Program Makeover

Photo by Daniel Oines, used under Creative Commons License.

Photo by Daniel Oines, used under Creative Commons License.

Children’s librarians offer tons of awesome and successful programs every day. But what about the programs that are not so successful? When is it time to make changes or pull the cord on something?

A “successful” program means something different to every librarian. It might be a program that has a large draw, bringing many families into your library to check out materials and use library resources. It may be a program that results in a few kids or parents gaining valuable skills. The first step to figuring out whether your programs are succeeding is to think about what you want them to do.

And then be honest with yourself. Is this program doing what you want? Is preparing and implementing this program a valuable use of your staff time and programming funds? Are there ways that the program could be changed to maximize impact?

If you’re not getting what you want out of your programs, it’s time to rethink! This is okay. This is not a failure on anyone’s part, but it’s an opportunity to grow and change and serve your population and staff better.

Some ideas?

* Is attendance down in storytime? Miss Julie had success with changing up her marketing. Try calling it a “class” instead of “storytime”. Maybe it’s time to try out digital elements in storytime or STEM storytimes. Or take a break from storytimes and try some different types of preschool programs.

* Are your large programs taking up more staff time than they’re really worth? Give unprogramming a try.

* Did a program you were excited about turn out to have low attendance or unanticipated problems? Librarians get free do-overs. Try it again and tweak what didn’t work.

* Is an annual or recurring program getting out of control? Angie explains how she saved her program by throwing out everything she thought she knew and starting over.

* Having trouble attracting the afterschool crowd (or any other population you’re trying to reach)? Start with some outreach. Take the library to them and make valuable connections.

* Is your Summer Reading Program driving you crazy? Find ways to make it easier for staff and patrons. Not everyone is in love with Summer Reading, I promise.

It’s part of our jobs to take stock of what we’re doing and make sure that it’s working. What experiences have you had with revamping programs that were not working?

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

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19. Announcing the ALSC Blog Photo Contest!

ALSC Blog Photo Contest

Photos courtesy of ALSC

The ALSC Blog is excited to announce a photo contest! We’re looking for photos that relate to children’s librarianship. Give us your best photo of your library space, program, display, book, craft or something else that you think relates to children’s librarianship. May the best photo win!

Participants must be ALSC members to enter. Anyone, members and non-members, can vote in the final round. Be sure to visit the ALSC Blog to vote for your favorite library photo beginning April 25, 2014.

Prizes include tickets to the Newbery-Caldecott Banquet and $50 gift certificates to Barnes & Noble. Entries must be submitted by 8 am Central Time, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. For rules and entry form, see the ALSC Blog Photo Contest site.

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20. You know you’re a children’s librarian when …

You know you’re a children’s librarian when …

you sing the words to fingerplays while driving to work – just to be sure you’ve got them memorized before morning storytime.

 

DAYS OF THE WEEK (Stand up to begin this rhyme.)
Sunday, Sunday,
Clap, clap, clap. (Clap hands.)
Monday, Monday,
Tap, tap, tap. (Tap foot.)
Tuesday, Tuesday,
Hop, hop, hop. (Hop on one foot.)
Wednesday, Wednesday,
Stop, stop, stop. (Hold up hand.)
Thursday, Thursday,
Jump, jump, jump. (Jump on two feet.)
Friday, Friday,
Thump, thump, thump. (Pound fists together.)
Saturday, Saturday,
Turn around. (Turn around.)
Now smile quietly
Without a sound! (Sit down and smile.)
(Credit: DAYS OF THE WEEK fingerplay, Dr. Jean Feldman)

Happy Friday, all!

 

 

 

 

 

Images from

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21. Your Department’s BFFs: Graphic Novels & Non-Fiction

You may not realize it, but you are actually sitting on a treasure trove when it comes to Reader’s Advisory and getting kids to explore other genres.  Yes, I am talking to you- the person reading this blog. Why do graphic novels and the non-fiction collection go together so well?  Together they allow readers of all ages to explore a topic from a new viewpoint and introduce them to different subject areas that they may not normally explore.

Additionally, the combination of the two helps students reach the Common Core standards that are becoming integrated into school systems across the country.   Students will become accustomed to reading information text (Standard 10),  be interested to diverse formats (Standard 7), begin to recognize themes in works (Standard 2), and explain how two different books address the same themes (Standard 9).

I know that many of you rolled your eyes at the mention of Common Core, I get it, trust me. but it can help you build-and justify- your collection in a unique way. As a librarian, you have a variety of resources at hand: you just have to get creative with your thinking!

To get your creative juices flowing, I’ve provided a few GN and NF pairs of my own:

For the kid who has read every dinosaur book in your collection:

Dinosaurs in Space
Graphic Novel: Pranas Naujokaitis’ Dinosaurs in Space (Blue Apple)
Nonfiction: Since they’ve read ALL the dinosaur books, maybe something about Space, try the J 520’s!

For the Super Spy Hero in Everyone:

Lunch LadyGraphic Novel: Lunch Lady Series by Jarrett J. Krosockza  (Knopf )
Non-fiction: All sorts of books about spies and the tools they use can be found in J 327.12.  You may find some books about Spy Science may be in  J 507.2.

For the Fractured Fairytale Fiend:

Rapunzel's RevengeGraphic Novel:Rapunzel’s Revenge words by Shannon & Dean Hale; art by Nathan Hale (Bloomsbury)
Non-Fiction:Start with Paul O. Zelinsky’s classic Rapunzel and then let them explore the rest of the J 398.2 Rapunzel area!

For the History Nut:

Boxers & Saints
Graphic Novel:  Gene Yuen Lang’s Boxers & Saints (:01 Comics)
Non-Fiction:There are so many places you can take this.  Books on China can be found under a variety of places, but books on Buddhism can be found under J 294.3.  If your children’s department has anything on the Boxer Rebellion it will be under J 951.03.  If not, you may need to help your reader find a book upstairs, or break out your online resources!

I hope these recommendations have gotten you thinking of fun ways to team up these dynamic parts of your collection.  I’d like to thank Gene Luen Yang, Nathan Hale, Pranas Naujokaitis, and Jarret J. Krosockza for allowing me to use their beautiful artwork.

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

Aly

Photo courtesy of guest blogger

Our guest blogger today is Alyson Feldman-Piltch. Alyson is a die-hard Red Sox fan and an MLS/MIS Student at Indiana University, planning to graduate in December 2014.  She is a member of the Little E-Lit Thinktank, the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee, and the 2015 Stonewall Book Awards Committee.  You can find her on Twitter at @aly_fp or email her at Alyson.fp@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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22. Printz Books for Tweens

I am currently serving on the 2015 Michael L. Printz Award Committee. We are considering books that are published in 2014, so while I can’t comment on any of those in this public forum, I thought it would be fun and beneficial to look back over previous Printz winner and honor books and see which might be appropriate for tweens.

The criteria for Printz includes books that are written for 12-18 year olds, which is a giant gap, developmentally-speaking. I think Printz committees tend to skew older in their choices, but there have been some years when titles for younger readers have won or received honors.

Some of these titles I read a long time ago and haven’t re-read, so let me know in the comments if I’m off the mark. Also, this list is by no means exhaustive, so please chime in on other Printz winner or honor titles you think would be appealing to tweens.

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
Printz Honor in 2014

Jack Baker, uprooted suddenly after his mother’s death, and Early Auden, the strangest of boys, meet at a Maine boarding school. Their friendship culminates in a treacherous quest and unexpected self-discovery. Vanderpool delivers an emotionally powerful novel in an untamed setting as the boys head up river in search of the Great Appalachian Bear.(annotation from the Printz committee)

One Whole and Perfect Day By Judith Clarke
Printz Honor in 2008

Freakish, thought Lily. That was the word for her family. Not freaks exactly, but getting there. Sometimes Lily wishes she weren’t so sensible. If she were less reliable, then perhaps she’d have more fun. As it is, her hardworking but flaky mom and her dreamy older brother count on her to run the house. She wishes things could be different, but how can she change her responsible ways? Perhaps, she thinks, she should fall in love!  (publisher description)

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Printz Winner in 2007

Yang draws from American pop culture and ancient Chinese mythology in his groundbreaking work. Expertly told in words and pictures, Yang’s story in three parts follows a Chinese American teenager’s struggle to define himself against racial stereotypes. “American Born Chinese” is the first graphic novel to be recognized by the Michael L. Printz Committee.  (annotation from the Printz committee)

A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson
Printz Honor in 2006

In 1955 people all over the United States knew that Emmett Louis Till was a fourteen-year-old African American boy lynched for supposedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. The brutality of his murder, the open-casket funeral held by his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, and the acquittal of the men tried for the crime drew wide media attention.  (publisher description)

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
Printz Honor in 2005

Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, ferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt’s always wanted; convinced he’s lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist’s granddaughter that he realizes that the man’s ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious.  (publisher description)

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt
Printz Honor in 2005

Not only is Turner Buckminster the son of the new minister in a small Maine town, he is shunned for playing baseball differently than the local boys. Then he befriends smart and lively Lizzie Bright Griffin, a girl from Malaga Island, a poor community founded by former slaves. Lizzie shows Turner a new world along the Maine coast from digging clams to rowing a boat next to a whale. When the powerful town elders, including Turner’s father, decide to drive the people off the island to set up a tourist business, Turner stands alone against them. He and Lizzie try to save her community, but there’s a terrible price to pay for going against the tide.   (publisher description)

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Printz Honor in 2003

Matteo Alacran was not born; he was harvested with the DNA from El Patron, lord of a country called Opium. Can a boy who was bred to guarantee another’s survival find his own purpose in life? And can he ever be free?  (publisher description)

Thanks to Beth Saxton (@BethReads)  and Ally Watkins (@aswatki1)  for brainstorming with me on this topic!

Are you interested in reading more tween-related posts? The YALSA Blog and the ALSC Blog both offer information of interest to librarians who work with tweens.

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

Our cross-poster from YALSA today is Angela Frederick (@angelina41). Angela is currently a school librarian with Metro Nashville Public Schools; she has eight years experience working with teens in public libraries in Nashville and San Antonio.

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23. Put on a Screen-Free Activity at Your Library

Just in case you’ve never heard of Screen-Free Week, May 5 – 11, here’s my favorite explanation of what it is:

Screen-Free Week (formerly TV-Turnoff) is an annual celebration where children, families, schools and communities turn off screens and turn on life. Instead of relying on screens for entertainment, participants read, daydream, explore, enjoy nature, and enjoy spending time with family and friends.

Screen-Free Week isn’t just about snubbing screens for seven days: it’s a springboard for important lifestyle changes that will improve well-being and quality of life all year round.

Sounds like where we live, huh? S-F Week offers many resources for parents and teachers eager to participate. For librarians? Not so much, and I don’t know why, because reading, daydreaming, and exploring are things we librarians love to incorporate in our programs.

The first difficulty we librarians face in considering Screen-Free Week is the obvious one that what we do at our libraries is to provide access to information resources for our patrons. It’s not for us to suddenly decide to turn off the screens. That’s a parental decision.

But we can act as a resource for parents looking for screen-free activities. Here are some ideas:

  • Remembering that Mother’s Day is that Sunday, I’ll organize some fun crafts that even boys would do if the result is a present for Mom. Or I’ll organize a tea party for kids and their moms. How about this for a fantastic idea: A book giveaway FOR MOMS!  I’ll cull the donated paperbacks and pick out a wide variety of nice looking copies and GIVE THEM TO THE MOMS while their kids make bookmarks.
  • Remembering that the school reading contest booklists will be released around that time, I’ll move heaven and earth to have a few copies of the most exciting titles as giveaways.
  • Remembering that the summer reading program will begin in the next month, I’ll start the sign ups, the e-mail collecting, and in general build up a little momentum.  I’ll give a taste of library fun with some great activity I’m eager to try that I couldn’t sandwich into my summer schedule.
  • Remembering those excellent words of Jana Fine, Florida Youth Services Consultant, I’ll recycle whatever program I’ve used in the past that was a hit.

I’m sure my fellow librarians will think up a lot of great stuff. Will I have difficulty observing Screen Free Week? You betcha. I’m addicted to Pinterest and Word Whomp.  But maybe it’s about time I took a walk on the beach.

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

Our guest blogger today is Travis Sherman. Travis is the youth services librarian at Gulf Beaches Public Library in Madeira Beach, Florida.  As her niece once put it after watching her mouse storytime, “And they pay you to do that?”  It’s still hard for her to believe, the mix of books and people she gets to enjoy every day.

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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24. ALSC Networking and Happy Hour in San Antonio, TX!

TLA 2014 attendees: Join Youth Librarians and ALSC members for an informal happy hour and networking event on Wednesday, April 9, 6-7:30pm at Guadalajara Grill in La Villita Historic Arts Village. This is a great opportunity to talk youth services, make new connections, learn more about ALSC and enjoy the company of colleagues. Participate in a gift giveaway! Cash bar, food will be available for purchase.

 ALSC Networking and Happy Hour @ TLA 2014 Conference
Wednesday, April 9 @ 6-7:30pm
Guadalajara Grill
301 South Alamo Street
Short walk from Convention Center

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25. Talking Every Child Ready to Read® en Español – ALSC Institute Programs

2014 Institute LogoThe upcoming ALSC Institute in Oakland, CA, on September 18-20, 2014, provides an abundance of outstanding programs to attend, from exploring innovative ways for youth services librarians to engage with community to the latest in early literacy research and best practices.

Among the many programs offered will be Every Child Ready to Read® en Español: A How-to Workshop, offering practical information for using the Spanish ECRR Manual and kit’s new tools. Several of the program presenters gave us a few minutes of their time to talk about what Institute attendees can look forward to.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Freda Mosquera: I am a passionate advocate of library services to children and teens of color, and through my own professional journey have had the great professional opportunity to meet others that share this passion and are committed to promoting these services at the local, state at national level. Some of these outstanding professionals comprise this panel. The lives of many Latino children in the United States have been greatly enriched thanks to their contributions. I am infinitely grateful to them for their work and honored to share this panel with them.

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 is now available from the ALA Store (image courtesy of ALA)

Ana-Elba Pavon:  I am currently a Branch Manager at the Elmhurst Branch of the Oakland Public Library.  A co-author of 25 Latino Craft Projects (ALA Editions, 2003), I have spoken on various aspects of children’s, Latino, and Spanish-language library services at various national and international conferences.

Lucía M. González: I am librarian, storyteller, and author.  My book, The Bossy Gallito, was included among the New York Public Library’s 100 Most Popular Children’s Books of the Last Century and 100 Fantastic Tales that Have Withstood the Test of Time.

Tell us about your program in just 6 words.

Freda:  Insightful, empowering, fun, practical, informational and inspiring.

What’s one thing you feel people should know about your program?

Freda:  As the translator of many of the Every Child Ready to Read® en Español slides, guides and bibliographies, and the manual, I believe it is important that librarians, teachers and parents know the manual was developed to help non-Spanish speaker professionals, as well as those that speak the language. People should be aware of the publishers’ (PLA & ALSC) dedication and commitment to produce a culturally appropriate manual that displays a profound respect for the Spanish language and the very diverse cultures of Spanish-speakers in the United States. Professionals that do not speak Spanish should feel confident using this manual. It will greatly help them to provide a much needed service: early literacy for bilingual children, as well as children that are raised in an English speaking world and whose parents speak Spanish.

Sam, Matthew & Isaac reading books" by PittCaleb is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND. No changes were made.

“Sam, Matthew & Isaac reading books” by PittCaleb is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND. No changes were made.

What’s one thing someone who attends your program will be able to take back to their libraries and use right away?

Freda: Librarians will be able to start free literacy sessions and workshops for Spanish-speaking parents, as well as promoting and advertising the ECRR program in Spanish, using the materials contained on the manual.

Looking at the list of other programs on the lineup, which one are you most looking forward to attending?

Ana-Elba:  Making Advocacy Awesome: A Workshop for the Everyday Advocate—You!

Lucia:  Dewey-Lite: A Solution to the Non-Fiction Problem

If you could be any kid’s lit character, who would you be and why?

Freda:  Alice in Wonderland, because I like to think that impossible things are possible.

Ana-Elba:  Piggy from Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie series.  I just love those books.  They make me laugh, the kids enjoy them, and they remind me of one of my cherished friendships.

Lucia:  Hermione Jean Granger from the Harry Potter series. She is proud and confident of her Muggle origins, and always smart and brave.

Ted McCoy, ALSC Institute Task Force Member and Children’s Librarian at Springfield (MA) City Library

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