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<<November 2014>>
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Results 1 - 25 of 77
1. ALSC Member of the Month — Jane Breen

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 (plus one) with ALSC member, Jane Breen.

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


Photo courtesy of Dorothy Breen

I am a Family Literacy Advocate and Educator, Teen Volunteer Coordinator, award winning program innovator and Community Outreach Librarian.* swish cape *  As  the Children’s Specialist in the Faxon Branch Library, part of the West Hartford Public Libraries, I am responsible for Children’s and Teens programs, services, collection development and all things creative within my department.  I have worked in Youth Services in the small but mighty state of CT for 27 remarkable years – both schools and public libraries. I am a believer in the statement: “childrens librarians are the Jacks and Jills of all trades.”

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

I joined ALSC to grow, learn and be informed. The professional development along with the many resources and national networking opportunities are outstanding. I’ve come to believe that good librarianship is collaborative so with that in mind…I am sending a virtual hi-five to all members for the many things you have shared so willingly.  You rock my little branch.  Up high!

Oh,  I’m a  member of the incredibly creative, supportive and inspiring group known as Flannel Friday which makes me a flannelizer – and no, that’s not a cult!

3.  What do you think children’s librarians will be doing ten years from now?

Love this question because for the life of me…I do believe we will be doing nearly the exact same things we do now. We will be modeling and talking early literacy skills. We will provide reader’s advisory and assist our educators, families and community with all things “family literacy.”   We are the champions of bringing the village together to build readers and lifelong learners.  Through the joy of reading and taking ownership of their library, we help children build the foundation to become happy, healthy and successful adults.  Dual language families may move more into the spotlight as diversity plays a bigger role everyday in life and literature.  I hope libraries respond with practice Spanish classes, practice Vietnamese, etc;.. with native speakers as we do with our current practice English classes. I see this as a necessary step for U.S. kids.

4.  What is your favorite food harvested in the fall?

Ha!  May I just say Carrot Cake?  Thanks!

5.  Would you rather offer storytime to a large group of preschoolers or read one-on-one with a child?

There are positives to both and now that I am a grandmother I once again adore reading all snuggled up one-on-one.  In the library, the large group program is a parent and child confidence builder that I can not resist.  Long before I came to work at my branch – a colleague had established pajama story time on Monday nights and it is a do-not-mess-with-tradition!  Parents and preschoolers pack the house –  it’s my favorite program of the week.  This story time is rooted in ECRR, with literacy tips for the parents and excitement and energy from our story time mascot, Piper.  She is a black lab puppy…a very real puppet – the only one of her kind!  And she rules Monday night. Oh, and then there’s magic fairy dust.

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

I truly only have one rule for library and librarianship.  I learned this rule from the amazing Mrs Clancy, Media Specialist in the Groton Public Schools, BE KIND.  That’s it.  It works everywhere, every way…try it!  It’s honestly all you’ll ever need.  Thank you Mrs Clancy.

7.  Have you ever skydived?

O.M.Gosh..I went to a full day training with a friend a very long time ago.  Learned to pack our chutes, did a zip line thing in full gear  Practiced counting, planning with partners, higher zip line trial, pull chutes, pack them again and get on the plane. Well long story short I came down with the pilot, sitting in the co-pilot’s seat.  Loved It!  My friend jumped.

8.  Would you rather go bungee jumping or deep sea fishing?

Fishing, of course!  I adore the ocean and I am obviously not so good at jumping into open air!  (see above)

9.  E-books or print

My preference is print all the way.  Honestly a large part of my work – is picture books and I feel that we have to be able to hold them and love them.  We have to experience the joy of the page turn and you know, the smelll!  To stay on top of the teen collection I often listen to the audio and for my own grown-up pleasure reading – it’s print or audio.  Maybe this is an age thing!

10.  Do you volunteer?

Yes…Light One Little Candle is a national non-profit foundation I’ve worked with since it’s inception.  We bring books to cancer centers across the country.  The approach is a bit different than you’d think – the patient is the adult.  The concept began with a friend of mine who unfortunately lost her cancer battle.  She knew the value of reading and found that it was all she could do with her daughter as cancer came to own her. That is, she could no longer run, swing, swim but she could cuddle and read.   So we make sure adult cancer patients have books to read with the children in their lives.  They get to keep the books forever. Pretty cool.


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

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

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2. Do you know about the MAE Award?

Many ALSC Members are also YALSA members. At the request of the Chair of the 2015 MAE Jury Award for Best Literature for Teens, here is information about an Award in which many of you might be interested.


YALSA members who have run an exceptional reading or literature program in the 12 months leading up to Dec. 1, 2014 are eligible to apply for the 2015 MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens, which recognizes an outstanding reading or literature program for young adults.

Do you run a spectacular teen book club that engages underserved audiences? Did your summer reading program or literature festival connect teens with literature in an innovative way? Is your Reader’s Advisory always three steps ahead of a trend? Have you connected teens to literature or helped them gain literacy skills via some other exciting means?  Whether the program was large or small, if it was good, you could win $500 for yourself and an additional $500 for your library by applying for this award!  Individual library branches may apply.

The MAE Award is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust. Applications and additional information about the award are available online.  Applications must be submitted online by Dec. 1, 2014. For questions about the award, please contact the jury chair, Tony Carmack (tcarmac@yahoo.com).  The winner will be announced the week of Feb. 9, 2015.

Not a member of YALSA yet? It’s not too late to join so you can be eligible for this award. You can do so by contacting YALSA’s Membership Marketing Specialist, Letitia Smith, at lsmith@ala.org or (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390. Recognize the great work you are doing to bring teens together with literature and apply today!


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3. ALSC Member of the Month — Constance Keremes

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 (plus one) with ALSC member, Constance Keremes.

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

Photo courtesy Patrick Heath Public Library

Photo courtesy Patrick Heath Public Library

I am the Youth Services Librarian at the Patrick Heath Public Library in Boerne, Texas. I have been a librarian for over twenty years. As such, I am responsible for conceptualizing and orchestrating storytimes, afterschool programs, and special events. I also oversee the youth department collection development, maintain the youth department budget, provide reader’s advisory, conduct library tours, visit schools and nursery schools, and go out into the community to promote the library through out-of-house programs/presentations. I also work to promote the library by writing a newspaper column and use of social media including e-newsletters and a Facebook page.

I have an undergraduate degree in Education and History from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, and a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the C. W. Post University in Brookville, New York. I have worked in libraries in New York, Arizona, and now Texas. I also have over thirty years of experience as an in- and out-of-house editor and writer of educational materials, and several children’s books published, along with numerous poems appearing in anthologies.

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

I joined ALSC because as a Youth Librarian, I wanted to be kept continually knowledgeable of the latest trends in the field of youth services, learning from documented research as well as the outpouring of shared knowledge from fellow librarians. I am also a member of the YALSA division.

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

I have had several children’s books published, along with numerous poems appearing in anthologies. Having a book published is a very great honor, but deeply meaningful to me is the experiences I have had here at the Patrick Heath Public Library with the many families who utilize our library. It is so very gratifying to establish a rapport with children through the bond of literature, and have a child return to the library to tell me he liked the book I suggested, hungry for more to read.

4.  What book are you currently reading?

I am reading the WEREWORLD series by Curtis Jobling. This series was suggested to me by one of my young patrons. I researched it and was delighted to find it described as a good series for fans of John Flanagan’s RANGER’S APPRENTICE series—my great favorite. The Jobling series is a liberally splashed with blood and gore, but very well written with compelling characters and suspenseful plotting.

5.  What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

On the adult end, it was the LIBERATION TRILOGY by Rick Atkinson, a brilliant account of World War II with deeply stirring you-are-there accounts of the action. On the youth end, how hard to narrow down to just one! Here are three: RANGER’S APPRENTICE by John Flanagan, GHOST HAWK by Susan Cooper and UNDER A WAR-TORN SKY by Laura Elliot, both of which are historical fiction.

6.  Do you dress up for Halloween?

I love dressing up for Halloween. Children take great delight in seeing adults show a playful side. I don’t only dress up at Halloween—I’ve loads of costumes that I use throughout the year at library programs.

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

Ah, what a little dreamer I was as a child, forever pretending to be all manner of people. Books fueled my imagination, as I fancied myself everything from a ballerina to astronaut. I often played at being a librarian, enjoying the process of making my dolls little library cards and putting pockets in my books for stamping. Little did I know that I would one day become a librarian!

8.  What’s the best thing you’ve learned this year?

At the encouragement of my library director, I learned how to use apps via an iPad in my storytimes. As one of the older generation, this was a big leap for me into the digital world. I enjoyed so much the process of learning and sharing stories through this new medium.

9.  Would you rather explore outer space or deep, deep in the ocean?

As a member of the Space Race generation, I would love to rocket off to outer space and explore the galaxies on a starship similar to the old STAR TREK programs. Our library’s summer reading theme this year will be outer space, so my galactic dreams will be close to coming true.

10.  Favorite part of being a children’s librarian?

Definitely it is the opportunity to work with children and share my love of literature with them.

11.  What do you think libraries will look like fifty years from now?

Technology will have a greater impact on libraries in the coming decades, with more electronic resources available. However, I do believe that the printed word will always be an integral part of libraries. Naysayers have for years been lamenting a future world devoid of books, but throughout the decades the plucky printed word has endured, continually enriching young and old alike.


Born and raised in New York, Constance has resided in Boerne for nearly eight years. She especially enjoys dance, music, and reading. Her published works include I Wanted to Go to the Circus (Harbinger House, 1989), Erni Cabat’s Wonderful World of the Carousel,  (Harbinger House, 1990), Hootenanny Night, (State House Press, 1991), as well as poems in anthologies edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins and Julie Andrews.

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

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

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4. A look back at the first half of the year on the ALSC Blog

Twice a year, we take a look back at the ALSC Blog to see how it’s being used. It’s time!

From January through June of this year, use of the ALSC Blog has continued to increase:

  • the number of sessions is up 8.31% (115,541 in 2014 vs 106,678 in 2013)
  • the number of users is up 11.90% (83,750 in 2014 vs. 74,841 in 2013)
  • the number of pageviews is up 13.69% (182,325 in 2014 vs 160,365 in 2013)

The five most popular posts published in the first six months of 2014 were:

  1. The Snow Queen, Frozen and Feminist Critique by Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla
  2. Gravity Science: A STEM Program for Preschoolers by Amy Koester
  3. Eggs Away! Egg Drop Science for School-Age Children by Amy Koester
  4. Your Librarians Are Reading, Too by Abby Johnson
  5. It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane!… It’s a Superhero Training Academy! by the School-Age Programs and Services committee

We love to see conversations start in the comments. The posts with the most comments in the first 6 months of the year were:

  1. Unconventional Preparations for Storytime by Katie Salo
  2. Program in a Post – Torn Paper Landscapes by Heather Acerro
  3. Dream Book-to-Film Adaptations by Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla
  4. Engaging the Smartphone Generation by guest blogger, Kris Lill
  5. Is Science Funny? by Lisa Taylor
  6. Early Literacy Tips with Some Pizazz by guest blogger, Angela Bronson
  7. Mind Full or Mindful? by guest blogger, Jill Eisele
  8. Preschool Shadow Science by Amy Koester
  9. Getting Ready for Tablet Time by Angela Reynolds
  10. Summer Reading – One for All and All for One by Lisa Taylor

It is always fun to see which posts readers are motivated to share with friends and colleagues via twitter. The five most “tweeted” posts in the first 6 months of 2014 were:

  1. Notable Children’s Books Discussion List – Summer 2014 by Mary Voors
  2. Notable Children’s Books – 2014 Discussion List by Mary Voors
  3. Other KidLit Awards from #alamw14 by Angie Manfredi
  4. Making without a Makerspace by ALSC Children and Technology committee
  5. How Juvenile Books Portray the Prison Experience by guest blogger, Kate Todd

Such a great first six months! Let’s see what the rest of the year brings!

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5. ALSC Member of the Month — Beth Munk

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

photo 1(1)

Photo courtesy of Beth Munk

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

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

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

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

3. What motivates you?

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

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

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

5. Favorite age of kids to work with?

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

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

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

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

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

8. Movies or plays?

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

9. Have you ever photobombed someone?

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

10. What do you love about your work?

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


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

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

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6. ALSC Member of the Month — Renee Grassi

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, Renee Grassi.

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

ReneeI am the Youth Department Director at the Glen Ellyn Public Library in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. I’m relatively new to this position, having started at Glen Ellyn in June of 2014. Previously, I was the Head of Children’s Services at the Glencoe Public Library for two years, and was a Youth Services Librarian at the Deerfield Public Library for four years.

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

One of the many reasons I joined ALSC was that I wanted to participate and advocate for the profession on a larger scale. What I particularly love about being an ALSC member is that I have so many opportunities to connect and learn from children’s librarians across the country. I have always appreciated ALSC’s commitment to innovation in the field of children’s library service, and I am continually inspired by the work that we as an organization do to enrich the lives of children. Besides ALSC, I am also a member of PLA and am a member of the ALSC Library Services to Special Populations and Their Caregivers Committee.

3.  Cats, dogs, or Butterflies?

Anyone who knows me knows I don’t even have to think twice about my answer–cats, for sure! One of my favorite things to do is to volunteer at local cat shelters. When I lived in downtown Chicago, you would often find me at Harmony House for Cats taking care of and socializing with the kitties. In my spare time, I enjoy the company of my two feline family members—Sanchez and Gus.

4.  E-books or Print?

Both. As much as we are hurdling towards everything digital, nothing will compare to the experience a child has holding a book for the very first time. For us as children’s librarians, I think it’s all about the balance between both.

5.  How do you prepare for the start of a new school year?

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for school to start. I was that kid who, mid-July, was just itching to go school supplies shopping, buy all of my notebooks and folders (and label them), and practice trying on my “first day of school” outfit. As of late, a new school year is synonymous with the end of Summer Reading. And as much as I just love Summer Reading and all of the exciting preparations that take place, there is nothing more enjoyable and therapeutic than taking all of the decorations down, cleaning off our desks, and starting fresh for the new school year.

6.  What do you love most about living and working in Illinois?

The librarian in me would respond by say that I feel so lucky to be in the company of countless incredible Illinois librarians, who continue to challenge and inspire me each day. We have strong support of libraries in this state and are fortunate to have such a fantastic Illinois Library Association as well. With Chicago being the epicenter of the American Library Association, we have the expertise of librarian leaders and powerhouses right at our fingertips. And the fact that the ALA Conferences always come back around to Chicago is pretty awesome, too.

The foodie in me would say one word: pizza!

7.  Are you a morning person or night person?

Night person, for sure. Some of my best ideas come to me at night, so I keep a journal next to my bed to jot them all down.

8.  Favorite tv show?

I have to choose one? Well, you will often find me tweeting about Glee, Parenthood, How I Met Your Mother, Sherlock, or The Big Bang Theory. And does the Tony Awards count? That’s like my Christmas.

9.  What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Chocolate. That was easy.

10.  What do you love about your work?

The variety. The challenge. The impact. The people.


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

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

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7. Membership Suggestion Notice for Batchelder Award

ALSC Personal Members are invited to suggest titles for the 2015 Batchelder Award given to an American publisher for a children’s book considered to be the most outstanding of those books originally published in a foreign language in a foreign country and subsequently published in English in the United States during 2014. Please remember that only books from this publishing year are under consideration for the 2015 award. Publishers, authors and illustrators may not suggest their own books.

You may send recommendations with full bibliographic information to committee chair, Diane Janoff, at diane.janoff@queenslibrary.org. The deadline to submit suggestions is December 31st, 2014.

The  award will be announced at the press conference during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in February 2015.

For more information about the award, visit the ALSC website at http://www.ala.org/alsc/. Click on “Awards and Grants” in the left-hand navigation bar; then click on “ALSC Book & Media Awards.” Scroll down to the “Batchelder Award Page”

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8. Live Blogging from the ALSC Institute #ALSC14

Last night, the biennial ALSC Institute kicked off in Oakland, California with a Happy Hour. Today, the Institute will really begin and attendees will be treated to an amazing assortment of programming focusing on youth services; presentations by an incredible line-up of authors including Jamie Campbell Naidoo, Tim Federle, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Rita Williams-Garcia, Gene Luen Yang, Steve Sheinkin, Mac Barnett, Daniel Handler, Jennifer Holm, & Andrea Davis Pinkney; and many, many, many networking activities.

For the next few days, we will not have our regular, daily posts on this blog. Instead, we will have multiple shorter posts each day. To make it easier for everyone to follow the excitement on Twitter, each post will include the hashtag #ALSC14.

A HUGE “Thank You” to the seven bloggers who have committed to writing short “micro-posts” throughout this Institute so ALSC blog readers can have a feel for what is happening in Oakland:

    • Dan Bostrom
    • Erin WarzalaInstitute Badge 2014
    • Gesse Stark-Smith
    • Jill Hutchison
    • Karen Choy
    • Nicole Martin
    • Renee Grassi

We hope you enjoy these snippets of Institute attendance over the next few days. We’d love to know what interests you about the ALSC Institute. What do you hope the live bloggers snap a picture of or write a quick post about? Let us know in the comments below.

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9. What GREAT children’s recordings have you listened to this year?

ALSC members are cordially invited to participate in the 2015 Notable Children’s Recordings list by submitting titles for consideration.  The Notable Children’s Recordings Committee’s charge is to select, annotate, and present for publication an annual list of notable audio recordings (music, audiobooks, and read-along kits) of interest to young people from birth through age 14.  The recordings must have been released between November 1, 2013, and October 31, 2014, and be available through a US distributor.  Please follow this link to find out more details about the list and criteria for inclusion:


The column on the left of that page includes links for information about NCR, including Committee Members, Submission Process, and Past NCR lists.

Please send suggestions with full bibliographic information to chairperson Jennifer Duffy at jenniferaudio@gmail.com. The deadline to submit title suggestions is October 31st.

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10. 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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11. Remembering Dr. Eliza Dresang

With a very sad heart, I must report what many of you know already. Dr. Eliza Dresang, a beloved friend and colleague, died on the morning of April 21, 2014 at the age of 72. A library science professor, author, speaker, and active member and leader in ALSC, Dr. Dresang will be remembered as a strong advocate for children and libraries, but will also be remembered for her caring smile and sincere ability to really listen carefully and respectfully, helping each colleague she worked with grow and learn. It was an honor and a privilege to serve on the Notable Children’s Books committee when Eliza was chair. I learned so very much from her and it truly saddens me that I will no longer see her – or laugh with her – at Conferences. Her impact on my life will never be lost.

School Library Journal published an obituary which you can read here. Below, several of Dr. Dresang’s friends and colleagues offer memories and reflect on her impact on their lives.

Mike Rogalla, 2010 Notable Children’s Book Committee member, shares:

That Eliza was a woman of immense knowledge who contributed greatly to the study of children’s literature and championed library service to youth is undisputed.  What impressed me most was her character.  As someone new to a national level committee, not only did she focus in on my strengths and make me feel welcome, but she was always the teacher.  That someone of her stature would value my views, my work, and my contributions was a badge of honor.  In a career there are only a few who serve as benchmarks for how it should be done.  Eliza’s voice will be there for me when an author’s or illustrator’s work comes into view.

Ginny Moore Kruse, Emerita Director, The CCBC, School of Education, UW-Madison, remembers:

Anyone who has served on an ALSC committee with Eliza or witnessed her in action on one of her campuses knows that she worked hard. Very hard. Last summer Eliza told me she no longer could get along on four hours of sleep a night, because she then required seven hours – and she wasn’t able to accomplish as much because she needed to sleep longer!

Those of us lucky enough to become acquainted with Eliza personally discovered that she also knew how to play. Very hard. Dinner at a funky restaurant? Check. Broadway show sandwiched between meetings? Ditto. Dart ball or an intriguing all-generation board game on New Years Eve? Yup, every year! Neighborhood party on the 4th of July? Not to be missed. Long trips and tours with best friends and new friends? Naturally. Annual reunions with extended family and personal friends? Of course.

What did working or playing with Eliza have in common? Wherever you met her, Eliza gave you her complete attention. That’s “you.” Not a generic acquaintance, but you. Who you were. Not so very different from what Eliza wrote in 1977 for SLJ after co-leading a CCBC workshop with me: There Are No Other Children. “Special” children were individuals, not “other” in her former elementary school library. And so were Eliza’s colleagues and friends. We were each singular, unique and valued, not “other.” We are so fortunate to have worked and/or played with this remarkable colleague and friend. There is no “other” Eliza – ever. Check.

Carol Hanson Sibley, Professor Emeritus from Minnesota State University Moorhead, writes:

I recently had the privilege to serve a 2-year-term with Eliza on the Phoenix Picture Book Award Committee for the Children’s Literature Association. We set up the guidelines for the award and selected the first two winners and honor books. She was instrumental in the initiation up of this new book award. Her comments were always thoughtful and full of insight. She was such a gentle soul. In fact, she was selected as the chair of this committee for this year. We met last in Biloxi, MS and I have fond memories of a trip to the Gulf in the early evening with Linnea Hendrickson. Together we appreciated the beauty of the setting. Eliza gave her all for the sake of children and children’s literature. We will all miss her greatly.

Ed Spicer, self-described Eliza Dresang fan and cheerleader, shares:

ALSC is filled with many smart, talented people and I have had the privilege of serving with many. Some have been the equal of Eliza Dresang but NONE are better. Eliza was the chair of the Notables Committee for my first year on the committee and she was amazing! She read as much as anyone despite the demands of being the chair, she answered committee questions the same day, she dealt with publishers with charm and grace, and so much more. Eliza was a person with whom you wanted to spend time, wanted her to speak about books, wanted her opinion. Yet she was happiest listening to others, even when (especially when??) that person disagreed with her. Eliza expected you to be smart and, consequently, you worked very hard to be better. I remember a time during our marathon Notable’s ALA discussions. We were on a break and Eliza maneuvered me into a private corner. She said something along the line of, “Ed, we just discussed ____ book. It looked like you had a concern and you did not say anything. Why?” I told her that I had been the only person with concerns for the three books immediately before it and I was worried that the audience and my committee were going to think of me as a very negative person. I told her that I was hoping someone else would express them.” She looked me in the eye and said, “Ed, our committee and our audience needs you to say what you think. I don’t care if you have concerns about a hundred books in a row. You need to speak all one hundred of them and it DOES NOT MATTER what anyone else does or does not do! If you have a concern, I expect to hear it.” Yes ma’am! Eliza agonized over whether our committee and other committees were inclusive enough. She spoke up forcefully on the fact that our committee was a committee for more than our personal constituencies. She wanted us to include the best books on our list, but she wanted us to be aware of our own cultural limitations, our own personal reading weaknesses, our own idiosyncrasies so that we had the chance of recognizing and understanding that our list includes GLBT folk, blacks, whites, Latinos, Native Americans, atheists, Asians, and other groups that do not always see themselves on the shelves of our libraries. Most of all I remember Eliza’s smile and her fabulous sense of humor. What is clear to anyone who spent more than a few minutes with Eliza is that she cared deeply about children, ALL children. She even liked older children like me! I cherish the fact that we continued our conversations after Notables, speaking about various radical ideas in the world of children’s literacy such as homelessness and prejudice in schools. We had been brainstorming a Skype visit with her students to discuss things I do in my first grade classroom germane to these topics. I am so sorry this did not happen. I will miss her and I treasure all of the time I did have with her.

Carol Edwards, Co-Manager of Children’s and Family Services Denver Public Library, remembers:

I met Eliza when I was in library school at UW-Madison. I worked for her on a special project of pulling recently published books and inserting the reviews for teacher/librarians to consider for purchase. I think she was head of School Librarians for Madison at the time. She treated me with such courtesy and always had time for my questions, which I very much appreciated.

Later when I was selected to the 2008 Newbery Committee Eliza came and spoke to us about our charge at the very beginning during Midwinter of 2007. She was so eloquent about the process. And I will never forget that she said, “You will not select the best book of the year. There really isn’t one best book. But you will select one of them.” Somehow that freed me from all my anxiety about making the choice and I could enjoy the books in all the many ways that they excelled. Of course, we did make a choice, but I knew that we just had to do the best we could.

Lynda Salem-Poling, Branch Manager and Youth Services Librarian Long Beach Public Library & Information System, shares:

I worked with Eliza on the 2013 Notable Children’s Recordings committee. She was, of course, inquisitive, thoughtful, professional, and passionate about books for youth in all possible formats. Since Midwinter was in Seattle that year, she had some of her students sit in on our discussions and it was evident that she was as proud of them as a teacher could be. Eliza would write me long, detailed emails about issues (and we had several that year), she would write detailed, thoughtful reviews that pulled in a wide-range of different information about every audio she was assigned, whether her review was positive or negative, and each was balanced and fair.

Eliza was very excited to serve on the Odyssey last year and to work as chair of Notable Children’s Recordings this year. Even in her illness, she was positive, strong, and forging ahead. Looking back on what she achieved in ALSC and literature for youth has been awe-inspiring. Imagine what more she could have done in the future.

Ruth I. Gordon writes:

I am shocked beyond measure at Eliza’s passing.  She was an incredible person and it is an incredible loss – and not only to librarianship – but to honesty, decency, and justice.

We sat next to each other (often) on Council and ALSC Board. Her thoughtful ideas were always cause(s) for thought as will be her memory.

Once on Council, a vote on a resolution suggested by the California Library Association that virtually killed school libraries and librarians, there were two “Nay” votes, Eliza was the other one. RAH on her for seeing what the resolution was supporting-and what it was destroying.

Every wish for grace and comfort to her family and colleagues.

Yes, Eliza lived a good life and made it better for all she touched.

Annette Goldsmith, Guest Faculty, University of Washington Information School, shares:

There is so much I want to say about Eliza: she was my major professor at Florida State, my teacher, colleague, friend, and advisor. She recruited me into the doctoral program, guided me as a scholar, formed me as a teacher, hooked me on research, and reminded me (by example) to have fun. Eliza was known for her energy whether at work or play. She didn’t seem to need much sleep and was always doing two or three times the number of things regular people did. She was our Wonder Woman. Did she drink a lot of coffee or tea to keep this up? No! Eliza was fueled by her passion for children and their books…and diet cherry Coke. She was from Atlanta, after all. With love and tears…

Kyungwon Koh, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Library and Information Studies, The University of Oklahoma writes:

Dr. Eliza Dresang was my master’s and doctoral advisor at Florida State University. Since I first met her in 2005, she has shaped me as a scholar and educator. I was truly fortunate to have an opportunity to take up her work and further develop her theory of Radical Change. She was delighted when I asked her if I could refine and expand her theory. Although she was a highly respected scholar, she was willing to listen to a student’s opinion and always open to discussion. At every moment I worked with her, I was impressed by her tireless pursuit of knowledge, strong academic integrity, and genuine care for others. She was an extraordinary mentor who wholeheartedly supported her students. When there was a thought-provoking but expensive conference opportunity for a student, she supported me to attend and learn. When I applied for a job, she wrote personalized and targeted letters of recommendation. Even after I came to the University of Oklahoma as an assistant professor, she was always approachable whenever I sought her advice. Just about 2 weeks before she passed away, she took the time and sent me a line saying “I am very proud of your work!” referring to my recent research grant award. She was my role model, whom I could completely trust. I know her influence will not stop and I will always remember her.

One of my finest memories of her is when we attended the 2010 Scratch@MIT conference together in Boston. We really enjoyed participating in sessions, meeting new people, walking around the area and having dinner in nice restaurants. Oh, we also searched for a convenience store or vending machine that has Diet Cherry Coke. We finally found one and she was very happy!

What are your favorite memories of Dr. Eliza Dresang? Please feel free to share in the comments below. Together we can help each other grieve and remember.

(Post edited – 4/27/14)

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12. ALSC Member of the Month – Sarah West

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, Sarah West.

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


Photo courtesy of Sarah West

I am the Children’s Client Service Specialist at Pickering Public Library in Pickering, Ontario. A Client Service Specialist is responsible for an area of service for the four branches in Pickering’s Library system. So for me as the Children’s Client Service Specialist I am responsible for all things children’s (birth to age 12)…collections, programs, outreach, training staff on children’s related services etc. I have eight amazing children’s staff that I work with to develop services for our community. I graduated from Dalhousie University, Halifax Nova Scotia with my MLIS in 2005. I spent a year trying to find a job home in NS and ended up applying to Pickering in May 2006. I have now been working here for eight years as of the end of May!

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

I joined ALSC because it has so many wonderful things to offer its members. I have been a dedicated follower of the ALSC blog for years now. I get great ideas from it and really enjoy hearing about what others are doing. I do not belong to any other ALA groups but I do belong to OLA which is the Ontario Library Association. I am involved in a few OLA committees and really enjoy them.

3.  What motivates you?

My library community. I love working with kids and the people who care for them: teachers, parents, daycare workers etc. Helping them find the right book, helping them learn new things and seeing them grow from storytime kids to teens is amazing! I am so proud to be a part of that. They are what motivates me to do my best and to reach outside of my comfort zone.

4.  Cats or Dogs?

Cats! A couple years ago as I left work at 9 pm on a Wednesday night I found a lost kitty outside my library. It was December and just starting to get cold. The poor thing was all skin and bones. I have been smitten ever since.

5.  How do you keep up with library news?

Besides reading SLJ, Canadian Children’s Booknews, LibrarySparks and occasionally YALSA I have some blogs I follow: ALSC, the Annoyed Librarian, the Librarian in Black, and Stephen’s Lighthouse. I follow CLA, OLA and a number of libraries Canadian libraries on twitter. I am on the email listserv for Pubyac which is a great resource for children’s staff. And last year I started a children’s services Facebook group, where children’s staff can share ideas and resources.

6.  What do you collect?

Puppets! I use puppets in my weekly storytime and I do puppet shows a few times a year.  I am a bit of a puppet fiend actually! I have handmade (mostly by my Mom) as well as store bought. I think my favourite brand is Folkmanis. I am not sure how many puppets I have…likely over 30.

7.  Who is your role model? Why?

My parents. Corny right? But it is true. My parents are always reading. I don’t think I have ever known them not to have a book on the go. We were constantly at my local library branches (the Woodlawn and Alderney Gate Branches in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia) to attend programs (Summer Reading Club in particular!), pick out books etc. My Dad worked shift work at a bottled water company and often worked late hours but he always had time to tell me stories. He would base the stories he told me on whatever fantasy or sci-fi book he was currently reading. His love of a good story and of sharing that is something I try and emulate when talking to kids about books. Growing up, my Mom was my leader all through Brownies/Girl Guides/Pathfinders/Senior Branches. Her creativity and enthusiasm for working with kids has really influenced me. I still call her and ask her opinion when I am developing a new program.

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

This is a very hard question because I love all parts of my job but I think being able to plan and do Summer Reading Club has to be my favourite!!! My experiences as a kid attending Summer Reading Club at my local library in Dartmouth, NS is why I became a Children’s Librarian. I love listening to the kids tell me about what they have been reading and showing me a picture of their favourite part of the book. I love organizing all the programs and events that we run in the summer. I love finding and ordering books to fit the theme and then seeing the displays of them quickly empty. Really I just love summer reading club!

9.  Which reality TV show would you most like to be on?

I adored shows like Labyrinth, the Dark Crystal, and the Muppets growing up. So I would totally want to be on Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge! It is amazing how realistic the creature designers can make their puppets! Plus I am big into crafty stuff. We are doing these weekly crafternoons this summer at my library which I am totally excited about, particularly the week we do puppets.

10. What do you think libraries will look like fifty years from now?

Libraries have been around since ancient times. They have evolved and changed with the times because of community input. I am not sure what libraries will actually look like ten years from now let alone in fifty but I am confident that they will be around and that children’s librarians will still be needed. I think that libraries will continue to be places for parents/caregivers and children to go to for programs, information, and reading materials (no matter what format that evolves into). Children’s librarians will be needed to discover and implement library services that our communities need and want. No matter how automated and technology focused the world becomes people still need to go out and interact with other people. It is the way humans work, we crave places to socialize with others. As long as we continue to give our community a voice in what services we provide we will continue to stay relevant. Also I am sure in fifty years there will be robots…preferably with the ability to clean up after programs. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a robot that could actually fully clean up after a craft that involved glitter?


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

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

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13. Are you heading to Las Vegas for the Annual Conference? #alaac14

ala annualThe ALSC Blog is looking for people interested in live blogging during the upcoming Annual Conference in Las Vegas.

If you are interested in lending your thoughts to this blog about what you are learning, contact ALSC Blog manager, Mary Voors, at alscblog@gmail.com. We’d love to have your contributions! (And they can be very concise… like this post!)

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14. Notable Children’s Books Discussion List – Summer 2014 #alaac14

Edith Ching, chair, and the rest of the 2015 Notable Children’s Books Committee, invite you to join them at their discussions, taking place on Saturday through Monday, June 28  to 30, from 1:00 to 4:00 in the Las Vegas Convention Center, Room N114.

The discussion list follows.


Alexander, Kwame. The Crossover. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Auxier, Jonathan. The Night Gardener. Abrams/Amulet.

Blakemore, Megan Frazer. The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill. Bloomsbury

Boyne, John. Stay Where You Are & Then Leave. Illus. by Oliver Jeffers. Henry Holt and Company.

Brown, Skila. Caminar. Candlewick Press.

Dauvillier, Loïc. Hidden : A Child’s Story of the Holocaust. Illus. by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo. Translated by Alexis Siegel. First Second.

Davies, Nicola The Lion Who Stole My Arm. Illus. by Annabel Wright. Candlewick Press.

Elliott, L. M. Across a War-Tossed Sea. Disney-Hyperion Books.

Engle, Margarita. Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Fitzgerald, Laura Marx. Under the Egg. Dial Books for Young Readers.

Foxlee, Karen. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy. Alfred A. Knopf.

Herrera, Robin. Hope is a Ferris Wheel. Abrams/Amulet.

Holczer, Tracy. The Secret Hum of a Daisy. G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Johnson, Jaleigh. The Mark of the Dragonfly. Delacorte Press.

Lamana, Julie T. Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere. Chronicle Books.

Lloyd, Natalie. A Snicker of Magic. Scholastic Press.

Lord, Cynthia. Half a Chance. Scholastic Press.

MacLachlan, Patricia. Fly Away. Margaret K. McElderry Books

Moses, Shelia P. The Sittin’ Up. G. P. Putnam’s Sons for Young Readers.

Oppel, Kenneth. The Boundless. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Philbrick, Rodman. Zane and the Hurricane. Blue Sky Press.

Preus, Margi. West of the Moon. Amulet/Abrams.

Sovern, Megan Jean. The Meaning of Maggie. Chronicle Books.

Turnage, Sheila. The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing. Penguin/Kathy Dawson Books.

White, J. A. The Thickety: A Path Begins. Illus. by Andrea Offerman. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books.

Woods, Brenda. The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books.


Athans, Sandra K. Secrets of the Sky Caves: Danger and Discovery on Nepal’s Mustang Cliffs. Lerner/Millbrook Press.

Bausum, Ann. Stubby the War Dog: The True Story of World War I’s Bravest Dog. National Geographic.

Bolden, Tonya. Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America. Abrams Books for Young Readers.

Brown, Don. He Has Shot the President!: April 14, 1865: The Day John Wilkes Booth Killed President Lincoln. Roaring Brook Press.

Burns, Loree Griffin. Handle With Care : An Unusual Butterfly Journey. Photographer Ellen Harasimowicz. Lerner/Millbrook Press.

Farrell, Mary Cronk. Pure Grit: How American World War II Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific. Abrams/Abrams Books for Young Readers.

Rubin, Susan Goldman. Freedom Summer: The 1964 Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. Holiday House.

Sheinkin, Steve. The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights. Roaring Brook Press.


Barton, Byron. My Bus. Greenwillow Books/Harper Collins Publishers

Bluemle, Elizabeth. Tap Tap Boom Boom. Illus. by G. Brian Karas.Candlewick Press.

Bunting, Eve. Washday. Illus by Brad Sneed. Holiday House.

Carle, Eric and Friends. What’s Your Favorite Animal? Eric Carle and friends. Nick Bruel, Lucy Cousins, Susan Jeffers, Steven Kellogg, Jon Klassen, Tom Lichtenheld, Peter McCarty, Chris Raschka, Peter Sís, Lane Smith, Erin Stead, Rosemary Wells, Mo Willems. Illus. by ditto. Henry Holt and Company.

Dempsey, Kristy. A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. Penguin/ Philomel Books.

Dolan, Elys. Weasels. Candlewick Press.

Lee, Chuku H. Beauty and the Beast . Illus. by Pat Cummings. HarperCollins / Amistad.

Light, Steve. Have You Seen My Dragon? Candlewick Press.

McDonald, Megan. Shoe Dog. Illus. by Katherine Tillotson. Richard Jackson Book/Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Nelson, Kadir. Baby Bear. HarperCollins /Balzer + Bray.

Offill, Jenny. Sparky. Illus. by Chris Appelhans. Random House Children’s Books, Schwartz & Wade.

Prahin, Andrew. Brimsby’s Hats. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Reid, Aimee. Mama’s Day with Little Gray. Illus. Laura J. Bryant. Random House.

Robinson, Michelle. How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth. Illus. by Kate Hindley. Henry Holt and Company.

Rockliff, Mara. The Grudge Keeper. Illus. by Eliza Wheeler. Peachtree.

Russell, Natalie. Lost for Words. Peachtree.

Santat, Dan. The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. Little Brown.

Sierra, Judy. E-I-E-I-O: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm (with a little help from a hen). Illus by. Matthew Myers. Candlewick Press.

Spires, Ashley. The Most Magnificent Thing. Kids Can Press.

Underwood, Deborah. Here Comes the Easter Cat. Illus. by Claudia Rueda. Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers.

Yoon, Salina. Found. Walker Books for Young Readers /Bloomsbury.

Yuly, Toni. Early Bird. Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan.


Campbell, Sarah C. Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature. Illus. by Sarah C. Campbell and Richard P. Campbell. Boyds Mills Press /Highlights.

Chin, Jason. Gravity. Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press

Ehlert, Lois. The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life. Beach Lane Books.

Gibbons, Gail. It’s Raining! Holiday House.

Jenkins, Steve. Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers.

Napoli, Donna Jo. Hands & Hearts: With 15 Words in American Sign Language. Illus. by Amy Bates. Abrams Books for Young Readers.

Roberts, Cokie. Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies. Illus. by Diane Goode. Harper Colllins.

Rosenstock, Barb. The Streak: How Joe DiMaggio Became America’s Hero. Illus. by Terry Widener. Calkins Creek / Highlights.

Rubbino, Salvatore. A Walk in Paris. Candlewick Press.

Stewart, Melissa. Feathers: Not Just for Flying. Illus. by Sarah S. Brannen. Charlesbridge.

Tonatiuh, Duncan. Separate is Never Equal : The Story of Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation. Illus. by author.   Abrams books for Young Readers.

Woelfle, Gretchen. Mumbet’s Declaration Of Independence. Illus. by Alix Delinois.Carolrhoda Books.


Fern, Tracey. Dare the Wind:   The Record-breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloud. Illus. by Emily Arnold McCully. Margaret Ferguson Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Powell, Patricia Hruby. Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker. Illus. by Christian Robinson. Chronicle Books.

Rosenstock, Barb. The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art. Illus. by Mary Grandpré. Alfred A. Knopf.

Wallace, Rich and Sandra Neil Wallace. Babe Conquers the World:The Legendary Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Calkins Creek/an imprint of Highlights.


Cleary, Brian P. If It Rains Pancakes: Haiku and Lantern Poems. Illus. by Andy Rowland. Millbrook.

Janeczko, Paul B (editor). Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems. Illus. by Melissa Sweet. Candlewick Press.

Lewis, J. Patrick and Douglas Florian. Poem-mobiles: Crazy Car Poems. Illus. by Jeremy Holmes.   Random House Children’s Books/ Schwartz & Wade.

Muth, Jon J. Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons. Scholastic.

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15. Notable Children’s Recordings Discussion List – Summer 2014 #alaac14

If you are attending the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas. you are welcome to observe the discussions of the 2014 Notable Children’s Recordings committee The discussions will take place in the Reno I Room of the Flamingo Hotel on Saturday, June 28th from 1:00 to 5:30 pm and on Sunday, June 29th from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.

The discussion list follows.

A Snicker of Magic, 8 hr 14 min, cd, $34.99, Scholastic Audio, 9780545706797

Crankee Doodle, 15 min, book + cd, $15.75, Recorded Books, 9781490601991

Exclamation Mark, 10 min, book + cd, $12.95, Weston Woods, 9780545661157

Five, Six, Seven, Nate!, 6 hr 30 min, cd, $29.99, Simon & Schuster Audio, 9781442374195

Have You Seen My New Blue Socks?, 15 min, book + cd, $15.75, Recorded Books, 9781490615639

How to Catch a Bogle, 7 hr 13 min, cd, $45, Listening Library, 9780804167802

Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Interrupted Tale, 8 hr 19 min, cd, $45, Listening Library, 9780385363693

Josephine, 30 min, book + cd, $15.75, Recorded Books, 9781470383862

Lawless, 7 hr 38 min, download, $18.50, Scholastic Audio, 9780545655729

Lucky Ducklings, 16 min, book + cd, $12.95, Weston Woods, 9780545661188

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, 6 hr 20 min, cd, $35, Listening Library, 9780804168366

Poached, 6 hr 30 min, cd, $29.99, Simon & Schuster Audio, 9781442369115

Prisoner 88, 3 hr 15 min, cd, $30.75, Recorded Books, 9781490602448

Ranger’s Apprentice 12: Royal Ranger, 13 hr 45 min, cd/download, $97.75, Recorded Books/Penguin Audio, 9781470389284

Seeing Red, 10 hr, cd, $77.75, Recorded Books, 9781490612812

Smart Songs for Active Children, 48 min, cd, $15, Lighthouse Records, 9780989874106

Spirit Animals 2: Hunted, 5 hr 16 min, cd, $54.99, Scholastic Audio, 9780545648752

Starring Jules (as herself), 1 hr 32 min, download, $17.50, Scholastic Audio, 9780545677394

Sylo Chronicles 2: Storm, 12 hr, download, $39.95, Penguin Audio, 9780698146747

The Abominables, 5 hr 15 min, cd, $51.75, Recorded Books, 9781490620954

The Bossy E, 33 min, cd, $15.00, Coil Records, 8829510081

The Carpet People, 5 hr 34 min, cd, $40.00, Listening Library, 9780804168281

The Cat With Seven Names, 15 min, book + cd, $15.75, Recorded Books, 9781490602479

The Chicken Squad, 30 min, book + cd, $25.75, Recorded Books, 9781490615653

The Duckling Gets a Cookie?, 16 min, book + cd, $12.95, Weston Woods, 9780545661126

The Finisher, 14 hr 58 min, cd, $89.99, Scholastic Audio, 9780545690195

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, 8 hr, download, $29.95, Penguin Audio, 9780698146709

The Grimm Conclusion, 6 hr 30 min, cd, $66.75, Recorded Books, 9781470395735

The Last Wild, 7 hr 15 min, cd/download, $66.75 cd, Recorded Books/Penguin Audio, 9781490614298

The Loch Mess Monster, 15 min, book + cd, $15.75, Recorded Books, 9781490619507

The Sultan’s Tigers, 6 hr 36 min, cd, $30, Listening Library, 9780804123082

Treasury of Egyptian Mythology, 3 hr 30 min, cd, $30.75, Recorded Books, 9781470397869

Under the Freedom Tree, 15 min, book + cd, $15.75, Recorded Books, 9781490621227

Whatever After: Fairest of All, 3 hr 20 min, download, $17.50, Scholastic Audio, 9780545655750

Whatever After 3: Sink or Swim, 3 hr 20 min, download, $17.50, Scholastic Audio, 9780545675192

Words with Wings, 30 min, cd, $15.75, Recorded Books, 9781490609676

Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina, 4hr 12 min, download, $20.99, Scholastic Audio, 9780545660914


Click here to view the Summer 2014 discussion list of the Notable Children’s Book committee.

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16. Live Blogging from Las Vegas #alaac14

Woo-Hoo! It’s almost time for the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas! Are you wondering how you can keep up with all that’s going on at the 2014 Annual Conference? We’ve got you covered! Check the ALSC Blog for photos, videos and information about what’s going on at the Conference. You can also check in on Twitter; just track the hashtag #alaac14.

AC14_LearnMoreFourteen bloggers have committed to offering short, frequent posts throughout the conference. They are:

  • Angela Frederick
  • Amy Musser
  • Nicole Martin
  • Dan Bostrom
  • Mary Voors
  • Amanda Roberson
  • Amy Koester
  • Suzanne Walker
  • Sharon McKellar
  • Dawn Abron
  • Ashley Waring
  • Laura Arnhold
  • Tessa M. Schmidt
  • Rebecca Hickman

Let me be the first to thank this wonderful group of volunteers!

Are there activities you hope we cover? Let us know in the comments below.

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17. The Internet of Things – What does it mean for libraries? #alaac14

The OCLC Symposium this afternoon, titled The Internet of Things: Coming Soon to Everywhere, was a fascinating and intriguing discussion. The primary speaker — Daniel Obodovski, co-author of The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things — offered the projection that we could have as many as 50 billion connected devices by 2020. These items with internet connectivity will include wearable fitness and medical devices, appliances in the home like your coffee pot, alarm clock, & refrigerator, cars that will talk to each other, even shoes may be connected to the internet. The big questions of the day were:

  • What does this mean for libraries?
  • How can we use this connectivity between devices to offer a higher level of service to our customers?
  • How does this impact the privacy of patrons and should we be concerned?

A thought-provoking and important topic.

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18. Everybody’s tweeting at #alaac14

Just for fun, and to get a different flavor of the Annual Conference, check out the Top Ten Tweets from Thursday and Friday as compiled by American Libraries Magazine.

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19. Acceptance Speeches for Newbery, Caldecott, and more!

If you were not able to attend the Newbery Caldecott Banquet in Las Vegas and are sad they you missed hearing the speeches, do not despair! They are now available online at http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia. Enjoy!

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20. ALSC Member of the Month – Alison O’Reilly Poage

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, Alison O’Reilly Poage.


Courtesy photo

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

In February I finished up my role as the Director of the Cutchogue New Suffolk Free Library in NY and moved back to Austin, TX to marry my sweetheart. Since then, I’ve been adjusting to my new life as a wife and step mom. I’ve also been writing reviews for School Library Journal and Booklist, working on the Publicity Committee for USBBY and, most recently, working as a call-in librarian at the beautiful Georgetown Public Library in Georgetown, TX.

2.  What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

I think the first sentence above covers that pretty well! Making a big life change (or in my case, a handful of them at once) is frightening, but it’s also rewarding when it’s the right move.

3.  What motivates you?

I love igniting potential in others. I enjoy connecting people to resources that fuel their inner fires. When I’m able to do that I feel fired up, too!

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

I’m proud to have served on the Newbery Award and the Odyssey Award committees. I learned a lot about the importance of process serving on award committees, that there is no “right” book or recording for these awards, only a carefully developed process to which each committee member devotes herself.

5.  What book are you currently reading?

I’m reading a few things, but for the past few months I’ve been returning again and again to Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. I finally bought my own copy. If you are not familiar with it, I urge you to check it out, especially if you want to write. That reminds me, don’t miss that book either: If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland.

6.  Do you have any advice for a new children’s librarian?

Pay attention to the little things. In my experience it’s the little things that make the biggest difference in a person’s day. When BIG things happen, people usually band together and help one another, right? When little things happen to us, we are often on our own. A savvy librarian can make a difference with the smallest of gestures: sending a thank you note to the mayor for mentioning the library in her speech, forwarding a job announcement to a library school grad, or calling a parent for feedback on the library’s new tablets. We need partners to learn how we can do things better, so forging new relationships will benefit our communities in the long run. If a children’s librarian pays attention to the little things, he will soon have allies everywhere he turns!

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

I joined ALSC because my supervisor at the time, Doris Gebel, told me it was a good idea. Boy, was she right! So much of what I know about librarianship I’ve learned from ALSC members. I am also a member of YALSA and ACRL.

8.  What’s the best thing you’ve learned this year?

I think the most important lesson for me this year has to do with communication. I’ve learned that asking clarifying questions is the best way to have a productive dialogue. In the past I’ve made the mistake of responding before I’ve fully understood what the other person was communicating. But if I’m truly honest it often requires saying, “I don’t understand what you mean, please tell me more.

9.  Have you ever participated in a Flash Mob?

No, but I’ve performed with a bookcart drill team called the Bibliofiles. We made quite a splash in the City of Austin’s First Night Parade a few years back. As I was walking home in my costume a little boy shouted, “Look, Mom, it’s a LIBRARIAN!” I stopped and posed for a picture. That was a good moment.

10.  Are you lucky?

Here’s a secret: if you believe that everything that is happening to you right now is unfolding exactly as it’s supposed to, then you will always feel lucky, even when the chips are down.


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

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

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21. ALSC Member of the Month – Jenna Nemec-Loise

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, Jenna Nemec-Loise.

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

Courtesy photo from Jenna Nemec-Loise

Courtesy photo from Jenna Nemec-Loise

I’m a relationship architect, a community builder, and an early childhood specialist. I’m an Everyday Advocate for youth, families, and libraries. On occasion, I’ve been called Flannelboard Ace and Teen Volunteer Coordinator Extraordinaire. And I’ve been doing it all at school and public libraries in and around Chicago for 14 daring years. (You thought I was just going to say “children’s librarian,” didn’t you? Ha!)

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

Doesn’t everyone join ALSC to be more awesome for the communities they serve? That’s certainly why I did! When I got my first job as a librarian at a small private school, I had no idea what I was doing. But I did know that in order to be awesome at my job, I had to do two things: (1) get an MLIS, which I earned two years later from Dominican University, and (2) join ALSC, which I did immediately. Guess which one started paying off right away?

I’m also a member of PLA and YALSA, and my involvement with both divisions has been equally rewarding.

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

By far, it’s been my advocacy work on behalf of children, families, and libraries through ALSC-related opportunities.

Through a four-year term on the ALSC Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee, I helped coordinate a 2012 membership survey on early learning partnerships. Our data not only contributed to the May 2013 IMLS Growing Young Minds report, but it also made it into the hands of a White House Domestic Policy Council member at National Library Legislative Day 2013 in Washington, D.C.

I’ve also been honored to serve as Member Content Editor of the ALSC Everyday Advocacy website and electronic newsletter since February 2013. Most recently, I had the privilege of representing ALSC and PLA during the 2014 Opening Minds Innovation Award showcase, where educators, administrators, policy makers, and funders voted Every Child Ready to Read @ your library as the next game changer in the early childhood field. What an incredible experience!

4. Favorite age of kids to work with?

Those babies! I can’t resist their fascination with everything and the sheer joy that comes from sharing books, songs, and rhymes with them. That magic is the elixir of my library life!

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

People over paperwork.

In these days of budget cuts and staffing shortages, we have to arm ourselves daily with endless streams of facts, statistics, and anecdotes to ensure we stay relevant in our communities. It’s easy to get lost in this climate of urgency, bogged down by this report or that deadline. We have a choice, though, and it’s a simple one: Stay grounded.

The child standing in front of you deserves every ounce of your attention. For the precious minutes you have with him, make him feel like the Most Important Child in the World. The paperwork can wait; the child can’t.

6. What do you collect?

Is it too nerdy to say Folkmanis puppets? Because I’ve got about 50 of ‘em! They’re the biggest hit you can imagine at all my book sharing programs, and even the big kids get in on the fun when we bring them out at the library.

My first puppet was Mabel (a big wooly sheep), who was quickly followed by Snap (an alligator) and Wally (a camel). The fan favorite, though, is Otis, my big floppy sheepdog. The little ones love rubbing their faces in his fur!

7. Who is your role model? Why?

Hands down, it’s Fred Rogers.

As a young child, I desperately loved Mr. Rogers and his Land of Make-Believe. He piqued my sense of wonder and made me feel safe with his soft-spoken demeanor and familiar routines. When Mr. Rogers talked to me, I felt smart and important.

And that’s why I love Fred Rogers to this day. His respect for young children and every aspect of their physical, socioemotional, and psychosocial development inspires my adult passion for engaging in developmentally appropriate library practice.

(Funny Mr. Rogers story: My mom called the pediatrician once because she was concerned that I was talking out loud to no one. When Dr. Mabini asked what else I was doing, she told him I was watching Mr. Rogers on TV. Dr. Mabini chuckled and said, “Well, Mr. Rogers asks lots of questions. When someone asks you something, you answer him, right?”)

8. What’s the best thing you’ve learned this year?

I learned a new definition of advocacy that clarifies the whole murky business! During the ALA Advocacy Coordinating Group meeting in Las Vegas, Office of Library Advocacy Director Marci Merola defined advocacy as “turning passive support into educated action.” Awesome, right? (Thanks, Marci!)

9. Favorite part of being a children’s librarian?

Building relationships with children, families, and communities. My library building is starting to show its age, and our children’s collection could use some refreshing. But I know I’m doing something right when kids and families stop by just to say, “Hi, Miss Jenna!” I treasure those moments when I get to say in return, “I’m so glad you came by to see me today! Have I got a book for you…”

10. Do you have any pets?

I sure do! Trudy is my two-year-old mini-lop rabbit and the unofficial mascot of my library’s animal-themed summer program. Kids and families love hearing Trudy stories and seeing pictures of her various bunny shenanigans. (Trust me—there are many.)

I’m proud to say my little gal has inspired lots of reading this summer! Back in May, I challenged kids at my library to read 150,000 minutes as a group during our eight-week program. I promised that if they met this goal, I’d adopt a second rabbit as a mate for Trudy. With two weeks left to go, kids have read a whopping 120,000 minutes, so it looks like it’ll be double the bunny fun at my house come August!


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

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

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22. ALSC Member of the Month – Kristen Sutherland

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, Kristen Sutherland.

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

Photo courtesy of Kristen Sutherland

Photo courtesy of Kristen Sutherland

I am ALSC’s newProgram Officer for Continuing Education. I’ve been working in educational programming/events since I graduated college in 2007, and have worked on both live, in-person events and virtual events.

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

I was interested in working at ALA and ALSC because it’s a mission I can get behind and I heard nothing but positive things from the ALA employees. Not to mention, libraries are a big part of my life – I’m at the Chicago Public Library at least once every couple of weeks – I love to read!

3.  Do you celebrate any Winter holidays?

I celebrate Christmas! This year, my parents and 3 siblings will be going to Hawaii for a Christmas-time vacation – I couldn’t be happier to get away from Chicago’s freezing temperatures!

4.  E-books or Print?

Both! I love my Kindle when I’m on public transportation, but when I’m at home I enjoy having the print books, especially for those books I read over and over again.

5.  Bonfire or Campfire?

Definitely a bonfire – nothing beats a night on the beach!

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

I’m guilty of an obsession with “The Sing-Off” – it’s an acapella version of American Idol that was off the air for a couple of years and just returned this winter. I’ve even seen some of the winners in concert! Consequently, I’m also obsessed with the movie Pitch Perfect.

7.  If you could be on a game show, which show would it be?

I would love to be on Cash Cab! When I visited New York City, I was determined to find the Cash Cab, but no such luck.

8.  What is your dream vacation?

My dream vacation is to go to South Africa; I’d love to go on a safari, swim in the waterfalls, go zip lining, etc. My friends and I are planning a trip there for 2014!

9.  Do you use Pinterest?

That’s a tough one – I do use it and pin things incessantly, but I can’t say that I’m very good about actually making any of the recipes or do-it-yourself projects!

10.  Candyland or Chess?

Candyland! I used to love the game as a kid, and my friends and I even dressed up as Candyland characters for Halloween this year!


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

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

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23. Are you heading to PLA in Indianapolis?

PLA2014_learnmoreThe Public Library Association conference takes place in Indianapolis next month and we want to live vicariously through your attendance! We would love it if you would consider live-blogging for the ALSC Blog from the conference.

With a wide variety of sessions specifically for youth librarians, there are many opportunities to learn at the Public Library Association conference. Here is a sampling of some of the scheduled sessions:

Or you may want to visit the Exhibit Hall. In addition, there are a wide variety of author events planned with luminaries such as David Sedaris, Brad Meltzer, and John Green.

Are you attending PLA this year? Would you like to blog from the conference for the ALSC blog? Drop us a line at alscblog@gmail.com and we’ll give you all the information you need to get started.

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24. Tim Wadham: 2014-15 ALSC Vice President/President Elect Candidate

In an effort to help ALSC members make an informed decision before they vote, the blog posts today consist of interviews with the candidates for 2014-15 ALSC Vice President/President-Elect: Tim Wadham and Andrew Medlar. Each candidate was given ten questions and submitted written answers.

This morning’s interview is with Tim Wadham:

1.      What do you consider the most important role of the ALSC President?


Photo supplied by Tim Wadham

One of the most important aspects of the ALSC’s President’s role is to be the face of the organization to the general public.  Certainly, the ALSC President shapes the makeup of committees through their appointments, but more important than that is being able to be articulate as they act in the role of spokesperson.

2.      What skills & strengths would you bring to the office?

As a library director, one of my primary responsibilities is to be the face of the library in the community and to build community support in order to advocate for the library with elected officials.  This is a strength I would bring as I filled a similar role for ALSC.   The office also requires someone who is an advocate.  I would bring to the office the fact that, for me, children’s librarianship has not been just a profession but rather a life long passion.  I think I first knew I wanted to be a children’s librarian when I was still a kid participating in summer reading club in my local public library.  I would call the ALA press office at Midwinter to find out which books had won the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, then I would bike the dozen or so blocks to the library so I could be the first to tell my librarians of the winners (this was in the days before internet and the webcast).

Professionally, I started out as a children’s librarian and have always sought positions that would allow me to keep my hand and heart active in children’s services.  I would bring the political skills that I have developed as a library administrator, working with library boards and challenging city councils.  One of my strengths is leading effective meetings (know when to stop and make sure that meetings result in actionable assignments and that real decision-making occurs).  Through my experience as a deputy director and library director I have learned the skills necessary to get consensus within diverse, challenging groups.

Beyond these skills and strengths, I would bring to the office a passion and enthusiasm for the work of ALSC.  I was once asked if I could describe myself in two words, and I asked if one of the words could be hyphenated.  Receiving a positive response, I replied: “Enthusiastic book-missionary.”

3.      What area of library service to children is your favorite?

I suppose that my favorite area of library service to children has to be the programming aspect.  One of the appeals of being a children’s librarian is the opportunity it affords to indulge all your artistic impulses.  You can be an actor, a producer, a musician, a puppeteer, a storyteller and an artist.  I love doing storytimes.  Creating voices for the characters in picture books reminds me of the fun I had in high school doing humorous interpretations of selections from plays.  I enjoy producing and presenting puppet shows—including finding the right book, writing an adaptation, finding the background music, along with all of the other challenges such as building a puppet stage and finding the funding for custom puppets.  And I love doing author programs and introducing kids to their favorite authors.

4.      Why should someone choose to join ALSC? What services do you feel ALSC provides that are valuable to new members? To long-term members?

Membership in ALSC is incredibly rewarding.  ALSC provides the opportunity for like-minded children’s services librarians to share ideas, and most importantly become friends.  I was able to attend my first ALA annual conference due to ALSC and the Penguin Young Readers Group Award which helped cover my expenses to travel to New Orleans.  It didn’t hurt that Penguin was the winning publisher of the Caldecott winner that year (Owl Moon), and that my first conference was also my first opportunity to attend the Newbery/Caldecott banquet.  Over my 27 years as an ALSC member, I have made wonderful friends who I look forward to seeing twice a year at conference.  In that regard, ALSC is better than both Facebook and LinkedIn.  It provides a network of both colleagues and friends who you can know face to face and on whom you can call for assistance or advice.  It has also provided me, as a long-term member, an opportunity to give back by mentoring new librarians coming into the profession.

5.      What are your ideas for reaching and involving members? What are your ideas to recruit new members?

Long years of doing outreach have convinced me that the best way of reaching and involving anyone in an organization or institution is to go where the people are rather than waiting for them to come to you.  That may not be practical on a national scale, but I would certainly consider ways of reaching and involving members by finding them where they hang out virtually, rather than expecting them to come to the ALSC listserv or other official methods of communication.  Reaching out to them first may bring them to tools such as ALA Connect.  This outreach can also be a focus for recruitment efforts.  Perhaps there needs to be a way for ALSC to have ambassadors at state library conferences who can do recruiting—passionate members who know the value of being involved professionally.

The emergence of virtual committees has gone better than I ever anticipated when I was on the ALSC board working on the idea.  With the right chair, a virtual committee can be the perfect way to involve more members and to make them feel more a part of the association.  Recruitment of new members has to emphasize that there are more opportunities than ever to be a fully participating member of ALSC.  Our ALSC ambassadors can promote how important professional involvement is for career advancement.

6.      How has ALSC membership impacted your life?  How has your membership in ALSC impacted library service to children?

ALSC membership allowed me to fulfill a dream I have had since I was a child, which was to be on the Newbery committee.  That alone was a huge accomplishment for a kid who was first challenged to read all the Newbery Medal winners by his middle-school librarian.  The level of discussion on the Newbery committee forever changed the way I think about and evaluate books and share books with kids.  ALSC membership gave me the motivation to apply for and host two May Hill Arbuthnot lectures: Lois Lowry at the St. Louis County Library, and Ursula K. LeGuin at the Maricopa County Library in partnership with the Arizona State Library.

My many committee assignments have impacted my library service to children in ways as simple as providing me with information on titles, such as my service on the Notable Videos and Carnegie Medal committees, which gave me invaluable help with video collection development and exposed me to wonderful films I might not have known about otherwise.  Many librarians value the “stamp of approval” that comes with the notable lists and other award lists and rely heavily on titles recommended by ALSC committees in their collection development.   Beyond that, my experiences as a participating member of ALSC have given me tools to be a better librarian.

7.     Changes in the economy and advances in technology are dramatically impacting libraries. What are your thoughts on how ALSC can best continue to be a positive force for librarians, for libraries, and for children?

My experience as an adjunct professor for the University of Arizona teaching children’s literature and youth services in public libraries taught me that what new professionals most want is practical education about what they can expect in the field.  They don’t want abstract theory.  ALSC can be most effective by providing practical information to children’s librarians on the front lines.  When I began my first job in the Dallas Public Library system, I was never given a mentor to demonstrate best practices for storytimes, and I had to learn what worked on my own.  The best way ALSC can continue to be a positive force is to find ways to disseminate practical information to practicing professionals.  We can be creative in the ways and locations we put out this information, and equally inventive in prioritizing the kinds of information that can come from ALSC.  As an example, the association can disseminate information on best practices for using technology in the day to day work of children’s librarians.  My staff are experimenting with creative new ways of using tablets for storytimes and finding that this technology allows us to think of storytimes in a way we never had previously.  We are able to project books that formerly we couldn’t share with a large group because of their size.  We can show films, or even use book apps in storytime.  These are the kinds of things that should be shared as widely as possible.  Focusing on this will result in librarians with more tools in their tool belt, able to advocate articulately for their libraries, and ultimately enriching the lives of children who come in to their libraries.

8.      What strengths would you bring to help ALSC attain the goals of the ALSC Strategic Plan?

I was part of the 2010 meeting that resulted in the strategic plan and I strongly support the three strategic goals that resulted from the process.  1) Advocacy.  Being an advocate is one of my strengths.  I love libraries and I believe in children’s books.  I am happy to tell anyone at any time why they should read out loud to their child and why libraries are important and not passé.  Advocacy begins with the education, training, and mentoring of new librarians coming into the profession.  2) Education.  ALSC plays an important role in the ongoing education of professionals who serve children in libraries.  ALSC can expand that role and find new ways to accomplish it.  As someone who has taught children’s services to prospective professionals, I have a clear vision of what effective teaching can accomplish.  3) Access to Library Services.  I have always believed that libraries are the great equalizer.  I can bring my experience expanding library and book access for children speaking languages other than English.  Parents from cultures where there is not a strong tradition of public library service need to feel that they’ve been given permission to come into the public library along with their children.

9.      What is your motivation in running for this position?

I have been inspired watching many past presidents serve with class and with grace and I’ve seen the impacts that they were able to make in their presidential years.  My three years of service on the ALSC board gave me insight into how the board works, and taught me how I can be an effective president.  Being asked to run for ALSC President has given me the opportunity for some introspection as to the issues that I truly and deeply care about.  I am motivated by the opportunity that being ALSC President would give to focus on these priorities: 1) Building a better relationship between ALSC and our sister youth divisions.  2) Advocating for the rich legacy of books that should be part of every child’s life, to keep them from being slowly weeded from our collective memory, and encouraging children to appreciate the value of fiction in their lives.  3) Library service to Spanish-speaking children has been a strong professional interest of mine, and I want to advocate for the provision of multi-cultural literature (and library service) to all children and families that equitably bridges the barriers of culture and language.  4) I am concerned that we may be neglecting our middle graders and I believe that we can build on the success of our early literacy efforts to provide literature-based programs for 8-11 year-olds.  Finally, I am motivated by the opportunity of a national platform to speak out about the power that books and stories have in the lives of young people to whoever will listen.

10.    What else would you like the voting ALSC membership to know about you before they vote?

My ultimate goal when providing any library service is always to make a difference and to change the lives of those served in some small way.  Following are two of the many experiences that I feel have achieved this goal:

In partnership with Childsplay Children’s Theater, I commissioned and participated in the writing and development of a play based on the children’s book Tomás and the Library Lady, which was performed for over 70,000 children within the Maricopa County Library District.  Since that time, the play has been performed before countless other children on national tour and in productions by children’s theater companies across the country—including a performance in Hampton, Iowa, where the original story actually took place.  To this day I feel that this has been one of the most important things I have done in my career in terms of the number of children impacted by it and the way it impacted them.  This was encapsulated by the simple response of one child after seeing the show: “I speak Spanish, just like Tomás!”

I commissioned Bill Harley, James Deem and Wendelin Van Draanen to write original novels for which I developed interactive websites, creating the concept of the “online novel.”  New chapters were put up on the web on a regular basis, and the websites included curriculum connections for teachers using the novel in their classrooms.  This project won the John Cotton Dana Public Relations Award, the NAACO (National Association of County Organizations) Best of Category Award, and Highsmith Award for Library Innovation.  Two of the novels were later published for the trade market, after appearing first exclusively on our library website.

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25. Andrew Medlar: 2014-15 ALSC Vice President/President Elect Candidate

In an effort to help ALSC members make an informed decision before they vote, the blog posts today consist of interviews with the candidates for 2014-15 ALSC Vice President/President-Elect: Tim Wadham and Andrew Medlar. Each candidate was given ten questions and submitted written answers.

This afternoon’s interview is with Andrew Medlar:

1.      What do you consider the most important role of the ALSC President?

Medlar Photo 2(1)

Photo supplied by Andrew Medlar

The ALSC President must enthusiastically and wisely lead our organization along the track of our strategic plan toward the Big Hairy Audacious Goal of ensuring that libraries are recognized as vital to all children and the communities that support them. A key element of that is the responsibility to facilitate and support the brilliant work that our members are doing every day and to represent us to the rest of ALA and the wider world.

2.      What skills & strengths would you bring to the office?

I like to put ideas into action, and one thing that will enable me to do this effectively as President is my knowledge of, and experience with, how the structure of ALSC and ALA functions. I know what it’s like to serve on and chair ALSC committees and task forces, I’ve represented ALSC not only on Council (where I co-convene the Youth Council Caucus) but also other ALA bodies such as the Planning & Budget Assembly, and I served as ALSC Budget Committee chair twice during the beginning of the Great Recession. My current position on the ALSC Board’s Executive Committee gives me insight and participation on current issues, and my day job as Assistant Commissioner at Chicago Public Library continually sharpens my skills in advocating and building consensus in order to improve library service. However above all, I believe that my greatest strength is passion for our work as an association and as individual members.

3.      What area of library service to children is your favorite?

It’s impossible for me to pick just one because they really are all so connected. Since a single shift in the children’s room can involve programming, reference, collection development, advocacy, and picking up and putting away all of the Duplos, we have to be sure to recognize and actively appreciate how all of the many different aspects of the work our members do comes together to create a better future for kids. And, actually, I think THAT is my favorite part of library service to children: the variety, because no day is ever dull!

4.      Why should someone choose to join ALSC? What services do you feel ALSC provides that are valuable to new members? To long-term members?

If someone should buy real estate because of location, location, location, someone should join ALSC because of people, people, people. It’s so valuable the way we as members collaborate on advocacy, education, and access, and these aren’t just words in our strategic plan. As specific ALSC goal areas these are commitments that our organization has made to ourselves and from which all of us benefit. ALSC’s Mentoring Program is a great example of how ALSC can serve both new and long-term members in different ways even at the same time, and in all of our efforts we recognize and share different perspectives and common challenges, which is advantageous for everyone.

5.      What are your ideas for reaching and involving members? What are your ideas to recruit new members?

At Midwinter in Philadelphia I met a local group of fabulous new and soon-to-be ALSC members who had come to observe the Youth Council Caucus meeting, and their energy, ideas, initiative, and questions were so exciting! And while that kind of personal connection is wonderful, to reach more folks who don’t have such convenient or economical access to a national library event in their backyard, the continuing development of the ALSC Roadshow is a fantastic way to find and encourage new members where they’re at.

And we also need to do more of that electronically, as I’m a firm believer in continuing to strengthen the virtual work we’ve already begun. During my service on several virtual task forces and in many online ALSC community forums I’ve experienced first-hand how well they can work, and am also very aware of the ways in which they need continual development. And moving forward, the need for ALSC to liaise with even more non-library associations and groups concerned with youth issues will continue to grow in importance in our inter-related world and will bring even more members, and often less traditional ones, into our community.

6.      How has ALSC membership impacted your life?  How has your membership in ALSC impacted library service to children?

ALSC has given me education, fun, opportunity, and friends, which I consider a fantastic bargain! And I’m always conscious of the importance of sharing those benefits with my colleagues and kids. This can run the gamut from sharing the latest research on the role of play in learning from an ALSC white paper to sharing my real-life experience with others during a Mock Caldecott discussion to sharing a new fingerplay I read about on ALSC-L.

7.     Changes in the economy and advances in technology are dramatically impacting libraries. What are your thoughts on how ALSC can best continue to be a positive force for librarians, for libraries, and for children?

Looking for ways to be increasingly nimble is important for this premier membership organization in such a rapidly evolving profession as ours, and I believe that is doable, especially in the content of the work now going on ALA-wide to “re-imagine” ALA itself. Being able to respond to change (and to do it economically) is vital and the “Hot Topic” programs coming up at Annual in Las Vegas will go far in providing the very latest developments affecting our work. And ALSC’s impressive Everyday Advocacy efforts are a superb way for everyone providing and caring about library service to children to be a positive force as issues pop up and evolve. We can also do this by supporting, encouraging, and spreading the word about distinguished content for children, including for underrepresented communities, with our world famous and financially impactful media awards.

8.      What strengths would you bring to help ALSC attain the goals of the ALSC Strategic Plan?

Knowing how to work with both large and small groups and how to accomplish objectives within the context of ALA is a practical strength of mine, particularly as we strive to attain our strategic goals. I also bring a close familiarity with the Plan as I’ve been a member of the ALSC Board’s Executive Committee since the Plan’s first year and so have been involved in its implementation and ongoing evaluation. And I also look forward to sharing my belief in the importance of consensus building, knowledge-based decision making, and spirit of collaboration, not to mention the aforementioned passion for our work!

9.      What is your motivation in running for this position?

My motivation is all about moving forward, reaching out, and giving back. Keeping any organization relevant through changing times is a constant challenge and I’m determined (and convinced!) that ALSC will be around for a long, long time, so am very motivated to help move us all forward with such things as increased expertise and presence around apps and digital storytelling. I feel it’s important for us to reach out further, both inside and outside libraries, for greater inclusiveness with current and potential members and also for collaborations with a wider range of other youth-focused organizations to increase the recognition of, and access to, library services for all kids. And I continue to receive so much from my experiences here that I want to give back to ALSC, especially in this special role, to ensure that others get that same chance.

10.    What else would you like the voting ALSC membership to know about you before they vote?

I have literally been involved with library service to children since before I was born (as a librarian herself, my mom didn’t wait for her July due date to sign me up on the first day of that year’s summer reading program in June) and have done every job there is to do in a library, from shelving picture books to advocating with the First Lady, and as a true believer in ALSC’s work and our Desired Future, I ask for the honor of your vote to represent all of us as Vice President/President-Elect. And please follow me on Twitter @ammlib so we can continue the conversation! #AndrewIsForALSC

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