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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: professional development, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Applications open for 2016 Bechtel Fellowship

ALSC Professional Award

Applications for the ALSC Professional Awards are opening this fall (image courtesy of ALSC)

ALSC and the Special Collections and Bechtel Fellowship Committee are now accepting online applications for the 2015 Louise Seaman Bechtel Fellowship. The Bechtel Fellowship is designed to allow qualified children’s librarians to spend a total of four weeks or more reading and studying at the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature, a part of the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

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

Each applicant will be judge on the following:

  • the description of the topic of study for the fellowship period;
  • the applicants’ demonstration of ongoing commitment to motivating children to read;
  • the applicants’ willingness to spend a total of four weeks in Gainesville. The time spent does not have to be successive weeks.

Applicants must be personal members of ALSC, as well as ALA members to apply. Deadline for submissions is Oct. 1, 2014. For more information about the requirements of the fellowship and submitting the online application please visit the Bechtel Fellowship page.

The post Applications open for 2016 Bechtel Fellowship appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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2. What’s New With IF?

Greetings from the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee! Our committee is tasked with keeping ALSC up-to-date on IF issues being discussed across the ALA divisions. We’ve got a few exciting projects on the horizon that we’re looking forward to sharing with all of you!

Need support materials on Intellectual Freedom? ALSC has a number of useful links on the Professional Tools for Librarians Serving Youth webpage. Our committee has recently updated the links dealing with issues of Access as well as Intellectual Freedom. Read something recently that you think might be useful for others? Let us know! We’re looking to add some more recent articles and online resources.

Looking for something to empower kids and teens to stand up for their rights? Over the next couple of ALA conferences, our committee will be updating the Kids! Know Your Rights handout originally created in 2007. In particular, we plan to add information specific to the Intellectual Freedom implications of leveled reading programs, and we hope you’ll share it with the young readers and future advocates in your communities.

Do you or your staff feel ill-equipped to handle community concerns? Do you wish you had a better understanding of what the right to read means in your library?  We’re working on that, too! Over the next two years, we will develop a general framework for basic IF training that any library can implement as part of new staff training as well as continuing education. We’ve heard from many ALSC members that there is a need for staff at all levels to better understand the principles of IF and how they apply to daily public service, including fielding questions and concerns from parents and community members. If you already have a similar training at your library, we’d love to hear your best practices!

And one last thing – consider joining the Freedom to Read Foundation to support their work, to spread the word about censorship and to defend everyone’s freedom to read. FTRF is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending the first amendment through participation in litigation and by providing education and grant programs. Membership is only $35 and that money helps FTRF accomplish good work and support these creative Judith F. Krug Memorial Grant projects. The FTRF Board meets the day before the official start of the ALA annual and midwinter, and guests are always welcome. It is a great way to get caught up on current issues across the country.

And that’s what’s new with the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee! Feel free to use the comments to share your own ideas.

The post What’s New With IF? appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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3. Ideas with Crossover Possibilities

Creative Commons search - maker supplies

Creative Commons search – maker supplies

Sometimes, school life and library life overlap.  Sometimes they don’t. Often I read the posts of my public library friends and find myself nodding my head and then I read the posts of many school librarians and my experience doesn’t mesh with theirs.  There are two hot topics that are happening right now in both the arenas of education and libraries and we should definitely be expanding our thinking and reading outside of the library and the school publications proper.

Makerspaces.  Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past 3-5 years, you’ve been reading about, learning about, or implementing some aspect of making whether you are in a school, a school library or a public library. I know that as children’s librarians we have been participating in maker culture for years, but the new focus really is more than a rebranding.  The blending of digital and analog, the open ended and problem solving nature of presenting students and patrons with possibilities instead of directions are both different from some of the making that we were doing early in my career as a youth services librarian.

Design Thinking. I recently participated in my own school’s Innovation Institute which brought together members of the faculty to use design thinking to solve a problem or create something new to share with our faculty and students.  The Gates Foundation and IDEO have created a Design Thinking Toolkit for Libraries.  While this way of thinking and problem solving is definitely taxing on the brain, it does tend to lead to innovation. We are always telling our students to take risks in their learning, and as librarians we should be willing to take some risks in ours as well.

The following are some links from the education world that easily lend themselves to library environments.

Edutopia – Design Thinking

Maker Ed – Projects and Learning Approaches

Teacher Librarian – The Philosophy of  Educational Makerspacea

Knowledge without Borders – Design Thinking for Kids

I’d love to hear back from librarians who have successfully used design thinking either with colleagues or kids. Also, feel free to drop your favorite maker link into the comments!

The post Ideas with Crossover Possibilities appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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4. Free Media Mentorship Webinar

Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth white paper

Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth white paper (image courtesy of ALSC)

On Tuesday, July 21, 2015, ALSC is offering a free webinar on media mentorship. Presented by Amy Koester, Youth & Family Program Coordinator, Skokie (IL) Public Library, Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth: A Primer is an opportunity to learn more about the core ideas behind the white paper. Registration is free and open to anyone.

Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth: A Primer
Tuesday, July 21, 2015

  • 12pm Eastern
  • 11am Central
  • 10am Mountain
  • 9am Pacific

The post Free Media Mentorship Webinar appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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5. ALSC Online Courses Start in One Week!

Summer 2015 ALSC Online CoursesCheck your clock! You have one more week to sign up for ALSC online courses for summer 2015. Classes begin Monday, July 13, 2015.

Two of the courses being offered this semester are eligible for continuing education units (CEUs) by the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET). ALSC online courses are designed to fit the needs of working professionals. Courses are taught by experienced librarians and academics. As participants frequently noted in post-course surveys, ALSC stresses quality and caring in its online education options. For more information on ALSC online learning, please visit: http://www.ala.org/alsced

NEW! It’s Mutual: School and Public Library Collaboration
6 weeks, July 13 – August 21, 2015

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs Made Easy
4 weeks, July 13 – August 7, 2015
CEU Certified Course, 1.2 CEUs

Storytelling with Puppets
4 weeks, July 13 – August 7, 2015
CEU Certified Course, 2.2 CEUs

Detailed descriptions and registration information is available on the ALSC Online Learning website. Fees are $115 for personal ALSC members; $165 for personal ALA members; and $185 for non-members. Questions? Please contact ALSC Program Officer for Continuing Education, Kristen Sutherland, 1 (800) 545-2433 ext 4026.

Image above provided by ALSC.

The post ALSC Online Courses Start in One Week! appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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6. The LSSPCC Toolkit: Making All Families Feel Welcome at the Library

Who Are We?

We are ALSC’s Library Service to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers (LSSPCC) Committee.  We are accessibility and inclusion advocates who care deeply about the needs of our entire library community, especially special population children and their caregivers.

What Do We Do?

We discover and disseminate information about what libraries have to offer these special populations.  We develop and maintain guidelines for selection of useful and relevant materials.  We also help prepare the next generation of librarians and library workers by creating and providing resources to serve their communities more inclusively.

What Is The LSSPCC Toolkit?

The LSSPCC Committee has worked hard to develop a brand new resource for librarians and library works to develop or enhance your knowledge about serving special populations.  Launched earlier this year, this easy-to-use Toolkit for Librarians and Library Workers is available FREE online and can be downloaded or saved as a PDF file.  Whether you are just getting started learning about serving special populations of children and their families or want to brush up on the latest resources, this toolkit is for you!

What Special Populations Does the Toolkit Cover?

This toolkit offers a wide variety of information about serving many different types of groups in your library community, including homeschoolers, spanish-speaking families, LGBTQ families, children with autism, children with incarcerated parents, children with print disabilities, and more.  While this is by no means an exhaustive list of special populations that are served in all of our library communities, it’s a great place to start.

Why Is This Toolkit Useful?

In this toolkit, you will find a brief introduction in each section, which will provide librarians and library workers with context and background information needed before beginning to serve these groups in your community.  In addition, each section has a list of subject headings and keywords that will help make catalog and online searching on this topic a lot easier.  We have included short lists of subject area experts, if you are interested in connecting with people in our field and finding out more about that particular area of outreach.  We have even included information about existing partnerships, which are examples of the successes some libraries have found connecting with local organizations to serve these special populations. There are numerous lists of additional print and digital resources for further learning beyond the toolkit itself.


We hope you will share this resource with your library staff.  Through advocacy and awareness of various special populations, we can work together to help all children and all families feel welcome at our libraries!


This post was written by Renee Grassi. Renee is the Youth Department Director at the Glen Ellyn Public Library in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.  She is also a member of ALSC’s LSSPCC Committee.  In 2012, she was recognized by Library Journal as a Mover & Shaker for her work serving children with autism and other special needs.  She is also one of the co-founding members of SNAILS, a state-wide networking group in Illinois for librarians and library staff who discuss and learn about expanding library services to those with special needs.  As a proud ALSC member and a former ALSC Blogger, she has written on the blog about a variety of topics related to inclusive library services. 

The post The LSSPCC Toolkit: Making All Families Feel Welcome at the Library appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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7. My Top Transforming Takeaways from #alaac15

  • The Sunnyvale Library Make-HER blog offers fantastic inspiration. From: Conversation Starter: From Maker to Make-HER: Leveling the STEM Playing Field for Girls.
  • Look at your existing resources people, meeting rooms, digital, etc.   Are you using them to their greatest potential?  From  Session: So You Didn’t Get the Awesome Teen DigiTechnoSuperLab: Now What?  Joslyn Jones was funny, smart and offered valuable information.
  • Change is inevitable.  When the work environment is in transition, most everyone experiences anxiety.  You can control your situation in the long-term.  Transform yourself.  Make yourself more valuable to your library and community.   From: No Sugarcoating Allowed: Four Honest Perspectives on Change Management.
  • Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to connect not only with our customer base, but also with authors.  Virtual author visits anyone?  From: riding the shuttle bus with the energetic and cool School Librarian and ALSC Live Blogger Stacey Rattner.
  • Moving outside your comfort zone is a good thing.  Librarians are naturally helpful.  So if you need help navigating your first conference or getting a ride to the airport when it is all over, just ask.   ALSC also has a mentor program.  You can check it out here.
  • If you can’t make it to an in person event, try these online learning opportunities offered by ALSC.

I had a wonderful time at #alaac15.  I enjoyed learning and sharing with the amazing librarians, writers and artists.  Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and making my experience so grand.

Angela Chadbourne
Youth Services Librarian
Santa Clarita Public Library

The post My Top Transforming Takeaways from #alaac15 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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8. 10 Myths about Teaching STEM Books and How You Can Teach STEM in Your Classroom Now

STEM Friday + Lee & Low Books (1)Join Lee & Low Books and Anastasia Suen, Founder of the STEM Friday blog and award-winning children’s book author, for a dynamic discussion on how to teach STEM in your classroom starting this fall. Share My Lesson is hosting a Summer of Learning professional development series and Thursday, July 9 focuses on all things STEM.

With the right tools and support, we will show how educators can support all students to become successful in learning STEM content knowledge and conceptual understanding.

We will look at persistent myths about teaching STEM, explore the intersection of STEM and English Language Arts, and reexamine what makes a great STEM read aloud.

Sign up to learn how to discover the right STEM book and hands-on activities for your students’ interests and learning needs. We will cover strategies on inspiring and supporting underrepresented groups in STEM as well as how to differentiate for special populations.

In addition to learning about how Lee & Low titles can fit into your science and mathematics units and how to integrate STEM learning throughout your literacy block, teachers can earn an hour of professional development credit! The whole series is FREE and open to all.

At the end of the presentation, you will have strategies you can apply immediately to your classroom and resources for further exploration.

share my lesson 2Overview:

Title: Teach STEM Now

Date: Thursday, July 09, 2015

Time: 01:00PM Eastern Daylight Time

Duration: 1 hour

Cost: FREE

Register here!

Jill Eisenberg, our Senior Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. In her weekly column at The Open Book, she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

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9. #guerrillastorytime at #alaac15

Literacy is not a luxury and that’s just what children’s librarians at the Guerrilla Storytime events are trying to profess when we gather to share ideas and learn from each other. The first Guerrilla Storytime of the 2015 Annual Conference happened this afternoon and I wanted to share a little taste of what it’s like:

(Video taken by Abby Johnson at the Guerrilla Storytime event)

Children’s librarians from all over the country gathered at the ALA Networking Uncommons to demonstrate storytime skill and activities, to share tips on managing storytimes, and to learn from each other at this grassroots event.

While Guerrilla Storytimes happen at the ALA Annual and Midwinter Conferences, lots of librarians are making them happen at their state library conferences, too. The folks at Storytime Underground have created a Guerrilla Storytime toolkit that can help you bring this awesome training opportunity to wherever YOU happen to be!

There will be additional Guerrilla Storytimes held on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, and you can follow the hashtag #guerrillastorytime to follow along at home (and add your expertise!).

— Abby Johnson, Youth Services Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN

The post #guerrillastorytime at #alaac15 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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10. An Unusual School Visit

An Unusual School Visitinstitution-icon

We’re accustomed to classroom visits … there’s Read Across America Day, Library Card Sign-up Month, Summer Reading Club outreach, and any other number of reasons why public librarians visit classrooms.  Last month, a colleague and I enoyed another type of classroom visit.  We were virtual guest lecturers for a university class in Children’s Literature.  The class was not for librarians, but rather, for aspiring teachers.  We spent two weeks with the students during their planned chapters on censorship and graphic texts.  We introduced discussion articles and scenarios, and participated in the discussion boards by posting topics and responding to students’ questions.

training-icon (1)

I firmly believe that librarians and teachers should be close partners in serving their constituent children.  I am fortunate that my library is located in a school district that is wonderfully cooperative, and where I have met and worked with many caring teachers.  Still, I have often ranted about things that annoy me  – particularly minimum page requirements and a frequent admonishment that picture books (and by extension, graphic novels) are “not allowed.”

This partnership with our local university, gave me the opportunity to speak directly with the future generation of school teachers.  We spoke of the importance of knowing one’s collection and being prepared to defend it; the value and appeal of graphic texts; the collection development resources available from ALSC, ALA, and other organizations in making collection development decisions; and a myriad of other topics related to censorship and graphic texts.  It was refreshing to hear what is on the minds of future teachers and to offer to them a librarian’s perspective on the same.

Kudos to Constance Chismar, Ed.D. of the Georgian Court University English Department for asking us to participate and to Ocean County Library for allowing us to attend.  If you have a local university or college that offers undergrad degrees in education,  inquire if you might participate in something similar.  It was a valuable experience for me and my colleague, the university students, and the children who will someday benefit from the partnership!


Images from openclipart.org

The post An Unusual School Visit appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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11. #libtechcon15


Folks at #libtechcon15 . Photo by Jay Heath

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

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

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

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

The post #libtechcon15 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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12. Communication: the Spine of Supervision

If you are like most people in middle management, the word “supervisor” makes you break into a cold sweat. Your former lunch buddies are now your employees, and you are “the boss.” In fact, things might be feeling down right awkward as you transition into a supervisory role! But fear not – there are a few things that you can do to gain the respect of your colleagues and supervise with a smile (most of the time!) on your face:

1. Take a Personality Test

No really. See if you can find a Meyers-Briggs Personality Test training in your area, either in person or online. Knowing where you – and your staff – fall on the 16 personality type scale (are you an extrovert or an introvert? Do you use your senses or intuition for decision making? Are you a thinker or a feeler?) -can help immensely when it comes to supervising and decision making.

2. Let Your Staff Evaluate You

This one sounds scary, but I find it to be very useful –it helps show staff that you are serious about not just changing their behaviors, for instance, but your own as well. Ask staff to list three things they consider a strength of yours, and one area that they think could use some more attention or focus. For example, maybe you think you are great at having meetings – until someone points out that the last time you held a department meeting was six months ago! Scheduling regular times to meet and talk with staff helps keep communication flowing, and it clears any mis-communication up before it turns into a game of “telephone” throughout the department

3. Go Through Job Descriptions and Duties

Often, people inherit job duties and routines based upon the holes or needs of a department, or from a previous supervisor. But it can make the department stronger in the long run if you ask your staff to write down the following for you:

  • What projects, programs, services are they currently working on or responsible for?
  • Are they responsible for any areas of collection development?
  • What are three things that they like about the department?
  • What are three things that they would change about the department?
  • Is there an area of their job that, if possible, they would like to change or not be responsible for? What would they like to work on or try that they aren’t currently doing?

Once you gather these statements from your staff , take the time to read and reflect on them. Are there changes that can be made? Perhaps someone has been in charge of pre-school story time for years, and is looking for a change. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of the staff you have. As managers and supervisors, we can’t make everyone happy, but your staff can tell when you are truly listening and responding to their ideas and requests. Even if you can’t make a change directly or immediately, taking the time to meet one on one with staff members to discuss their ideas and visions for the department can help build a community of trust with a strong foundation of communication.

Finally, remember this: No matter how much communication and assessment you do as a supervisor, there will be days when being fair isn’t the same as being popular. But being fair will gain you the respect of your staff, which is a far greater benefit to have.


Lisa Gangemi Kropp is the Youth Services Coordinator at the Suffolk Cooperative Library System, and the First Steps early learning columnist for School Library Journal

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13. Present with ALSC at an Upcoming Conference!

2016 ALSC National Institute

Apply to present at the 2016 ALSC National Institute (image courtesy of ALSC)

ALSC is now accepting proposals for innovative programs for the 2016 ALA Annual Conference and the 2016 ALSC National Institute. Be part of this exciting professional development opportunity by submitting your program today! Each event has its own site for submitting a proposal:

2016 Annual Conference
To submit a program proposal for the 2016 Annual Conference, please visit the ALSC website at http://www.ala.org/alsc/AC16cfp for the submission form and instructions. All proposals must be submitted by Sunday, June 7, 2015. The 2016 ALA Annual Conference is scheduled for June 23-28, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.

2016 National Institute
To submit a program proposal for the 2016 National Institute, please visit the ALSC website at http://www.ala.org/alsc/institute for the submission form and instructions. All proposals must be submitted by Sunday, July 12, 2015. The 2016 ALSC National Institute is scheduled for September 15 -17, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The ALSC Program Planning Committee is looking for a wide range of themes and topics such as advocacy, technology, multiculturalism, administration and management, early literacy, research, partnerships, best practices, programming, and outreach. ALSC committees, members, and other interested individuals are welcome to submit a proposal.

Please note that participants attending ALSC programs are seeking valuable educational experiences; the Program Coordinating Committee will not select a program session that suggests commercial sales or self-promotion. Presentations should provide a valuable learning experience and avoid being too limited in scope.

Please contact the chair of the ALSC Program Coordinating Committee, Patty Carleton, at PCarleton@slpl.org with questions.

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14. Putting it all together

Other than a few favorite story times that I repeat yearly, I always like to try something new. Similarly, I’m always interested in learning something new.  In February, I put it all together – mixing things that interest me with several of the library’s most wonderful assests –  technology, diversity, creative space, and kids.

I offer you the ingreadients for “Read, Reflect, Relay: a 4-week club”


  • 1 part knowledge from ALSC’s online class, “Tech Savvy Booktalker”ALSC Online Education
  • 1 part inspiration from ALSC’s online class, “Series Programming for theElementary School Age”
  • 1 new friendship spawned by networking and a love of nonfiction books
  • a desire to participate in the #weneeddiversebooks campaign
  • computers
  • books
  • school-aged kids#WeNeedDiverseBooks
  • space and time to create

Each club participant read a Schneider Family Book Award winner of her choice.  If you’re unfamiliar with the Schneider Family Book Award, I’ve linked to its page. Winning books embody the “disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.”

I asked each of the participants to distill the message of her book into a sentence or two – something that would make a good commercial.  Then I gave them a choice of using Animoto, Stupeflix, or VoiceThread to create a book trailer or podcast.  All three platforms were kind enough to offer me an “educator account” for use at the library.  Other than strict guidelines on copyright law and a “no-spoilers” rule, each girl was free to interpret and relay the message of her book as she pleased.

Coincidentally, after I had planned the club, I was chatting online with Alyson BeecherWe were both Round 2 judges for the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction CYBILS Awards.  I had no idea that she is also the Chair of the Schneider Family Book Award Committee!  When I told her about my club, she immediately offered to Skype or Hangout with the club members.  We hastily worked out a schedule, and Alyson’s visit on the last day of the club was one of its highlights!

The girls ranged in age from 10 to teen.  I think you will be impressed with their creativity.

WordPress does not allow me to embed the actual videos and podcasts, but you can access them via the links below – or visit them on Alyson’s site where she was able to embed them.  Enjoy! :)

·        Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (2012 winner, Middle School)  https://animoto.com/play/kUdNM1sa4fWKfZOXId63AQ

·      After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick (2011 winner, Middle School)   https://voicethread.com/new/myvoice/#thread/6523783/33845486/35376059

·    Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin (2010 winner, Teen)  https://animoto.com/play/qFPwi1vYP1ha2FF0vVUuFg

·      Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin (2010 winner, Teen) (another one)    http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/9GKeiQfgsj9Q/?autoplay=1

·      A Dog Called Homeless by Sara Lean (2013 winner, Middle School)    http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/DQ4tJG8mnsYX/?autoplay=1

If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to see my video booktalk (or adapt) my video advertisement for the program, just leave a message in the comments.  I’ll be happy to respond.

 *All logos used with permission and linked back to their respective sites.

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15. Take the Membership Needs Survey, Win a Prize!

2015 ALSC Membership Needs Assessment Survey

Image courtesy of ALSC

The ALSC Membership Committee announced the launch of the 2015 ALSC Membership Needs Assessment Survey. This survey is performed biennially and will assess:

  1. who ALSC members are
  2. how the division can best serve its members

To encourage participation, the committee is offering participants the opportunity to be entered in a giveaway. Prizes include tickets to the 2015 Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet, an ALSC online course, a $50 ALA Store gift certificate, and award books. Winners will be notified by Friday, May 15, 2015.

Participants must be personal members of ALSC. The survey is 25 questions and should take around ten minutes to complete. The deadline to submit the survey is 11:59pm Central on Friday, May 1, 2015. Learn more at the Needs Survey tab above.

Take the 2015 ALSC Membership Needs Assessment Survey!

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16. Intellectual Freedom: Online Learning Opportunities

Looking for an opportunity to brush up on intellectual freedom information? Here is a quick round up of some free webinars that you can enjoy from the comfort of your desk chair:

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17. Early Bird Registration is Open for #alaac15

Christy Estrovitz, Chair of the ALSC Local Arrangements Committee, and Carla Kozak, Chair of the ALSC Pre-Conference.

Christy Estrovitz, Chair of the ALSC Local Arrangements Committee, and Carla Kozak, Chair of the ALSC Pre-Conference (photo courtesy of Christy Estrovitz)

Ready to leave your heart in San Francisco? Early Bird Registration for the 2015 ALA Annual Conference is now open! Get ready for the Also Truly Distinguished Pre-Conference, scrumptious meals, delightful colleagues, cultural outings, great programs, beloved Karl the Fog, and more.

A word to the wise from the Local Arrangements Committee, book your hotel soon. ALA Annual coincides with the 45th Annual San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade. AirBnB is another lodging opportunity and splendid way to immerse yourself in one of SF’s neighborhood. Stay tuned for more tips from the locals.

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18. Diversity: Special Needs at #alamw15

Lately, I’ve been investigating and thinking about ways we serve young people with special needs, and how it ties in with the heightened focus on diversity.

At yesterday’s “Diversity Matters: Stepping It Up With Action!,” publishers and librarians engaged in a fascinating dialogue about practical ways we can include all voices. We should: hire more diverse staff; reach out to authors from underrepresented backgrounds; do targeted outreach; and develop partnerships with community organizations. But, as many audience members pointed out, our efforts should not only address race, culture, and sexual orientation, but should also include people with special needs.

Here are a few highlights of special needs resources found/represented at #alamw15:

*Remarkable Books about Young People with Special Needs: Stories to Foster Understanding by Alison M. G. Follos (Huron Street Press, 2013)

*Children with Disabilities in the Library – an ALSC online professional development course.

*Schneider Family Book Award, which “honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.”

*The Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA), a division of ALA which provides support and services for libraries and librarians serving special needs communities.

*AccessAbility Academy training module (ASCLA): “Positive Interactions: Making the Library a Welcoming and Empowering Place for People with Disabilities”

* @DisabilityInLit (Twitter feed) – Disability in KidLit, which focuses on the portrayal of disabled characters in MG/YA novels.

*Brooklyn Public Library offers the Child’s Room for Children (and Teens) with Special Needs, which features a universal design space and inclusive programming: a universal Makerspace, gaming, garden club, Legos, and story hours.

*Weplay – #alamw15 was the first time this vendor came to an ALA conference. Their focus is “physical movement and cognitive development equipment.” They offer a free 94-page Sensory Storytime handbook, developed especially for libraries.

Do you have more resources to share? Please post in the comments field.

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19. Mentors and Mentees Wanted!

ALSC announced the opening of spring 2015 applications for the ALSC mentoring program. The program, which is open to members and non-members, is intended to help build a new collection of leaders in the field of library service to children. Applications are now open for both mentors and mentees. The application process ends on Saturday, February 28, 2015. Here are a few things to know about the program:

  • The program lasts one year
  • Mentee applicants do not need to be ALSC or ALA members The only requirement is that mentees have some connection to children’s library service
  • Mentees may be students, early career professionals, individuals returning to the profession, or those who would like to refine their skills, make connections, and learn more about children’s librarianship as a career
  • Mentors should be ALSC members
  • There is no face-to-face requirements
  • Mentors and mentees set their own goals and work at their own pace

Mentors and mentees who apply to the program will be matched by members of the ALSC Membership and Managing Children’s Services Committees. The mentoring program was developed through the hard work of these two committees. ALSC cannot guarantee that every applicant will be matched.

For more information on the ALSC Mentoring Program or to apply, please visit http://www.ala.org/alsc/mentoring

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20. Professional Development Opportunities for Serving Special Populations

Earlier this week ALSC held an online forum to continue the Day of Diversity conversation from Midwinter. I chair the committee, Library Services to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers, so I thought about the conversation in terms of special populations served by our libraries. “Special populations” is rather weird terminology (“underrepresented” may be a better term). What is considered a special population really depends on each library’s community. A special population in Richmond, CA may not be a special population in Nashville, TN. Even within a city, special populations may vary from branch to branch.

Forum attendees generated lots of suggestions about how to make our libraries more diverse, welcoming places for everyone in the community. This is a huge task – one that requires ongoing assessment to learn who is underrepresented in your community and at your library, one that requires ongoing training of library employees. To this end, I searched library-related continuing education websites for upcoming professional development opportunities focused on services or resources for diverse or underrepresented populations.

Here are some upcoming professional development opportunities:

Library Juice Academy
Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca
March 2-27, 2015 $175
“Participants will discover new books, rhymes, songs, plans and resources that they can immediately put to use in their bilingual storytime programs.”

Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Technology Planning for Patrons with Disabilities – Where Do I Start?
March 12, 2015 FREE
“Learn about resources…including low-cost or free basic assistive equipment [to] download immediately.”

University of Wisconsin – Madison
Library Services for the Hmong Community
March 10, 2015 FREE
This webinar will discuss “barriers that prevent Hmong from using libraries and share the Appleton Public Library’s successful outreach strategies for reaching out to Hmong patrons.”

Improving Library Services for People with Disabilities
March 2-29, 2015 Registration fee varies
Attendees “will review the current level of service to people with disabilities then explore materials and sources that provide additional support or new ideas.”

Spice it Up with Pura Belpre!
April 30, 2015 Registration fee varies
In this session attendees will learn about these award-winning titles and “discover how they enhance multicultural collections as well as contribute to instructional strategies.”

These are but a few online opportunities for you to learn more about diverse populations that may seek library services in your community. Another way to learn is to get out of the library and into your community. Attend cultural meetings, local chapter meetings of the (insert special population here) association, and special events. Think about who you don’t see in your library and find a way to learn more about that population. Then make a plan for proactively invite them in.

Africa Hands is chair of the Library Services to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers committee and author of Successfully Serving the College Bound (ALA Editions). She’s @africahands on Twitter.

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21. Upcoming ALSC Online Learning

ALSC Online Education

ALSC Online Education (image courtesy of ALSC)

Online Courses

Explore new ideas and great library thinking with ALSC online courses! ALSC is offering four great options including three CEU-certified courses. All courses are offered asynchronously (self-directed) meaning you won’t need to logon at a specific time. Learn new youth library-specific skills at a pace that’s comfortable and convenient. Courses start Monday, April 6, 2015.


Because life in a library moves fast, ALSC webinars are the perfect solution for someone who wants and needs educational information but doesn’t have a lot of time or resources.  These short (one to two hour) interactive sessions taking place in Adobe Connect give librarians and library support staff the opportunity to learn right at their desks.


Building STEAM with Día: The Whys and Hows to Getting Started
Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 12 pm Eastern/11 am Central


Celebrating with Poetry Snapshots
Thursday, May 7, 2015, 3 pm Eastern/2 pm Central

Archived Webinars

Missed a webinar you wanted to attend? Don’t worry! ALSC presents archived versions of webinars, which are offered at a discounted price. Archived webinars cost only $25. Please note that recorded versions are not available until all of the live sessions of that webinar have taken place.

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22. Young Children, New Media & Libraries Infographic

Young Children, New Media & Libraries Survey

Young Children, New Media & Libraries Survey (image courtesy of ALSC)

Between August 1 and August 18, 2014, 415 children’s librarians responded to a survey of 9 questions concerning the use of new media with young children in libraries. The survey was created as a collaborative effort between Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), LittleeLit.com, and the iSchool at the University of Washington. Preliminary finding are available through an infographic created by ALSC’s Public Awareness Committee.

You can download a copy of this infographic from the ALSC Professional Tools site.

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23. Spring Cleaning: Storytime Style

Friends and colleagues, it is time to get organized! Spring is here — even though the nearly half a foot of snow Chicago just received might indicate otherwise — and summer is on the horizon. Now is the time to prepare for the chaos awaiting us come June.

So here are my tips and tricks for getting some simple office supplies and storage solutions working to keep us in tip-top shape.

Closet Storage Bins + Library Hanging Bags = Felt Flannelboard Solutions
Hanging File Folders + Sandwich Bags = Clip Art Flannelboard Solutions

Storage bins (left), hanging bags (upper right), hanging files (lower right). [Photo courtesy of the author.]

Storage bins (left), hanging bags (upper right), hanging files (lower right). [Photo courtesy of the author.]

I store my flannelboards in two different ways. For the felt sets, I use six closet storage bins and library hanging bags to organize. Each bag contains all of my flannel pieces and a sheet of paper explaining the rhyme, story, song, or game to be used with the pieces. These are in alphabetical order and I allow all of my co-workers to borrow any set as long as they let me know. It takes up two shelves in my cube, but I feel it is well-used space since I have an estimated 150 flannelboards.

The second way I store flannelboards are for my clip art laminated flannelboards. I use a simpler system. I put all the pieces in a sandwich bag and write the name of the flannelboard on the outside of the bag. Afterwards, I toss them in these alphabetical hanging files. I don’t include the rhymes in these since most of these sets are my Letter Puzzles and different versions of the “If You Have…” song I use often.

Desktop Organizers + More Bins + Clipboards = Storytime Solutions

Desktop organizers (upper left), cloth bins (lower left), and clipboards (right). [Photo courtesy of the author.]

Desktop organizers (upper left), cloth bins (lower left), and clipboards (right). [Photo courtesy of the author.]

I use a simple trick to get my books organized for storytime. Desktop organizers are absolutely perfect; the ones in this picture are typical called vertical file organizers. [A very similar one to mine looks like this example from Staples.] Each slot holds a week of storytime books, flannels, and CDs. I can grab a whole slot with ease on my way to step up!

The cloth bins are where all of my personal finger puppets (in the little ones) and hand puppets (in the bottom ones) go. I got both of these sets on clearance once college organizers hit the sales rack. The little ones I’ve had for quite a few years, but the tubs at the bottom are new for this year. All of these were fairly inexpensive since I waited for sales. I like using cloth bins because it doesn’t smash the puppets down like other storage solutions might.

Clipboards! At this point, you might have figured out that I never grew out of shopping for back-to-school supplies. But clipboards make my life so much easier! I keep a clipboard for each of my three weekly storytime programs. Before the sessions starts, I print out each week’s activities and attendance sheets. I put them all on the clipboard. I’m able to have this nearby in storytime in case I blank on an activity and can immediately circle the activities that we used that week. Keeping the papers on the clipboard allows me to write anywhere and also makes sure the papers don’t get crinkled in my storytime bag.

Plastic Bins + Old Kit Bags + Small Bins = Drawer Solutions
Managing the In-box Solutions

Inside of my drawer (left), the in-box solution (right). [Photo courtesy of the author.]

Inside of my drawer (left), the in-box solution (right). [Photo courtesy of the author.]

Manage the little minutia by hiding it in a drawer! In here you can see I try to compartmentalize my mess. All of my little office supplies (tape, post-its, expo markers, tacky glue) lives in a small cloth bin, with easy access. The plastic bin underneath the batteries, HDMI cord and cleaning cloths contains my felt supply at work in case I need to make a back-up felt piece. The green kit bag has all the extra charging cords and cables associated with our circulating LeapFrog kits. (That’s what the batteries and cleaning cloths are for as well — part of my job maintaining that collection means cleaning and battery checking once a kit comes back.)

Now for the paper in-box. Get three bins. The top is for weekly to-do items, the middle is for items to be filed, and the bottom is for on-going projects. Right now the top bin has a muffin tin to remind me to make felt cinnamon rolls. The middle bin has some strategic planning documents and ILS training sheets. The bottom bin it contains a replacement order I have to wait to order until after our ILS change in April, an audio order catalog to go through, and my clipboards that have programs that need to be written up from this week. The hardest thing to remember about the in-box is when your week ends, it should be empty except for on-going projects. I’ve used this system for years, including when I was a manager. It is GOLD for me.

I hope you feel confident and full of new ideas about tackling organization now! If you want specific product information, please email me [simplykatie(at)gmail(dot)com] and I will send you more information. If you want to trade tips and tricks, please feel free to do so in the comments! Do you have a favorite organization technique? Or a great idea to share? Let us know!

– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library

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24. Annual 2015: What To Do There -- And When You Come Home

This is a guest post from Susy Moorhead, a member of the Local Arrangements Committee for Annual 2015 in San Francisco.

You’ve decided to attend the annual conference this year! If you haven’t been before, and even if you have, you must be excited. Attending conference is a lot of fun but it is tiring and it can be overwhelming as well. Here are some tips to help you share what you learned once you get back to your home library.

  1. Pick up handouts from the programs you attend, note the exhibits that catch your eye and get information from those that you can, and ask for business cards from others in the library world that you want to start a network with. Building your professional network is one of the best opportunities of conference. Great ideas come from networking with your colleagues on a national level.
  2. Know that the ALA conference website is your friend. After conference, and sometimes before, you will be able to access slideshows from programs, people who present at programs, and an extensive vendor list.
  3. Be aware that there is no way you can take everything in that interests you at Annual. There will be some things that really excite you and those are the ones you should focus on. If it doesn’t really excite you it will be hard to implement when you get back home. Your excitement will be contagious to your colleagues. That said, if there is a colleague or friend who really wanted to attend but couldn't, it can't hurt to pick up an ARC specifically for him or grab an extra handout for her.
  4. Be ready to fall back in love. One thing I always take back to my library from any conference I attend is a sense of rejuvenation and renewal. I always regain excitement for what I do and I get a greater sense of the importance of libraries, librarianship, and library support positions in the greater world. Just bringing that invigorating feeling back is a wonderful result of attending a national conference.
  5. Once you get home be sure to write up a summary of what you did at Annual. You can share it with your supervisors to justify the time away from the library and to justify the funding that you receive to attend. It will also help to support conference requests you make in the future.
  6. Share what you learned with your colleagues in your library system or if you are a solo librarian with your regional or statewide colleagues. You will inevitably find others who share your passion in implementing what your learned. And you may find others that you didn’t know shared your interests!
  7. Consider writing something up for a regional or statewide organization publication or website. Tweet, Facebook, or get the word out on other social media platforms – you will probably find partners outside of the library too. If you blog, start blogging soon after you get home before you forget things or lose your notes. If you don't blog yet, doing a guest post at a blog you love (cough - YALSA has two) about a conference session is a great way to start!
  8. Know that seeing results of taking action won’t happen immediately. A lot of the programs and vendor wares you will see are the “future of libraries.” Work towards creating similar programs or offering similar services when you get back to your library. Put the seeds in to place and then work them in to your busy summers (and autumns!).

Have fun, and see you in a program or on the exhibit floor!

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25. Upcoming ALSC Online Education – April 2015

ALSC Online Education

ALSC Online Education (image courtesy of ALSC)

April is coming up and ALSC has a bundle of great learning opportunities. From online courses to webinars, ALSC has a learning choice that fits your budget!

Online Courses

Explore new ideas and great library thinking with ALSC online courses! ALSC is offering four great options including three CEU-certified courses. All courses are offered asynchronously (self-directed) meaning you won’t need to logon at a specific time. Learn new youth library-specific skills at a pace that’s comfortable and convenient. Courses start Monday, April 6, 2015.


Because life in a library moves fast, ALSC webinars are the perfect solution for someone who wants and needs educational information but doesn’t have a lot of time or resources.  These short (one to two hour) interactive sessions taking place in Adobe Connect give librarians and library support staff the opportunity to learn right at their desks.


Be a Winner: Inspired Youth Grant Writing (Part I)
Thursday, April 2, 2015, 3 pm Eastern/2 pm Central

Be a Winner: Inspired Youth Grant Writing (Part II)
Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 12 pm Eastern/11 am Central


Celebrating with Poetry Snapshots
Thursday, May 7, 2015, 3 pm Eastern/2 pm Central

Archived Webinars

Missed a webinar you wanted to attend? Don’t worry! ALSC presents archived versions of webinars, which are offered at a discounted price. Archived webinars cost only $25. Please note that recorded versions are not available until all of the live sessions of that webinar have taken place.

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