ALSC Member of the Month – Sharon McClintock

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, Sharon McClintock.

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

Photo courtesy of Sharon McClintock

Photo courtesy of Sharon McClintock

I’ve been a Children’s Librarian for 15 years at the Mountain View Public Library in Mountain View, California. I present a baby storytime called Mother Goose & More, preschool storytimes, school age class visits and a 3rd/4th grade reading club named READ Quest. I coordinate our Parenting speaker series and recently started a Rubik’s Cube Club. I love providing readers’ advisory and reference service as well as managing our Parenting and Children’s Music collections. Not long ago a friend asked me what my dream job would be. I answered honestly, “I’m doing it!”

2. Why did you join ALSC?

I joined ALSC to benefit from the experience and knowledge of my colleagues around the country, and get inspiration from conferences, online courses and the ALSC Blog. Just last week I created a Kids’ Choice display that I read about on the blog in a post by Abby Johnson, and I took an excellent online course on Storytelling with Puppets last year. ALSC does so much to advance library services to children, including early literacy initiatives and the Youth Media Awards; I want to support and be a part of it.

3. If you could be on a reality show, which one would it be?

Dancing with the Stars! When I can, I join some of my librarian friends who get together regularly to watch this show and it’s so entertaining. I love dancing, and I’m looking forward to planning some preschool dance parties with a colleague this year.

4. If you could enjoy a dinner conversation with any author – living or dead – who would it be?

If I could fudge a little on “author” (though he did write some books for children and parents, he is much better known for his TV show) I would choose Fred Rogers, no question! His kindness, his wisdom, his incredible talent for explaining the most profound concepts in the simplest terms, have been a professional as well as a personal inspiration to me. He always encouraged and lifted up those around him, and he inspires me to do the same. Though I’m sure I often miss the mark, he is always there as a role model for me.

5. What’s the last book you recommended to a friend?

I recommended the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith to a friend who is visiting Botswana soon. I love those books, and am so happy that we now have a children’s version — the Precious Ramotswe Mysteries.

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

I adore children’s books and music and learning new nursery rhymes for storytime. But more than that I care about the children and parents I work with and love helping families create happy memories.

7. What is the last song you sang?

We sang Baby Shark in storytime yesterday, after reading Nick Sharratt’s brilliant Shark in the Park! Everyone, adults included, got a kick out of both!

8. What do you love most about working at your library?

Our staff is fantastic — kind, creative and very supportive. Once, someone in our Customer Services group said to me, “we’ve got your back.” What a lovely thing that was to hear, and I feel that support from my colleagues every day.

9. Who is the last person you said thank you to?

This morning I thanked an incredible volunteer who has helped me with our 3rd/4th grade reading club for the last several years and will be joining us again this summer. His name is Benson and he also happens to be my next door neighbor! I have wonderful teen volunteers who help with this program, but it’s so nice to have another dedicated adult in the room, as well.

10. Favorite age of kids to work with?

If I had to pick a favorite it would be toddlers. They are so cute and so affectionate. I’ve gotten some hugs from toddlers that I will never forget!

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Thanks, Sharon! 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.

Posted in ALSC Member Profile, Blogger Mary R. Voors | Leave a comment

Growing Healthy Readers and Eaters @ the Library

The time has finally arrived for summer reading, that magical time of year most youth services librarians simultaneously long for and dread. Planning and preparation begins months before the first child registers for the summer reading program (SRP) and I’m sure the last thing librarians want to do is add another task to their long summer reading to do list. Despite this ever-growing list, I encourage you to think about how you can incorporate nutritional literacy and free summer meals into your SRP planning list!

Last week kicked off the Grafton-Midview Public Library’s summer reading program as well as our free summer lunch program. This will be the second year the library has participated as a meal site in the free summer lunch program, serving free lunches to children eighteen years and younger Monday through Friday throughout our eight weeks of summer reading. The program is made possible by partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lorain County who are participants in the Kids Café program sponsored by the Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio. We have some special additions this year, including two outreach lunch sites staffed by library associates, an entire crew of summer lunch volunteers, and a vegetable and herb garden!

The summer lunches have been a wonderful way to reach out to our community in new ways, build new partnerships, increase summer reading program participation and introduce various library services to new patrons as well as regular visitors. The library garden has also proven to be a great resource for our children’s librarians, Ms. Abby and Ms. Katie, to incorporate nutrition education into their summer storytimes as an extension of the nutrition information provided during the free lunches. I’m always surprised by the wealth of new faces and increased interaction I see at the children’s desk during SRP and the lunch program seems to have only increased the traffic in the children’s department since last summer.

There are plenty of great resources available for families and libraries interested in the how and why of free summer lunch programs. For starters visit the USDA Summer Food Service Program site, nokidhungry.org, feedingamerica.org, and Lunchatthelibrary.org, a great site put together by the California Library Association and the California Summer Meal Coalition. You can also encourage families in search of a free summer meal to download the free Range app, which not only helps locate the nearest free meal site but also the nearest public library. If patrons do not have smartphones or devices, librarians can always download Range to a library-owned tablet and allow families to use the app in-house to find the nearest meal.

Librarians can utilize summer lunch programs and library gardens not only through programming but as fun opportunities to promote library collections. Below are some awesome food-related materials great for children and tweens.

  • Lunch Lady series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2009-2013.This graphic novel series depicting a lunch lady who is a secret crime fighter is a perfect choice for chapter-book readers!
  • Whoopty-Whoop by Koo Koo Kanga Roo. Asian Man/Fun Fun Records, 2014. With high-energy songs like “All I Eat is Pizza” and “ I Like Cake” this album is sure to be a wiggle inducing addition to any food focused program for little kids and big kids.
  • Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller; Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf. Schwartz & Wade Books. 2013. Sophie’s new best friend is a squash, so what will she do when her friend begins to get squishy and spotty?
  • Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children by Sharon Lovejoy. Workman Publishing Company. 1999. A classic non-fiction book that is full of great gardening tips and ideas for adults to share with children.
  • Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear; Illustrated by Julie Morstad. Tundra Books, 2014. A beautifully illustrated picture book about a girl named Julia and her friend Simca and their adventures in French cooking.

For more garden ideas, check out the new summer 2015 edition of Children & Libraries from ALSC. It has a stellar article from Sandy Kallunki, A Bumper Crop of Ideas, highlighting many awesome programs that can stem from library gardens. I hope that you will be inspired to plant a garden of your own and perhaps even add “become a summer meal site” to your SRP 2016 planning!

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Courtesy of Guest Blogger

Courtesy of Guest Blogger

Our guest blogger today is Nicole Lee Martin. Nicole is a member of the Public Awareness Committee and the ALSC Valuation & Assessment Task Force. She is currently transitioning from her position as Emerging Technologies Librarian at the Grafton-Midview Public Library, OH to Children’s Librarian at Rocky River Public Library, OH. You can reach her at nicole.binx@gmail.com.

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

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

Posted in Guest Blogger, Summer Reading | Leave a comment

Passive Picture Book Programs

As a first year librarian, I was constantly looking for new passive programming ideas.  We had a passive “mystery box” program, that the children could participate in once a week. I was getting burnt out on trying to find 5 new items every Monday to fill the box, and the kids were getting frustrated that they had to wait a week to play again.  At other libraries, the mystery box works well when most children come just once a week, but our children come to the library every day after school and in the summer.  I felt like this type of passive programming was not as enriching as it could be.

Early this January, a new book came by my desk called, “28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World” by Charles R. Smith.   I flipped through this and immediately wanted to turn this into a daily passive program.  Each page of this book has an illustration of a famous black person, the date of the important event, a poem describing the person and event, and a paragraph at the bottom giving more detail.  I planned to put the book out on the reference desk, turning the page every day to reveal a new person and event during the month of February to celebrate Black History Month.  First, I created a handout to give children with general questions that could be applied to any page of the book; who, what, when?  The kids had to read the page, write the name of the famous person, what they did to change history, and when did it happen.  After they completed the questions, I would go over their answers and the page to make sure they fully understood the events and why they were so important.  They then would get a small reward of a piece of candy.  Other kids would come up, seeing a crowd around my desk, asking what was happening. I collected all answer sheets to tally the participation numbers.  The passive program was so popular that I would collect 80 answer sheets weekly.

After the end of Black History Month, I brought the old mystery box back out, and the kids actually requested for the book to come back! I had to think quick and just my luck; another new book came my way, “Maps” by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski.  This fit one of my goals for the children perfectly; to teach them about world culture and that we are all world citizens. Each page has a different country with illustrations of historical buildings, native plants and animals, cultural food, sports, etc.  I created over a dozen questions that could pertain to any country’s map. The children would choose a random answer sheet with 4 questions. The first two questions were always the same on all the papers; country and capital.  The last two questions were different, so one child could potentially read the same map page multiple days, but answer different questions each time. The other questions were to name specific animals, food, historical buildings, famous people, bodies of water, ethnic food, sports, natural formations, major cities, language, size, and population.  The children would turn their answers, I would initiate a discussion about the country (would they like to visit, what about the culture is interesting to them), then they would receive a small prize. This, again, was very successful and popular.

slide1With the Summer Reading Challenge coming up, I created a passive book program.  I have two book clubs, one is preschool to second grade and the other is third to sixth grade. Each club has their own short picture book; I chose Iron Man books because of our superhero theme. Children can come up to the desk to get their club’s book, read it, and then answer a few short questions.  I have multiple sheets with different questions pertaining to each group’s book and the children will be able to participate once a day, choosing different questions for each new day.

I am very pleased with how successful these passive book programs have gone and I am excited to discover new books that will produce fun and education programs in the future.

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Courtesy photo of guest blogger

Courtesy photo of guest blogger

Our guest blogger today is Angela Bronson. Angela has a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio. This is her ninth year working for the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, and is currently a Children’s Librarian at Kent Branch Library. In the past, she was a Preschool Art Teacher for Bowling Green State University. She illustrated her first picture book this year titled, “Alora in the Clouds.” 

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

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

Posted in Guest Blogger, Programming Ideas | 2 Comments

Free books, receptions, networking, and more at #alaac15

#alasc15 is officially done! I can’t believe another conference has wrapped. It’s an event that I look forward to all year long! There is no better opportunity to reconnect with grad school friends, committee/group members, and meet new friends!!

Takeaways from this year:

Book fever/ Book FOMO were real conditions! Even though it was not my first exhibit, I felt myself (along with my peers) get swept up with book fever or FOMO (fear of missing out)! I kept grabbing books like a Black Friday shopper! As my conference roomie pointed out, the exhibit hall felt like the arcade scene from Percy Jackson– you could lose time and life force as you walked along!
After shipping back three boxes– I realized next time I need to have more discretion and pack an empty suitcase!

Award Receptions:
I won a scholarship this year to attend #alaac15 from the Freedom to Read Foundation. http://www.ftrf.org/news/232420/FTRF-names-Amy-Steinbauer-and-Gretchen-LeCheminant-as-Conable-Scholarship-recipients.htm
Since they paid for all the big expenses, I treated myself to three paid events- the Printz Award reception where I got to get loads of face time with one of my favorite authors-Jandy Nelson! If you love YA- this is a cool event to hear from YA authors and meet other librarians!

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As I’ve reported before, I also went to the Bookmobile Lunch and the Caldecott/Newbery Awards receptions.

In the future, I may not be able to go to all– but if there’s an area you really love- treat yourself to a special event! They are lots of fun!

Networking:
I have two mentors- one from NMRT’s conference mentoring program last year, and one from the ALSC mentoring program. Annual is a great time for face to face interactions with them!

But, there are opportunities for networking everywhere at annual! Walking lost through a hotel, waiting for a shuttle, or geeking out about an author! Carry your business cards and your smile– and they will take you far! Having a ribbon with my Twitter handle gave me real connections with Twitter people– which was really fun!!

#alaac15 was awesome! Can’t wait to do it all again next year! Thanks for reading all my adventures!!

Amy Steinbauer is an Early Childhood Outreach Librarian in Beaumont, CA. Follow her on Twitter @Merbrarian

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Gratitude

#alaac15 is all over. I’m back home in Denver, catching up on sleep, non-conference emails, and enjoying non-restaurant food. This is also a great time to reflect on all the amazing things that happened while I was at conference. The day before the conference began, my husband and I took the BART to downtown Berkeley and ate a delicious meal at Cafe Gratitude. The vegan menu requires diners to order their meals with gratitude. “I’ll have the I am Honoring [nachos] and the I am Luscious [chocolate smoothie].” It might sound cheesy (or should I say “non-dairy cheesy”?), but looking back on my conference experience there are so many things for which I’m grateful.

I am Rejuvenated [wheatgrass cleanser]
The spirit of sharing and collaboration at ALA conferences is one of the reasons I return each year. Sessions like Program-a-Looza, Guerrilla Storytime, and Diversity Dynamism: Mixing Resources and Making Connections have given me so many ideas to try at my own library or tuck away for future use.

I am Magical [black bean burger]
Hearing the inspiring words of so many authors and illustrators at award ceremonies and publisher events was magical. I was especially touched by the speeches at the Coretta Scott King Awards Breakfast and the Newbery-Caldecott Banquet. These artists impressed me with their dedication to their art and to young readers everywhere.

I am Passionate [Orange, carrot, ginger juice]
There are so many passionate, intelligent, and thoughtful individuals who attend ALA conferences. I look forward to wonderful discussions with my colleagues from across the country. This year was no exception. From favorite books to programming ideas, from diversity to the ethnics of reviewing, I have gained a deeper understanding of many topics through the passionate words of others.

Thanks ALA and ALSC for such a wonderful conference! I’m sad that it’s over, but I’m looking forward to more rejuvenation, magic, and passion at Midwinter! Hope to see you all in Boston!

Posted in ALA Annual 2015, Guest Blogger, Live Blogging | Leave a comment

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?  … Continue reading

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Library games at #alaac15

Library games at #alaac15

When all the conference work is over and done, you can go to Library Games to have some fun!

Library Games is a night of challenges, boldness, and laughter, typically held on the Monday evening of annual.
Last year, I checked it out with some friends– we were cramped in an overly hot room watching our peers compete in various library challenges. This year, we stepped up to the plate. Our team– Punk Ass Book Jockeys (bonus points if you get the reference) competed in Library Trivia, Lip Synching, Flannel Board, Book Talk for Your Life, and Battle Decks!

Library Trivia– 10 questions on library history/ pop culture references. I think all teams utilized the lifelines to switch their answers with a random audience member.

Lip Synching– The obvious winner chose a Miley Cyrus song- Wrecking Ball– and she delivered! My team went with “Smells Like Team Spirit” and we all jumped in to headbang and rock out!

Flannel Board– My competition. Category- randomly picked– Dealing with Board of Trustees. Must use 20 random pieces in 2 minute story– I used 15– whew, time goes by quick!

Book Talk for Your Life– Choose a book and sell it! Our group won this category with a romantic tale of “Slugs in Love”, which she had actually borrowed from the SF public library!

Battle decks– Could you give a spontaneous presentation on an unknown topic with Meme slides? It’s just about as hard and as hysterical as it sounds!

Join the games next year!! They start recruiting via social media a few months before conference! It’s a great time for being silly with new friends! Everyone is supportive of the efforts!!

We came in third out of four, I’ll take it for our first try! Watch out, Orlando- we’re coming for the win!

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Amy Steinbauer is an Early Childhood Outreach Librarian in Beaumont, CA. Follow her on twitter @Merbrarian.

Posted in ALA Annual 2015, Guest Blogger, Live Blogging | Leave a comment

#alaac15 Caldecott/Newbery Reception

Last year my mentor treated me to a Caldecott/Newbery awards ticket and it was a magical night that I refer to as the library Oscars! People are dressed in fancy dresses, and everyone is bubbling with excitement to hear the speeches and celebrate! This year, as I made my selections for ALA events, it seemed like I just had to go back! The ticket is pricy– but it is a magical night!

Winner of the 2015 Caldecott, Dan Santat gave a thoughtful speech about the struggle to keep believing in your dreams and the hard work of what it takes to succeed.

Winner of the 2015 Newbery award, Kwame Alexander gave a performance that buzzed through his life and reminded us that with the belief in greatness can propel you to fulfill your destiny!

Winner of the 2015 Wilder award, Donald Crews wove an interesting story of a somewhat reluctant path to children’s literature, and how the love of a good woman can inspire!

Afterwards, there is a receiving line where you can make small talk/shake hands/ hug some if the years greatest creators of children’s books! It is the best part of the evening, especially if you work with the texts of the winners– it’s an opportunity to geek out with people you love and admire!

I had to stop children’s book collaborators and besties Mac Barnett and Jon Klassan, to take a pic of my besties on besties! Take a look:

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Amy Steinbauer is the Early Childhood Outreach Librarian from Beaumont, CA. Follow her on twitter– @Merbrarian.

Posted in ALA Annual 2015, Guest Blogger, Live Blogging | Leave a comment