Child Advocacy

Programming for Children with Special Needs, Part Two

by Tricia Bohanon Twarogowski In Part One, the reasons for serving children with special needs in a storytime setting were highlighted. This week I will cover some elements of the Rhythm and Rhyme Storytime for Children with Special Needs and their Families which make the programming distinctive. Relaxed Rules: Due to developmental differences of children with special needs, I have not placed restrictions on ages of participants. We have successfully served children ranging in age from two to sixteen in the same session. Planning is geared towards preschool; I share this information with parents if they inquire about the target audience. The storytime is treated as a full family experience during which parents, siblings and therapists are welcome. During the program, we experience children moving around the room rather than sitting still, verbalizing occasionally at random and possibly needing to leave the room and return during the program. The following…


Signing & Storytimes: Preschool Discussion Group ’09 Annual

Want to make your storytimes more interactive, inclusive and interesting? Enrich your storytime programs with sign language! Susan Kusel, Youth Services Librarian at Arlington County Central Library, VA will help the Preschool Discussion Group explore this topic at ALA Annual/Chicago. She will do a short presentation on sign language and its use in storytimes. Join us for the discussion and share your ideas, skills and experiences. See you in Chicago! Sunday, July 12 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Palmer House, Spire Room The Preschool Discussion Group is open to all! Linda Ernst, Co-Convenor and Sue McCleaf Nespeca, Co-Convenor


Professional Reading: Library Partnerships by Tasha Squires

 I know first-hand that the last thing any public librarian wants to think about during the craziness of Summer Reading programs is planning the next big thing, but according to YA consultant Tasha Squires, now is precisely the time to start thinking about any collaborations you may wish to have with your School Library counterparts.    Her new book, Library Partnerships: Making Connections Between School and Public Libraries lays out the basics for starting and maintaining successful endeavors between Public Librarians and School Library Media Specialists.  The author includes parallel advice for School Library Media Specialists alongside advice for Public Librarians.  While it may seem more convenient for the book to be arranged in two parts:  one for public libraries and one for schools, integrating these two perspectives adds value to the work.  Squires gives public librarians a view of the obstacles that school librarians face and vice versa.  Squires’ coverage is thorough —…

Child Advocacy

Two Organizations of Interest to ALSC Members

As a member of the ALSC Liaison with National Organizations Serving Children and Youth Committee, I am writing to tell you about two organizations of possible interest to ALSC members: 1. The National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI). NBCDI’s mission is to improve and advance the quality of life for Black children and their families through advocacy and education. They feature a number of educational initiatives. Of particular interest to ALSC members is the Love to Read program. Love to Read is NBCDI’s national early literacy public education initiative designed to help parents and other caregivers improve African American children’s academic performance. It is targeted toward parents and caregivers of children ages 0 through 6. Visit the NBCDI website ( to learn more. 2. The ASPIRA Association. ASPIRA is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to developing the educational and leadership capacity of Latino/Hispanic youth. Since 1961, ASPIRA has been…

Child Advocacy

Programming for Children with Special Needs, Part One

by Tricia Bohanon Twarogowski With budgetary and staffing issues currently facing libraries, children’s programming managers and staff may wonder, “Why begin a new storytime program for children with special needs and their families?” The answer: to provide support for a vastly underserved area of our population. Efforts to provide special needs programming are an important aspect of library service which results in numerous rewards for families, communities and libraries. During the summer of 2008 when two parents inquired separately about storytimes specifically geared towards children with special needs at the Matthews Branch of the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (PLCMC), I saw an opportunity. At the time, this type of programming was not offered at PLCMC so I scheduled a date for August 2008 to respond to the expressed interest. What I learned as a result–if two parents convey an interest in special needs programming, many parents who…

Children's Literature (all forms)

Picture Perfect: Art from Caldecott Award Books, 2006-2009

Through November 8, 2010, The Art Institute of Chicago is highlighting 17 books that have received a Caldecott Medal or Honor Award between 2006 and 2009 in its Ryan Education Center and Gallery 10. The award-winning artists included are Bryan Collier, Marla Frazee, Beth Krommes, David McLimans, Jon J. Muth, Kadir Nelson, Beckie Prange, Marjorie Priceman, Chris Raschka, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Brian Selznick, Uri Shulevitz, Peter Sí­s, Melissa Sweet, David Wiesner, and Mo Willems. FYI: Mo Willems is planning a reading at the Chicago Art Institute while he’s in Chicago for the American Library Association conference.

Blogger Eva Mitnick

Plenty of kids means plenty of opportunity this summer

We’ve visited schools, contacted neighborhood organizations, spread flyers throughout our branch and the community— all in the hope of spreading the word about the library Summer Reading Club.  And somehow, I think we don’t need to worry about poor turn-out this summer. Although there are many valuable reasons we offer Summer Reading Club — to introduce children to the joys of reading for pleasure, to expose children to free cultural programs and events, to encourage children to read enough to keep their skills honed and ready for school in the fall — one of the most important reasons, at least in my neck of the woods, is to entice children and their families who perhaps have never visited the library before.  Somehow, I suspect this will be a banner year for those first-time patrons.  We’ve all heard how library use goes up as the economy tanks, something we’ve seen with…