Everyday Advocacy Challenge: Week 5 Reflections

The inaugural Everyday Advocacy Challenge (EAC) began its second half on September 29 with this Take Action Tuesday prompt:

Talk up the Everyday Advocacy initiative with a colleague.

Here’s what a few of our EAC cohort members said about the Week 5 challenge in six words or less:

  • “One of the easiest so far.”
  • “Sharing the proactive thinking.”
  • “Energizing!”
  • “Perfectly timed to coincide with newsletter.”
  • “Much easier to do!”

For Lynda Salem-Poling, the Week 5 challenge was both a fun opportunity and a great reminder of what Everyday Advocacy is all about.

Lynda writes:

This week’s challenge was to talk up the Everyday Advocacy Challenge to our colleagues. I took this opportunity to poll my co-workers to find out who was interested in learning more about ALA, as well as more about the EAC specifically. I sent out a general e-mail to all the librarians in my library system, linking to all of the ALSC blog posts, and asking if anyone was interested in participating and inviting them to contact me for more information.

The resulting conversations were fabulous and enlightening. I learned a lot about how my fellow librarians saw advocacy and their roles as advocates. And, as usual, I surprised myself by having insights while we were talking that I had never thought of before.

Talking over the EAC with my fellow librarians helped me find even more importance in doing it. Specifically, I realized the added benefit of talking to librarians from different types of public libraries from across the country, and even some “library folks” who work outside of libraries all together. One colleague pointed out that even if I never spoke to anyone about libraries again, it is good to have internalized the positive messages that I was creating.

We are now past the half-way mark, when it’s possible to suffer from a bit of burn-out, even for such a short experience. This week’s challenge was an invigorating, uplifting, reminder of how important the EAC is and how much fun.

Lynda Salem-Poling, is a librarian and supervisor at El Dorado (Calif.) Neighborhood Library. Lynda is a member of the inaugural Everyday Advocacy Challenge cohort, an 18-member volunteer group convening from September 1-October 20, 2015.

Posted in Call to Action, Child Advocacy | Leave a comment

Getting to Know Your Way: Finding International School library Positions

I blame it all on movies like The King and I. It’s because of movies like this, that I want to work abroad. Watching Anna teach, the students, the scenery, (not to mention those amazing dresses of hers), and more, was enough to make me want to hop on a plane to somewhere wonderful and start teaching. The role of a Teacher Librarian abroad offers first-hand the sights, scents and sounds of a country other than your own; real-world application of a new language, a different school and different customs. It can truly be life-changing. Currently and happily on a stint in the U.S., wanderlust always calls; I keep an eye on international library job opportunities. Here are some suggestions about how to apply for positions via online recruiting services, and what to look out for.

Recruiting for the next school year often starts as early as December, for the following year. Recruiters may offer both online recruitment, and face-to-face job fairs. The process starts with creating an online profile via your recruiting company. Be prepared to fill out online information, including uploading your certifications, a CV, experience and information including confidential references, plus a video call address. Once your profile is accepted, you will gain access to information on teaching positions around the world, as well as job fairs. A small, one-time fee is charged during the initial sign-up process.

Think about where you want to go. Be open-minded, and when you open school profiles and job descriptions, read all the fine print, and know that this may change over the course of your application. This also means read the final contract before signing it. The job posting covers the contract requirements of the job posting, including the length of the contract, age limits, if any, degree specifics, curriculum information, salary (not necessarily USD), housing and flight reimbursement.

Be aware of the culture, customs and political climate of the country. Ask questions before, during and after your interview, which is generally via video call. Check U.S. government information online regarding your country of interest. Follow expat blogs, and try to get a feel for your level of tolerance; the language barriers, how to handle money and transportation, and homesickness. Search online and print resources for current information. Learn all you can about the countries you would like to teach in, because you will be happier if you do, and so will your students.

If applying online, write a cover letter, and hit “send”. If you want to go to a job fair, follow the online procedure as indicated in your profile. And remember one thing, sometimes, it doesn’t work out. Then this is what you do: channel Anna in The King and I, figure out what you need to do, and apply for another position. Your adventure awaits!


Courtesy photo from Guest Blogger

Courtesy photo from Guest Blogger

Our guest blogger today is Brenda Hahn. Brenda’s permanent home is in Florida, where she and her family live. As a Teacher/Librarian, she has worked in U.S. public schools, public libraries and in several international schools. Brenda’s vivid imagination keeps her library skills and literacy instruction both current and fun. She can be reached at neverendinglibrarian@gmail.com.

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

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

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ALSC Around the World: Ich liebe Bibliotheken!*

ALSC Around the World

I was really struck by the 25th anniversary of German Reunification (called the Day of German Unity or Tag der Deutschen Einheit) falling during Banned Books Week last week. Growing up during part of the Cold War, I certainly remember textbooks and other nonfiction titles that gave us not-very-favorable messages about East Germany and even recall being told that kids there weren’t allowed to pick the books they wanted to read on their own. During my visits to libraries in Germany and Poland this past month I thought and talked a lot about the freedom to read and the future of library service to children with some of our international colleagues.

Bibliothek am Luisenbad

In Berlin, librarians Heidrun Huebner-Gepp and Sarah Tscholl welcomed me to their Bibliothek am Luisenbad and shared a tour of their building, which was built in 1888 and is filled with Smart Boards, engaging face-out collections, programming spaces, and a diverse clientele with whom they focus on languages and digital media literacy. This community’s emphasis on welcoming those new to Germany is particularly relevant during this time when the country is seeing a significant influx of refugees from Syria.

Bibliothek am Luisenbad

Bibliothek am Luisenbad, circa 1888

Bibliothek am Luisenbad

Bibliothek am Luisenbad, circa 2015










Welcome to Biblioteka Publiczna Miasta i Gminy Słubice

Welcome to Biblioteka Publiczna Miasta i Gminy Słubice

The library I visited in Poland, Biblioteka Publiczna Miasta i Gminy Słubice, featured a fascinating display of local and national history while also providing tons and tons of e-content. Even with my limited knowledge of Polish, I could tell when it was trzecia, or three o’clock, as in a scene familiar to many of us, kids rushed in to sign up for computer time.



I spent a delightful afternoon with Benjamin Scheffler, who is the director of the Children’s and Youth Library and Learning Center of Berlin’s Central and Regional Library, where they really see the library as a place of learning, and their melding of traditional and innovative spaces, collections, and services was inspiring, both to me and their hundreds of thousands of annual users. The importance of adults and young kids making time together to sprechen, singen, lessen, schreiben, und spielen (talk, sing, read, write, and play) is truly universal!

Home of the Children's and Youth Library of the Central and Regional Library of Berlin (ZLB)

Home of the Children’s and Youth Library of the Central and Regional Library of Berlin (ZLB)


And I can highly recommend a visit to the Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm Center at Humboldt University of Berlin where thousands of documents from the Grimms’ personal library live and breathe. It also features, as Yelp aptly describes, “a reading room for mothers with children or pregnant women [where t]oddlers can play while mothers study.”

You can check out #ALSCtour on Twitter to learn more about these and my other visits in September to the Ottendorfer Branch of New York Public Library (the 1st free public library in NYC!) and the youth department of the Arlington Heights Memorial Library in Illinois. Also take a look at #KidsBookSummit for my account of the 2015 Nielsen Children’s Book Summit. This was an important event for ALSC to be represented at as publishers and librarians can learn so much from each other as we share this landscape of media for children, and I’m happy to report that the call for diverse books was a key part of the day.

*I love libraries!

Posted in Blogger Andrew Medlar | Tagged | Leave a comment

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Apply for An ALSC Professional Award

ALSC Professional Awards

Get your application in for an ALSC professional award today! (image courtesy ALSC)

It’s ALSC professional award season and our goal this year is to see you apply for one of these great grants and scholarships. To help you understand why, we’ve prepared a list of the top ten reasons why you should apply for award or grant this fall!

1. Programs are expense

ALSC has a bunch of great grants that will help cover the cost of materials, speakers fees, and other assorted costs.

2. Your boss will love it

Nothing says, go-getter like going and getting a grant or award. Especially for early-career professionals! Go get ’em!

3. Your community will love it

Awards and grants are great public relations fodder. When you win, you can share the news with your local newspaper. Brag a little!

4. A gateway to becoming more involved

ALSC professional award winners are in a special community among themselves. Winning an award with ALSC shows that you are ready for bigger things. Think of the places you’ll go, for instance, if you won the Bechtel Fellowship and spent four week studying children’s literature at the University of Florida’s Baldwin Library!

5. Take advantage of membership

Most ALSC professional awards are open to ALSC members, so make sure to use this benefit to your advantage.

6. Host a famous author or illustrator

This is specific to one amazing award…the Maureen Hayes Author/Illustrator Award. You could bring a recognized author/illustrator to your school or library!

7. Showcase your great ideas

Think you have a really innovative and exceptional program? This is a great way to show it off. Apply for a grant like the Light the Way or Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Grant which recognize outstanding ideas.

8. We tailored these specifically to librarians involved in youth services

You’re probably already doing these things in your library, so why not get recognized for it?

9. You can also recognize someone else!

The ALSC Distinguished Service Award recognizes an ALSC member who has made significant contributions to and an impact on, library services to children and ALSC. Know someone like that? Nominate him or her!

10. Money doesn’t grow on trees..nor do books!

Maybe your parents told you this at one point, but it’s true! ALSC grants and awards are a great way to supplement your library budget. If you’re in a small library that wants to build your collection, consider applying for the Bookapalooza program (applications open soon)!

Hurry! Many ALSC professional awards have deadlines of November 1, 2015. 

Posted in Awards & Scholarships, Blogger Dan Bostrom, Professional Development | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Partnering: Early Literacy and Early Intervention

We all love finding great partners in our community! One of my favorite community connections is the amazing staff at Early Intervention which is a part of our county’s Infant & Toddler Services. Libraries and Early Intervention are a natural complement to each other’s services. We target similar ages and both have a strong focus on early childhood development.

Our relationship with Infant & Toddler Services began two years ago when we offered a county wide inclusive playgroup. Our librarians developed the play ideas and Jessica, a social worker from Early Intervention came and played with us. We didn’t attract many families who were already receiving services but it did offer a wonderful opportunity for Jessica to talk with families about any developmental concerns. It was so powerful! There probably isn’t a parent in the world who hasn’t had questions about their child’s development at some point. Right!?!

This program opened a door for continued collaboration between Jessica and myself. I had previously provided Sensory Storytimes but had to discontinue them due to interest that fizzled after about a year. Jessica and I discovered we both have passion for “sensory kids” and have worked to revamp this program. It is launching in January 2016 and we are very excited to start this new adventure together!

Early Intervention also has the power to make sure families know libraries are a welcoming place for special needs children. Who else has partnered with your community’s Early Intervention? I would love to hear about what you have done!

If you haven’t made a connection with this service in your community I urge you to make a call today. You will have no regrets!



Erin Rogers is a Children’s Librarian in Virginia and a member of the Library Service to Special Populations and Their Caregivers Committee

Posted in Blogger Library Service to Special Population Children and their Caregivers, Early Literacy | Leave a comment

Messy Art and Creative Movement

This Fall, my staff and I got very excited about offering something new in addition to our regular weekly storytimes. We wanted to shake things up a bit in our schedule. Luckily I have staff members who are especially excited and inspired by change and trying new things. I wanted to offer a regular music and movement program ( more than my once a quarter dance party) and I had a staff member who wants to do an art program. So after brainstorming and scheduling we created Toddler Art (ages 18 months-36 months) and Preschool Wiggleworms (ages 3-6) to host on Friday mornings.

I was a bit worried about how changing our schedule and taking out Friday storytimes for something else would effect the rest of our programs. Would our other storytimes have a huge jump in attendance? Would we just end up with repeats from earlier in the week? So far, our storytime numbers haven’t had much change and while we do see some families come back for our Friday sessions, we’ve notice a whole new crowd coming into the library. Families are coming to the art program and exploring art activities with a space to get messy. Our preschoolers are loving the chance to do more creative movement, parachute play, instruments and rhythm sticks. We’re bringing kids and families in who haven’t attended a storytime and are discovering all the awesome things we do at the library. Plus, we’re offering this sessions for free where other similar music and art sessions have a fee.

We’ve been running the programs foe a month and have heard numerous comments from patrons thanking us for the programs, providing an opportunity to introduce the arts to kids, and for having a fun, creative family experience. I’m looking into our Spring and Summer schedule and thinking so it how to offer these programs in the evenings or weekends to accommodate working families. I love being able to offer a place for kids to explore art and music and adding these new programs has been a great scheduling change!

Posted in Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Create a Kids Art Program with Inspiration from Museum Websites

Are you planning a family painting day, an art scandal mystery event or turning your children’s room into an ancient Egyptian maze? Finding new ways for creative kid programs are just clicks away at your favorite museum.

You might be surprised by a new update, an added blog, or an interactive art activity.

I recently followed an alien through the MoMA, popped yellow and red balloons through the Met and discovered William the blue hippo from Egypt is not very friendly.  (All of this online.)  Be part of art history through interactive museum websites.  The Smithsonian, J. Paul Getty Museum, Museum of Modern Art, and the National Gallery of Art are just a few amazing art websites filled with kids, family and teacher resources.

My new favorite art museum website to explore is #metkids at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  MET Kids is a new feature launched in September with multi-media content aimed at 7 to 12 year olds.  The Met says kids from New York City and around the world “helped to shape the content, design, and user experience of the website. It is truly “Made for, with, and by kids.”

#metkids detailed map

#metkids map photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

Walk around the museum online with the Map, get in a Time Machine and travel to different centuries or watch a new art video made by kids today.

  • Map: touch a yellow or red balloon to learn about different art pieces.  (The directions say yellow or red pin but every time I see them I think of the balloons from You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman.) Learn about a sculpture, a new artist or a room by Frank Lloyd Wright.  Have you seen the “Celestial Globe with Clock Work” from 1579?
  • Time Machine: Push the red “push” button to explore different time periods all around the world.  “Program your destination to explore worlds of art.”  From 8000-2000 BC to 1900-present, get in the time machine and discover, learn and create.  Listen to an art curator talk about the selected piece or discover a “fun fact.”   The time machine is filled with ideas and questions for children to think about.
  • Video: The videos are separated into four different sections-Create, Made by Kids, Q&A and Celebrate.  Watch an original animation film about Degas’ dancer in “Made by Kids” and go behind the scenes in the animation lab.  “Jumping into the Met” is filled with great ideas-connecting famous paintings with stories and film.  Click on the “Create” section and follow step by step instructions to learn how to make scratch art, symmetrical prints, collage and more.

What amazing art resources! For more art websites, check out the ALSC Great Websites for Kids-The Arts

Please share your favorite museum website in the comments below.

For a selection of fun art books to use in your next museum program, explore my art shelf on shelfari.

Paige Bentley-Flannery is a Community Librarian at Deschutes Public Library. For over fifteen years–from Seattle Art Museum to the New York Public Library to the Deschutes Public Library-Paige’s passion and creative style for art, poetry and literature have been combined with instructing, planning, and providing information. Paige is currently serving on the ALSC Notable Children’s Book Committee, 2015 – 2017. She is a former Chair of the ALSC Digital Content Task Force and member of the ALSC Great Websites Committee.  




Posted in Blogger Paige Bentley-Flannery, Programming Ideas, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment


We know this. We have been working with schools for decades and our summer reading programs are an integral part of our service to customers. With the advancement of research in summer slide, and libraries role in reserving the adverse effects of summer slide, we have new colleagues at our table. One of our most stalwart and enlightened partners are the folks at the National Summer Learning Association.  This year their annual conference is in my home town!! The speakers promise to be informative and inspiring. Join us and find new partnerships at every turn.

Our colleges at Urban Libraries Council ULC, partnered with the National Summer Learning Association, to collect a significant amount of information about the many innovative and meaningful ways in which public libraries are providing summer learning opportunities for youth and their families; contributing to closing the achievement gap and mitigating the summer learning slide. Both partners would also like to thank the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) who made this work possible.

Read more about these great summer learning programs at libraries across the country.

ULC will be highlighting the innovative summer learning programming developed by public libraries during NSLA’s Summer Changes Everything National Conference held October 12-14, 2015, in Baltimore. ULC will be hosting Schools + Libraries = Power to Leverage Summer Learning, a working session demonstrating how libraries and schools can leverage resources and develop partnerships to support summer learning initiatives. ULC members Chicago Public Library and Virginia Beach Public Library will also host sessions highlighting their programs. Click here to learn more about the Summer Changes Everything library programming and ULC’s special registration discount!

Posted in Blogger - Ellen Riordan, Professional Development | Leave a comment