Talking with Young Children (0-5) about Race

As youth serving librarians, we have a unique opportunity to build relationships and interact with young children and their families. This opportunity allows us to support families in many ways: building literacy skills, learning the importance of play, enjoying library programs, and of course much more.  Among the “much more” is the opportunity to speak with young children about race, to speak with caregivers about how to talk about race, and to model talking about race with children for their caregivers. It’s Never Too Early to Talk with Children about Race Research indicates both that children notice racial differences from a very young age (Winkler, 2009) and that if caregivers do not openly talk about race with children, children make up their own, often erroneous, meaning from what they see (Bigler, as cited in Dwyer, 2013). But, many caregivers/librarians/teachers, particularly white folks, are uncomfortable talking about race. They may feel…

Early Literacy

Songs by Librarians for Librarians

In January 2018, the New York Public Library (NYPL) released their first-ever album of original children’s music, NYPL Sings! Former NYPL children’s librarian Emily Elizabeth Lazio wanted to showcase the multifaceted talents of NYPL staff who, in addition to making books and learning come alive for our young patrons and their families every day, wrote and performed all the songs on this album. The album was made possible through the NYPL Innovation Project, generously supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, which supports Library staff for creative, unique ideas that improve programs, services and processes at NYPL. The early literacy team and education department at NYPL served as project managers, and over forty past and present staff members lent their songwriting, instrumental, vocal, and performance skills! Each song on the album represents a different way for caregivers to prepare their children for a lifetime of learning.  NYPL focuses on singing…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

The Results Are In! Summary of the Fall ECPS Committee Survey

Remember waaay back in September when we asked you to take this short survey for us? Well about 680 of you did! (Thank you.) We think your answers are pretty interesting, we’d like to share a brief overview of the results with you. One of the main questions we asked, was “What areas of Early Childhood are you most interested in learning about?” The top choices included: Early Childhood Programs and Tips (71%), Partnering with Community Groups and Early Childhood Programs (60%), and Childhood Development (50%). We also inquired about how you learn best and what formats work well for you. You overwhelmingly responded that webinars are helpful and convenient, as 83% of respondents voted for this format. Many of you also still appreciate the benefits of in person training, which came in second place with 63% of the vote. Finally, we asked for more specific feedback on topics. We…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Professional Development for Early Childhood Care Providers

As youth librarians for the very young, we know that our audience isn’t just the children in our communities, but also their families. We also know that there is another important caregiver audience out there, the early childhood care provider. A very broad term, early childhood care providers may work in public or private preschools, Head Starts, day care centers, places of worship, businesses or private homes. They may have varying levels of education and experience but they all work hard to give the children in their care quality experiences. Youth librarians are in wonderful positions to support them with books and resources but in some cases can also provide more formal professional development on topics such as early literacy and using picture books in classrooms. If your library is interested in providing formal professional development for early childhood care providers, here are some tips. Learn about local and state…

Early Literacy

Updating your Early Literacy Space — for all sizes and budgets!

A well loved early literacy space is the ideal sign of your library meeting the needs of your community’s youngest learners; however, with great love, often comes broken toys, missing blocks and dirty rugs. No matter how big or small your early literacy space is at your library, it is important to keep the space warm, welcoming and engaging for both children and their grownups, which is often easier said than done. How do you constantly keep your space inviting and up-to-date when your budget may not keep up with your community needs?


Making the Connection!

The community center is located in an urban neighborhood with families from a broad spectrum of experiences and opportunities. Refugee families are often resettled here and the programming provided by the community center helps to smooth their transition to new lives. As families walk into the room and get settled on the floor, some of the little ones are already moving and shaking with the music, while others cuddle shyly into the arms their grownups. As the music winds down, the anticipation builds and all eyes turn to the front of the room. What time is it? It’s time for Storytime with Miss Anna! According to ALA’s History of Preschool Storytimes, story hours offered within the walls of public libraries began over 120 years ago. More recently, offering storytimes outside of our libraries and within underserved areas of our communities has become an important priority for many libraries. So how…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Books from Birth!

  Wouldn’t you love for your young child to receive a free book in the mail once a month! Prince George’s County, MD, a diverse suburb of Washington, DC, has approximately 60,000 children under the age of five. The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, (PGCMLS) is dedicated to ensuring that each of these children enters kindergarten ready to read. County Executive, Rushern L. Baker III selected PGCMLS to sponsor the  Ready 2 Read Books from Birth Program to improve our county’s educational outcomes. Mr. Baker, with full support from the County Council, increased the Library budget to make Books from Birth possible. We are excited and honored to offer a program in conjunction with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. It is designed to encourage literacy and kindergarten readiness by getting books into the hands of every young child in the county.  By simply registering their young child on our website,…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Process-based Activities for Preschoolers

As we youth services library staff know, libraries are not quiet, sedate places any more. We sing, we play games, we have dance parties, and make messes. And we also know that what we do when we sing, dance, and play is directly tied in to developing early literacy skills. When we sing, we break words down into syllables and learn about the rhythm and shape of words. When we play, we learn by using expressive language and cooperating with others. Every Child Ready to Read has pointed to the research behind these practices, and we see them every day in our libraries. So when we encourage playing and creating in our library spaces, what does that mean? When we have art or craft activities, how do we best encourage creative expression and exploration? I must admit that sometimes, after it seems that a child has read every book in…