Blogger Heather Acerro

Meeting the Needs of Transgender Youth

On May 15th, educators from University of Minnesota Extension visited Rochester Public Library (MN) to deliver the workshop “Lessons from the Field: Meeting the Needs of Transgender Youth” to 77 youth workers from the area. This workshop focused on providing gender-inclusive environments in order to support healthy habits and positive body image for transgender youth. You’ve seen the statistics for transgender youth, so you know they are at great risk of harassment, assault, homelessness, and substance abuse. For transgender youth, having supportive adults and a safe environment can improve their well-being considerably. The report discussed yesterday is brand new and provides background information as well as steps that you can take as a youth worker. To read the report visit University of Minnesota Extension: Children, Youth & Family Consortium and click on Children’s Mental Heath eReview: Transgender Youth. Some more library tips for serving LGBTQIA youth and families can be…

Awards & Scholarships

What an Honor!

On Monday, the Institute of Museum and Library Services named Rochester Public Library (RPL) as one of this year’s 30 finalists for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. This prestigious award honors institutions for their extraordinary public service and remarkable contributions to their communities. Four of our outstanding programs serve children and teens and we’ve blogged about them here! RPL identified the need for a LGBTQIA Safe Space within the community through conversations with the public and consultation with local organizations. Articulated needs included accurate information, safe spaces to gather, special events, and LGBTQIA materials. RPL responded with improvements to book collections, displays, and book lists. RPL also began offering: q club, a safe and welcoming meet-up for teens; Parents Empower Pride, a program for parents of LGBTQIA children; Rainbow Family Meet-Up, a gathering for LGBTQIA families; and special events like PrideProm, LGBTQIA speakers, and training programs. In…

ALA Midwinter 2017

Top Rainbow Reads for Kids!

At ALA Midwinter I had the honor of finishing my time on the Rainbow Booklist Committee with two days of interesting discussions about wonderful books.  I am pleased to share with you our final list of the best LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning) books for kids and teens that were published between July 2015 and December 2016. You can find the entire list on the Rainbow Booklist website; I am going to highlight the top books for kids through grades 6 here. The final list includes almost 50 titles and of these we selected a top 10. Top ten titles are indicated with an *.

Awards & Scholarships

Stories. Acceptance. Love.

I’m not even sure what to say. I know that I don’t need to tell you that times are hard. Or why the work that we do with LGBTQIA youth is important. Or why we need diverse books. You know. You know all of that. After hearing news of the tragedy at Pulse in Orlando this weekend, I had to disconnect from the outside world. I found comfort in home, family, and a rainbow read. I had been reading True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan, so I picked it up and lost myself in the coming out story of a young man who just needs acceptance and love. It was a good book, full of humanity and pain and joy. Kids and teens need books that they can relate to, that they can see themselves in. We all need these things. Stories. Acceptance. Love. Right now the…

Blogger Heather Acerro

Program in a Post: Costume Characters!!

With this post and $140 to $280, you can bring in huge crowds for costume character extravaganzas! Simply rent a costume character, put on a storytime, and smile for the camera! Supplies: Costume character rental $140 for one character, such as Pete the Cat, Maisy, Clifford or $280 for a pair, such as Elephant & Piggie or Frog & Toad Books for storytime Music & rhymes for storytime Minimum four staff people/volunteers Printouts of activities from the character’s website for craft tables (optional) Program set up: You will need at least four people working your event, one to present storytime, one to BE the character, one to be the character’s handler, and one to control the crowd. More staff is always better because you can expect a BIG crowd. We set up the auditorium with a line (usually made of masking tape) across the front of the room so that…