Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Serving Children in Crisis

Proactive Response In a recent NPR article, Vicky Smith of Kirkus Reviews pointed out that in the face of the global immigrant and refugee crisis, “It is a real desire on the part of authors, illustrators and publishers to respond to the crisis in a way that is proactive and helpful.”  In reality, the aim of youth services librarians is precisely the same. Our occupation combats and seeks to ameliorate illiteracy, and act as a social equalizer.  What is more, we seek to provide a proactive response to social issues in the only way we know how. If you find yourself confronted with the question of “why”, here’s your response, put best by Flying Eye Books (of Nobrow Press): “In the wake of the cruelties happening to immigrant children all over the globe, but most recently in the US with children coming across the Mexican border, many of us are shocked. The…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Children in Crisis: Literacy brings Hope

Supporting Detained Children It’s little wonder that on ALSC’s listserv that the topic of supporting children caught up in a web of immigration policy came up.  Frankly, it’s in the youth services librarian’s DNA.  We do all we can every day for every child who walks through our library’s doors.  And for those we encounter in our outreach efforts, we do that much more.  It is not an unreasonable leap that librarians nationwide would want to get library materials and services to detained children. Why Literacy Behind Bars is so Important Before we delve into efforts by REFORMA and other non-profits and NGOs, the question that you need to be ready for is simply “why?” If children are being detained, whatever the circumstance, literacy is integral – key – to their chances for success. Here’s your top-5 why’s and ALL of these are about kids right here: 2/3 of students…

ALA Annual 2018

Libraries Support Immigrant Families: News from #alaac18

On June 19, a “Resolution on Cessation of Family Separations for Refugees Arriving at the United States Borders” was shared on the REFORMA listserv with a call to “distribute far and wide to your divisions, round table, and other library boards” and to “get endorsements for the resolution.” The ALSC Board then reviewed and discussed the resolution on ALA Connect in the days leading up to the ALA Annual Conference. The resolution was entered into the consent agenda for ALSC Board I at ALA Annual, which took place today, Saturday, June 23. At that meeting, the ALSC Board endorsed the resolution, which has been amended and renamed “Resolution to Reunite Detained Migrant Children with their Parents.” The resolution is currently planned to go before Council, sponsored by the Committee on Library Advocacy, on Tuesday at ALA Annual in New Orleans. Because this is an evolving news item, the specifics of…

Blogger Nina Lindsay

Diversity Jedi

Brick wall busted open

I value conferences most for their amazing conversations–the hallways are essentially a primordial Twitter, with threads going in multiple directions, between friends and strangers, for days.  A great way to spark those conversations, especially for introverts, are intriguing ribbons, and ALSC is always listening for phrases or ideas our members may want to don…for instance, by following popular hashtags. But we realized that the #DiversityJedi ribbons we shared on Twitter last week were not the best way to have this particular conversation.  #DiversityJedi is a more complicated concept than a ribbon can communicate, as commenters swiftly pointed out: “I get the sentiment, but If ALSC truly wants to recognize #diversityjedi work, they would not create a ribbon. They would show it through actions, in programming, publications, & policies. This work is imperative, but ribbons only appropriate and trivialize” @TeachChildLit “This is appropriation. This is hurtful. This is erasure. We named…

Blogger Nina Lindsay

Calling Everyday Advocates to National Library Legislative Day!

Nina Lindsay (right) visits with Bethany Hoglund (left) and Bernice Chang (center) at the Bellingham Public Library Children's Room

I’ve just returned from the Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, delivered by Naomi Shihab Nye in Bellingham WA.  You will hear more on this event soon, but you can check it out now on Twitter at #Arbuthnot2018 (and contemplate your application to be the host site for the 2019 lecture with Debbie Reese?  Applications close May 15th). During her talk, which will be published in Children and Libraries, Nye said that she encourages everyone to read obituaries, and shared a little about how many amazing people she has discovered through them. “We don’t have to look far for heroes; but we do have to remember how many there are.” This made me think of the amazing work each of you do every day, in your libraries.  While in Bellingham, I visited the Bellingham Public Library and was impressed at examples of what I know so many of you accomplish: maintaining library environments…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

We’ve Got the Power! – Bridging Last Summer with This Summer

The Children Of Fear Are Not Alone Last year’s summer reading theme was Build a Better World.  Its message must not be lost. I have been actively involved in Central Florida public libraries since 1993, and it had to have been one of the most rewarding themes – ever. Recent events are showing us that children are growing up in an increasingly frightening world.  And they must not bear this alone. Last summer, my co-workers and I took our show on the road with a message of hope, and I’d like to share how you can couple Libraries Rock with real social impact. Before that, though, let’s review a couple of things.   Power and Truth In 1927, Max Ehrmann wrote the poem Desiderata in which he wrote: “Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.” And, yet…

Blogger Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla

Hiring for Culture at #PLA2018

On the last morning of #PLA2018, I attended two excellent panels, both loosely related to staff development. While the idea of creating a leadership training program within my organization was intriguing, the program that has stuck with me in the days since #PLA2018 was the last one I attended – Hire for Fit: Best Practices for Hiring to Your Culture. Presented by panelists from Anythink Libraries, Jefferson County Public Libraries, and the City of Boulder Library & Arts, this program exemplified the power of PLA for me. It was hands-on, practical, fun, and best of all, incredibly useful. I’ve been proselytizing prioritizing culture when hiring to everyone who has had the pleasure of asking me how the conference was since I walked out of the room at the conclusion of the panel. The librarian representing Anythink, Susan Dobbs, began the presentation by telling the attendees that the values of her library…

Blogger Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla

Eliminating Fines and Fees on Children’s Materials at #pla2018

Why do libraries charge fines? Fines are a source of revenue, a chance to teach responsibility to our youngest patrons, and a way to encourage people to bring materials back on time. Or are they? What if it turned out that none of those assumptions were true? A new white paper (Https://goo.gl/rbwStj) looks at the available data and concludes that fines do not do any of those things, although librarians and patrons have deeply held beliefs that they do. At Eliminating Fines and Fees on Children’s Materials to Create a Win-Win for Your Community, my mind was blown by a study which showed that nominal library fees do not have ANY impact on overdue rates. Only steep fines result in more prompt return of material. Unless your library is willing to charge $5 a day on overdue picture books, the fines are not resulting in the timely return of your…