ALA Midwinter 2017

Welcoming rainbow families in your library #alamw17

I’m belatedly blogging about the incredibly valuable ALSC Mini Institute session on Friday, “Serving ALL Families in Your Library: Inclusive Library Collections & Programs for LGBTQ Families & Children,” presented by Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo (University of Alabama) and Megan Roberts (LGBT Center of Raleigh Library). Whether you know it or not, if you serve young people in your library this session is relevant to your work. In the US there are over 125,000 same-sex couples raising children, between 2-3.7 million children under the age of 18 growing up with an LGBTQ parent or parents, and LGBTQ families are present in 96% of counties, many in rural and suburban communities, not just major cities. There are also the legions of LGBTQ young people growing up everywhere around the country. For ease of discussion, Campbell Naidoo and Roberts used the term “rainbow families,” and I’ll do the same here. What do these…

ALA Midwinter 2017

Libraries are incubators of innovation! #alamw17

This afternoon Dr. Sara Duvall, a librarian from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor showcased her incredible student-led project in the session “TEDx and TED Ed: How Kids and Communities Can Create an Innovative Event to Learn Forward Forever.” As the curator of TEDxYouth@AnnArbor she recruits student organizers from the 13 public and private high schools in the city who work together to put on this event (this April will mark the fifth anniversary). What distinguishes the Ann Arbor version from other TEDx events is that the students do all the work! The event brings together a group of kids who are diverse in many ways, and together they organize into various committees: marketing/PR, tech (this group receives free training from the local public access television station), design, etc. They audition young people from across the city. Check out Dea Chappell’s incredible Black Lives Matter poem: The TEDx event goes…

ALA Midwinter 2017

#alamw17 “Absence tells a child that their stories don’t matter” – Aisha Saeed

Today’s ALSC Mini Institute session “Passing the Mic: Muslim Voices in Children’s Literature and Lessons Learned in the Pursuit of Equity and Inclusion” offered highly personal and deeply moving accounts of what it felt like to grow up either invisible in popular media and books or, even worse, seeing your religion and culture reviled or ridiculed when they were mentioned. Authors Hena Khan and Aisha Saeed, and Zareen Jaffery, Executive Editor of the new Simon & Schuster imprint, Salaam Reads gave suggestions for anyone who wants to make sure that Muslim children feel welcome in our libraries. One important step is visibly indicating that your institution is a caring and safe space, for example through displaying books, programming and posters such as this one: Aisha Saeed shared a delightful story of her young son’s joy upon discovering Hena Khan’s It’s Ramadan, Curious George. As a huge fan of all things…

Guest Blogger

Finding Time for Tummy Time

Visit our library on a Tummy Time evening and you’ll wonder if you are in a public library or if you wandered into a friendly, neighborhood playgroup. Strollers line the wall, diaper bags hang on coat hooks and moms and dads happily swap and share extra diapers, wipes and even backup onesies. Public libraries have been reinventing themselves for years, working hard to establish themselves as the “third place” between work and home. If community members had one additional place they could stop each day, would they pick their local library?

Guest Blogger

Five Lessons in Tween Programming

One winter evening, I was preparing for my quarterly tween program. The shopping was done, the room was set up, and I was ready for a quiet evening with a small group. I was feeling a little melancholy. Most of our regular tweens have grown up into our teen program and our attendance hasn’t been high lately. I wasn’t expecting this program to be any different. I slowly shuffled to my programming room. To my surprise, there was a line of tweens and their families waiting outside the door. It was a program success that I wasn’t expecting and it taught me five important programming lessons.

Guest Blogger

STEAM-ing on Saturdays

Recently, I’ve been trying to work new programming into my repertoire here at my branch. Afterschool programming isn’t always an option, so I looked to Saturdays. I work every other Saturday at my branch, and find for some reason, kids seem to be more inclined to participate in a program on Saturdays. Usually during the week, I have to encourage kids away from the computers with snacks – on Saturdays, the same kids are the first through the door. I think it has something to do with the fact that they don’t have the stress of school that day, but I’m not sure.