Blogger Alexa Newman

Engaging Your Community : What Does That Mean?

A definition Community engagement is an important emerging trend in public libraries.  What, exactly, is community engagement, you ask? Well, according to Dr. Crispin Butteriss of, it can be described as both a process and an outcome.  In other, words it is both a noun and a verb.  Butteriss further describes it as “the process of getting people better connected into the community and for ensuring that the services they were designing me[e]t the specific needs of the people they are working with.” Applying the principles of community engagement specifically to libraries has been the focus of ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative.  The LTC initiative “seeks to strengthen librarians’ roles as core community leaders and change-agents.” On a regional level, RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System) has formed a community engagement networking group. I am my library’s youth liaison to the community.   I do outreach with several different agencies,…

Blogger Elizabeth Serrano

Submit an ALSC Roadshow Request!

ALSC Roadshow graphic

The Roadshow…not just for conferences! So far this fiscal year we’ve approved one ALSC Roadshow request for the Idaho Library Conference which took place in October. We love when our members are willing to represent ALSC at their local conferences! But the ALSC Roadshow request isn’t just for conference events! Having 4,000+ members spread out across the country (and beyond) makes it an interesting task to figure out ways to connect as many members as possible. If you are interested in arranging a local get-together in your area to connect with other ALSC members or prospective ALSC members, I encourage you to submit an ALSC Roadshow request! Requests should be submitted at least four weeks in advance to give the Membership Committee enough time to discuss and come to a decision on your application. You can view the criteria and more information on our website. If you have any questions…

Blogger Lisa Nowlain

Above the fold and locally famous

Going on the radio to promote early literacy and library services was surprisingly fun, and a great outreach tool in my rural county where people aren’t always able to make it to the library and storytimes. Below is a comic about my experience.   Lisa Nowlain is a Youth Librarian in the Nevada County Community Library system in California. She’s also an artist type and you can see her work at

Blogger Ericka Chilcoat

1000 Books and Smiles!

This weekend we held our very first 1000 Books before Kindergarten graduation! We had 10 graduates who reached this milestone. Some registered with our pilot program in October of 2016;  others with our full rollout in January of this year.  I am still flabbergasted at the amount of planning that went into the graduation. Try as we might, there were still last-minute details that threatened to derail us, such as a “broken” printer! Luckily, we pulled it together, thanks to my fabulous detail-oriented partner-in-crime Susan Flinspach, who has put in thousands of volunteer hours toward this program. I believe the parents, children, family members, volunteers and local officials that participated all had a great time.

Blogger Public Awareness Committee

Reflecting on Summer Meals

Hearing about Summer Meals a lot lately?  There has been a lot of publicity for this growing program, coming from wide ranging sources. One article, featured in the New York Times, gave a broad portrayal of how lunch service is working in different libraries across the country.  This article, for the Office of Intellectual Freedom blog, takes a different approach and champions the service as an intellectual freedom issue. My library system (King County Library System) has 13 branches offering some kind of meal service this summer.  While most are federally funded, as described in the New York Times article, several (including mine) are being paid for by donations from our KCLS Foundation.  We follow similar guidelines (food for everyone 18 and under, must be consumed on site) for the three days per week that we serve lunch. This is the first year that my branch has served meals in…

Blogger Alyson Feldman-Piltch

Summer in the City fun!

This year, Boston Public Library initiated its own theme for summer reading, separate from the national one, which is “Summer in the City,” and I’ve had a great time developing fun and dynamic programming that reflects this. One of the great things about Boston is that everywhere you go, there’s some form of public art.  Whether it’s the fence of an empty lot decorated by MassArt’s sparc! team and community members, a free concert on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, or the Tony DeMarco statue in the North End, there’s tons of public art- famous and not!  I wanted to show kids that art can be everywhere, and that anyone can create it.  At the North End Branch, we have a beautiful courtyard garden that our Friends group maintains.  I thought it would be great to have the kids create art to share with the library that wouldn’t just be…

AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee

Gimme a C (for Collaboration!): Working Together to Beat Summer Slide

Summer Slide is the term for lost school achievement growth that can occur over the summer. Researchers have found that students from low income families can especially be affected, losing between 2 to 3 months in their reading levels during this time. Unfortunately, this can add up, leaving many students as much as 2 ½ to 3 years behind their peers. Children who read during the summer are more likely to have their achievement remain steady or modestly increase. School and public librarians can work together to help solve this problem. The Role of School Librarians Before the school year ends, school librarians can start a book distribution program with community partners to ensure children have books to read. In Durham (County) NC, we have partnered with Book Harvest to provide two free books to students in the school system. Prior to that partnership, I allowed for summer book check…