Blogger Renee Grassi

Make it Okay: Mental Health Awareness Month

                            Did you know? One in five children today has a diagnosable mental health condition. One half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of fourteen. Nearly one in ten children have an anxiety disorder. 37% of students with a mental health condition ages fourteen and older drop out of school–the highest rate of any disability group. Why is mental health important to the work we do in libraries? Mental health is an essential part of children’s overall health and a key indicator for lifelong success. It has a complex relationship with kids’ physical health and their ability to succeed in school, at work and in society. However, if a child is experiencing a mental illness, a person can’t tell just by looking. If mental illness goes untreated, the implications are severe for the a child’s quality of…

Awards & Scholarships

National Medal for Museum and Library Service

It has been a big, huge, enormous, gigantic, week at Rochester (MN) Public Library. After our second year of being named a finalist , we are honored to be a winner of the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Service! Let that soak in. And then read it again: We are honored to be a winner of the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Service! That is a great sentence, but it is nowhere near the whole story. This award is the result of years of listening to our community, living our strategic plan & core values, being agile, taking risks, failing, succeeding, measuring outcomes, and listening some more. We strive to increase equity by targeting services to those who have limited access due to language, finances, health, safety, literacy, or other…

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 Renee Grassi

A Librarian’s Open Letter to Jacqueline Laurita

Hi Jacqueline, First off, I have a confession to make. I have never watched an episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, nor have I watched any of the Real Housewife series or spin offs.  It’s just not my cup of tea. In fact, there are probably many other librarians out there who share my opinion. And that’s perfectly okay because that’s not why I’m writing this open letter to you today. This is not the first time a children’s librarian used this blog before to broadcast their message to a celebrity. In 2012, I fangirled my adoration for Glee’s Chris Colfer for writing a book and encouraging children to read.  That same year, Susan Baeir penned an open letter to Kourtney Kardashian about how she admired Kourtney’s commitment to reading and literacy in raising her son. I’m not sure if you, Chris Colfer, and Kourtney Kardashian share many things in…

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

Talking is Teaching at #PLA2018

Librarians know that talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing with their children from birth can have dramatic impacts on the child’s development. Today at #PLA2018, San Francisco Public Library presented “Talking is Teaching: Opportunities for Increasing Early Brain and Language Development” with their early literacy partner, Too Small to Fail, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation.

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Teaching Children Banned Words

Enlightening & Teaching 2017 was a whirlwind year, with many, many unprecedented changes, challenges and fear.  To help our youngest patrons, it is critically important that we aid in their enlightenment, making them more socially aware, teaching them new concepts, and making them more culturally competent. For 2018, I encourage you to explore these terms through your youth programming.  This will aid not only the children, but their parents as well.  So, let’s go!  Following each term will be suggestions for aiding you deliver these important concepts: Diversity My wife – Marianne Dolce, a highly successful school media specialist  – showed me how to take a picture book or a story and build a theme from it – to reverse the storytime building process, and thereby integrate diverse materials into storytime – Every. Single Week. Read up on ALA’s “Importance of Diversity” Entitlement These quick “fables” help teach children all…

Blogger Public Awareness Committee

Serving Diverse Communities

You hear a lot about gratitude this time of year.  As an ALSC member, I am so grateful that ALSC is continually developing materials to aid me in better serving the diverse communities in which I live and work.  The online resources available under the Professional Tools for Librarians Serving Youth section of the ALSC website have grown, and now include an additional section under Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Building on the “Supporting Libraries in Today’s Changing Environment” document created earlier this year, this new piece is called Serving Diverse Communities.  It contains a list of resources intended to help librarians support children and families through uncertain times.  While no means exhaustive, the list is wide-ranging in content.  A printable pdf is available. Trying to create a display of reassuring reads for kids?  Booklists such as Unity. Kindness. Peace. are included under Book & Media Lists. Searching for the best…