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…

Blogger Nina Lindsay

Open Forum on Diversity, Inclusion, and Our Work, Post-Election

Because the World Is At Their Fingertips and the World Can Be a Scary Place

It has been a tumultuous week for all of us who work to create a better future for children through libraries. We know, from the responses to the Unity. Kindness. Peace. booklist shared last week that you are stepping up to support your community in the face of violence witnessed or enacted, and in response to fear, trauma, and confusion.  And we know that we as librarians, and as ALSC, have much more to do. Our work as an organization must firmly defend the rights of all children and forge paths to equity for marginalized communities.

Blogger Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla

Teaching Empathy and Zootopia

Disney’s Zootopia was a massive hit earlier this year, becoming one of the top-grossing films of 2016 and garnering a near-perfect 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, an impressive feat in a divided age. The film, which follows a rabbit named Judy who becomes the first of her kind to join the police force in the Metropolis Zootopia, is laugh-out-loud funny, as evidenced by everyone’s favorite sloth joke video.

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

Reviews & Common Sense Media

During late March and early April, the ALSC Discussion List was active with comments and concerns around Common Sense Media (CSM) and that organization’s reviews of children’s materials.  I followed this discussion with particular interest for two reasons. First, the organization is located in the city where I work.  Second, when they were just getting started, members of the organization came to our library to meet with us to discuss their values and seek our support.   We declined as we believed that their practice of labeling was in violation of the ALA Bill of Rights and the core values of library services for children. I do not intend to rehash all of the comments and statements of the online discussion (sigh of relief on your part!).  Hopefully, most of you followed it and certainly many of you actively participated.  I found it to be a robust and lively exchange.  That…

Blogger Heather Acerro

An Invisible Minority: Serving LGBTQIA Kids and Families

Rochester (MN) Public Library’s core values focus on being a welcoming and inclusive environment. A few years ago we started to hear from adults and teens in the community that there were not a lot of safe spaces for LGBTQIA teens to hang out, so in our 2015 Action Plans we included “Develop programming to specifically meet the needs of Rainbow Families and LGBTQIA teens” and got started. Before we share our ideas for serving LGBTQIA kids and families, let’s talk about “LGBTQIA”. LGBTQIA stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual or Ally. Without including the word “queer”, this alphabet soup is not inclusive of the entire spectrum of sexual and gender identities out there. But as you can imagine, when we use the word queer in our program descriptions or trainings, people have a lot of questions. Queer is a word with a terrible…

Call to Action

Spring 2016 #EAChallenge: Championing School Libraries and School Librarians

The Spring 2016 Everyday Advocacy Challenge (EAC) entered its third week on Tuesday, March 15, with this Take Action Tuesday prompt: Champion the importance of school libraries and school librarians. Read on to find out how Skye Corey, Rosemary Kiladitis, and Stacey Rattner took on the Week 3 challenge with a few small—and even some huge—steps that make a big difference for students of all ages! Skye writes: At the heart of Everyday Advocacy is the belief that small steps make a big difference. As part of this week’s challenge, I took the small step across the road to visit the neighboring middle school librarian. We had a great conversation, and I left with a page-long list of practical steps that I could take to support the work that she does. From MakerSpace outreach programs at lunch, to weeding help, to coming up with a better system of exchange for when students return public library books to…