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 Bangthetable.com, 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 Jonathan Dolce

¡Día De Los Muertos! ¡Celebramos!

¡Día De Los Muertos! Hoy celebramos Día De Los Muertos. Día De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead is not just on November 1st.  It is a three-day festival – October 31 – November 2 – that is celebrated throughout Latin America.  Here in the U.S., places that have large Latino populations, such as Los Angeles, California, and Phoenix, Arizona celebrate with incredible picturesque decorations like papel picado (estampo), costumbres, dulces y mucho mas. Día De Los Muertos is a huge fiesta – a national holiday – national, as in no school today, chicos! Remember, though, Día De Los Muertos is not Halloween.  Even though trick-or-treating has become more common on Día De Los Muertos, Halloween  is a Northern European tradition.  Instead, Day of the Dead is a blend of Aztec and Catholic beliefs. And yet, even ancient Egyptians once believed that “the spirits of the dead returned every autumn to…

Books

RWD: Book Groups with a Twist

I love movies. Since I was a kid I was fascinated with the silver screen. I loved the actors, the glamour, the costumes but more importantly I loved the story. I would watch science fiction, action, Merchant Ivory films anything with a great story. I also loved reading great stories in different genres as well. While in my capacity as a programming librarian I was always trying to figure out how to engage kids with book groups. Then it dawned on me one day: Why not try to combine my favorite things, movies and reading? That is when RWD was created. I got the idea from looking at my old VHS player’s controls. RWD in the case of the book group stands for Read. Watch. Discuss. I choose a different book based on the season, new movies that are coming out and old favorites. For example this time of year…

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New Resources for Managers

While I have been the managing librarian for my youth department for six years now (very small department, mind you), I still practically feel like a newbie. I have gone through some experiences only once or twice so far so when a situation crops up (like unfortunately having to let an employee go), I still don’t always feel as prepared as I should be. Fortunately, ALSC and ALA in general have some great resources to learn about managing children’s services. I am very grateful for those resources. That being said, I like to look outside the box also to learn about management (and frankly, professional development in general). I have one resource I really, really appreciate. One of those resources is the Think Outside the Stacks newsletter by BethReads. This newsletter features great library content without actually being about libraries. The ideas range from craft programs to discussions of literature and everything in…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Hispanic Heritage Month Year-Round

Integrating Hispanic Heritage I’d been conducting storytime and other children’s programming for 18 years.  I felt like a veteran, or some kind of master.  In just one hour, my wife Marianne – who was born and raised in Puerto Rico – made me feel like I was only just beginning. For years I would start with a theme, pick out the books, make the puppet shows. And yet, how often did I reach for my Hispanic picture books?  Twice a year?  El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day, commonly known as Día) and Hispanic Heritage Month?  My wife 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. Hispanic/Latino Contributions So, I made a video.  It was all about the contributions…

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Storytimes matter. How to tell the story.

As Children’s Librarians we almost all plan and facilitate a storytime. We work hard to engage our audience, model early learning practices for caregivers, and embed early literacy tips. Sometimes we do this multiple times a week. It’s a lot of work and it matters. In my short time with the Advocacy and Legislation Committee, I’ve thought a lot about how internal and external advocacy can help promote the work we do in our storytimes. Luckily, the University of Washington’s Information School has a tool for us! The Valuable Initiatives in Early Learning that Work Successfully (VIEWS2) project provides free training and advocacy tools that will help us improve the quality of our storytimes and promote their value – both inside and outside our organizations.   Valuable Initiatives in Early Learning that Work Successfully The Information School initiated the VIEWS2 research project to ask if research could confirm the early…