Advocacy Through Programming

When considering how to best advocate for services and programs offered by public libraries in our current environment, which includes a proliferation of information and digital access to multitude of sources, I tried to answer the questions: To whom is this program or service of value? How are we changing the landscape of our communities? How are we advancing the mission of public libraries to fight oppression and inequity? With those questions in mind, I will walk you through a small program that had big impact in our community and sent a strong message of our values and the tenets in our community. Remember that advocating is not only done by messaging, advertisement, or campaigns. We advocate every day through relevant services, programs, and collections. Creating strategic community programs and showing how essential libraries are to children and adults is a great way to advocate for libraries. In 2016, like…

Blogger Alyson Feldman-Piltch

Library Resolutions

Happy New Year! Over the years, I’ve started to give up on New Year’s Resolutions.  For me, they usually involve some form of overachieving or totally revamping something, and then when I eventually give up, I feel horrible. This year, I’ve decided to not have personal resolutions, but instead professional ones; resolutions that will help me be a better librarian and better serve my community. Below are my top 3.

Blogger Alexa Newman

Workplace Dress Codes – Does Your Library Have One?

The next two weeks at work are a couple of my favorites. You would probably assume the reason for this is because of the holidays: time off, free treats to be found everywhere, and most everyone is in a good mood. In reality, they rank up there because my library is running a Jeans for Charity event. Two or three times a year, our staff is allowed to wear jeans in exchange for a $5 minimum donation to charity. A different charity is selected each time. Past beneficiaries include animal shelters, Family Alliance (a health service), and a battered women’s shelter. Why, Alexa, (you ask) are you so excited to wear jeans?  Because my library has a dress code. A dress code that prohibits blue jeans, shorts, sneakers, t-shirts with writing (other than our SRP shirts), and backless shoes. It is probably best escribed as business-professional. I do enjoy dressing…

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…


Audiobooks for Tweens

Growing up, reading was difficult for me. My parents bought me  Hooked on Phonics cassette tapes for me to pour over and attempt to learn the sounds of each letter. I would have so much anxiety over learning to read that when they got out those Hooked on Phonics cassette tapes I would get physically sick. I felt like I was never going to learn to read, and my parents didn’t understand why everything they did not work. It was that year that I was finally tested and diagnosed with dyslexia. With that diagnosis in hand, we finally had the answers.  My teachers helped me by getting me audiobooks of the books my class read. While my classmates silently read their books, I went out into the hallway, placed huge headphones over my ears, and I listened to the book instead of reading it. I hated this time.  I felt…


Making the Connection!

The community center is located in an urban neighborhood with families from a broad spectrum of experiences and opportunities. Refugee families are often resettled here and the programming provided by the community center helps to smooth their transition to new lives. As families walk into the room and get settled on the floor, some of the little ones are already moving and shaking with the music, while others cuddle shyly into the arms their grownups. As the music winds down, the anticipation builds and all eyes turn to the front of the room. What time is it? It’s time for Storytime with Miss Anna! According to ALA’s History of Preschool Storytimes, story hours offered within the walls of public libraries began over 120 years ago. More recently, offering storytimes outside of our libraries and within underserved areas of our communities has become an important priority for many libraries. So how…

Library Design and Accessibility

What I Learned in a Library Renovation

A concerted effort by librarians in my school district, Williamsville Central Schools, to upgrade our library facilities finally bore fruit when I was given the given the opportunity to renovate the library at Heim Middle School, where I have been the librarian for more than twenty years. I was fortunate enough to be able to select both new furniture and carpeting. The furniture in the library was original to the opening of the school in 1965 (first named North Forest Junior High), and the carpeting was from the late 1990s. In thinking about the future of the library, planning for flexible use of the space as well as creating a variety of zones for various activities (e.g.: class space, quiet reading, collaborative small group work space) was paramount. The process has taken close to an entire calendar year, and the results have been amazing! Feedback from our students and staff have been…

Blogger Lisa Nowlain

Class Visit Idea Round Up

Display by Teen Intern of books sorted by Hogwarts houses

We get class visit requests often here in Nevada County, CA. We have nine school districts, nine special or charter schools, and 4 private schools scattered around our rural county, where 68% of residents live in unincorporated areas. It makes it really special for kids to get to the library, so I feel a lot of pressure to make their school visit great. The image above is an easy one – make a special display focused on the classes’ interests or recent project. I spent a while researching good class visit templates, but unlike storytimes, there aren’t a lot of them out there. So here are a few ideas. I’d love to hear what you do in the comments!   Preschool and Kindergarten visits: My goal with these is to get kids feeling like the library is a place for them. I have some quick sketches featuring different things you…