Gimme a C (for Collaboration!): Collaborate to Stop the Summer Slide

As the school year wraps up and Summer Reading approaches, now is a perfect time to collaborate with your local school and public libraries. We all know how important it is for students to maintain reading skills during summer vacation. It’s time to reach out and work together to give kids the best summer opportunities. For schools with summer reading expectations, providing summer reading lists to public libraries can help to ensure that they have listed books on hand for students. School librarians can help to facilitate the connection by reminding teachers to prepare and share lists in spring. Having reading lists early helps public libraries to purchase books before Youth Services Departments get too busy with summer programs.  Public librarians who serve youth can contact their local schools to promote summer reading. At the elementary level, visiting library classes to encourage students to participate in summer reading can get…


Talking with Young Children (0-5) about Race

As youth serving librarians, we have a unique opportunity to build relationships and interact with young children and their families. This opportunity allows us to support families in many ways: building literacy skills, learning the importance of play, enjoying library programs, and of course much more.  Among the “much more” is the opportunity to speak with young children about race, to speak with caregivers about how to talk about race, and to model talking about race with children for their caregivers. It’s Never Too Early to Talk with Children about Race Research indicates both that children notice racial differences from a very young age (Winkler, 2009) and that if caregivers do not openly talk about race with children, children make up their own, often erroneous, meaning from what they see (Bigler, as cited in Dwyer, 2013). But, many caregivers/librarians/teachers, particularly white folks, are uncomfortable talking about race. They may feel…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Health Programs in the Children’s Department

Does your library put health and wellness as a priority in public programming? With the evolving role of libraries in our communities, the aspect of connecting patrons to quality health information as a goal to help them lead healthier lives is becoming more prominent in the public libraries. Frequently, conversations of health programming is confined within adult services departments or those specifically serving seniors; however, health programs are just as important in the children’s department. I recently began a job at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine where I work with public libraries on building capacity of providing health programs, information, and services around the All of Us Research Program including topics of genetics, environment, and lifestyle. In this role I’ve become more aware of the health-focused programs and services already in place and the vast possibilities of providing these topics in a public library setting. It is important…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

From Awareness to Funding: Voter Perceptions and Support of Public Libraries in 2018 as Advocacy Tool

If you haven’t seen or heard, OCLC has partnered with PLA, and the ALA Office for Library Advocacy, and recently released a report on library perceptions and support among US voters. It’s called From Awareness to Funding: Voter Perceptions and Support of Public Libraries in 2018. This new report can be compared to a similar study done by OCLC in 2008 called From Awareness to Funding: A Study of Library Support in America. There is a free webinar, presented by WebJunction, which presents the new research findings with comparisons to the research done 10 years earlier. These findings can help shape our advocacy efforts. Hence the hashtag: #awareness2funding ! According to the new study, a majority of US voters value public libraries. That’s good news! However, the study also included some disheartening news, especially in the Youth Services world. Brace yourselves… Fewer voters are likely to see the library as…

Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Local Firefighters Light a Spark at the Library

If you work in the children’s area of the library, you are probably well aware of the popularity of firefighters and fire trucks with our smallest patrons. Why not partner with your local fire department to bring a special program to your library? My library in Brooklyn, NY has been collaborating for several years with our local firehouse as part of an event called “Read Across Brooklyn.” This event takes place each year in early March, coinciding with Read Across America. During our version of the celebration, each of our library branches read the same book on the same day, and many choose to invite a guest reader from the community.  We have had great luck by inviting a guest reader from the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) to come and read to the Pre-K classes from one of our local elementary schools. In fact, it has been so…

ALSC Board Member Profile

Meet Your ALSC Board: Amy Sears

In this monthly feature, we profile ALSC Board members. We hope to offer information about the people who work to guide the organization so that you can feel more comfortable in reaching out to them with your concerns, questions, or comments. To continue this series, we invite you to meet ALSC Board member, Amy Sears. Why did you join ALSC? I was 4 the first time I told someone I wanted to be a children’s librarian. I was at my local library speaking to the children’s librarian who called me “Giggles.” Through my post college detour in children’s publishing, I first became aware of ALA and ALSC. So once I decided to stop talking about becoming a librarian and actually go to library school, I joined  ALSC as a student member.  When I started working at Brooklyn Public Library after library school, the library actively promoted and supported staff involvement in…

ALA Annual 2018

#MeToo and Children’s Services

Many ALSC members have questioned whether children’s librarians should purchase, use, or even keep books by authors implicated in #MeToo situations (or who have been accused of other “bad” behaviors). The ALSC IF Committee and the ALSC Collection Management Discussion Group collaborated with the hope of starting a conversation. Feel free to chime in here and to follow up at ALA Annual Meeting, details below.

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…