Sometimes it’s not a “no”, it’s “not yet”

I chatted recently with another manager about her children’s librarian, who has become discouraged as she looks for new challenges. “She’s so wonderful. I can’t believe that someone else hasn’t snatched her away. She is world-class.” I agreed and shared, “sometimes it’s just about timing. I can’t even tell you how many jobs within our organization I’ve applied for and haven’t gotten.” “Same here…” “Oh, I never knew that.” “It’s not something we talk about often, but maybe we should be a bit more open about it.” So, in the interest of full disclosure, over the course of fifteen years in my organization, I’ve held six different positions. Three of those positions, I applied for unsuccessfully before ultimately receiving offers. I’ve also applied for countless others (ten? more? I really have lost track). The first time I applied to be the Assistant Children’s Services Manager, the hiring manager called to…

Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Meeting Young Adults Where They Are

Ask many librarians what group of patrons is the most difficult to connect with and you might get a variety of answers. Obviously it varies based on location, public transit (or lack thereof), range of services offered etc. In my system a common response is high schoolers. They have packed schedules with little free time to read or visit the library, often their reading is proscribed by coursework, or superseded by after school activities, hanging out with their friends or college applications. Our Teen New Book shelf is jam packed of the latest and greatest titles with very little movement. I am fortunate enough to work in a town, Grandville, Michigan, where the public library is highly valued and a community hub. My colleague Kris Vogelar, created a wonderful partnership many years ago called A+ Partners in Education. This group pairs local schools with our Youth Staff at the beginning…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

National Library Week Provides Countless Advocacy Opportunities

National Library Week is coming right up, celebrated this year April 7-13 with the theme Libraries = Strong Communities. As you are no doubt aware, since 1958, the American Library Association has set aside this special week every year in April in order to highlight library efforts throughout the nation. Melinda Gates chairs the week this year. Events As part of National Library Week’s festivities, the State of America’s Library Report will be released and will include the Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books of 2018, as published annually by the Office for Intellectual Freedom. Also that week, on Tuesday, April 9, National Library Workers Day (NLWD) is celebrated and provides an opportunity to recognize the hard work of all library employees. Wednesday, April 10 is National Bookmobile Day and Thursday, April 11 is Take Action for Libraries Day. Naturally, having a week dedicated to highlighting our efforts on a national…

Blogger Kaitlin Frick

STEAM on a Shoestring: Technology

For those of you following my work (well, I can certainly dream I have devoted followers), you may recognize this technology-related post as a continuation of my STEAM on a Shoestring series, all about bringing new life to your old STEAM routine. If you haven’t read the previous two, you can find great Science and Engineering ideas from some of my personal library role models by following the links provided. If you have already read those previous posts, however, you might notice something a little different this time: While previous posts have highlighted the work of numerous library professionals, this one will include lots of ideas from one librarian. Alessandra Affinito is a Senior Children’s Librarian with New York Public Library, and when I think tech programming for kids, I think of her.

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee


Banned Books Week, our annual celebration of our right to read, think and speak as we wish, has been around since 1982.  Every September, we put up displays of books that have been  banned or challenged, and remind our patrons that they have the Constitutionally guaranteed right to read them. It’s a great idea, and a noble effort. But is it enough?   Let’s take a moment to think about what access to ideas and information means in the age of advanced technology, social media and rampant misinformation.

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Interactive Picture Books

In 2011, I read a most unique (at that time) picture book—Herve Tullet’s Press Here.  My guess is that most of you are now familiar with the book, but in case you are not:  Tullet created an interactive story where the author instructs the child to press a yellow dot which appears to affect when happens after the page turn.  Thanks to the child’s directed actions, the dot multiplies, changes colors, moves around the page, and grows.  Meanwhile, the child gets a chance to tap, rub, tilt, and blow on the book.   I though the book was brilliant.  In a way, it mimicked interacting with a tablet while still giving the child an experience with a book. I was so delighted with Press Here that I purchased multiple copies that holiday season and gave it to every toddler and preschooler I know.  Several relatives of these kids told me…

Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries

Library Lab STEM Program at Brooklyn Public Library

Slime is having a moment at Brooklyn Public Library!  It’s one of six new experiments we are offering through 2019 Library Lab STEM programming for children ages 6-12. All Library Lab experiments are designed to give children the opportunity to have fun with STEM topics. I was inspired to develop three of the new units by Calling All Minds: How to Think Like an Inventor, by Temple Grandin which will be available in paperback from Puffin Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, in April 2019.  In the Levers and Pulleys unit, children can explore the mechanics of force by making a small model of a wishing well and a jumping jack puppet that has moving limbs. In the Bird Kite experiment, kids can learn about the forces of lift and drag in the exploration of flight.  And in the Optical Illusions unit, we explore how color, light and…