CLA Conference and Innovations in Children’s Services

The Connecticut Library Association’s annual conference had several wonderful programs for children’s services this year.  I have attended for several years and feel this was the best yet. When I left I was so energized by what I saw and learned.

Web 2.0 for Little Hands was presented by Kate Candito who is a Library Media Specialist at the Orange Avenue School in Milford, Connecticut.  She works with preschool through second grade children teaching them mouse skills, basic key boarding, basic web navigation and library catalog searching.  By second grade they have their own account and log into the system independently.  Each class uses free web tools to create a project that teaches them curriculum connections, writing and research skills. She uses Glogster and Wordle along with the following apps and websites:

This is a place the children can use phonics to learn to read.
She uses this site often because of all of the options and levels from kindergarten to grade five to learn language and computer skills.

Google Lit Trips
This allows children to see things that occur in real places and bring stories to life. You need to install Google Earth to use.

Little Bird Tales
A tool for publishing children’s writing.  By taking pictures and recording their voices the children can make their own stories.

Lisa M Shaia is a Children’s Services Librarian at the Oliver Wolcott Library in Litchfield, Connecticut.  During her program called Thrive After 3, she spoke about successfully running after school programs for Kindergarten through third grade groups and fourth through sixth grade groups. Shaia picks popular books for her themes, reads an excerpt and the kids have competitions, play games and do activities around the themes. The programs grew over time and now she averages thirty to forty kids per session. Kid friendly promotion, fun activities fun and parent input into scheduling were some reasons for their popularity.  She uses basic art supplies, but for further funding she suggests applying for grants from the friends of the library, women’s groups and veteran’s associations.  Her blog at detailed information and downloads.

Author, librarian and former library director, Michael Sullivan spoke on the Power of Youth Services. His workshop examined how Youth Services librarians need to advocate for their departments and themselves with administrators. According to Sullivan, sixty percent of the walk in traffic to the public library is under eighteen.  He hopes this will change how administrators see their libraries. Creating livelong library users by supporting kids is the answer. He knows the majority of resources are put in adults services.  If Youth Services has the higher circulation and program attendance, changes should be made by breaking down resources by who uses it.  Administrators Fundamentals of Children's Servicesare resource managers. They would love to plan more and deal with staff development, but they have to deal with input issues like building management.  Youth Services can support administrators by giving them the numbers.  They need to be at the policy meetings and get the word out to the community.  He knows professional development is important. Reading, writing, teaching and attending conferences about administration, education, child development, psychology and business will make them better librarians thus improving their value personally and monetarily.  He has a new book called Fundamentals of Children’s Service.  His website is at


ProfileShelley Black Holley M.L.S.  is a Children’s Librarian at Southington Public Library in Southington, Connecticut.  She has worked in library services since 2001.  Her blog is at

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

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