Blogger Andrew Medlar

A Transformative and Thankful Fall

“Maggie darted about like a black-stockinged bird, in search of wood for the fireplace. She and her grandmother lived at the edge of a lonely cranberry bog in New England, and the winds were cold at the edge of the sea.”81k6cZbsAYL[1]

Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin (Parent’s Magazine Press, 1971)

So begins one of my very, very favorite books ever, set at this time of the year when we give thanks–and there’s been much to be thankful for so far this fall.

At the beginning of October I traveled to Ohio to visit my childhood library in Trotwood with my very own children’s librarian Tish Wilson, now assistant director for Youth Services at Dayton Metro Library. And even though the building has been renovated and expanded and my old elementary school is now just a big field next door, I was happy to see that the convenience store where we used to buy Now and Laters after school (and where, it turns out, the children’s librarian would go for caffeine before storytime) was still alive and well. It was extremely cool to come back, full circle, and pay it forward for more generations of library kids as ALSC president with our Babies Need Words Every Day posters.

With Tish in Trotwood (photo by Sarah Reynolds)
Another #ALSCtour visit last month (are you following along on Twitter?) included the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, home of our Immediate Past President Ellen Riordan and a wonderland of children’s services!

With Ellen at Enoch Pratt
Selfie with Ellen at Enoch Pratt

Then it was off to the Peoria Public Library, which has some of the most fun library seating+display shelving I’ve ever seen. And I was delighted to share the stage later that week at the Illinois Library Association Youth Services Forum breakfast with two-time Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka.

Peoria PL
Hooray for reading at Peoria Public Library! (Photo by @lillitlibrarian)

On Saturday, October 24, the ALSC Executive Committee gathered in Chicago. This working group of officers meets in between Board meetings to keep ALSC moving forward and, invaluably, the entire ALSC office staff is also part of the day-long meeting. The list of topics and documents covered during the meeting are here, and conversations ranged from the strong strategic and financial health of our organization (and how we can work together to keep it that way) to gearing up for Midwinter, just two months away!

A big deal in October was the release of the newly updated ALSC Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries, which is a masterful accomplishment of our Education Committee. These vital and evolving guidelines will be the topic of both our fall Community Forum (#ALSCforum) on November 9 and the Leadership & ALSC session (#ALSClead) at Midwinter on January 9, which everyone’s invited to attend in Boston. These sessions will look at not only how to use the Competencies to support your own work, but also to advocate for our profession as a whole.

And finally, the end of October saw the launch of Libraries Transform, ALA’s new, multi-year public awareness campaign, the ultimate goal of which is to increase funding support for libraries and advance information policy issues in alignment with ALA advocacy goals. Check it out!

Libraries Transform
One of the Libraries Transform messages : “According to, 43% of kids have been bullied online. Libraries transform to inform parents and kids about online safety.”

Speaking of being thankful this month, and as the calendar year begins to wrap up, please consider a contribution to Friends of ALSC as a way to give thanks and give back, and many thanks to all of you!


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