Guest Blogger

Creating a Welcome Space at Your Library

Our summer reading program, “Read for the Win” is in full swing.  We’re off to a good start, and children are registering at a brisk pace.There are the families that usually register every year, and it’s nice to see them back. What would we go without our regulars-the ones that often bring a visiting cousin or friend along to sign up as well?

One of our favorite performers is back this year as well. Let me tell you, this guy is GOOD. His program is rock solid and he is loved by parents and kids alike. He puts the children at ease and makes the grandmas giggle and the dads feel proud. I’ve seen him perform in many locations and he is always the same, whether at a program with mostly privileged kids or at a community center near the park.

If you are reading this, you probably work with children, and I am willing to bet that you have put together your share of programs that just work well. Doesn’t it feel great?  Do you find yourself wishing that you could just do the things that work over and over again?

Programs that provide opportunities to just enjoy ourselves and be with those that we care about are what bring families back for more.

Library staff that serve children, you have a mighty big task.  You may have a wealth of resources and more than adequate staffing, or you may find yourself at a tiny branch and struggling to find volunteer help.  There is the pressure to keep up with current trends, such as having a Makerspace or having a summer lunch program.

I’d like to offer some encouragement to you for the days when there is too much to do, too little time and sometimes not a lot of recognition for the hard work that you do. I’d like to encourage you to create a Welcome Space.

Welcome Spaces recognize what makes a community unique and what kids are excited about.

Welcome Spaces focus on what we have in common.

A Welcome Space means that our collections reflect the look of our communities as well as our diverse world.

The payout? Children and parents return to these Welcome Spaces again later this summer, or even better, all of their lives, and bring others along.


Photo courtesy of guest blogger
Photo courtesy of guest blogger

Our guest blogger is Ericka Chilcoat. Ericka is a Librarian at the Merced County Library and gets her best ideas about Children’s Services when she is eating Thai food.

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

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at

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