I’m an expert, you’re an expert, and we are all experts in the field of children’s services. We congratulate the winners of the “I’m An Expert Contest.” Each received a bag of badges and opportunity to be featured on the ALSC Blog.
Today we spotlight three inspiring winners who shared how they use their expertise to create a better future for children through public and school libraries.
Smile Expert Natalie Haspel has a special talent of making everyone feel welcome at the Oak Park Branch Library in San Diego, California.
“I enjoy making people smile. I make sure to greet everyone with a smile. I believe that is the gateway to good experiences in the library. Although there are language barriers in our community, everyone likes a smile. Proceeding from the initial greeting, I move to offering any/all services to ensure the patron has everything they need. Ensuring our branch has barrier-free access to all is crucial to our success!”
Early Literacy Expert Julie Crabb uses her knowledge of early brain research to empower her work as the children’s library associate for the Olathe Indian Creek Library in Olathe, Kansas.
“I feel that I have become an expert in promoting baby brain development. From day one in this position, I latched onto the early literacy aspects of librarianship and that passion has extended into my work with Storytime Underground. The simple fact that the organization of our brain’s are largely formed from early experiences constantly drives me to be better. Providing positive experiences, a safe environment, and caregiver tips for soft skill, gross motor, and literacy development shapes my community for years to come. I am an early literacy fanatic and I love that my bosses have allowed me to expand our programming in this area. Growing up, I never even considered this career path because I was going to be an educator or a superstar. Now, I feel like both almost every single day.”
Cultural Competency Expert Laura Simeon creates an inclusive library collection and school community as the Library Learning Commons Director and Diversity Coordinator at Open Window School near Seattle, Washington.
“Supporting our school’s commitment to creating an inclusive environment would be impossible without a thoughtfully, deliberately diverse library collection to support both students and teachers. My goal is that every child can walk into the library and find books that in some way reflect their own background–as well as materials that teach them to better understand others. During staff meetings I often have time to do some training around cultural competency. I welcome parents and staff to regular Diversity Round Table meetings in the library, where we share resources, welcome different perspectives, ask for advice, and plan new initiatives. I see libraries and librarians as central to helping people cultivate a growth mindset around the cultural competency skills and awareness we all need if we are to move forward as a society in a productive way, and I feel very lucky that I’m able to put this passion of mine into practice every day.”
The Public Awareness Committee thanks the ALSC Blog for hosting the contest and to all participants. We hope you continue use and share your expertise to transform your community.
Christy Estrovitz is the Manager of Youth Services for San Francisco Public Library and chair of the ALSC Public Awareness Committee. She can be reached at email@example.com .