Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

Spotlight On: School Age Programs & Services

Once again, the Public Awareness & Advocacy Committee is excited to share another exciting ALSC committee with you! Again, why are process committees cool? They create valuable programs, publications, and resources for youth librarians. After all, while we love our book awards, we also love our toolkits, webinars, best practices, and networking opportunities… and all of this value is for members, by members! 

Previously, we spotlighted the Library Services to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee. Here is another exciting committee to keep an eye on (and maybe consider volunteering for next year). The co-chairs of the School Age Programs & Services committee, shared some insight into what it’s like to serve on this committee.

Can you share a brief history of the committee? 

Because of the rotating nature of committees, it can be hard to pin down when and how a specific process committee was formed. Sierra, who is still “new-ish to ALSC,” doesn’t know the committee history. Even so, Sierra’s own experience shows that you don’t need to be a long-time ALSC member to chair or co-chair a committee.

What is your committee’s charge?

As listed on the committee website, the charge is: “To identify and disseminate information on engaging, cooperative or innovative programming for school-age children to libraries, schools, and community agencies serving youth. To produce and promote materials supporting professional development for library staff and others working with school-age youth. To collaborate appropriately with other ALSC committees and other associations working with the school age child to initiate activities and projects.”

What are the expectations for members of your committee?  

Members are expected to attend as many meetings as possible, contribute to the committee’s presence on the ALSC blog, and adhere to deadlines for any projects or goals the committee is working on. (You can read what they’ve been posting here.)

What are some skills, experiences, or passions that would make an ALSC member an ideal candidate for your committee?

A team is best when members have varying experiences and backgrounds, but being passionate about creating school-age programs is a great start. Also, being able to collaborate with ALSC members within, and outside of the committee is key. (It’s true – experience is important, but enthusiasm and a team-oriented approach are just as valuable if not moreso!)

Are there any projects you are excited to tell ALSC members about?

Their team just finished hosting a three-part webinar series on Building Literacy. ALSC members can view the three-part series under the list of Archived ALSC Webinars (look for “Building Literacy” under the Programming & Services section). They are also drafting a column for the spring issue of Children and Libraries

Kim added that they also recently hosted three We Are ALSC Chats on the subject of “Adventures in Virtual School Age Programs” in May, June, and August 2020. The committee found the discussions to be a welcome and informal way of bringing children’s librarians together to discuss challenges and successes around producing programs in this difficult time. They are excited to start planning another ALSC chat after the holidays.

What is something ALSC members, who are not on your committee, can do to support your mission?

Sierra told me that the committee is always open to new ideas especially for our ALSC blog posts. Email your ideas to Sierra at sierramckenzieplch@gmail.com.

What are you waiting for? Process committee appointments are typically made March – May each year, but this volunteer form can be filled out year round. Still not sure about committee work? Read more about it here.


Erica Ruscio is the Young Adult Librarian at the Ventress Memorial Library in Marshfield, MA and a co-chair of the ALSC Public Awareness & Advocacy Committee.

This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: VII. Professionalism and Professional Development.

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