Once again, the Public Awareness & Advocacy Committee is excited to share another hard working ALSC committee with you! ALSC process committees create valuable programs, publications, and resources for youth librarians. 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 have featured the School Age Programs & Services Committee and the Library Services to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee. This month we wanted to highlight the work done by the Early and Family Literacy Committee. Current Co-Chairs Lori Romero and Joanna Ward were kind enough to answer some questions about their committee and the work they do.
Can you share a brief history of the committee?
This committee is fairly new to ALSC and is the product of The Every Child Ready to Read initiative. For a more comprehensive look at the history and goals of the EFL Committee you can read the EFL Committee’s ALSC blog post from November 20, 2019 here – it includes links to even more information.
What is your committee’s charge?
To identify, synthesize, and disseminate current research findings relevant to early and family literacy issues from library schools, scholars of education, and other advocacy sources to libraries, childcare providers, and community agencies serving young children (birth through age 8). To develop in-person and virtual training workshops about early and family literacy skills, practices, and research, and to update and develop ALSC resources with early and family literacy information. To collaborate with and advise related ALSC committees and groups, and library and education associations on early and family literacy issues and concerns. To serve as a resource about ALSC early and family literacy products including those available for purchase.
In all the committee’s work, EFL strives to advance the ALSC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategic Plan by broadening committee member awareness and understanding of equity, diversity, and inclusion and championing inclusive practices in found research.
What are the expectations for members of your committee?
EFL Committee members meet monthly to discuss and plan the work of the committee to fulfill the committee’s charge and advance the ALSC EDI Strategic Plan.
On an ongoing basis, members work independently and collaboratively to diligently seek current research relevant to early and family literacy issues; write annotations, blog posts, and articles as a way to share found research; collaborate with other related ALSC committees and groups; plan future training workshops on early and family literacy; and respond quickly to requests from the ALSC membership and ALSC staff for research that supports the work members are doing to promote early and family literacy.
What are some skills, experiences, or passions that would make an ALSC member an ideal candidate for your committee?
Passion for equity, diversity and inclusion and for championing early and family literacy through library initiatives. Awareness of the needs and perspectives of diverse and underrepresented populations and of early literacy work with children and families. Interests in research, writing, blogging, editing, and planning and presenting training.
Are there any projects you are excited to tell ALSC members about?
EFL posts monthly to the ALSC blog. EFL posts can be found by selecting the “Blogger Early & Family Literacy committee” category on the ALSC Blog or clicking here.
EFL spotlighted research-based articles that contribute to best practices in promoting early literacy in a recent column in the Winter 2020 issue of Children and Libraries (see pages 33-35).
Committee member Kat Baumgartner created an informational video about the EFL Committee that was posted on the ALSC Facebook page on January 12.
What is something ALSC members, who are not on your committee, can do to support your mission?
Share current and relevant research on, and research sources for, early and family literacy. Inform EFL of research and training needs to support work being done in the area of early and family literacy. EFL’s email address is ALSCFamilyLiteracy@gmail.com
This blog addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group and V. Outreach and Advocacy.
Melissa Sokol is a children’s services librarian for the Dayton Metro Library in Dayton, Ohio, and she is a member of ALSC’s Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee.