ALSC Online Courses

ALSC Competencies for Librarians Serving Children

Maybe you are a new children’s librarian starting their first job, maybe you are approaching retirement, or maybe you are somewhere in between. Regardless of where you are in your library journey, at some point you have likely asked yourself some version of these questions: What do I do in this job? What is the role of a children’s librarian? How can I improve my work? Discover answers to all of these questions in the ALSC Competencies.

In 2020, the ALSC Education Committee, using your feedback, revised the ALSC Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Libraries. The full text can be found on the ALSC website, but I will warn anyone more prone to skimming than deep reading (particularly in post-pandemic times) that those 1800+ words can feel a little dense and maybe a little overwhelming, even to a seasoned librarian. I was part of the rewrite team, and even I sometimes find my eyes glazing over halfway through a re-read. So how—really—can I use these lofty lines of text to benefit my library patrons and improve my work as a children’s librarian?

Enter an amazing, brand new ALSC course: Utilizing the Competencies to Boost Skills and Services, taught by Amanda Yother. Amanda served as the fearless leader of the ALSC Education Committee during the 2020 rewrite of the ALSC competencies, making her extremely familiar with every detail of their content. Her competency expertise, combined with her extensive library experience, make her the perfect person to show you how to turn those lines of text into tangible skills and projects that will help you grow as a librarian.

But don’t take it from me! Amanda graciously shared with me why this course should be on your summer professional development calendar.

How will this course benefit brand new librarians?

Amanda: New librarians are entering the field with a wide variety of backgrounds. Different libraries seek candidates with different education or experience requirements. This course is designed as a highly reflective practice where participants will be asked to review the competencies while considering their own skills to identify strengths and also identify opportunities for growth. The course will not only encourage participants to strengthen their own understanding of the competencies and their impact on library services to children but also prepare participants to incorporate the competencies into their daily practices.

How will this course benefit seasoned librarians who have been in the field for a while?

Amanda: One of the beautiful aspects of librarianship is that the profession continues to evolve to best meet the needs of our patrons and communities. Librarians encourage lifelong learning, and this course is an opportunity to both refresh and reset skills related to the core competencies that are central to providing library services to children. The course will offer an opportunity for participants to expand their thinking outside their own personal experiences or practices and provide an opportunity to learn from the shared experiences of others.

What tangible product or tool will participants leave the course with?

Amanda: Participants will build a competency-aligned professional portfolio during the course. This portfolio will be a working document that will leave room for growth as participants move forward beyond the course. My hope is that the portfolio will support participants as they are job searching, seeking opportunities for self-guided or further professional learning, supporting performance evaluations, and advocating for their libraries. Participants will also work to build personalized frameworks that can be used to align their own practice to the competencies.

Visit the ALSC website to learn more about the upcoming asynchronous course Utilizing the Competencies to Boost Skills and Services.

This post was written for the ALSC Education committee by youth librarian, Annamarie Carlson.

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