Greetings ALSC Members! As the world awakens and returns to a post-pandemic sense of normalcy, I can’t help but think about the significance of the work of children’s librarians in today’s chaotic world.
Like so many of you, I am still dumbfounded by the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, May 24, scarcely a couple of days before the end of their school year and the start of summer break. We grieve, once again, over the loss of children’s lives in the sanctity of their most sheltered space – their school. On the day prior to the looming tragedy, Martha Carreon, the children’s librarian at the El Progreso Memorial Library in Uvalde, prepared for her upcoming story-times while still finalizing plans for an exciting “Oceans of Possibilities” summer reading/learning program. According to an article on NBC News, the day after the appalling event the heartbroken librarian “stood in front of a group of 10 smiling faces, struggling not to cry,” and proceeded to conduct the story time, “as the children laughed and sang along with her.”
Ms. Carrreon’s courage and resilient spirit exemplifies how libraries are community anchors, and how the work of children’s librarians remains at the forefront in providing a safe haven for the most vulnerable in times of chaos.
Politicians talk about arming teachers, erecting walls, hiring officers, or writing new laws. In the meantime, children’s librarians continue to labor on our quest to “engage communities to build healthy, successful futures for all children” while we toil to create and maintain open welcoming spaces, meaningful programs, and well-balanced/inclusive collections for all.
The impact of our work is very extensive and therefore not always easy to measure. ALSC supports and disseminates the library specific research through informative webinars and virtual courses, the creation of toolkits, and through the work of its numerous committees. One toolkit that I’d like to highlight this summer is the Learning Beyond: 21st Century Summer and Out of School Time Program for Youth Toolkit. The toolkit, created by ALSC’s Summer and Out-of-School Time Task Force, provides valuable data and practical guidelines for structuring a summer learning program centered on equity.
As I get ready to wrap up my year of service as the 2021-22 President of ALSC, I look forward to the opportunity of meeting so many of you attending the ALA Annual Conference in DC. I would also like to specially invite you to attend the 2022 Charlemae Rollins President’s Program, Boundaries Be Gone! Using Stories to Intersect and Connect, featuring authors, illustrators, and librarians addressing how they break boundaries with their own voices, using their specific skills to promote connections.
I’ll see you in D.C.!
Lucia M. Gonzalez
ALSC: Association for Library Service to Children