Despite their atrociousness, book bans are on the rise in school districts and libraries across the United States. In these times of uncertainty and volatility, I believe now more than ever in the importance of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the American Library Association (ALA). Organizations like these, and especially their members, are invaluable to those serving children and their caregivers. Besides just being an excellent resource, ALSC is a community that supports library staff who work with the youth. Being a part of ALSC has been a huge help for me to grow and succeed as a children’s librarian.
I first joined ALSC back in May 2015 when I was just finishing up the first semester of my MLS program. I decided to take advantage of the very inexpensive student membership option! Throughout the years I’ve been involved in ALSC, I’ve had the opportunity to create meaningful connections with other individuals in the profession. I’ve also gained knowledge that assisted me in implementing new programming, as well as upping the game for the programs I could probably do in my sleep at this point!
Library staff who work with kids are phenomenal people! We use creativity and flexibility to help guide the youngest patrons to discover their interests and have fun! With all that we’re called upon to do, it can be difficult to find the time for keeping up with current trends in our field and thinking long term about what each of our communities may need. After all, we don’t (and can’t!) know everything, but we do know how to find accurate information on whatever subject we’re looking into.
This ALSC blog has been an absolutely essential tool for me. Recently, it assisted me in learning the best practices for developing Sensory Storytimes programs after my library made the decision to introduce them to our community. With the day-to-day tasks I work on, I struggled to find the time to really delve into the research. From using the information I found on this blog, I was able to create a plan for the program, as well as become less nervous about doing something new.
Being a part of this group has given me confidence and taken away a bit of the imposter syndrome I carry around. I know for sure that being an ALSC member has made me feel as though I’m moving both this organization and the field of children’s librarianship forward in a positive way. So join ALSC! And if you really want to dive in, join a committee too! This guide has information on what each committee does, so you can find one on a topic you’re really passionate about.
Ashley Bressingham (she/her) is the Librarian II/Children’s Room Assistant Supervisor at the New Rochelle Public Library and a member of the ALSC Membership Committee.
This blog post relates to ALSC Core Competencies of: VII. Professionalism and Professional Development.