Guest Blogger

Making Meaningful Connections and Sharing the Knowledge

Day 2 at #pla2024 was filled with formal and informal sharing about creating connections with our communities and trying to meet the social-emotional learning needs of our patrons. Ann and Ellie both wrote about the “Baby Time Boredom” session, citing ways to be more culturally responsive in our services to babies, toddlers and their caregivers. There were so many “ah ha” moments there, easily incorporated into current services I know we already do in my library system.

Two sessions addressed social-emotional learning (SEL) and what libraries can do: “Programming Holistically: Building Social-Emotional Learning into Library Programs” and “Storytimes as Social Spaces: Encouraging Community Cultivation and Social-Emotional Learning“. Each emphasized the importance of incorporating with intentionality a variety of activities and practices which will help children and teens develop the social-emotional skills needed for positive outcomes in life. Some of what was said may be things you already do, such as greeting patrons by name and talking with families after programs to build relationships, but knowing that it is more than being “nice” but meaningful and vital to growth were good things to hear.

But the learning isn’t just happening when sitting in one of these amazing sessions, but also when talking to other attendees when in line to get coffee, or in the exhibits, or after a session. These are meaningful connections that we all need regardless of whether you work in a large multi-branch system or in a small library as a single children’s librarian. We grow and thrive when we share what works and it isn’t stealing when someone else gives it a try. We’re all in this together and we need to help each other do our jobs as best as we can, in order to serve our communities as best as possible.


Judy Ehrenstein (she/her) is a Children’s Librarian. She is excited to be attending the PLA Conference and hearing about amazing programs and services. At the conference, you may see her snacking on trail mix. A favorite book she remembers fondly is The Girl Without a Name by Gunnel Beckman. She read this title as a child and the moving tale of friendship and compassion has stuck with her for years.


This post addresses ALSC Core Competency VII: Professionalism and Professional Development

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

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