ALA Annual 2019

Bystander Intervention at #alscmm19 #alaac19

At the ALSC Membership Meeting on Monday morning, fellow ALSC Board member Elisa Gall and I gave an introductory presentation on the topic of bystander intervention. The topic of bystander intervention is important for all library workers, both in the context of the spaces in which we work and serve our communities and also in the context of our participation in professional spaces like a conference. Elisa and I focused our content on how to apply bystander intervention principles in a professional space—a particular need given past and continued harassment of colleagues in these conference spaces. What is bystander intervention? “Bystander intervention” refers to the actions we take in order to keep spaces free from harassment and hate—something we all have a responsibility to do. Harassment is purposeful and repeated conduct that is unwanted and known to be offensive. Harassment, in the context of this introductory training, is different from…

Blogger Amy Koester

Collaboration for Learning: Notes from the Public Libraries & STEM Conference

I was recently able to represent ALSC at the Public Libraries & STEM Conference in Denver, CO. The conference was kept very small–around 160 people total–and thus was very concentrated, with plenty to learn from and discuss with colleagues from libraries, STEM organizations, and other institutions with missions for informal learning. And while the small size necessary means that the participant pool was limited, the takeaways weren’t. I particularly want to share with you one of my major takeaways: the library as a single element in a larger learning ecosystem. Note: I tried visual note taking at this conference. Since my handwriting isn’t always great, I’m transcribing text in the captions of images. Here’s what I learned and have been itching to share: There were several goals of the Public Libraries & STEM Conference, but one in particular resonated with me immediately: to figure out what STEM/STEAM in public libraries…

Blogger Amy Koester

What does an author think of Día?

As part of the lead-up to formal Día celebrations in April, I had the privilege of interviewing an author of multicultural and multilingual books for children–the inimitable Pat Mora herself, author and founder of Día! Ms. Mora is an outstanding advocate for youth literacy, and the books in her body of work are a joy to share with families any time of the year. It was my pleasure to ask Pat Mora a few questions. Q: You’re the founder of Día, and you’re also an author of children’s books. How do these dual roles affect how you think about Día? Pat Mora: My first published book was A Birthday Basket for Tía, 1992. I quickly became aware how many children did not have books in their homes and how many families, particularly non-English speaking families, had not embraced their literacy role. I also became aware that many book buyers of…

Blogger Amy Koester

Thinking about STEAM as Pop-Up Programs

One of my goals for programming at my new library is to increase the frequency of pop-up programs in the youth area. We offer a great range of formal, specific-place/specific-time programs every quarter, but I’ve been thinking about whom these types of programs engage. I’m still learning the demographics of youth and families at my new job, but I do have the feeling that the Venn diagram circles of kids who come to the library and kids who come to programs are not wholly overlapping. Why not provide pop-up programs, then, that can take place in the open, without registration restrictions or time requirements, on days and at times when lots of kids are in the space? And why not structure these pop-ups around STEAM activities, which kids are hugely enjoying? Here are five potential pop-up programs, one for each STEAM content area. These pop-ups would be facilitated and supervised by a…

Blogger Amy Koester

The Science of Slimy Things

A few months ago, one of my frequent program-goers made a request: Would I please be able to offer a program that includes slugs, one of his favorite animals? I was inclined to agree to the challenge, even before said child had his mother email me a photo of him with his three pet slugs. How’s a librarian to say “no” to that? I gave some thought to how I could meet the “slug” challenge while also closing out a season of many science-themed programs. I decided to return to a favorite concept with school-agers–slime–and explore it from two different perspectives: animal biology and physics. Thus “The Science of Slimy Things” was born. The program was divided roughly into two parts, the first considerably less messy than the second. We opened with an exploration of slugs–pictures, how they move, their scientific names, how they differ from snails, and the purpose…

Blogger Amy Koester

Excellent Explosions! Chemical Reactions for Preschoolers

Mine is one of the myriad libraries celebrating science this summer through our “Fizz, Boom, Read” summer reading program. Much to the delight of my STEAM-loving heart, all branches across my library system have hosted a ton of science programs this summer for every age. Some were led by outside groups like the St. Louis Science Center (always tap your local STEM resources!), and others have been led by in-house staff. They’ve all been a huge hit with kids and their families. One of my most successful in-house preschool programs this summer was a recent program titled “Excellent Explosions.” Here’s what we did. Excellent Explosions: A Preschool Science Program While I did have plenty of materials on hand for attendees to check out, this wasn’t a storytime program, per se. That is, I didn’t share a book at the beginning of the program as I usually do in my Preschool Science programs….

Blogger Amy Koester

Tap the STEM Resources in Your Community!

My monthly post here on the ALSC Blog usually chronicles my personal adventures in STEAM programming at my library–programs that I’ve created from the bottom up, and which I lead. Since this is the summer of all STEAM all the time, however, I’ve been thinking about the variety of community resources that libraries can tap in order to supplement their home-grown programming. Are you looking for knowledgeable, engaging presenters to help diversify the STEM options at your library? Here are some ideas of places to look in your community. Children’s Museums & Science Museums – Children’s museums and science museums can range from small operations to massive institutions, and pretty much all of them are interested in education and outreach. Find a museum in the general vicinity of your library, then check out the museum’s website. Oftentimes, the museum will list their ready-to-go outreach programs on their website, allowing you to…