Blogger Chelsey Roos

On Building Reading Comprehension: Jerry Craft’s New Kid and Themes of Prejudice

Back when we could still host in-person programs, my book club for fourth to sixth graders met to discuss Jerry Craft’s New Kid. I was confident they were going to like it – it was about to win the Newbery (among other awards), and I had been on a hot streak of choosing books my book club adored (not to brag!). I opened our book club discussion the same way I always do: by asking who liked the book and who didn’t, and by reminding them that it’s okay not to enjoy a book we read – they won’t hurt my feelings by expressing their opinions. This opening question lets me discretely check on their reading comprehension without feeling too much like a quiz. I was surprised when almost all my kids said they didn’t like the book – but I was downright shocked when I asked them to talk…

Blogger Chelsey Roos

How Do You Choose Your Next Project?

How do you decide what programs and projects to bring to your library each year? For the last five years, I’ve had a lot of projects I’ve wanted to do “someday.” A tiny sampling from my giant list includes: A librarian get-together for all the area school library staff once a semester A toddler process art class Creative writing classes for elementary and middle schoolers A book club for our 1-3 graders A storytelling festival A monthly parenting seminar featuring local experts and resources A back-to-school night for area teachers to visit the library and pick up free books to build up their classroom libraries So, so much more Big Dreams, Little Programming Space All of these projects have remained dreams instead of realities, because no matter how hard I try, I can’t do everything (can you relate?). I work for a public, county library, at a busy branch where…

Blogger Chelsey Roos

How Do You Organize Your Reader’s Advisory Tools?

In the pre-COVID days, few things would make me more anxious than an unknown patron walking up to my desk and asking for reader’s advisory on a particular topic or genre. Despite the fact that I love children’s books of all kinds, read hundreds of books a year, and will talk your ear off about my favorite authors unprompted, the words “Can you recommend…?” make my brain shut down. I immediately forget every book I’ve ever read, liked, or even heard of. If children’s librarians can get reader’s advisory-related stage fright, then I’ve got it in spades. In the Before Times, my favorite method of reader’s advisory was to walk up and down the aisles with a patron, chatting with them about what books they like, and which ones they don’t, while I quickly scan the shelves for a title that will reboot my library brain.  Thanks to COVID, however,…

Blogger Chelsey Roos

Zoom Storytime Catastrophes and Other Online Disasters

An incomplete list of things that have gone wrong in my Zoom storytimes: My internet went out I played a song too loudly on the ukulele, which led to Zoom automatically turning down my volume, which led to no one being able to hear me when I began to read the next book I completely forgot the chords to a song I have known for at least five years (see also: things that have gone wrong in my in-person storytimes) A child burst into tears over being muted after interrupting too many times A child drew all over the screen share when annotations were accidentally turned on A caregiver accidentally took over the screen-share (luckily only displaying emails and spreadsheets), while I went into a panic over getting control back We belatedly discovered our new event registration software allowed patrons to register for Zoom events with only a phone number,…

Blogger Chelsey Roos

The Witches, Roald Dahl, and a Renewed Legacy of Harm

Recently, HBO adapted Roald Dahl’s 1983 novel The Witches into a film. This isn’t the first time the extremely popular novel has been adapted – it was first made into a film in 1990, and has also been turned into a radio play and an opera. It’s also a novel that’s built upon a framework of antisemitism. Dahl and Antisemitism A brief summary of The Witches, if, like me, you never read it as a child: a young boy discovers that his grandmother’s stories about witches are true. He stumbles upon a large gathering of them, lead by the Grand High Witch. So far, so fine. The problems begin when you examine the way Dahl describes these witches, and how they align with antisemitic stereotypes: The witches are described as powerful, extremely wealthy, and lurking in society, secretly passing as “normal” women. This is built upon the antisemitic, and completely…

Blogger Chelsey Roos

Child Sexual Abuse: Supporting Young Survivors Through Collection Development

According to the CDC, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys will experience sexual abuse at some point in childhood. A statistic like that takes your breath away. The last thing we want to think about when we’re helping a child find their next favorite book is whether they’ve experienced some form of sexual abuse or harassment. We can’t tell just by looking if the kids who come into our library have experienced abuse, but we can make sure we have the resources we need to help them.

Guest Blogger

So You Just Attended a Conference. Now What? with #ALSC20

Every time I get a chance to take in ideas from other library staff, be it at an in-person conference, virtual conference, webinar, book, or blog, I leave positively bustling with ideas. For about a day. Then the problems and doubts begin to set in. My manager says no. I don’t have the budget. We don’t have the space. I don’t know enough about this topic to do this. There are so many ways we need to improve.

Guest Blogger

Transforming Incarceration Visitation Spaces at #ALSC20

In their “Collaborating to Create Welcoming Spaces for Children, Youth and Families” session, the Hennepin County Library in Minnesota shared a variety of ways they have transformed their spaces to incorporate play spaces for the whole family. One of the most stunning transformations they shared was one in an adult incarceration facility, where they added play experiences to the rooms used for video visitation.