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.

Guest Blogger

Welcome to Reading kits with Denver Public Library and #ALSC20

In their session, “Help! My Child Is Learning How to Read: Supporting K-3rd Graders and their Families,” the Denver Public Library shared their strategies for making sure they were serving their K-3 population well as they developed into readers. Part of their mission was to make sure that staff were as able to serve this age group, as they are dedicated to serving pre-readers.

Blogger Chelsey Roos

How to Conduct a Diversity Audit

I learned about the concept of a diversity audit from a School Library Journal article by Karen Jensen. In a diversity audit, you evaluate an existing collection or service provided by your library to get hard numbers on how diverse your collection or service truly is. This can cover anything from seeing what percentage of your board books feature non-white characters, to how many LGBTQ+ titles are written by Own Voices authors, or evaluating the performers you’ve hired over the last year to see if they are representing diverse cultures.


Should You Attend a Virtual Conference? #ALAVirtual2020

Now that the 2020 ALSC National Institute will also be transitioning to a virtual conference this year, it seems like virtual conferences will be our new normal for awhile. How do you know if a virtual conference is right for you? Here are some pros and cons from my own ALA Virtual experience. Pro: You can spend the entire conference in your pajamas and no one will judge you. Con: No one can compliment your cool collection of children’s book-themed t-shirts. Pro: No airfare, hotel stay, or food budget means virtual conferences can be much more affordable, especially for those of us who have never been able to attend national conferences before. Con: Instead of seeing a new city, you only see your couch, and instead of enjoying some tasty conference dinners out and about, you’re stuck with what’s in your own fridge. Pro: Many of ALA’s session this year…


Are You Violating Copyright? at #ALAVirtual2020

This year’s ALA conference has had a few sessions on aspects on our new COVID world. One, called “Trouble in Paradise: are you violating copyright by using social media read alouds?” featured four panelists, who gave their interpretations on copyright law for several scenarios. Most relevant for most of us, was this scenario: Can I post a read aloud or storytime to social media however I want, and then, if challenged, just say that I’m a librarian or educator and need to use it to support my students in a special circumstance? The firm answer from the panel was no. Special circumstances, be they a hurricane or a pandemic, do not exempt us from following copyright law. Here was some of their advice: Avoid posting on public channels that anyone can access. A private Youtube channel is better than a public Youtube channel. And even a private channel can still…

ALA Virtual Conference 2020

Healing Reading Trauma at #alavirtual20

In the presentation Healing Reading Trauma: Rebuilding a Love of Reading Through Libraries for liberation (presented by the awesome Julie Stivers and Julia Torres), I learned the term “reading trauma.” What is reading trauma, you might ask? When a student has such a poor experience with their literacy education, that they come to feel shamed, stupid, and unrepresented in the world of books, then they’ve experienced reading trauma that can negatively affect not just their entire education, but their self-image as well. What causes reading trauma? According to Stivers and Torres, some of the causes include: High-stakes testing, which encourages students not to engage authentically with their education, but to instead “perform” a false form of scholarship that seeks to simply regurgitate the answers wanted by the test givers. A fixation on “classics,” most of which are written by dead, white, straight, cis-gendered men. Many of these classics both reinforce…