New Opportunities: Connecting Virtually with Parents and Caregivers

Among the many ways in which it has changed our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic has demanded that library staff responsible for creating and carrying out programming be almost endlessly innovative. I have the privilege of working with and hearing from children’s librarians and staff across Suffolk County, New York, as they’ve navigated our new reality. We’ve had many discussions in programming meetings about trying out new virtual programs only to have them flop, and how much harder the feelings that come with a flopped program can hit these days. However, our discussions, we try to keep present in our minds the fact that our current circumstances provide a silver lining of room to innovate: with patrons’ needs and behaviors upended and changing all the time, the justification for trying new things has never been stronger. One of the programming areas for which there is new potential is virtual programming for…

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Bundle Up Books for Young Readers!

As we explore opportunities to serve our communities in this unprecedented time, a path my library has recently taken has been to create a quick access browsing collection.  At the Wilsonville Public Library, we opened the building at the end of June with limited services. We are lucky that the configuration of our newly redesigned library allows patron access to the central area of the library. Since we are unable to open the library stacks to the public for browsing, we added this “grab and go” collection on the display shelving that had in the past been used for new adult fiction and adult non-fiction. Library staff pull different catergories of library materials for different age groups and bundle 3-5 items together with stout rubber bands. We call this quick access collection Book Bundles To Go. Our visiting patrons constantly tell library staff that Book Bundles To Go is a…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

It’s Just Stories, Isn’t It?

At some point working in a children’s library setting, this may happen to you. Whether it’s the library board, the city council, an administrator, or even one of your customers, they will observe a story time program, be suitably impressed by your event, and ask quite innocently about what exactly you are doing. To the uninitiated, what happens in the room is fun and entertaining. A great place to be in and of itself, but we all know there is lot more to it. Admittedly, in one way or another, these questioners are the ones who pay for what we do, so this provides a great opportunity to inform and enlighten. It’s time to break out your best elevator speech that lends method to the madness. Here at the library, during our infant, toddler, and preschool programming we build a foundation so when young children are taught to read, they…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Early Childhood Resource: The State of Babies Yearbook

Earlier this month, Zero to Three debuted the State of Babies Yearbook 2020. The Yearbook is a huge collection of data about children 0-3 that has been compiled and organized to allow users to see national trends and trends by state. Data from the Census Bureau and the National Survey of Children’s Health, among others, are used to show profiles of specific indicators that are critical to the healthy development of the very young. Compilations like this one can be extremely valuable to librarians. We can use it to advocate for programs and services, develop initiatives, write grants and obtain other funding and simply be aware of some of the factors that have a big impact on our youngest patrons and their families. It is also an important reminder about how important things like the Census are to gather data – without them, we don’t have a clear picture.

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Supporting At Home Storytimes

One of my favorite ways to present storytime for preschoolers is to use a theme. Sometimes I will incorporate more than one theme into a storytime to cover more ground. For example, I’ve paired counting and animals, and letters and colors. This gives the storytime some structure, and it also helps me to build strong and easy transitions from one song, story, finger play, or action rhyme to the next. While most of the country is still under stay at home orders, we can share this kind of information with parents and caregivers during virtual storytimes or virtual early literacy lessons with those who are running out of ideas for achieving adequate learning time and some entertainment at home.

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The Dreaded Storytime Audition

You’ve made it!  You actually survived the application process and phone interview. Now you have that opportunity to shine in front of a real audience of some library staff.  Perhaps the library has assembled some families with young children.  This final interview for the children’s library job you want includes a storytime audition. Having been on the giving and receiving ends of these mini-events, begs the question; what makes a good story time?  Hiring managers want to know, and so do hands-on administrators who want to the best possible staff.  Being the former, and faced with the requirement to prepare the later for what they will observe, I needed a way to make sense of it all.  I needed something to validate my emotional reaction that said, “This is the person we should hire!” None of what follows is particularly original on my part, but rather an amalgam of stuff learned the hard way over…

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Honoring Infancy: Upcoming Webinars!

In April and May, the Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee will be hosting a series of free webinars on the topic of working with infants in the library. Here’s what’s coming: The first is Honoring Infancy: Growing the Garden – Nurturing a Play and Early Learning Space on Tuesday, April 14th at 3:00 PM Eastern. “Let’s Do It” you proclaim. As a youth professional you have established the importance of play. But how do you get there and create a space supported by the library and your community? Join Mike Rogalla and Tori Ogawa from ALSC’s Early Childhood Programs & Services committee as we explore library play and learning spaces for the youngest of patrons. Whether you’re working with a small budget or looking to redesign your space you can create a play and learning space. Register here. Next, we will offer Honoring Infancy: Libraries Welcoming Babies on Thursday,…

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Passive Programming Builds Community

Winter and spring breaks are coming up, which means our libraries might be more crowded than usual! This is a great time to engage library users, but can also be a bit stressful when trying to manage many age groups simultaneously. Your regularly scheduled toddler storytime now might include older siblings attending, and your children’s section might be filled much earlier than usual. So, how do you balance all of your patrons’ needs simultaneously? Passive programming! But, passive programming is so much more than a tool to help you multitask; it helps build community.