Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Trauma Toolkit

In January 2024 the Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee published the Early Childhood Trauma Toolkit in order to support caregivers and library workers working with young children (ages 0-8) who have experienced trauma. The resources included are books and booklists, podcasts, videos, websites, and articles. Additionally, each of these sections provides materials for use by caregivers, families, and library workers. Our committee is grateful to the ALSC Quicklists Consulting Committee for compiling and annotating a list of picture books for caregivers to share with children. As mentioned in the toolkit’s introduction, trauma is vast and manifests in many forms. According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, “A growing body of research has established that young children may be affected by events that threaten their safety or the safety of their parents/caregivers, and their symptoms have been well documented. These traumas can be the result of intentional violence—such as…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Sing Talk Read Write PLAY

I’m lucky enough to co-present storytime at my location on Fridays. We’ve been examining our storytime routine and doing some deep thinking on how we are integrating the five early literacy practices of sing, talk, read, write, and play. We determined we needed to find a way to better incorporate PLAY into our storytime. But how would we do this and where to put it?  We like to incorporate a variety of inclusive movement activities. Therefore, we decided on a rotation of three activities – parade, follow the leader, and dance. We’ve placed this play time strategically between both books and sandwiched it between some breathwork to bring us back.  For logistics, we use a portable bluetooth speaker that is synced to my phone. When we do follow the leader and parade, I carry the speaker with me and start the line while my co presenter brings up the end…


Stuck Creatively? Look for Inspiration!

When you’re tasked with being creative as an ongoing function of your job, the toughest thing can be coming up with new ideas on a continual basis. Where do you find unique ideas? What inspires you to be creative? A few of my no-fail options include: The American Library Association’s Programming Librarian is a valuable resource that includes program plans and calendars of events. Got a big idea but aren’t sure how to fund it? The page also includes information about programming grant opportunities. If you’re here then you already know the merit of the Association for Library Services to Children website. On the site you can find book lists, continuing education opportunities, and a list of very valuable professional tools. Jbrary is an irreplaceable resource for so many things. Even if it’s an “old” resource to some, it can still get those creatives ideas flowing. Sometimes seeing a song…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Art Appreciation at Storytime

During the weekly, all ages storytime I co-present on Fridays, we do art appreciation. This occurs after I finish reading the first book. At this time, everyone is instructed to “find your grown-up” and we pass out half sheets of paper that all have the same piece of art printed on them. While passing out the art, we instruct grown-ups to ask their child(ren) “What do you see?” If their children don’t talk yet, I encourage them to describe what they are seeing with as much detail as possible. Generally, this art relates to one of the two books we are reading that day. After about 20 seconds, Monet Manatee asks the entire group, “What do you see?” Children are encouraged to verbally share what they are seeing as I restate what they have shared for everyone to hear better. There are no hands being raised or protocols, just talking….

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Incarcerated Loved Ones: Picture Books 

We often think of divorce or military service as events that might contribute to families being apart, but family separation due to imprisonment is also a reality for some of the families we serve. According to recent data from the Prison Policy Initiative, almost half of the over 1 million individuals in our prisons are parents to minors and nearly 20% of those minors are under the age of 4. Although a higher proportion of parents in prison are fathers, the imprisonment of mothers has been steadily increasing. Vera, a prisoner advocacy organization, explains that (due to institutional racism and bias) the parents of children of color and children experiencing poverty are more likely to have their behavior criminalized, resulting in harsher charges, and longer sentences than their peers. We obviously don’t know our patron’s personal stories, but given these statistics we should assume that all of us at any…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Focusing on Consent @ Storytime

Consent is a topic I’ve been more intentional of integrating into all the storytimes I plan. This is often done in small ways but every now and then, it’s the theme! To become even more intentional, I was excited when the opportunity presented itself to begin collaborating with a local health organization, Canvas Health, once a month at storytime. One of their Prevention and Education Specialists, Jasmine Lee, attends storytime. Then, I have them do their own introduction after we’ve sung our last song. They never read or lead a song so that our routine stays the same. Jasmine keeps their intro brief and brings a handout about a health topic of interest such as setting boundaries or consent that grown-ups are welcome to take afterward from a table. This partnership is essential for local families so they have a familiar face should a problem arise or they simply have…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Keep It Simple

Children’s librarians are some of the most creative people I have ever met. Some of the programs and storytime crafts I have seen over the years have really been impressive. But, all these great ideas take time to flesh out and put into a program. And sometimes, many times, we just don’t have the time. That’s where the old phrase “keep it simple” came into play for me this past summer. During the school year, we peppered our program schedule with what we viewed as “anyone can run” programs. Bingo days, play dough drop-ins, and Game Club, to name a few. These programs garnered some big attendance numbers. For a one-hour play dough drop-in, we had 51 people attend and they stayed the entire time! As we began planning for summer programs, I realized my programmers were a bit burned out and the new ideas were just not flowing. That’s…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Focusing on Pronouns @ Baby Storytime

Hello! My name is Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez and I use she/her pronouns. I’m a children’s librarian for Washington County Library at the Park Grove Library in Cottage Grove, MN. This is my first ALSC blog post and I’m excited to share how I address pronouns at baby storytime! Baby storytimes are the ideal place to foster conversations with grown-ups so they are more likely to talk with their babies (or toddlers) about the same content at home. Pronouns are often an important part of someone’s identity. Therefore, I find it important to talk about pronouns at storytimes regularly and focus on them specifically a few times a year.  For baby storytime, I like to use The Pronoun Book and integrate the three most oftenly used pronouns in the songs and rhymes.  These pronouns include:  The main rhyme I like to pair with this text is Little Mousie Brown. I encourage grown-ups…