Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Save Time and Alleviate Evaluation Stress with these 8 Questions

Emotions are high, and energy is low. Chocolate overflows on every youth services workroom counter. As soon as we hand out the last incentive, relief roars across the children’s floor. Summer was great. Summer is done. Now it is time to buckle down, plan for the slower pace of fall, and think about plans for next year. Yes. That’s right. We get to do this all again. How will you evaluate this summer’s learning program and plan for next year’s while you are still recuperating from the summer sprint?

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

All Early Learning All the Time at ALA Annual 2023

As my colleague prepared to attend her first ALA Annual Conference in Chicago later this week, I found myself daydreaming of the sessions I’d attend. My colleague is an adult services librarian, so her professional interests vary wildly from my own in youth services and early learning. I decided to scour the official scheduler to find all the early learning options and share my findings below. Definitely check out the 2023 ALA Annual Conference Scheduler to view session descriptions in full; I’ve only included a very succinct summary (any quotes are taken from the session description). All events take place in McCormick Place unless otherwise noted. Thursday and Friday These days include preconference workshops and professional meetings, many of which need a pre-purchased ticket. The opening general session features Judy Blume (!!) and the exhibit floor opens with lots of giveaways. Saturday Bright and early from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m….

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

The Changing Face of Summer Reading

Spring is in the air here in Washington, D.C. and I find myself thinking ahead to the upcoming summer months. We will be starting our annual Summer Reading Challenge soon. At my library, this is geared towards people of all ages though it is more popular with the children. In past years, we have had game boards with different activities for each age range including our youngest patrons ages birth to five. Some of these activities are as simple as reciting your ABC’s. Older preschoolers have had the opportunity to practice writing. These activities seem geared towards early literacy which we know is very important for emerging readers. In addition, we often have special guest performers who get the children further excited. Past visitors have included science programs as well as storytellers. We also have had the Washington Nationals, our local baseball team, as one of our sponsors. This has…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Picturing Palestine

President Biden officially declared April National Arab American Heritage Month and in that spirit, this post will take the opportunity to highlight some picture books about Palestinian Arabs, a group that does not often make it onto our library shelves. For an excellent discussion about the absence and erasure of Palestinian stories from the publishing landscape please see this discussion from November 2022 between Betsy Bird and Nora Lester Murad in SLJ’s fuse 8 blog. The selected picture books listed below celebrate and highlight Palestinian culture, self-determination, and identity, while also acknowledging the loss and trauma faced by Palestinians due to their expulsion from their homeland and subsequent life spent under military occupation, in refugee camps, or in exile. For other related picture books about the refugee experience please see the ALSC blog post Exploring the refuge child experiences through picture books. For books for older readers about Palestinians and…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

(Low Budget) Program in a Post: The Floor is Lava

Planning for summer reading while programming for spring is tiring. This easy, low-prep, low-budget program is perfect for spring break and no-school days. Check it out! Overview “The Floor is Lava” invites families of all ages to take the classic living room and playground imagination game to the next level. They must use the available materials to make their way across the “lava” floor, but be careful not to touch the ground or be tagged by the lava monster.  The combination of open play and nostalgia was a hit with both grownups and kiddos, with 60+ participants stopping to play between 10am-6pm.  Supplies Use what you have on hand. Here are some suggestions: Families will be creative with whatever you provide. Many things can be donated by local businesses (cardboard boxes!) or borrowed from staff. Set Up Spread the supplies out across the room. Families are encouraged to move things…


A Few Unique Ideas for Summer Reading Performers

In many places around our country, January equals cold temperatures, barren trees, and dark days (even as the sunlight slowly increases each day). The perfect time to discuss and start planning summer programming, am I right? In fact, I’m not the only one contemplating Summer, as Jonathan Dolce just posted a list of excellent resources on the collaborative summer library program theme in All Together Now 2023 SRP. In addition to program planning, many of us may find ourselves starting the elusive search for performers. We hope to find the right combination of popularity and budget to draw our communities into participating in our Summer Reading Programs. Hopefully most of us involved in this tedious research already have a master list of performers or participate in library Facebook groups like Programming Librarian Interest Group to solicit ideas. My goal is not to offer ideas for big names or trends, but to instead…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Food, Love, and Grandparents

The month of December, when extended families often get together to celebrate their respective religious or cultural traditions, is a great time to also celebrate the multigenerational connections that many children have with their grandparents. The following selection of picture books celebrate the bonds between children and grandparents that are made stronger through cooking and sharing food. Whether it’s identifying which wild vegetables should be harvested and how they should be prepared, waiting for dough to rise, or navigating the multistep process of making tofu from scratch, the deliberate, thoughtful, and often lengthy process of meal preparation leads to deeper communication and understanding between the grandparents and grandchildren in these stories. See also the recent post Around the World With Foodie Picture Books which features several books about children connecting with a grandparent over food. What else is out there that is missing from this list? Please share your favorite…