Blogger Ernie Cox

Minecraft Programming for Tweens

Has your library ventured into the realm of Minecraft?  Are you looking for new ideas to serve your tween patrons?  I encourage you to consider investing in a Minecraftedu account.  This digital environment offers your tweens and the librarians serving them a wealth of programming options. Why spend money for an edu account? As a school librarian the edu account gives me control over the Minecraft experiences I offer my students (including the “freeze students” feature). It allows me to custom build what will happen in this space.  If you’re ready to step into the role of digital media mentor this is a prime opportunity to do so.  Tweens will come to Minecraft programming (you will have a waiting list!).  Many of them will bring a wealth of previous experiences. Others will come with little to no knowledge of how to get around. As a librarian using a Minecraftedu account you can offer…

Blogger Ernie Cox

Start Seeing Middle Grade (Part 1)

A 6th grade girl entered the library with a look of trepidation.  She needed a book for her independent reading time but was convinced there was nothing for her in our collection. As we talked she expressed the frustration of searching for books in the Young Adult collection of the local public library. She told me how nothing in that collection was right for her. Fortunately the Prairie Creek Intermediate School library is built around the needs and interests of the 800+  5th and 6th grade students who attend our school.   Of course we have YA titles on the shelves but we also have a large collection of materials intended especially for this unique audience. Drawing distinctions between YA and middle grade literature is an important topic for librarians serving the upper range of the ALSC scope of attention (birth to age 14).  In a two part posting we’ll…

ALA Annual 2013

2013 ALSC membership meeting

An earlier post provided an overview of our annual membership meeting held during the ALA annual conference in Chicago. This post will give more details of the discussion we had around the topics of Play and The Common Core. Rita Auerbach and I provided brief comments to contextualize the topics followed by open ended questions to provoke conversation.  I attempt to summarize the trends, ideas, and observations shared by participants. Common Core State Standards Rita began this open mic session with a brief overview of the Common Core State Standards. These standards were developed at the behest of the national Governors Assn. and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in Social Studies and STEM subjects as well as standards for Mathematics education were released in 2010 and have now been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. Standards for Science…

Blogger Ernie Cox

Cultivating Digital Lives

Looking for new ways to engage and recruit tween patrons? Would you like to integrate more digital technology into the programming plans of the library? Maybe finding a new method for middle graders to record summer reading is on your to-do list. A simple solution to these questions and more is Kidblog; a basic version of the WordPress blogging platform (the one used for this blog) intended for use with youth in schools and educational settings. Digital Reality If the idea of providing tweens with library sponsored blog accounts makes you a little uncomfortable let me recommend some readings to ease your mind. A recent report from The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop entitled “Always Connected:The new digital habits of young children” (pdf) provides some vivid examples of the large volume of media exposure and consumption young children experience on a daily basis, on a variety of devices….

Awards & Scholarships

2011 Sibert Award call for suggestions

The 2011 ALSC/Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award Committee is asking the ALSC membership to submit titles for consideration. The Sibert Award is presented annually to the author, author/illustrator, co-authors or author and illustrator of the most distinguished informational book published during the preceeding year. Honor books may be named. Informational books are defined as those written and illustrated to present, organize, and interpret documentable factual material for children from birth through age fourteen.  Poetry and traditional literature are not eligible. Authors and illustrators must be U.S. citizens or residents. Other terms and criteria can be found on the ALSC website. The 2011 Sibert Commitee calls on ALSC members to submit titles for consideration. Please remember, only informational books from the  2010 publishing year are under consideration for this award. Suggestions will be solicited and accepted throughout the year. Please submit your suggestions to the committee chair, Barbara Brand at…

Blogger Ernie Cox

Food Marketing to Children & Teens

A new report from the Federal Trade Commission entitled Marketing Food To Children and Adolescents: A Review of Industry Expenditures, Activities, and Self-Regulation: A Federal Trade Commission Report To Congress has been made public. The press release and full report (PDF) are available online. Some highlights from mandatory reporting from 44 companies in the year 2006: spending was $1,618,600,000. 63% of this total was used to market fast food, carbonated beverages, or breakfast cereals. television is still the predominate advertising medium intended for children (46%). new media (Internet, text, email, viral web) accounted for only 5% of youth marketing expenses – keep in mind it is cheaper to produce this type of media. spending on packaging (e.g. cereal boxes) and in-store displays equaled 12%. cross promotion was used for as many as 80 movies intended for youth. This advertising technique, which includes fast food tie-ins, toys, and Internet games is…

Blogger Ernie Cox

Movers and Shakers 2008

Library Journal has published its 2008 list of Movers and Shakers.  Among those recognized are several librarians who serve children.  And they are: Devo Carpenter, Children’s’ Program Specialist, Austin Public Library – created the award-winning Second Chance Books program for incarcerated youth (including children under 14 years old). Sarah Erwin, Assistant Director, Kirkwood Public Library (MO) – Youth services with a punch (and an impact on the bottom line). Lucí­a Gonzí¡lez, Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) – storyteller extraordinaire. Tony Tallent, Director of Youth and Outreach Services, Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (PLCMC) – launched the Tricycle Music Fest  for young children and their parents. If someone is missing from this list please leave a comment about them. Do you know someone serving children who deserves recognition?  Consider nominating them for the 2009 Movers and Shakers list (deadline is 11/24/2008): 

Blogger Ernie Cox

Bill Morris Seminar – a participant’s view

I attended the first Bill Morris Seminar on Book Evaluation organized by ALSC during ALA midwinter in Philadelphia. Background information about the Seminar was provided by KT Horning in a previous post. As a relatively new member of ALSC, this was a career defining moment. I joined 25 other children’s librarians from across the country to learn about book evaluation and service on ALSC awards committees. Our facilitators were some of the most experienced children’s librarians in our association. Almost two months have passed since the seminar and I continue to think about and benefit from the experience. Here’s how: Expanding my professional network – Being the only librarian in a K-8 school serving approximately 500 students, I quickly realized the benefit of using ALSC-L and other professional list servs to communicate with fellow librarians. The Seminar expanded my professional network to include other relatively new librarians as well as…