Guest Blogger

Ever-Evolving ERGs #PLA2024

I attended a presentation on Employee Resource Groups, one of my rare non-youth-related sessions from this week. Kristy Lorenz (Columbus Metropolitan Library, OH) told us about her experiences in the Working Caregivers Employee Resource Group (or ERG) and shed light on the way these groups can have ripple effects throughout the organization. While an organization might view ERGs as beneficial mainly because they promote retention and provide a way to gather feedback from different groups, staff can benefit from the supportive environment in so many ways. These groups provide a play for validation, a sympathetic ear to have your voice be heard, and also a soft place to land for new employees. They can exist for members of a particular race or ethnicity or for people with shared experiences, such as parents and caregivers of elders. Lorenz highly recommended the book The Power of Employee Resource Groups (Berrett-Koehler, 2022), by…

Guest Blogger

Baby Time Boredom No More at #PLA2024

It seems like baby time boredom is sweeping the nation, if the turnout at my first presentation for the day, Baby Time Boredom: Building Culturally Responsive Programming for Ages 0-3, was any indication. Annamarie Carlson (Westerville Public Library, OH) and Sarah Simpson (a former librarian and current Family Engagement and Literacy Specialist at the A. Sophie Rogers School for Early Learning at The Ohio State University) presented to a full house of fellow children’s services librarians waiting eagerly for fresh ideas on this classic program. Using a culturally responsive model looks different at every library, and that’s exactly the point. By weaving your patrons identity into your programming, you make things personally relevant to a family’s experiences. Simpson talked about pulling inspiration from “funds of knowledge” – children’s accumulated experiences in their households with siblings, friends, communities, and caregivers. In addition, it’s important to think about your community expansively. How…

Guest Blogger

Wide Open Spaces #alsc22

Just as folks turned to backyards and public parks during COVID lockdowns, libraries had to shift their focus outdoors during building closures and beyond. Michelle Willis from Scotch Plains Public Library (NJ) demonstrated in “Beyond Storytime: Library Programs the Snap, Crackle, and Pop” with Denise Lyons (SC) that moving programs outdoors can be more than a solution – it can enhance them. And in “Black Kids Camp Too, Don’t They?” Michelle Martin stressed the need for more representation of Black children and families (and BIPOC at large) in wild, outdoor spaces. 

Guest Blogger

Reflecting on the Pandemic Reminds Us of What Matters Most #alsc22

What did your library do during during COVID-19 lockdowns? How did your services shift as infection rates, building closures, mask mandates, and patron safety shifted? And most importantly, what effect did this have on your staff and the children you serve?  With the help of Samantha Eichelberger and Rosana M. Santana from Schaumburg Township District Library (IL) and Sarah Koncos, Glenside Public Library (IL), we gathered to consider these questions and more at “Pivot! Adapting Programming for School-Aged Children in a Changing World”. After hearing about how these libraries tackled the many challenges of the early pandemic with their school-age services, much of this program was devoted to small-group discussions of our own libraries’ responses. Now, I have to make a confession – I didn’t work in libraries until the summer of 2021. I didn’t experience the abrupt and unexpectedly long building closures, nor did I contribute to any of…