Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries

Creative Writing at the Library

As part of our ALSC mentorship, AnnMarie Hurtado from the Pasadena Public Library and I, an MLIS student at San Jose State University’s iSchool, created a survey about the use of creative writing programs, specifically for children, in public libraries. Both of us write as a passion, and I used to attend creative writing programs at my local library both as a child and teen, so we were both curious as to how public libraries encourage writing—especially now that many libraries are (rightfully) moving full STEAM ahead. Our main interest was in the kind of creative writing programs libraries held, and what the goals of those programs were—were they more educational, or designed for attendees to flex their creativity? Were they run by staff members, or did they give kids the chance to talk to real live authors? We shared our survey on three Listservs: CALIX (, ALSC (; and…

Children's Literature (all forms)

To the de Grummond We Will Go

A Road Trip Diary of the Special Collections & Bechtel Committee Our road trip began bright and early at 6:30am on the Friday before ALA Annual in New Orleans…  Four members of the 2017-18 Bechtel Committee met up with Clair Frederick (President of MerryMakers Inc.) and ALSC member Susannah Richards. We set off together for the two-hour trip to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, home of the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles and the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection. Upon our arrival at McCain Library, we were greeted by ALSC member and Curator of the de Grummond Collection, Ellen Hunter Ruffin. Ruffin introduced us to Jennifer Brannock (Curator of Rare Books and Mississippiana), who welcomed the group and talked about the current exhibit in the Archives’ Reading Room, “Spaced Out”.  We were amazed at the novelty and range of children’s books on display, with the focus on their cover designs. The display…

Awards & Scholarships

Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media Award seeks submissions

The 2019 Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media Award invites ALSC members to submit media for consideration. The Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media Award is new this year and will be awarded annually to the producer that has created distinguished digital media for an early learning audience. For the complete terms and criteria, refer to the page linked above.

Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries

The Human Connection: Public Libraries as Community Partners

Public librarians wear many hats.  From helping with school projects and feeding hungry children, to devising inventive ways to entertain families spending all day in our buildings, we must be ready at a moment’s notice to play social worker, housekeeper, and even parent. A tenet of our role as librarians is to embed ourselves in our community, as the library itself is a hub for collaboration and connection.  One way to accomplish this is through joining the board of directors of a local organization with a similar mission.  Having a representative from the public library at the table can provide a mutual awareness of services and programs to be marketed to those who need them. Some things to consider before pursuing board membership: Organizational vs. Individual member- Are you there as a representative or an independent member of the community? Passion for the mission- Be passionate about the organization’s vision…

Commitment to Client Group

Stork Storytime Helps Libraries Help Families Deliver Literacy

Pregnant woman reading to her "bump"

When I was a new mom, I struggled to start and maintain a daily reading routine after bringing our first child home. I knew it was important to do, but adjusting to this new little person — and all the changes that came with him — made a daily routine more hope than reality. After I began my career in library land, I saw firsthand how critical developing a love of reading and becoming proficient in it was to a child’s future success, not only in school, but in life.

Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries

Keep the Kids from Fighting in the Back Seat or Podcasts for Kids

The ALA Annual Conference is full of inspiration, networking, and ideas. It is also overwhelming. It usually takes me a few weeks to process everything I’ve heard and learned. One session I’ve been thinking a lot about was “Kids Listen: Podcasts Amplify Engagement and Learning.” My library has had a podcast for several years. We are up to Episode 103! While not exclusively for kids, we occasionally have episodes with a kid audience in mind or that are about children’s materials or programs. We are fortunate to have a great audio engineer on staff, Benny, who makes us sound professional. At the beginning we had the lofty goal of producing a podcast every two weeks. Yeah, that didn’t happen. One of the main things I got out of the session was validation that podcasts take a lot of time to produce and I shouldn’t feel bad that we are not…