Beyond Sensory Storytime at #ALSC14

Renee Grassi led this informative session on serving children (and adults) with special needs. She started off by sharing the rationale behind expanding services to this population: To provide a supportive and inclusive environment for a traditionally underserved group in your community. She also shared some startling statistics: Nearly 20% of the US population lives with a disability- about 13% with a severe disability. Only 56% of students w/ autism finish high school, even though there are more than 1 million people w/ autism in the USA. For those wondering where to begin w/ developing services for people w/ special needs, Renee suggests starting with conversations- get to know people and talk to them about what they need and want. One way to do this is by offering family tour services at the library. This can be available for any family- special-needs or just new to the community or library….


Using Volunteers to Expand the Walls of the Library

Laurie Willhalm started off this session by telling the history of Books for Wider Horizons, an outreach program of the Oakland Public Library that sends well-trained storytime readers into childcare centers and preschools in the city’s poorest neighborhoods. They started with about 3 volunteers and have grown over the past 20 years into a corps to 60 volunteers making 71 weekly storytime visits to 1300 kids at 31sites! Celia Jackson explained the logistics of how the program works: They are continually recruiting, in order to replace volunteers who drop out or retire. The m ajority of their volunteers are reached by word of mouth, and they also list themselves on a website called Volunteer Match. Careful screening is key to ensuring that the volunteers area good match for this program and understand the training and time commitments. There is a wirten application with references (which they carefully check), and a…


STEAM Power Your Library at #ALSC14

The marvelous Amy Koester shared a brimful hour of ideas and information about doing STEAM eight kids in the library. (For those unfamiliar, “STEAM” = Science, Tech, Engineering, Arts, & Math) The first thing Amy said was: everyone can STEAM; no special content expertise is required! After all, all of us have science and art competency greater than or equal to a preschooler. Next Amy posed and answered the question: Why STEAM in the library? First of all, kids LOVE it, and interest is a powerful motivator for learning. But also, modern literacy is multifaceted- today’s learners don’t just need reading skills- they need the intellectual skills of a STEAM mindset. Amy took us on a whirlwind tour of how she does each of the elements of STEAM first with preschoolers and then with school-age kids. In a Preschool Science program: introduce a concept, read a book and talk about…

Institute 2014

Tech Access on a Budget at #ALSC14

Mary Ann Scheuer, Cen Campbell, Suzanne Flint, & Claudia Haines led a wide-ranging discussion of tech in library children’s services, and how to afford it. They began with the core values of Accewss, engagement, creativity, and learning; and talked about how technology use fits into these values. They (and the audience) shared lots of examples of low and mid-cost uses of tech in the library that promote these values: Access app chats-Demonstrate and have a conversation in the library w/ parents & caregivers about using quality apps with their children in an engaged, developmentally appropriate way. Bonus points for incorporating the ECRR 5 Practices into shared parent/child tech use! eReaders for students- libraries write grants to make a circulating collection of (eReaders and content) available to students Community Tech Experts & Technology Sharing- Businesspeople and other community members with tech gear and know-how share their expertise, demo the equipment, etc….

Institute 2014

The Science of Poetry @ #ALSC14

I love science, and I love poetry, so attending this session was a slam-dunk decision for me! This program was hosted by Sylvia Vardell and featured the poets Alma Flor Ada, Susan Blackaby, F. Isabel Campoy, & Janet Wong Sylvia Vardell started us off by reading a poem call ed “Recycling” by Susan Blackaby, then walked us through the steps of “Take 5 with Poetry & Science:” 1. Read the poem aloud 2. Read again, inviting kids to participate in the reading 3. Discuss and research the poem and its topic 4. Connect the poem to a specific science topic with a demonstration or hands-on activity 5. Share more, related poems & other readings Susan Blackaby shared some of her lovely poems and discussed the connections and similarities between poetry and science. Both science and poetry require precision, careful use of language, trying and trying again, and making revisions. Both use…

Institute 2014

Making Advocacy Awesome @ #ALSC14

Making Advocacy Awesome @ #ALSC14 My first program of the conference was led by the awesome triple-threat team of Jenna Nemec-Loise, Helen Bloch, and Katie O’Dell. They jam-packed their session with information and inspiration to turn us all into powerful advocates for libraries and children’s services. Jenna Nemec-Loise started us off with a tour of the excellent & comprehensive resources on the ALSC Everyday Advocacy Website: www.ala.org/everyday-advocacy, and described the elements of advocacy: Be Informed Engage w/ Community Speak Out Get Inspired Share Your Advocacy Story Helen Bloch talked about “building the foundation,” or having the groundwork already done, the relationships already established, etc. so that you are ready to advocate for your library at any time- to respond to crisis or to seize an opportunity. Think about advocacy in terms of Who, What, Where, When, Why, & How. Who- budget deciders, possible allies, local media What- Demonstrate the value…

Guest Blogger

#ALSC12 Closing session: Nonfiction Books for Kids with Bryan Collier, Doreen Rappaport, and April Pulley Sayre- and farewell!

Alas, I had to leave to catch my flight home before the end of the closing session. My travel companion had to tug me out the door as I hung back to catch just a few more words from April Pulley Sayre, who was still speaking. I didn’t get to hear Bryan Collier at all 🙁 BUT! What I did get to hear was great! Doreen Rappaport captivated us with snippets of stories from her historical nonfiction. She told us that she never fictionalizes the historical events and people in her books- everything she writes is based on painstaking research with first-person accounts and other primary sources. For Beyond Courage: the Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust, she was able to locate and interview three surviving Jewish Holocaust resisters to get their stories, and verify the accuracy of what she wrote. “This was a BIG book!” she told…

Digital World

#ALSC12 Phones, iPads, eReaders, & Tablets: Keeping Kids Connected to the Library

Laura Anderson Brack shared some valuable information on using mobile and eReading devices, eBooks, and apps. There are so many options, and that’s part of the challenge! You can loan devices in-house, circulate devices, or just offer services for customers’ own devices. There are kid-specific devices like V-Tech and LeapFrog tablets, some of which use downloaded apps and some of which use cartidges. Some libraries circulate cartridges for popular kids’ devices, some just keep them on hand for in-library use. We talked about program ideas using apps and devices- from using iPad apps and kids’ ebooks in storytime, to “self-publish your own eBook” workshops, and podcasting clubs, and simple “eReader Help Labs” Lots of people chimed in with ideas and favorite apps! There are also some interesting services that libraries can offer to customers for their devices. Besides OverDrive for eBooks, there are Zinio (for eMagazines), and Freegal and other…