Guest Blogger

#ALSC12 We hear from Gary Paulsen

Where to even begin with Gary Paulsen’s author talk at the ALSC Institute? I don’t dare try to transcribe it; he’s (ahem!) salty in his language. But what a talk. Mr. Paulsen spoke of his lonely and hopeless childhood (“I’m one of the kids who fell through the cracks. You didn’t want me in your house. You definitely didn’t want me to meet your daughter later.”), his salvation from illiteracy by a librarian at age 13, the U.S. Army and the many adjectives for “maggot” wielded by his drill instructor, getting lost in downtown Anchorage with a dog team and asking for directions to the Iditarod, dogs and horses he has known and loved, why there should be hunting seasons for lawyers, heart doctors, and stockbrokers… and much, much more. He broke our hearts and made us die with laughter and stirred us to keep to our calling: “We are…

Guest Blogger

#ALSC12 Shake Shimmy and Dace: Using Music with Preschoolers

Kate Schiavi of Louiseville Free Public LIbrary packed so much great info (and so much fun!) into this program! We learned a bit about music theory and “musicality” development in early childhood, the link between music and literacy, and how music supports multiple intelligences. Kate shared something that should motivate us all to include music in our children’s programs: research shows that “if musicality is not nurtured, it begins to diminish around the ages of 5-9, and music listening becomes passive. Some studies show it begins to decline as early as 24months as many parents begin to sing less to their children.” What a loss for children, to lose the music that’s born into their souls! Next we learned ways to build music into our programs, from how to choose great books that lend themselves to music, to great artists and songs to try, to awesome props and activities and…

Digital World

#ALSC12 Moving Mock Newbery Online

The VERY enthusiastic Angela Nolet of King County Library gave an engrossing presentation about her system’s Mock Newbery program, and how it grew and changed from a small in-person staff development activity just for youth-services librarians into what it is today: an online anual months-long event centered around a blog (with Facebook, too), open to participation by the whole community and integrating students from area schools. It was this partnership with the schools that was most exciting to me: the students become SO PASSIONATE about advocating for their favorite books to win that they spend days and weeks preparing their speeches and arguments, which they present to their fellow participants at voting time. Engagement with text much? Angela shared a lot of inspiration alongside of a lot of practical tips, and she did realistically caution us that this kind of thing takes time and staff. It isn’t something you can…

Caldecott 75th Anniversary

#ALSC12 Breakfast for Bill with Denise Fleming, Kevin Henkes, Eric Rohmann & Ben Sapp

What an amazing breakfast program! I forgive them for starting at 7am. The panel consisted of: Ben Sapp of the Mazza Museum (“The mission of the Mazza Museum is to promote literacy and enrich the lives of all people through the art of children’s literature.” It’s in Findlay Ohio, and now I need to take a field trip. But I digress.) and Caldecott-winning author/illustrators Denise Fleming, Kevin Henkes, and Eric Rohmann. All 4 of the panelists are delightful and insightful. Denise Fleming is hysterically funny, to boot! They talked about their first reactions to learning they’d won the Caldecott (Eric Rohman: “Why is the Library Association calling me in the early morning? Do I have overdue books or something?!”), the effect the Caldecott has on an illustrator’s career (“It Shines a light on your work.” -Denise Fleming), their artistic processes in making books, and their thoughts on picture books translated into electronic…

Early Literacy

#ALSC12 Ready to Read Corps: Columbus Metropolitan Library Taking Every Child Ready to Read to the Streets

Sarah mackey of Columbus (OH) Metropolitan Library gave an inspring program on the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s amazing early-literacy outreach program, the Ready to Read Corps. Their goal was to connect with the families whose children are most in need of early-literacy activities, and who are “off the grid” in terms of using library services. With a small grant-funded staff and giveaway early-literacy kits, they went to food pantries, social-services offices, and right into homes in their city’s poorest neighborhoods. By forming relationships, meeting parents and caregivers where they are, and customizing their service for each family, they have acheived impressively positive results that can truly change these children’s lives forever. I kind of want to cry right now, it’s that good.

Early Literacy

#ALSC12 Storytime (and More!) for Teen Parents

Maryann Mori gave a really informative session on working with pregnant and parenting teens. Teen parents often have a lot of needs: they need help with education, jobs, entertainment & social outlets, parenting skills, referral to services, and simply finding an adult to trust. Libraries have a LOT to offer to help meet these needs, but teen parents and their advocates need to know what we can do for them. Publicizing your resources and making community connections are vital. Maryann shared a model of how the Every Child Ready to Read program can be adapted to serve teen parents and their little ones, by strengthening the teens’ parenting skills, encouraging them to read with their children, and boosting their understanding of child development and early literacy. Teen parents who participate in this kind of program are much more likely to continue using early literacy practices with their little ones, to…

Guest Blogger

#ALSC12 Officially Begins!

ALSC Institute 2012 Officially kicked off with the Welcome Session. Association President Carolyn Brodie shared brief opening remarks and introduced our Institute Task Force (thanks to them for all their hard work!). We heard about the terrific programs to come, the networking opportunities through ALSC Connect, and the fabulous door prizes. So excited to be under way! Now it’s off to the 21st floor for “Storytimes (and More!) for Teen Parents.” More dispatches to come!