Blogger Jeanette Larson

A New Dí­a Is Dawning

For the past month I’ve been working with Linda Mays to update and relaunch the ALSC website for El dí­a de los niños/El dí­a de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), also known as Dí­a. Dí­a is an enhancement of Children’s Day, a day designed to bring attention to the importance and well-being of children. Author Pat Mora added Book Day, linking the celebration of childhood and children with literacy and bilingual reading. On April 30, 2011, many libraries celebrated Dí­a’s Quinceañera, its 15th birthday. That special birthday marks a transition from childhood and is a signal of maturity. In preparation for the new website, I spent time looking at the many ways libraries of all types have celebrated Dí­a. The wonderful mix of ideas and the wealth of talent showed me that we really are entering the young adult years of Dí­a. Programs have grown from simple bilingual storytimes to elaborate on-going…

Blogger Jeanette Larson

Halloween Storytime

One of the best professional development opportunities I have is teaching a class on programs for youth in libraries. I learn so much from my students! Many of the students are already working as teachers or in public libraries so I try to make the assignments very practical. For one assignment, students are required to observe a storytime program at another library. Even the most experienced programmers find this to be enlightening as they always learn something new or are reminded of something they used to do but haven’t included in a program for years. For another assignment, they put together a sample storytime. This past summer Stephanie Leslie, who volunteers in an elementary school library while attending graduate school, submitted a Halloween program that I thought was just too wonderful not to share. I love the simplicity of the craft and the way it reinforces early literacy skills for preschoolers…

Blogger Jeanette Larson

What’s With Webinars?

A few years ago Susan Raab of Raab Associates, a childrens book marketing firm, and I started offering webinars for librarians. At the time few people knew what these were and although we felt there was a lot of promise for continuing education, the comfort level for potential attendees was low and there were a number of technical problems that participants had to be ready to deal with. Fast forward about three years and webinars are everywhere! So what’s a webinar? Essentially it is web-based conferencing that allows participation in a presentation, seminar, or workshop without leaving the comfort of your own computer. For children’s librarians webinars are becoming the way to go for continuing education. Fewer of us can dedicate the travel and class time to attend face-to-face courses. Most webinars last 60 to 90 minutes, allowing us to get a smaller chunk of information on a targeted topic. While…

Blogger Jeanette Larson

Where Can I Find….?

Some of the most frequently asked questions on a lot of the listservs like PUBYAC and ChildLit have to do with how to find books for children in languages other than English. While it has gotten a little easier to find books in Spanish, other languages can be more elusive. Large distributors like Baker & Taylor and even smaller suppliers like Texas Overlooked Books provide categories that help librarians locate Spanish language books. Even the ubiquitous Amazon has a Libros en español section. But try finding titles that are available in German, Italian, Chinese, Hmong, or any of the other rainbow of languages spoken by residents in our communities and it is almost impossible. And that, of course, is why so many of us send out pleas to our colleagues for help. Check out publishers like Star Bright Books for titles in languages ranging from Arabic to Vietnamese. On the website you can sort…

Blogger Jeanette Larson

Many Children, Many Cultures, Many Books: Fifteen Years of Dia

One of the best opportunities for professional development comes at conference. I admit that after 35 years working in libraries–and attending at least that many ALA annual and midwinter conferences–I don’t attend many of the programs. Been there, done that. However it was inspiring and informative to participate in the celebration program for 15 years of El dí­a de los niños/El dí­a de los libros. This celebration of bilingual literacy, born in 1996 when author/advocate Pat Mora was inspired by a traditional Mexican celebration of children, Dí­a’s mission is to spread “bookjoy” every day by linking children from all cultures with books, and celebrating together on and around April 30. Cynthia Richey, ALSC Past-President, welcomed everyone to the program and talked about the place Dí­a has in ALSC. REFORMA President, Lucia Gonzalez, gave an inspiring overview of the birthing of Dí­a and the maturation of this Latino “child” that was now celebrating her Quinceañera (15th birthday)….

Awards & Scholarships

Shine a Light on Dí­a

It can feel a bit uncomfortable to brag about your work and we are often reluctant to shine a light on ourselves. But awards and other honors put the spotlight on best practices and encourage others to emulate your successes. And if you don’t shine a light on your wonderful programs they may be overlooked! That would mean the rest of us don’t learn about your success. If your library hosted a program for El dí­a de los niños / El dí­a de los libros,  consider submitting your good work for the Estela and Raíºl Mora Award. Established in 2000 by author Pat Mora and her family to honor their parents and to motivate libraries to celebrate Dí­a, fifteen programs have been honored since its inception. While some libraries won after several years of Dí­a programming, others, like the Santa Barbara Public Library System are relatively new to the celebration….

ALA Annual 2011

A Great Dí­a

By all accounts celebrations of El dí­a de los niños/El dí­a de los libros were fabulous this year. In spite of budget cutbacks and lower staffing levels, as many or more libraries celebrated bilingual reading this year as celebrated last year! But whether you hosted a Dí­a event or not, don’t rest now. To get a sense of what went on this year and begin to prepare for the upcoming year, visit Pat Mora’s website and click on the short video to hear directly from Dí­a’s founder  about the 15th Anniversary activities. In her presentation, Mora reminds us that through Dí­a we are trying to link all children to books, language, and culture. She mentions that we may have originally thought of Dí­a as being a one day celebration, primarily to encourage bilingualism in English and Spanish. However, through various Dí­a activities and programs we hope to encourage children to hear and read…

Blogger Jeanette Larson

Multi-lingual programming for Dí­a

This month libraries will celebrate the 15th anniversary of El dí­a de los niños/El dí­a de los libros. This celebration, usually held on or around April 30, recognizes a year’s worth of programs and activities linking all children to books, languages and cultures. One question that founder and author Pat Mora is frequently asked is whether the celebration is only for Latinos and Spanish-speakers. While many librarians do focus on Spanish-language materials, the celebration is also an opportunity to recognize the beauty of any and all languages. There are many wonderful books that feature other languages that could easily be used in  Dí­a programming regardless of whether the audiences speaks or understands another language. One great idea for multi-lingual programming comes from Kenton County (Kentucky) Public Library. The staff selects a single book that is available in multiple languages. Native speakers read each page of the book in sequence so…