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Documenting Personal Experiences During the Pandemic

Welcome to Ask ALSC, where the Managing Youth Services Committee asks leaders in children’s libraries to share their response to an issue or situation.  We hope to showcase a range of responses to topics that may affect ALSC members. If you’d like to respond to today’s topics, or suggest a topic for the future, please leave a comment. Documenting Personal Experiences During the Pandemic September, 2020 This morning I noticed yellow leaves on the Sweet Gum Tree outside my front door.  I glanced down the block at the Sugar Maple of my neighbor and sure enough, reds and oranges are signaling change.  When the leaves fall in my hometown children return to school and football becomes priority one.  This year, of course, is different. Families face an impossible choice this fall; risk the health and possibly the very life of their children by sending them to school, or risk their…

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Taking Children Reading to Dogs Virtual

Like so many of us, March rolled around and stay-at-home orders forced us to quickly adapt the way we provide library services. Storytimes and book clubs went virtual, staff created engaging videos, and we hired presenters to film music and fitness videos that we could share online.  After a hearing from participants of our popular, Children Reading to Dogs programs; one of our children’s librarians brought the idea to our Engagement and Program services department to see if it was possible in this landscape. What we did We transitioned our in-person Children Reading to Dogs program into a 45-minute virtual program. Children’s Librarian Allie Barton proposed the idea, and with this in mind, our Volunteer Coordinator, Digital Services and Strategy Manager, and Teen Services Manager met to determine a format that might work.  Once that was determined, we created best practices, guidelines, and a schedule for the virtual program. The…

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Outreach Programming in Urban Libraries

  An important aspect of every librarian’s job is outreach.  Engaging with our neighborhood daycares, preschools, and schools is a wonderful way to share the joy of reading, engage our youth, model early literacy to teachers, and promote our libraries.  My library branch reaches over 300 students a month through outreach, which ranges from the traditional story time to curriculum based programs selected by teachers. Our traditional story time outreach is similar to other libraries and includes books, songs, story boards, movements and finger plays.  An additional part of our outreach that’s received positive feedback is the accompanying craft.  Every story time outreach includes a craft and the materials needed to make the craft.  Included with the craft materials is an activity sheet (one per child) with a picture of the completed craft and step by step instructions on how to complete the craft.  The activity sheets also includes the…

Administrative and Management Skills

Reporting Suspected Abuse or Neglect: Why We Need Policies in Place

We have all been there: witness to a parent/child interaction that gives you pause. Or having a child in a program share with you something that raises red flags for that child’s well being. As children’s librarians, how do we handle these situations? How can establishing clear policies and procedures about suspected abuse or neglect help us to navigate them?

Administrative and Management Skills

Ask ALSC: Storytime Collaboration

Welcome to Ask ALSC, where the Managing Youth Services Committee asks leaders in children’s libraries to share their response to an issue or situation.  We hope to showcase a range of responses to topics that may affect ALSC members. If you’d like to respond to today’s topics, or suggest a topic for the future, please leave a comment. As the country practiced stay-at-home safety, libraries and librarians dusted off their tools and created virtual storytimes and activities that created additional resources for families during this difficult time.

Administrative and Management Skills

Greenish: How one children’s department is trying to be better at the three R’s

“The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein is a very polarizing children’s book. Some people say it is a heartwarming story about a tree that is always there for a boy when he needs it. Some people say that the boy selfishly took from the tree without ever giving anything away himself. Whether or not you think this book is fundamentally heartwarming or appalling, one thing always stays the same – the tree loses its resources over time.  As a children’s librarian I am in the world of paper, so I am not advocating for the abolishment of printed books any time soon. The research clearly shows the benefits of holding a physical book vs. holding a screen for young children. I merely want to try to be better stewards of everything we do in our children’s department that supports literacy.  When I was a young kid in Alabama, I remember…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Finding Renewal in 2020: Expert Leadership Advice

Taped to the metal cabinet in my work cubicle is a list of tips to “Get Unstuck in 2018” that I printed from author and leadership expert Robin Sharma’s website two years ago. The reminders provide guideposts to help me lead by my best example. I’m struck by the similarities between Sharma’s advice for leaders and the pearls of wisdom for early childhood educators collected from Mr. Rogers of children’s television fame, further strengthening my belief that children’s librarians make the best leaders. Below are my favorite mashups from both experts, Robin Sharma (RS) and Fred Rogers (FR). I hope you find them as helpful as I have in rediscovering my center and redefining my values for guiding a team in the new year: Tip #1: RS: “Ordinary people talk about goals. Leaders get them done. With elegance, brilliance, and finesse.” (1) FR: “There’s a world of difference between insisting…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Family Engagement During Storytime: Shifting from Performer to Early Literacy Facilitator

Welcome to Ask ALSC, where the Managing Youth Services Committee asks leaders in children’s libraries to share their response to an issue or situation.  We hope to showcase a range of responses to topics that may affect ALSC members. If you’d like to respond to today’s topics, or suggest a topic for the future, please leave a comment.