Everyday Advocacy

Supporting Staff Well-being

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. *Disclaimer* I am not a healthcare professional. I am a reader and a hard-working mental health advocate, both personally and professionally. Self-care and wellness are frequent buzzwords in articles discussing the workplace. Why? What’s changed (other than the obvious) to warrant an uptick in administrative discussions surrounding mental health and career? And why should we as managers devote time and space to discussions on well-being? There are a myriad of reasons why we should all be focused on mental health, but for brevity and deliverability, I will focus on three. I’m sure…


Robust Policies to Protect Patrons and Staff

Younger, Jamar. “Guards, police keeping order at PIma County libraries for $750K a year.” tusan.com, 16 March 2014. https://tucson.com/news/local/guards-police-keeping-order-at-pima-county-libraries-for-750k-a-year/article_88cb1d09-85e5-51c9-a54b-3f6c4c7e5b10.html Accessed 18 November 2022. Creating a safer and welcoming environment in the library is nothing new. However, in the past decade safety in the library, and outside on library property, has become a major concern for patrons and staff. Today, we are dealing with an environment where patrons and staff are increasingly looking over their shoulders. For patrons, they are at a point where they will leave the library if another patron is causing problems. Especially in the Children’s area. I have seen parents leave with their children to get away from angry or loud patrons. For staff, they are afraid to even do their job especially when a patron is yelling or getting angry as they are not sure if that patron will become violent or will accost them in…


Considering Reconsideration  

“In 2021, the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services, affecting 1,597 books.” (ALA.org) How have these challenges impacted your library? Do you find yourself working harder each month to defend the collection, displays, and programming choices at your library? Providing library services to children has always required a solid background in intellectual freedom and over the past year the importance of access to strong tools, policies, and procedures has become paramount. Banned Books Week 2022 is September 18-24, the week before the 2022 ALSC National Institute in Kansas City, Missouri. To highlight best practices and share resources in support of Intellectual Freedom, ALSC Managing Children’s Services 2021-2022 Committee is honored to be hosting a round table discussion on managing material reconsiderations. If you are attending National Institute, we invite you to join us to discuss trends in intellectual freedom, review…


Leveraging School Partnerships

Building relationships with other organizations can take time and continued effort before you finally start to see the fruits of your labor. The results of these partnerships can go beyond what you thought possible at the onset and bring forth great benefits for both organizations and the community as a whole. This is made even more challenging with staff turnover (in both organizations) and having new people step in to maintain the relationship. Our service area, Oklahoma County, has 15 public school districts, the largest of which is Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) which has about 34,000 students at 33 elementary schools, 12 middle schools, 8 high schools, 4 alternative schools, and 6 charter schools.  ONEcard In the fall of 2016, we began the ONEcard program with Oklahoma City Public Schools. This program automatically gives all OKCPS students a library card that matches their student ID/lunch number. Parents/guardians have the…


Celebrate Summer with Audiobooks

Ah, June. School is out. Summer Reading has begun. And many families are ready to travel. Since June is Audiobook Appreciation Month, what better way to celebrate both audiobooks and summer than with titles great for family sharing? Added bonus – depending on your library, it might count towards Summer Reading for everyone!  I’ve been hooked on audiobooks ever since a grad school assignment required me to listen to one. I had tried listening to books a few times, but just couldn’t get into the format. One book changed it all: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, narrated by Lynn Redgrave. I was drawn into the story in ways that I never imagined possible. It was pure magic. And it was a perfect way to pass the time over my weekly 6-7-hour (roundtrip) commute.  In this digital era, it seems that the library’s physical audiobooks collections are slowly becoming obsolete. Many households…

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Thank you and grateful for Public Libraries

Over 20 years ago I was new to America. Everything was new. I left behind my family and friends in India. I was fortunate that even before I learned to drive, I was introduced to the Public Library. I was not used to Public Libraries as we do not have them in India. I was used to school, college and university libraries, circulating libraries run out of garages or special libraries to which we had to purchase membership.

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Collaboration and Equity for Summer Programs: A Recap of a #PLA2022 Preconference

The PLA conference was over a month ago, but I’m still unpacking the preconference I attended. “Best Practices for Summer Learning Based on Racial Equity” was a half day workshop presented by Christy Estrovitz from the San Francisco Public Library, Sheryl Evans Davis from the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, Christi Farrah from the Massachusetts Library System, and Elizabeth McChesney from the National Summer Learning Association.  The workshop revolved around the 2021 “Everybody Reads” summer program sponsored by the San Francisco Public Library along with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. Like everyone else, the Library had to think fast about how to offer a summer reading program during the pandemic. The program consisted of a kit that included a 38 page full color booklet that featured eleven books for a variety of ages. Each book is a positive portrayal of an underrepresented community. The booklet includes activities to go along…