Over the past year challenges to books in school and public libraries have garnered a lot of media attention. Most of these challenges are books that feature characters that identify as LGBTQ+ and that address racism in its many forms. Article III of the Library Bill of Rights states: Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
It’s that time again! Spring Break! We all have muddled through winter and children and their parents are ready to get out and enjoy a week off in warmer weather. This is your opportunity to capitalize on the change of season! Caregivers are looking for ways to keep their kiddos busy during spring break and this is a great time to make connections.
It’s been a tough few years, with more uncertainties ahead. We’d like to take a moment to pause and pass out virtual gold stars to you, and you, and you! How are you so awesome? Give yourself a star for every time: All your planning went sideways. You did the pivot dance. You learned a new kind of technology. You experimented with new ways to deliver services. You stepped up to provide patron services you normally didn’t do. You helped keep your library open with the bare minimum of staffing. You kept your calm on the outside when your inside was screaming. We’d wager that you have enough gold stars to wallpaper your library. Queue the thunderous applause! Is it any wonder that you feel so tired? Now that you’ve paused to reflect on everything you’ve achieved (yay you!), how are you holding up?
In the Fall of 2021, José-Luis Orozco, internationally known bilingual educator and performer, received a bilingual plaque awarded to him by Bibliotecas Para la Gente: The Northern California Chapter of REFORMA. REFORMA is an affiliate of the American Library Association.
Every year, as the autumn chill settles in the air, librarians everywhere begin anew the endless debate over the recognition of religious holidays in our public libraries. Since public libraries (like public universities or public schools) are technically government funded, their activities are limited by the provisions of the U.S. Constitution. In the case of issues surrounding religious holidays, the limiting provision is called the Establishment Clause, in which the government is forbidden from “an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” (U.S. Const. amend. 1). These ten words have been some of the most controversial in American history, and far be it for us to discuss all the aspects of that here, but the essential part to know is this: as a public institution, we are obligated to walk the narrow path of neither encouraging nor discouraging any one religion.(1) The reality is that the relationship between…
The season of thanks and giving is upon us! In this second year of the pandemic, gratitude is grander, more profound, and even sweeter. In the Public Awareness and Advocacy committee, we are particularly grateful for ALSC and all children’s services workers. ALSC staff and volunteers have kept up the great work in the midst of shutdowns, furloughs, and staff shortages. It is because of them we are able to join together (usually virtually) and continue to do the work of supporting our libraries and communities. They have continued meeting regularly, posting to the blog, and doing good work on behalf of children’s service workers everywhere. Children’s services workers have provided virtual and outdoor programs, take home crafts, and online reference without skipping a beat. Their hard work on behalf of their community has kept children and families engaged. This holiday season, the ALSC Public Awareness and Advocacy committee is…
Recently New York Public Libraries made national news when it announced that it would be ending late fees in their continued efforts to promote equality. Dayton Metro Library in Ohio, where I work, ended fines for overdue items on January 1, 2018. Within 6 months our system noted that while our revenue from fees and fines were lower as expected, the overall loss was worth it in light of improved patron interactions and increased access to materials for young patrons.
More of our patrons are getting vaccinated against Covid-19 and our library systems are slowly easing back to normal operating hours and codes of conduct. Children’s librarians are still walking a tightrope of safely providing services while dealing with the reality that our charges (children ages 0-12 years old) are not able to get vaccinated yet. Outdoor programming is great for families that can make it work for their schedules and register far enough in advance to avoid being put on a waitlist. However most of my families do not fit into that category. This summer my library has maintained our focus on “take and make” crafts and projects, and put an increased amount of effort into creating engaging passive programs that families can participate in during their brief visits to pick up books and report summer reading challenge points.