Uncategorized

Walk The Line: Religious Holidays and Children’s Programming

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…

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

Gratitude

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…

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

A Case for Ending Library Late Fees

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.

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

Passive Programs in a Time of Transition

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.

Uncategorized

Outdoor Storytime Survival Kit

Your library system has okayed outdoor storytime for the summer. You’ve read all the posts about best practices, planned a flexible program full of music, dancing, and big books and you’re ready to get started. Before you turn on your headset microphone, make sure you have these items packed in your go bag: Water. Don’t forget to stay hydrated! You will want to bring your own water bottle, especially if the program is off site.  Sun protection. It will be hot and if you live in the deep south like me, it will only get hotter. Bring sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen to protect yourself.   Bug spray. Is your program at a park or nature preserve? Don’t forget your bug spray! You don’t want to be slapping away mosquitos while singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It”.  Hair tie. You WILL sweat and if you’re a long haired individual…

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

One Voice Magnifies the Message

Library associations are key advocates for the future of libraries. These associations are made of membership from academic, public, school, special, and state libraries. However, in order to communicate an effective message, the many must become one. One Voice leads to stronger membership, stronger professional development, stronger legislative cohesiveness, and stronger advocacy effectiveness. The State Ecosystem Task Force of the Committee on Library Advocacy (COLA) was created to help build stronger relationships between associations, state library organizations, and ALA. The task force created One Voice: The Toolkit to help library organizations access and extend the strength of their ecosystems. What is a library ecosystem? The Library Ecosystem definition from the ALA Ecosystem Initiative Website is as follows:  A library ecosystem is the interconnected network of all types of libraries, library workers, volunteers, and associations that provide and facilitate library services for community members; families; K-20 learners; college and university communities;…

Uncategorized

Spotlight on: Managing Children’s Services Committee

The Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee is excited to share information about another ALSC committee with you! Previously we have featured the School Age Programs & Services Committee, the Library Services to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee, and the Early and Family Literacy Committee. This month we are highlighting the Managing Children’s Services Committee. Co-chairs Krista Riggs and Mike Rogalla kindly answered our questions so you can learn more about this Priority Group VI committee! Can you share a brief history of the committee? The Managing Children’s Services Committee was established in 1990 at the request of the ALSC board of directors. It consists of two co-chairs, appointed in alternating years, plus eight members appointed from the ALSC membership at large, plus one CORE liaison [formerly LLAMA]. The committee functions virtually, with members serving two year terms. What is your committee’s charge? To identify best practices and emerging trends…