One of my library’s programs that pivoted entirely to a virtual format and has now pivoted back to fully in person is NYPL After School. This is a free drop in program for kids aged 6-12 that takes place after regular school hours, Monday through Thursday, from October-June, when school is in session. We launched September 27, 2021 in 20 branches and are so excited to welcome back our patrons in person with a program designed to meet them where they are and help them recover both literacy skills and supportive connections with caring adults.
Over the last two years, many of us have found success with packaged crafts and programs for children to take home and assemble. With more children returning to the branch, my creative co-worker, Renee Roberson-Tecco, has assembled interactive displays that double as passive programs.
Each year at the Simsbury Public Library, CT we create our own Summer Reading theme. By creating our own unique theme, we can reflect our community and to be responsive to trends and themes that are important locally. Our 2021 Summer Reading theme was “Reading Reconnects Us,” which coincided well with the expanded library hours and services we were able to offer this summer. Our community was eager to return to in-person browsing, programs and volunteer opportunities and it was clear they were looking for opportunities to connect with others.
SEL – three little letters that encompass so much! According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), “Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships and make responsible and caring decisions.”1
June is Pride Month—it began as a commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, started by trans women of color, and is a month of celebration and affirmation for the LGBTQ+ community. Many children realize their gender identity and sexual orientation at a young age, even if they don’t have the words for it. Every child deserves to feel safe and accepted at all times, but especially in the library.
As library professionals, it is our job to encourage our students and patrons to read, read, read. But, are we encouraging ourselves to read? Do you ever find yourself in a reading slump?
The ALSC Mentoring program seeks to match individuals with an interest in library service to children together to learn from each other and support ALSC’s goals. Each person comes to the program with their own hopes, ideas and experiences and the program is well structured to support both mentor and mentee in connecting productively over a fairly short period of time, January- June.
As many students are heading back to in-person and/or hybrid learning after a year of learning on-line, how can we support and collaborate with school librarians to make these transitions successful for our children? One of the easiest ways to support your school librarians is to educate yourself about the standards they use when teaching children. We know that teachers in every subject and discipline use standards that address exactly the concepts and skills a child needs to show learning and mastery in that subject. Just as there are standards for every educational subject, there are also national standards for librarians.