Blogger Starr LaTronica

“Help, Thanks, Wow”

When ruminating over this past year as ALSC President, the above title of a book by Anne Lamott comes to mind. Help! Luckily, there was always plenty of it! The stellar staff in the ALSC offices was always available for support.  From guiding me through the appointments process, organizing Community Forums and other events with members, editing (so many) communications, cultivating collaborations to expand and enhance our work, to finding a way to make some cockamamie ideas concrete, they never lost their patience or good humor. My fabulous fellow Board members engaged in lofty thinking and diligent deliberation to move the work of the Association forward and always stepped forward to volunteer for each new task and accept every assignment. The truly remarkable membership continues to humble and astound me with their vision, passion and commitment to raising issues and producing results. Thanks!  So, from the above, you can already…

ALA Annual 2014

In Response to the Award Committee Conversation #alaac14

Dear fellow ALSC members: Please pardon my delay in joining the current conversation surrounding the clarification of confidentiality in regard to reviewing, social media and electronic communication for members of ALSC award committees. My hotel does not have wi-fi and the business center closes at 4 pm, (apparently most of “what happens in Vegas” doesn’t happen online), and combined with required meetings yesterday my reading and response to email has been significantly delayed. Over the past several years the ALSC office and officers have fielded a growing number of inquiries from members of award committees regarding appropriate written expression which maintains the confidentiality and integrity of the awards. The guidelines that had served us well were no longer sufficient to navigate the wildfire landscape of electronic communication and the exponential dissemination of opinion that occurs. In response, the ALSC Board appointed a task force which including past and present award chairs,…

Blogger Starr LaTronica

Inner Ps

As I was pondering the period of my presidency, I was surprised by the plethora of terms beginning with the letter “p” that apply to our profession. Passion brings us to the profession and drives our daily work. Partnerships enhance our efforts and extend our effectiveness. Possibility and potential abound in every child we encounter. Parents are our partners and a prized part of our patron base. Personal service and investment in our clientele produces eager readers and lifelong library users. Purity of purpose provides credibility and dignity in our advocacy efforts. Promise of a dynamic and engaged community is inherent in our service. Promotion of our services presents our possibilities to the public. Play is one of the most valuable tools of our work! Positivity prevails as we progress in our efforts to create a better future for children through libraries. Panache presents itself in the singular style of children’s…

Blogger Starr LaTronica

What a Wonderful Week!

We have seen a whirlwind of activity, attention, activism and acclaim for children and their books this week. The opportunities to celebrate diversity every day in libraries culminated in the officially designated day for El dí­a de los niños/El dí­a de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) on April 30.  Communities came together to explore and appreciate the rich texture that plurality contributes to their world.  As the Dí­a movement has grown, so has its recognition including the publication of an op-ed in this week’s Huffington Post which highlighted the paper The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Materials Collections for Children authored by Jamie Campbell Naidoo, PhD and recently adopted by the ALSC Board of Directors. That importance was expressed exponentially this week when Twitter resounded with #WeNeedDiverseBooks though thoughtful, poignant, articulate posts by parents, teachers, librarians, book creators, and most effectively, children themselves. The groundswell of images, emotion…

ALSC Board

The ALSC Board–active throughout the year

The ALSC Board of Directors conducts open meetings at Annual Conference and during the Midwinter Meeting, but the Board also attends to business between those occasions. The members of the ALSC Board communicate with one another and conduct association business on the ALSC Board Electronic Discussion List, ALSCBOARD. I invite all interested individuals to stay current with ALSC issues and business proceedings by subscribing to ALSCBOAD at http://lists.ala.org/sympa/info/alscboard. Subscribers receive all posts to the list, (but cannot post messages themselves), including notices of online meetings which can be followed by members via ALA Connect.  The results of any actions taken by the Board in these online sessions are also posted the ALSCBOARD. Archives of discussions on ALSCBOARD may be found at http://www.ala.org/alsc/compubs/alsc20/alscdisclist/edlarchives. Please join me and my fellow board members in examining the issues that shape our organization. And be sure to check out the other ALSC electronic discussion lists at http://www.ala.org/alsc/compubs/alsc20/alscdisclist.  There…

Blogger Starr LaTronica

A wonderful Dí­a for everyone!

El dí­a de los niños/El dí­a de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), commonly known as Dí­a, brings together the two things nearest and dearest to the hearts of youth services librarians.  This annual celebration which culminates on April 30th each year provides recognition of the importance and joy of the work we do every day to bring the two together. Dí­a offers an opportunity to shine a light on what we do and the rich cultural treasures and textures in our communities and our collections.  We know the importance for children of seeing both oneself and the bigger world reflected in the books we share with them.  Access and engagement with a broad array of materials and languages provide both a mirror and a window to extend vision, awareness and understanding of diverse cultures. Dí­a has grown in leaps and bounds since first proposed by author and poet Pat Mora, developed in…

ALA Midwinter 2014

Maintaining the Momentum of Midwinter

The Midwinter meetings in Philadelphia were abuzz with the activities and planning of committees, workgroups and any gathering, (scheduled or impromptu), of two or more ALSC members!  We are fortunate that our membership and our profession continue to not only keep pace with developments in the field, but initiate advancements for both our colleagues and our clientele.  Here are a few highlights: The Joint Meeting with ALSC/AASL/YALSA currently chaired by AASL President, Gail Dickinson offers an opportunity to learn about projects and programs focused on youth.  Those in attendance agreed to contribute common talking points in defense of Net Neutrality. The Morris Seminar, (chaired by Mary Burkey and Luann Toth) brought together ALSC members new to book discussion and paired them with vintage discussion leaders to hone their evaluation skills and practice articulating their opinions. Priority Group Chairs Pabby Arnold, Rhonda Kasemodel Gould, Keira Parrott, Carol Phillips, Julie Roach, Kay Weisman,…

Blogger Starr LaTronica

Leadership & ALSC–That’s YOU!

Please make plans to join us at Leadership & ALSC during the ALA Midwinter Meeting on Saturday, January 25th from 8:30-11:30 am in Room 122 AB of the Philadelphia Convention Center. We are delighted to host a special presentation by Dr. Donna C. Celano, co-author with Dr. Susan B. Neuman of Giving Our Children a Fighting Chance:  Poverty, Literacy and the Development of Information Capital.  (Teachers College Press, Columbia University: 2012.) This powerful book was brought to my attention last summer by fellow ALSC member Cen Campbell.  The authors observed and analyzed the effects of improvements in library services and resources in two very different communities within close geographic proximity. Dr. Celano notes that the research explores the “ecology of inequality” emerging in our country, showing how environment influences reading, knowledge gain, and information capital development.   Using two divergent Philadelphia neighborhoods as a backdrop, it examines a growing disparity as children…