Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

What’s on the Menu: Early Childhood Programs & Services at ALA Annual

Can you believe it’s finally happening? The ALA Annual Conference is back! Soon, thousands of people who work in and support libraries will gather in Washington, D.C. to learn, network, and celebrate what we do. There are so many topics and events to be excited about. For today’s post I’ll be sharing some of the wonderful programming in store for people who work to serve young children and their families in library spaces. If you are interested too, read on!

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Serving Expectant Parents & Families with Newborns From Where We Are Today

It is important that expectant parents and those with newborns know they are welcome at the library, even as pandemic precautions persist. Luckily, there is someone there to help them – YOU! Acknowledging them with a simple “hello” can be a high point of their day, especially if they are feeling overwhelmed. A sympathetic “some days are like that!” may lower the pressure when they are dealing with a fussy child. Life in the library is beginning to look more familiar as things begin to “open up more.”.  There are still precautions to take to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy until this pandemic is over. Keeping this is mind may have an impact on your library’s ability to do in-person programming and outreach for families with infants since they are at a higher risk. Programs may be offered as a series, once a month or quarterly. Keep your…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

ECPS: New Year, New Projects

As 2021 draws to a close, it seems like just the right time to share a little bit about what the Early Childhood Programs and Services committee has been up to, and what our future plans are! This year has been a tricky one to navigate as a committee, as it surely has been for many readers. It took us some time to get settled as a group, and understand what is possible and useful as conditions changed for libraries. Our original project was to create an online education opportunity on the topic of trauma-informed services as they relate to early childhood and family services. For many reasons, this project was shelved for the time being, though we hope to return to it in the coming months. While a change of plans can be frustrating and feel like a defeat, our committee was fortunately able to focus on an important…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

“I didn’t know the library did that!” Building Better School Partnerships

“I didn’t know the library did that!” How many times have you heard that…this week? Press releases, emails, posters and skywriting do nothing to break through the advertising noise in our communities. Libraries are essential third spaces in our communities so the question is, how can libraries promote our services so people instead say, “Did you know the library did that?” This is especially true when it comes to collaborations with the schools in our service areas. Schools are busy Teachers are busy and they don’t always have time to meet. Administrators wear a lot of different hats and can’t always pass along the emails we send. Add to that a global pandemic, and libraries struggle to show teachers and schools our relevance. What is your goal? Our department’s end goal was to reach more kids through partnerships with teachers. We visit 60 classes a month and reach 1100 students. Most…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Addressing Covid-19 Worries in the Back-to-School Season

I wrote this in quarantine. My toddler had a close contact exposure to Covid-19 in her daycare class and we kept the whole family home out of an abundance of caution. (Everyone is healthy.) It’s a situation many of our patrons and staff may face now that kids have returned to school or pre-school. The Delta variant put a different spin on the usual back-to-school and fall programming, with many libraries still only allowing outdoor or virtual programming. How can we support our patrons during this fraught back-to-school season? First, remember to take care of yourselves. Burnout, compassion fatigue, Covid fatigue—whatever you call it, it’s real. Try to take some time for yourself whether it’s a staycation, regular exercise, or enjoying a hobby. Next, understand the behaviors associated with stress and worry in your patrons. If folks share with you, validate their feelings. Fellow Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Early Childhood Program Plans for Fall 2021

Last week, I posted a link on ALA Connect to a very informal Google Forms survey to collect some data on plans for early childhood programming for this coming fall, and also shared it with heads of children’s departments here in Suffolk County, NY. So far 40 people have filled out the survey! Thank you all so much for providing this data, an overview of which I’ll be sharing in this post.   Concerns about what conditions we’ll be facing this coming fall are on everyone’s minds as we plan programs and services for the remainder of 2021. As of the time of this post, children under 12 are still not eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This, combined with concerns about the continuing spread of the Delta variant, has many library staff thinking about how to offer safe and engaging programs for our youngest patrons and families as we move…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Pivoting to Summer Services at the System Level: Outdoor Storytime Kits for Libraries

For the past several years, public library systems in New York State have received funds through the New York State Family Literacy Library Services Program, with the theme of Ready to Read at New York Libraries through Public Library Systems – in other words, grant funding for programs and services that center on early and family literacy. During any normal year, this is an exciting opportunity for the Youth Services department of the Suffolk Cooperative Library System (SCLS) to offer new and innovative workshops and shared resources to the staff of our member libraries. But during the past year, as with all things, finding a useful application for these funds became a new challenge. Zoom-based professional development opportunities were one option we went with (including two wonderful workshops from The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art that just wrapped up), but we hoped to offer libraries more hands-on tools…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Libraries Build Readers and Learners

In 2005 I became a children’s librarian, and within weeks of signing the offer letter, the library trained me in Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR). The training couldn’t have happened at a better time in my personal or professional life. The knowledge, skills, and tools I learned changed my career trajectory. Librarians Foster a Love of Reading I thought I learned everything I needed to know about fostering a love of reading during my MLIS program. The ECRR training taught me about neural pathways, brain elasticity, and more. I discovered finding fun and engaging books was only a part of the reading success formula. There was a lot more that went into learning to read. A lot more. Librarians Model Reading Readiness and Learning Sixteen years after my ECRR training and now a children’s services team manager, I find myself at an exciting new learning crossroads. Yes, our checklist…