Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

The Importance of Pronouns

Author and illustrator Maya Christina Gonzalez is known for her award-winning bilingual (English/Spanish) books such as My Colors, My World and I Know the River Loves Me.  But this Progressive Educator and Independent Scholar/Researcher has also delved into the world of pronouns.  Call Me Tree was written without any gender identifying pronouns and she has since written substantially on the topic as well as writing and illustrating three children’s books on the topic — They She He Me:  Free to Be!, The Gender Wheel, and They, She, He Easy as ABC.  I asked Gonzalez to tell us about the importance of pronouns and that resulted in the following conversation. Maya, why are pronouns so important in creating a gender-inclusive environment? I believe, as we go through these changing times, keeping track of the big picture helps us make important connections and gives us a guide to steer by. When it…

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

Advocating for Book Drives

As the holiday season approaches, I often times find people asking for “unconventional gift ideas” or looking to donate to a charity. As librarians, it seems only natural to recommend literacy based ideas. A few years ago, I had a family approach me stating that they wanted to donate books to the library in lieu of presents. I created a list for the family of books the library could use in our collection (that also fit the families interest) and they gave that to people looking for gift ideas. My current library hosts a book drive in the community every year where they ask the community to donate new books for children from birth to age 18. They also invite staff to donate money for a staff donation. There are also options to collect books as a group and donate. All books and proceeds go to a local Adopt-a-Family program….

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

It’s Only Natural! Bringing the Outdoors In to the Library

The next time you take a walk/hike/bike ride in nature, pause and notice how you feel. Do you feel calmer? Happier? More energized? Believe it or not, being in this kind of environment can have the same effect on children. The benefits are numerous: it builds confidence, promotes creativity and imagination, gets them moving, helps them think, and reduces stress. When I took my current job in an urban library system, I learned about an initiative that had already been created there called NatureConnect. The purpose is to try to create anytime activities around nature or somehow incorporate nature into our programming. Being downtown in a city as well as on the 2nd floor of the building definitely creates unique challenges for me as we don’t have easy access to the outdoors like our branch libraries do. I’ve worked very hard to create indoor nature experiences for kids by creating…

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

The Benefits of Community Partnerships

September is here, school bells are ringing, public youth services librarians are wrapping up their Summer Reading programs and the ambitious may have already begun brainstorming for next summer’s program. As you evaluate and plan for your programs, think about the benefits of involving community partners in reaching your goals. Summer Reading is not just a program, for my library it’s also our biggest public awareness campaign. One of the goals I had for our 2022 Summer Reading Program was to increase community partner involvement through a couple avenues, business sponsorships and outreach. For 2022,  local businesses sponsored the Summer Reading Program by donating prizes, off-site programming spaces, and food for various events. The reciprocal benefits of engaging with community partners are invaluable in library success. Our sponsors enable us to provide more engaging programming through funds and in-kind donations, and in return we provide them placements on our promotional…

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

Enticing Summer Reading Alternative Programming For Kids Who “Hate” To Read

Summer is the busiest time of year for public youth services librarians across the country: we stack our calendars with programming and guest performers, bust out all the themed decorations, and break out our best book-themed t-shirts. All of this, of course, to the ultimate end of building in our young patrons a lifetime relationship with books.

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

5 Ways Covid Has Affected Summer Programming

Library summer programs have changed a lot in the last few years. Maybe that’s a good thing? More Take and Makes When programming shut down, many libraries began offering take-and-make bags for patrons. This proved to be so popular that even when programming started back, libraries continued to offer take-and-makes to patrons of all ages.  Outdoor Programming For libraries with the space, outdoor programming became a welcome, more safe alternative to indoor programming. Even in the heat of the summer, library staff brought programs outside to a more covid-safe environment.  Less Programming When libraries began opening back up and offering programming, many library staff took a look at their regular pre-pandemic programming with a critical eye. Were we prioritizing quantity over quality? Maybe higher quality, less frequent programming is the answer.  Tracking Apps  While many libraries were already using online tracking programs for their summer reading, some used their library’s…

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

Unite Against Book Bans by Reporting Challenges

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.