Blogger Amy Koester

Leadership, the ALSC Governance Slate for 2023, and What Every Member Can Do

Earlier today, the 2023 slate of candidates for ALSC governance positions was shared on our website. I want to offer a massive thank you to the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee who spent over nine months hard at work to put together this slate of candidates: Anna Taylor (chair), Sophie Kenney, Hanna Lee, Susan Dove Lempke, and Cecilia McGowan. The charge to select candidates for election is not an easy one to execute–identifying ALSC members who have both the interest and capacity to serve three-year governance terms has been a challenge for some years now, even before the pandemic added additional burnout and capacity challenges for many ALSC members who might otherwise be interested. This 2023 Nominating and Leadership Development Committee was able to focus all of their time on identifying and speaking with potential candidates for governance positions; as a result of the overwhelmingly member-approved bylaws changes this past…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Planning for SRP 2023 STEMming Summer Slide

Summer slide. I know I am preaching to the choir here, but it is still a thing. Ideally, addressing summer slide should be a part of your annual goals or tasks, much like summer reading or Banned Books Week. Even more ideal, if there is such a thing, is partnering with schools and other local agencies. First, though, as my old college professor used to say, we can’t discuss a topic without defining it first. So, here we go. What is summer slide and why should I care? Summer slide, and I think Colorado Dept of Education puts it best is: (T)he tendency for students, especially those from low-income families, to lose some of theachievement gains they made during the previous school year. Why you should care Summer slide can affect almost any child. However, the children it impacts the most are the most socioeconomically disadvantaged. Here’s a thousand words…

Blogger Abby Johnson

Black Books Matter

This article from the Washington Post is haunting me this week: White Americans, your lack of imagination is killing us by filmmaker Kasi Lemmons. Please click through and read this powerful piece, which was brought to my attention by Nora Rawlins of Early Word. Lemmons writes “…when it comes to black life in America, there’s only one conclusion I can reach about some white people: You don’t care to put yourself in our shoes. The consequences of this lack of imagination for black Americans are deadly.” It’s haunting me because, white librarians, this is what we do. And we need to get better at it.

Call to Action

Tackling racism in children’s books #PLA2020

How did Nashville Public Library tackle racism in classic children’s literature? What they didn’t do… They did not take books like The Story of Little Black Sambo, Little House on the Prairie, Five Chinese Brothers and The Thanksgiving Story off the shelves and throw them in the trash, which was Lindsey Patrick’s (Regional Manager) first impulse. Acknowledging the issues that her lens as a white woman would bring to the work, she invited Klem-Mari Cajigas (the Family Literacy Coordinator and a Puerto Rican woman) to help her take some steps. They didn’t want to censor these and other problematic books, essentially shoving our racist and sexist history under the rug. And they knew that the crucial starting point was to listen to and respect the opinions of people from marginalized communities. They created a Racist Children’s Book Task Force with a diverse group of people from different library departments. There was…

Blogger Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla

“Hire for tomorrow, you’ll get through today” – hiring a stellar staff at #PLA2020

The staff of a library can make or break the patron experience. In an increasingly online world, patrons are searching for interaction and positive experiences at their library. How can you hire the best staff possible, and treat staff departures as an opportunity, not an emergency? Things to consider: This before hiring: Who is your customer and what do they need? You should hire for the person first, the position second. Remember that you’re hiring for the whole library, not just for one area. Depending on the person’s experience, their degree (or lack of a degree) is less important than their skill set. Reconsider your job titles! Do people who are applying to your jobs know what your job title describes? Do they connect with it? Recruit outside the normal channels: look at people who give exceptional customer service, like retail employees, theater workers, hospitality workers, etc. Another big takeaway was…

Call to Action

Don’t reimagine education, start over! #PLA2020

Dr. Bettina Love rocked the PLA audience this morning! So many takeaways as she traced the evolution of racism in education—from pulling indigenous children away from their families and insisting on assimilation to requiring English-only programs, to charter schools and “corporate reforms.” Meritocracy hurts all of our kids, but black and brown kids disproportionately. Dr. Love compared the “educational survival complex” with the prison complex. Her conclusion is that “education can’t save us, we have to save education.” She called in white people to move from being allies to becoming co-conspirators. The education system is too broken to reimagine; we need to spend our unearned white privilege and stand up like the abolitionists once did, boldly helping black and brown leaders start over with a system whose goal is wellness for staff and students. If we link anti-racism, wellness, joy and creativity, we can “freedom dream” a blueprint for education…

Blogger Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla

Avoiding Burnout and Practicing Self-Care at #PLA2020

In a packed MCC Davidson Ballroom, librarians talked about the ways in which our profession can (and frequently does!) lead to burnout. After talking through the environmental, mental, and physical stressors of librarianship, we talked about ways to keep yourself sane at work. How can we practice self-care at work? When you’re feeling stressed and you’re at work, here are three simple techniques to quickly lower your stress levels. Lockbox Meditation – close your eyes and imagine your stress as a physical object. PIck it up and lock it in a box until you have the mental space to deal with it. Muscle Meditation – Lay flat on the floor. Close your eyes and tense and release your muscles, starting with the toes and working your way up. 4-7-8 Breath – Breathe in for 4 seconds.Hold the breath for 7 seconds, and then exhale entirely for 8. Daily deep abdominal…

Blogger Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla

Build Community with an Inclusive Early Literacy Program at #PLA2020

#PLA2020 kicked off officially yesterday, but the first full day of sessions is today. What better way to kick off sessions than with Sunnyvale (CA) Public Library’s discussion on building inclusive Early Literacy Programs? Sunnyvale (CT) is home to many big tech firms, and the city has a population of 153,000 – and only one library! The tech companies bring in employees from around the world, so the library serves an extremely diverse community. The Mighty Beginnings program is for children ages birth to 24 months. The idea is a simple, cohesive program that can be easily replicated at home, and is available for free at the Library for parents who are home with their children. To promote the program to the children of working parents, they advertised it at local daycares and community centers. The Pacific Library Partnership provided the library with an Innovation Grant to fund the program….