Blogger Mary R. Voors

Last Call for Your 2023 Mock YMA Submissions!

Have you checked out the 2023 Mock YMA Elections Results page recently? More and more submissions are being received in anticipation of next week’s Youth Media Awards. If you have a book discussion group which has deliberated in a Mock YMA program, submit your winning titles using this form for inclusion in the list. Having served on the Newbery committee myself, I know that no discussion group probably approaches the intensity that the Award committees have experienced this past year as they prepared through intense reading, discussion, re-reading, and extremely thoughtful examinations of the books, but it is always great fun to see what people around the country are reading and selecting in their own discussions. What do YOU think will win these “Best of the Best in Children’s Books” Awards? Check out the 2023 Mock YMA Election Results page to learn what has been selected at mock election programs…

Guest Blogger

ALSC Institute Continues to Inspire Gratitude 

In September, I was afforded the opportunity to attend the 2022 ALSC Institute – #ALSC22 – in Kansas City as a recipient of the Friends of ALSC Scholarship. It was my first time attending the Institute, and after two very tumultuous years of the COVID pandemic and its lingering effects, I was excited to attend an in-person gathering of my children’s services peers at the national level. 

Guest Blogger

Welcome to the #ALSC22 Choir!

During the 2022 ALSC Institute, I had the great privilege of attending Marine Band Librarian Staff Sergeant Philip Espe’s presentation: Wake Up Your Musicianship for More Inclusive Storytimes! Philip welcomed us with music and song from the moment we stepped into the room! As a former teacher and choir soprano, I appreciated how Philip scaffolded our learning using a variety of visual, melodic, lyrical and kinesthetic aids. Philip modeled how we can set the stage for all families to embrace their inner musician. “Music making and music loving is for everyone.”  After taking us through tunes such as “Don Alfonso” and “Campanero” (a Spanish version of “Frère Jacques), Philip encouraged us to evaluate and curate our storytime music, similarly to how we evaluate and curate our storytime collections. Music is an expression of culture, and our communities deserve to hear music that reflects them – in the same way that…

Guest Blogger

Yes, and you CAN do improv at #alsc22

So this was an unlikely session for me. I’m a bit of an introvert and I don’t think quickly on my feet. But at #alsc22, it’s a safe space, so I’m willing go outside my comfort zone. I know to learn, I need to spend more time exploring new and different things. And I’m so glad I did! Librarians Chelsea Condren and Jessica Espejel led “Applying Improvisational Skills in Public Librarianship,” sharing how and why the training developed.

Guest Blogger

Wide Open Spaces #alsc22

Just as folks turned to backyards and public parks during COVID lockdowns, libraries had to shift their focus outdoors during building closures and beyond. Michelle Willis from Scotch Plains Public Library (NJ) demonstrated in “Beyond Storytime: Library Programs the Snap, Crackle, and Pop” with Denise Lyons (SC) that moving programs outdoors can be more than a solution – it can enhance them. And in “Black Kids Camp Too, Don’t They?” Michelle Martin stressed the need for more representation of Black children and families (and BIPOC at large) in wild, outdoor spaces. 

Institute 2022

We Are All Musicians at #alsc22

The last education sessions just ended and what a way to wrap things up! Staff Sergeant Philip Espe’s “Wake Up Your Musicianship for More Inclusive Storytimes” was energizing and joyous. Philip had us all on our feet and singing in 3 languages (English, French, and Spanish). He noted that we can model positive musical practice for our community and that the opportunity to make music together is precious. He emphasized that every voice is beautiful (work against that negative American Idol effect) and music is better when it comes from a live person. Philip referenced the APALA rubric for evaluating AAPI literature (that I blogged about yesterday) and encouraged us to evaluate music in the same way that we evaluate literature. He shared criteria: melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics and text. And he noted that cultural responsiveness is foundational: music is an expression of culture, and your communities deserve to hear…