Guest Blogger

So You Just Attended a Conference. Now What? with #ALSC20

Every time I get a chance to take in ideas from other library staff, be it at an in-person conference, virtual conference, webinar, book, or blog, I leave positively bustling with ideas. For about a day. Then the problems and doubts begin to set in. My manager says no. I don’t have the budget. We don’t have the space. I don’t know enough about this topic to do this. There are so many ways we need to improve.

Guest Blogger

Finishing out #ALSC20 with Muslim Representation, Institute Trivia, and Edible Book Hilarity

The awesome afternoon continued with a panel on Muslim Representation with educator and author Marian Hassan, teacher-librarian Ariana Sani Hussain, librarian Madeline Tyner from Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), and moderator Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez. Muslims are a huge percentage of the global population, and are located all over the world; they are also the most ethnically diverse faith community. The CCBC is a research and evaluation library, and one of its research studies is on diversity statistics in youth literature. The panelists noted that Muslims are most often portrayed in the media in a negative light, while Muslim youth are revered by Islamic adults. Hussain noted that YA and children’s books with Muslim representation are generally more positive than adult titles, but there are fewer titles in general, and many are not created by #OwnVoices. Representation provides windows, mirrors, sliding glass doors, and prisms. It builds positive identity and can be…

Guest Blogger

ALSC 101 & Play-Based Engagement at #ALSC20

I popped into the ALSC 101 short session to get some background from experienced ALSC members, and to learn more about getting involved in committees. There are tons of awesome ways to get involved! Next I dove into Play-Based Community Engagement with Donna Zick, Caitlin Tormey, and Nate Halsan from Sacremento Public Library. They hold an annual Play-Summit and circulate play kits, so they decided focus library outreach and library areas on family-friendly play spaces. Their outreach areas are wide spaces to play, with comfortable floor seating, and informational tables off on the side. They also staff these spaces with staff members who are ready to get on the floor and play, too! They bring a range of activities for babies and toddlers. This type of outreach gives staff a lot of time to chat with and get to know families. The panel gave examples of awesome toys and play-exploration…

Guest Blogger

Words of Wisdom #ALSC20

I’ve been having difficulty lately coming up with my own coherent words, so I thought I would share some of the phrases and words of wisdom that have inspired me so far at the ALSC Institute: “There are no safety nets for the truth” (on telling the truth in an accessible way for young readers). “When your feet are held to the fire, you have to deliver” (on having strong strategic EDI goals to keep you accountable). “Dreaming is activism” (from a discussion on the multitude of ways to be an activist). “How deep is the mud? It depends on how tall you are” (on developing empathy by imagining another person’s view). “I can’t get caught up in the fears of the future. I just have to work in the present and create this work that matters to me” (Christian Robinson on working during this uncertain time). I’m inspired and…

Guest Blogger

#ALSC20 Awesome Afternoon with #OwnVoices

Authors Kacen Callender, Kyle Lukoff, and author-illustrator Christian Robinson kicked off the afternoon with a conversation about LGBTQIA #OwnVoices stories with moderator Ellie Krug. The panelists discussed how they approach the concept of “mattering” in their work. Lukoff said he doesn’t often outwardly state that, “we matter… because I know we do.” He starts with the assumption that these characters matter, that they know that they matter, and he tells their stories. Callender expressed how they received emotional wounds as a kid, how they still trying to heal; that’s one reason they write for children who are experiencing these, too. Robinson discussed his book “You Matter.” He said that book came out of a question, “what did I most want to tell children? … you matter because you are here, because you exist,” not because of anything a child does. The panelists also offered advice for librarians to help and…

Guest Blogger

Transforming Incarceration Visitation Spaces at #ALSC20

In their “Collaborating to Create Welcoming Spaces for Children, Youth and Families” session, the Hennepin County Library in Minnesota shared a variety of ways they have transformed their spaces to incorporate play spaces for the whole family. One of the most stunning transformations they shared was one in an adult incarceration facility, where they added play experiences to the rooms used for video visitation.

ALA Virtual Conference 2020

Song & Story Share!

Institute Graphic

Wow! This session was a plethora of amazing information. People shared in the chat, in a Google Document, and turned on their camera to share live. Topics included Baby Storytime, Favorite Storytime Books, Rhymes, Flannelboards, Inclusivity, and more! I’ll just share some highlights and links: The Resource Handout from today’s brainstorm is here. ALSC’s Virtual Storytime Services Guide is here. Miss Rose’s Ukulele Storytimes are here. A wonderful ASL (American Sign Language) resource is here. Someone shared an amazing personal Storytime Resources document (can’t find the person’s name- I apologize!). It’s here. Renee Grassi was a superb host! I had to download the transcript so I can look back later for all the great sharing! I could have been there for hours.

Guest Blogger

Welcoming Spaces at #ALSC20

Dana Bjerke, Adele Murray, Amy Kennedy Fosseen, and Liz Veaderkpo from Hennepin County Library presented “Collaborating to Create Welcoming Spaces for Children, Youth, and Families.” This was great for me- I survived one library renovation several years ago where the architects never spoke with youth services staff; we made the new space “work,” but it wasn’t designed in a way that was ideal for actual use by the patrons and staff. My county is currently discussing construction of a new building for my current library. The presenters discussed their own renovation experiences, and how they worked on keeping everyone connected, collaborating, and taking into account multiple perspectives. Architects need to talk with library staff to understand how the space works for playful learning in libraries, and how families use spaces. Try to get a liaison to help you communicate with them! Administration answers to the community, county, and board; it…