Guest Blogger

Collaborating to Create Welcoming Spaces for Children, Youth and Families

My library has been under renovation since October 2019, which is of course now even more complicated with COVID restrictions. I loved hearing how the Hennepin Library handles their youth spaces in today’s session on creating a welcoming environment. The natural light, organic colors, and flexible play structures are beautiful and well-designed. My youth services department is about to move to another area of our library (upstairs with the adults, so that will be…interesting) while our zone is torn up and remodeled. Right now we have a great opportunity to think about how we want the space to function once it is put back together and I can’t wait to get access to the toolkit from Hennepin Library! Another favorite moment from this morning’s session was the discussion on creating play areas for older children, not just babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. One piece of feedback my library received during our…

Guest Blogger

Saturday kickoff at #ALSC20

We jumped into the morning with a panel discussing “on the ground” experiences from librarians working in communities experiencing trauma. Beth Patin from Syracuse University was a school librarian when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. It was an overwhelming experience for the community; everything in that area was utterly destroyed. Patin was able to start rebuilding her library collection (even with a little computer lab!) inside of a trailer long before the school was rebuilt. The community immediately utilized those services. Anita Montoya from Hennepin County Library works in the area where George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis this year. Their community was rocked with protests, and she said they worked hard to be there for the people. Some buildings were damaged, but she said that the community also tried hard to protect the library, too, because they knew the library was there for them. The library also provided constant…

Guest Blogger

Librarians Working through Trauma

2020 brought a lot of unexpected changes and challenges to people all over the country. The session on “Children’s Librarianship in Communities Experiencing Trauma” was a great reminder of how libraries are often the hearts of their communities. Anita Montoya and Beth Patin explained how they responded to traumas in their communities that were caused by Hurricane Katrina, the Coronavirus, and the death of George Floyd. Services had to be adapted in a way that still gave their libraries a strong presence. Montoya’s public library expanded its outreach to public outdoor areas, which including bringing information about food availability and children’s books to their patrons. Patin worked with her school to find ways to still engage and educate their students, including setting up a library in a trailer, and borrowing space from another school that was still able to function. Librarians are resilient problem solvers. The stories shared during this…

Guest Blogger

Welcome to Reading kits with Denver Public Library and #ALSC20

In their session, “Help! My Child Is Learning How to Read: Supporting K-3rd Graders and their Families,” the Denver Public Library shared their strategies for making sure they were serving their K-3 population well as they developed into readers. Part of their mission was to make sure that staff were as able to serve this age group, as they are dedicated to serving pre-readers.

Guest Blogger

Afternoon Amazingness at #ALSC20

Thanks to living in Virtual Conference Land, we got to kick off the afternoon with a refreshing lunch on the porch with cohort Pongo (pictured below). I got to listen to publishers give us the deets on some amazing upcoming #DiverseReads; so many fab books- my ordering list is ever-growing. Then, I spent some time learning about immersive learning through virtual reality and augmented reality programs for children! Zach Stier (who has worked in libraries for ages!) explained how the learning experiences work, and demonstrated different devices to use- including info how to get stuff on a tight budget… because, REALITY reality. He has great ideas about programming, and also talked about how to tie those experiences back to non-tech activities and to books! And one fun plus to these programs- kids can often end up being the “teachers” for each other in the tasks. Next: what in the world…

Guest Blogger

So much to learn #ALSC20

My brain is spinning from all the learning I have been doing in just a short amount of time today! The conference opened with an outstanding panel of authors, then I transitioned into the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion with ALSC panel. We followed that up by admiring the beauty of We are Water Protectors and just now the Youth Services Leadership session concluded. I have been trying to write as the day goes on, but I see now that I am going to need a minute to process before putting too much into words. For now I’ll leave you with this quote from the EDI session: “You don’t learn from people who agree with you; you learn an awful lot from people who disagree with you.” I’m listening and learning.

Guest Blogger

Strength-Based Leadership

Institute Graphic

The Session “Youth Services Leadership – Influence and Support” discussed great ideas for shifting our perspective to looking at our strengths to best service our patrons. StrengthFinders is a branded survey that helps you discover what you naturally do best, and grow your talents into strengths. However, you do not need to purchase the test to understand your own strengths. Visit here to look at the different domains, and then think about your strengths. My top strengths are Strategic, Learner, Achiever, Futuristic, and Intellection. I’ve learned that this means that I see the big picture, but I struggle with details. How does this shape the way I lead? I can’t overemphasize the importance of teamwork. I can think of three people in our children’s department that are wonderful organizers. They build databases, systems, and networks that my brain would never think of. When I have a big idea about an…