Hi ALSC Personal Members! Have you listened to a truly outstanding audiobook this year? If the answer is “YES!” then please consider suggesting it to the Odyssey Award Committee for consideration.
Now more than possibly ever before, folks are exploring the digital resources our libraries have to offer. Public librarians, now’s the time to think about partnering with your schools to offer digital library cards to students. As we enter Library Card Sign Up Month, it’s the perfect time to start this conversation. Many libraries offer this service and there are lots of ways to do it. Our program is a work is progress (more on that below) and I’m happy to share how we got it started and what we’ve learned.
As library professionals, it is our job to encourage our students and patrons to read, read, read. But, are we encouraging ourselves to read? Do you ever find yourself in a reading slump?
Are you new to purchasing e-books? Or suddenly purchasing more digital material than ever before? You’re not alone! Purchasing e-books can be tricky, so how do you figure out which e-books to buy? I’m not going to recommend specific titles here, but here’s what I’ve learned about purchasing e-books as a collection development librarian.
I am used to looking for hard-to-find children’s books, especially self-published ones. I’ve been collecting self-published children’s picture books on assisted reproductive technology since 2003. This is mostly an isolated topic and it was a hobby that began as the result of a reference question. I was asked if there were any children’s books on the subject, and confident in my search skills, I said, “I’ll find out for you.” It turned out not to be an easy topic and I was intrigued enough to dig further. After exhausting all traditional library databases like the Library of Congress catalog and WorldCat, I came up with just a few. The problem was that there were no proper LC subject headings, which meant I would have to resort to keyword searches and pedestrian forms of search like googling.
Over the last five years, there has been an increased awareness of the importance of digital resources and accessibility. In 2015, the New York Public Library began loaning hotspots, and just this past December, Library Journal published an article about how to better promote digital resources because many patrons are unaware they exist. As many libraries across the country have shut their physical doors in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, these e-resources have become even more vital, as has the concept of family literacy. One of the main questions this raises is how can we best continue to serve children and families at this time? In addition to promoting digital resources like e-books, a vast number of children’s librarians have begun doing virtual storytimes through their library’s social media accounts. In order to determine how effective these practices are, we can turn to O’Connor’s 2017 study Sociocultural Early Literacy Practices…
You’re providing access, but are you demonstrating the impact of technology collections for children? Outcome measures show how your technology services and programs are making a difference in your community.
Downloadable and streaming audiobooks have been on my mind again. Recently, some articles came out about the benefits of audiobooks for literacy; a revelation that probably surprised few of us in children’s and school library services. We did not create the Odyssey awards for nothing. ALA Editions published a wonderful book about it by Sharon Grover and Lizette D. Hannegan “back” in 2012. Last year, Rachel Wood from Arlington Public Library wrote an ALSC Blog post that stands as a primer for building an e-audio collection. But it always feels like a topic needs to come around a few times before the greater profession and the greater public latches on. Perhaps it is not always content that is the way to hook a reluctant reader but format too. Dan Cohen from the DPLA wrote an article for The Atlantic talking about the powerful role that smartphones play in the lives…