Guest Blogger

Educating Young Children on the Importance of Freedom of Speech

The right to freedom of speech is established in the First Amendment because it is one of the most important freedoms we value in the United States. Freedom of speech gives us the right to use our voices in countless ways – from signing a petition, to writing a poem or creating a piece of art, to voting and attending a protest, to practicing a religious tradition. Like learning the ABC’s to build words for communicating, learning about the First Amendment and freedom of speech is a building block we can use to empower young voices.

ALA Virtual Midwinter 2021

Virtual Playtime with GameRT at #alamw21

GameRT presented examples for virtual gaming, as well as resources and tips for introducing them to patrons. Our presenters were Dan Major of Orion Township Public Library (adult services), Erica Ruscio of Ventress Memorial Library (teen services), Rebecca Strang of Naperville Public Library (children’s services), and Jeff Pinsker of AMIGO Games (CEO).

ALA Virtual Midwinter 2021

Singing Along to the Song of Change in Our Libraries at #alamw21

In the fourth day of ALA Midwinter, the themes of flexibility and planning continued with the panel, The Road Ahead: Libraries in an Uncertain Future. Speaker Zoe Dunning began her presentation by saying, “You can’t predict the future, but you can plan for it.” What a way to summarize the past year and many of the ideas of this conference! Throughout every panel that I attended in the past few days, there is an undercurrent of change happening. 2020 certainly gave us all new perspectives about how libraries can work. While sometimes we found ourselves drained thinking of how to best serve our communities, there were also pockets of light when new ideas came into focus and practice.  

ALA Virtual Midwinter 2021

Dr. Jill Biden Inspires at #alamw21

Dr. Jill Biden inspired the Midwinter crowd by providing a mirror of ourselves as educators, guides, and facilitators of welcoming communities. Provoking confidence that our actions truly do make a difference in the lives of those around us, Dr. Biden expressed the need for literature for our youngest patrons because reading helps children understand feelings and situations better than we can explain them ourselves. The First Lady recommends creative outlets for recording memories, personal reflection, and working through emotions (especially during a difficult time like this pandemic). Dr. Biden keeps a stack of books next to her bedside and currently one of them is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. A wonderful wrap to my first ALA Midwinter, I’m feeling inspired to work on my own creative hobbies! Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

ALA Virtual Midwinter 2021

Digital Equity Means Stronger Communities – Learning at #alamw21

At this point in time, we could ask anyone walking down the street how technology has played a part in their lives and they would have an answer. Some of us would have a very difficult time getting through the day without glancing at our smartphones at least a couple times to check email, Twitter, etc. Some of us love new tech and have immediately pre-ordered or waited in long lines for the chance to purchase the next big thing to change our lives. Some of us don’t understand what the point of all these screens are and consider technology more of a nuisance than anything helpful. However, at some point, in this past year especially, we’ve had to use it. Whether it’s in order to work from home, to help our children learn from home, or to attend a family member’s virtual birthday party, you need at the very…

ALA Virtual Midwinter 2021

Empowering Young Voices Through Illustrated Stories at #alamw21

Scholastic’s “Empowering Young Voices Through Illustrated Stories” was like a behind-the-scenes meeting with the creators of three new picture books. These titles included Lala’s Words by Gracey Zhang, The Little Blue Bridge by Brenda Maier, and Wishes by Mượn Thị Văn and Victo Ngai. All eloquent storytellers, visual and written, the creators put emphasis on the importance of empathy and multicultural representation, as well as believing in oneself and the change that we can create ourselves. Mượn Thị Văn says these steps can be big or small and has hope that readers will be empowered to take them after reading Wishes. Brenda Maier pointed out a lesson in The Little Blue Bridge, that you cannot control others, only how you react to a situation yourself. Gracey Zhang expressed how important words are and the way they are used, as well as the importance of the images and what they portray….