ALA Midwinter 2016

Top Rainbow Reads for Kids

This weekend I had the most incredible book discussion experience of my life. No joke. I had the joy of meeting with 9 wonderful and incredibly smart people to decide on the best LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning) books for kids and teens that were published between July 2014 and December 2015. You can find the entire list on the Rainbow List site; I am going to highlight the top books for kids through grades 6 here. The final list includes over 40 titles and of these we selected a top 10. Top ten titles are indicated with an *. I know that book budgets are not limitless, so if you can’t buy all of these titles for your collection, a good place to start is with anything on the top 10 list: Gracefully Grayson, The Marvels (who are we kidding, you already have this book!), and Sex is…

Awards & Scholarships

Student-to-Staffers: Where are you now?

ALA Student-to-Staffers: Where are you now? Way back in June of 2007, I had the honor of representing TWU’s School of Library and Information Science at ALA Annual in Washington, DC.  I was a member of ALA’s Student-to-Staff (S2S) Program, with assignment to the ALSC Division.  If you’ve never heard of the S2S program, you can read about it here.  There are 56 active ALA Student Chapter Groups at accredited graduate schools.  Each is entitled to submit one name for consideration for the program.  Schools have varying criteria. My school chose the student – me 🙂 based on an essay contest.  Others have different criteria, but the end result is that 40 promising students receive a free trip to ALA Annual in exchange for working with  ALA staff during the week.  I was able to choose with whom I wanted to work. An aspiring children’s librarian, naturally, I chose ALSC. It was my first connection with…

ALA Annual 2015

Pura Belpré Celebración #alaac15

Sunday’s Pura Belpré 19th annual award ceremony featured a vibrant mix of illuminating speeches, laughter, and entertainment that celebrated Latino Children’s Literature. Highlights included: Yuyi Morales’s acceptance speech in which she vividly recounted her positive and life-changing experiences as a young mother and new immigrant visiting the San Francisco Public Library’s Western Addition branch. Ann, a librarian at the branch, put The Watsons Go to Birmingham in her hands and it was the first English language chapter book she loved, that she shared with her son. Duncan Tonatiuh invited civil rights leader Sylvia Mendez, the subject of his award-winning book Separate Is Never Equal, to address the audience. United States Poet Laurete Juan Felipe Herrera’s speech chronicled his research and writing that documented the extraordinary achievements of Hispanic-Americans. Heartfelt speeches by Susan Guevara, John Parra, and Marjorie Agosín. A fantastic performance by by Quenepas, a Bomba youth song and dance…

ALA Annual 2015

Freedom To Read Foundation #alaac15

I spent today at the FTRF Board of Trustees meeting hearing about litigation, legislation and other issues that could potentially infringe on our freedom to read. FTRF is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending the first amendment through participation in litigation and by providing education and grant programs. Consider joining the FTRF to support their work, to spread the word about censorship and to defend everyone’s freedom to read. Membership is only $35 and that money helps FTRF accomplish good work and support these creative Judith F. Krug Memorial Grant projects. The FTRF Board meets the day before the official start of ALA annual and midwinter and guests are always welcome at the meetings. It is a great way to get caught up on current issues across the country.  

ALA Midwinter 2015

ALSC Work Underway @ #alamw15

While many folks are still packing up their hats, gloves, & coats and making their way to Chicago, your ALSC Executive Committee (EC) and the ALSC staff  have already been hard at work at McCormick Place, with the EC meeting this afternoon to look closely at what’s coming up at Midwinter and prepare for the busy next few days. Afterwards, the Executive Committees of the three youth divisions (AASL, ALSC, & YALSA) all came together to share updates on what’s going on in each of our divisions as we all work for the benefit of youth in libraries. This great opportunity for news and networking happens at each Midwinter and Annual and this time was ALSC’s turn to lead the meeting, which President Ellen Riordan did masterfully. We heard from Mary Davis Fournier from ALA’s Public Programs Office about their important work with the Institute for Museum and Library Services-supported…

Guest Blogger

How Juvenile Books Portray the Prison Experience

In 2013 Rebecca Hickman wrote an ALSC blog post about Serving Children Whose Parents Are Incarcerated.   She included tips for making the library a welcoming, non-judgmental environment.  She also identified some book titles that addressed this topic.  Most people are understandably reluctant to discuss the experience of incarceration.  As I considered ways that children could learn about what happens in prison, I began reading books for children and teens.  The result of this exploration is a new online course that I will be offering with the sponsorship of ASCLA, the ALA division that represents librarians providing service to the incarcerated and detained. Going to Jail:  How Juvenile Books Portray the Prison Experience, is a four week online course, taught in the ALA Moodle site, which will begin February 24, 2014 and run through March 23, 2014.  The course will provide an opportunity for librarians to read and discuss several books…

ALA Midwinter 2014

Other KidLit Awards from #alamw14

THE highlight of #alamw14, of any Midwinter, is always the announcement of  the Youth Media Awards.  These announcements are not only a chance to celebrate the previous year in children’s literature but an opportunity for librarians to expand their collections thanks to the dedication of all the librarians who have worked evaluating hundreds of titles published the year before. However, not all important awards are part of the live announcement on Monday morning.  These awards are also given by librarians who evaluate material all year long but they do this through ALA affiliates not divisions or through task forces.  But don’t let this keep you from using these awesome selection lists in your collection development! The American Indian Library Association (AILA) was founded in 1979.  Every two years, they award the American Indian Youth Literature Awards.  These lists are an amazing way to build your library’s collection of material about American…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee


For the last four years I have had the honor to serve on the Library Service to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers Committee (LSSPCC). Each year we award the ALSC/Candlewick Press “Light the Way” Grant. Through the years I have read through grant applications where libraries and librarians are reaching out to special populations. I am thrilled to hear about the great programs going on throughout the country and I wish our committee could fund them all. I also wish our committee could share these great programs and programming ideas. We often suggest highlighting a non-winner for article in the ALSC blog or ALSC Matters, because the work they are doing is noteworthy. Mary Seratt, last year’s winner of the “Light the Way” Grant has a wonderful article in the Bright Ideas section of the March 2013 ALSC Matters. Read with Me, Sign with Me – Inclusive Storytimes for…