Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Congratulations to the 2018 Light the Way Grant Winner

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has announced that New Carrollton Public Library is the recipient of the 2017-2018 ALSC/Candlewick Press “Light the Way: Outreach to the Underserved” Grant. As the winner of the grant, the library will receive $3,000 for their Literacy & Library Skills for Refugee Families program. Literacy & Library Skills for Refugee Families started in April 2017. The program was initiated during a time when the library, (located in New Carrollton, MD), was being renovated. With the encouragement of  library administration, Program Coordinator, Meisywe Cavanaugh, decided to start visiting  a community housing center about five miles from the main library. Cavanaugh found that there was a large population of refugee families and young children living in this area. Currently, families who attend the library program are from: Afghanistan, Syria, Bhutan, Myanmar, Ethiopia and other Arabic speaking…

Outreach

What makes rural services to school-age children different?

I live and work in Nevada County, which is actually in California, to the great confusion of search engines and non-Californians (and many Californians). Our county has just under 100,000 people and 68% of people live in unincorporated areas, and 93.6% of the population is white (according to 2016 numbers from the US census). This county also skews older, with just 21% of the population under 18. Every rural county is incredibly different, so I cannot pretend to represent what working in a rural county is like everywhere, but here is my experience. I was born in San Francisco and lived there until I moved across the bridge to suburban Marin, worked in Oakland, and then in suburban Connecticut before landing here. Living in rural California has me understanding my own lens as urban. I expect excellent services that are easy to access. Patrons up here know that services exist,…

Blogger Renee Grassi

Community Assessment for Inclusive Library Services

Leveraging partnerships is essential to supporting the development and growth of new programs and services for children with disabilities. One of the best things you can do when serving an undeserved population like families with children with disabilities is to collaborate with other local organizations to gather community feedback about people’s perceptions and experiences of your library. Whether you decide to take a more formal or an informal approach in gathering information, performing a comprehensive community assessment is a necessary first step in growing this area of service.  Assessing your community helps identify opportunities and gaps in service for different age groups. It can help you learn about what types of programs your library could be offering to families with children with disabilities.  This process can also help you determine what the best and most accessible mode of communication is for families, or identify areas for improvement in your library’s…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Bilingual Outreach at the Doctor’s Office

One of the most formidable aspects of public library work is reaching out to community members who are not current library users. This challenge can be made more daunting when trying to reach immigrant and non-English speaking populations who may not be present at more typical outreach events like back-to-school nights. Meeting these groups where they are is important as many times they have not previously used libraries and are not sure what services we provide or if they are able to get a library card. To bridge this gap, Alexandria Library staff members have been visiting a local doctor’s office in a low-income Hispanic neighborhood for the last three years. Every Monday morning at 8:30am, Patricia Amaya and Christian Reynolds arrive wearing aprons embroidered with the library logo to engage parents and children while they wait for their appointments. Patricia, a native Spanish speaker, talks with adults about what the…

Blogger Heather Acerro

RPL’s ArtCart: Spinning Creativity

Back in April, when we were looking forward to the start of summer in Minnesota, Rochester Public Library introduced a new ArtCart. The ArtCart complements our 2015 Local Government Innovation Award-winning BookBike, a bicycle pulled trailer that provides access to books and DVDs, library cards, and advisory services within downtown and in nearby low-income neighborhoods. Over summer 2017 the ArtCart, an art room on wheels, traveled alongside the BookBike bringing fun and creative activities to the community.         Some of our favorite art activities included: Flyswatter Painting Salad Spinner Art Q-Tip Pointilism Collaborative Community Mural Chalk Art Solar Prints From easy and cheap to fairly complicated and expensive, the projects changed out on a two-week rotation in order to keep the ArtCart fresh and interesting for repeat customers. We made 74 stops over the summer months and had 3,672 visitors! We surveyed our customers and found that:…

Blogger Alexa Newman

Engaging Your Community : What Does That Mean?

A definition Community engagement is an important emerging trend in public libraries.  What, exactly, is community engagement, you ask? Well, according to Dr. Crispin Butteriss of Bangthetable.com, it can be described as both a process and an outcome.  In other, words it is both a noun and a verb.  Butteriss further describes it as “the process of getting people better connected into the community and for ensuring that the services they were designing me[e]t the specific needs of the people they are working with.” Applying the principles of community engagement specifically to libraries has been the focus of ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative.  The LTC initiative “seeks to strengthen librarians’ roles as core community leaders and change-agents.” On a regional level, RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System) has formed a community engagement networking group. I am my library’s youth liaison to the community.   I do outreach with several different agencies,…

Blogger Elizabeth Serrano

Submit an ALSC Roadshow Request!

ALSC Roadshow graphic

The Roadshow…not just for conferences! So far this fiscal year we’ve approved one ALSC Roadshow request for the Idaho Library Conference which took place in October. We love when our members are willing to represent ALSC at their local conferences! But the ALSC Roadshow request isn’t just for conference events! Having 4,000+ members spread out across the country (and beyond) makes it an interesting task to figure out ways to connect as many members as possible. If you are interested in arranging a local get-together in your area to connect with other ALSC members or prospective ALSC members, I encourage you to submit an ALSC Roadshow request! Requests should be submitted at least four weeks in advance to give the Membership Committee enough time to discuss and come to a decision on your application. You can view the criteria and more information on our website. If you have any questions…

Blogger Lisa Nowlain

Above the fold and locally famous

Going on the radio to promote early literacy and library services was surprisingly fun, and a great outreach tool in my rural county where people aren’t always able to make it to the library and storytimes. Below is a comic about my experience.   Lisa Nowlain is a Youth Librarian in the Nevada County Community Library system in California. She’s also an artist type and you can see her work at lisanowlain.com.