Blogger Early & Family Literacy committee

Fostering the Growth of Executive Functioning Skills in Children

The term executive functioning refers to an important set of skills that allow people to successfully navigate life. These skills include the ability to plan, self-evaluate, self-control, retain information, manage time, and organize thoughts and information. According to a useful infographic published by Harvard, these abilities are not innate to anyone, but may be learned by nearly everyone. Children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old tend to develop these skills rather rapidly, and this development is significantly bolstered by early childhood education and care (ECEC).  An exploratory report was published in May of this year, examining the effect of ECEC on children’s executive functioning skills at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to these important skills, the study also examined the effect of this care on language, and the difference socioeconomic status may make on the development of vocabulary and executive functioning. The study looked…

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

A Case for Ending Library Late Fees

Recently New York Public Libraries made national news when it announced that it would be ending late fees in their continued efforts to promote equality. Dayton Metro Library in Ohio, where I work, ended fines for overdue items on January 1, 2018. Within 6 months our system noted that while our revenue from fees and fines were lower as expected, the overall loss was worth it in light of improved patron interactions and increased access to materials for young patrons.

Blogger Liza Purdy

Do What You Do Best: Advice from a Child Welfare Expert

I’ve spent the last few months trying to educate myself on Childhood Trauma, ACES, and how to become a trauma informed library. The task is daunting! The learning curve is steep, the information is abundant and there are so many children in need of care. I was beginning to despair. Then an old friend of mine from high school (shout out to the Shaler Area Titans!), Dr. Lisa Schelbe posted her new book, The Handbook on Child Welfare Practice, on Facebook. Dr. Schelbe is an associate professor in the College of Social Work at Florida State University. Her areas of expertise are child welfare and child maltreatment prevention, among others. I knew I had a resource that could help me focus; she literally wrote the book on the subject! I reached out to Dr. Schelbe, and we had an amazing conversation about what practical steps we can take as children’s…

Blogger Liza Purdy

Trauma and Resilience in the Library

The last time I blogged here at ALSC, I started what I hope will become a series on Childhood Trauma, abuse, neglect, ACES. It is hard stuff to hear. Since writing that first blog post, I’ve taken part in training for mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect in the state of California, which further deepened my commitment to doing whatever I can to raise awareness in libraries of this painful and pervasive issue. I have read two good articles in the past month on Childhood Trauma: A Child Trends article on implementing trauma-informed care to  build resilience, and a Harvard University Center on the Developing Child article also on resilience. The Child Trends article defines resilience as “positive child outcomes despite exposure to trauma, prevention of trauma recurrence despite high risk for further exposure, or avoidance of traumatic experiences altogether in the face of significant risk.” (Bartlett, 2019). In…

Blogger Liza Purdy

The Trauma Informed Library

A month or so ago, I watched a terrific documentary on Amazon Prime called Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, based on a book by the same name written by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn. The movie depicts the precarious state of Kristoff’s hometown, Yamhill, OR. The town has been devastated by economic hardships, the opioid crisis, and poor life expectancy in the past few decades. Kristoff checks in with some of his classmates who have faired far worse than he in the intervening years. I was fascinated by the documentary. I was particularly riveted by a segment regarding Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs. I had never heard of ACEs, but I believe that they are incredibly relevant to the role of the Children’s Librarian. Kristoff interviewed Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, California Surgeon General, and founder of the Center for Youth Wellness, which is a “national leader in the effort to…

Blogger Chelsey Roos

Child Sexual Abuse: Supporting Young Survivors Through Collection Development

According to the CDC, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys will experience sexual abuse at some point in childhood. A statistic like that takes your breath away. The last thing we want to think about when we’re helping a child find their next favorite book is whether they’ve experienced some form of sexual abuse or harassment. We can’t tell just by looking if the kids who come into our library have experienced abuse, but we can make sure we have the resources we need to help them.

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Early Childhood Resource: The State of Babies Yearbook

Earlier this month, Zero to Three debuted the State of Babies Yearbook 2020. The Yearbook is a huge collection of data about children 0-3 that has been compiled and organized to allow users to see national trends and trends by state. Data from the Census Bureau and the National Survey of Children’s Health, among others, are used to show profiles of specific indicators that are critical to the healthy development of the very young. Compilations like this one can be extremely valuable to librarians. We can use it to advocate for programs and services, develop initiatives, write grants and obtain other funding and simply be aware of some of the factors that have a big impact on our youngest patrons and their families. It is also an important reminder about how important things like the Census are to gather data – without them, we don’t have a clear picture.