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…
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.
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.
#PLA2020 kicked off officially yesterday, but the first full day of sessions is today. What better way to kick off sessions than with Sunnyvale (CA) Public Library’s discussion on building inclusive Early Literacy Programs? Sunnyvale (CT) is home to many big tech firms, and the city has a population of 153,000 – and only one library! The tech companies bring in employees from around the world, so the library serves an extremely diverse community. The Mighty Beginnings program is for children ages birth to 24 months. The idea is a simple, cohesive program that can be easily replicated at home, and is available for free at the Library for parents who are home with their children. To promote the program to the children of working parents, they advertised it at local daycares and community centers. The Pacific Library Partnership provided the library with an Innovation Grant to fund the program….
Children, Pornography and Suicide I know that Children, Pornography and Suicide are terms you never want to hear in tandem. As tough as it is, it is a reality. Most of us work with children who are at-risk. And as Chris Crutcher once said, “When you work with at-risk children, you are going to lose some. I don’t like that answer”. The CDC reported in 2019 that: “the number of young people dying of suicide jumped…56% between 2007 and 2017“ That’s people aged 10-24 years of age, well within our realm of service. While we don’t want to think of any child as being capable of “looking up porn”, the reality is, it is ubiquitous. We know how to lock our doors from strangers, and how to train children to recognize a multitude of dangers. We understand that substance abuse claims over 70,000 children every year in the U.S. But think…
According to the Child Mind Institute’s 2018 Children’s Mental Health Report, anxiety affects 30% of children and adolescents, but 80% never get help. Untreated anxiety disorders, which typically manifest between ages 11-14, increase the risk for depression, school failure, substance abuse and suicide. What can we, as librarians, do to assist young people and their caregivers in recognizing and dealing with mental health conditions?
I love August. Nice and hot so that dip in the pool or lake feels refreshing and invigorating, not cold once we slip into September. Not a whiff of the melancholy I feel once the hot weather leaves for another year. I hope you are enjoying August as well and looking forward to the conclusion of another successful Summer Reading/Learning. In case you think ALSC sits back and relaxes in August, I wanted to be sure to tell you about some exciting news and upcoming events.
During the ALA Annual Conference in Washington D.C. a resolution was passed by the American Library Association in regards to library service for children in detention at migrant detention centers. It denounces the existence of family and youth detention centers, the deplorable conditions found there, and the removal of educational and recreational programming including storytimes. It also urges libraries in or near their service areas to reach out and work with the local authorities, schools, and other governmental support agencies to reinstate or start outreach services to those centers.