Guest Blogger

Calming Kits for Toddlers and Caregivers

The toddler meltdown! We’ve all seen it in the library whether it is in storytime, in the stacks, or at the checkout stations. How can children’s librarians assist little patrons and their adult caregiver in a time of need like this but in a subtle and gentle way? Calming kits! Children’s librarian, Elizabeth Bartholomew and I explored different options of what could be included in calming kits and drew inspiration from elements that we’ve seen on social media, at other libraries, and of course on Pinterest. We wanted to come up with something simple and helpful that young children and adult caregivers could utilize anywhere, not just at the library.

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

A New Toolkit for Program Challenges

In the weeks leading up to the Drag Story Hour at my former branch, I was equal parts excited and worried. I had been wanting to host a Drag Story Hour for a long time because these special storytimes encompass some of the best parts of children’s programs in libraries: having fun, encouraging creativity, and celebrating diversity through stories. And I was certain that it would be popular with the families who came to that branch. 

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Computational Thinking, Preschoolers, and Work It Out Wombats

Children’s librarians play an important role in encouraging early literacy through instruction and modeling. But we can go beyond reading literacy and introduce early learners to 21st century competencies that will help them navigate their connected world. One key competency is Computational Thinking (CT). CT is a way to break problems down into parts in order to find a repeatable solution. Although CT as a process can be applied to coding, it also works in other situations. It’s easiest to think of it as a tool for solving problems.  Typically, it’s defined as four processes, as Kaitlen Siu shared in the 2022 Teach Your Kids to Code article What is Computational Thinking:  Making the Connection, a July 2020 article in Public Libraries magazine, shares that by incorporating CT skills in our work with young children, we can support “twenty-first-century competencies of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication for the young…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Focusing on Pronouns @ Baby Storytime

Hello! My name is Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez and I use she/her pronouns. I’m a children’s librarian for Washington County Library at the Park Grove Library in Cottage Grove, MN. This is my first ALSC blog post and I’m excited to share how I address pronouns at baby storytime! Baby storytimes are the ideal place to foster conversations with grown-ups so they are more likely to talk with their babies (or toddlers) about the same content at home. Pronouns are often an important part of someone’s identity. Therefore, I find it important to talk about pronouns at storytimes regularly and focus on them specifically a few times a year.  For baby storytime, I like to use The Pronoun Book and integrate the three most oftenly used pronouns in the songs and rhymes.  These pronouns include:  The main rhyme I like to pair with this text is Little Mousie Brown. I encourage grown-ups…

Blogger Tess Prendergast

Picture Book Playtime: An Inclusive, ECRR-Inspired Early Literacy Program Model 

I have not run storytime in a long time as I left the library to start teaching in a MLIS program almost 5 years ago. Not going to lie, I really miss working with little kids and their grown-ups! One of the last programs I ran was called Picture Book Playtime. It is a simple station-based program that I adapted from others I had read about. My goal was to make something totally inclusive that offered various ways for the ECRR practice of writing to be highlighted. In these sessions, I had a very diverse group of kids attend, including kids who had developmental disabilities, and recent newcomer families who were new to English. Everyone thrived. Moreover, the adults (parents, nannies, grand-parents, etc.) all helped each other out. It was important to me that I kept the group small, structured with some room for flexibility on the fly, simple, low-cost,…

Guest Blogger

One More Thing – Afterschool Engagement

It’s time to get ready for 3:30pm! As the school year kicks off, the volume and activity levels in the youth services rooms will soon raise to a cheerful, lively, and indisputably high frequency. Back to school season is go time in the children’s room. There is almost always room for one more addition to encourage afterschool engagement, and sometimes the simplest possibilities make the most impact.