Blogger Amy Steinbauer

The show must go on? Emergency Program Plans.

Emergency Plans? Stack of books, two black music notes, two multi colored puppets

Before the pandemic, my system would require every information person to be trained in story time, including managers. The reasoning was that in an emergency, anyone could cover the program, and we wouldn’t have to cancel. We also have Emergency Story Time kits at every branch with books reserved for programming, so they don’t circulate; CDs of classic kids songs, song cards, and miscellaneous items like puppets or scarves. Our big emergency story time kit is in a big container with a lid and usually located in the back of the workroom. A few years ago, we updated them to include a laminated list of tips, tricks, songs that everyone knows, etc. Another ALSC blogger, Angela Reynolds covered this topic in 2011. In this new phase of pandemic, and working from the perspective of a manager, I no longer see the absolute necessity in emergency program coverings. Most libraries seems…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Roll the Dice:  Get Outside Your Comfort Zone with School Aged Programs and Services!

As librarians serving school-aged children, it can be easy to stick to our comfort zone with the tried and true programs that we have done in the past or with programs that are on topics that we personally know a lot about.  It is also tempting to stick with programs that have all the pieces in place to run smoothly instead of introducing new programs.   I am here to encourage you to get outside your comfort zone with new programming, to stretch yourself into new areas, and to try an “everything is beta” approach to programming!  I will share about an after-school program that has caused me to stretch outside my comfort zone with my middle school students and offer some tips for making such programs work. When I began working at my middle school, a small group of parents were running an afterschool program for Dungeons & Dragons players. …

Blogger Amy Steinbauer

The Art of Being a Trash-y Library Person

When I was a children’s librarian, I really loved trash. It was a vibe. Despite working for one of the wealthiest areas of my city, there was no funding for my programming. I did it all on my own, and I had to be frugal. I had to look at all my trash and find new purpose for it all, so that I didn’t have to spend too much of my hard-earned money on supplies. If you were to ask me now about it, I would insist that this was the wrong move. I shouldn’t have been spending my own money on this, but I had a zest for this and you couldn’t have stopped me.

Guest Blogger

Wide Open Spaces #alsc22

Just as folks turned to backyards and public parks during COVID lockdowns, libraries had to shift their focus outdoors during building closures and beyond. Michelle Willis from Scotch Plains Public Library (NJ) demonstrated in “Beyond Storytime: Library Programs the Snap, Crackle, and Pop” with Denise Lyons (SC) that moving programs outdoors can be more than a solution – it can enhance them. And in “Black Kids Camp Too, Don’t They?” Michelle Martin stressed the need for more representation of Black children and families (and BIPOC at large) in wild, outdoor spaces. 

Institute 2022

We Are All Musicians at #alsc22

The last education sessions just ended and what a way to wrap things up! Staff Sergeant Philip Espe’s “Wake Up Your Musicianship for More Inclusive Storytimes” was energizing and joyous. Philip had us all on our feet and singing in 3 languages (English, French, and Spanish). He noted that we can model positive musical practice for our community and that the opportunity to make music together is precious. He emphasized that every voice is beautiful (work against that negative American Idol effect) and music is better when it comes from a live person. Philip referenced the APALA rubric for evaluating AAPI literature (that I blogged about yesterday) and encouraged us to evaluate music in the same way that we evaluate literature. He shared criteria: melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics and text. And he noted that cultural responsiveness is foundational: music is an expression of culture, and your communities deserve to hear…

Blogger Chelsey Roos

Why Do Kids Love Thrillers?

Thrillers have been surging again in YA literature for the last few years. The popularity of thrillers ebbs and flows in YA (raise your hand if you devoured I Know What You Did Last Summer in the 90’s like I did), but Kate McManus’ One of Us Is Lying brought this genre to the top again in a big way, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Thrillers are also a perennial favorite among the middle grade crowd. What’s the appeal behind this genre, and what can we offer young thrill-seekers?