Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Not Another “Best of” Post

large orange block letters spelling not another

This Is Not Another “Best of” [input year] Post I promise you this is not another Best of [input year] post. In fact, if I were to rename it, it’d be The Most Exciting Stuff in the Youth Services World, like, right now; right now. I like pointing these things out so much I create a biweekly Youth Services newsletter for my colleagues. [mysteriously] Who knows, maybe I’ll unleash it upon the internet in 2021? [strokes goat goatee] It’s loaded with all things frabjous, from live webinars with authors whose work we drool upon to easy crafts, programming ideas, news – [foreign accent] your interest is piqued, no? Oh! And this stuff is all totes free! Sans fees! Gratis! Famous Authors Live! This subheading should read “Not Another Webinar” Probably the most important webinars For the Parents and Caregivers we serve This is not a section about stuff to do…

Blogger Chelsey Roos

The Witches, Roald Dahl, and a Renewed Legacy of Harm

Recently, HBO adapted Roald Dahl’s 1983 novel The Witches into a film. This isn’t the first time the extremely popular novel has been adapted – it was first made into a film in 1990, and has also been turned into a radio play and an opera. It’s also a novel that’s built upon a framework of antisemitism. Dahl and Antisemitism A brief summary of The Witches, if, like me, you never read it as a child: a young boy discovers that his grandmother’s stories about witches are true. He stumbles upon a large gathering of them, lead by the Grand High Witch. So far, so fine. The problems begin when you examine the way Dahl describes these witches, and how they align with antisemitic stereotypes: The witches are described as powerful, extremely wealthy, and lurking in society, secretly passing as “normal” women. This is built upon the antisemitic, and completely…

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Trust in the Time of COVID

I’m lucky. In the midst of a pandemic, when almost all of the local schools are remote, and with all of the programs that I run for my urban public library system online, I have developed extra-strong partnerships with classroom teachers and school librarians. Some ask me to recommend resources for students. Some invite me to visit classes over Zoom. All eagerly share information about my numerous Zoom book clubs, maker programs, and author visits. As a children’s librarian in a public library, I have always worked closely with my school-based counterparts. But now that everything has moved online, I find my school-based colleagues’ seal of approval more crucial than ever.  Think about it: in the old days, families would wander into the library off the street. They would meet the librarians, see the environment, judge for themselves that the library was a safe space. They would pop in and…

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Leadership During COVID-19

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a post for the ALSC blog titled, ‘Leading Toward a Shared Vision and Common Purpose.’  I cited Richard Harwood’s book, Stepping Forward: A Positive Path to Transform Our Communities and Our Lives, for finding hope through common purpose and collective action. This call to step forward and find authentic hope is even more relevant in today’s pandemic-changed world. COVID-19 has been an extreme test of leadership across the country, causing even the strongest and most seasoned leaders to begin dreaming of early retirement. The library world is no exception. How can we be the kind of leader our teams need during so much uncertainty and change? What leadership skills and traits are most beneficial in these trying times? As a new library director (7 months in!), I’ve consulted many resources for ‘crisis leadership’ advice. Providing strong leadership for our teams is especially important…

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Gratitude: Reasons I am Grateful This November

November is here, the start of the holiday season. This year is going to be strange for so many of us. Hopefully we can all stay safe as we celebrate! One thing that I am planning on doing as we approach a Thanksgiving that will look so different from years past is to practice gratitude. There are all kinds of studies about the importance of fostering a grateful attitude; it seems we can do nothing better for our mental health than to count our blessings. I am going to count mine with abandon in my personal life, but what about my professional one? What do I have to be grateful for as a children’s librarian in this year of the pandemic? I am grateful for my colleagues. As a public librarian, my day is usually spent focused on patrons and community members. This year, as I’ve hunkered down in my…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Serving Social-Emotional Needs

For the past three years, my library system (Cuyhaoga County Public Library in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, aka CCPL) has reached out to school librarians, ELA staff, and school administrators through School Librarian Book Buzz.  This event informs school staff of the services and materials CCPL has to offer, such as educator cards, databases, and more.  In addition, library staff give book talks on topics pertinent to teachers—STEAM titles, diverse titles, and, this year, books that serve social-emotional needs. I was honored to be chosen to discuss social-emotional books during this year’s online conference.  This month, I’ll share titles for students in grades K-2.  Next month, we’ll discuss middle grade books.  Onto my four picks for young students! Author Grace Byers believes that all children can achieve their goals.  Featuring diversity of race, religion, and ability, I Believe I Can is short enough to read aloud to a group of young…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Things on Sticks – Shadow Puppets You Can Do!

children performing shadow puppet show

No Excuses Honestly, there are no excuses for not being able to make a shadow puppet show. I’m not talking using your fingers to make that barking dog or your hands to make a butterfly. Shadow puppets are almost as easy to make, economical, easy to store, and frankly an art form in themselves. And thanks to the magic of internet and photocopiers, ANYONE can make these. Let’s dive in! What is a shadow puppet? A shadow puppet is any character, prop or background, made of almost any 2-D material that casts a shadow on another flat surface/curtain. It is a silhouette of a character, or object that helps you tell a story. Shadow puppets can be opaque, translucent, transparent, and include color. Any open areas “holes” or negative space as we say in the art world, allow light through. These areas can have color added with colored tissue paper,…

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I Miss My Public Library Partner

I miss my public library counterpart. I don’t work with her every day, and I don’t see her very often, but in these Strange COVID Times, we need each other more than ever. I miss her because she offers me an additional library perspective on my students and their needs. I need her because she can do things in the public library that I just can’t do here. She needs me because this is where the kids are. With many public libraries offering only curbside pick-up and limited services and hours, school is where her patrons are. Library Zoom programs can only go so far. She and I typically offer our middle school families an evening Parent-Child book club. We run this program a few times a year and participation is a tradition for some families. We have great discussions and share pizza and snacks. We talk about the book…