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Working Together When Nothing’s Working

My elementary school-aged daughters are in the midst of virtual learning, and as the stay-at-home parent, so am I! The other day I was sitting by my 3rd grader during her Library class. I heard the excellent school librarian (shout out to Mrs. Robin!) instructing the 6- to 9-year old students on the use of an e-book database; as she showed them how to navigate the interface, Mrs. Robin asked students if they had ever browsed the public library’s e-book collection. My daughter beamed at me as we recalled the many times we have enjoyed my library’s e-audiobooks on family trips, on our way to the store, or as a pre-bedtime listen. It was a small thing and Mrs. Robin quickly moved on with her lesson, but this in-class mention of the public library was a good example of something we all do in our work with children: make connections…

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New Opportunities: Connecting Virtually with Parents and Caregivers

Among the many ways in which it has changed our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic has demanded that library staff responsible for creating and carrying out programming be almost endlessly innovative. I have the privilege of working with and hearing from children’s librarians and staff across Suffolk County, New York, as they’ve navigated our new reality. We’ve had many discussions in programming meetings about trying out new virtual programs only to have them flop, and how much harder the feelings that come with a flopped program can hit these days. However, our discussions, we try to keep present in our minds the fact that our current circumstances provide a silver lining of room to innovate: with patrons’ needs and behaviors upended and changing all the time, the justification for trying new things has never been stronger. One of the programming areas for which there is new potential is virtual programming for…

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Documenting Personal Experiences During the Pandemic

Welcome to Ask ALSC, where the Managing Youth Services Committee asks leaders in children’s libraries to share their response to an issue or situation.  We hope to showcase a range of responses to topics that may affect ALSC members. If you’d like to respond to today’s topics, or suggest a topic for the future, please leave a comment. Documenting Personal Experiences During the Pandemic September, 2020 This morning I noticed yellow leaves on the Sweet Gum Tree outside my front door.  I glanced down the block at the Sugar Maple of my neighbor and sure enough, reds and oranges are signaling change.  When the leaves fall in my hometown children return to school and football becomes priority one.  This year, of course, is different. Families face an impossible choice this fall; risk the health and possibly the very life of their children by sending them to school, or risk their…

Blogger Amy Steinbauer

(Emotional) PPEs that aren’t supplied…

I cringe with this title, because, hopefully, the majority of these readers work somewhere that is supplying gloves, masks, and face shields in this public health crisis. But, I know better to hope for basic essentials. Instead, I wanted to talk about the PPE that lives in each and every one of us and is currently required for doing library work in a pandemic. It’s our emotional self and reserve that we need to use daily, sometimes hourly, to protect ourselves from the wear and tear of this job. P- People skills: Knowing how and when to defuse escalating situations. Giving service with a smile. (Even when it’s a snark hidden under a mask) Using a touch of humor to connect with patrons. Remembering that you can still safely connect with patrons through your sanitation shields. Meeting different users where they are- whether from 6 feet away or a screen…

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

Faith Restored: Sometimes It Helps to Go Old School

“Scramble” is the best verb to describe what doing my work has felt like for the last six months; one scramble after another, responding to community needs and challenges. That scrambling took its toll and wore me out this summer. Last week, on the precipice of a new, uniquely chaotic school year, I was desperate for inspiration. What even is children’s librarianship now, amidst the multiple pandemics in which we find ourselves and our communities embroiled in today?  I decided to start where I always start when I’m feeling overwhelmed — with cleaning my workspace. Sifting through old files, I found a folder labeled “Librarianship – History”. I’d apparently tucked away several articles on the history of children’s librarianship.  Nowhere in this modest collection were there any articles specifically on librarianship during viral pandemics or social upheaval. But there was one that drew my eye. In 1999, Drs. Betsy Hearne…

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A New Back to School- Dealing with Screen Time

Yes, it is September! This time last year, many students and teachers had either just begun their school year or were gearing up to go back. This year looks a little different. With the pandemic still raging onward, many schools have chosen to start the school year either completely remote or are using a hybrid model where children switch between remote and in-person learning. This means there are many changes to come. With so many students doing their schooling from home, in addition to other media consumption, the concerns over screen time are valid! While previously, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had recommended limits on how much screen time a child should have for children six and up, more recently they have changed this suggestion to creating a family media plan. Through their website, AAP has created a guide on how to set up a family media plan. These…

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Vocational awe is not awesome

I highly recommend reading the full article, “Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves” from 2018. And then reading a recent iteration about the election by Anne Helen Peterson. Lisa Nowlain is a former youth librarian and currently works as a community college librarian in the California foothills. Please excuse her drawings and handwriting this month, everything is on fire.