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A Few Unique Ideas for Summer Reading Performers

In many places around our country, January equals cold temperatures, barren trees, and dark days (even as the sunlight slowly increases each day). The perfect time to discuss and start planning summer programming, am I right? In fact, I’m not the only one contemplating Summer, as Jonathan Dolce just posted a list of excellent resources on the collaborative summer library program theme in All Together Now 2023 SRP. In addition to program planning, many of us may find ourselves starting the elusive search for performers. We hope to find the right combination of popularity and budget to draw our communities into participating in our Summer Reading Programs. Hopefully most of us involved in this tedious research already have a master list of performers or participate in library Facebook groups like Programming Librarian Interest Group to solicit ideas. My goal is not to offer ideas for big names or trends, but to instead…

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

The Importance of Pronouns

Author and illustrator Maya Christina Gonzalez is known for her award-winning bilingual (English/Spanish) books such as My Colors, My World and I Know the River Loves Me.  But this Progressive Educator and Independent Scholar/Researcher has also delved into the world of pronouns.  Call Me Tree was written without any gender identifying pronouns and she has since written substantially on the topic as well as writing and illustrating three children’s books on the topic — They She He Me:  Free to Be!, The Gender Wheel, and They, She, He Easy as ABC.  I asked Gonzalez to tell us about the importance of pronouns and that resulted in the following conversation. Maya, why are pronouns so important in creating a gender-inclusive environment? I believe, as we go through these changing times, keeping track of the big picture helps us make important connections and gives us a guide to steer by. When it…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Food, Love, and Grandparents

The month of December, when extended families often get together to celebrate their respective religious or cultural traditions, is a great time to also celebrate the multigenerational connections that many children have with their grandparents. The following selection of picture books celebrate the bonds between children and grandparents that are made stronger through cooking and sharing food. Whether it’s identifying which wild vegetables should be harvested and how they should be prepared, waiting for dough to rise, or navigating the multistep process of making tofu from scratch, the deliberate, thoughtful, and often lengthy process of meal preparation leads to deeper communication and understanding between the grandparents and grandchildren in these stories. See also the recent post Around the World With Foodie Picture Books which features several books about children connecting with a grandparent over food. What else is out there that is missing from this list? Please share your favorite…

Everyday Advocacy

Supporting Staff Well-being

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. *Disclaimer* I am not a healthcare professional. I am a reader and a hard-working mental health advocate, both personally and professionally. Self-care and wellness are frequent buzzwords in articles discussing the workplace. Why? What’s changed (other than the obvious) to warrant an uptick in administrative discussions surrounding mental health and career? And why should we as managers devote time and space to discussions on well-being? There are a myriad of reasons why we should all be focused on mental health, but for brevity and deliverability, I will focus on three. I’m sure…

Awards & Scholarships

Apply for the Penguin Random House Young Readers Group Award!

Are you a children’s librarian who has never been to the ALA Annual Conference? Edited to add: Good news! the Distinguished Service Award deadline has been extended to Friday, December 23! This Award honors an individual member of ALSC who has made significant contributions to, and an impact on, library service to children and/or ALSC.  The recipient receives $2,000 and an engraved pin at the ALSC Membership Meeting during ALA Annual Conference. The nomination form can be found here. Nominations and supporting materials are due December 9, 2022. Please note that distinguished service is not necessarily for lifetime achievement. A single outstanding program, project or idea can also merit consideration! And now, back to the original post: Then the  ALSC Professional Recognition and Scholarship Committee has an exciting grant opportunity for you! Penguin Random House Young Readers Group Award This award, made possible by an annual gift from Penguin Young Readers Group…

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

The 2022 Intellectual Freedom Landscape

As 2022 draws to a close, it’s interesting—and important—to consider the impact of last month’s elections on issues of intellectual freedom, particularly on the local level. While this will vary widely from community to community, a good place to stay up to date on these across the country, and other current issues, is ALA’s Intellectual Freedom News, which is updated weekly here.   It offers news organized into categories: Some perspectives on intellectual freedom issues being affected by recent elections are presented in yesterday’s New York Times article on the current “Surge in Book Bans.” If you experience a challenge at your organization, please remember to share information about it with the Office of Intellectual Freedom. As ALA says “Reporting censorship and challenges to materials, resources, and services is vital to developing the best resources to defend library resources and to protect against challenges before they happen.” It takes all of…

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…