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Unpacking a Book Challenge: A Conversation with Kristin Pekoll

In 2017, a young mother named Michaela Jaros was in the West Chicago (Illinois) Public Library when her three-year-old daughter pulled a picture book from the shelves. The book was This Day in June, by Gayle E. Pitman, a colorfully illustrated poem depicting a Gay Pride parade. SLJ called This Day in June “a great addition to a school or personal library to add diversity in a responsible manner without contributing to stereotypes about LGBT people.” Ms. Jaros did not share SLJ’s opinion, and immediately brought a challenge to the library.

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Día! El día de los niños – El día de los libros – Children’s Book Day

selection of books celebrating diversity

Día! is upon us! So, you’re reading this and thinking OMG, this is not so LOL when Día! is upon us!  Don’t panic!  There’s still time left to make this a meaningful Día!   Sure, you may have somehow missed out on REFORMA’s March 31st deadline for applying for its Día! grants, but with a little planning, and some great resources, you can do this! Do YOU Día? But, I hear you say, Jonathan, I’m not Hispanic and I don’t speak Spanish above the “hola me llamo [insert name]” level.  Let’s review what Día is all about! El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), commonly known as Día, is a celebration every day of children, families, and reading that culminates yearly on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of ALL linguistic and cultural backgrounds.  Thus, you see that it’s not just about Spanish speakers.  Indeed, I…

Blogger Alexa Newman

Running Background Checks on Outside Performers

Recently there has been discussion on the Facebook group Library Think Tank  (#ALATT) about running background checks on outside performers. It has been a rather animated debate, and caused me and my coworkers to do some serious pondering.   The subject under debate:  Should all performers have background checks run before they appear at a library? There were two incidents that sparked the discussion. One was a Drag Queen Storytime that was held at the Houston Public Library.  After the performance, it was discovered by a pro-family activist group called MassResistance that one of the performers was a registered sex offender.  The group brought the criminal status of the performer to the attention of the media. HPL didn’t run a background check on the performer, although Library policy does require checks be run on all performers. (It should be noted that Since March 2008, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Process Art

You don’t have to be artistic or crafty to do art programs at your branch! As a kid, I hated (really hated) art class, easily frustrated when my creations didn’t live up to my standards. Early in my library career, I started doing art programs simply because the kids loved the programs and caregivers expected them. Doing specific types of programs because your patrons enjoy them is a totally valid motivation. Like nearly everything in life, I’ve gotten more confident with practice and experience. But I’ve grown to truly love art programming – and it’s not because I’ve become a more skilled artist or gone through a creative growth spurt.   The key shift for me has been embracing process art rather than crafts.       Crafts are product-oriented, with detailed step-by-step instructions. There might be some variation, but the end results look very similar. Process art emphasizes the…

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Sometimes it’s not a “no”, it’s “not yet”

I chatted recently with another manager about her children’s librarian, who has become discouraged as she looks for new challenges. “She’s so wonderful. I can’t believe that someone else hasn’t snatched her away. She is world-class.” I agreed and shared, “sometimes it’s just about timing. I can’t even tell you how many jobs within our organization I’ve applied for and haven’t gotten.” “Same here…” “Oh, I never knew that.” “It’s not something we talk about often, but maybe we should be a bit more open about it.” So, in the interest of full disclosure, over the course of fifteen years in my organization, I’ve held six different positions. Three of those positions, I applied for unsuccessfully before ultimately receiving offers. I’ve also applied for countless others (ten? more? I really have lost track). The first time I applied to be the Assistant Children’s Services Manager, the hiring manager called to…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Interactive Picture Books

In 2011, I read a most unique (at that time) picture book—Herve Tullet’s Press Here.  My guess is that most of you are now familiar with the book, but in case you are not:  Tullet created an interactive story where the author instructs the child to press a yellow dot which appears to affect when happens after the page turn.  Thanks to the child’s directed actions, the dot multiplies, changes colors, moves around the page, and grows.  Meanwhile, the child gets a chance to tap, rub, tilt, and blow on the book.   I though the book was brilliant.  In a way, it mimicked interacting with a tablet while still giving the child an experience with a book. I was so delighted with Press Here that I purchased multiple copies that holiday season and gave it to every toddler and preschooler I know.  Several relatives of these kids told me…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Women’s History: A Universe of Stories

Women’s History: A Universe of Stories I’m not going to state the obvious.  You know…It’s March…It’s Women’s History Month.  I refuse and I resist.  INSTEAD!  We’re looking forward to summer reading.  Any writer of summer reading guides will tell you, while pulling their hair, these themes can go all. year. round!  So why not adapt your WHM line-up and do some prep for summer at the same time? Breaking news, folks!  29 years after Sally Ride broke the astronaut gender mold: ‘For the first time in history, an all-female crew will conduct a spacewalk at the International Space Station, NASA confirmed to CNN. As part of Expedition 59, NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will carry out the spacewalk on March 29. They’ll be supported on the ground by Canadian Space Agency flight controller Kristen Facciol, who will be on the console at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston….