Blogger Alyson Feldman-Piltch

Stories with Sammy

This past November, I turned 30, and a month and a half ago, my little brother turned 3.  I’ll let you do the math. One of the first things that my Dad explained to my stepmom was that she would never need to buy a single book, as I, the overprotective and book-neurotic librarian sister would have it under control. Which, I think I do. Unfortunately, we are separated by distance, and while I would love nothing more than to read him a book everyday in person, it’s just not possible.  Luckily, we have technology.  



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. Today we will discuss advocacy. As librarians, we are constantly vying for resources to fund programs and purchase materials. With so much going on at the library this can seem like a monumental undertaking. I surveyed several librarians and asked how they advocated for their work and their programs. Below are the top three responses I received. Rely on others: This first response may come as a surprise but many librarians said they let others advocate for them. The teacher that you conduct outreach for, the parent who comes to story time,…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Revisiting Your Summer Elevator Speech

Memorial day is around the corner, and for those of us who work in children’s services at public libraries, this means Summer Reading. Traditionally, summer is a time we encourage children to read (often for prizes),  help children meet their page-total goals, and ramp up our child-centered program offerings. It’s one of the most fun, exhausting, and rewarding times of the year to be in this field. Because of this focus in children, it’s also an excellent time to advocate for services to children and their families. We have a myriad of positive stories to share, as discussed in a blog post from last summer, and often a willing and eager audience in the many families that visit our libraries. Sharing our stories is vital.  It is even more vital in light of the 2018 OCLC report From Awareness to Funding.   According to the report,  the belief that “libraries…


#Arbuthnot20 with Neil Gaiman

Arbuthnot 2020 Graphic

Did you know Neil Gaiman will deliver the 2020 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture? Gaiman’s work has been honored with many awards internationally, including the Newbery Medal. He is credited with being one of the creators of modern comics, as well as an author whose work crosses genres and reaches audiences of all ages. Gaiman is a prolific creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama and a vocal defender of the freedom to read. The Arbuthnot lecturer, announced annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits, may be an author, illustrator, editor, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature, of any country, who shall prepare a paper considered to be a significant contribution to the field of children’s literature. The host site application is still open! A library school, department of education in a college or university, or a public library system may be…

Blogger Alexa Newman

Community Helper Storytime Series

Celebrating National Library Week 2019   This year’s National Library Week theme was Libraries = Strong Communities. As part of our celebrations my library hosted a week of Community Helper Storytimes. My coworker and I planned the five day event. We invited mystery guests to visit the library and read to the children each day of the week, Monday to Friday. Each day featured a different community helper. Our visitors were really varied from traveling animal ambassadors from the local petting zoo (and their zookeeper), a police officer, a dental hygienist, to firefighters and a ballerina. We contacted and scheduled them approximately two months in advance. Since we requested that they each read a book to the children, we pulled a selection of appropriate titles for them to choose between, and had those ready for their review two weeks before the storytime.   The traveling animal ambassadors program was structured…


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.