Children's Librarians are Experts

Children’s Librarians are Experts at Family Engagement

Children’s librarians are experts at family engagement.  Sure, these happy-faced public servants spend countless hours greeting the adults who accompany their young charges, but this is just the beginning. Engaging with families by meeting them where they are and making a meaningful connection is the children’s librarian’s super power. We are in a unique position to provide free, accessible services and spaces where families can spend time playing, learning and relaxing together in a low stakes environment. These early connections often lead to life long relationships with the library and its librarians. Our programs are often the first places families come when they are new to the community, new to the country or new to the work of parenting. For example, our library has had a program which employed immigrant parents who had graduated from our ESL classes as bilingual “Discovery Guides” in our Children’s Discovery Library. By overcoming language…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Partnerships with arts organizations to enhance programs

As mentioned in my February 2, 2018 ALSC post (Arts enhance experiences for under-served populations), the arts provide many entry points for youth participation. It encourages individuality, exploration and the process is as important as the outcome. This past year, my colleague Becca Tanen,  DC Public Library’s Children’s Librarian for the Center for Accessibility, wanted to explore theater based activities for program enhancement. So she decided to do a partnership with a theater company. After researching organizations with experience creating universally designed programs, she reached out to Imagination Stage (IStage) for the partnership with this endeavor. IStage is one of DC’s renowned regional youth theater organizations, Partnership Goals and Process The partnership goals were to learn new program ideas through theater and to offer a different type of activity for all children – meaning there are no barriers to participation. Below Becca describes her experience with this collaboration. “The workshops were…

Blogger Alyson Feldman-Piltch

Children’s Librarians Are Experts at Building Collections That Reflect Their Communities

One of the things I love most about my job is collection development.  I love keeping an eye out for titles that may appeal to one or two reluctant readers I know, and buying books that I think may become new favoritesr. What I really love though, is buying books that beautifully reflect my local and global communities in an accurate way.

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Children’s Librarians are Experts at Homework Assistance

One of the most satisfying parts of being a children’s librarian to me is helping children reach their academic goals. My branch has a Homework Center, and they directly help students complete their work and learn new skills. However, the part I really enjoy is when a child comes up to me on the floor with an assignment and needs to find research materials to complete their work. I remember being a kid myself—always being a little leery to ask an adult for their assistance. I love being able to take a task they find overwhelming and help them learn how to find books, articles, and websites that will give them an overwhelming sense of relief. I so enjoy the happy look on their faces when I send them off to write the report. Non-librarians may believe that the above is a folly—who needs a librarian’s help with the internet?…

Administrative and Management Skills

Children’s Librarians are Experts in Multitasking

Storytime. Summer Reading. STEAM Initiatives. These are just some of the types of programs a Children’s Library might do in any library in America on any given day. All these programs, for wildly different ages and groups of people, must be planned, scheduled, and prepared for. Programming alone is a juggling act, requiring a children’s librarian to impart early literacy tips to parents in the morning and help 10-year-olds solder in the afternoon. But the work of children’s librarians is not just visible programming work at the library. Add in outreach – to local schools, to farmer’s markets, to fairs and festivals and community events. Don’t forget advocacy – attending town meetings, preparing your elevator pitch, and petitioning your elected officials for additional money and support. And marketing – someone has to make the calendars, write the press releases, and let the public know what you’re doing. Now we’ve covered…

Blogger Public Awareness Committee

Thanksgiving Under the Microscope

Now that Thanksgiving has passed and the holiday books begin to make their way back to your shelves, it’s the perfect time to train your critical eye upon this sometimes-controversial, and frequently inaccurate and inauthentic, array of titles. As librarians and purveyors of information, we have a duty to provide resources that reflect truth and diversity. Many of our books often share the “First Thanksgiving” narrative that shows happy Pilgrims and American Indians* sharing a meal blissfully side by side. Or, this narrative shows up as a classic school play where children dress up.

Administrative and Management Skills

Volunteering Opportunities for Tweens at the Library

“Hi, I’d like to sign my child up to volunteer at the library. She’s 12 years old and…” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fielded this request, or a similar one. The local chapter of the National Junior Honors Society (NJHS) requires that its members spend hours volunteering to better their communities. For legal reasons, regular volunteers for our Children’s Department must be 14 or older. Parents tell me they’ve reached out to many local organizations searching for volunteering opportunities, but few if any will accommodate tween volunteers. Our Teen Advisory Board meets once a month to plan tween and teen programs, write book reviews for publication on our social media accounts, and work on other tween and teen services-related tasks. The Board is open to all tweens and teens in grades 6-12. This is a great way for NJHS tweens to create programs they can enjoy while earning…