Blogger Abby Johnson

Evaluating Native American Books

It’s November. Depending on your community, this may be a time when teachers and patrons were clamoring for books about Native American nations. I blogged earlier this month about Thanksgiving books, and now the holiday is over and Native American Heritage Month is drawing to a close. As books come back onto your shelves, it’s the perfect time for evaluating Native American books in your collection. Here are some areas to take a look at.

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Expanding Reader Response through Multimodal Opportunities

In the real world, how often have you read a chapter, an article, or a blog post and immediately thought the best way to make sense of what you just read is to answer discussion questions or write an essay? Contrast that with the number of times you’ve read something that resonated with you—maybe it thrilled or even haunted you—and then instantly sought someone to share your thoughts with. Or perhaps you sat still after reading, letting yourself fill with feelings first, and then turned those feelings into drawing, music, or even dance.  When a text moves a young reader in a significant way, we see them respond to texts in a variety of ways that are more authentic than answering prewritten discussion questions or answering a writing prompt. We see them laugh aloud and physically imitate characters actions or voices. We see them using cushions and giant blocks to…

Guest Blogger

ALSC Institute Continues to Inspire Gratitude 

In September, I was afforded the opportunity to attend the 2022 ALSC Institute – #ALSC22 – in Kansas City as a recipient of the Friends of ALSC Scholarship. It was my first time attending the Institute, and after two very tumultuous years of the COVID pandemic and its lingering effects, I was excited to attend an in-person gathering of my children’s services peers at the national level. 

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

Advocating for Book Drives

As the holiday season approaches, I often times find people asking for “unconventional gift ideas” or looking to donate to a charity. As librarians, it seems only natural to recommend literacy based ideas. A few years ago, I had a family approach me stating that they wanted to donate books to the library in lieu of presents. I created a list for the family of books the library could use in our collection (that also fit the families interest) and they gave that to people looking for gift ideas. My current library hosts a book drive in the community every year where they ask the community to donate new books for children from birth to age 18. They also invite staff to donate money for a staff donation. There are also options to collect books as a group and donate. All books and proceeds go to a local Adopt-a-Family program….

Blogger AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee

Crowdsourcing Selection & Reconsideration Policies

The 2022-23 charge for the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School and Public Library Cooperation is to provide strategies for how youth services libraries can work together in the face of the current climate of book challenges, concrete examples of how school and public libraries can support each other as we stand up for the need for EDI materials and environments, and useful products to include resources and talking points. Our committee is working to curate information to provide a toolkit of resources for youth services librarians in all settings.  Since reconsideration challenges are often conducted according to state-specific laws and regulations and determinations from these should be for adherence to selection policies, we’d like to crowdsource the details of both types of policies.  Strong selection and reconsideration policies aligned between school and public settings should present a united, transparent front to local communities and hopefully this resource enhances access to such…


Room for another challenge? 1000 Hours Outside

Have you heard about the 1000 Hours Outside movement? It was created by Ginny Yurich to encourage people of all ages to spend time outside, embracing nature and setting aside screens. (For detailed information, visit the official site). This movement has also been a game-changer for developing programming and partnerships at my library ever since a coworker (Thanks, Connie!) discovered 1000 Hours in 2020. By the first summer of the pandemic, families everywhere seemed exhausted by screen-time. 1000 Hours Outside offers the perfect framework for engaging families of all ages and adding a twist to outdoor programming that we were already doing—and you probably are, too. From story time and story walks to tie dye parties and chalk the walk afternoons—during much of the pandemic, every in-person program we offered took place outdoors. Why not reinvigorate the classics with a challenge? Wait, another challenge? Between Summer Reading, Winter Reading, 1000…


Robust Policies to Protect Patrons and Staff

Younger, Jamar. “Guards, police keeping order at PIma County libraries for $750K a year.”, 16 March 2014. Accessed 18 November 2022. Creating a safer and welcoming environment in the library is nothing new. However, in the past decade safety in the library, and outside on library property, has become a major concern for patrons and staff. Today, we are dealing with an environment where patrons and staff are increasingly looking over their shoulders. For patrons, they are at a point where they will leave the library if another patron is causing problems. Especially in the Children’s area. I have seen parents leave with their children to get away from angry or loud patrons. For staff, they are afraid to even do their job especially when a patron is yelling or getting angry as they are not sure if that patron will become violent or will accost them in…