Outreach Programming in Urban Libraries

  An important aspect of every librarian’s job is outreach.  Engaging with our neighborhood daycares, preschools, and schools is a wonderful way to share the joy of reading, engage our youth, model early literacy to teachers, and promote our libraries.  My library branch reaches over 300 students a month through outreach, which ranges from the traditional story time to curriculum based programs selected by teachers. Our traditional story time outreach is similar to other libraries and includes books, songs, story boards, movements and finger plays.  An additional part of our outreach that’s received positive feedback is the accompanying craft.  Every story time outreach includes a craft and the materials needed to make the craft.  Included with the craft materials is an activity sheet (one per child) with a picture of the completed craft and step by step instructions on how to complete the craft.  The activity sheets also includes the…

Digital Outreach and Family Literacy: Children’s Programming in the Time of COVID-19

Over the last five years, there has been an increased awareness of the importance of digital resources and accessibility. In 2015, the New York Public Library began loaning hotspots, and just this past December, Library Journal published an article about how to better promote digital resources because many patrons are unaware they exist. As many libraries across the country have shut their physical doors in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, these e-resources have become even more vital, as has the concept of family literacy. One of the main questions this raises is how can we best continue to serve children and families at this time?   In addition to promoting digital resources like e-books, a vast number of children’s librarians have begun doing virtual storytimes through their library’s social media accounts. In order to determine how effective these practices are, we can turn to O’Connor’s 2017 study Sociocultural Early Literacy Practices…

Incorporating Intellectual Freedom into Outreach

Incorporating intellectual freedom into outreach in a fun and engaging manner is an essential component of bringing our core values into the community, and bringing the library beyond its physical borders. Some of the tips listed below can be applied broadly to all types of outreach and communication/collaboration with outside agencies and organizations.

The Virginia Hamilton Conference Creative Outreach Grants

The Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth celebrates its 35th anniversary on April 30th at Kent State University.  The Conference is the longest running event in the country that focuses exclusively on multicultural literature for children and young adults. Besides offering workshops on a myriad of topics, the Conference offers several awards, including the Virginia Hamilton and Arnold Adoff Creative Outreach Grants for Teachers and Librarians.  The application deadline is February 28th, and you or a colleague may be eligible. Each year, two $1000 grants are awarded—one to a K-12 teacher and another to a school or public librarian.  According to the Conference website, criteria for a proposal includes a program that: Promotes awareness of multicultural themes and issues through outstanding literature; Illustrates the use of exemplary multicultural literature, particularly but not exclusively the works of Virginia Hamilton; Demonstrates effective organization, methods and/or library service; Includes a plan…

Outreach with Early Education Organizations as Library Advocacy

Outreach and advocacy tend to go hand in hand, right? We’re intentional advocates when we’re out in the community. We table. We show-off or model a variety of useful resources, often targeted to the groups were engaging. We play and we talk with families about the library and how our work matches up with their needs. The whole time, we’re telling our story, and promoting its vitality to members of the community. In essence, we’re building relationships with new users. This topic is on my mind a lot because it adds meaning and purpose to the outreach I do. So, today I’d like to pose a question I’ve asked myself frequently: what does advocacy look like when we outreach to daycares, preschools, head starts, or other early education organizations – especially when our main role is to facilitate a storytime with children? I serve a heavily populated urban community, so…

The ALSC/Candlewick Press “Light the Way: Outreach to the Underserved” Grant is now open!

Does your library need funding to launch or expand a service/program for an underserved population? Is your idea innovative and impactful to your community? Apply now for the Light the Way Grant! The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee (LSUCTC) are now accepting online applications for the 2020 Light the Way: Library Outreach to the Underserved grant. This $3,000 grant, made possible by Candlewick Press in honor of Newbery Medalist and Geisel Honoree author Kate DiCamillo, will go to a library conducting exemplary outreach to underserved populations through a new program or an expansion of work already being done. Applicants must be members of the American Library Association and applications must be submitted by December 1, 2019.   Contact the co-chairs of the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee, Erin Lovelace and Joe Prince, with…