ALSC Board

ALSC is Thinking of You and Asking for Your Strategies in Coping with COVID-19

Dear ALSC Members and Friends, The ALSC staff and board would like you to know that we are thinking of all you as you work in your libraries, schools, and communities.  Children, families and caregivers look to you in your role as knowledge dispensers, not keepers, for up-to-date information about how to deal with many challenges in their lives, not just the COVID-19 outbreak.  You have personal connections to millions of library users and I want to thank you for your tireless work each and every day in helping make their lives better through information, connection and services.

Guest Blogger

Soledad O’Brien loves libraries! #PLA2020

The award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien loves libraries and librarians! Some inspirational takeaways for me: She feels a strong sense of kinship with our industry—“we both woke up one day and realized ‘omg! we are in the social justice business!’ “ She shared many statistics showing the number of people who trust public libraries has actually gone up at a time when trust in other institutions is declining. When nobody in America seems to agree on anything, 90%! of people describe the library as a welcoming place. Libraries invest in knowledge, in serving all people where they are, which gives those people power—power that can never be taken away. Who defines representing people, all people, better than libraries? Nobody, she concludes. And finally, she feels that libraries are great unifiers in a divided world. The Big Ideas talks have been educational, inspiring, and a great way to start each conference day. As a…

Call to Action

Tackling racism in children’s books #PLA2020

How did Nashville Public Library tackle racism in classic children’s literature? What they didn’t do… They did not take books like The Story of Little Black Sambo, Little House on the Prairie, Five Chinese Brothers and The Thanksgiving Story off the shelves and throw them in the trash, which was Lindsey Patrick’s (Regional Manager) first impulse. Acknowledging the issues that her lens as a white woman would bring to the work, she invited Klem-Mari Cajigas (the Family Literacy Coordinator and a Puerto Rican woman) to help her take some steps. They didn’t want to censor these and other problematic books, essentially shoving our racist and sexist history under the rug. And they knew that the crucial starting point was to listen to and respect the opinions of people from marginalized communities. They created a Racist Children’s Book Task Force with a diverse group of people from different library departments. There was…

Diversity

Civil Rights #PLA2020

I visited the somber and stunning Civil Rights space at Nashville PL, a tribute to the lunch counter sit-ins of 1960. 60 years ago this month, lunch counter sit-ins began in Greensboro, NC, here in Nashville, TN, and in other cities which still practiced legally sanctioned, overt segregation. The participants were mostly Black university students. Photos, arrest warrants and newspaper clippings line the walls, and a series of videos plays in a corner of the room. The central lunch counter installation has the nonviolent principles of conduct etched into the glass panels including “Do not strike back or curse if abused.“ After visiting the room, my colleague/friend and I walked over to the nearby restored Woolworths restaurant for lunch. We gratefully accepted a fact sheet about the site and its history in the sit-ins as we were seated at a table, a white-presenting woman and Asian-presenting woman. As we looked around at…

Children's Librarians are Experts

Fear of being left behind (foblb) #PLA2020

The good news is I’m here, which is more than I can say for last PLA. Snow was predicted (again!) for Chicago, so I hopped on a flight a day early on Monday night in hopes of actually getting here. Being early for a big (8,000 library peeps!) conference is a great idea. Saw the Nashville Public Library while it was still quiet-ish! an amazing storytime by…wait for it, 3! people who were not librarians but “performance artists.”There were lights, recordings, puppets, juggling, witty repartee and more. Lots of fun, and they’re doing it again tomorrow morning, 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30. Brian Hull, or the “Professor” manages Wishing Chair Productions and told a few of us librarians about the deep, strong tradition of puppets here in Nashville. He’s super excited about the String City shows coming up which are an extra you can order on the PLA app.

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Passive Programming Builds Community

Winter and spring breaks are coming up, which means our libraries might be more crowded than usual! This is a great time to engage library users, but can also be a bit stressful when trying to manage many age groups simultaneously. Your regularly scheduled toddler storytime now might include older siblings attending, and your children’s section might be filled much earlier than usual. So, how do you balance all of your patrons’ needs simultaneously? Passive programming! But, passive programming is so much more than a tool to help you multitask; it helps build community.

Blogger ALSC Membership Committee

Mocking Masters: Future Librarians Dive into a Mock Caldecott

I teach children’s literature in a Canadian university and my students are the next generation of children’s services librarians. For the past 2 years I have held a class-wide Mock Caldecott. This serves the dual purpose of introducing them to a lot of current illustrated material and teaching them the specifics of this important book award. My hope is that they will be able to apply these same steps to other children’s book and media awards. After reading and book-talking eligible books all term, we came up with the following top 10 Mock Caldecott contenders, in alphabetical order by title, followed by the name of the illustrator.