Early Literacy

Spellcasting and Singing

#alsc14 Maxim of the Day: Sometimes you’ve gotta sing outside of the shower. Take it from Gay Ducey, a speaker on the “Using Volunteers to Expand the Walls/Books for Wider Horizons” panel. She warmed up Thursday’s #alsc14 audience by asking us to stand up and sing the storytime smash hit “To Stop the Train”–several times in a row. Singing not only works with kids, but is an effective tool when leading a storytime training for adult volunteers: people loosen up, get active, and have fun. After this clever icebreaker activity, their brains are primed to soak up the content rich presentation that follows. She also emphasizes to volunteers that their storytime presentations will make a lasting  impression on kids. “Storytimes are a kind of spell children need to have.” By creating this special timeless moment in a child’s life, a storytime volunteer is helping the child associate reading with fun…


Inspired Youth Grant Writing at #alsc14 #oakland

Do you need money for awesome youth programming at your library? Of course you do! As part of my library’s grant writing team (a tag team comprised of myself and the awesome librarian/superhero Katie Holahan) I am always on the lookout for funding opportunities. Nancy Baumann and Lisa McClure presented a great session this afternoon that provided practical, helpful tips on writing successful grants for anyone in need of funding. In addition to a wealth of suggestions for grant opportunities session attendees were also given an overview of McClure’s “inspiration to execution” tactics for grant writing. She suggests following the “6 Cs” when pursuing a funding opportunity. 1. Consider: Think about the funder’s mission compared to your library’s mission. Do they align? Be sure to know your youth trends and research. Consider yourself and what distinguishes you from other applicants. 2. Convince: It is important to demonstrate the need for…

Early Literacy

Recruiting Supermodels #alsc14

I was a pint-sized model. In 4th grade, I read aloud storybooks to friends at an after school daycare center that I attended. At the time, I had no idea that this experience would prepare me for my career as a children’s librarian. And I certainly had no idea that I was imparting a love of reading to my listeners–my peers. Speakers at today’s “Inspired Collaboration: Early Childhood Partnerships” made me recall this memory when they talked about how they recruit everyday library users to model experiences for potential library users. As a professional, you can tell patrons about a service and model it for them yourself. But sometimes people may feel most inspired to try something new when they see someone just like themselves doing an activity. One of the presenters shared a story about how mothers in a housing community receive early literacy training. In turn, these mothers…

Institute 2014

Tech Access on a Budget at #ALSC14

Mary Ann Scheuer, Cen Campbell, Suzanne Flint, & Claudia Haines led a wide-ranging discussion of tech in library children’s services, and how to afford it. They began with the core values of Accewss, engagement, creativity, and learning; and talked about how technology use fits into these values. They (and the audience) shared lots of examples of low and mid-cost uses of tech in the library that promote these values: Access app chats-Demonstrate and have a conversation in the library w/ parents & caregivers about using quality apps with their children in an engaged, developmentally appropriate way. Bonus points for incorporating the ECRR 5 Practices into shared parent/child tech use! eReaders for students- libraries write grants to make a circulating collection of (eReaders and content) available to students Community Tech Experts & Technology Sharing- Businesspeople and other community members with tech gear and know-how share their expertise, demo the equipment, etc….

Institute 2014

The Science of Poetry @ #ALSC14

I love science, and I love poetry, so attending this session was a slam-dunk decision for me! This program was hosted by Sylvia Vardell and featured the poets Alma Flor Ada, Susan Blackaby, F. Isabel Campoy, & Janet Wong Sylvia Vardell started us off by reading a poem call ed “Recycling” by Susan Blackaby, then walked us through the steps of “Take 5 with Poetry & Science:” 1. Read the poem aloud 2. Read again, inviting kids to participate in the reading 3. Discuss and research the poem and its topic 4. Connect the poem to a specific science topic with a demonstration or hands-on activity 5. Share more, related poems & other readings Susan Blackaby shared some of her lovely poems and discussed the connections and similarities between poetry and science. Both science and poetry require precision, careful use of language, trying and trying again, and making revisions. Both use…

Institute 2014

Making Advocacy Awesome @ #ALSC14

Making Advocacy Awesome @ #ALSC14 My first program of the conference was led by the awesome triple-threat team of Jenna Nemec-Loise, Helen Bloch, and Katie O’Dell. They jam-packed their session with information and inspiration to turn us all into powerful advocates for libraries and children’s services. Jenna Nemec-Loise started us off with a tour of the excellent & comprehensive resources on the ALSC Everyday Advocacy Website: www.ala.org/everyday-advocacy, and described the elements of advocacy: Be Informed Engage w/ Community Speak Out Get Inspired Share Your Advocacy Story Helen Bloch talked about “building the foundation,” or having the groundwork already done, the relationships already established, etc. so that you are ready to advocate for your library at any time- to respond to crisis or to seize an opportunity. Think about advocacy in terms of Who, What, Where, When, Why, & How. Who- budget deciders, possible allies, local media What- Demonstrate the value…

Institute 2014

ALSC Institute at Children’s Fairyland

What do Daniel Handler, gender identity and children, puppets, inclusive practices, and wine have in common? The ALSC Institute fieldtrip to Children’s Fairyland! That’s right, attendees have VIP access to Oakland’s storybook theme park for an afternoon of witty banter, professional development, and play. Mac Barnett, Daniel Handler, and Jennifer Holm kick off the event in Aesop’s Playhouse. Be sure to ask Mac about his early days at Children’s Fairyland. Following, experts in the ALSC community lead small group discussions and interactive breakout sessions on hot topics related to youth services. Sessions range from STEAM activities, Mock Caldecott, storytime innovations, impactful outreach, old-school string stories, and more. The event concludes with a light reception, award winning puppet show, and exploration of Children’s Fairyland. Wanna learn more about Children’s Fairyland?  Check out Institute Task Force Member Penny Peck’s blog about the history and connection with Walt Disney and Frank Oz. Remember…

Blogger Dan Bostrom

Institute Early Bird Registration Deadline is June 30

If you’re an ALSC member and planning on registering for the 2014 ALSC National Institute in Oakland, Calif., now is the time! Early bird registration for members ends Monday, June 30. Members can save up $35 on the cost of registration with the early bird pricing. All special events are included in the cost of registration. On Thursday, Sept. 18, Steve Sheinkin will deliver the opening session. Other confirmed special events include a Breakfast for Bill program with Tim Federle, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Rita Williams-Garcia and Gene Luen Yang, facilitated by Jamie Campbell Naidoo. Andrea Davis Pinkney will deliver the Closing General Session on Saturday, Sept. 20. The Institute also offers a wide variety of education programs. All of the programs fall within the theme of the conference: Expanding Our Worlds, Creating Community. Programs will repeat throughout the Institute so that participants have the opportunity to attend eight programs in…