ALA Virtual Conference 2020

#alavirtual20 Tracie D. Hall, ALA Executive Director, calls for a “legacy of justice”

During the #alavirtual20 Opening Session, ALA Executive Director, Tracie D. Hall, called upon libraries to “Let our legacy be justice.” Attendees were  invited to “ explore the constructs of the library as both the vehicle and driver of justice as both a means to justice and an arbitrator.”  Hall stated, “There is something about justice that demands that we take sides; that we make intentional decisions about whether we were at the side of justice or opposite.” She asked, “What is our responsibility to justice when we consider that literacy and educational attainment are two of the key contributors to economic self-sufficiency, and that their absence contributes to the school-to-prison pipeline, high unemployment, and cyclical poverty?” She went on to share and reflect upon her personal professional journey to librarianship as well as the historical contexts of the role of justice within the library field and ALA.  Hall then outlined…

Blogger Meg Smith

Interview with Joan Trumpauer Mulholland

Legendary civil rights activist Joan Trumpauer Mulholland is the subject of two new juvenile nonfiction selections. There is a picture book version, She Stood for Freedom: The Untold Story of a Civil Rights Hero, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, written by her son Loki Mulholland and Angela Fairwell and illustrated by Charlotta Janssen, and a middle grade version of the same title, also written by Loki Mulholland with artwork by Charlotta Janssen. In this interview, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland reflects on her experiences and the impact of encouraging young people in their struggle for equal rights.

ALA Annual 2016

Raise your ALSC voice

Leadership & ALSC at #ALAAC16 is technically a committee meeting, but it’s an open one. Not knowing any better, I attended (first-timer, you know, so a little clueless). I’m so glad I did. There were great discussions about the effect of technology on children’s services, diversity–both in collections and programming (and I would add the profession, but more on that later), and the desperate need for mentors. I was flat-out awed by the knowledge of the women at my table. Listening to these discussions, it feels like ALSC is at a crossroads. Now more than ever, ALSC needs to hear from new children’s librarians and new members. The women at my table were eager to hear my perspective as someone who has been a librarian for 4 years and a ALSC member for a year. For ALSC to meet all the challenges of the future and create a intentional strategic…

Blogger Meg Smith

How Does Your Library Grow?

“Children’s Librarian, Children’s Librarian, how does your library grow? With continuing development and innovative programming and pretty furniture all lined up in a row?” This simple twist to the classic nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” points to the growth necessary for our libraries’ survival if we are to continue our impact and ensure our longevity. With many of us facing increasing responsibilities and shrinking budgets, it may be natural to feel that growth is simply impossible. There may be, however, some practical ways we all can enhance the services and resources we provide for children, their families, and our communities. How does your library garden grow? Our community branch library received a major renovation this past summer, funded in part through a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grant in partnership with Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, NC.  A staff office was turned into a conference room that has quickly become…

Blogger Meg Smith

How to Best Serve Parents of Our Young Patrons

 When my husband and I were blessed by becoming first time parents, I was able to see from a personal perspective just how our library system excelled in meeting the needs of caregivers to young children. As I visited the library as a patron with my daughter, I tried to turn away from evaluating the story time as a manager and instead, enjoyed that program as a parent.The question for us working in public libraries is this: are we as children’s librarians giving the caregivers who walk through our doors the same welcoming smile and nonjudgmental attitude we give our youngest patrons?  If the answer is “yes,” do our libraries’ policies and procedures reflect this same view?    At our library system, we do not have age restrictions for our regular story times and do not require registration for these types of programs. While we communicate that story times are geared for a specific age range, we…

Blogger Meg Smith

The Power of Eight Simple Words

It’s easy to focus on those rare but disheartening comments from parents we hear on occasion as youth services librarians.  “No, I’ll let you check out a DVD today but no more books.”  “You’ve already read that before.  Pick a book that’s not so easy.”  “If you don’t be quiet, that librarian (or teacher, as we are often called) will make you leave.”  We can combat these statements by celebrating the joys of reading at every opportunity, encouraging youth to channel their energy by attending our interactive programs.   We can engage both parents and children during brief readers’ advisory moments, sharing that we support reading for pleasure for even our youngest patrons.  We can help parents become their child’s reading advocate. We can also hold fast to those unassuming remarks from our patrons that demonstrate the incredible impact of our work in the community.  We gain insight when we learn…