Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Programming with Purpose through Community Engagement

For those looking to program with purpose, the entire process begins and ends with your community. Similarly to how we perform diversity audits on our collections, it’s important to also take a critical eye to the programs and services we offer. As professionals we understand that every community is different and has different needs, and that our offerings ought to be tailored to those needs. It can be easy to go on “auto-pilot” when it comes to programming, especially when we have recurring programs such as LEGO® Clubs or storytimes, however we should remember to look at all programs from time to time to evaluate their effectiveness.  Programming with purpose means that ideally every program we offer has some kind of goal for our community behind it. The first two questions I always ask myself when planning programs are: 1. Which population in my community am I serving/who is this…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Serving Underserved Communities: EDI in Action

child running towards a large tower of boxes

This year, the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee transitioned our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) goal. We started with providing authentic resources, then moved to empowering library (and library adjacent) staff to hone, develop, and take action on their advocacy skills. Above all, we’re providing support and different ways to interact with our resources, like presentations, chats, and our monthly blog posts. Over the past 18 months, we developed vibrant toolkits to help connect library communities with resources for different underserved populations.

Guest Blogger

Saturday kickoff at #ALSC20

We jumped into the morning with a panel discussing “on the ground” experiences from librarians working in communities experiencing trauma. Beth Patin from Syracuse University was a school librarian when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. It was an overwhelming experience for the community; everything in that area was utterly destroyed. Patin was able to start rebuilding her library collection (even with a little computer lab!) inside of a trailer long before the school was rebuilt. The community immediately utilized those services. Anita Montoya from Hennepin County Library works in the area where George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis this year. Their community was rocked with protests, and she said they worked hard to be there for the people. Some buildings were damaged, but she said that the community also tried hard to protect the library, too, because they knew the library was there for them. The library also provided constant…

Guest Blogger

Librarians Working through Trauma

2020 brought a lot of unexpected changes and challenges to people all over the country. The session on “Children’s Librarianship in Communities Experiencing Trauma” was a great reminder of how libraries are often the hearts of their communities. Anita Montoya and Beth Patin explained how they responded to traumas in their communities that were caused by Hurricane Katrina, the Coronavirus, and the death of George Floyd. Services had to be adapted in a way that still gave their libraries a strong presence. Montoya’s public library expanded its outreach to public outdoor areas, which including bringing information about food availability and children’s books to their patrons. Patin worked with her school to find ways to still engage and educate their students, including setting up a library in a trailer, and borrowing space from another school that was still able to function. Librarians are resilient problem solvers. The stories shared during this…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee


An example of partnership as a librarian does storytime outreach

At Simsbury Public Library, CT we’re good at collaboration. We have an excellent record of building strong partnerships with local businesses, community organizations, schools, and other town departments. In fact, one of our strategic plan goals revolves around outreach, engaging the community beyond the library’s walls and increasing our number of off site library programs. We already have regularly scheduled outreach visits to daycares, pre-schools and schools in our area, and were looking for a new way to engage our youngest patrons, out in the community. StoryTown is a fall series of storytimes around Simsbury, CT designed to do just that.  It is an ideal way for patrons to meet us in different locations around town and learn a little more about our community in the process. Each of the six StoryTown programs will take place at a different location including: Peachwave (a local business, and sponsor of our Summer…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

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

Is your library reaching out to the underserved children, caregivers and families in your community?  Does your library need funding for an innovative idea or expansion to provide a service or program for this population?   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 2018 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. The winning project should be well thought-out, appropriate to the target population, doable, and replicable by other libraries. Each applicant will be judged on the following: Project Information- The outline should include goals, measures of success,…

Blogger Ericka Chilcoat

1000 Books and Smiles!

This weekend we held our very first 1000 Books before Kindergarten graduation! We had 10 graduates who reached this milestone. Some registered with our pilot program in October of 2016;  others with our full rollout in January of this year.  I am still flabbergasted at the amount of planning that went into the graduation. Try as we might, there were still last-minute details that threatened to derail us, such as a “broken” printer! Luckily, we pulled it together, thanks to my fabulous detail-oriented partner-in-crime Susan Flinspach, who has put in thousands of volunteer hours toward this program. I believe the parents, children, family members, volunteers and local officials that participated all had a great time.

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

A Public Library, Trained Volunteers and an Early Childhood Center Partnership – Providing One-on-One Language Support to Enhance Early Literacy Services for Special Populations

Does your library offer one-on-one early literacy outreach to special populations? Skokie Public Library aspires to creatively reach the youngest members of our diverse community.  We provide storytime outreach to preschools and early childhood centers, but these visits are limited in scope and are generally performed for larger groups of children.  Realizing that group dynamics limit the effectiveness of dialogic reading, we set out to create a space for regular, one-on-one, interactive reading in a child care environment. How did we achieve this goal while being mindful of staff capacity? We partnered with a like-minded and respected early childhood center to send trained volunteers to reach each child.  The volunteers cultivate one-on-one relationships through their weekly visits where they read, rock, sing and play with the children.  By sharing these experiences the children bond with the volunteers and develop a love of language. We initially targeted children ages 0-3, being…