Blogger Chelsey Roos

Simple Ways to Be More Inclusive of Autistic Families

Making your programs more inclusive of autistic families (and families with other sensory needs or disabilities) doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. There are small, simple changes that you can make in an hour or less today that will help autistic families feel welcome and supported at your library programs (not just storytime). Here are four ways to get started.

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

ALSC Institute – Overwhelmed by Underserved Communities: Participant Responses

Photo of Tammie Benham, Melody Leung, and Georgette Spratling presenting at the ALSC Institute in Kansas City

Members of our committee (Georgette Spratling, Melody Leung, Tammie Benham) presented at last month’s ALSC Institute! We showcased our toolkit for Getting Started with Underserved Communities Thank you to everyone who came to our workshops. We were able to learn about barriers our fellow library practitioners face when working with underserved communities as well as gauge where we all are in our practice.  Below is a summary of participant responses from our collective reflection. The questions asked align with an advocacy framework we presented to help empower library staff to work with underserved communities. If you have your own responses, we’d love to see them in the comments below!  What is the most overwhelming part about working with underserved communities?  What underserved communities do you want to work with? (Check out our toolkits for some examples or inspiration) Imagine a real or hypothetical program/outreach/initiative?  Are there barriers in your organization…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

The Impact of Play During Library Programming

Aren’t articles that remind us why we choose to work in youth services rewarding?  While a simple search brings up a plethora of information on the impact of early childhood programs on educational attainment and quality of life, research that supports instructional approach and ties the approach to outcomes are compelling. In the past few years a handful of studies arose that questioned the veracity of research related to early educational impact, postulating that the benefits fade by third grade and public investment is a waste.  However, that’s not quite the whole picture.  It turns out the approach to teaching children in preschools, and other organizations that impact early development-such as libraries, is the deciding factor on whether a program is a good investment of time and resources. This new era of research looks at the differences in instructional approaches in preschools and compares play-based learning to a more traditional…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

EDI In Action: Intentionally Inclusive Book Selection

Selecting books for programs is an essential part of a librarian’s job, but how do we do it with inclusivity in mind?  We all have those books from our childhood that hold a special place in our hearts, but are those books we want to read in storytime? Should we put those titles on displays or booklists?  There are so many new books being published, it can be a bit overwhelming sifting through everything to find the good stuff rather than choosing our favorite go-to classics. When I think of selecting books for programs, I always think about Rudine Sims Bishop’s essay Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors.  When a child reads a book about a person who looks or lives like them, they are reading a mirror–they are able to see themselves reflected in the book they are reading.  When a child reads about someone who looks or lives…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

New Americans Toolkit: Intentional Programming

Kids playing with play dough on the floor

The Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee have created a vibrant, dynamic toolkit for working with new Americans. We have released this toolkit in three parts, Professional and Community Resources, Recommended Read-alouds, and this final installment focused on Intentional Programming.  The focus of this toolkit is on serving children and their caregivers who are new to America. There are approximately 44 million people living in America who were born in different countries. People identifying as new Americans may fall into many categories, some of which may be: refugee, asylum seekers, migrants, or immigrants. As our understanding of different needs increases, libraries are recognizing an important role in supporting new American communities. These supports may include specialized resources, adapted programming, and community partnerships to support children and their caregivers.  Toolkit Preview What you will find in this new release: Materials for the Children’s Room including posters and toys…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Toolkit: New Americans – Read Alouds

Black, brown, and white hand overlap atop an American flag

The Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee is devoting the 2021-2022 calendar year to creating a vibrant, dynamic toolkit that provides ALSC members with up-to-date resources for working with marginalized populations.  Each toolkit page will provide professional and leisure reading recommendations, support for programming, and materials for families.  As dynamic documents, these pages will continue to grow and develop as we find new resources, share our experiences, and continue to learn.

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Celebrating Our Differences

We are all different, and that’s okay.  I say this statement out loud at minimum once a month, usually when confronted with the unsavory news about banned and challenged books, book burnings, etc.; activities that are, at best, seriously misguided attempts to protect young minds from being exposed to topics deemed to be above their maturity level. The empath in me is always seeking to fully understand and walk in the proverbial shoes of someone else. However, the more I peruse the list of challenged titles, the more confused I become. Our country is a gumbo of cultures enhanced by the lived experiences and traditions of diverse people whose uniqueness adds flavor to our Americanness.  Just as there is no such thing as a one ingredient recipe, neither should there be the promotion and elevation of one singular story. To say that there is not room for more than one…