Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Serving Expectant Parents & Families with Newborns From Where We Are Today

It is important that expectant parents and those with newborns know they are welcome at the library, even as pandemic precautions persist. Luckily, there is someone there to help them – YOU! Acknowledging them with a simple “hello” can be a high point of their day, especially if they are feeling overwhelmed. A sympathetic “some days are like that!” may lower the pressure when they are dealing with a fussy child. Life in the library is beginning to look more familiar as things begin to “open up more.”.  There are still precautions to take to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy until this pandemic is over. Keeping this is mind may have an impact on your library’s ability to do in-person programming and outreach for families with infants since they are at a higher risk. Programs may be offered as a series, once a month or quarterly. Keep your…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Addressing Covid-19 Worries in the Back-to-School Season

I wrote this in quarantine. My toddler had a close contact exposure to Covid-19 in her daycare class and we kept the whole family home out of an abundance of caution. (Everyone is healthy.) It’s a situation many of our patrons and staff may face now that kids have returned to school or pre-school. The Delta variant put a different spin on the usual back-to-school and fall programming, with many libraries still only allowing outdoor or virtual programming. How can we support our patrons during this fraught back-to-school season? First, remember to take care of yourselves. Burnout, compassion fatigue, Covid fatigue—whatever you call it, it’s real. Try to take some time for yourself whether it’s a staycation, regular exercise, or enjoying a hobby. Next, understand the behaviors associated with stress and worry in your patrons. If folks share with you, validate their feelings. Fellow Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Early Childhood Program Plans for Fall 2021

Last week, I posted a link on ALA Connect to a very informal Google Forms survey to collect some data on plans for early childhood programming for this coming fall, and also shared it with heads of children’s departments here in Suffolk County, NY. So far 40 people have filled out the survey! Thank you all so much for providing this data, an overview of which I’ll be sharing in this post.   Concerns about what conditions we’ll be facing this coming fall are on everyone’s minds as we plan programs and services for the remainder of 2021. As of the time of this post, children under 12 are still not eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This, combined with concerns about the continuing spread of the Delta variant, has many library staff thinking about how to offer safe and engaging programs for our youngest patrons and families as we move…

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Planning for Outdoor Storytimes

I miss in-person storytimes. I miss the cacophony of voices prior to settling into our opening song. I miss encouraging full body movements of the Fruit Salad Song without worrying about fitting everything into the camera frame of a computer. Most of all, I miss watching toddlers scurry about on the fringes of the storytime crowd, absorbing everything. The joy and chaos of an in-person storytime always brings a smile to my face. Now that it’s growing warmer and nicer weather (if not actual sunshine) more consistent, I see many librarians considering outdoor storytimes. I planned an outdoor storytime run as part of my summer programming last year; then Covid hit and shut everything down. Now I’m excited to bring this plan to fruition. What do you need for an outdoor storytime? Here are some things to consider.

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New Opportunities: Connecting Virtually with Parents and Caregivers

Among the many ways in which it has changed our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic has demanded that library staff responsible for creating and carrying out programming be almost endlessly innovative. I have the privilege of working with and hearing from children’s librarians and staff across Suffolk County, New York, as they’ve navigated our new reality. We’ve had many discussions in programming meetings about trying out new virtual programs only to have them flop, and how much harder the feelings that come with a flopped program can hit these days. However, our discussions, we try to keep present in our minds the fact that our current circumstances provide a silver lining of room to innovate: with patrons’ needs and behaviors upended and changing all the time, the justification for trying new things has never been stronger. One of the programming areas for which there is new potential is virtual programming for…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Tips for Talking to Littles in the Library

We all know how important it is to engage young children in lots of conversation and talk, but sometimes it is difficult in practice. Sometimes adults don’t know how to start a conversation with a young child or how to talk to a child before they are able to talk back. If kids could tell us how they wanted adults to talk to them, they may come up with some tips like these: For Pre-Talkers Me first! I may be teeny tiny, but when you speak to me right away, you are showing me that conversation is for me too. Look! When I show you that I am really interested in something, talk to me about it. I am more receptive to language at those moments. I’m talking too! Even if I haven’t learned to say any words yet, I am talking with you when I move my body, smile…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Storytime Books That Will Make Grownups Laugh

Storytime is an integral part of being a children’s librarian. One of the biggest frustrations I’ve come across is keeping the grownups engaged. From ALSC’s Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee (ECPS) Cookies and Conversation, one way to engage parents is by reading books with jokes that adults will also find funny.

Early Literacy

BIG Play = BIG Fun!

A firefighter, a chef, a magician, and two elephants are creating an elaborate, imaginary world in the dress-up tent. Engineers are building cardboard forts and testing the strength of their structures. An acrobat is crawling and peeking through a small tunnel. Three printmakers are working on a collaborative piece of rubber stamp art. And a pair of tiny zoo keepers are inspecting, touching, squeezing, (and maybe even chewing on) a variety of soft, stuffed animals. Where are all these little ones doing all these things all in one place? They are at their library’s Big Play Date, and they are loving it! Inspired by Brooklyn Public Library’s innovative idea, libraries all over the country are hosting Big Play Dates and growing community, providing big fun, supporting parental learning, and strengthening the brains of our youngest patrons in the process. Here at San Francisco Public Library (SFPL), we host what we…