Guest Blogger

ALSC 101 & Play-Based Engagement at #ALSC20

I popped into the ALSC 101 short session to get some background from experienced ALSC members, and to learn more about getting involved in committees. There are tons of awesome ways to get involved! Next I dove into Play-Based Community Engagement with Donna Zick, Caitlin Tormey, and Nate Halsan from Sacremento Public Library. They hold an annual Play-Summit and circulate play kits, so they decided focus library outreach and library areas on family-friendly play spaces. Their outreach areas are wide spaces to play, with comfortable floor seating, and informational tables off on the side. They also staff these spaces with staff members who are ready to get on the floor and play, too! They bring a range of activities for babies and toddlers. This type of outreach gives staff a lot of time to chat with and get to know families. The panel gave examples of awesome toys and play-exploration…

Guest Blogger

#ALSC20 Awesome Afternoon with #OwnVoices

Authors Kacen Callender, Kyle Lukoff, and author-illustrator Christian Robinson kicked off the afternoon with a conversation about LGBTQIA #OwnVoices stories with moderator Ellie Krug. The panelists discussed how they approach the concept of “mattering” in their work. Lukoff said he doesn’t often outwardly state that, “we matter… because I know we do.” He starts with the assumption that these characters matter, that they know that they matter, and he tells their stories. Callender expressed how they received emotional wounds as a kid, how they still trying to heal; that’s one reason they write for children who are experiencing these, too. Robinson discussed his book “You Matter.” He said that book came out of a question, “what did I most want to tell children? … you matter because you are here, because you exist,” not because of anything a child does. The panelists also offered advice for librarians to help and…

Guest Blogger

Transforming Incarceration Visitation Spaces at #ALSC20

In their “Collaborating to Create Welcoming Spaces for Children, Youth and Families” session, the Hennepin County Library in Minnesota shared a variety of ways they have transformed their spaces to incorporate play spaces for the whole family. One of the most stunning transformations they shared was one in an adult incarceration facility, where they added play experiences to the rooms used for video visitation.

Guest Blogger

Welcoming Spaces at #ALSC20

Dana Bjerke, Adele Murray, Amy Kennedy Fosseen, and Liz Veaderkpo from Hennepin County Library presented “Collaborating to Create Welcoming Spaces for Children, Youth, and Families.” This was great for me- I survived one library renovation several years ago where the architects never spoke with youth services staff; we made the new space “work,” but it wasn’t designed in a way that was ideal for actual use by the patrons and staff. My county is currently discussing construction of a new building for my current library. The presenters discussed their own renovation experiences, and how they worked on keeping everyone connected, collaborating, and taking into account multiple perspectives. Architects need to talk with library staff to understand how the space works for playful learning in libraries, and how families use spaces. Try to get a liaison to help you communicate with them! Administration answers to the community, county, and board; it…

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

Welcome to Reading kits with Denver Public Library and #ALSC20

In their session, “Help! My Child Is Learning How to Read: Supporting K-3rd Graders and their Families,” the Denver Public Library shared their strategies for making sure they were serving their K-3 population well as they developed into readers. Part of their mission was to make sure that staff were as able to serve this age group, as they are dedicated to serving pre-readers.


Should You Attend a Virtual Conference? #ALAVirtual2020

Now that the 2020 ALSC National Institute will also be transitioning to a virtual conference this year, it seems like virtual conferences will be our new normal for awhile. How do you know if a virtual conference is right for you? Here are some pros and cons from my own ALA Virtual experience. Pro: You can spend the entire conference in your pajamas and no one will judge you. Con: No one can compliment your cool collection of children’s book-themed t-shirts. Pro: No airfare, hotel stay, or food budget means virtual conferences can be much more affordable, especially for those of us who have never been able to attend national conferences before. Con: Instead of seeing a new city, you only see your couch, and instead of enjoying some tasty conference dinners out and about, you’re stuck with what’s in your own fridge. Pro: Many of ALA’s session this year…