Guest Blogger

Children In Crisis

REFORMA (The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking) and ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) have worked together for years, so it’s no surprise that their combined efforts have been so successful in addressing the reading needs of children, especially migrant children.  When unaccompanied minors began arriving at the U.S. border from Central America in 2014, our goal was to provide some sort of assistance. And what better way than to share books in the language of the arriving children.

ALA Annual 2018

Moving Full Steam Ahead: One Committee at a Time

For those of you at ALA Annual in New Orleans, you can probably relate when I say we were all moving full steam ahead. With temperatures in the 90s and high humidity, most everyone you met had a bit of a glow and varying degrees of moisture clinging to them from the steamy, long days spent running to meetings that seemed miles apart. ALSC Committee Work While the Fahrenheit was certainly high, it was the steam of ALSC’s hardworking members and their various committees that kept us moving forward. During the convention, process committees were meeting to make important decisions and plan next steps for exciting projects. Some of the children’s book and media award committees were discussing new titles under consideration for various honors. At the same time, other committees such as the 2018 Pura Belpré Award selection committee were celebrating their winning authors and illustrators. Exciting ALSC co-sponsored…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Children in Crisis: Literacy brings Hope

Supporting Detained Children It’s little wonder that on ALSC’s listserv that the topic of supporting children caught up in a web of immigration policy came up.  Frankly, it’s in the youth services librarian’s DNA.  We do all we can every day for every child who walks through our library’s doors.  And for those we encounter in our outreach efforts, we do that much more.  It is not an unreasonable leap that librarians nationwide would want to get library materials and services to detained children. Why Literacy Behind Bars is so Important Before we delve into efforts by REFORMA and other non-profits and NGOs, the question that you need to be ready for is simply “why?” If children are being detained, whatever the circumstance, literacy is integral – key – to their chances for success. Here’s your top-5 why’s and ALL of these are about kids right here: 2/3 of students…


The REFORMA Children in Crisis Project: A Personal Account


The REFORMA Children In Crisis (CIC) Project was created by librarians who witnessed an inhumanity and felt compelled to act. There are several articles out there that introduce the great work of this project. However, for this piece, I wanted to bring in a perspective that captured the spirit of the movement — the very personal connection the members have to the work they do. Ricardo Ramirez is a Senior Library Assistant for Youth and Spanish Services at Butte County Library in Chico, California. Below is a personal narrative about his experience. I started working on the REFORMA CIC in the summer of 2014. It was during my second semester as a MLIS student at SJSU, and in the very early stages of being a parent, that the contemporary plight of refugees from Central and Latin America came to the forefront of my attention. Because at the time I did…

Blogger Nicole Martin

Child Soldier and the Refugee Experience

I just finished the great graphic novel Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War by Michel Chikwanine and Jessica Dee Humphreys and would encourage everyone reading this to pick it up. The story recounts how 5 year old Michel was kidnapped near his school by rebel militiamen in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He eventually escapes, but not after being forced to commit violent acts which haunt him. The book does cover very difficult territory, but does a good job of explaining the history of the conflict and not exhibiting images too disturbing or violent for it’s intended audience. This is an important story to tell and equally important to get into the hands of tween and teen readers. The book begins with Michel arriving in North America, and ends with more details about his journey to safety. He was first a refugee in Uganda, then years later in Canada, and…

ALA Annual 2015

Learn How To Better Serve Your Community @ ALA Annual

The American Library Association’s 2015 Annual Conference is approaching. If you haven’t already, now is a great time to explore the Scheduler tool available to you on I’m excited to share with you several sessions for librarians and library staff aimed at how to better serve your special needs populations. If you are unfamiliar with the term, “Special Population”, I strongly recommend reading, “What Do You Mean by Special Population?” , by fellow committee member, Amy Musser. Here, Amy highlights the importance of creating services and programs for special needs populations as a way of making sure our libraries remain accessible. She urges us to remember, “…all patrons are individuals, not just members of one group or another.” With that, I have here a list of incredible programming available to you at ALA San Francisco: Library Services for the Incarcerated and Detained | Saturday, 06/27/2015 – 08:30am – 10:00am | Marriott…

Blogger Public Awareness Committee

REFORMA and the Children in Crisis Task Force

Art from "The Arrival"

Thousands of unaccompanied refugee children fleeing violence in their home countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have crossed the United States border and turned themselves in where they are being held in detention centers and placed in removal proceedings. In June 2014, at the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, REFORMA (National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos & the Spanish Speaking) decided to form the Children in Crisis Task Force to get books into the hands of these children while their future is determined. The Children in Crisis Task Force Co-Chairs are looking for ways  to partner with immigrant youth centers. Co-Chair Patrick Sullivan states, “Vendors are waiting in the wings ready to donate books.” Through monetary donations REFORMA is ready to purchase books, backpacks and school supplies. In September 2014, National REFORMA President Silvia Cisneros personally delivered the first shipment of donated books to McAllen,…

ALA Annual 2011

Save the Date: Belpré Celebration

To commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Pura Belpré Award, ALSC and REFORMA have come up with an exciting and entertaining event at 2011 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. That event now as a date: Pura Belpré Award 15th Anniversary Celebration Sunday, June 26, 2011 1 – 4 PM CST New Orleans, La. Location: TBA Please put this in your Annual 2011 schedule and be prepared to celebrate with ALSC and REFORMA. For more information about this event and other ALA Annual happenings, check out ALSC’s program and events schedule, where you can also find a printable PDF schedule of programs that merit your attention. These events will be updated closer to June when locations are announced. Stay tuned and get ready!