Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

Librarians on the Front Lines

Sadly, it was not surprising in late August when USA Today ran a headline calling librarians the “perfect target” for those who would ban books from schools.  Librarians are often the purchasers of materials and the people to suggest and connect students with books of interest.  Of course, they—we—would be under attack from those who would limit access to information of which censors do not approve. 

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BREATHE

It’s been a long, long week/month/year/decade, and May is stressful for all; public library staff are gearing up for Summer Reading (a wild time to work in a public library environment), while school staff are just trying to make it to the end of the school year (a wild time to work in a school environment). And of course, we’re still living in a pandemic; things are scary and uncertain in so many ways. With all this happening, it is no surprise that I often have to remind myself to breathe. How often do you actually pay attention to your breathing? The persistently ragged, near-panicky gasping that has become my pandemic breathing style doesn’t exactly lead to inner peace. To really help yourself achieve some level of calm, one needs to be mindful of their breathing, and so, in that spirit, here are some links I hope you find helpful…

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All Students Are Welcome: Culturally Responsive Libraries

In August 2019, the Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) system in Albuquerque, New Mexico gave every K-8 classroom a collection of culturally responsive books for their classroom libraries. These books reflected the interests and the diversity of students and represented diverse authors and points of view. The underlying goal was to encourage the APS student population to feel seen, valued, and welcomed in schools, and to help students value the races and cultures of others. This was no small feat since the process involved tons of books—literally. APS is located in the largest city in New Mexico with a population of 560,000, spread across 1,200 square miles, including 144 schools with approximately 80,000 students. This makes APS amongst the fifty largest school districts in the United States. The two APS employees behind this massive undertaking were Rachel Altobelli (Director of Library Services and Instructional Materials) and Jessica Villalobos (Senior Director of…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Pandemic Takeaways, Part 1

ALSC’s Children and Technology committee has been reflecting on the past year, about our roles and practices in our learning environments, especially as they relate to technology. This is the first of two posts we created that share our experiences. Today, we are focusing on the school librarians in our group. Manuela Aronofsky is the Middle School Technology Integrator at the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, New York, and Julie Williams is the Librarian at Sanford Middle School in Sanford, Maine.  What is the top digital tool or strategy you are taking from the pandemic? Manuela: I have come to really appreciate digital tools that allow for asynchronous discussion, and response. The main tools I’m using in the classroom include Flipgrid (for students to record video responses), and Padlet (for students to post short written responses). The nice thing about these tools is that they allow for online “conversation” –…

Children & Technology

Children’s Librarians are Experts at Collaborating with Colleagues to Maximize Access to Technology

As a public librarian turned school librarian, I’ve always had a keen awareness of the importance of a strong public library/school library connection to increase the effectiveness of both for our school-aged patrons.  I’m very lucky to currently work in a school district that supports their school libraries and provides a wide range of database subscriptions, and access for our students to laptops, tablets, and other technology.  Even so, I find myself directing my students regularly to the resources available from our local public library; whether it be to utilize a digital subscription that we don’t carry at school, or urging them to visit the branch in person to take advantage of the technology, programming and expertise available there.  This partnership only increases in importance in areas where funding for schools and libraries is even leaner, and absolutely vital in those communities where school librarians are being cut altogether. With…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Back to School & Back to Books!

Someone gave me a print of that old WPA poster years ago, and every autumn I’m tempted to make it the center of a seasonal display (it says September right on it, when else will I use it?) but I don’t know; somehow I don’t find the image quite as inviting as children’s library ought to be.  But aesthetics aside, I DO love the sentiment of the slogan.  Using computers, tablets, and smartphones are a part of daily life for many of our young patrons, and we want to make sure that reading great books is as well.  Whether you’re in a public library catching your breath after the busy summer schedule, or a school library gearing up for a new year, this is a great time to gather some really fun, free, online resources with strong literary connections that we can use for story time components, lesson plan enrichment…

Blogger Emily Mroczek-Bayci

Surviving School Age Storytime (and having fun with it)

School age storytime is one of my (million different) favorite parts of the job. I am a firm believer that stories should be read for people of all ages and particularly school aged children. They don’t get read to as much and can really be a fun audience that takes stories in a new perspective. Here are some of my tips for surviving school age storytime and having fun with it.

ALSC Online Courses

Register for Spring 2016 ALSC Online Courses

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) encourages participants to sign up for Spring 2016 ALSC online courses. Registration is open for all courses. Classes begin Monday, April 4, 2016. Two of the courses being offered this semester are eligible for continuing education units (CEUs). The American Library Association (ALA) has been certified to provide CEUs by the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET). ALSC online courses are designed to fit the needs of working professionals. Courses are taught by experienced librarians and academics. As participants frequently noted in post-course surveys, ALSC stresses quality and caring in its online education options. For more information on ALSC online learning, please visit: www.ala.org/alsced The Caldecott Medal: Understanding Distinguished Art in Picture Books 6 weeks, April 4 – May 13, 2016 Instructor: KT Horning, Director, Cooperative Children’s Book Center, University of Wisconsin- Madison It’s Mutual: School and Public Library Collaboration…