Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Online Storytimes: an interview about technology and connecting

From mid-March through July 2020, the Early Learning team of the Salt Lake County Library (18 branches)–Susan Spicer, EL Team Manager, and Tami Austin, EL Senior Librarian and certified Yoga instructor–lead a team of librarians that created 97 Facebook Live Storytimes, including 12 Bedtime Stories & Songs with special guests from museums and other community organizations and 18 Yoga Storytimes. They also offered weekly interactive virtual storytimes starting in June. I had the opportunity to interview these EL programming stars and ask them about the technology they used and how they faced the challenges of suddenly going online with their ages 0 to 5 programming. Interview start TB: So, what kind of equipment and recording devices have you been using and what seems to work the best? TA: Well, I cry a lot. Does that count? TB: Yes!

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

It’s Just Stories, Isn’t It?

At some point working in a children’s library setting, this may happen to you. Whether it’s the library board, the city council, an administrator, or even one of your customers, they will observe a story time program, be suitably impressed by your event, and ask quite innocently about what exactly you are doing. To the uninitiated, what happens in the room is fun and entertaining. A great place to be in and of itself, but we all know there is lot more to it. Admittedly, in one way or another, these questioners are the ones who pay for what we do, so this provides a great opportunity to inform and enlighten. It’s time to break out your best elevator speech that lends method to the madness. Here at the library, during our infant, toddler, and preschool programming we build a foundation so when young children are taught to read, they…

Guest Blogger

Virtual Storytime Best Practices

Julie Crabb speaking to the virtual audience while holding a ukulele

For many youth services professionals, storytime is our bread and butter; marmalade and jam. When moving online, best practices, including accessibility, content diversity, and early literacy skill building need to remain at the forefront of our minds. We move forward with intentionality when selecting materials and other content using those best practices we have cultivated over time as a profession. Soon, the ALSC Virtual Storytime Services Resource Guide will go live. In it, you will discover tips and resources for creating meaningful moments of screen time for young audiences. As many of us have found out, virtual storytime is not the same as an in-house experience. Nor should it be. Siloed in a portion of your home or within an empty library, you may have found yourself presenting storytime to the tiny circular hole where your device’s camera lives. No smiling, squirmy toddlers or caregivers on their smartphones are with…

Guest Blogger

Pausing to Talk About Copyright and Virtual Storytimes

Play and Pause Button

(This is an excerpt from the forthcoming ALSC Virtual Storytime Services Guide) While it is generally considered fair use to share copyrighted stories and songs for library programs held in-house and for outreach programming, these implied permissions change when library programs go online. When using print or music resources in virtual storytime, it is critical to obtain permission from publishers or artists first (unless using original work or materials from the public domain). It is equally important to credit the publisher/artist appropriately. Publishers, authors who hold sole publishing rights, and music creators understand the difficult circumstances during the current COVID-19 crisis. Many have released temporary, widespread and limited permissions to use materials in virtual storytimes. These permissions vary widely and often come with requests to avoid specific platforms, remove videos after a certain time frame, and use specific verbiage to credit the copyright holders. Remember, these permissions are temporary! Be…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Inclusive Read-alouds

The COVID-19 epidemic has caused libraries to find different options to connect with patrons through social distancing.  With many public libraries beginning to make ebooks available with unrestricted due dates, and with many publishing companies opening up content for users, parents can have access to several great titles to share with their children.    Public libraries across the country have also been using social media to connect with younger patrons. Many libraries adapted story time programs to digital story time on Facebook and Instagram Live to reach local patrons and national onlookers alike.     Librarians may also participate in read-alouds to the public as long as they adhere to the standards put forth by publishing companies. Here is a list of those standards from a School Library Journal article, dated March 18, 2020.     Here are ten of our favorite recent titles that highlight the experiences of children in marginalized…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

The Dreaded Storytime Audition

You’ve made it!  You actually survived the application process and phone interview. Now you have that opportunity to shine in front of a real audience of some library staff.  Perhaps the library has assembled some families with young children.  This final interview for the children’s library job you want includes a storytime audition. Having been on the giving and receiving ends of these mini-events, begs the question; what makes a good story time?  Hiring managers want to know, and so do hands-on administrators who want to the best possible staff.  Being the former, and faced with the requirement to prepare the later for what they will observe, I needed a way to make sense of it all.  I needed something to validate my emotional reaction that said, “This is the person we should hire!” None of what follows is particularly original on my part, but rather an amalgam of stuff learned the hard way over…

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

Incorporating Intellectual Freedom into Outreach

Incorporating intellectual freedom into outreach in a fun and engaging manner is an essential component of bringing our core values into the community, and bringing the library beyond its physical borders. Some of the tips listed below can be applied broadly to all types of outreach and communication/collaboration with outside agencies and organizations.

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

English Learners Family Storytime

What do you do when your evening storytime is not drawing the crowd it used to? It might be time to interrupt your regularly scheduled programming and reevaluate. That’s exactly what we did at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, and the outcome is our new English Learners Family Storytime! Our regular Tuesday evening storytime was a sight to behold, with great picture books, fun songs, and colorful flannel board stories and rhymes. However, attendance was dropping. We knew we wanted to reverse that trend, but how? From the start, we recognized that families are busy with other after-dinner activities. We also recognized that our library serves a diverse community with multi-generational families who speak English as a 2nd or 3rd language. Occasionally, these children and caregivers struggled to communicate their needs with us at the service desk, and we knew this was an audience we wanted to cultivate and better…