Uncategorized

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.

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

No- and Low-Tech Backpacks as Outreach

In summer 2019, the Children and Technology committee wrote about bridging the digital divide with circulating tech.  Current events have forced us to evaluate our resources, services, and access. In times of change and uncertainty, libraries connect families with resources and experiences they may not otherwise have. In addition to virtual programs, libraries must connect with families without the time or ability to connect online. One way to do this is providing prepackaged, circulating materials like backpacks and kits. Serving Underserved Populations The Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee is devoting the 2020-2021 calendar year to creating a vibrant, dynamic toolkit that provides ALSC members with up-to-date resources for working with marginalized populations.  So far, we’ve focused on: Children with autism and sensory processing disorders Families experiencing financial insecurity and homelessness Spanish speaking populations, and Access to technology Today, we’d like to share how backpacks and kits…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Singing Brings Connections

Before I was born, my mom was a kindergarten teacher. When I was young, I remember her waking me up most mornings by singing “Good morning to you… good morning to you. We’re all in our places with sunshiny faces. Good morning to you… good morning to you.”  When I started my career as a Children’s Librarian, I decided to begin each storytime with this same song. It gave me a sense of familiarity and comfort in those early days of nervous storytime presentations.  In the subsequent months I began to notice the audience swaying back and forth as I sang, and it was only then that I realized I swayed as I sang too. It was our shared ritual- the singing, the swaying, the pointing at our “sunshiny” cheeks. Something we all looked forward to each week. I remember parents telling me how their child would “play” storytime at…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Summer Reading 2021 When COVID met Summer Slide

covid slide projections, reading decreases 32-37%

COVID Slide and Summer Slide Meet There are no definitives in this article. I’m sorry. Some split infinitives assuredly, though. So, 2020 and summer reading was new for us. Most of our library systems are going to continue circling the in-person programming wagons in 2021 in favor of going online. The system I work for, in fact, is purchasing online programming, which was actually pretty well received. But, as in the past, I wanna light a fire under you. You’ve already met summer slide. And we’re pretty sure there’s a COVID Slide. So, what happens when they start dating? What do their children look like? Wallflower No More I understand why you may have sidelined yourself last summer. It was chilly water. We stood back and watched, waited, hoped, and tried to remain optimistic. We waited largely to see what other systems would do. But we didn’t do much else….

Blogger Chelsey Roos

Zoom Storytime Catastrophes and Other Online Disasters

An incomplete list of things that have gone wrong in my Zoom storytimes: My internet went out I played a song too loudly on the ukulele, which led to Zoom automatically turning down my volume, which led to no one being able to hear me when I began to read the next book I completely forgot the chords to a song I have known for at least five years (see also: things that have gone wrong in my in-person storytimes) A child burst into tears over being muted after interrupting too many times A child drew all over the screen share when annotations were accidentally turned on A caregiver accidentally took over the screen-share (luckily only displaying emails and spreadsheets), while I went into a panic over getting control back We belatedly discovered our new event registration software allowed patrons to register for Zoom events with only a phone number,…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Online Storytimes: Creation & Editing Tools

“Five little ducks went out one day…” There have been thousands of online storytimes produced in libraries across America since March of 2020. By now, you have most likely seen perky librarians singing Five Little Ducks more times than you can quack. When COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, librarians took storytime online. After our general election we find COVID-19 cases are still climbing; in consequence, storytime will continue to be presented virtually for some time.  Many excellent articles and blog posts can be found online that cover best practices for creating virtual storytime for caregivers and our littlest patrons. The ALSC Virtual Storytime Services Guide is an exhaustive resource on the topic which includes guidelines and links. More Than a Story: Engaging Young Learners Virtually (Children & Libraries, Fall 2020) gives librarians a concise instructional framework for planning virtual storytime. 5 Tips for Filming Virtual Storytime (ALSC Blog, June…

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

Libraries Make Communities More Resilient in Times of Adversity

In times of crisis, when budgets are tight, often public libraries are seen as expendable. While our advocates know the value of libraries, it can be hard to convey their importance as an essential service, especially to government officials who are not library users and only see libraries as repositories for things. However, libraries’ greatest strengths are in the connections we make with the people we serve. We are a critical part of the social infrastructure of our communities, and our role in this infrastructure helps our communities be more resilient through hardships and adversity. Social infrastructure is a term that refers to the spaces and organizations that support and grow social connections. These can be parks, recreation centers, playgrounds, schools, churches, daycares, and, of course, libraries – places where people can meet up with their friends and create new ones, learn, share ideas, and feel connected to their neighbors…