Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Unmasking Your Potential: Defeating Imposter Syndrome in Underserved Communities

Imposter syndrome, that nagging feeling of inadequacy and self-doubt despite evident accomplishments, can be particularly challenging when working with underserved children and their caregivers. In such roles, the weight of responsibility to make a meaningful impact can often intensify feelings of unworthiness or incompetence. However, recognizing and addressing imposter syndrome is essential for us to serve the communities we work in effectively. Now, I am no expert however, I have been a victim of imposter syndrome myself and I have had to unpack my issues and leave them at the door. I would like to break down what I have learned regarding understanding imposter syndrome in this context and offer strategies to overcome it. Hopefully, this will empower librarians and library workers to make a real difference in the lives of those they serve.

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Three Ways to Connect with the Disability Community in 2024

Make 2024 the year that you solidify your library’s support of families with disabilities. Many library staff want to reach out to disabled children and caregivers, but become overwhelmed trying to pick their first step. Before you plan a new sensory storytime, revamp your large print collection, or look into making your children’s programs more accessible, reach out to one of these three groups in your area to find out what your community really needs.

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Strengthening Underserved Communities through Collaboration Between Librarians and Media Specialists.

In today’s fast-paced digital world, access to knowledge and information is crucial for the growth and development of every individual, especially our underserved populations. Librarians in public libraries and media specialists in schools play significant roles in fostering the love for learning, promoting literacy, and empowering communities. When these professionals collaborate, their partnerships can become a force for positive change, extending informative and educational opportunities to those who need it most. In this blog post, we will explore what synergy between librarians and media specialists in supporting underserved communities may look like.   Before delving into a partnership, you should understand the uniqueness of both Librarians in public libraries and Media Specialists in schools. This is vital because it allows for targeted support and resource allocation in their respective environments. Recognizing their distinct roles enables the development of specialized programs and services that cater to the diverse needs of their…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Growing Together with your Community

Libraries often need to overcome barriers in order to provide services to those who need them most, but how? There’s no specific answer that will work for every library, so instead we suggest focusing on the idea of planning library services as a growing experience. By this we mean that success is easier to find when we consider the uniqueness of our individual communities and tailor our offerings accordingly, essentially growing our offered services to be more of what our communities want, as opposed to planning exclusively around what we might think they need. The suggestions below include specific examples of ways to employ this mindset, and we hope that they can aid other youth services professionals (especially those looking to reach underserved families) in their planning process. Research and Repeat Growing with your community involves research, and lots of it!  Luckily, research includes everything from sitting down at a…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Empowering Caregivers in your Community

New Castle Public Library (DE) patrons using prop scarves with their children at storytime

Preparing children for a lifelong love of learning is a goal shared by most children’s librarians, although the ways we cultivate that joy vary vastly. There is, for example, no standardized way to deliver a storytime, and no prescribed set of programs a library absolutely must offer. This vagueness can be helpful because it allows us to cater to the uniqueness of our communities, but if I could suggest a common theme to incorporate into most children’s programming, it would be family engagement. The goal of family engagement, especially with our youngest patrons, is to empower caregivers to be their children’s first teachers. A recent research article from Frontiers in Psychology states that this movement is largely underway in spaces such as children’s museums, but also mentions that not every community has access to a museum, and that admission costs can be a barrier to families. Luckily, libraries are able…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

ALSC Institute – Overwhelmed by Underserved Communities: Participant Responses

Photo of Tammie Benham, Melody Leung, and Georgette Spratling presenting at the ALSC Institute in Kansas City

Members of our committee (Georgette Spratling, Melody Leung, Tammie Benham) presented at last month’s ALSC Institute! We showcased our toolkit for Getting Started with Underserved Communities Thank you to everyone who came to our workshops. We were able to learn about barriers our fellow library practitioners face when working with underserved communities as well as gauge where we all are in our practice.  Below is a summary of participant responses from our collective reflection. The questions asked align with an advocacy framework we presented to help empower library staff to work with underserved communities. If you have your own responses, we’d love to see them in the comments below!  What is the most overwhelming part about working with underserved communities?  What underserved communities do you want to work with? (Check out our toolkits for some examples or inspiration) Imagine a real or hypothetical program/outreach/initiative?  Are there barriers in your organization…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Balancing Advocacy With Self Care

photo of 2021-2022 library service to underserved children and their caregivers committee members.

Advocating for initiatives, programs, services, and outreach to underserved populations can be emotionally and physically draining. It is the extra effort we do to lead with equity in mind. Are you overwhelmed by advocacy? Read our blog post about advocacy tips.  Today, our 2021-2022 members of the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee would like to celebrate the end of the committee year with self care tips and reflections. Do you have some tips to share too? Feel free to use the comments to add your own! 

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

New Americans Toolkit: Intentional Programming

Kids playing with play dough on the floor

The Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee have created a vibrant, dynamic toolkit for working with new Americans. We have released this toolkit in three parts, Professional and Community Resources, Recommended Read-alouds, and this final installment focused on Intentional Programming.  The focus of this toolkit is on serving children and their caregivers who are new to America. There are approximately 44 million people living in America who were born in different countries. People identifying as new Americans may fall into many categories, some of which may be: refugee, asylum seekers, migrants, or immigrants. As our understanding of different needs increases, libraries are recognizing an important role in supporting new American communities. These supports may include specialized resources, adapted programming, and community partnerships to support children and their caregivers.  Toolkit Preview What you will find in this new release: Materials for the Children’s Room including posters and toys…