Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Is Your Summer Reading Program equitable?

I look at the calendar and I inwardly shudder. T-minus twenty-three (23) days until summer reading begins! Scholastic boxes are arriving. We are actively training new staff. We are brainstorming decoration ideas to the theme “Adventure Begins at Your Library.” It is an exciting time to be in a library. However, I personally always have an existential crisis when it comes time to a formal summer reading program. It’s not that I do not support having a program. I firmly acknowledge the summer slide and what the lack of consistent reading and learning does to a children’s educational progress. I know it is an opportunity for kiddos to read whatever they want and that is key to developing a love of reading. But my issue is always with the program itself.  Last year, I began a personal mission to start looking at how equitable my library’s summer reading was. We…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Equitable Programming

As library and library-adjacent staff, we all probably have a shared mission of making a positive impact on our communities in equitable and inclusive ways. However, how do we ensure that all of our programs, outreach, and services are as equitable as we can make them?  Last month, members of the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee, Georgette Spratling and Ewa Wojciechowska, shared how to grow with your community.  As you listen to community members and actively engage with families, there may be opportunities for larger projects and more partnerships to make them possible. This is a great time to ask yourself and your team questions to ensure that the overall approach will bring the largest impact you can make on those who could benefit the most.  Big Picture: Is this program reaching an underserved community where they are?  Example: A library is hosting bilingual Spanish storytime…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Thoughts about Using Beans, Rice & Other Food in Library Programming

When I present sessions, I like to begin by using opening activities that show commonality among participants and allow space for relationships to grow.  One such activity is a simple invitation for participants to share a recipe for cooking either beans or rice.  Beans and rice are some of the most common foods on the planet and used in a variety of dishes in many different cultures. Beans and rice are so widely recognized and readily available it’s easy to forget they are often a primary food source.  For just one moment, imagine you are the caregiver of a family who has juggled competing interests, figured out transportation, time, and energy obstacles to attend story time at the public library.  The stay-and-play activity after storytime involves playing in enough rice to feed everyone in the room.  It’s not a choking hazard, it engages the senses, it’s relatively inexpensive, and it…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Programming with Purpose through Community Engagement

For those looking to program with purpose, the entire process begins and ends with your community. Similarly to how we perform diversity audits on our collections, it’s important to also take a critical eye to the programs and services we offer. As professionals we understand that every community is different and has different needs, and that our offerings ought to be tailored to those needs. It can be easy to go on “auto-pilot” when it comes to programming, especially when we have recurring programs such as LEGO® Clubs or storytimes, however we should remember to look at all programs from time to time to evaluate their effectiveness.  Programming with purpose means that ideally every program we offer has some kind of goal for our community behind it. The first two questions I always ask myself when planning programs are: 1. Which population in my community am I serving/who is this…

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

ToolKit: New Americans- Social Work & Libraries

Wholeperson

“Whole Person Librarianship” Libraries in underserved communities have been known for being safe spaces, particularly for the underserved population. Usually, these safe spaces are jewels for New Americans. As we all know, libraries provide so many of the resources needed for New Americans to become acclimated to their new home. As a librarian or a library worker, how many times we have helped patrons find resources for health and food benefits, child care, employment training and etc.? Too many times to count. As a librarian or a library worker, it seems to come with the job. However, outside of those patrons who may only need help with an application, we may also encounter those patrons who may need medical attention or are facing some type of trauma. These situations are sensitive and may need the expertise of a professional. Here is where we are able to connect all of the…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Toolkit: New Americans – Read Alouds

Black, brown, and white hand overlap atop an American flag

The Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee is devoting the 2021-2022 calendar year to creating a vibrant, dynamic toolkit that provides ALSC members with up-to-date resources for working with marginalized populations.  Each toolkit page will provide professional and leisure reading recommendations, support for programming, and materials for families.  As dynamic documents, these pages will continue to grow and develop as we find new resources, share our experiences, and continue to learn.