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New Opportunities: Connecting Virtually with Parents and Caregivers

Among the many ways in which it has changed our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic has demanded that library staff responsible for creating and carrying out programming be almost endlessly innovative. I have the privilege of working with and hearing from children’s librarians and staff across Suffolk County, New York, as they’ve navigated our new reality. We’ve had many discussions in programming meetings about trying out new virtual programs only to have them flop, and how much harder the feelings that come with a flopped program can hit these days. However, our discussions, we try to keep present in our minds the fact that our current circumstances provide a silver lining of room to innovate: with patrons’ needs and behaviors upended and changing all the time, the justification for trying new things has never been stronger. One of the programming areas for which there is new potential is virtual programming for…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Because Libraries Are Constantly Evolving: How to Get Stakeholders Involved in Virtual Programming

For Public Library Youth Services staff, summer programming is often the busiest time of the year when we are most visible to our communities. As libraries around the country work to transition to new virtual summer reading and learning programs, we can still reach out to our stakeholders, show them the importance and benefit of the work we are doing, and involve them in our virtual programming. Here are some tips to make the most of programming with your stakeholders during this time: Find out what your library’s procedures are for reaching out to stakeholders first and get the support of your manager. Learn about your stakeholders’ interests before reaching out to them. For instance, if you are contacting members of your City Council or Library Board, try to find out what issues they are already passionate about, such as equity, sustainability, or education, and brainstorm ways you can tie…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Virtual Programming and Patron Privacy

Two boys are side-by-side viewing a computer screen together.

As libraries continue adjusting services and moving toward more virtual programming options, we’ve often found more questions than answers.  As we experiment, share, and grow together, we’ll continue improving how we interact with and touch our communities, even if our physical spaces are inaccessible.  It’s important that as we do so, we don’t overlook a critical piece of library services:  patron privacy and security.  The forthcoming ALSC Virtual Storytime Services Resource Guide will explore these issues and more.  In the meantime, Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, shared some key thoughts for libraries to consider.  We’ve summarized the highlights of our discussion below.

Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Library Partnerships in a Time of Crisis

Every month the ALSC Building Partnerships committee is responsible for writing a blog post, normally it highlights a successful program or event that was made possible through a partnership with an outside organization. In light of recent COVID-19 related events, in which many of the libraries across the country have been forced to cancel programs and close our doors to the public for the foreseeable future, I thought it might be timely to follow up on Cecilia McGowan’s earlier post about how we are responding in our communities— specifically as it relates to some of our partner organizations and institutions.  As youth librarians, our most important partners are our schools and educators— which these days also includes many parents who have been thrown into homeschooling for the first time. In my library system, our youth services staff have already been busily trying to figure out ways that we can help…