Welcome to ALSC.
What does that mean to you? I’ve heard members describe ALSC as the “heart” of their professional work, and others express hope that ALSC will actually follow through to create a different experience for people who have felt invisible and isolated. When I say, “Welcome to ALSC,” I am cognizant that as I begin my full year as ALSC President, my job is to ensure that this easy-to-say statement has genuine results for each member and prospective member.
At Annual Conference in Chicago, ALA Council approved “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights,” including definitions that also have been incorporated into the ALA policy manual. Even if you are familiar with these terms, I invite us to take a moment together to reflect on these definitions:
“Equity” takes difference into account to ensure a fair process and, ultimately, a fair outcome. Equity recognizes that some groups were (and are) disadvantaged in accessing educational and employment opportunities and are, therefore, underrepresented or marginalized in many organizations and institutions. Equity, therefore, means increasing diversity by ameliorating conditions of disadvantaged groups.“Diversity” can be defined as the sum of the ways that people are both alike and different. When we recognize, value, and embrace diversity, we are recognizing, valuing, and embracing the uniqueness of each individual.“Inclusion” means an environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully; are valued for their distinctive skills, experiences, and perspectives; have equal access to resources and opportunities; and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.
While equity, diversity, and inclusion may appear to be present in an organization to those privileged by opportunity structures, I know that even within ALSC, when we open the door and say, “welcome,” there are many who do not feel welcome to bring their whole selves; who see part of themselves rendered invisible when they enter the space. What assumptions, norms, codes of conduct, and expectations exist within ALSC that may affect a welcome? What barriers to access affect some of us more than others? What will we do to change this, within ALSC, so that we can ensure equity, diversity, and inclusion in all of our spaces?
I am in the process of forming the “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) within ALSC task force,” which will implement and further develop recommendations of the previous Diversity within ALSC task force. Vice-President/President-Elect Jamie Naidoo reported in a recent blog post on these recommendations as well as the recommendations from the ALSC Emerging Leaders project team. Both sets of recommendations will be foundational to our success in our strategic plan, and you can look forward to changes emerging from these, and our Board’s and committees' other recent work, over the coming year.--Nina Lindsay, ALSC President
Division Councilor's Report: Annual Conference 2017
My ALA Council work during the 2017 Annual Conference in Chicago can be characterized by three words: celebration, commitment, and change.
I joined the ALA Executive Board and my Council colleagues in celebrating the achievements of ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels, who retired at the end of July. I shared my commitment to ALSC members with Council as I advocated tirelessly on library issues affecting youth (which are all issues). Lastly, I welcomed the change that comes from the ALA-wide efforts we make every day to keep the work of the association moving forward. I continue to embrace the triumphs and challenges that come with my role as ALSC Division Councilor. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
While you can review the complete list of Annual 2017 Council actions and related council documents for details, here’s a brief recap of the Council work I found most significant as both a librarian and an ALSC member:
Youth Council Caucus. On Saturday, June 24, I co-convened the Youth Council Caucus (YCC) with AASL Division Councilor Diane Chen and YALSA Division Councilor Todd Krueger. This meeting was a departure from the traditional post-Council I time slot, which had become increasingly more difficult for youth champions to attend given busy conference schedules. We held the meeting in the Council hotel suite (with refreshments—yay!) and enjoyed a fabulous opportunity to discuss how we can activate the YCC to advocate more robustly for youth issues within ALA. To this end, our 13 participants suggested the following ideas for making the YCC more than a group that meets at conferences twice per year:
- Cultivate relationships with non-youth ALA divisions and interest groups beyond ALA;
- Propose an American Libraries article about our youth work as ALA Councilors;
- Develop webinars and/or online courses related to Council work and recruitment;
- Build awareness of what’s happening in other divisions, chapters, and round tables so we know them as more than just acronyms;
- Create a humorous video featuring youth Councilors to promote our work;
- Sit together during Council sessions to build support and camaraderie; and
- Commit to speak at the microphone at least once during each Council meeting in support of youth library issues.
Minutes from the YCC in Chicago will be available on the new-and-improved ALA Connect in the coming weeks, so be sure to watch the space for details and our plans for moving forward on these action items.
Member-focused Council discussions. During each of the three Council sessions in Chicago, I was especially proud of the way Councilors insisted on keeping ALA members at the focus of all our work. Nowhere was this more prominent than during discussion of “An American Library Association Statement of Global Climate Change and a Call for Support for Libraries and Librarians,” which was introduced by an ALA member at the Virtual Membership Meeting (VMM) on June 8. Despite several attempts to postpone the scheduled Council I discussion and refer the statement to a Council working group, many Councilors—myself included—spoke strongly in favor of conducting the discussion during Council session so we could demonstrate our commitment to member issues in a public way. Ultimately, the discussion did take place during Council I, and the statement was adopted with several amendments.
ALA Executive Director Search Committee Report. As Chair of the Executive Director Search committee, ALA Past President Courtney Young provided Council with an update on the process. Search firm Isaacson Miller, which has been assisting the committee, conducted scoping interviews comprised of five questions. Those responses were used to draft an advertisement, and the position was posted on both the ALA and search firm website in mid-June. The search committee plans to continue its work along the following timeline: application materials due in July; phone interviews to be conducted in August; Skype interviews to be conducted in September; and in-person interviews to be conducted in late October. The committee will continue to keep Council apprised of progress throughout the search for ALA’s new Executive Director.
ALA Diversity Caucus. Since the YCC meeting time was changed to Saturday evening in Chicago, I had the opportunity to attend the ALA Diversity Caucus, which convened immediately after Council I on Sunday, June 25. This meeting has traditionally been a way for Councilors to share the equity, diversity, and inclusion work taking place across ALA’s divisions, chapters, and round tables, so I was thrilled to speak about the new ALSC strategic plan and the prominent place diversity has in our upcoming work. I’m excited to attend the next Diversity Caucus in Denver and to promote the wonderful strides ALSC leaders and members are taking in this area.
Addition of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion definitions to the ALA Policy Manual. To build upon the addition of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion as a fourth ALA strategic direction (as approved at Midwinter 2017 in Atlanta), Council voted to add the definitions of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion as developed by the ALA task force to the ALA Policy Manual. As stated in the complete list of Council actions taken at Annual 2017, ALA will “audit all definitions of equity, diversity, and inclusion across the association to ensure the broadest possible understanding; and explore core values and roles and responsibilities statements to assess equity, diversity, and inclusion.” This important step will ensure our discussions and work around each topic remain clear, consistent, and cohesive.
Resolution on Libraries as Responsible Spaces (ADOPTED). After rich discussion during Council II, members adopted the Committee on Diversity’s Resolution on Libraries as Responsible Spaces. While significant discussion took place around the resolution’s whereas clauses, the resolved clauses remained unchanged and read accordingly:
That the American Library Association, on behalf of its members:1. Urges libraries to embrace the mantle of responsible spaces by adopting and enforcing user behavior policies that protect patrons and staff from harassment while maintaining our historic support for the freedom of speech;2. Encourages libraries to develop community partnership programs with and promote services to underrepresented and unacknowledged community members;3. Encourages libraries to sponsor programs fostering meaningful and respectful dialogue in community; and4. Directs the Committee on Diversity, with the support of the Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services (ODLOS) and its Advisory committee, to develop, provide, and disseminate materials and programming for libraries that deter hate, foster community, and oppose bigotry toward or oppression against any group.
Two Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights (ADOPTED). During Council III, members adopted “Politics in American Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights” and “Equity, Diversity, Inclusion: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights.” The following explanations are taken from the Annual 2017 ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) Report to Council (19.11-19.13 on the complete list of Council documents):
The “Politics in American Libraries” interpretation touches on balanced collections, designated public spaces, and unfettered access to ideas. Drafts and revisions have been distributed to the library community and posted on the Council’s ALA Connect page for feedback. The working group has taken each comment into consideration.
The “Equity, Diversity, Inclusion” interpretation reinforces core values that are crucial to the promotion of intellectual freedom; identifies policy approaches that may exclude some community members; and encourages libraries to foster an “inclusive environment where all voices have the opportunity to be heard” by challenging censorship. The document uses the terms “origin,” “age,” “background,” and “views” as defined by the IFC, and definitions “equity,” “diversity,” and “inclusion,” authored by the Diversity task force, as its foundation. Drafts and their revisions have been posted to ALA Connect and distributed to ALA Council for comment. The working group has taken each comment into consideration.
Memorials and Tributes. Memorial resolutions were adopted in honor of Eric Moon, Marija C. Sanderling, Robert Henry ‘Bob’ Rohlf, Dorothy Evans, Joy L. Lowe, Pauline Manaka; and Amanda Rudd (oral acknowledgments). Tribute resolutions were adopted in honor of Harry Bruce, Keith Michael Fiels, and the 20th Anniversary of Victory in the Communications Decency Act (CDA)
Council Election Results. The following Council members were elected to the 2017-2018 Council Committee on Committees: lsmail Abdullahi, Roberto Carlos Delgadillo, Martin L. Garnar, and Eboni Henry. The following members were elected to the 2017-2018 Planning and Budget Assembly: Councilor-at-Large Representatives: Melissa Cardenas-Dow (for 1-year term 2017-2018 to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada, who was elected to the ALA Executive Board); and Erica Findley and Tyler Dzuba for 2-year terms 2017-2019).
Council fora. I participated in two out of three Council fora sessions in Chicago, which took place from 8:30 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday evening. Traditionally, each forum is an opportunity to talk informally (i.e. no Robert’s Rules of Order) with other Council members, many of whom are seeking feedback on resolutions they plan to bring to an upcoming Council session.
As I’ve mentioned in previous reports, attending three Council sessions and two ALSC Board meetings is just part of my duties as ALSC’s designee to the governing body of ALA. Outside of conferences, I keep up with issues and discussions appearing on the Council electronic discussion list and collaborate with the AASL and YALSA division councilors on potential resolutions affecting youth. I’m always sure to keep the ALSC President and Board of Directors apprised of what’s coming up so we can maintain our commitment to both a knowledge-based decision making process and the core values of ALSC.
As we look ahead to the 2018 Midwinter Meeting in Denver, I’ll be sure to keep you informed about ongoing Council discussions affecting the youth and families we serve. Of course, you can always reach out to me at jnemecloise at outlook.com with your questions and feedback about Council and Council-related issues. I welcome your input at any time.—Jenna Nemec-Loise, ALSC Division Councilor
2017 Banquet Supporters
ALSC sincerely thanks our Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet sponsors. We hope everyone had a memorable evening!
Algonquin Young Readers, Workman Publishing
Bloomsbury Children’s Books & Boyds Mills Press
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
Penguin Young Readers
Simon & Schuster
Children's Plus, Inc.
Disney Book Group
HarperCollins Children's Books
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Thank You to Our Donors
Many thanks to the following generous contributors to Friends of ALSC. To learn how you can support ALSC, visit our website.
Dayton Metro Library
Celebrating colleagues with 25 years or more of ALSC membership
Ethical Culture School, New York, New York
ALSC membership: 25 years
Where do you currently work?
For the past 24 years I’ve worked at the Ethical Culture School, which is an independent elementary school in New York City. I’m lucky enough to work right across the road from Central Park.
Where did you attend library school?
I first attended library school in South Africa, at the University of Cape Town. I completed a post-Bachelor’s library science diploma, which is the professional equivalent of an MLS. Shortly before coming to the U.S., I went back to do an Honors degree, for which I was able to focus excusively on literature and library services for children. And then, when I came to the U.S., I did an MLS at Queens College, CUNY, here in NYC.
What was your very first library position?
My very first job as a librarian was at the University of Cape Town Library. I was appointed to a position in the Social Sciences Library, which seemed like a great job for me as an African Politics major. But when I reported for work on my first day, I was told that instead I was being sent to the Science and Engineering Library to supervise the circulation desk. The combination of filing thousands of catalog cards for scientific books and reports, and having to supervise a person more than twice my age at the circulation desk, led to me leaving within three months. I took two part-time jobs: one as librarian at a labor and development research unit at the university, and the other as coordinator of a resource center for student activists. It wasn’t until four years later that I first worked as a children’s librarian, which was in a public library.
What do you love most about your job?
In addition to sharing great stories and books with children, which is my favorite thing, I love the way my colleagues and I are able to experiment with new platforms and ideas. Last summer, for example, we received support so that we were able to move from the lock-step approach of our long-time online library system to the empowerment of an open source system, Koha. It’s been both challenging and exciting to be able to make decisions about enriching our OPAC and being able to show books on order and e-books in an understandable way for the first time. My next big project will hopefully be to focus on really making our OPAC child-friendly. I think that the new developments in linked data and OPACs on the open web are very exciting, and I’m happiest when I’m on a steep learning curve, so hopefully I’ll find a way to learn some new things.
What’s your favorite myth, legend, or fairy tale?
I always find questions about a single “favorite” really difficult to answer, and one of my great loves is telling and reading myths and folk tales to students, so I have many favorites. But I think my favorite tale from my childhood is a version of “Many-Fur” that appeared in one of the Andrew Lang collections. In this version the young girl has three dresses: one as golden as the sun, the second as silvery as the moon, and the third as glittery as stars. All three dresses fold up so small that they fit into a walnut shell. This image, combined with the motif of the lowly and ignored servant finally being acknowledged as the princess, has the power to transport me back to my 8- or 9-year-old self who wanted so desperately for magic to exist that she (almost) really and truly believed in it.
What was the single most influential event in your lifetime?
As someone who was born and lived half her life in South Africa, the most influential event in my lifetime so far was the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners, and the unbanning of progressive organizations in South Africa. Those events ushered in a political era that none of us could have dreamed of growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. And of course many many people died in the process. But I think that South Africa showed the world that it’s possible to resolve serious, bitter, longstanding conflicts without an all-out civil war. Even though there are currently profound political complexities and challenges in South Africa, that development was possibly the most life-affirming and positive public event that I’ve experienced.
If you could close your eyes and be anywhere on earth when they opened, where would you be?
There are a number of places I’ve spent time that I love. But a few years ago on a visit to Hawai’i, I found myself feeling inexplicably connected to the landscape on a grassy hillside way above the ocean, near the tiny community of Paauilo. The combination of grasses and sky was magical; and the expanse of ocean around the island was somehow reminiscent of those days I spent as a child on South African beaches, looking (as I imagined) towards Antarctica and feeling awed by the distance. At the time, my feelings about Hawai’i seemed uncomplicated, but I have recently watched a documentary called “Noho Hewa,” about colonialism and tourism in Hawaii and their environmental, spiritual, cultural, and human consequences. So I no longer feel as comfortable about it, but the image remains powerful for me, and I would love to be able to go back to that place, just once more.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Early Literacy Station
“Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Look What’s in the Children’s Room!” This is the message that greets visitors to the Plainville (Conn.) Public Library’s children’s room in a new interactive early-literacy station unveiled this past spring. In an effort to add more early-literacy learning opportunities to the library’s space, I developed the idea of turning an ordinary column into an interactive Chicka Chicka Boom Boom station, based on the popular children’s book by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault. Through the support of a library fundraiser, the idea became a reality! Children’s staff met to discuss how exactly a plain, square column could be transformed into an eye-catching palm tree, and after much research and trial-and-error, a design was envisioned.
The column was wrapped in paper and covered in clear tape, providing children a tactile experience while also protecting the “trunk.” Librarian Sue Theriault fused large green plastic bags into giant, texturized palm leaves and covered Styrofoam balls in painted paper to create coconuts, transforming the column into an illustration-inspired palm tree. Orange and pink dots decorate the station in a nod to the story’s page borders, and a felt-and-magnet board featuring large, colorful letters and numbers invites children to bring the story to life.
The children’s staff has delightfully noted that patrons entering the room immediately recognize the display as the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree and are drawn to this previously unused space. The station is in front of the circulation desk, giving staff members the daily opportunity to observe young visitors reading the book, practicing naming letters, singing the ABC song, and spelling their names. The station’s popularity and the engagement it has created among children and their caregivers has inspired the staff to develop more learning opportunities within the children’s space; we hope it will inspire others to do the same!—Ericka Bajrami, head of youth services, Plainville (Conn.) Public Library
Preschool Readiness & Skill Building
Our library is involved with the Summit Education Initiative, a county-wide partnership working together to ensure that every child in Summit County, Ohio, is ready to start kindergarten. In response to this initiative, many children’s departments offer kindergarten readiness programming intended to showcase activities that families can do at home to build skills. Following a discussion with a neighbor who is an occupational therapist in local elementary schools, we reconsidered this type of one-and-done programming.
The occupational therapist related that one of the skills she remediates most is how to use scissors. The ability to use scissors develops the fine motor skills needed to hold a crayon or pencil. However, she warned that developing scissor skills does not magically occur when a pair of scissors lands in a child’s hand. Prior to attempting to squeeze and open scissors, children need to develop the muscles in their hands, work on hand-to-eye coordination, and practice moving their hands in opposite directions (bilateral coordination). These skills build on one another. They also take practice to master before moving to the next skill.
We’ve been incorporating these opportunities in story time for years. During toddler and preschool story times, hand strength is developed when we use bean bags. Hand-to-eye coordination is acquired when we throw scarves in the air and catch them. Bilateral coordination occurs when we use shakers or bells in both hands like maracas. With the push to help children prepare for kindergarten, we wanted to offer more frequent opportunities to develop these skills. In collaboration with my colleague Evie Kremyar, we developed a series of activities that built from the most basic skills to actually cutting with scissors. This Preschool Readiness Craft was offered after every toddler, preschool, and family story time in January, February, and March. Each activity was demonstrated to the caregivers at the beginning and end of story time. Tips for caregivers to assist, but not complete, each task were shared at this time, focusing on the process rather than the product. We repeated each of the skills for at least two to three weeks, changing the finished product, rather than the process, each week.
According to our occupational therapist neighbor, and from our own research, we learned the progression of skills needed to cut with scissors. First, children need to be able to rip paper. Believe it or not, this is not an innate skill. They tend to crumple the paper rather than to tear it. So we showed caregivers how to make a tiny tear in the paper to facilitate ripping. We also encouraged hand-over-hand demonstrations to show how to push and pull the paper to rip, developing muscle memory. After tearing with assistance, we asked the caregivers to allow the children to rip pieces by themselves. Once they had torn about a dozen pieces, the children glued them onto line-art images of hats or mittens, in essence “coloring” them.
Next, we put scissors in their hands. We were surprised that we had to demonstrate to caregivers how to hold scissors, and how to hold the paper properly: Thumbs are always up! Snipping is the skill we worked on. We printed short lines, approximately the length of one squeeze on the scissors, with smiley faces at the end of each line. The preprinted papers were cut along the bottom of the lines so cutting could begin at the bottom edge. We also pre-punched holes in the top two corners and provided lengths of yarn so that caregivers could make necklaces out of their scissor work. The children were unexpectedly pleased to share their work this way. Since they liked showing their work in necklaces, we switched things up the next week. We put brightly colored drinking straws on the tables with lengths of plastic yarn. Children snipped the straws into “beads,” then strung their own necklaces.
And last, construction paper strips were provided for the children to snip into pieces. The longer pieces were glued to the outline of a house or flower. Then, smaller pieces were added inside the lines. As story time ended in March, our final craft was to glue the mosaic pieces onto kites, cut out the kites, then add yarn tails. Kids had fun “flying” their kites off of the climbing bridge we have on the children’s floor.
Our instinct was to tie the Preschool Readiness Craft to story times to harness a captive audience. In practice, the statistics were impressive. In January, the first month we offered the weekly crafts, 75.5% of story time participants stayed to do the crafts. In February, participation rose to 89.7%. And, in March, the final month of the trial run of the craft program, 97.9% were attending both story time and the craft. This success has encouraged us to expand the program this fall. We will focus, once again, on developing scissor skills. From there, we will add pre-writing activities like drawing in shaving cream with one finger and using a pincer grasp.—Nancy Messmore, children’s services librarian, Stow-Munroe Falls (Ohio) Public Library
A Poetry Journey
With so many amazing poetry resources, where do you start when you decide to create a poetry camp, a poetry club, or poetry school visit at the library? After a successful Tween Poetry Camp, I knew I wanted to continue offering poetry camps for all ages and continue to learn new poetry ideas for outreach into schools.
At the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Katherine Litwin, library director at the Poetry Foundation, go on a tour of the foundation's library collection, and hear about its incredible programs. The foundation's library hosts amazing programs year-round, including a poetry scavenger hunt, poetry book club, annual poetry block party, POEMTIME, and more. The children’s collection started with a donation from Jack Prelutsky’s personal collection with over 3,000 items in 2006. Mary Ann Hoberman continued and donated books when she became the Children’s Poet Laureate in 2008. Now, with a full-time library director, annual purchases are growing, and the collection is expanding. Visitors to the foundation's online catalog can browse over 30,000 new and classic poetry books.
While visiting the Poetry Foundation, I felt as if I were walking into a poem. Winding my way around a rhythm of trees, looking up and around, where a tall heavy door led into a land of poems, filling the mind with new, creative ideas. Luckily, you don’t have to visit Chicago to explore all the resources the Poetry Foundation has to offer. The Poetry Foundation website is the perfect place to start navigating your poetry experience - Listen! Learn! Read! And discover a new poetry program idea for your library.
Discover something new while taking a tour of the Poetry Foundation website:
- Be part of the Poetry Foundation and sign-up for the poem of the day.
- Discover a new poetry format in the Glossary of Poetic Terms.
- Follow Margarita Engle, the current Young People's Poet Laureate, on twitter @YPPLaureate for updates, articles, and poetry books.
- Learn about a past Children’s Poet Laureate and read his/her poems aloud all year long.
- Read a “poem guide” with one of your favorite poets like Robert Frost or Gwendolyn Brooks.
- Learn something new about a poem in "Articles for Teachers" in the Learn/Educators section.
- Explore new and favorite poets by "Poet's Birthdate" (pre-1600 to present).
- Treat yourself and subscribe to Poetry magazine.
Who will be your next favorite children’s poet?
Looking for more poetry ideas to consider?
- For children - Write your own poem inspired by Margarita Engle’s poetry and record it.
- Read past ALSC Blog posts filled with poetry websites, books, and program ideas.
- Create a children’s poetry day at your library.
- Plan a poetry scavenger hunt - my personal favorite idea from the Poetry Foundation!
What poem will you discover at the Poetry Foundation Library online or in person? (ALA is back in Chicago in 2020.)—Paige Bentley-Flannery, Community Librarian, Deschutes (Ore.) Public Library
Washington State to Host 2018 Arbuthnot
The 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot committee selected Western Washington University and Whatcom County Library System to serve as host site for the 2018 Arbuthnot Honor Lecture featuring Naomi Shihab Nye. The lecture will be held next spring, and tickets will be available upon request this winter. Watch the 2018 Lecture webpage for details as they become available.
The daughter of a Palestinian father and an American mother, Naomi Shihab Nye grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio. The author and/or editor of more than 30 books for adults and children, her latest for young people, “The Turtle of Oman,” was chosen as a 2015 Notable Children's Book. She has received four Pushcart Prizes, was a National Book Award finalist, and has been named a Guggenheim Fellow, amongst her many honors.
Save the Date! - ALSC National Institute
Join ALSC for the 2018 National Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio, September 27-29. The Institute is everything you need in one place--programming, keynotes, networking, and much more. An intensive learning opportunity with a youth services focus, the Institute is designed for front-line youth library staff, children’s literature experts, and education and library school faculty members, among others. Don't miss this opportunity to experience one of the only conferences devoted solely to children's librarianship, literature, and technology. For more information, visit the National Institute webpage.
IBBY Conference to Honor Eliza Dresang
The 12th IBBY Regional Conference is this October 20-22, at the University of Washington (UW), Seattle. As home computers and digital games exploded in the 1990’s, the late Eliza Dresang, a professor and researcher at UW, began to note the changing ways children interacted with literature. Her research was published in Radical Change: Books for Youth in a Digital Age in 1999. In honor of Dresang, the theme of this IBBY conference is "Radical Change Beyond Borders--The Transforming Power of Children's Literature in a Digital Age.” Speakers and participants will explore the changing role of children’s literature, reflecting evolving times and an international lens.
Conference speakers include: Sonja Danowski, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Jerry Pinkney, Duncan Tonatiuh, Sarah Ellis, Sherman Alexie, Peter Sis, and 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award winner for Writing, Chinese author, Cao Wenxuan. For further details and to register, please visit the USBBY website.
Sylvia Vardell, Texas Woman's University, is co-editor, with Janet Wong, of Pet Crazy: A Poetry Friday Power Book (Pomelo Books, 2017), a new interactive story-in-poems for children. Pet Crazy features twelve "PowerPacks" of creative activities to get youngsters (K-3) thinking, drawing, reading, and writing about cats, dogs, lizards, and other prized pets. The book features the poetry of Kristy Dempsey, Helen Frost, Eric Ode, Padma Venkatraman, Carole Boston Weatherford, and many others, and illustrations by Franzi Paetzold.
Katie Scherrer authored Stories, Songs, and Stretches!: Creating Playful Storytimes with Yoga and Movement (ALA, 2017), which shows how to use yoga and movement to create playful, active storytimes. A complete guide for library staff and others serving young children, this resource draws on the author's experience as a children’s librarian and a yoga teacher, as well as research from the health and education fields.
Next Community Forum: Social Justice Practice in Youth Librarianship
Dr. Nicole A. Cooke, assistant professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Jessica Anne Bratt, youth services manager, Grand Rapids (Mich.) Public Library, and ALSC President Nina Lindsay, will host the next ALSC Community Forum live chat on Monday, August 14, on "Social Justice Practice in Youth Librarianship." The forum will include live text discussion with the opportunity to ask questions to presenters.
Circling back to this segment of the "Libraries Are Not Neutral Spaces" program held at the ALA 2017 Annual Conference, we will reopen discussion on tangible practices of social justice advocacy. How do we practice talking about race and modeling inclusion in storytime? How can we work with colleagues in actual practice of social justice dialogue? At this community forum, we will have a conversation in order to move from conversation, so that each of us can return to our work with a new practice.
Start time for the August 14 forum is -- 4pm Eastern -- 3pm Central -- 2pm Mountain -- 1pm Pacific
Members are invited to view "3 Ways to Speak English" by Jamila Lyiscott and the Anderson Cooper Doll Test before the forum.
The forum will take place on Adobe Connect. ALSC members will receive an email about the forum a few days prior to the event. Members will also be able to access a link to the live forum via the ALSC website using their ALA username and password. An archived webcast will be available to all members after the live session has been completed.
Applications Open for Fall Mentoring Program
Administered by the Membership and Managing Children's Services committees, the ALSC Mentoring Program seeks to match individuals for a one-year period with the following objectives:
- Build skills and confidence of early career children’s librarians and those new to the profession;
- Encourage personal and professional connections;
- Give members the opportunity to acquire peer-taught skills;
- Re-energize and re-invigorate members in their work;
- Create interest and familiarity with ALSC committee service and participation;
- Build familiarity with ALSC’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries; and
- Foster the development of a new cohort of leaders.
Mentee applicants need not be ALSC or ALA members. Mentor applicants must be ALSC members and should have experience working in the field of children’s librarianship or children’s literature.
Have we piqued your interest? Visit the Mentoring Program webpage for complete details. The application period closes Friday, September 1, 2017.
Fall Online Courses from ALSC
ALSC's Fall 2017 online courses begin Monday, September 25, and registration is open. This season's offerings include:
NEW! Making Your Makerspace Work (5 weeks, September 25 - October 27, 2017)
Instructor: Christian Sheehy, Digital Initiatives Librarian, Xavier University
You are planning (or already have) a makerspace! This course provides concrete tips for engaging your users in exciting ways while helping them overcome the “intimidation factor” of using potentially complex (and expensive) equipment in a new and unfamiliar space. No matter what planning stage you are in for your makerspace, these tips will ensure you are better prepared for any unexpected challenges so you can stop worrying and start making!
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs Made Easy (4 weeks, September 25 - October 20, 2017, 1.2 CEUs)
Instructor: Angela Young, Head of the Children's Department, Reed Memorial Library
Our children are lagging behind in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Schools have begun to concentrate on providing better education in these areas and now libraries are being asked to provide the same. Learn how to provide educational programs using STEM without going to school to become a scientist.
The Newbery Medal: Past, Present and Future (6 weeks, September 25 – November 3, 2017)
Instructor: KT Horning, Director, Cooperative Children's Book Center, University of Wisconsin- Madison
What does it mean when we recommend Newbery Award winners to the children in our communities? Should the ALA seal of approval stand for 100 years? Why is that gold medal often considered the “kiss of death” by kids? How can we help parents and teachers understand what the Newbery Medal is – and isn’t? This 6-week online course will give participants a solid grounding in the history of the Medal and how it’s changed over time; an opportunity to read, discuss and consider past and present Newbery winners with their colleagues from across the nation; a chance to talk to former Newbery Committee members and a Newbery author, and suggestions for programming using Newbery-winning books.
Detailed descriptions, pricing, and registration information is available on the ALSC website. Questions? Please contact ALSC Program Officer for Continuing Education, Kristen Figliulo.
Children & Libraries Wins Award
Congratulations to editor Sharon Verbeten, members of the Editorial Advisory committee, and contributors to ALSC's journal, Children and Libraries (CAL), recipient of a 2017 Apex Grand Award for publication excellence in the category of Magazines, Journals & Tabloids. Of more than 1,360 entries in APEX 2017, only 100 received Grand Awards, the highest recognition the Apex judges can confer.
Apex Awards are given for excellence in graphic design, editorial content, and overall communications. According to Apex judges, “The visuals in [CAL] are excellent, … the copy shines, with superb, well-researched and very well presented features, each a resource in itself for librarians working with children. A valuable resource for professionals in the field.”
Access digital issues of CAL online anytime.
Help Us Award Our Members
Applications are open for many of ALSC's professional awards and grants. This year more than $100,000 will be given away in professional awards, grants, and scholarships. Opportunities include:
- Bechtel Fellowship
- Penguin Young Readers Group Award
- Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Grant
- Maureen Hayes Author/Illustrator Award
- Distinguished Service Award
- Light the Way: Library Outreach to the Underserved Grant
Book Awards & Notables - Send Us Your Suggestions
ALSC welcomes suggestions from members for the 2018 book awards. The deadline for submissions is October 15. Please use the appropriate webform to submit your suggestion.
Recommended Media Lists from ALSC and ALA
Evergreen Audiobooks 2017 is the latest set of recommended titles from ALSC. The Quicklists Consulting committee developed the lists to remind book-lovers that listening to a book can be a great way to enjoy a story and explore new vocabulary. Titles are broken down into three age categories: PreK to grade 3; grades 2-5; and grades 6-8. A master list includes all the titles, PreK through grade 8.
Earlier this summer, the ALA-CBC (American Library Association & Children’s Book Council) joint committee released the Reading Beyond lists: 75 challenging and age-appropriate books for children who read at an advanced level.
The full list of 75 titles is available as a downloadable handout with full annotations and a title and author listing by category. There are 25 titles included in each of three categories:
Kindergarten-1st graders reading at a 3rd grade level;
2nd-3rd graders reading at a 5th grade level; and
4th-5th graders reading at a 7th grade level.
The full list (without annotations) is also posted on the CBC website.
Submit Program Proposals for the 2018 ALSC Institute & ALA 2018
ALSC is now accepting proposals for innovative programs for the ALA 2018 Annual Conference and the 2018 ALSC National Institute. Hurry, time is running out! Submissions for both events are due soon. Please note: Each conference has its own site for submitting a proposal.
ALA 2018 Annual Conference. Please note that ALSC's Call for Proposals is being hosted through ALA's Call for Proposals site. The submission deadline is Tuesday, September 5. Once on the ALA submission site, select "ALSC" as your submission unit. The 2018 Annual Conference is scheduled for June 21-26, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
ALSC 2018 National Institute. Please visit the ALSC Institute webpage for the submission form and instructions. All proposals must be submitted by Friday, August 25. The 2018 National Institute is scheduled for September 27-29 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
ALSC committees, members, and other interested individuals are welcome to submit a proposal.
Additions to ALSC's Oral History Project
ALSC recently released additional interviews in its oral history collection. ALSC's oral history interviews provide a marvelous opportunity to learn more about integral members in ALSC's history.
Effie Lee Morris, interviewed by Linda Geistlinger and Virginia Walter
Effie Lee Morris was a pioneer of library service to children and a highly influential advocate for public libraries. Her distinguished career began in 1946 at Cleveland Public Library; she went on to work at the New York Public Library and the San Francisco Public Library. A highly active ALA member throughout her career, Morris helped to establish the Coretta Scott King Awards, among numerous other groundbreaking contributions. Morris received the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s Trailblazer Award, and in 2008, one year before her death, she was named an ALA Honorary Member.
William C. Morris, interviewed by Barbara Immroth
William C. Morris was vice president/director of library promotion at HarperCollins Children’s Books and an influential advocate for children’s librarians and literature. During his career of nearly five decades, Morris had an immeasurable impact on how books for youth are marketed. The first recipient of the ALSC Distinguished Service Award, Morris was a longtime ALSC member and friend, and he remembered ALA in his will. The ALSC William C. Morris Endowment currently funds “The Bill Morris Seminar: Children’s Book Evaluation Training,” and a “Breakfast for Bill” program, at the ALSC National Institute.
Applications Sought for Libraries Ready to Code Grants
ALA has opened the application period for grants to develop public and school library programming that promotes computer science (CS) and computational thinking (CT) among youth. The grant opportunity is the latest phase of the Libraries Ready to Code (RtC) initiative of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), sponsored by Google. Proposals will be accepted through August 31 and selected libraries will be announced in October.
Through a competitive request for proposals (RFP) process, a cohort of 25-50 libraries will be selected to receive grants of up to $25,000 to design and implement youth coding programs that incorporate Ready to Code concepts. Through these programs, the library cohort will collaboratively develop, pilot, and rapidly iterate a “Ready to Code” toolkit containing a selection of CS resources for libraries and an implementation guide.
A selection committee including librarians from OITP and ALA’s three youth divisions--ALSC, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)--will review applications and select the grant recipients. YALSA will administer the grant program.
Detailed information about the RtC grants, including the RFP and FAQs related to the program, are available on the ALA website.
2018 Bill Morris Seminar Applications Now Open!
ALSC is seeking applications, due September 14, for the 2018 ALSC Bill Morris Seminar: Book Evaluation, scheduled for Friday, February 9, during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Colorado. The seminar brings new ALSC members and members with limited evaluation experience together with those who have served on ALSC’s media evaluation committees in an environment conducive to training and mentorship in the group process and children’s media evaluation techniques. The seminar will result in new and emerging leaders for future ALSC evaluation committees.
The ALSC William C. Morris Endowment will support those selected to attend the training seminar by offering the seminar at no charge to the attendee. This includes all materials, breakfast, and lunch. To help defray additional costs for hotel and other expenses, a $300 stipend for each attendee will be provided from the Morris Endowment.
Selected attendees will be required to complete pre-seminar readings and assignments so that they are able to fully participate on the day of the seminar. This will include reading articles, books, and materials for discussion.
For complete information and a link to the online application, please visit the seminar webpage.
ALA/Affiliates: Joint Statement on Libraries & Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
On August 3, the American Library Association, The American Indian Library Association, Asian Pacific American Librarians Association, Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Chinese American Librarians Association, REFORMA (The National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking) and the Joint Council for Librarians of Color issued a joint statement on equity, diversity, and inclusion.
The statement began, "Equity, diversity, and inclusion are core values of our associations, as we believe that as a profession we must continue to support the creation of a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive society. On June 27, 2017, the Council of the American Library Association approved a new interpretation of equity, diversity, and inclusion within the ALA Library Bill of Rights. The interpretation (developed by the Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom) reaffirms our shared commitment to the role that libraries of all types – public, academic, school, and special – must play in effecting equity, diversity, and inclusion in the communities and institutions they serve. It also provides a concrete framework for insuring that every library’s policies and practices, collections and programs reflect these values."
To read the statement in full, see the press release.
Rebel Reader Twitter Tournament at Your Library
ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) is well underway with preparations for Banned Books Week (September 24-30), the annual celebration of the freedom to read.
This year, OIF is harnessing the strength of social media by hosting a Rebel Reader Twitter Tournament to encourage readers to tweet about library resources, the First Amendment, and banned books using the hashtag #RebelReader. Eligible tweets using the hashtag will be entered in a drawing for literary prizes.
In addition to the ALA-sponsored tournament at a national level, OIF invites libraries to partner with the Office and encourage their community to participate locally. Libraries that register will be added to the Rebel Reader Partners webpage, displaying the library’s logo, web URL, and Twitter handle. Participating libraries also will receive a digital toolkit packed with resources to promote the Tournament, including social media art, web ads, customizable flyers, and sample tweets.
Even though "littles" under 13 can’t tweet, OIF will have coloring sheets available as free downloads, so even the youngest readers, or readers with young hearts, can participate.
More information is coming soon; if your library is interested in participating, please contact the OIF office at bbw at ala.org.
Nominate! - I Love My Librarian Award
Nominations for the 2017 I Love My Librarian Award are now open and will run through September 18. The award recognizes the service of exceptional public, school, college, community college, and university librarians who have transformed lives and communities through educational opportunities and lifelong learning.
Ten winners will be selected to receive $5,000 and a $500 travel stipend to attend an award ceremony held in their honor at Carnegie Corporation of New York in November.
The nomination form is available online. Tools to help libraries in promoting the award and encouraging community members to submit nominations are also available online.
Museum Day Live!
Smithsonian magazine has designated Saturday, September 23, the 13th annual Museum Day Live!, an initiative in which participating museums across the United States open their doors for free to those who download a branded ticket.
This year, Museum Day Live! is partnering with Microsoft to create special interactive lesson plans using Minecraft: Education Edition. Participating museums will be able to download the lesson plans to enhance the Museum Day Live! experience at their facility. The Minecraft: Education Edition extensions will be based on Smithsonian materials. Following the event, Microsoft will provide schools with access to the Minecraft: Education Edition extensions.
To check if a museum near your community is participating, check the list of participating venues. Those wishing to attend and participate in Museum Day Live! can visit the website to learn more and to download a free Museum Day Live! ticket beginning August 25. Each ticket grants the ticketholder, and one guest, free access to any participating museum on September 23. One ticket is permitted per email address.
Museums in all 50 states have already signed up to take part in the 2017 Museum Day Live!, with more than 1,300 museums expected to participate this year. For more information, visit the Museum Day Live! site.
New Grant Provides Access to Children’s Books from Other Countries
Applications are welcome for Clarke Library’s International Children’s Literature Research Grant. The grant funds travel to Central Michigan University’s Clarke Historical Library to conduct research using the international resources found in the library’s Lucile Clarke Memorial Children’s Library. Among the resources are an extensive collection of International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) nominee books and author dossiers, as well as other children’s books from around the world.
Further information, including application forms and eligibility requirements, is available at the library's website. Applications are due no later than January 15, 2018.
USBBY Award Deadline Extended
The deadline for applications has been extended to September 15 for the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) Bridge to Understanding Award. The award recognizes a program that promotes reading as a way to expand understanding of one or more cultures or countries outside of the United States. The award carries a monetary prize of $1,000 and a certificate.
Applications and award criteria are available at the USBBY website.