ALSC Matters! | February 2014, Volume 12, no. 1

Officially Speaking | Bright Ideas | Getting Together | Hear Ye! Hear Ye!  

Officially Speaking 

Hand in Hand 

There is nothing like the excited anticipation and energetic bustle of committee work inherent at the Midwinter Meeting! Committees and work groups convene and generate the kind of dynamic energy that is created when passionate, committed professionals come together to pool their collective talents for progressive projects and programs and to carry on the long-established work that is at the foundation of our association—the evaluation of media for children. 
 
It is the latter process that led me to ponder our steadfast and oh-so-important partners—those who are in the business of creating and providing the tools that are essential in allowing us to do our good work with children and families. We depend on the work of equally passionate and committed authors, illustrators, filmmakers, musicians, editors, designers, publishers, and promoters of the materials we employ every day in service to children as much as we depend on the evaluation and award committees that work year round to assess the very best in books, recordings, videos and websites so that we all may share their considered judgment with our clientele.  
 
Midwinter is a time to recognize, honor and celebrate the arduous and rewarding work of all the parties involved, which culminates in the lists of award winners, notables, and great websites. The fruits of their labor may be seen at:
 
 
In addition, we are fortunate to benefit from the work of related committees around ALA:
 
Coretta Scott King Awards  (Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table)
Stonewall Awards  (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table)
 
Midwinter is also an occasion to look forward, to network in the exhibits and in programs for previews of the work to be unveiled this year.  It offers the opportunity to chat with publishers and colleagues to express our appreciation for all types of media produced for children—not only those cited by award and notable committees, but the multitude of titles that lift hearts, engage minds, tickle funny bones, open eyes to new worlds, and bring children and families back to the library for more.
 
A friend in publishing recently related the pride she feels when she sees a book to which she has contributed in the hands of a child on the subway, and recognizes that it was probably the result of the influence of a librarian.  As librarians, we know that feeling as well, when we see children leave the library with materials we recommend, knowing the hand that our colleagues in publishing and media play in equipping us with what we need to fulfill our role effectively.  The two fields are inextricably linked in leading children to literacy and library use.
 
Even as we congratulate all those publishers, producers, and creators whose outstanding work has been recognized, we know it is we librarians and readers who are the winners.  We are grateful for their work and proud to be their partners. Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Let’s give them a hand!--Starr LaTronica, ALSC President
 

ALSC Councilor's Report 

Greetings, everyone! I’m happy to provide an update on the work of ALA Council during the recent Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. (A side note: Midwinter attendance was 12,207, which is higher than it’s been since we were last in Philly in 2008.) As ALA’s governing body, Council works to provide policy direction for the association, and each ALA division—such as ALSC—has a representative—such as yours truly—with a voice. Below are some of the actions undertaken by Council, and a full list of related documents is available online.  
 
A major concern of Councilors, as with many librarians, is the January 14 action by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals striking down “Net Neutrality” (described by ALA as “online non-discrimination”), and that same day ALA President Barbara Stripling issued a statement expressing our association’s disappointment with the ruling. This issue concerns the “free flow of information for all people” and the ALA Committee on Legislation and the Washington Office will carefully monitor the unfolding implications of the ruling and keep us up to date. 
 
Council heard a report from the Digital Content and Libraries Working Group, which is encouraged that all “Big 5” publishers are now making their content available to libraries to at least some extent. There is much work still to be done, however, and the group’s advocacy work will continue on important issues including pricing, preservation, streaming, privacy, and accessibility. 
 
Council bestowed Honorary Membership, ALA’s highest honor, on Patricia Glass Schuman. A tireless library advocate, co-founder of Neal-Schuman Publishers, and author of such articles as “Libraries: Defending Children’s Right to Know” (Reading Today, 1992), she has served as President and Treasurer of ALA, and joins a distinguished list of previous honorees. Memorial resolutions were presented for Major Owens, Augusta “Gussie” Clark, Nasser Sharify, and Bohdan Stephan Wynar, and a tribute to Philadelphia’s Giovanni’s Room Bookstore and Owner Ed Hermance was adopted.
 
Resolutions passed included those supporting “Maintaining Government Websites during a Government Shutdown,” “Curbing Government Surveillance,” and “Expanding Federal Whistleblower Protections” (while a resolution recognizing former NSA-employee Edward Snowden as a whistleblower was defeated). Council approved the establishment of the “Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity,” commended Congressman Sensenbrenner (R-WI-5) and Senator Leahy (D-VT) for their support of the USA Freedom Act, and honored Senator Rockefeller (D–WV) for his support of America’s libraries. Council heard a report from the Freedom to Read Foundation, which will be publishing an updated Toolkit this spring, and referred a resolution to allow programs at Midwinter to the Budget Analysis and Review Committee for consideration of financial implications.
 
Part of being an ALA Councilor is also being an ALA-Allied Professional Association Councilor, and I invite you to visit the ALA-APA website to learn more about this important work to “promote the mutual professional interests of librarians and other library workers.” To that end, the ALA-APA’s focus is on the certification of individuals in specializations beyond the initial professional degree, direct support of comparable worth and pay equity initiatives, and other activities designed to improve the salaries and status of librarians and other library workers.
 
As the ALA election approaches next month, I would encourage you to check out the Councilor-at-Large candidates’ biographies included in the ballot, look for members of any of the three youth divisions (AASL, YALSA, and, of course, ALSC), and consider lending your support to increasing the youth division representation on Council. The Youth Council Caucus, for which ALA President Stripling joined us in Philadelphia, can increase our visibility and influence as we continue to grow in number. Our advocacy efforts can also be strengthened by supporting the Declaration for the Right to Libraries, and I ask you to add your signature to it here in advance of its presentation at National Library Legislative Day in early May. 
 
As always, I will share any important Council developments on ALSC-L and am interested in your thoughts regarding Council actions past, present, and/or future. I look forward to hearing from you.--Andrew Medlar, ALSC Division Councilor 
 

Thank You to Our Most Recent Donors 

Many thanks to the following contributors to ALSC. To learn how you can support ALSC, visit www.ala.org/alsc and click on "About ALSC--Contact ALSC--Donate to ALSC” on the left-hand navigation menu.

Pura Belpré Award Endowment

Alan Bern
Ed Spicer

Friends of ALSC

Gold Circle
 
Dudley B. Carlson
Linda A. Perkins
 
Silver Circle
 
Therese Bigelow
Maria Gentle
David Mowery
Ed Spicer
Judy Zuckerman
 
Notable Circle
 
Christine Caputo
Barbara A. Genco
B. Allison Gray
Paula Holmes
Amy Kellman
Ginny Moore Kruse
Nina Lindsay
Phyllis Mattill
Linda A. Perkins
 
Friends Circle
 
Marilyn Ackerman
Viki Ash
Rita Auerbach
Alan Bern
Elisa J. Gall
Patrick J. Gall
Lolly H. Gepson
Rebecca Jackman
Kathie Meizner
Connie Pottle
 

Bright Ideas 

Literacy in the Park  

As the noon hour approached during the summer of 2013, parks and apartment complexes across Boise and Garden City, Idaho, filled up with children coming for Picnic in the Park. The Idaho Foodbank has provided free lunch for children eighteen- years and younger during the summer for the past 15 years. If they were going to feed their stomachs, then the libraries could be feeding their minds. Several public libraries had partnered with the Foodbank in past years, but a new pilot program, Literacy in the Park, was coordinated by Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) Read to Me team to have a consistent presence at each site. We had read the book, Summer Reading: Closing the Rich/Poor Reading Achievement Gap, by Richard L. Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen, and were inspired to do something to stop summer slide in our communities. 
 
The Foodbank provided lunch five days a week at 24 sites across Boise and Garden City to over 1,000 children daily. Foodbank staff utilized AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates and graciously allocated one of their 10 associate slots to work full-time for ten weeks on the Literacy in the Park program. ICfL staff worked with staff from Ada Community Library, Boise Public Library, and Garden City Public Library to plan activities and create a schedule to cover each of the sites one day per week. The summer associate covered five routes. With the team in place and a vision of what the program should look like, we set out to bring it to life.
 
The anchor of the program, storytime, was carried out by both librarians and volunteers. Themes had been chosen for the ten weeks of the program that were loosely based on the Collaborative Summer Learning Program 2013 theme – “Dig In!” and tied in when possible with the mission of the Foodbank. Themes included: Libraries Rock! Delightful Dirt, Wonderful Worms, Amazing Animals, Healthy Food, Get Moving! Books are Fun, Gardens are Great, STEM is Super, and Summer Fun. Books and activities were chosen around those themes. Staff read one or two books, often incorporated a song or fingerplay, and then focused on the week’s enrichment activity and encouraging kids to take out books from the Little Libraries bins.
 
Community partners and volunteers were an integral part of the success of the program. Using VolunteerMatch.org and the AmeriCorps network, volunteers were recruited to support each route. We had a diverse group of volunteers participate. Over 500 volunteer hours were logged for the program, including the 40 hours per week the summer associate dedicated to the program. Local businesses donated everything from soil to seeds, and the Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial Organization donated jump ropes, magnifying glasses, mini-binoculars, pencils, and other supplies. 
 
Little Libraries were a hit with the children and their parents.  ICfL and the three library partners received over 2,000 gently-used books from community members, friends of staff, and partners.  They were sorted, cleaned, and stickered before being placed in plastic bins. New books were also placed through the Commission’s Summer Reading Underserved Program. A balance of board and picture books, early chapter books, and young adult books were included in each bin. A sticker on each book said “Read and Return,” and staff spent time explaining the concept of the book-lending program to children and parents – “We’d like to get the books back, but if we don’t we’re not going to sweat it.” On good weeks about 25 per cent of the books were returned.
 
We felt like we made an impact as we heard comments like this, “A mom told us that after seeing us last week, she took her kids to the library for the first time and got them library cards.  She herself hadn’t been to the library since she was a kid.” And as a child was picking out books he exclaimed, “I’m going to be reading all summer!” That’s exactly what we’d hoped to hear—that children were reading through the summer. Come for the food and stay for the books!
 
Watch our Powtoon presentation for Literacy in the Park highlights. 
 
For more information, check out the Summer Reading Guidebook from the Idaho Commission for Libraries.—Julie Armstrong, Americorps VISTA, Idaho Commission for Libraries
 

STEM Kits Prove Popular at Multnomah County Library

Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore., recently launched a new circulating collection called Discovery Kits: Science, Technology, Engineer, and Math that will provide opportunities for elementary school-age patrons and their families to experience hands-on exploration of specific concepts. This project is a pilot funded by The Library Foundation as a result of recent home school survey results. The library created 30 kits, featuring ten different themes and consulted with staff at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry to vet the selected combinations of manipulatives, books, and suggested activities. Science, technology, engineering, and math supplemental education are high profile needs in the community, and hands-on materials have been shown to increase understanding and motivation in these subject areas. In an internal report, results of a survey of Multnomah County home schooled families, a circulating collection of education manipulatives was one of the top three requests. Since the launch, each kit is in constant circulation, with holds lists for all themes. The most popular topics are simple machines, basic math, magnetism, and geometry.--Katie O'Dell, Youth Services Director 
 

Fun with Science! 

Here at the Wilmette (Ill.) Public Library, we started hands-on science programming for elementary-aged children in summer 2012.  We were ready to bring the fun to our preschoolers and their parents – but how?  We wanted to work within the framework of Every Child Ready to Read, 2nd edition (ECRR2) to give our patrons a hands-on experience that would convince parents that:

  • Science activities are fun
  • You don’t have to be an expert; anyone can engage in scientific exploration at home
  • Doing science activities at home can help kids build early literacy skills
We decided on a 90-minute drop-in program on a Saturday morning in our auditorium. We invited families with children ages 3-6 as well as area preschool providers.  We used a center-based model where families could engage in 5 different centers corresponding to the five early literacy practices outlined in ECRR2: talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing.  Most of the centers were organized around a simplified version of the scientific method: ask, predict, try, observe, explain.  There was a sixth center for creating a small, ring-bound book to take home. The book included one page for each of the five centers. One side of each page gave information about the early literacy practice, using language taken directly from ECRR2 materials, and the other side provided suggestions for continuing the science activities at home. The activities were:
 
Talking: Test Halloween candy to see if it sinks or floats.
 
Singing: Use the “Press Here” iPad app to see how the scientific method can be applied to everyday situations, like figuring out how a musical game works.
 
Reading: Share nonfiction books together in a cozy reading area.
 
Writing: Make a nature journal.  Observe natural materials through a magnifying glass and record in the journal using age-appropriate writing and drawings.
 
Playing: Use colored vinegar in baking soda to formulate and answer your own question about color mixing or acids and bases.
 
The room was bustling, and it was great to see so many dads, moms, grandfathers, and grandmothers using scientific language to describe what their kids were doing.  All of the activities were a hit; at least one child named each as his or her favorite, with “Playing” and “Singing” garnering the most votes in our informal survey at the door.  We are now planning this as a yearly fall event, and we can’t wait for spring to have Fun with Math!—Karen Joshi, Wilmette (Ill.) Public Library 
 

The Great Caterpillar Catastrophe

We felt worst for the caterpillars. In May, we’d ordered a dozen monarch caterpillars to arrive the week of July 8, for careful observation and NO TOUCHING by early elementary school kids on July 16.  We waited until July 12 to worry. “There’s been a die-off,” the woman on the phone explained. “We’re behind on shipping by four or five weeks.  Is that too long?”  
 
Some internet scrambling yielded painted lady caterpillars set to arrive by 3:00 on Tuesday, giving us a leisurely hour before the kids appeared.  Assembling our observation log, time-lapse videos of crumply wings unfolding from chrysalises, and emergence-cage project supplies, we hoped our Butterfly Bonanza would have guests of honor.  A morning delivery brought two small containers--slightly larger than a yogurt cup--with a sandy-colored artificial food product at the bottom.  And our much-anticipated caterpillars?  Little half-inch cuties, crushed to death underneath the food.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar revenged upon by a soy-based thistle alternative.  
 
Except!  On one disc of beige goo, a lone centimeter-long survivor inched in circles.  We gingerly transferred him to one of our now hilariously overabundant caterpillar habitats and carried the minuscule trooper into the program with 14 kids.  
 
Since the activity clearly wouldn’t center on observing the caterpillars (not anymore), we talked about them instead.  We tapped into prior knowledge and chatted about caterpillar life cycles.  We watched the time lapse and and gaped as painted lady after painted lady unfurled from the pupae.  We colored bases for our habitats, awash with flowers that might make a butterfly feel at home.  And as the kids scribbled away, we brought them up two by two to make detailed observations about our itsy bitsy survivor, not mentioning that yesterday he had 11 unsquashed kin.  And when everyone had experienced the living grain of rice up close, we entered into a heated debate to name the little guy.  The result of many proposals and a run-off election: Spiky.  
 
Spiky took up residence on our children’s room desk, soon joined by replacements.  Our best beloved didn’t make it to butterfly-hood.  Neither did Spiky 2, his understudy.  In fact, only one painted lady caterpillar achieved butterfly status.  Our summer program, however, was still a success.  Our co-worker brought in 7 swallowtail caterpillars that she found on her parsley plants at home.  They were free, big, green and most importantly, alive. Our desk became a hub of activity and observation, just as we had hoped.  A few hours after each butterfly emerged we paraded the container out to the courtyard, followed by whoever was in the children’s room for a releasing ceremony.  Would we do a butterfly program again?  Maybe.  But perhaps we’ll just plant parsley and see what happens.—Mercy Garland and Robbin Friedman, Chappaqua (N.Y.) Library 
 

Getting Together 

Children's Lit & the Digital Age 

Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable (VCLR) will present "Serendipity 2014: Children’s Literature in a Digital Age" on Saturday, March 8, 2014, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the UBC Education Building, Vancouver, BC.
 
From practical advice on using literature-based apps with children to learning how authors and illustrators are using social media and electronic publishing, Serendipity 2014 is an all-day event for educators, librarians, researchers, and literature lovers looking to the future of books for young people. For further details, visit the VCLR website.  

National Latino Children's Literature Conference 

On March 13-14, 2014, librarians, teachers, educators, researchers, authors, and illustrators from across the nation will gather in Tuscaloosa, Ala. to celebrate the rich traditions and diversity within the Latino cultures at the National Latino Children’s Literature Conference: Connecting Cultures & Celebrating Cuentos. Attendees will explore contemporary trends in Latino children's book publishing and begin the timely conversation on the important questions: Why is youth literature about Latino cultures on the decline while the Latino population continues to grow? What can we do to increase the number of Latino children’s books published each year? What is the role of Latino children’s and young adult literature in the lives of contemporary youth (children and teens)?
 
By attending the National Latino Children's Literature Conference, participants have the chance to meet award-winning Latino authors and illustrators, attend informative breakout sessions, engage in exclusive networking opportunities, explore the latest research, and celebrate cultural literacy in a Día community event. Come deepen your understanding of the Latino cultures and celebrate their rich diversity within our classrooms and libraries. 
 
For more information, please visit the conference website
 

ACL Institute to Address Common Core 

The Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California (ACL) is hosting its annual institute at the San Francisco Main Public Library on Friday, March 14, 2014. "Your Library Is the Common Core: CCSS, STEM/STEAM, and How Libraries Fit in with the New Push Toward Non-Fiction" will focus on the emphasis of more information books in the classroom, with special attention on how school and public librarians can assist their local schools in the adoption of the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The morning will feature speakers including author Marc Aronson; hands-on STEM/STEAM activities will take place in the afternoon.

Keep up on developing details by visiting the Institute website.

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"Kids and Technology" Conference 

The New England Roundtable of Teen and Children’s Librarians (part of the New England Library Association) Spring One-Day Conference, “Kids and Technology,” will be held on Friday, March 21, 2014, at Worcester State University from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Join us for a full day of presentations about the pros/cons of technology; how we as librarians can better serve teachers and students who are using technology in the classroom; what free resources and social media can be used in the children’s room; and the ever-shifting world of eBooks and what you need to know for your library. For complete details and registration, visit the conference website
 
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Virginia Hamilton Conference

Kent State University’s 30th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth will be held April 3-4, 2014, at the Kent Student Center in Kent, Ohio. The conference provides a forum for discussion of multicultural themes and issues in literature for children and young adults. “Pearls of Wisdom” is the theme for this year’s conference, which features Christopher Paul Curtis, David Diaz, and Andrea Pinkney.
 
For more information, go to the conference website. Scroll to the bottom of the page for registration information.

Expanding Our Worlds, Creating Community: 2014 ALSC Institute

Join ALSC for its 2014 National Institute in Oakland, Calif. on September 18-20, 2014. The Institute is everything you need in one place--programming, keynotes, networking, and much more.

  • Education programs will focus on a host of topics, from grant writing to summer lunch at the library, from STEAM programming to technology in children's spaces.
  • Presentations will be made by Steve Sheinkin, Tim Federle, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Rita Williams-Garcia, Gene Luen Yang, Mac Barnett, Daniel Handler, Jennifer Holm, and Andrea Davis Pinkney.
  • ALSC Connection--free, team-building events--will bring attendees together for fun and networking, opportunities to unwind and enjoy the company of fellow Institute-goers.
  • Special events include a trip to Oakland's own Fairyland, featuring close to 40 storybook sets and acres of gardens, and an onsite bookstore and signings.

Hurry, the early bird discount registration rate is available until June 30, 2014. For complete details, visit the Institute website

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! 

Member News

Linda Ward-Callaghan,  was the 2013 recipient of the Illinois Library Association’s Davis Cup Award, which recognizes an Illinois librarian who has made an outstanding contribution in service to youth. Congratulations, Linda!
 
2005-2006 ALSC President, Ellen Fader, was named the 2014 recipient of the Walt Morey Young Readers Literary Legacy Award, presented by Literary Arts (Portland, Ore.) to a person or organization in recognition of significant contributions that have enriched Oregon’s young readers. Kudos, Ellen!
 
Sharon McQueen, University of Wisconsin, Madison, received the 2014 ALISE/LMC Paper Award 2014 for her research paper, “A Permanent and Significant Contribution: The Life of May Hill Arbuthnot.” The award recognizes an outstanding paper reporting innovative research in library services to young people. Nice work, Sharon!

ALSC Welcomes New Staffer

Kristen Sutherland joined the ALSC team last fall as Program Officer for Continuing Education. Kristen received her BA in Communications from Purdue University with minors in Organizational Leadership and Supervision, Sociology, and History.  She comes to ALSC from the SmithBucklin Corporation where she was an Education and Learning Services Coordinator.  She has additional experience as Coordinator, Conferences at the Illinois CPA Society and Event Coordinator at International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. She possesses a wealth of professional education and event planning experience and has executed numerous conferences, symposia, and eLearning programs in an association setting. 
 
Kristen will oversee ALSC’s continuing education program including face-to-face education programs, online courses, webinars, and the biennial National Institute. Welcome, Kristen!
 

Popular Picks for Young Readers 

This new publication, edited by Diane B. Foote, Assistant Dean, GSLIS, Dominican University, Illinois, features contributions by working librarians (ALSC members) from around the country and offers a goldmine of quality books for children, spotlighting more than 500 titles published within the last four years. Ranging from books for newborns through readers to age 14, the selected titles encompass a wide variety of formats and themes that reflect the diversity of contemporary society. Popular Picks for Young Readers is a useful guide for readers' advisory and collection development. Available this spring, the guide can be preordered now through the ALA Store

Día Happenings 

ALSC awards mini-grants to 15 libraries to start Día Family Book Clubs.  Late last fall, ALSC awarded 15 libraries mini-grants to start their own Día Family Book Club. The clubs will utilize multi-cultural, multi-lingual, or second language books to provide an opportunity for families in the community to come together. The mini-grants are part of ALSC’s Everyone Reads @ your library grant, generously funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

The winning libraries are: Baldwin Boettcher Branch – Harris County (Texas) Public Library; Baraboo (Wis.) Public Library; Beale Memorial Library- Kern County(Calif.)  Library; Blake Library - Martin County (Fla.) Library System; City of Port Isabel (Texas) Public Library; Henderson (Nev.) Libraries; Hilton Branch, Maplewood (N.J.) Public Library; Maricopa (Ariz.) Public Library; Newburgh (N.Y.) Free Library; Niagara Branch Library, Buffalo & Erie County (N.Y.) Public Library; North Plainfield (N.J.) Library; Orange County (Fla.) Library System, Southeast Branch; Patterson (Calif.) Library; Smyrna (Ga.) Public Library; and Waukegan (Ill.) Public Library.
 
The purpose of the Everyone Reads @ your library grant is for ALSC to prepare libraries to incorporate Día into their existing programs, every day of the year. To help meet this goal, ALSC is providing these 15 mini-grants and also making available Book Club lesson plans and additional resources for free download through the Día website to encourage libraries throughout the country to participate in a Día Family Book Club program.
 
Registration open for 2014 National Día Program Registry.  ALSC invites librarians to register their 2014 Día programs in the Día National Program Registry at the Día website. By registering Día programs held throughout the year, libraries build a searchable database that showcases all types and sizes of Día programming. The information displays on the website, in both map and database format, allowing you to share program information with other librarians and all those interested in learning more about Día programs around the country. Libraries that register also receive Día stickers, buttons, and bookmarks (while supplies last). Also check out the Día website for free program downloads, Día resources, and ideas for your celebration.
 

Grants Available for Multicultural Children's Books 

Hosting a Día program with an African American focus? The Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature announces grants for 2014 Día programs with an African American focus. The grant award amount is $500 in selected multicultural children's books for the library. The application deadline is March 15, 2014. The winning recipient or recipients will be notified on or about March 22, 2014. Please contact the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature for an application or if you have any questions.  

ALSC/PLA Initiative Wins Innovation Prize 

Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library®, 2nd Edition, the parent education initiative stressing early literacy begins with the primary adults in a child’s life, was awarded the 2014 Opening Minds Innovation Award, which honors individuals and organizations whose innovations advance the field of early childhood care and education. The award was announced on January 31 at the Opening Minds USA Conference & Expo in Chicago. Every Child Ready to Read, a joint initiative of ALSC and the Public Library Association (PLA), empowers public libraries to assume an essential role in supporting early literacy within their community.
 

Survey of Early Literacy Activities 

The PLA/ALSC Every Child Ready to Read Evaluation Task Force is conducting a survey on early literacy work to gauge what libraries are doing and where. Please help them out by completing the survey. Thank you!

Curriculum Kits Available 

YALSA's Young Adults Deserve the Best curriculum kits are an initiative to help library staff successfully connect to and work with teens in the public or school library. Created by trainers for trainers, directors, or librarians, these kits address teen behavior in the library and how to strengthen teen services through technology. Each kit provides guided training with an introductory paper and literature review, customizable PowerPoints including a complete script and optional group activities, and a list of additional resources. Kits are organized into modules; trainers can teach them individually in one hour segments, or combine them for a full day of training.  This curriculum is based on YALSA's national guidelines: Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth. Cost: $175 for digital download; $199 for paper edition with CD containing presentations. Bulk pricing available at 20% off orders of 25 or more. For more information, visit the YALSA website.

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Feedback Requested on Revised Accreditation Standards 

The ALA Committee on Accreditation (COA) has issued a call for comment through October 3, 2014, on the proposed revision to the 2008 Standards for Accreditation of Master's Programs in Library and Information Studies, attached.
 
Comments may be provided in a number of ways, including:
  • accred@ala.org
  • Standards Review blog http://www.oa.ala.org/accreditation/, which includes a link to the draft and to the review process documentation leading up to the draft
  • Friday, January 24 at 2:00 at the ALISE 2014 Annual Conference
  • Sunday, January 26 at 4:30 at the 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting in room PCC-201B (Convention Center) 
  • Thursday, February 20 at 2:00 at a Virtual Town Hall Meeting via Adobe Connect
The draft is the result of a five-year review effort, detailed at the Standards Review site. The Committee on Accreditation will review commentary at its fall 2014 meeting with the intent for accredited programs to begin implementation in 2016. 
 

Dominican Offers Cutting Edge Webinar 

On Thursday, April 10, 2014, Dominican University is offering a webinar, "A Nature Classroom at the Library for Early Childhood Development," part of the "Cutting Edge Ideas for Public Libraries" webinar series. 
 
Erin Francoeur, Director of the Finney County Public Library in Garden City, Kansas, will talk about how the library's 10,000 square foot outdoor educational space supports public library initiatives including early learning, literacy development, school readiness, entertainment, and community spaces. 
 
The webinar is free to attend, but registration is required. For full details, visit the Dominican University website.  

Resources for Serving Children with Autism 

One in 88 children is identified with an autism spectrum disorder. Research suggests that children with autism benefit from oral reading, songs, and other pre-literacy efforts. San José Public Library and the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s Inclusion Collaborative and Digital Design & Media Services have created training videos and materials for inclusive storytimes and other literacy services that can better meet the needs of children with autism and other special needs. 
 
This project was supported in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, as administered in California by the State Librarian and through a collaboration between the San José Public Library, Inclusion Collaborative, and Santa Clara County Office of Education. 
 

Pew Reports on the Value of Libraries 

Last December, the Pew Research Center released the report, "How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities." A summary of findings and the complete report are available on the Pew Internet website.

Endangered Species Day -- Libraries Encouraged to Participate

Community and school libraries are encouraged to participate in the ninth annual Endangered Species Day on May 16, 2014. First approved by the U.S. Senate in 2006, the purpose of Endangered Species Day is to expand awareness of the importance of endangered species/habitat conservation and to share success stories of species recovery. Every year, Endangered Species Day events are held at libraries, schools, zoos, aquariums, botanic gardens, conservation groups, parks, wildlife refuges, and other locations throughout the country.
 
Libraries can showcase their regular services and special programs, while also celebrating Endangered Species Day. Specific Endangered Species Day activities include:

* Creating a display of endangered species books and photos, and a map showing local/state species.
* Inviting an expert to make a presentation.
* Holding a story hour, reading excerpts from an endangered species book.
* Providing children’s activities, such as a coloring table.

A variety of resources are available on the Endangered Species Day website, including event planning information and a reading list, plus color/activity sheets, bookmarks, stickers, and other materials that can be downloaded and printed. Make sure to promote your event on the Endangered Species Day directory or send your information to David Robinson, Endangered Species Day Director
 

Book Award Announcements 

Honoring International Books for YouthAt the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, the United States Board on Books for Young People ( USBBY) announced its Outstanding International Books List. The new 2014 list is available on the USBBY website as a bookmark
 
Introducing the New CLEL Bell Awards!  Earlier this month, CLEL (Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy) announced the winners of the first-ever CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards, created in 2013 to recognize picture books that provide excellent support of early literacy development in young children. Each of the five winning titles below represents one of the early literacy practices: Read, Write, Sing, Talk, and Play. The books, in their content, theme, or design, support caregivers’ interaction with their children through early literacy practices. 
 
The winning titles are: 
 
READ: Open This Little Book, by Jesse Klausmeier, illustrated by Suzy Lee (Chronicle Books)
This book celebrates the pleasures of reading, sharing stories, and having a book of your own. 
 
WRITE: The Things I Can Do, by Jeff Mack (Roaring Brook Press) 
Hand-written text and exuberant collages illustrate this story of a boy who takes great pride in his accomplishments. Reading skills and writing skills develop together, and the format of this book invites children to see themselves as authors as well as readers. 
 
SING: Nighty-Night, Cooper, by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children) 
A small kangaroo requests song after song to help him fall asleep, and his mother obliges by making up her own words to familiar tunes. Singing songs together is a powerful way to build phonological awareness skills and vocabulary, and this winner models how a parent can use songs to create a comforting bedtime routine with a child.  
 
TALK: Moo! by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka (Walker Books for Young Readers) 
A very vocal cow commandeers the farmer’s car and sets off on an adventure. The entire story is told with just two words: Moo! and Baa! The speech bubbles and the very limited vocabulary help children make the critical connection between the words we say and the print on the page. 
 
PLAY: Niño Wrestles the World, by Yuyi Morales (Roaring Brook Press) 
Niño takes on all the toys in his room with an amazing series of lucha libre wrestling moves. This book joyfully demonstrates the language-rich, open-ended play that contributes to a child’s narrative skills.   
 
 
2014 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Winners AnnouncedThe Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi, have announced the winners of the 28th annual Ezra Jack Keats Book Award. Each year, a new writer and new illustrator are celebrated. The 2014 awards ceremony will be held on April 10th during the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival, at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.
 
The 2014 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award winner is: Ame Dyckman for Tea Party Rules (Viking/Penguin Group). New Writer honors go to: Pat Zietlow Miller for Sophie’s Squash (Schwartz & Wade/Random House) and Linda Davick for I Love You, Nose! I Love You, Toes! (Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster)
 
The 2014 Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award winner is: Christian Robinson for Rain! (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children). New Illustrator honors go to: K.G. Campbell for Tea Party Rules (Viking/Penguin Group); Aaron Meshon for Take Me Out to the Yakyu (Atheneum); and Marta Altés for My Grandpa (Abrams).
 
To be eligible for the Keats Book Award, an author and/or illustrator will have no more than three children’s picture books published prior to the year under consideration.
 
The 2014 selection committee included Caroline Ward, chair, Rita Auerbach, Carolyn Brodie, Nina Crews, Pat Cummings, Ginny Moore Kruse, Marisabina Russo, Lisa Von Drasek and Paul O. Zelinsky. 
 

Call for Grant Proposals

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, which fosters children’s love of reading and creative expression, celebrates the 26th year of its minigrant program with a call for proposals. Approximately 70 grants of $500 each will be awarded to qualifying teachers and librarians at public schools and libraries across the country. The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2014, and decisions will be emailed to all applicants by May 1, allowing educators to plan for the next academic year accordingly. To learn more about the Ezra Jack Keats minigrants and to apply, visit the Ezra Jack Keats website.  

DiCamillo Takes on New Title 

Kate DiCamillo, Newbery Medal Award-winner and honoree, recently was named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. DiCamillo will serve in the position during 2014 and 2015, succeeding Walter Dean Myers. She has chosen “Stories Connect Us” for her platform. 
 
The ambassador is named by the Librarian of Congress based on recommendations from a selection committee. The selection criteria include the candidate’s contribution to young people’s literature and ability to relate to children. The ambassador appears throughout the country at events with young people, encouraging them to make reading a central part of their lives.
 
The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature initiative was established by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the Children’s Book Council, and Every Child a Reader. Financial support for the program is provided by Penguin Young Readers Group, Scholastic Inc., The Lois Lenski Covey Foundation, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, HarperCollins Children’s Books, Random House Children’s Books, and Candlewick Press.
 

Doodle 4 Google 

Doodle 4 Google 2014 is now open for submissions! This year, young artists are encouraged to think big and create their own Google doodle based on the theme: “If I could invent one thing to make the world a better place…” The winning doodle will be featured on the Google homepage for a day for millions to see. The winner will receive a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 Google for Education technology grant for their school, and they will get to spend the day with the Doodle team to animate their doodle. To inspire the young artists’ in your library, Doodle 4 Google has partnered with Discovery Education to offer videos and activities and interactive “Meet the Doodler” Connected Classrooms sessions where kids can meet Google Doodlers, learn about their process from idea to Doodle, and ask questions along the way. Get the young artists in your library doodling soon because entries must be received by March 20th 2014. Check out Google for more details. 

Writing Contest for Kids

Eztales.com, an online publisher of children's animated read-aloud books, story songs, and more, invites libraries, classrooms, and kids at home to write their own original nursery rhyme. Every story will be published for all to enjoy and the top winning rhyme will be professionally produced as a fully animated interactive book and App available free on computers and mobile devices. Visit EZTales for complete contest information. No purchase, subscription, or payment is necessary to enter or win.