ALSC Matters! |February 2017, Vol. 15, no. 1

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

Officially Speaking 

Midwinter Wrap-Up 

It is an interesting time to be an elected officer. While many in the nation rallied to raise their voices during the presidential inaugural weekend, I was grateful to be working with ALSC members and leadership at ALA Midwinter in Atlanta on strategic and visionary work to carry us through the next several years.


On Friday the ALSC Mini Institute opened our conference, and closed our re-imagined 2016 National Institute. Filled with rousing speeches and packed breakout sessions, it was a wonderful way to come together. Jacqueline Woodson sent us off in her final keynote, suggesting that much of what people may express now as anger comes from a place of fear, and asking us to find empathy for those who are afraid.  
Following Midwinter, we learned that ALSC had been awarded the 2017 GLBTRT Award for Political Activism for the decision to cancel the Institute in North Carolina, and I have never been prouder to be a member of ALSC.

Strategic Planning

Attendees at our “Leadership and ALSC” session on Saturday morning brainstormed objectives for Areas of Strategic Action that the Board had identified during our October strategic planning day. We refined those objectives at our Board meeting that afternoon, and are putting the finishing touches on the entire plan online this month. Stay tuned for the release of the plan, with action areas for transforming ALSC, transforming children’s librarianship, and transforming communities through libraries.

Contributing to ALSC

On Sunday, committees got to work at our All Committee meeting, and I enjoyed the chance to sit in and listen to some of the amazing work you are all doing. I talked directly with some of you about volunteering for the next round of appointments to ALSC process committees, and I’m now getting started with my appointments advisory group online to put those in place over the course of this spring.
Throughout Midwinter I was able to catch up on what I missed by following the ALSC conference blogging. The ALSC blog always welcomes guest bloggers!

The Importance of Mentorship, Today

On a personal note, a highlight for me was the final day of conference, when ALA Council passed a memorial resolution for Ruth Gordon. Ruth was an important mentor for me, in librarianship as well as in ALSC, and I learned so much from Ruth, in part, because she sought to learn from me as well. 
Being a mentor may feel challenging. You will not have answers to all your mentee’s questions. However, having someone with other experience and perspective to help you think through an approach or an issue is an invaluable asset, and the relationship gives in both directions.  
The ALSC Mentorship Program is accepting applications for mentees and mentors through February 24.  What better time to gain a partner in action? Sign up today to be an ALSC mentor, or mentee.--Nina Lindsay, ALSC Vice-President/President Elect

Division Councilor Report: Midwinter 2017 

I’ve never been prouder to be a librarian or your ALSC Division Councilor than I was at the 2017 ALA Midwinter Meeting. We had important work to do at a critical time in our nation, and raising my voice on behalf ALSC, our membership, and the children we serve was—and continues to be—a tremendous honor.
Library workers and advocates united in Atlanta on the eve of the U.S. presidential inauguration and a sea change in our political landscape. As you can imagine, feelings were deep, words were strong, and tensions were high as we talked next steps for libraries. Despite the challenges and anxieties we faced, the energy and camaraderie among Council members was invigorating, empowering, and palpable. I couldn’t have imagined being anywhere else on that January weekend.
While you can review the complete list of Midwinter 2017 documents for details (a list of related Council actions is forthcoming), here’s a brief recap of the Council work I found most significant as both a librarian and an ALSC member:
ALA Town Hall: Library Advocacy and Core Values in Uncertain Times. Since many ALA members expressed concerns about the post-election impact on the association’s positions and advocacy efforts, the ALA Executive Board invited Council and general membership to a town hall-style meeting immediately following Council I on Sunday, January 22. Cheryl Gorman, a Harwood-trained facilitator, invited participants to share their thoughts and experiences with ALA leadership as an important first step in shaping the future work of the association. Many Council and ALA members stepped up to the microphone to make heartfelt statements, which you can read in a PDF of the captioned text. If you’re a Facebook user, you can also watch the 90-minute session via the American Libraries magazine page.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion as a Fourth ALA Strategic Direction. To ensure that the work of the recent ALA task force continues, ALA President-Elect James G. (Jim) Neal asked Council to approve the addition of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion as a fourth strategic direction for the association. Before the unanimous vote, many Council members stepped up to the microphone to speak in favor of this action. I was thrilled to join them and share the prominent place diversity and inclusion holds in ALSC’s 2018-20 strategic plan. Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion joins ALA’s three other strategic directions—Advocacy, Information Policy, and Professional and Leadership Development—approved in June 2015. 
Resolution on Education Requirements for Future ALA Executive Directors (DEFEATED). Perhaps the most contentious issue to come to the Council floor in Atlanta was the educational requirements for the next ALA Executive Director (ED). With the announcement of Keith Michael Fiels July 2017 retirement, Council members began discussing a 2000 resolution requiring that the ALA ED hold the MLIS degree. After Orlando, the possibility that the MLIS become a preferred but not required credential was introduced, and this idea was presented to Council as the Resolution on the Education Requirements for Future ALA Executive Directors. Receiving strong support and harsh criticism, the resolution was ultimately defeated by a very close vote of 78-75. This means the 2000 resolution will be upheld, and future ALA EDs must hold the MLIS degree.
Resolution on Family/Caregiver Status (PASSED). Due to lengthy discussions and feedback from members during both Council sessions and fora, Council passed the Resolution Establishing Family/Caregiver Status as a Protected Class in ALA Volunteer Work. Details of how this resolution will be implemented by ALA units (including ALSC) is still being examined, and we’ll be sure to keep our members informed as we receive additional information.
Honorary Membership for Ann Symons. After hearing several testimonials praising her years of dedicated service to ALA, the library profession, and the LGBTQ community, Council voted to elect Ann Symons as Honorary Member. According to GLBT News, “The honor recognizes [Ann’s] contributions to intellectual freedom, access and service to the LGBTQ community. She will receive official recognition during the Opening General Session at ALA Annual in 2017.” Ann joins an elite group of library workers and advocates awarded this special membership category.
Memorials and Tributes. Memorial resolutions were passed in honor of J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Robert (Bob) Alan, Valerie Bross, Sandra (Sandy) Friedman Dolnick, Nettie B. Taylor, Ruth Gordon, John Shuler, Karen Avenick, and Warren (Jim) Haas. Upon her retirement as Executive Director of the ALA Washington Office in May 2017, Emily Sheketoff was honored with a tribute resolution.
Council Election Results. Councilor-at-Large Mario M. Gonzalez and New Hampshire Chapter Councilor Amy Spence Lappin were elected to serve on the Executive Director Search Committee; Patricia (Patty) M. Wong, Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada, and Trevor A. Dawes were elected to three-year terms on the ALA Executive Board.
Youth Council Caucus (YCC). After Council I on Sunday, January 21, I co-convened the Youth Council Caucus (YCC) with AASL Councilor Diane Chen and YALSA Councilor Todd Krueger. After sharing highlights from the three youth divisions, we discussed the future of the YCC and how we can make the group more viable for our respective memberships. Ideas included changing the meeting time and day and hosting informal gatherings in the Council suite at both the Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference. As the 2017 ALA election approaches, we’re encouraging our respective memberships 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 their support to increasing the youth division representation on Council.
Council fora. I participated in all of Atlanta’s three Council fora sessions, which took place from 8:30-10 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. 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 mentioned in my Orlando report, 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 listserv 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.
Does all this sound like something you’d be up for doing, too? Then nominate yourself for the position of ALSC Division Councilor! My term will end at the 2018 Annual Conference in New Orleans, and we need your energy and enthusiasm to continue bringing a strong youth voice to ALA Council. The 2018 Nominating Committee is already hard at work looking for great candidates to place on the Spring 2018 ballot, so why shouldn’t one of them be you? Fill out the nomination form today! The deadline is March 31.
As we look ahead to the 2017 Annual Conference in Chicago, 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 with your questions and feedback about Council and Council-related issues. I welcome your input at any time.
Thank you again for this incredible opportunity to serve ALSC. See you in Chicago!—Jenna Nemec-Loise, ALSC Division Councilor 

ALSC Receives GLBTRT Award 

ALSC has been named the recipient of ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) Award for Political Activism. The award will be presented on Monday, June 26, 2017, during the Stonewall Book Awards program at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.
The ALSC Board of Directors is recognized for its efforts to stand for nondiscrimination by cancelling its 2016 National Institute that had been scheduled to be held in North Carolina due the repealing of all GLBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances throughout North Carolina.  
“On behalf of the steadfast 2015-16 ALSC Board of Directors, I’d like to sincerely thank the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table for this humbling honor,” said Andrew Medlar, ALSC immediate past president. “Cancelling the 2016 ALSC National Institute in Charlotte was not an easy thing to do, but standing up for our organization’s core values is something we must always do, and we’re very grateful for the collaboration and friendship of GLBTRT.”
In announcing the award, GLBTRT Chair Deb Sica stated: "The careful consideration and subsequent bravery of ALSC leadership and the incredible support of the membership in their stand against discriminatory practices cannot and should not go unrecognized. We thank them for their thoughtful actions in challenging times."
The GLBTRT Award for Political Activism seeks to recognize librarians and library related organizations who have made outstanding contributions in the area of GLBT activism.  The award consists of a certificate and $1,000.
To learn more about GLBTRT Awards, please visit  the award webpage

Thank You to Our Recent Donors 

Many thanks to the following generous contributors to ALSC. To learn how you can support ALSC, visit our website.

Belpré Award Endowment

Maria Gentle
Deborah Masters
Linda Pavonetti
Linda Perkins
Ed Spicer

Friends of ALSC

Gold Circle
Anne Britton
Andrew Medlar
Silver Circle
Joseph Doniach
Maria Gentle
Jenna Nemec-Loise
Linda Perkins
Ed Spicer
Judy Zuckerman
Notables' Circle
Joan Atkinson
Christine Caputo 
Mary Fellows
Stephanie Goodwin
Nina Lindsay
Marianne Martens
Deborah Masters
Betsy Orsburn
Linda Pavonetti
JoAnna Schofield
Vicky Smith
Friends' Circle
Marilyn Ackerman
Julie Dietzel-Glair
David Edwards
Beryl Evans
Bruce Farrar
Connie Pottle
Grace Ruth
Marion Rutsch
Barbara Sippel
Lisa Soper
Lisa Von Drasek
Bina Williams

ALSC Voices 

ALSC Profile

Celebrating colleagues with 25 years of ALSC membership
Alan Bern
Children's Librarian
Berkeley (California) Public Library
ALSC membership: 25 years 
Where did you attend library school?
University of California, Berkeley, School of Library and Information Studies
1992, penultimate graduating class, before it became the UC Berkeley School of Information
What was your very first library position?
Previous to my first paid library job, I volunteered at the Berkeley Public Library, where I now work, in four different departments: creating bibliographies for the Adult Literacy program; organizing slides in the Art & Music section; helping in the testing of barcodes for Technical Services; and consultant in the creation of a sign program for Library Administration – this last position was, in fact, paid and grew out of my expertise from 15 years in the printing and publishing industries. If it is financially possible, I highly recommend volunteering for those interested in entering library work -- it helps any prospective library worker to know if he or she actually wants to work in the library profession. Of course, paid non-librarian positions in a library can supply similar information.
In my very first paid library position, I worked doing circulation and information & referral for the Humanities Graduate Service Library, University of California, Berkeley (UCB), California (Fall 1991). I worked while a library school student under the direction of a Library Assistant, who was also a library school student at the time at UCB. I remember his help in learning MELVYL, the online catalog for the University of California system and our always fascinating discussions about Artificial Intelligence in its early days.
What do you love most about your current job? 
Library outreach to underserved communities. For the 25 years I have worked in public libraries, I have advocated for more connection with community through library outreach and collaboration. I have had my successes, and recently the profession as a whole has begun to talk about it more. Yay! Without downgrading anything that we do inside our library buildings, our work outside moves me the most because we are connecting our institution to those who might never have a connection with us at all. It is our ethical and moral obligation to do this vital outreach work and connect with the larger community, and I believe that politically and culturally it makes libraries stronger.
I absolutely love doing outreach to daycares and preschools. I treasure my visits to elementary schools, both to second grade classes and to promote summer reading. At this time, the most vital and far-reaching outreach program in which I play a part is Composing Together. As their 2017 resident poet, I am able to visit middle schools with them and give models and exercises for music students to create their own music-poetry collaborations, all the while promoting the library as a center for both knowledge-building and community engagement. The students and teachers uniformly enjoy our program, My Words, My Music, and there are plans to expand the program to elementary school students as well as to family programs in public libraries in 2017. I consider this kind of complex collaboration to be one of the directions for our library of the future.
What was the last really great book you read? 
I must preface any discussion of “the last really great book” with the fact that my favorite writer is Dante, and since college I have read his work, especially the Commedia over and over; he is always the last great writer that I have read. Since 1980 I have, off and on, translated Dante. Feel free to take a look at some of my recent attempts from my press (since 1975), Lines & Faces: illustrated broadsides.  
And, now, for the “last really great book!” -- The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club. By Phillip Hoose. (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2015)
In this absolutely thrilling story of courageous young Danish teenagers who were disgusted with their parents’ quiet and passive reaction to the Nazi invasion of their country, Phillip Hoose recreates this most exciting, distressing, tragic, but, ultimately, successful and not-well-enough-known achievement during WWII. These young fellows took up the fighting spirit of their Norwegian neighbors and based their actions on the idea of following Winston Churchill’s resistance, as well, by naming their club after him. Fighting for their parents and spurring them on to resistance later in the war, they risked everything and lost so much, sometimes including even their lives! Hoose weaves his narrative with incredibly thorough interviews with one of the still living (he died in 2012) participants, the original leader of the group, Knud Pedersen, who along with his brother and some friends began the group. Hoose has really done his homework and has included many black & white archival photos that perfectly match the mood of the book and take us back to WWII.  Back matter is thorough, helpful, and  illuminating. The cover design is simple, but striking. The design of the inside of the book is also simple, but very readable.   
From my own teen years I do hear echoes – in the activities of the Churchill Club – of similar joyous and absolutely thrilling activities that I experienced. But the irony and the brutal truth is that these were not games that the young Danes of the Churchill Club played: they were fighting the Nazis, perhaps the greatest war machine of all time, as their parents naively waited for things to peaceably shift; and, if they survived, these boys were damaged, sometimes for life, as all soldiers can be, by the real violence and battles in which they engaged.
What an unbelievably important model for many of our young readers! Tremendous empowerment -- from such a moving and brilliant book.
What’s your favorite myth, legend, or fairy tale? Why?
"The Owl and the Pussycat," a nonsense poem by Edward Lear. Although "The Owl and the Pussycat" is not a tale from a traditional culture, some writers, editors, and even library catalog entries list it as a (created) fairy tale (from the 19th century). [Although not a nonsense writer, another 19th century example of a creator of fairy tales is another of my favorite childhood authors, George MacDonald.] There have been a number of modern picture book versions of "The Owl and the Pussycat," and they continue to delight young kids and are often good for storytime. My very favorite picture book version is James Marshall’s from 1997 – brilliant and perfect comic illustrations, which, unfortunately, he did not entirely finish before his death. I absolutely love the poem: the rhyming (including half-rhymes and internal rhymes) is splendid and the poetic form is a sort of rondel. The made-up word "runcible" is amazing in its combination of sounding normal and nonsensical at the same time: it is now accepted as an actual dictionary term.
The "Why" is the most fascinating part of the story of my pick: when not a librarian, I am a writer and performer, and I have lived in Berkeley most of my life, born there in 1949. One of our branch libraries recently had a program called "My Berkeley Story," and they invited me to tell mine one evening, an evening it turned out that was two days after our last presidential election. My wife was worried that no one would come, but, surprisingly, the turnout was fine. In preparing for it, I remembered that soon after my parents had both died, I had been reading letters that my mother wrote to her older sister while she and I accompanied my father on his first sabbatical year (1951) in Cambridge, England. Here's a part of one of those letters, paraphrased: things are wonderful here, we love our baby boy (me, they mean), but he drives us absolutely nuts by telling us to read "The Owl and the Pussycat" over and over again. Not only do I not remember this consciously at all, but the only illustrations I might have seen were three by Lear himself -- I love them, but, again, other than loving them now, I do not recall seeing them then, since my age at that time was just around the age when humans begin to have specific memories. This personal story has taught me so much: about myself as a writer (someone who loved poetry AND story from the earliest age) and about what lasts and lasts even when one is only subconsciously aware. And, of course, my story has it’s children’s librarian angle as well in my rediscovering "The Owl and the Pussycat.”
What was the single-most influential event in your lifetime?
Without discussing events such as being born or learning to talk, walk, or read, there are still so many events from which to choose, many joys and many sorrows. In terms of both my development as an individual and as a working artist and librarian, I would choose living as a teenager in Napoli, Italia, and beginning to become familiar with Italian culture and society. In 1965-66 my professor-father had his third sabbatical in Napoli, and I had gone with my parents on all three: I was only two and remember almost nothing from when my parents went to Cambridge, England, and Concarnon (France); I was nine when my sister and I accompanied my parents to Hawaii in the year it became state, 1959; but as a teen in Napoli, the world literally opened up for me. I actually discovered myself in so many ways: art, music, reading and writing Italian. There is almost nothing in my experience to compare with the beauty – and dysfunction – of Napoli.
My wife and I return there often to see the gorgeous Bay, the ominous Volcano Vesuvio, and the tortured, twisting streets of Spacca Napoli, an ancient historic center (going back to the 9th century B.C. before the Greeks came) and now a protected UNESCO site. Spacca Napoli -- where I walked as a teen with my Neapolitan friend Umberto to a Mozart concert after school (liceo) where I had struggled successfully all day with Italian and all my high school courses in Italian, stopping for a rococo, a hard Christmas almond cookie (and still my favorite), and, perhaps, learning most important things about myself and my future. One of these strands was to study in literature in college and graduate school, to continue to write poetry, and to fall hopelessly in love with Italia and, of course, with Dante. In brief, I was enchanted and surprised by Napoli – and I still am – and as I was as well later enchanted and surprised by children’s librarianship.

Bright Ideas 

Instagram Scavenger Hunt 

We held our Second Annual Town-Wide Instagram Scavenger Hunt here at Cheshire (Conn.) Public Library in October. While most scavenger hunts involve collecting items, the teams that participated in our hunt “collected” photos that they posted to Instagram. They had to find specific landmarks around town or take photos based on open-ended topics, such as a favorite lunch restaurant. The idea behind the scavenger hunt was to encourage patrons to explore their community and use relevant technology, with a focus on participation by families.
Each team provided its own transportation to get around our spread-out town, and they used their smartphone (or tablet with data service) to post photos on Instagram. We had teams come to the library in person to pick up a physical sheet of clues, which also gave us the opportunity to give them tech help if they were unfamiliar with Instagram or needed to change their privacy settings for the day. Once they had their sheets in hand, they had about three hours to take and post their photos for the 30 clues, hashtagging each entry with #cheshirehunt2016 as well as hashtags specific to each clue. Some examples of the clues and hashtags are:
#go – Show us your mode of transportation today
#barge – You can’t just BARGE in here and start changing my water levels!
#award - An award-winning book showing off its gold
#monument – This war monument just celebrated its 150th birthday
#bird – The Connecticut State Bird (find it live or in a book)
#new – Something less than 1 year old
#old – Something at least 250 years old
We had 10 teams totaling about 35 people, with approximate ages ranging from 3 to 73. There was no typical team: they consisted of parents with tweens and teens, millennial couples, couples with dogs, and several teams that combined young children, parents, and a set of grandparents. We had longtime residents as well as families who had moved to town only weeks before the hunt, and we had social media experts as well as Instagram newbies who needed a crash course. We recognized some participants, but others visited the library only infrequently or rarely. They photographed Civil War monuments, yearbooks, Pokemon GO screenshots, new businesses, locks on our rails-to-trails canal path, old houses, sandwich shops, their gardens, and, of course, the library. Check out photos from the hunt on Instagram!
After the hunt, teams gathered back at the library for celebratory snacks, awards, and a slideshow of their posts. We gave a trophy to the team who completed the list of clues first, but we also awarded trophies in categories like creativity, humor, and teamwork. We emphasized to participants that the main goal was to have fun. Based on the photos and the smiles we saw when we regrouped, it was obvious that they did, though that might have been due to the raffle prizes donated by local businesses—gift cards, flowers, and ice cream!—Lauren Gledhill, Children’s Librarian, Cheshire (Conn.) Public Library

Escape Room Challenge 

In June 2016, the Clearwater Public Library System main branch held its first ever Escape Room Challenge as part of the tween/teen Summer Reading Program. Two different rooms were simultaneous run for a total of 7 sessions and 31 participants. 
After attending an escape room as a team-building exercise, we recognized the potential for this as a tween/teen program and immediately brought the idea back to our library. Escape rooms promote teamwork and problem-solving, and communication is paramount--three skills that are vital to a teenager’s academic survival. Plus, most importantly, escape rooms are just plain fun.
Considerations for creating our rooms included: program duration, logic puzzles, and locking mechanisms. The standard escape room time limit is sixty minutes locked inside, which we decided would work best for our teen-aged audience. We partnered with a local escape room for their insights and planning advice, but crafted the puzzles ourselves to customize the experience for our audience. The internet and our own nonfiction collection were the best sources of inspiration for the puzzles. We scoured the youth service department and asked staff members to donate any cases to hide things and various items such as DIY book safes and discarded books to clutter up the room. We purchased inexpensive locks with keys, combination locks with letters and numbers, and two black light flashlights.
The biggest challenge was converting a library space into an escape room experience without modifying the room in any way. Professional escape rooms create themed settings via painting the walls, nailing puzzles up, and some even have puzzles where the players destroy part of the room. We addressed this by having multiple pieces of library furniture in the room to hide things under/behind/within and having all of our written puzzles hidden on posters and other removable props rather than the walls. We used tablets with a countdown app to keep track of time.
We chose to limit the teams to six participants which necessitated the simultaneous operation of two different escape rooms to accommodate all interested teens. Players waiting their turn were given small puzzles and brain-teasers to give them an idea of what to expect. After being read a list of rules, the teams entered the escape rooms with a staff member in each room to act as a monitor. If a team got stumped, the monitor was allowed to give them up to three clues. All of our teams made it out of the escape room, but all had only minutes left on the clock.
This program was a great success. The participants had a blast and are eagerly awaiting the return of the escape room.—Jennifer Milano and Samantha Trinh, Clearwater (FL) Public Library System

Hands-on STEM: Levers at Play & STAR_Net 

Kids and families love to build their own creations! Download the FREE STAR Library Education Network (STAR_Net) activity guide, Levers at Play, to see how library patrons can use household materials to create a lever that addresses any number of real-world challenges -- like designing a seesaw on which two people of different weights (e.g., a child and a person using a wheelchair) can ride. Check out this brief how-to video, which shows a parent and child using an open-ended and playful process of building, testing, and revising to create their seesaw design. 
Levers at Play is just one of the many activities available at the STAR Library Education Network (STAR_Net), a hands-on learning network for libraries and their communities across the country. STAR_Net focuses on helping library professionals build their STEM skills by providing “science-technology activities and resources” (STAR) and training to use those resources. You are invited to join this free network to access:
  • STEM Activity Clearinghouse (for hands-on STEM activities for all age levels and related resources) 
  • Blogs (share success stories!)
  • STEM Partnership Contacts
  • Online Discussion Forums (discuss promising practices)
  • Webinars (online professional training)
  • Workshops and meet-ups at library conferences (in-person professional training)
  • STAR_Net News (online newsletter) 

Getting Together 

Library Leadership in a Digital Age 

The Harvard Graduate School of Education is hosting Library Leadership in a Digital Age (LLDA) on March 16-18, 2017. The event will convene accomplished library leaders, insightful policymakers, and faculty experts to consider the current state and future direction of librarianship.  
The LLDA faculty line-up will include Carla Hayden, 14th Librarian of Congress, and Emily Gore, Director for Content of the Digital Public Library of America, who will discuss digital preservation issues and challenges. Chris Bourg, Director of Libraries at MIT and key architect of an interesting report on the future of academic libraries, will lead a conversation on this important work. Deanna Marcum, Senior Adviser at Ithaka S+R, will present ten descriptors of success when leading digital initiatives. James Neal, ALA President-Elect, will offer his views on future challenges and opportunities facing the profession.  Additional faculty presenters from the Digital Public Library of America and Boston Public Library will be on hand to add further depth and insight to the proceedings. 
Additional program information and application details are available at the Harvard website

2017 National Latino Children's Literature Conference 

The University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies and The University of Texas at San Antonio are pleased to announce the 2017 National Latino Children’s Literature Conference to be held in San Antonio, Texas, on March 23-25. The conference was created for the purpose of promoting high-quality children’s and young adult books about the Latino cultures and to offer a forum for librarians, educators, researchers, and students to openly discuss strategies for meeting the informational, educational, and literacy needs of Latino children and their families. For further information about the schedule, presenters, and registration, visit the conference webpage.

2017 Arbuthnot Lecture Tickets Now Available 

Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson will present “What Gets Left Behind: Stories from the Great Migration” on Saturday, April 1, 2017, 7 p.m., at W.W. Hootie Johnson Performance Hall, Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina, Columbia. A book signing and reception follow. All events are free but require a ticket. Please visit the lecture's EventBrite page for more information and to register.

Sign up for National Library Legislative Day 2017 

Registration for National Library Legislative Day 2017 is open! To find information about the event, to register, or to book a room in the hotel block, please visit the event webpage.
National Library Legislative Day 2017 will be held at the Liaison Hotel in Washington, DC. May 1 is briefing day and includes informational sessions about each of the most important legislation issues libraries are facing, as well as advocacy training with experts from the Campaign Workshop. On May 2nd, each state delegation will go to meetings on the Hill with their elected officials.
Featured issues include:
  • Library funding
  • Privacy and surveillance reform
  • Copyright modernization
  • Access to government information
  • Affordable broadband access
  • Net neutrality protection
Registration is $50 and includes entry into a reception held on Capitol Hill, along with a folder full of briefing materials, talking points, and other resources.
To learn more about the event, check out our blog post on District Dispatch

Save the Date -- Zena Sutherland Lecture 

Award-winning author/illustrator Melissa Sweet will deliver the 2017 Zena Sutherland Lecture on Friday, May 5, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. The lecture, titled "To Inform and Delight: The Elements of Story," will be held at the Chicago Public Library's (CPL) Harold Washington Center at 400 S. State Street in downtown Chicago. The lecture is free to attend, but registration will be required. An Eventbrite registration link will be available soon on the CPL’s website.

Charlemae Rollins President's Program in Chicago 

Join ALSC on Monday, June 26, from 1:00-2:30 p.m., during the ALA Annual Conference, for "Plugging into the Digital Age: Libraries Engaging and Supporting Families with Today’s Literacy." Digital technology impacts all areas of life: brain development, learning styles, and interpersonal relationships. Experts in the field have gathered to present the latest research on digital-age technology and its relationship to childhood development and childhood literacy. This panel will feature Chip Donohue from the Erikson Institute and Sarah R. Lytle from the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, who will present the latest research in this area of study. Lisa Regalla from the Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum will discuss practical ways to implement this information in our libraries and services. This program will provide attendees with innovative ways for librarians to enhance their professional development and grow into their role as media mentors for children and caregivers. For more information on ALSC events being held at the ALA Annual Conference, visit our conference webpage.

Families Learning Conference 

The 2017 Families Learning Conference is scheduled for October 9-11, 2017, in Tucson, Arizona. Programs will explore promising practices and innovative strategies in family literacy, learning, and engagement. For more information and to register, visit the event website.
Interested in sharing what works in your practice? The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) is seeking proposals that reflect the best thinking and practices in family literacy and learning, two-generation education solutions, and parent and family engagement. The proposal form for concurrent session presenters is online.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! 

Member News 

Olga Valencia Cardenas, Stanislaus County (California) Library, is the recipient of a 2016 I Love My Librarian Award. According to those who nominated her for the award, Olga "lives her mission to bring literacy programs wherever she works; initiating new programs and building relationships with individuals, colleagues, and the community. She has the ability and passion to talk about what is important and the power to communicate in English and Spanish with all different types of people." Congratulations, Olga! 

The State Library of Ohio held a dedication ceremony last December for the Floyd Dickman Children’s Book Collection, a new collection of over 1,500 children’s and teen books available for check-out. The collection is named in memory of children’s literature expert, advocate, and librarian Floyd Dickman, who was a member of ALSC for 30 years. Floyd passed away in June 2015.
The collection began as the Columbus Children’s Collection, a teaching resource of approximately 800 notable children’s books at the Columbus Program of the Kent State University School of Library and Information Science (SLIS). The books were used by Assistant Professor Belinda Boon in her courses. In 2015, when Dr. Boon relocated to the main campus in Kent, home to the Reinberger Children’s Library Center, the Columbus Children’s Collection was donated to the state library. 
The state library has added to the collection, purchasing additional titles including Ohioana Book Award winners, Buckeye Children’s & Teen Book Award winners, Choose to Read Ohio titles, and recent ALA Youth Media Award winners and honor books. 

ECRR for Childcare Educators 

Brand new from ALSC and the Public Library Association is Every Child Ready to Read -- Toolkit for Serving Early Childhood Educators. This kit, available as a digital download, is primarily targeted to public library staff as a how-to manual to train early childhood educators, including licensed home child care providers, child care center staff, Head Start teachers, preschool teachers, and other child care professionals. The toolkit aims to offer a better understanding of what it means to partner, train, and facilitate learning with early childhood educators whose students are growing in independence and ability as they approach school entry. It includes a basic workshop with options for users to expand the workshop and/or to design additional workshops specific to the needs of your community. Topics include: 
early literacy;
constrained and unconstrained skills;
decoding and comprehension;
critical dimensions of language and literacy;
early literacy skills;
early literacy practice; and
early literacy during routines and/or activities.
For more information or to order the tool kit, visit the ALA Store

Registration Open for Spring Online Courses

Register now for a spring online course with ALSC. Classes begin on April 3, 2017. Choose from: Demonstrating ALSC Competencies; STEM Programming Made Easy; and Storytelling with Puppets. For course descriptions and registration information, visit ALSC's online courses webpage.

ALSC Mentor Program Applications Open 

ALSC recently announced the opening of spring 2017 applications for its ALSC mentoring program, which is open to members and non-members and intended to strengthen connections in the field and build the confidence of a new cohort of leaders. Applications are now open for both mentors and mentees. But, hurry! The application process ends on Friday, February 24, 2017.  
The program lasts one year. There are separate applications for mentors and mentees. Mentee applicants need not be ALSC or ALA members. Mentor applicants should be ALSC members. For more information on the Mentoring Program or to apply, please visit the mentoring program webpage.

Nominations Open for 2018 Election 

Even though the 2017 election calendar is still underway, ALSC's Nominating committee is already developing the ballot for the 2018 election. Nominations, including self-nominations, are now open through March 31, 2017. Candidates who wish to be considered for a 2018-2021 Board of Director position or a 2020 award committee (Caldecott, Newbery, Sibert, or Wilder) should submit a nomination form. 

Support for Libraries, Post Election 

In the wake of the 2016 election, ALSC has compiled a list of resources to help librarians support children and families through this time of unrest and uncertainty. ALSC's Core Values include Responsiveness, Inclusiveness, Integrity and Respect. Therefore, when many are feeling vulnerable, disenfranchised, or wary of what the future holds, librarians and ALSC members stand resolute in their commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion. To check out the resources and learn more about contributing content, visit the Google document.  
In addition, more support is available in the form of video recordings from select, relevant presentations at ALSC's January Mini-Institute in Atlanta and last fall's Virtual Institute. These education programs are led by respected professionals and experts in their field and filled with practical information, strategies, and thought-provoking insights. The three sessions are:
Serving ALL Families in Your Library: Inclusive Library Collections and Programs for LGBTQ Families & Children
Why is it so Difficult to Talk about Race, Culture, and Other Marginalizations in Children’s Literature?
Passing the Mic: Muslim Voices in Children’s Literature and Lessons Learned in the Pursuit of Equity and Inclusion

ALSC Board Endorses YALSA Position Paper on Privacy 

The ALSC Board of Directors recently voted to endorse The Library’s Role in Protecting Teens’ Privacy: A YALSA Position Paper. All are encouraged to review the document, which includes detailed background information, strategies for upholding the privacy rights of those we serve, and links to helpful resources on privacy.

Apply to Become a NASA@ My Library Partner! 

Engage public audiences nationwide in informal and lifelong learning with the excitement of NASA exploration and discovery through new NASA@ My Library resources! 
Seventy-five U.S. public libraries will be selected to be NASA@ My Library Partners through a competitive application process to participate in the 18-month project (Phase 1, May 2017 to Oct. 2018), with the opportunity to extend for an additional two-year period (Phase 2, November 2018 to December 2020). Each partner library will receive NASA STEM Facilitation Kits and training. There will be many networking and partnership opportunities as well. 
Applications will be accepted until March 22, 2017. To view the project guidelines and apply online, visit the ALA programming webpage. The ALA Public Programs Office invites ALA members and nonmembers to apply; membership status will have no impact on your application. 
NASA@ My Library is a component of the STAR Library Education Network (STAR_Net), a hands-on learning network for libraries and their communities across the country. STAR_Net focuses on helping library professionals build their STEM skills by providing “science-technology activities and resources” (STAR) and training to use those resources. For questions about the NASA@ My Library project, email us at starnet at

ALA Seeks Proposals for 2017-2018 Diversity Research Grants 

The ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services seeks proposals for the Diversity Research Grant program.  Applications may address any diversity-related topic that addresses critical gaps in the knowledge of diversity, equity, and outreach issues within library and information science. The application deadline is March 1, 2017. Applicants must be current ALA members. 
The Diversity Research Grant consists of a one-time $2,500 award for original research.  A jury of ALA members will evaluate proposals and select up to three awards. Grant recipients will be announced ahead of the 2017 ALA Annual Conference and will be expected to compile the results of their research into a paper and to present and publish the final product in conjunction with the American Library Association within the year following the completion of their research. The duration of the grant is one year. 
For a complete list of criteria, please visit the ALA website. For more information or to inquire about possible research topics, please email the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services or call (800) 545-2433  ext. 5295. 

Belpré Award Book for Sale Online 

Did you miss out on the Belpré Award 20th anniversary celebration last summer in Orlando, where ALSC and REFORMA unveiled the new publication, The Pura Belpré Award - 1996–2016: 20 Years of Outstanding Latino Children’s Literature? Released by Rosen Publishing, the beautiful publication features book covers, synopses, an introduction written by Oralia Garza de Cortés and Sandra Ríos Balderrama, co-founders of the award, and a collection of essays from previous and present award recipients that convey the significance of the award for each winner. The good news? The book is now available for purchase online! You can secure your copy on the Rosen Publishing website.  

Online Original Art Auction 

Don't miss the IBBY/REFORMA auction of original artwork generously donated by artist Alfonso Ruano from his book Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds, written by Jorge Argueta. The auction is in progress online at the IBBY website and runs until Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Proceeds benefit the IBBY/REFORMA Children in Crisis project.  

Participate in Children’s Book Week 

The Children's Book Council (CBC) is calling all libraries! Please register by March 1 to be an official 2017 Children’s Book Week event location. We have over 300 libraries, schools, and indie bookstores already signed up, but would like to get to over 500! Please celebrate the 98th annual Children’s Book Week—May 1-7, 2017—with us. Online sign-up is easy and you’ll be listed on our national event map and your young patrons can vote in the Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards. There will be a 50-winner display contest and your book week participation will count towards a First Book donation to kids in need. In return, you agree to host a Children’s Book Week story time, activity hour, or author/illustrator event, and possibly even a "voting booth" for the kids. You will receive official 2017 Book Week display and activity posters (illustrated by Christian Robinson), downloadable resources including Book Week bookmarks with art by four prominent illustrators, a press release template to help you spread the word to your community, and much more! Registration is open until March 1. Please email Shaina Birkhead  with any questions.

Host Your Own "Political Party" -- Free Community Screening Opportunity 

Now more than ever, there is a need for civics education and engagement—and here are some free media resources that can help. We the Voters: 20 Films for the People is an anthology of short films, with accompanying educational materials developed by PBS Education, that focus on nonpartisan issues related to voting, democracy, elections, and US governance. 
We the Voters is now offering the opportunity for libraries and other community organizations to host a free local screening and discussion (aka a “Political Party”) to help keep your community informed and engaged in the democratic process. All of the films and materials are available for free, including discussion guides, information about how to host a screening, and resources for keeping audience members engaged afterwards.  
To host your “Political Party,” check out some of the films at, then fill out this form or contact Angela at, to get started.

Participate in Endangered Species Day 

Community and school libraries are encouraged to participate in the 12th annual Endangered Species Day on May  19, 2017.
First approved by the U.S. Senate in 2006, the purpose of Endangered Species Day is to expand awareness of the importance of endangered plant and animal species/habitat conservation, share success stories of species recovery, and highlight the everyday actions people can take. Endangered Species Day events are held at school and public libraries, zoos, aquariums, botanic gardens, conservation groups, parks, wildlife refuges, and other locations throughout the country. If more convenient, school libraries can recognize Endangered Species Day earlier in May.
Libraries can showcase their regular services and special programs, while also celebrating Endangered Species Day. Specific 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.
You’ll find a variety of resources on the Endangered Species Day website, including event planning information and a reading list, along with color/activity sheets, bookmarks, stickers, and other material 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, Education Director.

Youth Innovation Competition 

The Paradigm Challenge, a global youth innovation competition, challenges students aged 4-18 to generate new ideas for reducing waste in homes, classrooms, communities, or the world. Entries can be inventions, public service announcements, apps, community events, etc. Free lesson plan videos and supporting materials are available at the challenge website. There is no fee to enter and the application deadline is May 1, 2017. Prizes for challenge winners are: $50,000 in teacher grants, $150,000 in student prizes, and all-expense paid patent applications. For more information, visit the Project Paradigm website.

Annual Ezra Jack Keats Mini-Grant Program Call for Proposals 

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, which fosters children’s love of reading and creative expression in our diverse culture, calls for proposals for its Mini-Grant program, now in its 30th year. The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2017. Approximately 60 grants of up to $500 each will be awarded to teachers and librarians at public schools and libraries across the country. Decisions will be emailed to all applicants in May, allowing educators time to plan for the next academic year. To learn more about Mini-Grants, visit Ezra Jack Keats Mini-Grants.

Yeh Is Latest Bank Street Writer-in-Residence 

This spring, renowned children’s book author Kat Yeh will work with fourth grade students at the Bank Street School for Children in New York as the school’s third annual Dorothy Carter Writer-in-Residence. Yeh, who is the author of several award-winning titles including The Truth About Twinkie Pie and The Friend Ship, will spend two weeks beginning in April helping children develop their skills as creative writers.
Established in 2015, the Dorothy Carter Writer-in-Residence program invites a prominent author to work with School for Children students each spring on different forms of writing. The program honors the legacy of Dorothy Carter, Bank Street College’s first African-American faculty member, Broadway actress, chair of the former Bank Street Writers Lab, and writer of highly-acclaimed children’s books.   
Past Writers-in-Residence include 2017 Newbery honoree Adam Gidwitz and 2015 Newbery medalist Kwame Alexander.