ALSC Matters! | February 2019, Vol. 17, no. 1

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

Official Speaking

Walking the Walk: On the Road with ALSC

ALSC is on the move! Committees, task forces, and working groups are hard at work. Some committees and task forces finished their charges at Midwinter and others are gearing up to continue with projects and activities that inch the needle forward in our strategic areas of advocacy, diversity & inclusion, and learning & development. You can read about some of the work of the ALSC Board as well as other Midwinter matters in my February 5th blog post.

One particular project that I’m excited about is our cultural humility training. The ALSC Board approved the formation of a Communities of Practice task force to further explore the recommendations of our Education committee to create cultural humility training for our members. ALSC leadership is committed to creating an environment that embraces equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), and we see this training as a step in that direction. We do not support and vociferously stand against any type of discrimination within the profession at large and amid our professional associations and meetings. As such, the ALSC Board is also in the process of creating an ALSC Statement of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, which will affirm and convey the association’s commitment to EDI work within our profession. But, we want to do more than just issue a statement; we want to show how ALSC is walking the walk by sharing our current work that is supportive of EDI efforts and also highlighting where we need to listen and grow as an association in order to be inclusive. 

The topic of how ALSC members can put action behind their words will be further explored during ALA Annual (June 24) in my Charlemae Rollins President's Program, “Subversive Activism: Creating Social Change through Libraries, Children’s Literature, and Art.” This high energy presentation examines activism and social change through multiple lenses: first from two scholarly leaders, Dr. Nicole Cooke from Library & Information Science, and Dr. Janina Fariñas from Pediatric Neuropsychology, then from acclaimed children’s book author/illustrator Yuyi Morales, and finally, from Dr. Karin Perry’s sketchnoting that will document this dynamic event. If you are at ALA Annual, I hope to see you there!

Speaking of opportunities to engage with librarians, there are several upcoming conferences and events where ALSC staff, leadership, and members will be sharing actionable strategies for informing practice.

On March 8, ALSC Executive Director Aimee Strittmatter and I will be speaking on a panel at the symposium “Defeating the Bullies and Trolls in the Library: Developing Strategies to Protect our Rights and Personhood.” This free event is organized by Dr. Nicole Cooke and librarian Amy Koester, and is being graciously sponsored by the Skokie Public Library, The School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois, ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services, and In The Library With The Lead Pipe, an open access, open peer-reviewed journal. 

Later in March (28–29), several active ALSC members will be attending and presenting at “Power Up: A Leadership Conference for Youth Services Managers and Staff,” which is hosted by the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Information School. On Thursday, March 28, Friends of ALSC will sponsor a meet-up and networking opportunity at a local restaurant. Additional details will be made available soon!

In January, ALSC staff and I participated in a leadership forum with the Erikson Institute and the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) that worked to create an actionable definition of media literacy in early childhood. A practitioner forum will take place in mid-April and we’ll be reaching out to ALSC members to join educators from across the nation to examine the necessary practices that librarians and teachers need to facilitate media literacy engagements in early childhood. The end result for our members will be media literacy models that guide us in our roles as media mentors. The January and April forums are part of a collaborative partnership that ALSC committed to with the Erikson Institute on the Building an Alliance for Media Literacy in Early Childhood Informal Learning IMLS project. ALSC is proud to be a partner, stakeholder, and supporter of this project.

Finally, on April 13, ALSC staff and I will be attending the 2019 Arbuthnot Lecture hosted by the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Blogger and educator Dr. Debbie Reese, founder of American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) blog, will deliver her talk, "An Indigenous Critique of Whiteness in Children's Literature." Tickets are free and will be available later this spring on our website.

As you can see, there are numerous opportunities for our members to engage outside of ALSC and have critical, timely conversations about key issues influencing our profession. But, there are even more avenues within our ALSC committees to network and become involved in activities that help library staff engage communities to build healthy, successful futures for all children.  If you haven’t completed a volunteer form, I strongly encourage you to do so. We love our volunteers! And, Vice President Cecilia McGowan will begin making her first committee appointments very soon. Visit our volunteer webpage for information on the appointment process and timeline, as well as a link to the volunteer form. Looking forward to engaging with you all!—Warmly, Jamie Campbell Naidoo, 2018-2019 ALSC President 

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Midwinter Council Report

Hi Everyone! This was my first conference as the ALSC Division Councilor. What does that mean you ask? That means I serve on the ALSC Board of Directors as a member of the Executive Committee and as the ALSC representative on ALA Council. It also means that I attend A LOT of meetings (guess it’s a good thing I like policy work) with a fantastic group of smart, devoted, and inspiring librarians. 

ALA Council held three meetings with packed agendas at the Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. We heard reports from the ALA Treasurer, the Committee on Diversity, and the Intellectual Freedom Committee, just to name a few. 

Fun fact from the midwinter meeting – of the 9,040 attendees and exhibitors, 162 were international, representing 24 diverse countries. 

Here are some of the actions taken by Council that may be especially interesting to members of ALSC and anyone working with youth in libraries:

Resolution Proposing a Task Force on Online Deliberation and Voting, which read:

“Resolved, that the American Library Association, on behalf of its members:  

1. Directs the ALA President to appoint a task force that includes, among others, the ALA Parliamentarian in an advisory capacity, with the following charge: 
a.  Explore options and develop a procedure to facilitate online deliberation and voting for Council outside of the ALA Annual Conferences or Midwinter Meetings; and 
b. Review the ALA Constitution and Bylaws to determine if the current guidelines meet the complexities of online deliberation and voting; and  
c. Report findings and recommendations to Council at the 2019 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC.”

Why does this matter? Currently, the vast majority of Council deliberation and voting occurs at the Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference. The recommendations of this task force may open up the opportunity for more work to be done in between conferences so that resolutions can be handled without having to wait for January or June/July.

Resolution for the Adoption of Sustainability as a Core Value of Librarianship, which read: 

“Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA), on behalf of its members: 

1. Shall define sustainability using the “triple bottom line” conceptual framework: “To be truly sustainable, an organization or community must embody practices that are environmentally sound AND economically feasible AND socially equitable.” 
2. Adopt “Sustainability,” as defined above, as a core value of librarianship.  
3. Evolve accreditation standards to ensure the topic of sustainability is an inherent element in library school curriculum. 
4. Provide ALA members with the necessary knowledge and resources to inspire, cultivate, and encourage active leadership in the application of the triple bottom line framework to guide decisions for the future of our society.”

Why does this matter? This will be the first of 52 recommendations from the Special Task Force on Sustainability’s Implementation Team. This also means that Sustainability joins the following as core values of librarianship: Access, Confidentiality/Privacy, Democracy, Diversity, Education and Lifelong Learning, Intellectual Freedom, Preservation, Professionalism, The Public Good, Service, and Social Responsibility. 

Resolution on Monetary Library Fines as a Form of Social Inequity, which read:

“Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA), on behalf of its members 

1. adds a statement to the Policy Manual that establishes that “The American Library Association asserts that imposition of monetary library fines creates a barrier to the provision of library and information services.”; 
2. urges libraries to scrutinize their practices of imposing fines on library patrons and actively move towards eliminating them; and 
3. urges governing bodies of libraries to strengthen funding support for libraries so they are not dependent on monetary fines as a necessary source of revenue.”

Why does this matter? This resolution received a lot of discussion. Some people think fines and fees are a local issue that should not be addressed by ALA. Some libraries need fines and fees in order to support their operating budget. Some people believe that any fines or fees are a barrier to service. Ultimately, the resolution passed with the understanding this is an aspirational resolution and not a demand on libraries. 

A Resolution in Support of Civil Rights Protections for People of Diverse Gender Identities, which read:

“Therefore be it resolved that the American Library Association affirms support of civil rights protections for people of diverse gender identities, and 
1. Encourages libraries to defend those civil rights protections, in their policies, procedures, and their actions, in accordance with the first principle of the ALA Code of Ethics:  “We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.” 
2. Encourages libraries to create welcoming and inclusive spaces to meet the information needs of people of diverse gender identities, as well as create inclusive programs, projects, and events to support and demonstrate equality, inclusion, and respect.    
3. Reviews ALA policy documents and internal procedures to ensure Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) principles are reflected throughout and broadly communicated to the membership broadly; and be it further resolved that this resolution be printed in full in American Libraries and publicize widely via all media channels. 
4. Creates avenues within existing ALA structures to highlight model policies as well as identify model training and educational opportunities for library staff and administrations that encourage the creation of all-inclusive spaces and provide an understanding of bias.”

Why does this matter? In the world of youth librarianship, this resolution serves as a resource supporting those hosting Drag Queen Storytimes with language of welcoming and inclusive spaces.

As the ALSC Division Councilor, I also attended:

•    The ALA Conference Committee Meeting as an observer and recommend that everyone review the proposed changes to the ALA Midwinter Meeting
•    The Youth Council Caucus is co-convened by the Division Councilors from ALSC, YALSA, and AASL. Our group of 13 youth focused librarians had some lively discussions. Everyone (you don’t need to be a member of Council) is encouraged and invited to attend this informal meeting. Minutes are available online (login to ALA Connect required). 
•    The Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness has been hard at work considering Remodeling Options for ALA. They presented to ALA Council and I was especially impressed by this statement: “[We] don’t want to forsake inclusivity for expediency.” Watch for opportunities to participate in virtual conversations regarding remodel options in February. 
•    One of the three Council Forum sessions scheduled for Sunday morning, Monday morning, and Monday afternoon. These optional meetings offer Councilors an opportunity to talk informally about resolutions that are being brought before the group during Council meetings. I am pleased to note that the Forum scheduled for Monday morning was canceled out of respect for those wishing to attend the MLK Sunrise Celebration and the Youth Media Awards. I was unable to attend the Monday afternoon session as it conflicted with an ALSC Board meeting. 

A complete list of Council documents for the 2019 Midwinter Meeting are online. Please feel free to contact me if I can answer any questions. Hope to see you all at ALA Annual in Washington, D.C.—Julie Dietzel-Glair, ALSC Division Councilor

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Thank You, Friends

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

Gold Circle

Cecily Pilzer
Ed Spicer

Silver Circle

Linda Perkins
Brian Wilson
Judy Zuckerman

Notables Circle

Joan Atkinson
Therese Bigelow
Christine Caputo
James Elferdink
Linda Ernst
Bruce Farrar
Adrienne Gillespie
Paula Holmes
Soline Holmes
Amy Kellman
Barbara Klipper
Starr LaTronica
Nina Lindsay
Karen MacPherson
Linda Pavonetti
Kay Weisman

Friends Circle

Marilyn Ackerman
Elizabeth Basile
Alan Bern
Miriam Lang Budin
Ivy Coleman
Kendra Davey
Lisa Dennis
Arika Dickens
Jane Folger
Elisa Gall
Sharon Grover
Zachary Guthrie
K.T. Horning
Kathleen Isaacs
Lois Jerolleman
Kathie Meizner
Maria Mena
Sylvie Merlier-Rowen
Nancy O'Grady
Charli Osborne
Randy Placek
Linda Plevak
April Roy
Marion Rutsch
Michael Santangelo
Laura Schulte-Cooper
Amy Sears
Elizabeth Serrano
Barbara Sippel
Lisa Soper
Aimee Strittmatter
Beatriz Wallace
Lucinda Whitehurst
Susan Zeigler

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ALSC Voices

Celebrating colleagues with 25 years or more years of ALSC membership

Laurie Reese
Hollywood Area Children’s Librarian III
The Felipe de Neve Branch, Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles, California

LAPL is divided into 6 regions, or areas, each of which has a Children’s, Young Adult, and Adult Librarian III. In addition to my duties and responsibilities as a Branch Children’s Librarian, I perform those of Librarian III in the areas of Leadership, Mentoring, Training, Coordination, and Communication.

ALSC membership: 26 years

Where did you attend library school?

UCLA’s Graduate School of Library & Information Science, now the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies

What was your very first library position?  

Unpaid: At my middle and upper school library of the Holton-Arms School, Bethesda, Maryland, the summer after I graduated. Paid: At the Pentagon Library the four subsequent summers in between years of college.

What do you love most about your job?  

I love reading aloud. I love singing. I love being in a position to foster an environment of learning and development of practice among my colleagues—together to build capacity, reinforce foundational skills, and engage in reflective practice.

Do you have any pets?  

Yes.  My partner, Pam, and I have a magnificent, all-the-colors-of-autumn-hued, yet built for winter Golden Retriever mix whose name is Scotch.  

What’s your favorite book of all time?  

The books about Pickles, Jenny Linsky, and the Cat Club written and illustrated by Esther Averill. The Fire Cat was the first book I read on my own. Over and over and over.  It was the book that set me on a course of reading.  To this day, the notion of cats dancing the sailor’s horn pipe, working for the fire department, and wishing to do big things with their big paws makes perfect sense to me.

What do you remember about your favorite teacher?  

In addition to being our Upper School Librarian, Anna Smink was my 12th grade Philosophy teacher. She loved the Greeks. The day she introduced Plato’s Symposium to us, she cried. When I saw her years later at my 20th high school reunion and told her I had become a librarian, she cried. She was emotional. She was kind. For her, passion, feeling, and learning were one. I think of her every day.  

If you could close your eyes and be anywhere on earth when they opened, where would you be?  

I awaken to many places in my mind’s eye, each with its own beauty and sense of meaning, so I’ll divide the answer into awakening outdoors and awakening indoors. Outdoors: skating miles and miles and miles along mirror-smooth paths, especially in the Netherlands, in Minnesota, and near home along the Pacific Ocean, and hiking. Indoors: on a morning off in our living room, a cup of strong coffee in one hand, my books in the other, and Scotch very close by.

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Bright Ideas

Baby Loves Disco

Holly Keen-Steele at the Jan Platt Library, part of the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative, has been hosting fun, educational story times at the library for just under a year (at this writing). These story times provide 20-25 minutes of engaging finger plays and board books to help educate parents on how to interact with their babies and help incite a love of reading early on in their kids’ lives. While these story times were definitely helping meet the literacy needs of the community, Holly wanted to deepen the parent-child connection and satisfy the children’s natural inclination to explore their surroundings. After securing community interest, “Baby Loves Disco” was born.

Baby Loves Disco is a monthly 25-minute, sensory-packed program for babies and their caregivers. Babies can explore sensory crawls, tug boxes, and soda box blocks to the lovely tunes of the Bee Gees and KC and the Sunshine Band.  The sensory crawls are created by taping together a variety of textures for the children to explore. Our current mat includes bubble wrap, bath mats, cardboard, and felt. The alternative “disco” mat includes reflective surfaces such as windshield reflectors topped with oscillating disco lights.

Additional activity stations center around hidden STEM principles. Babies can explore gravity by interacting with piles of shredded newsprint or by pulling and pushing ropes tied to a cardboard box.   Regardless of the hidden STEM lessons, each activity station encourages meaningful interactions between the caregivers and their children. Holly assists the facilitation of the interactions by providing adjectives and questions on cue cards around each activity station to help guide the caregivers’ experience. Open-ended questions like, “How does this cardboard feel?” and responses like, “I think it feels bumpy, corrugated, rough,” serve as a basis for creating an extensive vocabulary bank in the same way books such as Fancy Nancy encourage complex vocabulary development. It is of the utmost importance that caregivers get comfortable speaking with their children using complex words. The first three years of a child’s life are formative years for language development so it is important to give children a wide range of words to learn and use.

A number of libraries across the country have started receiving grant funding for similar programs on a larger scale. Brooklyn Public Library has regular play dates that encourage STEM play for babies and toddlers using what they dub as “play recipes.” Additional information on Brooklyn Public Library’s events and sample recipes can be found online.

At the end of the day, these classes are about making the library a place for caregivers and children to share meaningful connections. We have to reach beyond literary development and cheer on the inner-scientist of every baby, waddler, and toddler to ensure the next generation is comfortable asking questions and using empiricism to find answers. If nothing else, these classes serve as a great way to escape the monotony of the endless loop of Wiggles re-runs and indulge in listening to yesterday’s forgotten disco tunes for 25 minutes.—Tia Gurney, Tampa-Hillsborough (FL) Public Library

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Summer Pen Pal Program

In the winter of 2017, an enthusiastic staff member proposed a Pen Pal program with children’s departments all across the country as one of our Summer Reading programs. I reached out to former co-workers from libraries I used to work who had taken on new jobs around the United States. “Hi,” I wrote. “I’m looking to find libraries from around the country who are interested in participating in a pen pal situation with my library, the Windsor Public Library in Windsor, Connecticut. I’ve reached out to librarians I know and have had a few friends suggest their local librarians; I’m excited to see how wide a range we can get.”

I knew from the start that I couldn’t propose a one-on-one exchange between kids. This would involve registration and the ultimate risk, that one child would stop responding and leave the other devastated.  I proposed it as a passive program, allowing for one time participation but also encouraging some children to check in and do it again on their next visit. Kids could draw pictures, write letters, and let other kids know what it’s like where they live, even if it was thousands of miles away.

The summer of 2017’s CSLP theme was Build a Better World. This was the PERFECT summer reading theme to introduce this program but still could work for libraries that were doing their own thing. I took my proposal to the ALSC electronic discussion list in May 2017. 

Fifty libraries signed up to participate the summer of 2017. We received tons of letters and even had a map on the wall where we pinned the towns our letters had come from. We had a gorgeous mailbox, designed by the same staff member who proposed the program, in which the kids could put their letters and pictures. And we had regular participation, so I was able to send out small bundles of two to four postcards/letters to 16 libraries in 15 different states. All-in-all I counted it as a success. 

When I sent out a call for participants in March 2018, I received sign-ups from about 100 libraries, with 27 states represented. My ultimate goal for the program is to get participation across all 50 states. This time I asked each library to indicate if they wanted a partner library, to mail freely to the whole list of participants, or a combination. I also had them indicate the age ranges who they served and that they felt would participate. By the end of August 2018, we were able to mail to about 27 libraries in 13 states. I followed up with a survey to all participating libraries and I’m relieved to have mostly positive feedback. I look forward to continuing fine-tuning the program for Summer 2019!—Shana Shea, Head of Children’s Services, Windsor (CT) Public Library

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Libraries Encouraged to Participate in Endangered Species Day

Community and school libraries are encouraged to participate in the 14th annual Endangered Species Day on May 17, 2019.

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 the everyday actions people can take. Every year, Endangered Species Day events are held at school and public libraries, zoos, aquariums, parks, and other locations throughout the country.

Libraries can showcase their regular services and special programs, while also celebrating Endangered Species Day. Suggested activities include:

  • Creating a display of endangered species books and photos, and a map showing local/state species. The Endangered Species Day website will also include a series of endangered species conservation infographics that can be downloaded and printed for display purposes.
  • 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 downloadable resources are available at the Endangered Species Day website, including event planning information, a reading list, color/activity sheets, bookmarks, stickers and other material.

Be sure to promote your event on the Endangered Species Day Directory or send your information to David Robinson, Endangered Species Day Director.

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Getting Together

ALA Annual Conference: Register Now and Save 

Early Bird Registration rates for the 2019 Annual Conference, June 20-25, in Washington, DC, are available until noon (Central time) on March 6. Register now to save.

Need to make your case to attend? Visit the Annual Conference website for examples that show how you can be considered more valuable to your institution after attending an ALA conference.

Some ALSC Annual Conference highlights include...

ALSC Preconference: With Gratitude: Honoring Stories that Connect Us
Friday, June 21, 2019 | 11:30 am – 4:00 pm | Location TBA
Join us in conversation with authors, illustrators, and publishers as we celebrate and explore the 2019 Batchelder, Caldecott, Geisel, Newbery, Pura Belpré, and Sibert Honor Books.

Tickets are available for purchase through ALA Conference registration webpage.

ALSC members: $120
ALA members: $175
Non-members: $200

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  • Keep it LOCAL: Designing effective outreach for children and families in your communities
  • Nourishing Literacy: Cooking with youth in your library
  • Ready To Learn: Public media and library partnerships for early science and literacy learning
  • Talking with Kids about Race: A 'how to' workshop
  • Writing Boxes: How libraries can create diverse, welcoming, intergenerational programming to inspire writing as an integral part of supporting literacy and family engagement

Award Ceremonies

  • Pura Belpre Award Celebracion
  • Newbery Caldecott Legacy Banquet
  • ALSC Awards Program

For more details on these events and others as they become available, please visit the ALSC @ Annual Conference webpage.

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2019 Arbuthnot Lecture Set for April 13 

Debbie Reese, PhD, founder of American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) blog, will deliver the 2019 Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, hosted by the University of Wisconsin, Madison, on April 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery in Madison. The title of the lecture is "An Indigenous Critique of Whiteness in Children's Literature."

Complimentary tickets will be available soon upon request. Watch the 2019 Lecture webpage, which will include a link to ticket information when it is available. 

Dr. Reese is a longtime advocate for Native representation and is a former teacher and university professor. She earned her PhD in Education from the University of Illinois, where she also helped establish the Native American House and American Indian Studies program. Dr. Reese also holds an M.Ed degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. She is tribally enrolled at Nambe Owingeh Pueblo in New Mexico.

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Families Learning Conference - Call for Proposals 

Planning is underway for the 2019 Families Learning Conference, to be held November 4 to November 6 in Louisville, Kentucky. The mission of the conference is to equip educators, program staff, librarians, parent leaders, and others with best practices, strategies, and resources to help families succeed in accomplishing their educational goals. To achieve this mission, the National Center for Families Learning is calling on its network and peers to submit presentation proposals reflecting best practices in engaging families in education.

Detailed information, including key dates, content strands, selection criteria, and presenter requirements, can be found at the conference website. Hurry, the proposal submission deadline is March 1. 

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Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Member News 

Congratulations to Paula Kelly, Whitehall Public Library, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Paula was among ten winners of the 2018 I Love My Librarian Award, which honors librarians who go above and beyond traditional library service. 

Esther's Gragger: A Toyshop Tale of Purim, written by Martha Seif Simpson and illustrated by Durga Yael Bernhard, was published by Wisdom Tales on January 7, 2019. Young Esther Gragger, like her namesake, Queen Esther, displays courage and wit when a bully tries to steal her gragger. Kudos, Martha! 

The Choose to Read Ohio (CTRO) Advisory Council developed Floyd’s Pick, a book award presented in memory of children’s literature expert, advocate, librarian, and long-time ALSC member Floyd Dickman. The award is given annually to a book written by an Ohio author or illustrated by an Ohio illustrator that is representative of high-quality literature created for children. The 2019 winner is The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, born in Columbus, Ohio, and illustrated by Rafael López. For more on the winning book and honor books, visit the State Library of Ohio website.

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Fader to Fund Spectrum Scholarship 

ALSC gratefully acknowledges Ellen Fader, ALSC past president and 2017 Distinguished Service Award winner, for her donation to the Spectrum Scholarship for a sixth year. Her contribution will support a student through the 2019-2020 school term. Scholarship recipients will be named in June 2019. Many thanks to Ellen for her generous donation and continued support of and commitment to increasing diversity in the profession.

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Spring Online Courses  

ALSC's Spring course offerings include:

Courses begin Monday, April 1 and run four, five, or six weeks. Fees are $115 for personal ALSC members; $165 for personal ALA members; and $185 for non-members. 

For course descriptions and registration information, visit ALSC's online courses page. Questions? Please contact ALSC Program Officer for Continuing Education, Kristen Figliulo by email or at 1 (800) 545-2433 ext 4026.

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Latest Resources from ALSC 

To Tech or Not to Tech [PDF/91kb] is a bibliography created for ALSC by Kathleen Campana, J. Elizabeth Mills, Marianne Martens, Claudia Haines, and Tess Prendergast, presenters of the ALA Hot Topics presentation, To Tech or Not to Tech: The Debate and the Research around Technology, Young Children, and the Library, held during the 2018 Annual Conference.

Building a Home Library Book Lists. The ALA-Children’s Book Council (CBC) Joint Committee, with cooperation from ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting committee, has updated the four Building a Home Library bibliographies to provide guidance to parents, grandparents, and others interested in assembling a high-quality library for their children at home. When creating these lists the committee looked to include tried and true classics; under the radar gems; multicultural books; and new, yet notable, reads for all ages. The book lists are available to download on the ALSC book lists webpage.

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Host Site Sought for Gaiman Lecture 

Applications are now being accepted to host the 2020 Arbuthnot Honor Lecturing featuring Neil Gaiman. The application form is online and is due by May 15. The lecture will take place in April or early May 2020, on a date to be arranged at the mutual convenience of the lecturer and the host institution.

Further details are on the application webpage. If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Von Drasek, 2020 Arbuthnot Lecture Chair. 

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Call for Nominations: Distinguished Service Award 

The 2020 Distinguished Service Award Committee invites you to nominate a fellow ALSC member who has made a significant contribution to library services for children and ALSC. You are encouraged to recommend an individual, currently working or retired, who is a youth services librarian, a library science educator, or a publishing professional whose work deserves recognition.

Further information on the criteria and nomination form is available online.  

If you have questions, please contact Mary Beth Dunhouse, 2020 DSA chair, or speak with a DSA Committee member: Shelley Diaz, Doris Gebel, Debra Gold, or Susannah Richards.

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Dollar General Minigrant Recipients Announced 

ALSC has received a $124,528 Youth Literacy grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to help libraries provide out-of-school time STEAM learning for children. ALSC will award fourteen $5,000 Strengthening Communities Through Libraries minigrants to ALSC personal members in public libraries whose libraries are within 20 miles of a Dollar General corporate or retail location. In addition, ALSC will develop supplemental resources that will be made widely available to support the out-of-school time programming of libraries and their community partners. This is the third year ALSC will use its grant funds to support out-of-school time STEAM programming.

The 2019 Minigrant Recipients are: Bristol Public Library (CT); Broward County Library (FL); Burbank Public Library (CA); Calvert Library (MD); Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County (NY); Cuyahoga County Public Library (OH); Grapevine Public Library (TX); Hamtramck Public Library (MI); Lane Libraries (OH); Lawrence Public Library (KS); Orange County Library System (FL); Roselle Public Library (IL); Springfield-Greene County Library District (MO); and Ypsilanti District Library (MI). For more information, see ALSC's Grants & Partnerships page

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Celebrate Children's Book Week with a Literary Landmark

Since 2015, communities around the country have celebrated Children’s Book Week by dedicating a Literary Landmark plaque at a site that has a connection to a children’s author or a particular children's book. The Literary Landmark Register is a project of United for Libraries, a division of ALA.

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of Children’s Book Week, which will be celebrated throughout 2019; and Literary Landmarks can be dedicated throughout the year as well. To find out more about Literary Landmarks, visit learn more about Children’s Book Week, April 29-May 5, 2019, visit

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New Library Award 

ALA Council approved the new Penguin Random House Library Award for Innovation Through Adversity during the Midwinter Meeting in January.

The award, which ALA intends to present at its Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., recognizes the staff of U.S. libraries who overcome adversity to create lasting innovative community service programs that inspire and connect with readers.

The award is open to public, school, and academic libraries. The $10,000 cash prize given to a library is sponsored by the Penguin Random House Foundation. In addition, four runner-up awards consisting of $1,000 in Penguin Random House books will be awarded to eligible libraries.

Nominations are now being accepted and must show evidence of hardship, including economic difficulties or natural disasters, and must demonstrate successful partnership(s) that work to overcome the hardship. Partners can include schools, local business, museums, and other community organizations. The award application is available online. The deadline for submissions is March 16. The award will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, June 23, during the ALA President’s Program.

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Libraries Ready to Code Awards "Promising Practice" Libraries 

ALA's Libraries Ready to Code initiative, sponsored by Google, announced 10 libraries to receive a “Promising Practice” award for programs they designed for Computer Science Education (CS Ed) Week in December 2018.

Programs developed by the Promising Practice libraries connected to one or more of the Libraries Ready to Code themes: broadening participation, incorporating youth interests, engaging with communities and families, and demonstrating impact through outcomes. For the list of winners, see the ALA press release.

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Día Grants Available 

The Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature (CSMCL) is pleased to announce grants for your library's 2019 Día program, El Día de Los Niños/El Día de Los Libros (Children's Day/Book Day), with an African American focus. The grant award amount is $500 in selected multicultural children's books for your library. Grant information and the application are at the CSMCL website.
Applications must be received by February 28 and winners will be announced on or about March 1. The 2019 Día event must be held on or about April 30, 2019.

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New Award for Translated YA Books 

The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (GLLI) is a group of translators, librarians, editors, publishers, and others dedicated to helping librarians identify and promote world literature for children, teens, and adults. They recently established the GLLI Translated YA Book Award to recognize publishers, translators, and authors of books in English translation for young adult readers and to encourage youth to read more widely.

The award's shortlist was published in mid-January. The winner and honor books were announced during the ALA Midwinter Meeting.

To learn more, visit GLLI online.

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AICL's Best Books of 2018

The American Indians in Children's Literature announced its Best Books of 2018 in December. The titles, most by Native writers, are listed in the following categories: Graphic Novels, Board Books, Picture Books, books for Middle Grades, and Young Adult books. The list is available on the AICL blog.

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2019 Tejas Star Reading List Features Spanish & Bilingual Titles 

The Texas Library Association recently announced its 2019-2020 Tejas Star Reading List, a curated collection of Spanish and bilingual titles designed to encourage children ages 5 to 12 to explore multicultural books, and to discover the cognitive and economic benefits of bilingualism and multilingualism. The Tejas Star Reading List is intended for recreational reading. The 2019 list includes fiction and non-fiction picture books, chapter books, and graphic novels with themes of immigration, identity, poetry, as well as stories of famous and important historical figures.

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Call for Proposals: 2019 Keats Mini-Grant Program 

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, dedicated to supporting arts and literacy programs in public schools and libraries, is encouraging qualifying educators to apply for a 2019 Ezra Jack Keats Mini-Grant. Applications are currently being accepted, and the deadline for submissions is March 31, 2019.

Approximately 70 grants, up to $500 each, will be awarded to teachers and librarians whose proposals demonstrate creativity and a desire to make learning fun. Decisions will be emailed to all applicants in May, allowing educators to plan for the 2019 – 2020 academic year.

The Foundation welcomes Mini-Grant proposals focusing on any subject or discipline. To learn more about the Mini-Grants, and to see the criteria for application, visit Ezra Jack Keats Mini-Grants.

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ALSC Partners with WGBH to Introduce New Science Apps 

Libraries often partner with their local PBS station to create programming. ALSC is currently collaborating with WGBH, producer of the preschool science series, PEEP and the Big Wide World, to introduce a new series of free, PreK STEM apps for families. PEEP Family Science combines animated stories from the Emmy Award-winning series with playful, hands-on investigations for families to do together. The apps also incorporate video and tips for parents, modeling how to engage children in science learning. Find PEEP Family Science on Google Play or the App Store. There are four science apps to choose from and each is available in Spanish or English. Consider including PEEP Family Science on tablets you loan from the library. More info is online at the PEEP site.

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