Doing ALA Differently
“What does our ideal organization do? What does our ideal organization look like? What are three ways we get there?”
ALA President Jim Neal has called on members to consider the 21st century effectiveness and agility of our organization. At our recent ALSC Community Forum, Doing ALA Differently: An ALSC Discussion, on April 12, 2018, ALSC Councilor Jenna Nemec-Loise led members in a discussion and exercise modeled after Council discussions at Midwinter (framed by Council Document 35), asking these questions and culminating in an organizational “Mad Libs.” I encourage you to review the recording of the forum to consider the thoughtful and provocative responses.
Following from Midwinter’s Council discussions, at their recent spring meeting the ALA Executive Board discussed engaging a consultant and steering committee to lead an ALA Governance Review (outlined in the 2018 Annual Conference Board Document 35.1). The process outlined would include involving members at Annual Conference to consider various “what if” scenarios of alternate structures for ALA Governance.
Do you have a vision for ALA? Coming to Annual Conference? Make sure to put the ALSC Membership Meeting in your scheduler now, as we will spend a portion of the meeting asking you, and stay tuned for other ways to engage in the conversation.—Nina Lindsay, ALSC President
Inching the Needle Forward: ALSC Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Updates
April 30th has come and gone. What did your library do for Día? Did you plan an amazing program celebrating cultural diversity and bookjoy? Did you take advantage of the numerous ALSC resources such as the beautiful free program downloads, helpful planning resources, and curated lists of diverse books that promote cultural understanding? If you did, I’m super excited to learn about your programs. The ALSC Public Awareness committee created a blog post Día Celebracións at Your Library where they provide an opportunity for you to leave comments, sharing your success stories. Didn’t have a chance to plan and deliver a Día program? That is okay! Programs like Día do not have to occur only on April 30th. Rather, you can make every day a Día day. We read and share diverse books throughout the year—not just during special heritage months. The same holds true for Día programs. As I mentioned in my last column for ALSC Matters, Día activities lay a foundation for advocacy, providing the framework to infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion into collections, programs, and services. Extending Día throughout the year sends a message that your library values cultural diversity every day. Why not celebrate Día in your next storytime, school age program, or book club? There are plenty of resources available for you!
Speaking of honoring our cultural diversity, what’s going on with ALSC in relation to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI)? As ALSC President Nina Lindsay notes, ALA members in all the divisions are discussing how we can do ALA differently. Part of doing ALA differently for ALSC also means thinking of ways that our association can be more inclusive, welcoming, and accessible to all our members and potential members. For over a year through the hard work of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion within ALSC Implementation task force and the Diversity within ALSC task force, we’ve been examining unintentional barriers and pitfalls that we’ve created, which prevent certain members from participating in the life and work of the organization. In addition to the work of the task force, ALSC leadership also has been thinking of ways to make ALSC more open to everyone and assessing roadblocks. One of these relates to the ability of all ALSC members to become engaged in leadership roles of the association due to requirements to attend midwinter and annual conferences. Currently, ALSC leaders are considering how we can do ALSC differently to create a structure that would support the work of virtual committee chairs if meeting attendance were not a strict requirement. This would open up leadership opportunities for ALSC members who may have been engaged actively as members in virtual committees but are unable to attend conference twice a year to serve as a committee chair.
Another area of EDI work within ALSC relates to cultural competence training for our members as identified by the previous Diversity within ALSC task force. Currently the Education committee is working on training materials and a webinar related to cultural competency. ALSC’s 2018 Emerging Leader Jacqueline Quinn also is working with her ALA Emerging Leaders – Team C on the project “Cultural Competency in Youth Librarianship” to do background research and groundwork for a training video script for ALSC related to cultural competence and cultural humility. The team will be sharing their findings at the ALA Annual Conference this summer in New Orleans.
Speaking of ALA Annual, ALSC will have several programs and presentations related to diversity and inclusion. Rather than try and list them all (and invariably forget something), I would like to highlight two that I’ve helped to plan. The first is the Leadership and ALSC meeting on Saturday morning beginning at 8:30 a.m. As part of this meeting, we’ll hear from librarians who are creating inclusive programs that celebrate creativity and diversity through Drag Queen Storytimes. While the meeting is for ALSC priority group consultants, committee chairs, and board of directors, anyone can attend. Another program celebrating global diversity is the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) co-sponsored program hosted by ALSC on Saturday afternoon from 4:00-5:00 p.m. The program, “The Four D’s of Translation in Children’s Publishing: Diversity, Drag, Disguise and Delectation,” explores what it takes to create a good translated book for children. It will include an interactive discussion with children’s publishers known for making high-quality books from other countries accessible to children in the United States. Hope to see YOU at these programs!
On a final note, I have mentioned only a few of the strategic actions that ALSC leaders and members are taking in the area of EDI. Many of our committees are working to move the association positively forward in this area. Currently, the ALSC Board of Directors is examining the progress of our Strategic Plan’s three strategic areas, one of which is Diversity & Inclusion. I am in this working group and we’ll be reporting and discussing our findings at the ALSC Board Meeting at ALA Annual and posting materials in our board documents online. Part of the discussion will include what we’ve accomplished and what areas need more work and resources to advance. We still have considerable work to do to ensure that our association becomes a place where all really means all. I am looking forward to engaging with you in this work.—Jamie Campbell Naidoo, ALSC Vice-President/President-Elect
Spring Election Results
Cecilia P. McGowan (left), children's services coordinator, King County Library System, Issaquah, Washington, was elected ALSC vice president/president-elect in the spring election. McGowan, an ALSC member of 29 years, has been very active with the association. She served on the ALSC Board of Directors (2009-2012), was a Priority Group Consultant for Group III (2014-2016), and has worked on many committees, Children and Libraries Editorial Advisory and Membership, among others. Most recently, McGowan chaired the 2018 Newbery Committee. She also served as a 2017-2018 ALSC Mentor.
Three members were elected to serve on the ALSC Board of Directors: Elisa Gall, Deerfield (Illinois) Public Library, director-at-large; Africa Hands, Louisville, Kentucky, director-at-large; and Sujei Lugo, Boston Public Library, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, director-at- large. Julie Dietzel-Glair, Baltimore, was elected to the position of ALSC division councilor on the ALSC Board of Directors.
The newly elected vice president, division councilor, and board members will be seated to the ALSC Board of Directors in June 2018, at the close of the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.
For a complete list of election results, including award committee members, visit the 2018 election results page.
Thank You to Our Donors!
Many thanks to the following generous contributors to ALSC. To learn how you can support ALSC, visit our website.
Friends of ALSC
Jamie Campbell Naidoo
Susan & Leland Faust
Celebrating colleagues with 25 years or more of ALSC membership
Public Library Consultant
Viking Library System, a regional public library system in the heart of "lakes country," western Minnesota
ALSC membership: 25 years
Where did you attend library school?
I attended a joint MLIS program through Rosary College (now Dominican University) and the College of St. Catherine (now St. Catherine University). St. Kate's has since established its own accredited program for which I occasionally teach.
What was your very first library position?
My first part time job in high school was as a Shelver for Hennepin County Library at the Southdale Library in suburban Minneapolis, one of the busiest public libraries in Minnesota in the late 1970s. The socially engaged librarians there (former ALSC president Gretchen Wronka among them) convinced me that librarianship could be a dynamic and satisfying career.
What do you love most about your current job?
Part of my job involves coordinating arts, cultural, and history programs for all ages with library staff in eleven independent public libraries, mostly in smaller rural communities. I marvel at the energy, creativity, and ingenuity of these intrepid librarians who enthusiastically expand programming opportunities for their communities – and at how responsive the public is.
Do you prefer being the driver or the passenger?
A passenger, but in the role of navigator. While on family road trips to new destinations in junior high, my parents would hand me the map, TripTik, and/or AAA travel guide and put me in charge of navigating. In retrospect it was probably a good tactic to keep me communicating with them and avoid falling into teenage sullenness. These days, while on road trips with my best friend, I still hold a map but share navigating responsibilities with a talking GPS device. I like to see where we're heading and have a say in how we get there.
Are you most comfortable in your kitchen or in your living room?
The kitchen! I especially love to handle the bounties of a CSA (community supported agriculture), farmers market, or the garden. At the end of the day or early in the morning, I love washing dishes and putting a bit of order to the chaos. During social gatherings, I've discovered the kitchen is a great place to hang out with other introverts, chopping vegetables or refilling food platters.
What’s your favorite myth, legend, or fairy tale?
Jean de La Fontaine's fable "The North Wind and the Sun," also attributed to Aesop. Its powerful moral provides great wisdom and guidance: "Gentle persuasion succeeds where force fails."
If you could close your eyes and be anywhere on earth when they opened, where would you be?
Anywhere with water: playing in the waves in Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica, gazing at the Seine from Pont Neuf in Paris, or dislodging beaver dams in the creek in the yard. Water is intrinsic to my being, perhaps a result of being born under the sign of Pisces in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
101 Picture Books CFPL Loves
The Children’s Room at the Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library is a busy space, with regular storytimes and activities for children and teenagers. We have faithful patrons who return each week, newcomers who drop in spontaneously, and caregivers with children of all ages who come to read, play, and socialize. Our staff is asked every day for recommendations, and again and again, parents ask for “the best books” that they can read to their child. We know early literacy is a key to lifelong engagement by the whole family with their public library, and wanted a new, engaging way to reach our youngest patrons. How could we approach our traditional, much loved storytime with fresh energy?
Parents love lists, and there is no shortage of them on the web; but we wanted a list of our own--relevant, diverse, and reflective of the wonderful range of new and old classics in the picture book genre. We wanted books that would translate well to a vibrant read-aloud and work for different ages and comprehension levels; and with so many picture books out there, we wanted to compile a manageable list that wouldn’t overwhelm our patrons.
Choosing the Hundred
CFPL is fortunate to own an especially deep collection of picture books. We canvassed our staff and asked them for their favorite early childhood stories. Many offered ever popular choices but also unique books that were loved in childhood by their families. We researched and debated and, reluctantly, gave up some of our own cherished picks. In the end, we chose 100 titles for our CFPL list. We selected some unexpected titles and left off some popular favorites, which prompted vigorous questions from patrons. Consequently, we agreed to revisit the list every year and revise it.
Sharing the List
The 100 chosen titles are being read at select storytimes over the course of the school year, supported by an ongoing, and regularly refreshed, display that spotlights books from the list. Our technical services staff created a brochure and a coloring sheet for patrons featuring Henry T and Weezie, our mascot owls. The titles were posted on our website and there are cheerful reminders posted around the Children’s Room to engage our patrons. We offer a book prize to every young reader each time they read 33 titles and finish a coloring sheet. Whenever a child asks for a story, we pull a title from the list, read it, and tell the parents about the program. We also discuss what makes a good read aloud, or what works best between caregiver and child. We encourage our patrons to make their own list of beloved books, and remind them that the 101st book on the CFPL list will always be their choice!!—Fiona Stevenson, library assistant, Children’s and YA, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library
Four Girl Scout Cadettes, working towards their Silver Award, wanted to promote literacy and the importance of libraries to our community. They contacted the Prince William Public Library System (PWPLS) and asked if they could plan, organize, and execute a stuffed animal sleepover for young children called the Library Bedtime Adventure. The Children’s staff at PWPLS were more than happy to support the girl scouts in earning their Silver Award and gave them guidance to make sure they followed the standards of the library system.
The Library Bedtime Adventure took place on January 20-21, 2018, but the planning for the event started back in April 2017. The scouts met regularly at the Chinn Park Regional Library to work out all the planning details. They created a video using hand puppets to promote the many fun things you can do at the library. The video was posted on YouTube and also given to the library marketing department, so they could post the video on social media and use it in further library promotions.
The scouts hosted two drop-off sessions where children brought their stuffed animal to the library for a craft, interactive story hour using a felt board, and songs, and left with a teddy bear snack. The children came back to the library the next day to find a storyboard filled with pictures of their stuffed animals having a grand adventure in the library during the sleepover. Each child also went home with a certificate and attached photo, so they have memories of the Library Bedtime Adventure.—Katherine LaVallee, Chinn Park Regional Library, Prince William (Virginia) Public Library System
Touchpoints in Libraries - Compassionate Customer Service Model
As children’s librarians we are privileged to play a role in the growth and development of the children we interact with each and every day. Our expertise and expectations about child development grow with experience, but so too can our inclination to make assumptions and judgments about the actions and behaviors we witness in storytime and in the library. I have worked at several libraries across the country and have seen how frustrating this can be for both patrons and staff. As a manager and trainer, I have long sought out instructional materials that would help and at last, I may have found them.
Last year, twenty-six libraries throughout California participated in a revolutionary training initiative called Touchpoints in Libraries. Working with the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, the training builds on 40 years of pediatric practice and research on early childhood development by renowned expert T. Berry Brazelton, MD and combines it with customer-centered library services, resulting in a new perspective for library staff working with children.
The initial three-day intensive training focused on developmental milestones and on parents’ strengths and knowledge of their own children. Library staff learned to become aware of their own reactions and to listen first. They gained an ability to recognize and value passion whenever and however they encountered it. Adapting this approach to daily interactions has required mindfulness and dedication, which have been fortified in the form of reflective practice with other children’s librarians.
Creating this community of support has proven to be an exceptionally powerful tool for librarians. Staff members have reported an increase in patience and understanding with parents and children. Most importantly, sharing this common language and way of thinking has bolstered staff confidence and focus as well.
The Touchpoints in Libraries training provides a guide for library staff to understand behavioral and emotional development, as well as identify possible opportunities and strategies to connect with and support families through routine library interactions, programs, and services. It is also a practical tool for providing compassionate customer service.
In this increasingly digital world we live in, personal connections are more important than ever. Building stronger relationships allows the opportunity to make a lasting impact on our communities by helping raise well-rounded children prepared to meet their futures and thrive.
For libraries in California, please contact Suzanne Flint, Library Programs Consultant at the California State Library, for more information about the training.—Jennifer Roy, storytime trainer and consultant, Lompoc, California
(Editor's note: For anyone interested, a 2016 video introduction to the general concept of Touchpoints in Libraries is available at Vimeo.)
ALSC @ ALA Conference News
Heading for New Orleans this June for Annual Conference? Be sure to check out the local information guide, put together by ALSC's stellar Local Arrangements committee.
Planning to reserve a table for the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet on Sunday, June 24, in New Orleans? Hurry! The deadline to reserve your table is May 15. For more information, see the Banquet Table Reservation information sheet (PDF).
The Charlemae Rollins President's Program, "Considering All Children: A New Ideal in Evaluating and Engaging around Books for Youth," will take place on Monday, June 25, 1:00-2:30 p.m. Join ALSC President, Nina Lindsay for a program that will challenge attendees to confront biases as they explore common assumptions and current discourse, and consider what it would look like if we truly considered all children as we evaluate books and single out titles for distinction both within and beyond ALSC. Panelists include Margarita Engle, the current National Young People's Poet Laureate and award-winning author, Debbie Reese, PhD, educator and advocate for Native representation, Jason Reynolds, 2018 National School Library Month spokesperson and award-winning author, and Ebony Thomas, assistant professor, University of Pennsylvania. The session will be moderated by Edith Campbell, Associate Librarian, Reference/Instruction, Indiana State University. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with speakers in a question-and-answer session.
The Asian Pacific American Librarians Association will host its President's Program, "Wandering Wonderland: How an Outsider Found Her Way In," co-sponsored by ALSC, on Saturday, June 23. Author and Illustrator LeUyen Pham will focus her presentation on stories of her childhood, and how those experiences directly relate to the books she creates today, the reason she picks such subject matter, the angles she chooses to focus on, and how much her work tries to be all-inclusive in the manner that would have comforted her as a child. For more information, see the ALA conference scheduler.
ALSC also is co-sponsoring the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) program, "The Four D's of Translation in Children's Publishing: Diversity, Drag, Disguise and Delectation," on Saturday, June 23, at 4 p.m. Join USBBY in exploring what it takes to create a good translated book for youth. The interactive session, moderated by international children’s literature scholars and presented by three award-winning publishers of translated children’s books, examines what occurs when international translations go terribly wrong and creatively explores four important areas of book translation. The session includes prize drawings for international and translated children’s books.
For the complete line-up of ALSC events next month in New Orleans, please visit our 2018 conference webpage.
ALSC National Institute - Don't Miss Early Bird Savings!
Early bird pricing for the National Institute closes on June 29. Be sure to take advantage of the savings! The National Instiute, scheduled for September 27-29, 2018, in Cincinnati, Ohio, is everything you need in one place--programming, keynotes, networking, and much more. An intensive learning opportunity with a youth services focus, the Instiute is designed for front-line youth library staff, children’s literature experts, education and library school faculty members, and other interested adults. It is one of the only conferences devoted solely to children's librarianship, literature, and technology.
Learn more about the exciting array of speakers, programs, and events at the Institute webpage.
Congratulations to Dr. Christina Dorr, Hilliard (Ohio) Weaver Middle School! She is 2018 winner of ALA’s Scholastic Library Publishing Award, recognizing a librarian whose unusual contribution to the stimulation and guidance of reading by children and young people exemplifies outstanding achievement in the profession. Dr. Dorr is being honored for her passion for children’s literature and contributions to the reading and literary education of children in both public and school libraries for the last thirty years. The annual award, consisting of $1,000 and a citation of achievement, will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans, La. next month.
Dr. Dorr and colleague Liz Deskins, Hilliard (Ohio) Bradley High School, recently co-authored LGBTQAI+ Books for Children and Teens: Providing a Window for All (ALA Editions, 2018), a resource for librarians that surveys the best in LGBTQAI+ lit and offers guidance on how to share it in ways that encourage understanding and acceptance among parents, school administrators, and the wider community.
Dr. Susan Roman, Deerfield, Illinois, is ALA's 2018 Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship recipient. The award acknowledges Dr. Roman's exceptional accomplishments in and service to the field of Library Science. Dr. Roman’s career spanned the breadth of the library profession including time spent in public libraries, as the Executive Director of ALSC, Executive Director of the American Library Trustee Association (ALTA, now part of United for Libraries), Director of Development for ALA, and Dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University. Congratulations, Susan!
AnnMarie Hurtado, Pasadena (California) Public Library, has written 36 Workshops to Get Kids Writing: From Aliens to Zebras (ALA Editions, 2018), a resource filled with ideas for engaging kids in creative writing inspired by picture books. The book offers complete program plans with handouts and activities for starting a new creative writing program, or simply to incorporate creative writing activities and crafts into storytime.
Julie Cummins, Canandaigua, New York, author of Women Daredevils: Thrills, Chills, and Frills, Country Kid, City Kid, and other books for children, recently had a quirky and historical magazine article published about Paul Bunyan, the Guinness Book of World Records, and a really big pancake. Cummins' "World's Largest Pancake," printed in the January/February 2018 edition of Life in the Finger Lakes, recounts the planning and execution in Penn Yan, New York, of the titular breakfast staple, a twenty-eight foot wide and one-inch thick pancake, made from 800 pounds of batter mixed in a cement truck! (There's got to be a children's book in this story!)
Scholarships Available to Attend Fall National Institute
In support of ALSC’s goal of continuing education for children’s librarians, the Friends of ALSC are offering two scholarships to the ALSC National Institute, September 27–29, 2018, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Scholarship recipients must be ALSC members who work directly with children in a library setting. Each scholarship includes Institute registration and a $1,000 travel stipend to cover airfare and hotel lodging.
Addressing ALSC’s strategic action area of diversity and inclusion, Friends of ALSC are offering a third scholarship of the same amount to a North Carolina member who identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community. The scholarship is a sign of support for the LGBTQ community of North Carolina, following the cancellation of the 2016 National Institute due to the state’s discriminatory legislation.
Hurry! The scholarship application deadline is May 9! For details, visit the ALSC website.
Summer Reading Lists!
ALSC's Quicklists Consulting Committee has updated our Summer Reading Lists for 2018 with new and exciting titles. The lists are full of book titles to keep children engaged in reading throughout the summer. Four Summer Reading book lists are available for Birth-Preschool and grades K-2, 3-5 and 6-8.
2019 Arbuthnot Host Site Applications Now Being Accepted
ALSC members are invited to submit a proposal to host the 2019 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture featuring Debbie Reese, educator, blogger, and Native representation advocate. The application deadline is Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Please use the online form to apply.
An overview document (MS Word) provides further details including the criteria the committee considers. A host site checklist (MS Word) is also available to provide a better understanding of the host site's responsibilities.
Media Awards & Notable Children's Books - Send Us Your Suggestions
ALSC personal members are welcome to suggest titles for the 2019 media awards and Notable Children's Books list. An online submission form for each award is available at the webforms page. The deadline for submissions is October 15, 2018, with the exception of the Wilder Award. Please submit Wilder suggestions by May 15, 2018. For more information about each award, visit www.ala.org/alsc and click on “Awards, Grants & Scholarships.”
Public/School Library Collaboration Toolkit
Created by the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation, the Public Library & School Library Collaboration Toolkit is designed to inspire and facilitate various types of public library and school library collaboration. The kit contains: information on how to start and continue a public–school library collaboration; research that supports collaboration; examples of successful collaborations; and useful templates.
Summer Online Courses from ALSC
ALSC's Summer course offerings include the following:
Postmodern Picturebooks: Changing Minds for Life
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs Made Easy
Storytelling with Puppets
Making Your Makerspace Work
The Newbery Medal: Past, Present and Future
Courses begin July 9 and run four, five, or six weeks, depending on the class. For course descriptions and registration information, visit ALSC's online courses page.
New List Highlights Digital Media for Kids
ALSC's Notable Children's Digital Media (NCDM) committee, formerly the Great Websites committee, recently announced its inaugural list of great digital media for children. To highlight the shift in media focus, the committee concentrated on apps for this year’s selections. Future lists will include a diverse array of digital media for children up to age 14, including websites and video streaming. The 15 selected apps span diverse subjects from mindfulness to math, introduce rich topics and engaging activities, and provide a platform for play and imagination. Check out the apps on the NCDM webpage.
2018 Newbery/Caldecott Guide Coming Soon
Preorders are now being taken for The Newbery and Caldecott Awards: A Guide to the Medal and Honor Books, 2018 Edition. The guide gathers together the books deemed most distinguished in American children’s literature and illustration since the inception of the renowned prizes. Librarians and teachers everywhere rely on this guidebook for quick reference and collection development and also as a resource for curriculum links and readers’ advisory. This year's edition includes an interview with Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park. For more details, visit the ALA Store.
Celebrate Summer Learning Day in July
National Summer Learning Day is coming up on July 12 and ALSC is teaming up with National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) to highlight summer learning in libraries.
Is your library hosting any specific events or programs to encourage summer learning in your community? The NSLA has a Summer Learning Day registry to highlight them. Registering your summer learning program helps your local families and other interested youth-serving organizations in your communities find you.
NSLA also has numerous resources available to help your library celebrate Summer Learning Day and to #keepkidslearning! Learn more at the NSLA website.
For those who work in a school system, check out the Summer Learning Recruitment Guide, in which five school districts share information on how to launch a successful summer learning recruitment effort.?
Call for Proposals: Power Up Conference
Do you have ideas to share about management and leadership in youth services? The University of Wisconsin-Madison Information School will offer a second Power Up Conference in Leadership for Youth Services Managers and Staff in Madison on March 28-29, 2019. Program proposals are being accepted until August 3, 2018. Topics may include, but are not limited to, strategic planning; collaborations; ethics; leadership pathways; advocacy; mentorship; managing change; work/life balance; staff motivation; and innovation. Youth services librarians and staff from public libraries, schools, after-school programs, museums, etc. are invited to attend.
For complete details on submitting a proposal, visit the conference webpage.