ALSConnect, September 2008, Vol. 6, no.3

***Attn: This is an ARCHIVE page. Web sites referenced on this page may no longer be in service.***

Officially Speaking

Forever Let Us Hold Our Banner High

I have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to a conference in Anaheim. I had been there years ago for BookExpo America (BEA), and the most I could remember about it was the extreme heat and the theme park atmosphere. What a surprise! This year, the weather was perfect and Mickey Mouse seemed to be confined to the park. I was an ardent fan of The Mickey Mouse Club in my youth, and I have to admit that as I landed at the airport in Orange County, I found myself singing The Mickey Mouse song. The lyric that popped into my head about the time we taxied to the gate was “Forever Let Us Hold Our Banner High,” a phrase that became symbolic of the week ahead. As the conference week unfolded, it was clear that ALSC's events and programs were among the best– a reason to “hold our banner high.”

The first event that I attended was the ALA Spectrum Scholarship Fair. I had never attended this special event until this summer, and I was totally inspired by these young librarians from diverse populations who are eager to become actively involved in ALA. One young woman asked me to tell her what it was like working with children. This was quite a “banner flying” moment because this young woman then told me that she had applied to work in children’s services at a large public library system. Our participation in this event greatly supports our initiative to attract new professionals to children’s librarianship.

An equally exciting event was ALSC 101. Thanks to Jenny Najduch, ALSC staff member who works with membership, and the Membership Committee for planning this event where members who are new to ALSC or first-time conference attendees have the opportunity to get to know the organization. There were creative get-acquainted games, and ALSC leadership was on hand to answer questions.

The ALSC banner flew very high when Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, nationally acclaimed pediatrician, spoke at the Charlemae Rollins President’s Program. At 90-years-old, his inspiring words regarding child development and the role of libraries in serving children and their caregivers brought the vision of ALSC front row and center to other ALA divisions who were in attendance that morning. Congratulations to Jane Marino, immediate past president, and her terrific planning committee for making this program possible.

I’ve never attended an ALA conference at which ALSC members didn’t share Newbery Caldecott Banquet experiences. This year’s stirring performances by Brian Selznick, Caldecott medalist, and Laura Amy Schlitz, Newbery medalist, will be long remembered in the Newbery Caldecott history books.

What’s next? The ALSC National Institute in Salt Lake City (September 18-20) continues the association’s effort to offer quality programming to our members. Please visit the ALSC Web site for details regarding this conference. ALSC is also pleased to offer four online courses to librarians who are interested in continuing education. This information is also available on the ALSC Web site.

Great plans are underway for annual conference in Chicago in 2009. Make plans to attend. It’s shaping up to be another “banner flying” conference.— Pat Scales, ALSC President

Council News

ALA’s 2008 Annual Conference was held in Anaheim, California, with 22,047 members and exhibitors attending. This compares to attendances of 28,228 in Washington, D.C. (2007) and 16,784 in New Orleans (2006).

Some pioneers in children’s librarianship would have gasped to have seen their professional descendants navigating Disneyland hotels and meeting colleagues at the statues of “Mickey Mouse” in hotel lobbies. In Anaheim, it’s a “mall” (sic) world after all.

ALA Council’s business essentially deals with internal ALA issues and with external matters of concern to librarians. ALA is our collective voice on issues that affect the quality of our resources and services. Councilors analyze, discuss, and debate a wide range of topics. My notes here merely highlight a few of those topics, but a full account of Council actions can be found at: outala/governance/council/actions/index.cfm.

Council Documents are located at: cfm.

Internally, Council is addressing two major concerns, electronic participation and Council transparency. Janet Swan Hill chairs the Task Force on Electronic Member Participation (TFOEMP) and plans to report their recommendations to Council at Midwinter 2009.

Council passed a resolution instructing ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels to “explore methods of making Council proceedings transparent to the ALA membership and report back to Council at Midwinter 09.” The resolution also cites using “user (membership) input to gauge interest and help guide future efforts in making the business of the association more visible to the membership.”

In another internal matter, Council established an ALA policy against the ALA use of materials and products produced by sweatshop labor.

Council approved the FY2009 total ALA budgetary ceiling of $67,984,278.

Speaking for the membership to those outside ALA, Council passed resolutions about:
  • improving the Federal Depository Library Program and Public Access to Government Information;
  • supporting funding for cataloging and bibliographic control at the Library of Congress;
  • supporting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) (urging the reinstatement of “transgender” persons in the bill);
  • clarifying and updating six interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights;
  • advocating the return of historical documents confiscated from the Iraqi National Library;
  • supporting funding for the National Agriculture Library;
  • urging Congress to support the measure put forward in the E-Government Reauthorization Act of 2007;
  • supporting the preservation of sound recordings made prior to February 1972 ; and
  • adopting definitions of digital preservation and the revised preservation policy.

Although councilors had received a variety of emails regarding Cuba prior to the conference, no resolution was introduced during the conference. At the final session, Council discussed the fact that some candidates for Council had received “surveys” regarding their opinions on the Cuban question and assurances of votes or loss of votes, depending on their survey answers. ALA is investigating these reports.

Prior to the conference, Michael Dowling, director of ALA’s International Relations Office (IRO), sent an updated report* to councilors regarding Cuba.  Shortly afterward, councilors received a report that appeared to be an official update of Dowling’s report, but it was neither from Dowling nor from the IRO.  Following the conference, some councilors received another deceptive, official-looking post that advocates the oft-repeated messaging regarding Cuba, which many councilors have come to regard as tiresome.

Finally, ALA Council, acting as ALA/APA, passed a resolution recommending that the minimum salary for a professional librarian be $41,680 and that the minimum wage for all library workers be $13.00 per hour.— Linda A. Perkins, ALSC Councilor

*I will be happy to email or mail a copy of this report to anyone who would like to read it.  

Bright Ideas

Launch into SPACE

"NEISS. This is N9CHA at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, Illinois. Do you copy, Clay, over?"

Everybody in the Gail Borden Public Library community room held their breath waiting to hear the first crackling response from NASA astronaut Clay Anderson aboard the International Space Station 200 miles above us. When we heard the faint "NEISS, copy, over," and students from the library began asking questions about space exploration, all manner of emotions, even a few tears, swept through the room.

The live event with the International Space Station on September 5, 2007, was the culmination of the SPACE: Dare to Dream exhibit, a dynamic community project hosted at the library to enhance the Mission: Read to the Library and Beyond summer reading program. The exhibit was at the library from June 2 through September 23, 2007. Complete with a large-scale Saturn V gantry, an Apollo 16 moon rock, Galileo's Studio, a Clyde Tombaugh telescope and many more exhibits, the display was located throughout the library. The grant that the library received not only covered the exhibit rental, but it included funding for myriad programs, such as:

  • Astronaut Dr. Janice Voss thrilled a local overflow crowd of 400 (and an international audience via live Webcast) on July 10 with stories of her time in space and her work searching for other Earth-like planets. She also spoke with enthusiastic students at Hillcrest School.
  • As noted in the opening, for the first time ever, students from a public library spoke to an astronaut (Clay Anderson) on the International Space Station while an overflow crowd at the library, an Internet crowd of over 4,000 people, and an amateur ham radio crowd around the world listened in and watched.
  • Based on early input from the Education Subcommittee, 40 educators and PTA members attended a workshop that featured both Continued Professional Development Unit credit presented by Fermilab educators and preparation for bringing classes to the SPACE exhibit and teaching various scientific concepts in the classroom.

Summer Reading. And SPACE drew kids to participate in summer reading. The library experienced an over 9% increase from the prior year as 4,830 youngsters, birth through teen, joined the summer reading mission.

Attendance. SPACE also brought people to the library. A total of 306,356 visited Gail Borden Library physically over the 112 days of SPACE. That is just a little higher than the GIANTS dinosaur exhibit of 2005 and a 13.2% increase over the same time period in 2006. SPACE drew 72,068 people to the library in July 2007, an all-time high recorded gate. Over 2,000 people attended SPACE programs. Five organizations partnered in programming: the Adler Planetarium, Fermilab, the Jet Propulsion Lab Solar Systems Ambassadors, NASA, and the Planetary Studies Foundation.

During the SPACE exhibit visitors who signed the guest book hailed from the following states: California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The guest who traveled the farthest came from Beirut, Lebanon.

Library Cards. There were 3,715 brand new cards issued during the Space exhibit between June 2 and September 23. This was an increase of over 9 % from the prior year.

Circulation. SPACE also propelled circulation as 127,680 materials were circulated in the month of June, an all-time high at Gail Borden PL. There was a 14% increase in circulation from the prior year during the exhibit with 481,282 materials circulated during the 112 days of the Space exhibit. More than 4,000 science fiction materials (books & DVDS) were checked out during the exhibit.

Partnerships & Volunteers. The library strengthened partnerships with Grand Victoria Foundation, the education community, the business community, and other local cultural institutions. We formed new connections with the science community, partnering with luminaries like the Adler Planetarium, Fermilab Lederman Science Center, Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, NASA Glenn Research Center, Planetary Studies Foundation, and SciTech. This project enabled us to create new media relationships. SPACE also created unique volunteering opportunities such as performing as Galileo in the studio and installing NASA exhibits.

Communication Channels. All channels were "go" for SPACE. To reach our audience, we used press releases, press conferences, eblasts, bookmarks, newsletters, presentations, a special SPACE Web site and local cable, and YouTube video. We used local radio and we were extremely pleased to participate on WGN, WBBM and WBEZ. There were two new "live" communication channels that we used for the first time with SPACE—video streaming and ham radio operators transmitted the International Space Station contact event. Partner communications were also extremely important as NASA distributions of local press about SPACE created new NASA relationships.

What We Know. The public library is a wonderful place for compelling exhibits. Exhibits bring people to the library and when they come, they will participate. We know to bring potential partners into the project early so they can help develop the strategy for maximum impact in the community.

We also know that the library staff members are amazing people and are all about the mission of increasing participation in summer reading. They will dress up in orange NASA astronaut jumpsuits. They will even wear nylons to become Galileo. They will withstand a continually launching Saturn V rocket if one tweaks the sound baffling every now and again and reaffirms that the exhibit is not permanent.

With our staff, we know that we can literally "launch into space" as we did when voices speaking for inquisitive minds from our library reached the International Space Station.— Denise Raleigh, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, Ill.

Fight Crime at Your Library!

It’s a bird… it’s a plane…no, it’s the Superhero Club! Start a Heroes Club at your library to get 'tweens reading and creating! Here are some ideas from the 2008 ALSC Tandem Grant award-winning program to help you start your own Justice League.

Superhero Tools of the Trade. Go to your local craft store and purchase yards of fabric to use as tablecloths. Not only are they washable and reusable, but they set the mood. The Incredibles, Supergirl, Superman, Spider-Man, and Batman cotton fabric patterns were available at my local craft store for about $5.00 for two yards.

Inexpensive crafts can be found at Oriental Trading. The company has black scratchboard masks for $0.29 each. The mask is cost effective, easy to clean up, and the kids can take them home right away (instead of waiting for paint and glue to dry with a traditional mask). The company also sells matching bracelets, or communication devices as I like to call them.

Capes, made from round vinyl tablecloths available from Oriental Trading, can be made for $0.35 each. To attach them to your heroes, you can either use Velcro tabs or clothespins. To decorate the vinyl capes, you’ll have to invest in permanent markers so the ink stays on. Again, this craft is a great low-budget project that the kids can take home right away.

For more craft ideas, such as a Superhero Flip Book and a Superhero Fortune Teller, visit

Setting Up a Justice League. Making contacts in your local community is essential to making your Superhero Club work. Using your local media and Chamber of Commerce to promote your program will widen your audience. Emailing patrons information about new and upcoming events, such as your new Superhero Club, will get the word out. You can even send Superhero flyers to your local schools to promote the program to 2nd-5th graders.

Superheroes Running Wild. Due to the success of the Superhero Club, the Bristol Public Library was able to hire performers to supplement the Superhero Club. Spider-Man, Superman, and Batman were hired by a local party planner to come in and sign autographs, tell tales of adventure, and take photographs. A local cartoonist was hired to come and teach the heroes how to draw. A local comic book shop owner donated his time (and a huge box of comics) to the Superhero Club and taught them about DC and Marvel comics and characters. To find a comic book shop in your area, call 1-888-COMIC-BOOK and key in your zip code.

Success Stories. The Superhero Club’s forty-five minute weekly meetings held an attendance of between twenty-five and thirty kids, with a core audience of about fifteen. Techno Geek, half man and half robot, Goo Boy, a goo ball throwing good guy, and Phoenix, whose weakness is brussel sprouts, were among the core group of heroes fighting crime throughout the library.

The Superhero Club even dictated family vacations and hospital visits! A set of brothers, Phoenix and Superboy, religiously attended Superhero meetings. Their family went on vacation to Maine (about a five hour drive from Bristol, Connecticut), and returned home a day early so they wouldn’t miss a Superhero Club meeting!

One afternoon I received a frantic phone call from Techno Geek’s mother. She called from the local hospital and told me that Techno Geek had broken his arm fighting off evil. Techno Geek was so upset that he was going to miss the Superhero meeting, he had mom call to make sure I would save a craft for him!

For more information, including pdf files of handouts, visit The Superhero Club Blog at Feel free to contact Lisa M. Shaia by phone, 860-584-7787 x 2021, or by email, – Lisa M. Shaia, Bristol (Conn.) Public Library 

ALSC Voices

To Those Who Ordered My Steps

Congratulations to Henrietta Smith, 2008 ALSC Distinguished Service Award winner. Henrietta delivered the following award acceptance remarks at the membership meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

My friend Ashley Bryan once said that everyone you meet becomes a part of your life. So to each of you, a part of my life, thank you for this honor. Now, may I recognize just a few who ordered by steps?

My mother firmly believed that idle hands were the Devil’s workshop so for seven days a week she saw that we were kept busy. Saturdays we went to Mme. Riley’s elocution class. It was there that I found my love for early poetry. We read the Bible as poetry, with some rather non-spiritual giggles thrown in, and then we heard the words of the African American poets. Mme. Riley made sure that we knew that Paul Laurence Dunbar could speak and write standard English with the best of them even though critics said otherwise. So we recited Dawn before we went into In the Morning (In De Mornin’). You know, the one about ‘Lias who did not want to get up.

Then there’s Glyndon Flynt Greer, Ginny Moore Kruse, and my dear friend Bill Morris. They ordered my steps in the Coretta Scott King Award arena. Glyndon was my supervisor as children’s librarian in the New York Public Library System. I had already moved to Florida when the award was established, but Glyndon made sure that I knew that I was expected to work hard in aspect of the award as she assigned. I guess I did! We are all forever grateful to Bill Morris who faithfully sent books for sale, assured that any monies made would keep the award afloat. Through Bill, HarperCollins was one of our “angels.” Ginny came on the scene with her energy and creative imagination. At the time of the award’s 25th anniversary, there was great discussion about how to do something special with the award list. Twenty-fifth anniversary—oh, yes, silver—a silver program? No, not really. A silver annotated monogram? Not really! How about an awards book? But who? Thanks to Ginny, I am now editing the 4th edition of the Coretta Scott King Awards Book. Thanks to dear Bill, the cover of the first edition has a reproduction of a painting by Jacob Lawrence, at no cost to us.

Finally, Augusta Baker. When in the New York Public Library, I said to her, “I want to be a children’s librarian.” She said in her most serious voice, “Oh, so you are going to be a storyteller!” She did not say, “Do you want to? Do you think you can? Are you interested in doing that?” No! “You will be a storyteller.” And so, with her help, her guidance, her mentoring, and her friendship, storytelling has carried me through the parks of New York City (including telling at the Hans Christian Andersen statue in Central Park), the schools in Florida, the schools and pueblos of New Mexico, and most recently, down the Amazon River in Brazil.

Thanks to all who ordered my steps, including a special thank-you to Steve Herb and the members of the Distinguished Service Committee who made this selection.

ALSC Profile

Amanda Williams
Librarian III
Little Walnut Creek Branch, Austin (Texas) Public Library
ALSC membership: 16 years continuous (plus several years in the 1980s)

Where did you attend library school?
I got my Master of Library and Information Science in 1978 from the University of North Texas in Denton, TX, and I got my Doctor of Philosophy from the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin in 1998.

What attracted you to library service to children?
My mother was Director of Christian Education at the Episcopal Church in Abilene, Texas. I often helped out in the preschool classes. I was good at crafts and had storytelling skills. I was working in a branch of the Dallas Public Library as a part-time reference librarian, and the children’s librarian was transferred to another branch. The branch manager asked me if I wanted to be the children’s librarian and I said sure. That was twenty-nine years ago.

Why did you join ALSC?
I already had been involved with the Texas Library Association for several years when the ALA conference came to Dallas, where I lived. I thought it would be interesting to attend. It was the year that The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Blériot, July 25, 1909, by Alice and Martin Provensen, won the Caldecott.

I really got involved with ALSC when I started working on my doctorate degree. The student membership is a wonderful perk for a college student on a budget. I have always been service-oriented, and feel I am a reliable committee member. It just seemed like the right thing to do and I am glad I did. I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with some really bright and talented people over the years.

What to you is the biggest reward of being a children's librarian?
You are like a rock star to preschoolers. They think you live at the library. I love being able to share stories with children and find just the right book for the reluctant reader. I also teach undergraduates children’s literature at the University of Texas. The class is over 200 students in a large auditorium. I have been teaching almost every semester since 1991. Sometimes I feel like a minister of children’s literature. If a fraction of my students learn that reading to children is important, that is a very satisfying reward.

What is your favorite job responsibility?
To be honest, I am not a children’s librarian anymore. I am an assistant branch manager. If I were still a children’s librarian, my favorite responsibility would be programming. I loved doing storytime. I used to say that I am an improvisational comedian for preschoolers.

What is the greatest challenge your library faces, particularly in the children's services department?
Like most of the country, Austin has seen a downturn in the economy. The Austin Public Library may have to close the branches one day a week in the new fiscal year, and two new branches are scheduled to be open in 2009. I am responsible for scheduling staff at my branch which is open seven days a week and only three hours less than the central library. I am worried about having enough staff.

The Little Walnut Creek Branch where I work is often referred to as the “Queensborough Branch of the Austin Public Library.” Many new immigrants from all over the world use my library. This is a good thing but the challenge is finding quality children’s materials in other languages. I could use a dozen of every decent Spanish language science experiment book in print.

What is the most popular children's program at your library?
The summer reading program is very popular at Little Walnut Creek. This year the theme is “Game On!” The kids get to set a goal of how many books they will read this summer. When a child reaches his or her goal, then she/he gets to choose a free book. So far as of the end of July, Little Walnut Creek had 519 children signed up with 41 finishers reading 1455 books.

What are you currently working on at your library?
I have been preparing for the Fall semester of children’s literature at the University of Texas. I do not have a special project that I am working on right now. End of the year performance reviews are due in September so that will be my next big project. The Little Walnut Creek Branch is open seven days a week so there is always something to do at the desk.

Who/what is your favorite children's author/book and why?
This is a very tough question. I can’t think of just one book or author. I enjoy reading realistic young adult fiction. Right now I am reading tons of picture books for a committee on which I'm serving called the 2 X 2. Every year the Children’s Round Table of the Texas Library Association recommends 20 books for children ages 2 to second grade, and I am on that committee right now.

What are your hobbies?
I like to knit. Wish I could sing and play the piano but I can’t. When I was younger, I liked to ride horses and ballet dance.

What three words best describe you?
Gullible, funny, and hard-working (that’s four words!)

Conference Notes

Each year four deserving children’s librarians receive the chance to attend ALA Annual Conference for the first time through the Penguin Young Readers Group (PYRG) Award. Following are three of this year’s winners’ reflections on the Anaheim, Calif. conference.

Minimal sleep and blistered feet were a small price to pay for an exciting week at ALA Anaheim. I attended a host of great events--the Urban Libraries Council Foresight 2020 conference, ALSC Children & Technology Committee meetings, Penguin Young Readers Group's Dinner with Our Stars, awards ceremonies (the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet, the ALSC awards presentation), and workshops, including REFORMA's The Bilingual Mind. Andrew Clements was twice my dining neighbor, and Dave Shannon joined a small group of us for a post-Newbery glass of wine! But what stand out most are the many inspiring conversations I had with librarians committed to serving young people. ALSC is a passionate community, and I see my future as a member filled with both thought-provoking dialogues and good times. Many thanks to Penguin, ALSC, and the award selection committee for providing this amazing opportunity! If you'd like to read more about my ALA experience, visit: -- Madeline Walton-Hadlock, youth services librarian, Dr. Roberto Cruz--Alum Rock Library, San José Public Library

Four Fabulous Firsts at Annual. At my first ever Annual Conference this summer in Anaheim I had my very first:

  1. dinner with an author. Talking over first summers in Alaska with John Green (he scooped ice cream, I cooked for loggers) at the Newbery Banquet was a truly unique experience.
  2. reunion with a beloved professor. We all have one influential person who really pushes us to reach our full potential and I had the good fortune to run into my person, Dr. Nancy J. Johnson, at ALA. I’m inspired all over again.
  3. introduction to committee work. Sitting in on the ALSC All Committee meeting was eye-opening. So much work goes into keeping our association running smoothly. I can’t wait to get started!
  4. poster session. Standing at the table in the Wellness Fair, I got to hear about the needs and concerns of librarians across the country.

Wonder what next year holds! -- Sara (Jeffress) Saxton, youth services librarian, Tuzzy Consortium Library, Barrow, Alaska

In reflecting on my experience as a Penguin Award recipient at my first ALA Annual Conference, three words stick in my mind: authenticity, empathy, and creativity. Civil Rights activist Vernon Jordan, an ALA Auditorium Series speaker, connected the journeys of this year’s presidential fore-runners to the struggles of Vietnam veterans, suffragettes and African Americans fighting for voting rights. Jordan concluded that the history and life experiences of the candidates show an American public hungry for authenticity.

At the ALSC President's Program, T. Berry Brazelton, pediatrician and pioneer in child development, urged library staff to become “empathic partners” with families and children. As librarians, we can show empathy with families when we foster parents’ expertise and praise and support their efforts.

The REFORMA program Nine Digits Away from My Dream presented by Latino students suggested that libraries can show authenticity and empathy toward immigrants when we set policies (such as ID requirements for library cards) that recognize their unique challenges and support their rights to use the public library.

Finally, the Newbery/Caldecott banquet with Brian O. Selznick’s remarkable visual acceptance speech introduction and Laura Amy Schlitz’s funny and poignant oral storytelling was just one event that proved how lucky we are to share in the creativity of the many talented writers and illustrators who make it their life’s work to produce beautiful, compelling books for kids and book lovers of all ages.

Many thanks to ALSC and the Penguin Young Readers Group for allowing me to participate in a rich and thought-provoking conference. --Barbara Head, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore. 

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Member News/Field Notes

Each year, readers of South Florida Parenting Magazine vote on Kid’s Crown Awards to recognize family-friendly places that they think offer the best activities, products, and services in South Florida. Alvin Sherman Library, Fort Lauderdale, was nominated (by a big fan and mom) for and won the Best Story Time Award. Billed as “Ms. Rebecca and the Shermanettes” in the magazine article, Rebecca Hickman, Meagan Albright, and Beth Blankley, all active ALSC members, were honored for their talent and ability to make story time theatrical and fun. Children of South Florida sing, laugh, and enjoy a good time with the “Shermanettes” puppet troupe!

ALSC member Jeanette Larson, Pflugerville, Texas, has a new book out, The Public Library Policy Writer: A Guidebook with Model Policies on CD-Rom (Neal-Schuman, 2008), co-written with Herman L. Totten. The guide addresses a number of hot button topics related to youth services, such as age requirements in the children's area and unattended children/child safety.

San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) wins again! At the 2008 ALA Annual Conference, SFPL’s Sharing Rhymes Booklet won the Library Administration and Management Association's (LAMA) Swap and Shop Best in Show Award in the Adult & Family Reading Materials category, and the library's Get Ready for Kindergarten resource won Honorable Mention in the Bibliography category. These materials support and promote the library’s Early Literacy Initiative, Every Child Ready to Read, and can be found in libraries, child development centers, partner agencies such as First 5, Jumpstart, Raising A Reader, and homes in San Francisco and beyond.

New Online Continuing Education

ALSC is offering four online continuing education courses this fall including: “Reading Instruction and Children’s Books” (Katherine Todd); “The Tech Savvy Booktalker” (Nancy J. Keane); “The Technology Enhanced Library Professional” (Sara Fisher); and “Sharing Poetry with Children” (Sylvia M. Vardell).

The four courses, selected by the ALSC Education Committee, will begin October 6, running through November 14. Future sessions are scheduled for February 2009 and summer 2009. All courses will run between four and six weeks and will be taught in an online learning community using Moodle. This is the first time that continuing education courses have been offered online through ALSC.

Course registration information is available on the ALSC Web site at Registration opened for the first session on August 11. Course fees are $95 for personal ALSC members; $145 for personal ALA members; and $165 for non-members. For more information, contact ALSC Deputy Aimee Strittmatter at

Every Child Ready to Read Evaluation

The PLA/ALSC Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) Evaluation Task Force has been charged with evaluating the ECRR parent education initiative and making recommendations for future steps. After a request for proposal process, the task force selected Dr. Susan Neuman, professor of Educational Studies at the University of Michigan and a leading expert in emergent literacy, as the consultant to develop survey instruments to gather information needed to evaluate the ECRR initiative. She is a great resource to have working with our task force.

The evaluation surveys directed at participants in the initiative, non-participants, state libraries, and graduate library schools are now complete. Dr. Neuman begins contacting public libraries the week of October 6, 2008, via email requesting survey participation. She asked me, as chair of the task force, to get the word out to the library community. If your library is contacted, I urge you to please take the time to fill out the survey in a timely fashion. Your feedback on Every Child Ready to Read is vital to the development of recommendations for next steps for the initiative. Thank you. -- Clara Nalli Bohrer, Chair, PLA/ALSC ECRR Evaluation Task Force

2008 Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to ALSC's 2008 scholarship recipients.

Frederic G. Melcher Scholarship: Shauna Masella, Portland, Oregon, attending University of Wisconsin – Madison; and Aileen Sanchez, Waltham, Massachusetts, attending Simmons College.

Bound to Stay Bound Books Scholarship: Evan Bush, Athens, Georgia, attending University of Alabama; Emily Hersh, Austin, Texas, attending University of Texas at Austin; Christina Larrechea, Visalia, California, attending San Jose State University; and Wendy Lee, Downey, California, attending San Jose State University.

New Reading List

ALSC has teamed up with "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to provide a Kids Reading List on the show's Web site: ooks.

The list is divided into five age groups, from infant to two through 12 and up. Each group contains an annotated bibliography of librarian-recommended reading. There is also a separate "Classics" section, grouped by age ranges, giving parents the opportunity to share the books they once loved with their own children. The Web site also provides a list of ways to make reading fun for kids, and other helpful tips for parents.

The reading list was compiled by the Quicklists Consulting Committee, which works to promote books and other resources through recommendations, compilations of lists, and related services. 

Getting Together

2009 Preconference

ALSC's 2009 Preconference, Meeting the Challenge: Practical Tips and Inspiring Tales on Intellectual Freedom, will be held Friday, July 10, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.

A newspaper article about “controversial” children’s books prompts a parent to say “I certainly hope our library doesn’t have any of these.” Are you ready to respond?

Meeting the Challenge will emphasize the right to read as an essential foundation of library service to youth. Strategies for addressing complaints and stories to strengthen resolve are the focus of the day that will offer pragmatic advice and passionate perspectives on intellectual freedom.

Gaming, Learning, and Libraries

Registration for the second annual, 2008 ALA TechSource Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium (GLLS2008) is now open!

ALSC is co-sponsoring, in name-only, this fantastic learning event. Last year there was room for 300 and it sold out. GLLS2008 has room for 350 attendees and is expected to sell out quickly.

The symposium will run from 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 2, through 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 4, at the Doubletree hotel in Oak Brook, Illinois. Registration closes on October 28, 2008. The cost is $300 for ALA members, TechSource subscribers (Library Technology Reports or Smart Libraries Newsletter), and students. The nonmember registration rate is $350.

Registration includes entry to all sessions of the event and breakout rooms; open gaming night with snacks (Sunday, November 2); continental breakfast Monday morning (November 3); lunch Monday afternoon; snacks and coffee on Monday; continental breakfast Tuesday morning (November 4); one copy of Jenny Levine's April 2008 issue of Library Technology Reports, Gaming in Libraries Update: Broadening the Intersections; free wireless in the hotel, both in the meeting rooms and in your guest room if you are staying on premises; free parking; and all the fun, gaming, and learning you can handle!

Kenotes will feature:

There will be program sessions targeted specifically toward youth and young adult librarians. Members of both the ALSC Children and Technology Committee and the Great Interactive Software for Kids Committee will be presenting sessions. More information can be found on the GLLS2008 wiki at:

Please contact if you have any questions regarding GLLS2008.

What's Your Story?

Every year Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon, celebrates the gift of storytelling by bringing some of the most talented tellers in the country to the Pacific Northwest for its "Tapestry of Tales Storytelling Festival." Since debuting in 2000, the festival has evolved over recent years into a countywide arts and cultural celebration that includes a four-day visit by renowned international, national, and regional storytellers, and features in-school assemblies, adult events, and many free, community-based intergenerational and family programs.

The 2008 festival, which begins November 20th, features a return visit by Bill Harley, as well as Motoko Dworkin and Syd Lieberman, along with regional tellers Anne-Louise Sterry and Alton Chung.

Tapestry of Tales Storytelling Festival builds and sustains lifelong readers by exposing youth and adults to an array of oral language experiences that foster lifelong literacy. By engaging people of all ages, encouraging learning, storytelling, and reading, the festival reinforces a sense of identity and community in an area with much diversity.-- Natasha Forrester, 2008 Tapestry of Tales chair, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.