Your ALSC Board had a busy Midwinter conference tackling some major issues, some highlighted in advance in my blog post earlier this month. Each of these matters will continue to evolve over the course of the year.
Every Child Ready to Read, and Next Steps for Early Literacy
Following a review of the IMLS funded report Bringing Literacy Home: An Evaluation of the Every Child Ready to Read Program (2017), ALSC examined the Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) product as a strategic initiative, considering the necessity of further development of the product in formal partnership with PLA.
We recognized that ECRR is now foundational to libraries’ work in early literacy, and is understood today as a practice, not just a toolkit. This is exactly what we intended to achieve with this initiative, and while there are opportunities to develop and extend its practices further, we determined that the constraints of the formal ECRR partnership no longer best serve our strategic effectiveness in early literacy.
Therefore, the board voted to “conclude Every Child Ready to Read as an active initiative, retaining the existing product and identifying or establishing working group(s) to preserve the five practices and to make recommendations on current areas of need in early literacy.” We will craft a new MOU with PLA to focus on the maintenance of the existing product and communication related to different, but related programs and services. The MOU will allow for flexibility within each organization to continue to develop new programs and services related to but different from the ECRR framework. Both organizations will look to the oversight committee (which will continue through its current obligations) for recommendations on where and how to best carry this work forward. We look forward to continuing to work together collaboratively, if informally, as we investigate how to go deeper and reach further with what we’ve learned together.
Awards Program in Context of Strategic Plan, and examination of The Wilder Award
As reported during conference, the Board recognized that we must face and investigate the implications of having awards named for individuals whose currently recognized place in the canon of children’s literature is not consistent with our organizational values and goals. The Board voted unanimously Saturday to establish a task force to explore the ALSC awards program within the context of our core values and our strategic plan, beginning with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award.
There is no doubt that Wilder, as the first recipient of the award named for her, has made “a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.” However, recognizing that this legacy is complex, the action asks: is Wilder still the writer whose name we wish to use to honor writers or illustrators for lifetime achievement in literature for children?
Would renaming this award reject our past, or recognize it, or reclaim it? Is there other action regarding the award we should consider? The task force, now being formed, will investigate these questions and bring a recommendation for action to the Board at Annual conference.
“Statement of Appropriate Conduct” for ALSC Institute
As the ALSC Board entertained these discussions and celebrated our award winners at the Youth Media Awards announcements, social media was revealing #metoo moments within the children’s literature industry, grounded by calls for effective statements of appropriate conduct at conferences.
The ALSC Board took immediate action during New Business at the close of our meeting, affirming that ALSC events and spaces are subject to codes of conduct and ethics of the American Library Association. A Statement of Appropriate Conduct at ALSC National Institute was added to ALSC’s website immediately following Midwinter conference, and ALSC is taking steps now to ensure it is effectively communicated and enforced.
Your ALSC Board’s entire agenda and documents from Midwinter are available on Connect, where minutes will be posted soon.—Nina Lindsay, ALSC President
At the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver, I was once again proud and honored to be your friendly neighborhood Division Councilor. While you can review the complete list of Midwinter 2018 documents for details (a list of related Council actions is forthcoming), here’s a brief recap of the Council work I found most significant as an ALSC member and professional librarian:
How Time During Council Sessions Is Used. Due to several concerns arising after Council I on Sunday, February 11, I worked with Council colleagues to craft a statement entitled, “How Time During Council Sessions Is Used,” an excerpt of which I read at Council III on Tuesday, February 13. My hope in making this statement was (and is) to elevate the conversation about how Council can more effectively demonstrate and communicate the purpose, value, and substance of what we do to ALA membership.
Member Engagement Opportunity: Organizational Effectiveness Discussion. During Council II on Monday, February 12, both Councilors and members-at-large were invited to participate in small group discussions about ALA’s organizational effectiveness. The conversation was guided by three main questions:
- What does our ideal organization do?
- What does our ideal organization look like?
- What are three ways we can get there?
These questions helped all session attendees engage in outstanding conversations that facilitated connections between Council members and ALA members not on Council. My small group addressed the idea of ALA as a member-driven organization and focused on the creation of discernible pathways to member engagement. At the end of our time together, we were asked to synthesize our answers to the three questions into a single statement. This was mine:
We will mentor and sponsor library workers at all stages of professional development in order to provide a discernible pathway to member engagement so that we cultivate future generations of leaders to ensure the continued success of libraries, librarianship, and the nation of library users we serve.
The remainder of Council II discussion involved ways to keep this conversation moving within ALA.
Resolution on Adjusting Personal Member Dues (ADOPTED). At Council I on Sunday, February 11, Council voted to adopt the Resolution on Adjusting Personal Member Dues. The details of this resolution will appear on the Spring 2018 ballot for member vote.
ALA Diversity Council Caucus. Due to a revised meeting schedule, I had the opportunity to attend the ALA Diversity Council Caucus, which convened immediately after Council I on Sunday, February 11. This meeting has traditionally been a way for Councilors to share the equity, diversity, and inclusion work taking place across ALA’s divisions, chapters, and round tables, so I was thrilled to speak again about ALSC’s strategic plan and the prominent place diversity has in our upcoming work. During this meeting, I announced the Midwinter ALSC Board action to convene a task force charged with examining the ALSC awards program and beginning with the Wilder Award. (Please see ALSC President Nina Lindsay’s blog post, Board Action Update: The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, for complete details). I received a hearty round of applause at the announcement of this important step for ALSC!
Youth Council Caucus. Immediately after the Diversity Council Caucus on Sunday, February 11, I co-convened the Youth Council Caucus (YCC) with AASL Division Councilor Diane Chen and YALSA Division Councilor Todd Krueger. Our 15 attendees enjoyed a rich opportunity to discuss how we can activate the YCC to advocate more robustly for youth issues within ALA. To that end, we addressed the following topics:
- A report from ALA Washington Office Associate Executive Director Kathi Kromer and ALA Washington office staff requesting feedback from the three youth divisions—AASL, ALSC, and YALSA—on member experiences with Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL), the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and Libraries Ready to Code;
- The responsibility of Councilors to ask tough questions about ALA finances and the overall fiscal health of the organization;
- How to mobilize membership to solicit feedback on key youth issues (which are all issues; and;
- Getting out the Spring 2018 vote, especially in electing youth-minded candidates to Council.
Minutes from the YCC in Denver will be available on ALA Connect in the coming weeks, so be sure to watch the space for details and our plans for moving forward on these action items.
Two Intellectual Freedom Committee Action Items (ADOPTED). During Council III on Tuesday, February 13, members adopted “Net Neutrality: An Intellectual Freedom Issue” and “Visual and Performing Arts in Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights” at the recommendation of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee. (Please refer to the IFC report, 19-19.2 on the complete list of Council documents).
Honorary Membership for Dr. Carla Hayden. After reading many letters of support praising her years of dedicated service to the library profession, Council voted to name Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden as Honorary Member. Dr. Hayden joins an elite group of library workers and advocates awarded this special membership category. Her honorary membership will be conferred at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.
Memorials and Tributes. Memorial resolutions were passed in honor of the following members and advocates: Mae Benne, Edwin Gleaves, Mary Kathleen Hanselmann, Julius Lester, Lora Lander, Gene Dickerson, Henry R. Stewart, Jr. Tributes were passed in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Mountain Plains Library Association (MPLA), Davita Vance-Cooks, and the 20th anniversary of E-Rate.
Council Election Results. Ed Garcia, Tamika Barnes, and Maria McCauley were elected to three-year terms on the ALA Executive Board. AASL Division Councilor Diane Chen was elected to complete the remaining 5 months (February 2018 through June 2018) of Loida Garcia-Febo’s Executive Board Member-at-Large term and was seated immediately on the ALA Executive Board at the 2018 Midwinter Meeting.
Council fora. I participated in two out of three Council fora sessions in Denver, which took place from 8:30-10 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday evening. Traditionally, each forum is an opportunity to talk informally (i.e. no Robert’s Rules of Order) with other Council members, many of whom are seeking feedback on resolutions they plan to bring to an upcoming Council session.
As I’ve mentioned in previous reports, attending three Council sessions and two ALSC Board meetings is just part of my duties as ALSC’s designee to the governing body of ALA. Outside of conferences, I keep up with issues and discussions appearing on the Council discussion list and collaborate with the AASL and YALSA division councilors on potential resolutions affecting youth. I’m always sure to keep the ALSC President and Board of Directors apprised of what’s coming up so we can maintain our commitment to both a knowledge-based decision-making process and the core values of ALSC.
As we look ahead to the 2018 Annual Conference in New Orleans, I’ll be sure to keep you informed about ongoing Council discussions affecting the youth and families we serve. Of course, you can always reach out to me with your questions and feedback about Council and Council-related issues. I welcome your input at any time.—Jenna Nemec-Loise, ALSC Division Councilor
Nominations are now being accepted for the ALSC 2019 ballot
Do you have a colleague who is a well-organized and knowledgeable manager, a skilled and articulate book evaluator, or an intelligent and creative leader in the field of youth services? Do you recognize one or more of these qualities in yourself? We are looking for ALSC members committed to our core values -- Collaboration, Excellence, Inclusiveness, Innovation, Integrity and Respect, Leadership, and Responsiveness -- to serve our association, contribute to the profession, and enhance their career.
The members of the 2019 ALSC Nominating and Leadership Development Committee encourage you to make recommendations for the spring 2019 ballot! Learn more about open positions and find the suggestion form at the 2019 election webpage. Deadline for nominations is Saturday, March 31.
Speaking of ballots...Mailing of the 2018 ALA/ALSC election ballots will begin on March 12, 2018, and run through April 4. Results will be announced on April 11. Find the list of candidates standing for the ALSC 2018 election on the 2018 election webpage.
Information about the ALA election process can be found on the ALA Election page.
Congratulations to the following individuals who reached 25 years of ALSC membership in 2017. We appreciate your commitment to the association and profession. A silver anniversary member is recognized in the ALSC Profile section of each issue of ALSC Matters.
Glynis Brookens, New Jersey
Miriam Lang Budin, New York
Patricia Carleton, Missouri
Catherine Coffman, Arizona
Enid Costley, New Mexico
Diane Janoff, New York
Sue Kimmel, Virginia
Nina Lindsay, California
Regina Mascia, New York
Gail Nordstrom, Minnesota
Suzanne Palm, Minnesota
Joyce Pleune, Michigan
Jennifer Ralston, Maryland
Lucinda Sebald, Michigan
Vicky Smith, Maine
Deborah Taylor, Maryland
Amanda Williams, Texas
Junko Yokota, Illinois
Joanne Zillman, Illinois
Many thanks to the following generous contributors to ALSC. To learn how you can support ALSC, visit our website.
Pura Belpré Award Endowment
Friends of ALSC
Miriam Lang Budin
Kathleen T. Horning
Ginny Moore Kruse