Understanding Media Literacy Engagement, Exploring Cultural Diversity, and Getting Involved with ALSC
In mid-April, ALSC staff and I, along with 10-12 other ALSC members, participated in a national practitioner forum in Chicago, Illinois, with the Erikson Institute and the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) to establish best practices for librarians, teachers, and non-formalized educators related to media literacy engagement in early childhood. This forum is part of a collaborative partnership that ALSC has committed to with the Erikson Institute on the Building an Alliance for Media Literacy in Early Childhood Informal Learning IMLS project. Throughout the two days of the forum, we all worked alongside teachers, out-of-school educators, and other librarians through multiple working groups to discern the skills and practices young children need to engage with both print and digital media. The result of our work will be a forthcoming white paper from the Erikson Institute with suggestions on how caregivers, educators, librarians, and other caring adults can help facilitate media mentorship and engagement. This work builds upon ALSC’s existing strengths in media mentorship while also calling attention to the expanding role of libraries as centers for community engagement of multiple literacies. For those of you interested in the topic of children’s media literacy engagement, you may be interested in joining NAMLE. Membership in the association is free for individuals and members receive their electronic Journal of Media Literacy Education. The 2019 NAMLE Conference will also be in Washington, D.C. this summer immediately following ALA Annual. More information is available on their conference website. I’ll be attending the first day of the conference to share more about ALSC’s work in media mentorship.
Following the meeting at the Erikson Institute, ALSC staff and I attended the 2019 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture in Madison, Wisconsin, hosted by The Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Information School; and co-sponsored by Ho-Chunk Nation and the Friends of the CCBC. Blogger and educator Dr. Debbie Reese, founder of American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) blog, delivered her lecture "An Indigenous Critique of Whiteness in Children's Literature” to a packed room of librarians, educators, and children’s literature enthusiasts. If you were unable to attend the Honor Lecture, it has been captured by and is available via livestream from Wisconsin Public Television. (Note that the actual lecture doesn’t begin until about 12 minutes, 45 seconds once you hit play). Dr. Reese’s lecture provides important information related to Indigenous representation in children’s literature as well as ways that librarians and educators can engage in critical conversations with children around cultural stereotypes in the media they consume.
Speaking of providing opportunities for important conversations around cultural diversity, what did your library do for Día (Children’s Day/Book Day)? Did you know that you don’t have to wait until April 30th to celebrate Día? You can celebrate cultural diversity and bookjoy by integrating Día activities on a regular basis. Día lays the foundation for you to be a diversity advocate and creates a framework to infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion into collections, programs, and services year-round. Why not celebrate Día in your next storytime, program, or book club? The Día website has plenty of diverse STEAM booklists, program suggestions, and other planning resources to jumpstart your imagination!
One way that you can engage your imagination for Día and other programming is to network with other library staff serving children. ALSC is a great place to have conversations about programs, collections, and services where all children feel welcomed and included. You can participate in ALSC in a variety of ways virtually and in person. One great way to connect with other ALSC members as well as ALSC leadership is our virtual Community Forums where we have real-time conversations around important issues facing our profession and the association.
The next ALSC Community Forum will be May 14, 2019 from 12-1 p.m. (Central Time). The forum will be led by the ALSC Nominating and Leadership Development Committee and will cover opportunities for leadership development within ALSC. A link to sign up is available on the Community Forums page. Even if you aren’t interested in an ALSC leadership position at the moment, the community forum is a great way to learn more about how ALSC operates. Whether you are interested in serving in a leadership position or as a committee member for one of our over 60 committees, I strongly encourage you to complete a volunteer form if you haven’t already. Vice President Cecilia McGowan is in the midst of making process committee appointments. Information on the appointment process and timeline, as well as a link to the volunteer form, is available on the Appointments/Volunteering webpage.
Related to volunteering is the ALA election. A huge thank you to everyone who stood for positions on the 2019 ballot and congratulations to all who were elected! Many of these positions begin at the close of ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. and I sincerely thank you in advance for your service.
Annual Conference will be held June 20-25; are you attending? This edition of ALSC Matters contains announcements about various programs, award ceremonies, and other ALSC events at Annual. One meeting you should be sure to put on your calendar is the ALSC Membership Meeting where we will have a facilitated discussion about the importance of bystander intervention and EDI advocates within children’s library services and our Association. I look forward to seeing you there and at my Charlemae Rollins’ President’s Program: Subversive Activism: Creating Social Change through Libraries, Children’s Literature, and Art.—Jamie Campbell Naidoo, 2018-2019 ALSC President
Happy May ALSC Members! Before we know it many of us will be in Washington, DC for Annual Conference. It’s a time for celebrations, trainings, meetings, and a time to work together on our areas of Strategic Action: Diversity & Inclusion, Advocacy, and Learning & Development. In fact, everything we do in ALSC is grounded in and guided by our Strategic Plan. You can be involved in furthering our strategic plan whether you are able to attend conferences or not. How, you may ask? Committee work! Yes, we still need members to fill out volunteer forms for the many committees. Look them over and find a committee where you can learn, grow, and contribute. Being a member on a committee, virtual or in-person, is the best way to develop the leadership skills our division needs to ensure we continue to be a vital, exciting, and substantive organization that supports passionate librarians serving children, families, and caregivers inside and outside the walls of libraries. Please take a moment and volunteer today.
I hope that those of you in DC will attend Leadership & ALSC on Saturday, June 22, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., in the Washington Hilton, International Ballroom East. Each year, part of the meeting is set aside to present on a timely topic for members. This year’s keynote is Media Literacy, Computational Thinking, and Connected Family Learning: Positioning New Media across the Evolving Landscape of Children’s Services, presented by Kathleen Campana, Ph.D.; J. Elizabeth Mills; Marianne Martens, Ph.D.; and Claudia Haines. Wondering how new media can fit into your library programs for children? Learn how your peers are using new media and their attitudes about this trend in the field. Discover how new media as well as other traditional tools can be used to support media literacy, computational thinking, and family learning.
Late this fall and early winter, submissions will be accepted for the majority of the Professional Awards and Grants. One significant award application is open now: ALSC Distinguished Service Award. This award honors an individual member who has made significant contributions to and an impact on library services to children and ALSC. The recipient will be announced at the Leadership & ALSC meeting held during the 2020 Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia and will receive $2,000 and an engraved pin at the ALSC Membership Meeting during the 2020 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Please nominate a distinguished ALSC member today!
I hope to see many of you in Washington DC and to hear from you via email. Thank you for your continuing passionate support of ALSC and our services to children, their families, and caregivers.—Cecilia P. McGowan, ALSC Vice-President/President-Elect
Many thanks to the following generous contributors to Friends of ALSC. To learn how you can support ALSC, visit our website.
Jamie Campbell Naidoo
Sarah Bean Thompson