2015 ALSC Penguin Young Readers Group Award Winners

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has awarded the 2015 Penguin Young Readers Group Award to Emily Bredberg, Lakeside Elementary School, Coppell (Texas) Independent School District; Stephanie Long, Frederick County (Maryland) Public Libraries; Juliet Morefield, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Oregon; and Heather Thompson, Cook Memorial Public Library District, Libertyville, Illinois.
 
The $600 stipend, made possible by an annual gift from Penguin Young Readers Group, enables up to four children’s librarians to attend their first American Library Association’s Annual Conference. Applicants must demonstrate an involvement in ALSC as well as other professional and educational associations. New programming or innovations initiated by the applicants is highly important. Less than 10 years of experience of working directly with children in elementary, middle schools or public libraries is required.
 
Maker spaces and Genius Hours are just two of the ways that Lakeside Elementary School librarian Emily Bredberg in Coppell, Texas engages with her students. Genius Hours, expanded to include all 500 students this year, allow students to explore their passions and curiosities, while the Reader, Writer and Maker Spaces encourage children to explore whatever may capture their imaginations. In collaboration with the art teacher, Bredberg is also helping fourth-graders explore animation with stop-motion software and cameras.
 
Ballet, gardening and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programming are highlights of Stephanie Long’s work with Frederick County Public Libraries in Frederick, Maryland. In addition to running the STEM lab for children from birth to age 18, Long has spearheaded Minecraft programming in her system. She has also started a gardening program, is working with a local gardening organization to expand the garden and programming for next year and has created a ballet storytime incorporating a dance-themed book and 30 minutes of ballet practice for the children. This program has proven so popular that she has presented it throughout her library system.
 
If you visit the park near Multnomah County Library’s Holgate branch during the summer, you might find yourself in the midst of one of Juliet Morefield’s initiatives. In conjunction with a program providing 150 free lunches each day during the summer, all reference staff were asked to participate in a weekly program to share their talents, interests and languages with community members who might not have walked into the Library. Sharing crafts, music and games in the park also brought people into the library to get cards, attend programs and check out materials. She has also adopted class at a local school, meeting with small book groups four to five times a month and fostering a love of books; works with a local high school on a monthly lunchtime book discussion group; and started a summer storytime focusing on children from ages 5 to 7.
 
Inspired by a local children’s museum, Heather Thompson co-developed a series of 18 hands-on stations that can be used individually or as an all-day program. Topics including symmetry, estimating, measuring, and more have proven popular with groups beyond the intended 3-8 year olds and their caregivers, with Libertyville area folks clamoring for more. This dovetails nicely with the Science Explorers programs that have featured demonstrations and projects ranging from hydraulics to DNA extraction – all for children up to sixth grade. Heather has also found the time to tag well over 2,000 titles in their online catalog with their Fountas & Pinnell levels, making it much easier for staff and library users to identify appropriate titles for readers.
 
 “The committee is delighted with the creativity of the programming and the depth of commitment to their communities,” said Susan Poulter, grant administration chair.  “Attending the annual conference will be of great benefit to each recipient.”
 
ALSC, a division of the ALA, is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit ALSC’s website at www.ala.org/alsc.