ALSC Core Competencies: Serving Children with Distinction and Commitment

Children deserve the best in everything, and library service is no different. But what does superior library service to children look like? The ALSC Core Competencies identify the skills, orientations and understandings that children can expect of the dedicated staff in their school and public libraries. We will look at the Core Competencies in depth, applying them to every aspect of our daily work and using them as a framework to define an individual, professional commitment to creating, providing and championing excellent library service for all children.

Learning Outcomes

Learners will:

  • Understand the nine ALSC Core Competencies in terms of how they impact real life library service to children
  • Understand the nine ALSC Core Competencies in terms of their value as advocacy tools
  • Be able to apply the core competencies to their own daily work
  • Have a renewed commitment to excellent library service to children
  • Have a multi-step plan for enhancing their work and creating a better future for children through libraries

Who Should Attend

Children's librarians and library paraprofessional and support staff in public and school libraries who work with young children; Administrators interested in supporting their staff serving children.


Thom Barthelmess is a Lecturer at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University where he serves as Curator of the Butler Children’s Literature Center. He has worked as a Youth Services Librarian, Supervisor, Coordinator and Manager at public libraries in Pittsburgh, PA, Spokane, WA and Austin, TX. He has been an active member of ALSC for over 15 years, serving on committees such as Membership, Notable Recordings for Children, Newbery, and on the Board of Directors, including a term as Association President, 2009-2010. He is a firm believer in purposeful, rich, deliberate library service and sees the ALSC Core Competencies as a terrific tool for building a meaningful program.

If you have specific questions about this course, please contact Thom Barthelmess directly.


How to Register

Registration is now open!  Visit the ALA Registration page to register online, or fill out the registration form and mail it in.  You can also register by calling ALA Member and Customer Service at 800-545-2433 ext. 5.  Course space is limited.

Tech Requirements

Computer, internet connection, web browser.

Credits &/or CEUs Heading

College credit and CEU's are not available at this time.  ALSC's online courses are the equivalent of a one day face-to-face workshop.  A certificate of completion will be sent to each participant upon successful completion for each course taken.

Requirements vary by state and school district regarding certification and continuing education credits.  The decision to grant CEU credits remains entirely up to your state or school district.  If you are in need of credits, check with your state and/or school district before enrolling to determine eligibility.  Some states will review your certificate of completion and course syllabus to determine eligibility.  A PDF copy of the syllabus can be provided to you upon request.


If you have questions about the course material, please contact the course instructor Thom Barthelmess.

If you have questions about registration, please contact ALA's Member and Customer Service Department by email or by calling 800-545-2433 ext. 5.

All other inquiries, including sponsorship questions, can be directed to Jenny Najduch, ALSC program officer, via email or by calling (312) 280-4026.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be made in writing and postmarked or faxed to the ALA/MACS department by no later than seven days before the class starts.  Cancellations will result in a full refund less a $35 processing fee.  NO phone cancellations will be accepted.  Refunds will be processed two weeks after the start of the course.  ALSC reserves the right to cancel a course for reasons including insufficient numbers of students. Cancellations after the course has begun will not be accepted.