Professional Tools for Librarians Serving Youth

A list of resources by subject area for librarians serving youth.

Access

Access to library materials should not be restricted for any reason. Unfortunately, children and teens suffer when policies are put in place that hinder their access to all types of information. Several sections of the ALA Web site pertain to access and intellectual freedom and revolve around The Library Bill of Rights. Sections of importance to children and those who serve them are:

Free Access to Libraries for Minors
Access for Children and Young Adults to Nonprint Materials: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (Adopted by ALA Council, 1989/Amended, 2004)
Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks 
Access to Library Resources and Services Regardless of Sex, Gender Identity, or Sexual Orientation
ALSC and Equity of Access Presidential Initiative

"Giving Children Access to Print Materials Improves Reading Performance," June 2010
An article from Reading is Fundamental, highlighting the positive outcomes for children who have an abundance of materials from which to choose.

Advocacy

Everyday Advocacy is a website offering a collection of resources designed to empower librarians and library staff to take action in their libraries, communities, and beyond. Advocacy is so important, but that doesn’t mean it has to be intimidating. Everyday Advocacy highlights ideas and tips that are quick, easy to implement, and highly doable. The site’s goal is to develop powerful advocates for children and library service to children. This go-to resource is for both day-to-day advocacy and crisis advocacy, providing resources that address a variety of advocacy circumstances.

Check out helpful information and resources posted by the Advocacy & Legislation Committee on the ALSC Blog.

How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities. This report is part of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, which is exploring the role of libraries in the lives of individuals and communities. 

In 2014, the ALSC Emerging Leader Team E examined methods of appraising and communicating the full range of youth services and the resulting outputs and outcomes. Their final report, entitled Ask, Assess, Advocate: Demonstrating the Value of Library Youth Services, was submitted to the ALSC Board of Directors and available for download as a PDF.

Book Lists

Through its many book lists, ALSC promotes literacy, reading for enjoyment, and books.

Competencies for librarians serving children in public libraries

Children's librarian must do more than simply provide age-appropriate service. Effective library service for children entails a broad range of experience and professional skills.  ALSC's Competencies seek to define the role of the librarian serving children.  Use the Competencies  to develop job descriptions for your open positions or as a training resource with your youth services staff.

Common Core State Standards

Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been adopted in a majority of states, and librarians and teachers are scrambling for resources and knowledge to embrace the new paradigm. In response, ALSC's School-Age Programs and Services Committee has compiled a list of essential resources (articles, blogs, websites), which provide a starting point for becoming more familiar with CCSS in order to gain confidence in serving the educational community.

During the spring of 2014, the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Task Force on Common Core developed a toolkit and webinar on the common core and the public librarian.

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)

In 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was passed as a way to protect children from the harmful effects of lead. One of the consequences of its passage was concerns raised about library books.

In-depth and up-to-date information from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission
ALSC's last CPSIA Update -- 6/1/2009

Copyright

Cornell University Copyright Information
Current copyright information for all ages.

What Youth Librarians Need to Know about Copyright
Information about copyright issues for children's librarians.

Digital Media

Digital Media Resources
A go-to list of current articles, blog posts, and websites, about iPads, tablets, eBooks, apps, and more, for children's librarians navigating their way through the evolving digital landscape.

Diversity

The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children 
The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children white paper explores the critical role libraries play in helping children make cross-cultural connections and develop skills necessary to function in a culturally pluralistic society. This white paper, written for the Association for Library Service to Children by Jamie Campbell Naidoo, PhD, was adopted by ALSC's Board of Directors on April 5, 2014.

Early literacy

The Importance of Play in Early Literacy
As part of the partnership with LEGO® DUPLO®, ALSC is committed to examining the role of play in early literacy.  This web resource provides programming ideas, a librarian toolkit, and a white paper that addresses the importance of play in the lives of young children. 

Ebooks and digital content

Ebook Resources for Libraries
Compiled by the ALSC Children & Technology Committee and presented at the 2013 ALA Midwinter Meeting.

Slides and audio from Sue Polanka's Leadership and ALSC presentation at the 2013 ALA Midwinter Meeting.

Intellectual freedom

Intellectual freedom is the right of all individuals to read, view, or listen to whatever materials they choose and to speak and write the beliefs and opinions they hold. Intellectual freedom is the basis of democracy and is the core concept upon which libraries are built.

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that these basic policies should guide their services, as outlined in the Library Bill of Rights.

ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom 
Established December 1, 1967, this office is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom. This site includes contact information for OIF staff. Do not hesitate to contact this office; the OIF works for you, as a paying member of ALA and its divisions!  Also of interest in this section is basic information, publications, policies, statements and guidelines which can be found in Intellectual Freedom.  

Check out resources and helpful information posted by ALSC's Intellectual Freedom Committee on the ALSC Blog.

Introduction to YALSA's Intellectual Freedom Committee
Resources from the committee, available on the YALSA blog. 

Guidelines, policies, and other materials to help librarians and others deal with challenges can be found at:

Challenges to books and other library materials 
Coping with Challenges: Kids and Libraries 
Support for dealing with or reporting challenges to library materials

What You Can Do and How to Organize
Celebrate the freedom to read, seek ways to combat censorship, and join other advocates of intellectual freedom. 

Kids! Know Your Rights (PDF)
A publication created for children and young people, introducing concepts central to intellectual freedom and the library's role in protecting First Amendment Rights.

Expurgation of Library Materials
The expurgation of library materials is a violation of the Library Bill of Rights. Expurgation as defined by this interpretation includes any deletion, excision, alteration, editing, or obliteration of any part(s) of books or other library resources by the library, its agent, or its parent institution (if any). 

Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
Contains information for librarians implementing CIPA filtering at their libraries, including a legislative history of CIPA.

Privacy Resources for Librarians, Library Users, and Families
Educational resources for parents and children.

Junior Maker Space

The Association for Library Service to Children is happy to be working with LEGO Systems, Inc. to bring Junior Maker Spaces to libraries across the country. This project will focus on giving children ages 4 to 6 areas to make and create in their local libraries.

LIS educators

ALSC offers the following resources to professors of library and information science that will help classes and students dig deeper into the field of library service to children.

Mentoring

ALSC Mentoring Program
The ALSC Mentoring Program matches mentors and mentees for one year of collaboration. The program, which is open to members and non-members, is intended to help build a new collection of leaders in the field of library service to children. 

Partnerships

School-Public Library Cooperative Programs
The AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation compiled a list highlighting past successful partnerships between school & public libraries. 

Programming & services for youth

The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children 
The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children white paper explores the critical role libraries play in helping children make cross-cultural connections and develop skills necessary to function in a culturally pluralistic society. This white paper, written for the Association for Library Service to Children by Jamie Campbell Naidoo, PhD, was adopted by ALSC's Board of Directors on April 5, 2014.

Kick Start Your Programs for School-Age Kids
A wealth of programming ideas for school-age children from public and school librarians compiled by ALSC's School-Age Programs and Services Committee. (2012)

Public awareness

Kids! @ your library
ALSC's 2006-2010 public awareness campaign generated a tool kit filled with resources to help librarians position their library as a valuable and important community center for kids and their families. Although the campaign is no longer active, many of the tool kit resources are still relevant and valuable and can be found here.

Research

ALSC committees were asked to identify topics/issues on which they would like to see research done, the results of which could assist and/or guide them in their work. This is a summary of responses [PDF: 37 KB], intended to provide potential researchers and students with ideas for relevant, practical research topics. Please note: This list will be updated on an annual basis during the summer months.

School Age Programs and Services

Check out resources and helpful information posted by the School Age Programs and Service Committee on the ALSC Blog

Service to Special Population Children

Check out helpful information and resources posted by the Library Service to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers Committee on the ALSC Blog.

State and local conferences

ALSC Roadshow
ALSC provides funding to members who represent the division at local and state conferences through a program called ALSC Roadshow. Members can apply for funding by presenting a program, hosting a social event or staffing a booth. 

Summer reading

Summer reading is an integral part of most public libraries. But what's the importance of these programs? Find out more below.

Dominican University study on the impact of summer reading programs
The Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University received a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for a three-year research study (2006-2009) to answer the question: do public library summer reading programs impact student achievement? 

The Importance of Summer Reading: Public Library Summer Reading Programs and Learning
This research paper and bibliography was created by the New York State Library and focuses on the advantages of reading over the summer months, access to books, time spent reading, and use of public libraries during the summer months.

Technology

Children are bombarded with choices about where to get their information. Librarians and parents can help them find the best materials by accessing some of the following resources, as well as informing them about the way children access the Internet.   

Technology Statement
ALSC's technology statement affirms its commitment in supporting children and parents in their use of technology.

Check out resources and helpful information posted by the Children and Technology Committee on the ALSC Blog.

Web Resources about the Internet & Technology

Navigating the 'Net with Your Kids (PDF) 
An informative PDF brochure for parents (downloadable).

Children and the Internet: Policies that Work
A collaborative electronic publication from ALSC and the Public Library Association

Guides to Cyberspace for Parents and Children
Links to resources that have useful information for librarians and parents about online safety.