ALSC Annual Report
Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC),
a division of the American Library Association (ALA)
Annual Report 2006-2007
Kathleen T. Horning, President
It was a year of firsts for ALSC. It was our first year with a new strategic plan in place, and we are beginning to take a hard look at our division and its activities in light of our new plan. It was also our first year with a new Executive Director who by now has certainly proved herself equal to the task of running the office smoothly, communicating effectively and efficiently with members, and helping us to move the division forward. We see this as an exciting time of new beginnings. I am pleased to share some of the highlights of our year.
An Annual conference in 2006, the ALSC Membership Committee provided eye-catching give-away items, which greatly increased the traffic to the ALSC membership table. Our membership has increased 4% over the past year, which is the benchmark for success set by ALA, and now stands at 4,194 members.
This year at Annual Conference, membership activities include “ALSC 101: Making Connections,” which features a program designed to orient new members to ALSC and to making the most of their conference experience, a new set of giveaways including pens and rubber stamps, and participation in a large booth on the exhibit floor featuring all ALA divisions, offices, and round tables in one location.
ALSC worked with ALA manager of membership promotion John Chrastka to develop an ALSC-specific targeted recruitment mailing. A four-color, double-sided marketing piece has been mailed to 6,000 youth services librarians across the nation who have never before been members of ALA.
ALSC supported an Emerging Leader this year and was very pleased with the pool of outstanding applicants. We selected Roberto Zapata, a children’s librarian at the Houston Public Library. Roberto attended our Division Leadership Meeting at Midwinter, and has been appointed to the 2008 Caldecott Award Committee. Roberto serves on a team of Emerging Leaders charged with making recommendations for improving the ALSC Web site.
A year after the 2007 Newbery Medal winner The Higher Power of Lucky was announced, a story about elementary school librarians banning the book appeared on the front page of the New York Times. Although a follow-up story reported by the Associated Press found that the charges were blown out of proportion, ALA’s Public Information Office received numerous requests for interviews, so we had an unexpectedly busy spring! ALSC worked with AASL and the Office for Intellectual Freedom, as well as PIO, to craft a response to the controversy signed by the Presidents of both divisions. We were gratified to see it printed in the New York Times two weeks after the first article had appeared.
An Awards Eligibility Task Force has been charged to look into our current eligibility requirements for publishers, authors and illustrators, and make recommendations for any changes to the ALSC Board.
ALSC launched the Bookapalooza program this year, which invites ALSC members to apply for a set of 1,000 books, videos, cds, and dvds which were received by the ALSC office as review copies in the preceding year. From the 12 libraries that submitted applications, we selected three: College Gate Elementary School Library (Anchorage, Alaska), Custer County School District Library (Westcliffe, Colo.), and Creswell (Ore.) Library.
Caldecott Medalist and Honoree and Newbery Honoree Kevin Henkes presented the 2007 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture in Lexington, Kentucky, in March. 700 enthusiastic attendees enjoyed Kevin speak about “Books as Shelter: Going Home Again and Again” at the University of Kentucky’s School of Library and Information Science in conjunction with the 39th Annual Anne McConnell Youth Literature Conference. The 2008 Arbuthnot Lecture will be given by Caldecott Medalist David Macaulay, and the location will be announced shortly after the ALA Annual Conference in Washington.
Kids! @ your library Campaign: In November 2006, ALSC launched the Kids! @ your library Campaign to the media and the general public with a family concert and media event at the Boston Public Library featuring Grammy-winning singer/storyteller Bill Harley. The Campaign features the tag line “So Much to See! So Much to Do! @ your library,” an original song about fun at the library written expressly for us by Harley, and stickers, pencils, bookmarks, and posters for sale through ALA Graphics. We augmented the online Tool Kit with a number of additional resources, including games, readers’ theater scripts, and translations of the logo and some of the activities into Spanish. Please visit the Kids! Campaign Web site at http://www.ala.org/kids for more information.
El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day): This year was a watershed for Día. For the first time, we had a national sponsor (Target), which enabled us to provide materials and support for Día celebrations to an unprecedented number of libraries, and to offer mini-grants to eight model Día celebrations, known as “Super Sites.” More than 400 libraries nationwide let us know about their celebrations, and for the first time, Día was celebrated in the U.S. Senate, as Senators Reed (D-RI) and Menendez (D-NJ) read to area children and spoke about the importance of literacy. We continued to provide education sessions, including panel presentations at the ALSC Institute in September and at the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention in November. We augmented the existing Día Web site with a Web-based database of events. Please visit the Día Web site at http://www.ala.org/dia for more information.
Every Child Ready to Read: This joint venture with the Public Library Association (PLA) continues to grow, from 65 training sessions conducted in FY2005, to 71 in FY2006, to 40 at the halfway point of FY2007 (the last date for which we have figures). The sessions are intended to train library staff in training parents to serve effectively as their children’s first teachers. Supporting kits, including scripts and videos, remain extremely popular, and scripts have been translated into a number of languages, including Chinese, French, Korean, Russian, and Spanish. The two divisions have begun to think about the next step, an evaluation of the overall program. Please visit the Every Child Ready to Read Web site at http://www.ala.org/ala/alsc/ECRR/ECRRHomePage.htm or the Every Child Ready to Read Wiki, launched this year, at http://wikis.ala.org/ecrr for more information.
Born to Read: ALA Graphics revamped the Born to Read logo this year; materials featuring the new look are on sale now through the ALA Graphics catalog and will be available at the Annual Conference store in Washington, DC. ALSC is working on ways to revitalize the overall initiative, including updating the valuable information in our Born to Read brochures (available in English and Spanish) and considering a possible partnership with Reach Out and Read that will connect librarians with health-care providers, the focus of the initial Prudential/Born to Read project.
Projects and Partnerships
JumpStart’s Read for the Record, on September 20, 2007, encourages librarians, parents, teachers and children to read Ferdinand the Bull in order to set a new world record for the number of people reading the same book on the same day. ALSC will publicize this event to our members, and will vet the activities provided by JumpStart to make sure they are suitable for a library setting. In return, ALSC logo and boilerplate will appear on JumpStart’s press releases and collateral materials.
Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Day is an annual April 12 initiative to encourage families to designate at least 30 minutes to put aside all distractions and enjoy books together...to make it a special time to "drop everything and read." The birthday of Newbery Award-winning author Beverly Cleary is the official national D.E.A.R. day, and Cleary's most popular book character, Ramona Quimby, is the program's official spokesperson. Again, ALSC publicized this event and vetted materials in return for recognition as a partner on press releasesand on the materials.
The Boys and Girls Clubs Day for Kids (formerly National KidsDay) is a day set aside each year in September to celebrate America's children through the gift of meaningful time with a positive adult. This year, the event took place on September 16, 2006. Through ALSC outreach to members 50 libraries participated and used 115,100 copies of the “Making Memories Guide” from BGC. This guide is updated annually and includes tips provided by ALSC for reading with children. Further information is available on the BGC Web site at http://www.dayforkids.org/
ALSC and Candlewick Press, along with Kate DiCamillo, are partnering to develop a one-time grant to a library with exceptional outreach to underserved youth populations. More information is coming soon about this important opportunity, the winner of which will be announced at Midwinter 2008 in Philadelphia.
The ALSC Oral History Project aims to record insights, memories, and other thoughts on the state of the association and the profession of children’s library service from the rich membership of past ALSC Presidents and Distinguished Service Award winners. This year, eleven of the taped interviews, some of which were conducted a decade ago, were transcribed and will soon be ready to disseminate. It is fascinating and inspiring to read the words of our past leaders; they offer significant insight into leadership possibilities for the future.
Publications and Communications
The ALSC Board voted at Midwinter to make our quarterly newsletter, ALSConnect, available only as an electronic publication, accessible through the “Members Only” section of our website. The first electronic edition will appear in September 2007.
The ALSC Wiki launched this year; please visit it at http://wikis.ala.org/alsc. This Wiki is intended as a forum for ALSC members and leadership to share information about ALSC events and initiatives, and ALSC committees are encouraged to form sub-Wikis focusing on their committee work. The Wiki is interactive, very easy to use, and can be edited by anyone, so we encourage all ALSC members to participate.
ALSC Events and Continuing Education
ALSC presented its biennial Leadership Institute in September 2006. Held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Institute featured keynote speeches by David Wiesner and Susan Campbell Bartoletti, and four educational tracks: technology, library service to children with special needs, ALSC national initiatives (Día and the Kids! Campaign), and author-illustrator visits. The next Institute is scheduled for September 2008 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Charlemae Rollins President’s Program at Annual Conference 2007 features Marian Wright Edelman and is part of ALA’s Auditorium Speaker Series. Ms. Edelman, Founder and President of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF), will address the state of America's children.
ALSC and ASCLA are partnering to present a joint preconference at Annual Conference 2007, “The Underserved 20%: Children, Teens, and Adults with Disabilities.” Featured speakers include Harriet McBryde Johnson, a leading disabilities rights activist, lawyer, and author of Too Late to Die Young and Accidents of Nature; and Dr. Katherine Schneider, founder of ALA’s Schneider Family Book Awards.
ALSC’s Education Committee has created a continuing education needs assessment survey and has distributed it to ALSC members. The committee will review the data and make recommendations concerning topics and delivery systems for future ALSC continuing education programs. After only two weeks, there have been nearly 1,000 responses, which signals this topic is of high interest to our members and others.
We are in the planning stages for the first biennial Bill Morris Seminar, to be held every other year as a preconference Midwinter Workshop, to train members in media evaluation. We hope that this will help us attract and prepare new, highly qualified members on award and evaluation committees. The first one will be held at Midwinter 2008 in Philadelphia.
The Friends of ALSC continues to be an important source of support for ALSC programs; this year the Friends sponsored a lunch at the ALSC Institute in September and will do so again at the ALSC/ASCLA Preconferece in Washington. We have received nearly $8,000 in donations this year at the time of this writing.
ALSC is financially healthy, thanks to diverse revenue sources that allow us to offer a broad spectrum of programs and services. Fiscal year 2007 will close with ALSC in good fiscal shape thanks to dues, seals sales, an array of healthy endowments, support from our corporate partners, and solid sales of products and publications.
I was proud to represent ALSC in two El día de los niños /El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) events, one at the Maricopa County Public Library in Phoenix, Arizona, for the tenth anniversary celebration, and the other at the U.S. Senate event in Washington, D.C. I also fielded many requests from ALA PIO for press interviews on subjects such as politics and children’s books, the 50th anniversary of The Cat in the Hat, intellectual freedom issues with The Higher Power of Lucky, library services for Latino families, and how the Harry Potter series has changed children’s reading.
We are lucky to have a diligent and energetic office staff and a dedicated and enthusiastic membership, who are always willing to volunteer for service on one of ALSC’s 56 committees and task forces. Our Board of Directors is comprised of true visionaries who are able to see the big picture, as they keep service to our members and the children they serve at the forefront of their minds. I leave ALSC in the capable hands of incoming President Jane Marino, who is already taking up the charge of streamlining our organization and seeing to it that the work of our committees is aligned with our strategic plan.
2006-2007 Board of Directors
Kathleen T. Horning, President
Jane B. Marino, Vice President/President-Elect
Ellen G. Fader, Immediate Past-President
Linda Perkins, Councilor
Sue Zeigler, Fiscal Officer
Penny S. Markey
Rose V. Treviño
Diane Foote, Executive Director
Aimee Strittmatter, Deputy Executive Director
Marsha Durrett, Program Coordinator
Linda Mays, Program Officer
Laura Schulte-Cooper, Program Officer
Angela Smith, Administrative Secretary