ALSC Matters! | February 2018, Vol. 16, no. 1

Officially Speaking | ALSC Voices | Bright Ideas | Getting Together | Hear Ye! Hear Ye! 

Officially Speaking 

ALSC Board Actions: Midwinter Update

Your ALSC Board had a busy Midwinter conference tackling some major issues, some highlighted in advance in my blog post earlier this month. Each of these matters will continue to evolve over the course of the year.

Every Child Ready to Read, and Next Steps for Early Literacy

Following a review of the IMLS funded report Bringing Literacy Home: An Evaluation of the Every Child Ready to Read Program (2017), ALSC examined the Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) product as a strategic initiative, considering the necessity of further development of the product in formal partnership with PLA.

We recognized that ECRR is now foundational to libraries’ work in early literacy, and is understood today as a practice, not just a toolkit. This is exactly what we intended to achieve with this initiative, and while there are opportunities to develop and extend its practices further, we determined that the constraints of the formal ECRR partnership no longer best serve our strategic effectiveness in early literacy.

Therefore, the board voted to “conclude Every Child Ready to Read as an active initiative, retaining the existing product and identifying or establishing working group(s) to preserve the five practices and to make recommendations on current areas of need in early literacy.” We will craft a new MOU with PLA to focus on the maintenance of the existing product and communication related to different, but related programs and services. The MOU will allow for flexibility within each organization to continue to develop new programs and services related to but different from the ECRR framework. Both organizations will look to the oversight committee (which will continue through its current obligations) for recommendations on where and how to best carry this work forward. We look forward to continuing to work together collaboratively, if informally, as we investigate how to go deeper and reach further with what we’ve learned together.

Awards Program in Context of Strategic Plan, and examination of The Wilder Award

As reported during conference, the Board recognized that we must face and investigate the implications of having awards named for individuals whose currently recognized place in the canon of children’s literature is not consistent with our organizational values and goals. The Board voted unanimously Saturday to establish a task force to explore the ALSC awards program within the context of our core values and our strategic plan, beginning with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award.

There is no doubt that Wilder, as the first recipient of the award named for her, has made “a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.” However, recognizing that this legacy is complex, the action asks: is Wilder still the writer whose name we wish to use to honor writers or illustrators for lifetime achievement in literature for children?

Would renaming this award reject our past, or recognize it, or reclaim it? Is there other action regarding the award we should consider? The task force, now being formed, will investigate these questions and bring a recommendation for action to the Board at Annual conference.

“Statement of Appropriate Conduct” for ALSC Institute

As the ALSC Board entertained these discussions and celebrated our award winners at the Youth Media Awards announcements, social media was revealing #metoo moments within the children’s literature industry, grounded by calls for effective statements of appropriate conduct at conferences.

The ALSC Board took immediate action during New Business at the close of our meeting, affirming that ALSC events and spaces are subject to codes of conduct and ethics of the American Library Association. A Statement of Appropriate Conduct at ALSC National Institute was added to ALSC’s website immediately following Midwinter conference, and ALSC is taking steps now to ensure it is effectively communicated and enforced.

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Your ALSC Board’s entire agenda and documents from Midwinter are available on Connect, where minutes will be posted soon.—Nina Lindsay, ALSC President

Division Councilor's Report - Midwinter 2018 

At the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver, I was once again proud and honored to be your friendly neighborhood Division Councilor. While you can review the complete list of Midwinter 2018 documents for details (a list of related Council actions is forthcoming), here’s a brief recap of the Council work I found most significant as an ALSC member and professional librarian:

How Time During Council Sessions Is Used. Due to several concerns arising after Council I on Sunday, February 11, I worked with Council colleagues to craft a statement entitled, “How Time During Council Sessions Is Used,” an excerpt of which I read at Council III on Tuesday, February 13. My hope in making this statement was (and is) to elevate the conversation about how Council can more effectively demonstrate and communicate the purpose, value, and substance of what we do to ALA membership.

Member Engagement Opportunity: Organizational Effectiveness Discussion. During Council II on Monday, February 12, both Councilors and members-at-large were invited to participate in small group discussions about ALA’s organizational effectiveness. The conversation was guided by three main questions:

  • What does our ideal organization do?
  • What does our ideal organization look like?
  • What are three ways we can get there?

These questions helped all session attendees engage in outstanding conversations that facilitated connections between Council members and ALA members not on Council. My small group addressed the idea of ALA as a member-driven organization and focused on the creation of discernible pathways to member engagement. At the end of our time together, we were asked to synthesize our answers to the three questions into a single statement. This was mine:

We will mentor and sponsor library workers at all stages of professional development in order to provide a discernible pathway to member engagement so that we cultivate future generations of leaders to ensure the continued success of libraries, librarianship, and the nation of library users we serve.

The remainder of Council II discussion involved ways to keep this conversation moving within ALA.

Resolution on Adjusting Personal Member Dues (ADOPTED). At Council I on Sunday, February 11, Council voted to adopt the Resolution on Adjusting Personal Member Dues. The details of this resolution will appear on the Spring 2018 ballot for member vote.

ALA Diversity Council Caucus. Due to a revised meeting schedule, I had the opportunity to attend the ALA Diversity Council Caucus, which convened immediately after Council I on Sunday, February 11. This meeting has traditionally been a way for Councilors to share the equity, diversity, and inclusion work taking place across ALA’s divisions, chapters, and round tables, so I was thrilled to speak again about ALSC’s strategic plan and the prominent place diversity has in our upcoming work. During this meeting, I announced the Midwinter ALSC Board action to convene a task force charged with examining the ALSC awards program and beginning with the Wilder Award. (Please see ALSC President Nina Lindsay’s blog post, Board Action Update: The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, for complete details). I received a hearty round of applause at the announcement of this important step for ALSC!

Youth Council Caucus. Immediately after the Diversity Council Caucus on Sunday, February 11, I co-convened the Youth Council Caucus (YCC) with AASL Division Councilor Diane Chen and YALSA Division Councilor Todd Krueger. Our 15 attendees enjoyed a rich opportunity to discuss how we can activate the YCC to advocate more robustly for youth issues within ALA. To that end, we addressed the following topics:

  • A report from ALA Washington Office Associate Executive Director Kathi Kromer and ALA Washington office staff requesting feedback from the three youth divisions—AASL, ALSC, and YALSA—on member experiences with Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL), the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and Libraries Ready to Code;
  • The responsibility of Councilors to ask tough questions about ALA finances and the overall fiscal health of the organization;
  • How to mobilize membership to solicit feedback on key youth issues (which are all issues; and;
  • Getting out the Spring 2018 vote, especially in electing youth-minded candidates to Council.

Minutes from the YCC in Denver will be available on ALA Connect in the coming weeks, so be sure to watch the space for details and our plans for moving forward on these action items.

Two Intellectual Freedom Committee Action Items (ADOPTED). During Council III on Tuesday, February 13, members adopted “Net Neutrality: An Intellectual Freedom Issue” and “Visual and Performing Arts in Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights” at the recommendation of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee. (Please refer to the IFC report, 19-19.2 on the complete list of Council documents).

Honorary Membership for Dr. Carla Hayden. After reading many letters of support praising her years of dedicated service to the library profession, Council voted to name Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden as Honorary Member. Dr. Hayden joins an elite group of library workers and advocates awarded this special membership category. Her honorary membership will be conferred at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.

Memorials and Tributes. Memorial resolutions were passed in honor of the following members and advocates: Mae Benne, Edwin Gleaves, Mary Kathleen Hanselmann, Julius Lester, Lora Lander, Gene Dickerson, Henry R. Stewart, Jr. Tributes were passed in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Mountain Plains Library Association (MPLA), Davita Vance-Cooks, and the 20th anniversary of E-Rate.

Council Election Results. Ed Garcia, Tamika Barnes, and Maria McCauley were elected to three-year terms on the ALA Executive Board. AASL Division Councilor Diane Chen was elected to complete the remaining 5 months (February 2018 through June 2018) of Loida Garcia-Febo’s Executive Board Member-at-Large term and was seated immediately on the ALA Executive Board at the 2018 Midwinter Meeting.

Council fora. I participated in two out of three Council fora sessions in Denver, which took place from 8:30-10 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday evening. Traditionally, each forum is an opportunity to talk informally (i.e. no Robert’s Rules of Order) with other Council members, many of whom are seeking feedback on resolutions they plan to bring to an upcoming Council session.

As I’ve mentioned in previous reports, attending three Council sessions and two ALSC Board meetings is just part of my duties as ALSC’s designee to the governing body of ALA. Outside of conferences, I keep up with issues and discussions appearing on the Council discussion list and collaborate with the AASL and YALSA division councilors on potential resolutions affecting youth. I’m always sure to keep the ALSC President and Board of Directors apprised of what’s coming up so we can maintain our commitment to both a knowledge-based decision-making process and the core values of ALSC.

As we look ahead to the 2018 Annual Conference in New Orleans, I’ll be sure to keep you informed about ongoing Council discussions affecting the youth and families we serve. Of course, you can always reach out to me with your questions and feedback about Council and Council-related issues. I welcome your input at any time.—Jenna Nemec-Loise, ALSC Division Councilor

Election Update: 2018 and 2019 ALSC Ballots

Nominations are now being accepted for the ALSC 2019 ballot

Do you have a colleague who is a well-organized and knowledgeable manager, a skilled and articulate book evaluator, or an intelligent and creative leader in the field of youth services? Do you recognize one or more of these qualities in yourself? We are looking for ALSC members committed to our core values -- Collaboration, Excellence, Inclusiveness, Innovation, Integrity and Respect, Leadership, and Responsiveness -- to serve our association, contribute to the profession, and enhance their career.

The members of the 2019 ALSC Nominating and Leadership Development Committee encourage you to make recommendations for the spring 2019 ballot! Learn more about open positions and find the suggestion form at the 2019 election webpage. Deadline for nominations is Saturday, March 31.

Speaking of ballots...Mailing of the 2018 ALA/ALSC election ballots will begin on March 12, 2018, and run through April 4. Results will be announced on April 11. Find the list of candidates standing for the ALSC 2018 election on the 2018 election webpage.

Information about the ALA election process can be found on the ALA Election page

Honoring Our Silver Anniversary Members

Congratulations to the following individuals who reached 25 years of ALSC membership in 2017. We appreciate your commitment to the association and profession. A silver anniversary member is recognized in the ALSC Profile section of each issue of ALSC Matters.

Glynis Brookens, New Jersey
Miriam Lang Budin, New York
Patricia Carleton, Missouri
Catherine Coffman, Arizona
Enid Costley, New Mexico
Diane Janoff, New York
Sue Kimmel, Virginia
Nina Lindsay, California
Regina Mascia, New York
Gail Nordstrom, Minnesota
Suzanne Palm, Minnesota
Joyce Pleune, Michigan
Jennifer Ralston, Maryland
Lucinda Sebald, Michigan
Vicky Smith, Maine
Deborah Taylor, Maryland
Amanda Williams, Texas
Junko Yokota, Illinois
Joanne Zillman, Illinois

Thank You to Our Donors!

Many thanks to the following generous contributors to ALSC. To learn how you can support ALSC, visit our website

Pura Belpré Award Endowment

Alan Bern
Therese Bigelow
Maria Gentle
Jean Hatfield
Linda Pavonetti
Linda Perkins
Ed Spicer

Friends of ALSC

President's Circle

Peggy Sullivan

Gold Circle

Anne Britton
Kathleen Odean
Ed Spicer

Silver Circle

Maria Gentle
Andrew Medlar
Linda Perkins
Judy Zuckerman

Notables Circle

Therese Bigelow
Cindy Boatfield
Christine Caputo
Dudley Carlson
Julie Corsaro
Ann Crewdson
Bruce Farrar
Mary Fellows
Barbara Genco
Debra Gold
Stephanie Goodwin
Paula Holmes
Amy Kellman
Amy Koester
Nina Lindsay
Pat Mora
Linda Pavonetti
Elizabeth Poe
Connie Pottle
Pat Scales
Jo Schofield
Vicky Smith
Wendy Stephens
Kathryn Weisman

Friends Circle

Viki Ash
Vicki Bartz
Alan Bern
Miriam Lang Budin
Jane Folger
Elisa Gall
Lolly Gepson
Adrienne Gillespie
Kathleen T. Horning
Kathleen Isaacs
Ginny Moore Kruse
Karen MacPherson
Phyllis Mattill
Janet Pinotti
Connie Rockman
Marion Rutsch
Amy Sears
Barbara Sippel
Lisa Soper
Bethany Vangrin
Mary Voors
Bina Williams

ALSC Voices 

ALSC Profile

Celebrating colleagues with 25 years or more of ALSC membership

Diane Janoff
Senior Children's Librarian
Queens Library, Poppenhusen Community Library, College Point, New York
ALSC membership: 25 years

Where did you attend library school?

I went to library school at Pratt Institute.

What was your very first library position?

My first library position was as a volunteer storytime leader on Saturdays at my local branch in Astoria, Queens, which confirmed my interest in children's librarianship.

What do you love most about your current job?

I love getting to know the kids and creating a welcoming place where they can come after school. I also enjoy seeing my purchases go out.

What's your favorite season? Why?

Fall, because it's not too hot or too cold, the leaves' colors are beautiful, and I can wear turtlenecks!

What's your favorite book of all time?

A Wrinkle in Time

What would you do if you won the lottery?

If I won the lottery I'd resign, buy a pied-a-terre in Manhattan, stay up late, read books, and drink coffee all day. Also apply for an awards committee!

What is the best compliment you ever received?

Having a child call me their favorite librarian.

If you could close your eyes and be anywhere on earth when they opened, where would you be? Why?

If I could be anywhere, it would be in Greece, where I've longed to go since studying Greek history in college.

Bright Ideas 

Group Summer Reading Program

Last fall, Melanie Hornbeck Esp, Outreach Librarian at the Laramie County Library System (LCLS), presented “Bridging the Gap: Inclusive Summer Reading for Daycares and Preschools” at the Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) 2017 Conference in St. George, Utah. The workshop addressed the difficulties that daycares face when participating in summer reading and highlighted the successful Group Summer Reading program at LCLS.

Group Summer Reading was introduced at LCLS in the summer of 2015 as a way to help daycares, summer schools, and other groups of children participate in the summer reading program despite limited transportation. The new program allows daycares and schools to sign up as a group; complete summer reading together; and have books and other prizes delivered to them onsite. Thanks to the simplified registration and completion system, over 35 groups participated in, and more than 1,700 children received books during, the 2015 Group Summer Reading program.

LCLS provides many services to daycares and preschools throughout the year. Every month, storytellers from the Youth and Outreach Services (YOS) division, including Hornbeck Esp, visit more than 40 daycares in Laramie County. With a traveling cart filled with books, puppets, and flannelboard stories, they perform storytime to more than 1,000 children each month. Whether visiting an in-home daycare, childcare center, church preschool, or government-funded facility like HeadStart, the children are always excited to hear the words, “The library’s here!”

While providing services to these children is incredibly valuable, it is just as important to reach their childcare providers. Each licensed daycare in Wyoming is required to complete a certain number of STARS (Statewide Training and Resource System) hours each year, and now they can receive continuing education credits at the Laramie County Library System. Hornbeck Esp began teaching and coordinating childcare provider workshops in 2013 as a way to help these providers earn STARS hours. By building relationships with other STARS trainers and accredited professionals, the library has hosted workshops on everything from fire safety to SIDS awareness, sign language basics to early literacy tips. These workshops have become a lifeline for many childcare providers as they work to maintain their license.

For more details on daycare and preschool outreach in Laramie County, and on what you can do to reach these groups in your community, contact Hornbeck Esp at (307) 773-7229 or by email.—Melanie Hornbeck Esp, Outreach Librarian, Laramie County Library System

Librarians Respond during California North Bay Wildfire

In the early hours of Sunday, October 8, one of the deadliest fires in California history ignited. At the time of this writing, 40 people perished, 182,000 acres burned, and 57,000 homes and businesses were destroyed. People had only seconds to escape their burning homes with just the clothes—in many cases pajamas—on their backs.

In the days that followed, neighboring areas set up evacuation centers, including Marin County’s Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium. Immediately, the community stepped forward with donations so numerous that donors soon had to be turned away.

Jill Harris, the supervising librarian of Children’s Services at San Rafael Public Library, knew that need went beyond material goods. After all, children had just lost their homes and were living with uncertainty in unnatural surroundings. She immediately reached out to the disaster effort, and in the following days, librarians Joshua Alperin, Jill Harris, Margaret Stawowy, and library assistant Alejandra Barrios stepped in to help children regain a sense of safety with nurturing storytimes, crafts, and a magic show by Mike Della Penna.

The sense of community and caring was strongly evident as parents, disaster workers, librarians, and others joined together to give a sense of fun, safety, and caring to the youngest fire victims. Children enjoyed projects such as button-making and pipe cleaner animals, and listened to stories and sang songs in English and Spanish. In addition, books and simple craft items were also distributed.

Children need more than a change of clothing to feel safe after a disaster on a magnitude with the North Bay fires. Libraries can and do provide the nurturing of books, music, and creativity, and librarians are among the first to step up and provide it.—Margaret Stawowy, children’s librarian, San Rafael (California) Public Library

STEAM Teens in Residence

Looking for ways at the Nevada County Community Library to engage teens and build their skills and resumes over the summer, we came up with a Teens-in-Residence program idea. Our summer reading theme was “Full STEAM Ahead,” so we created weeklong spots to feature a Scientist-in-Residence, Technologist-in-Residence, Engineer-in-Residence, Artist-in-Residence, and Mathematician-in-Residence.

A simple application was created, asking teens to provide their name, a little about themselves (their dreams for the future, their passions, etc.), and what they wanted to display at the library. Teens could apply to either display their work or host a program for fellow teens or younger children. The library advertised the program through the schools, social media, flyers, and the Teen Advisory Group.

We received five applicants: two for Artist-in-Residence and one for each of the other categories, except technology; no Technologist-in-Residence applications were received. As winners of the ALSC Baker and Taylor Summer Reading Grant, we had money to work with, and gave the teens $50 each for supplies. All five participants opted to display their work, which resulted in five wonderful weeks of STEAM creations installed at our large branches. Work included: a math project that used picture books to pose math problems, and those who submitted answers were entered into a prize drawing; an art show of pencil drawings and acrylic paintings inspired by The Outsiders, Titanic, and other books; a bridge built in an Engineering class accompanied by a sign with background information and an explanation of the work; a science project, testing common household products, that previously had appeared in a local STEAM Expo; and a Snoopy acrylic painting.

We publicized the teens’ work in a press release and with photos on our social media. We hope to continue the project and do more advance outreach to build the program. Next time we also plan to keep the teens’ work up for longer than a week, which seemed to go by so fast last summer.—Lisa Nowlain, youth librarian, Nevada County (California) Community Library

Getting Together 

Northern California Librarians to Meet in April

The Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California (ACL) will host its annual Institute at the San Francisco Main Public Library on Friday, April 13, 2018.

Beyond the Binary: Embracing Diverse Gender Identities will be a day-long symposium on the topic of gender, with special guest Lesléa Newman speaking on depictions of gender in children’s literature. The day will also focus on gender development, the messages that young people get through the media about gender, how school and public librarians can create safe spaces for gender nonconforming youth, and other important conversations. To keep up on developing details, visit the ACL website.

Reserve Your Place at the 2018 Arbuthnot Lecture

Writer and poet Naomi Shihab Nye will deliver the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, titled "Refreshments Will Be Served: Our Lives of Reading and Writing, on Saturday, April 28, at the Western Washington University Performing Arts Center in Bellingham, Washington. The lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is requested. To register, visit the Whatcom County Library System website

For more information about the Arbuthnot Lecture and Nye, please visit the 2018 Arbuthnot webpage.

Sutherland Lecture to Feature Williams-Garcia

Award-winning author Rita Williams-Garcia will deliver the 2018 Zena Sutherland Lecture, titled "Look Here. Not There.," on May 4, 7:30 p.m., at the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago. Stay tuned to the Chicago Public Library website for more details as they become available. More information will be posted online in mid-March. 

The Sutherland Lecture honors the late Zena Sutherland, professor emeritus and retired editor of the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. The annual event is co-sponsored by the Chicago Public Library, the Sutherland Lecture Committee, and the University of Chicago.

Picturebook Research Symposium Coming in August

The Kent State University School of Information will host the 2nd biannual Marantz Picturebook Research Symposium on August 5 to 7, 2018, at the University.

"Comics and the Graphic Narrative: The Future of the Movement” is the theme of this year's event. While superheroes are most closely associated with comics and graphic novels, the format spans all genres and introduces the reader to diverse stories and characters focusing on political, historical, societal, cultural, and popular issues. Plenary addresses will include original, interdisciplinary research in areas related to comics and graphic novels and will feature comics creators. Breakout sessions, exhibits, posters, and panels will further expand on the topic.

Registration information and complete event details are on the Kent State website.

Introducing Breakfast for Bill Panelists, ALSC National Institute

ALSC announced a very special Breakfast for Bill scheduled for the 2018 ALSC National Institute. The keynote celebration will include Margarita Engle, Raúl Colón, and Mike Curato. The National Institute takes place September 27-29, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The noteworthy panel includes award-winning Latina author Margarita Engle, and two of her prestigious illustrators, Raúl Colón and Mike Curato. Engle collaborated with Curato on All the Way to Havana and also with Colón on Miguel’s Brave Knight. These artists will be discussing their latest works and the harmony of the author/illustrator relationship. The event is sponsored by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Peachtree Publishers, and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group.

The breakfast honors the memory of William C. Morris, former vice-president and director of library promotion at HarperCollins Children’s Books by bringing librarians together with children’s book creators. Morris was a long time ALSC member and friend, recipient of the first ALSC Distinguished Service Award, and an advocate for children’s librarians and literature.

The Breakfast for Bill event is free to all individuals registered for the 2018 ALSC National Institute. All special events are included in the cost of registration, including Thursday dinner, Friday breakfast, and Saturday breakfast, among other events. For more information and registration details, please visit the National Institute webpage.

Other keynotes include Grace Lin, Brian Selznick, and David Serlin. For more information, visit the main presenters page.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! 

Member News

ALSC member Marcia Kochel, Druid Hills Middle School, Decatur, Georgia, received a 2017 I Love My Librarian Award. Each year, the award recognizes the accomplishments of ten exceptional public, school, college, or university librarians. Each librarian receives a $5,000 cash award, a plaque, and a travel stipend to attend the awards ceremony and reception in New York City, hosted by Carnegie Corporation of New York. Congratulations, Marcia!

Candice Mack, Los Angeles Public Library, and Jenna Nemec-Loise, North Shore Country Day School, Winnetka, Illiois, were selected to participate in the inaugural ALA Policy Corps, which aims to develop a cadre of experts with deep and sustained knowledge of national public policies in areas key to ALA’s strategic goals. Thank you, Jenna and Candice, for your commitment to advocacy work for ALA and the profession.

Tess Prendergast, who most recently served on the Diversity in ALSC Task Force and the 2016 Caldecott committee, recently completed her doctorate degree in literacy education from the University of British Columbia. Her doctoral work explored early literacy in the lives of children with disabilities with a focus on the role of children's librarians. Tess continues to work as a children's librarian, teaches youth services courses as an adjunct professor, and is exploring various options for her next research project.

ALSC Virtual Institute Sessions Avaialable

In September 2016, ALSC hosted its first Virtual Institute, an online version of the biennial in-person National Institute. In case you missed it, on-demand recordings of each session are now available for purchase. Among the sessions available are: "Welcome to Reading: Amp Up Your Services for Beginning Readers," "Opening Access to Public Libraries for Children with Disabilities," and "STEM-Rich and Library Broke: Crash Course in Funding Innovative STEM Children's Programs."

The archived sessions are $25 for individuals, $195 for groups.

Spring and Summer Online Courses from ALSC

ALSC's Spring and Summer course offerings include the following:

  • Postmodern Picturebooks: Changing Minds for Life (available Spring & Summer)
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs Made Easy (Spring & Summer)
  • Storytelling with Puppets (Spring & Summer)
  • Making Your Makerspace Work (Summer only)
  • The Newbery Medal: Past, Present and Future (Summer only)

Spring courses begin April 2 and run four or five weeks; summer courses begin July 9 and run four, five, or six weeks depending on the class.

For course descriptions and registration information, visit ALSC's online courses page.

New Great Stories Club Opportunity

ALA is launching a new collaboration that will bring an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion lens to the Great Stories Club (GSC) project. A reading and discussion program for underserved teen populations managed by ALA's Public Programs Office, the GSC has reached more than 30,000 young people since 2006. Its model trains librarians to lead literary discussion programs in juvenile detention centers, alternative schools, and other organizations, on themes relevant to young people who are struggling with a variety of complex personal issues.

Thanks to a $1.1 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, ALA will soon launch the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Great Stories Club (TRHT GSC). ALA has been working with the Kellogg Foundation's Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation efforts since 2016. This national process is designed to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historical and contemporary effects of racism.

In addition to participating in a GSC discussion series, 5,000 teenage participants in TRHT GSC will have the opportunity to participate in programs with a racial healing practitioner. The initiative will also bring racial healing sessions to library professionals at ALA conferences. More about the initiative is available in a press release

Any questions about TRHT GSC can be directed to Lainie Castle, PPO project director. 

Online Resource Center on Child/Family Development

Familiar with the Consortium for Science-Based Information on Children, Youth and Families? The group offers a web-based resource center--InfoAboutKids.org. The website, launched in 2016, promotes healthy child and family development by highlighting credible (science-based) information for those who care for, or work with, children. The site provides links to other well-established, trustworthy websites for parents, caregivers, educators, and health professionals. Monthly blogs summarize science-based information on timely topics. The site is updated quarterly.

Resources to Get, and Keep, Kids Reading

The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance (NCBLA) has launched its GIRLS READ | GUYS READ web initiative, a creative collaboration with WETA Public Television/Reading Rockets, designed to expand the audience for its two author-illustrator panel discussions hosted in 2017: "Celebrating Heroines in Fact and Fiction" and "How to Get and Keep Boys Reading." 

The goal of GIRLS READ | GUYS READ is to provide in one, easy-to-access location, the video content from both events, as well as extensive education materials that complement and expand the event conversations, which focused on how authors, illustrators, and all adults who live and work with young people can create and empower life-long readers who choose to read beyond perceived gender barriers and their own comfort zones to ultimately explore an unlimited range of characters, experiences, plots, and topics.

Education materials include guides featuring discussion questions and classroom activities for participating authors’ and illustrators’ own books, relevant articles on the NCBLA and Reading Rockets websites, and links to additional video interviews with each of the authors and illustrators.

"Celebrating Heroines in Fact and Fiction" featured authors Katherine Paterson, Rita Williams-Garcia, Jeannine Atkins, Heather Lang, and illustrator Ekua Holmes. In addition to discussing their own work, the panelists addressed topics ranging from the characteristics of a heroine, to how authors choose what to write, to how to encourage boys and girls to read all kinds of books. Librarian Grace Worcester Greene moderated the discussion.

"How to Get and Keep Boys Reading" included Gene Luen Yang, Jack Gantos, Jeff Kinney, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, and Jon Scieszka, and addressed a wide range of topics, including how to inspire boys to read and write, each author’s own sources of inspiration, the impact of visuals on books, and how to encourage life-long reading. Librarian and children’s literature expert Maria Salvadore moderated the panel discussion.

Toolkit for Navigating Times of Crisis

Our nation's communities and families continue to grapple with overwhelming crises, from recent school shootings in Florida and Kentucky to natural disasters like wild fires and floods. The more resources we have to help guide children and families through dark times the better.

"Youth Services Programming During a Time of Crisis" is a printable toolkit designed to help public libraries plan programming that creates a sense of normalcy for youth and teens in times of disaster or upheaval. The toolkit is the Capstone Project designed and written by Jamie Gilmore, Grace Morris, Erica Trotter, and Alexandria Wardrip through the University of Washington's Information School. It was also featured (8/30/17) in The Conversation's article, "Public Libraries Can (Literally) Serve as a Shelter from the Storm," by Grace Morris.

Children's Book Week Resource Materials

CBW resources webpage to make your school or library event a hit with kids and families: five original bookmarks created by Vashti Harrison, Don Tate, Leo Espinosa, Sophie Blackall, and Felicita Sala; activity pages; a poster designed by Jillian Tamaki; a downloadable CBW comic book; and more.

There's even a Children’s Book Week One World, Many Stories 2018 Display Contest! Find out how your library can enter at the contest webpage.

Participate in Endangered Species Day

Community and school libraries are encouraged to participate in the 13th annual Endangered Species Day on May 18, 2018.

First approved by the U.S. Senate in 2006, the purpose of Endangered Species Day is to expand awareness of the importance of endangered plant and animal species/habitat conservation, share success stories of species recovery, and the everyday actions people can take. Every year, Endangered Species Day events are held at school and public libraries, zoos, botanic gardens, parks, and other locations throughout the country. If more convenient, school libraries can recognize Endangered Species Day earlier in May.

Libraries can showcase their regular services and special programs, while also celebrating Endangered Species Day. Specific activities include:

  • Creating a display of endangered species books and photos, and a map showing local/state species.
  • Inviting an expert to make a presentation.
  • Holding a story hour, reading excerpts from an endangered species book
  • Providing children’s activities, such as a coloring table.

A variety of resources are available on the Endangered Species Day website, including event planning information and a reading list, color/activity sheets, bookmarks, stickers, and other material that can be downloaded and printed.

Be sure to promote your event on the Endangered Species Day Directory or send your information to David Robinson, Education Director.

Woodson Named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature 

In January, the Children’s Book Council, Every Child a Reader, and the Library of Congress announced the appointment of Jacqueline Woodson, four-time Newbery Honor Medalist, Coretta Scott King Book Award-winner, former Young People’s Poet Laureate and National Book Award Winner, as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

The National Ambassador program highlights the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.

Woodson will travel nationwide over the course of her two-year term (2018-2019) promoting her platform, READING = HOPE x CHANGE (What’s Your Equation?), which encourages young people to think about--and beyond--the moment they’re living in, the power they possess, and the impact reading can have on showing them ways in which they can create the hope and the change they want to see in the world.

Woodson succeeds beloved and esteemed authors Jon Scieszka (2008–2009), Katherine Paterson (2010–2011), Walter Dean Myers (2012–2013), Kate DiCamillo (2014–2015), and Gene Luen Yang (2016-2017) in the position.

Get Ready for the Great American Read

PBS recently announced the Great American Read, a multi-platform series designed to inspire Americans to read, vote, and share their personal connections to titles on the top 100 list and beyond over the course of the summer.

The Great American Read launches with a two-hour special event on May 22 on PBS stations. Over the course of 15 weeks in the summer, viewers can read and vote on favorite works of fiction; the series then returns in the fall with additional episodes exploring the nominated books through themes including “Heroes,” “Villains & Monsters,” “Who Am I?,” “What We Do for Love,” “Other Worlds,” and will conclude with a finale and countdown to “America’s Best-Loved Book.” The full list of 100 titles, chosen from a demographically representative national survey conducted by YouGov, will be made available to the public prior to the launch episode in May.

Working with member stations and partners, PBS also will develop resources and materials to extend the campaign and encourage summer reading activities.

Sendak Artwork Archived at UConn

Artwork, manuscripts, and sketches by Maurice Sendak are among the materials to be hosted and maintained at the University of Connecticut, Department of Archives & Special Collections, UConn Libraries, to serve as a resource for research by students, faculty, and scholars. Support for the housing of The Maurice Sendak Collection at UConn is being provided by a grant from The Maurice Sendak Foundation, which continues to own these materials for Sendak's books.

Sendak’s children’s books have sold over 30 million copies and have been translated into more than 40 languages.