ALSC Matters! | June 2012, Volume 10, no. 2

***Attn: This is an ARCHIVE page. Web sites and e-mail addresses referenced on this page may no longer be in service.***

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

Officially Speaking

Tell the Story: But First, Create It

One of my favorite quotes is this: “The best way to predict your future is to help create it.” (Peter Drucker) Along with “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” (American proverb) this principle keeps me focused on my goals and taking risks to achieve them.

There are goals and risks aplenty in ALSC for those willing to stretch themselves. “Life expands or contracts in proportion to one’s courage.” (Anaïs Nin) It might be chairing your first ALSC committee. It may be speaking at a national conference in an ALSC program. Teaching an online course or presenting a webinar through ALSC may be a stretch. Serving on an award committee, or as a Priority Group Consultant, or as an ALSC liaison to an ALA group may be the experience that expands your life. Or you may run for president. “I won? Oh . .. . good!” (Mary Fellows)

Wherever you are, I invite you to see ALSC as an opportunity for growth. We all start from a place of inexperience. When you use “beginner’s mind” (a Zen Buddhist concept) and approach challenges with a minimum of self-consciousness and an openness to learning, you create the environment for positive change.

In this last newsletter column I write, here are my best ideas for growing through your profession and through ALSC:

  • Continually observe your profession and active colleagues participating in it, and think about where you want to go. This may change over time; be open to surprising new goals. “Map out your future, but do it in pencil.” (Jon Bon Jovi )
  • Try things out. If you think you might want to do it, try it. If it’s not your cup of tea, understand why it’s not, work on your self-discipline by fulfilling the commitment, and then move on to something else. "Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely." (Auguste Rodin)
  • For happiness: before you accept a commitment, try to make a distinction between what you should want to do and what you do want to do, especially if you have the “responsibility gene.” It may be a fine distinction, and it’s worth exploring. “Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.” (Lorraine Hansberry)
  • See your service as the gift and the accomplishment that it is. You are creating a better future for children through libraries. This is worthy life work. “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” (William James) Thank you for the privilege of serving you and leading ALSC forward.--Mary Fellows, 2011-2012 ALSC President

ALSC Matters: Make the Connection

Why does it matter to make the connection?

*It matters for our children: We all believe that at the heart of ALSC we’re working together in creating a better future for children through libraries, which is the identified ALSC Core Purpose in our 2012-2017 Strategic Plan.

*It matters to plan the future of libraries for our children: ALSC recently revised the framework of our organization with the ALSC Strategic Plan, 2012-2017, with major areas of Advocacy, Education, and Access to Service . Take time to read through and share this vital professional document. Make use of the ideas to chart the course of your library’s future in serving the youth of your community.

*It matters to have professional core competencies: Our recommended Core Competencies can be found at As noted in the description of our competencies: “Through specialized coursework in undergraduate and graduate study, on-the-job training, and/or continuing education opportunities, librarians serving children should achieve and maintain the following skills, orientations, and understandings to ensure children receive the highest quality of library service as defined in the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and the ALA and Association of American Publishers (AAP) joint Freedom to Read Statement. Re-read the competencies and check your knowledge of them. At Kent State, we make sure that every children’s library services student understands the importance of the ALSC Core Competencies.

*It matters to belong: ALSC provides children’s librarians, school librarians, library educators, retired professionals, teachers, library administrators, book reviewers, publishers, authors, illustrators and so many others with the opportunity to belong to a community of people who have similar goals, ideas, and issues.

*It matters to serve: And, ALSC provides us with the opportunity to give back to the profession through committee service. The ALSC volunteer form can be found at On this same page you can review the list of committees and find links to their charges as posted under ALSC’s seven priority groups of: I-Child Advocacy; II-Evaluation of Media; III-Professional Awards and Scholarships; IV-Organizational Support; V-Awards; VI-Partnerships; and VII-Professional Development. For those of you who have submitted a form, thank you! I’ve tried to place as many of you as possible in places where you believe you can offer the best of yourself to ALSC. For those of you who haven’t submitted a form, we need volunteer forms submitted throughout the year. Process committee appointments are almost complete as of early June, but task forces are sometimes formed during the year or serving committee members need to drop-off for some reason. The award committee appointments are in late summer/early fall, but realize there are many more members who wish to serve than placements available. Send in a form and indicate your willingness to serve in several ways or check the box that says “I will serve wherever needed!”

*It matters to connect in-person: ALSC supports the venues for us to make connections face-to-face at ALA conferences and events. During these occasions, you probably pick up with ALA/ALSC friendships once again, just as if you saw the person last week and in reality it was six months ago. If you’re coming to the 2012 ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif., please attend “ALSC 101: Making Connections” on Saturday, June 23, to greet and welcome new members and first-time conference attendees. We will be at the Anaheim Marriott, Grand Salon A-C from 4:00-6:00 p.m. I hope to connect with you there! The complete list of our Anaheim programs is at or use your handy ALA scheduler in ALA Connect to search for ALSC events.

*It matters to continue professional development throughout your career: Make plans soon to attend the ALSC National Institute planned for September 20-22, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind., with a host of programs, authors/illustrators, and the kick-off of the Caldecott Medal 75th anniversary. Plus you can network with colleagues from across the country. Also, mark your calendar for the 2013 Arbuthnot Lecture with Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo. The 2013 host site will be announced at the ALSC Membership meeting in Anaheim on Monday, June 25. Watch the ALSC site for further updates. Other professional opportunities available online include education courses, student sessions, and webinars. These connections have value that improves our professional skills, makes us more knowledgeable in serving our communities and helps us further enrich the lives of those we touch. Check continuing education opportunities at Share your expertise! There is a form on the page if you would like to propose an ALSC online course or webinar.

*It matters to stay connected online: ALSC has many places for its members to virtually connect 365 days a year, through our ALSC blog and participation in our electronic discussion lists, Facebook, and Twitter. Check out our ALSC 2.0 community at for program ideas, recommended resources, answers to problems, discussion of issues and learning opportunities.

*It matters to celebrate: We’ll have the chance to honor one of the world’s most beloved book awards in the year ahead. 2012-2013 marks the Caldecott Medal 75th anniversary celebration. Read the ALA press release and learn about some of the online activities and other events that are planned for the next year, culminating with the 2013 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, June 27-July 2. The ALSC Blog featured the Caldecott 75th Anniversary Medallion designed by Brian Selznik and information about the free Caldecott webinar series. And, much more to celebrate in the year ahead!

*It matters ___________________: You fill in the blank! These are certainly just some of the reasons ALSC Matters. I hope that if I didn’t include some of your reasons that you will send me a note. My email is during the next year as your President.—Carolyn S. Brodie, 2011-2012 ALSC Vice-President|President-Elect

Thanks to Our Most Recent Donors

Many thanks to the following contributors to Friends of ALSC. To learn how you can support ALSC, visit and click on "About ALSC--Contact ALSC--Donate to ALSC” on the left-hand navigation menu.

Silver Circle

Susan W. Faust

Notable Circle

Viki L. Ash
Elizabeth C. Orsburn
Steven Herb

Friends Circle

April Roy

ALSC Voices

ALSC Profile

Carol Phillips

ALSC Membership: 27 years

Where do you currently work?
I work at the East Brunswick Public Library in central New Jersey. We serve a community of approximately 48,000 residents with many active library customers. We have nine public elementary schools and two private schools, and a middle, junior high, and high school.

What is your job title?
I am Youth Services Manager. From Youth Services, we serve both children and teens. We have two separate service desks and service areas. Last year, we provided 376 programs for children and 165 programs for teens from our facility.

Where did you attend library school?
I went to library school at Rutgers when it was called the Rutgers Graduate School of Library Service. Since then, it was renamed SCILS, the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies, and is now part of SCI, the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers.

What was your very first library position?
My first, and all my jobs, have been at my current location, the East Brunswick Public Library. I started out here as a Rutgers intern from the library school. I completed 150 hours of work to receive 3 credits. Coincidentally, when I finished my degree, there was a full-time position available, which I grabbed! Since my beginning here, I have worked full time and part-time as a children’s librarian. I was later named manager of the department. At one point, I accepted the responsibilities of Associate Administrator for the library for one year and handled public relations in addition to my regular responsibilities. Some people have asked me how I could stay so long in one place. First, you become attached to the community and its residents. (Plus I live here and feel I am a real part of the community.) Second, this place is exciting! The library profession has changed so much over the last 30 years and my community has changed so much as well. I am fortunate that the East Brunswick Library has always welcomed innovation and change and is well supported and loved by our community. It makes for a great experience.

What is your favorite ALSC memory?
My favorite ALSC memory is from my first Annual conference in Los Angeles in 1983. But let me take a step back. Dr. Phyllis Van Orden had been my professor in library school. After library school, I became active in the New Jersey Library Association and served as president of the Children’s Services Section. When my tenure with that was coming to a close, my boss, David Weill, suggested that I see what the American Library Association was like. I, of course, gravitated toward ALSC. I went to my first Annual Conference and Dr. Van Orden (who had relocated to Florida after her time at Rutgers) was the current president of ALSC! I reintroduced myself and spoke to her after the membership meeting to express my interest in working on a committee for the association. She and the members I met at that time were so welcoming that I knew I had found another, and a new, professional home!

If you could give one piece of advice to library school students or new librarians, what would it be?
My advice is: be flexible. Our profession is exciting and ever-changing. Children and teens will always need us to advocate for them and be there to help them. The format of resources we are using will change, as will the services we provide, but our listening ear, our smiling face, and our accepting demeanor for each stage of their development will always be available to them.

If you weren’t a librarian, what would be your career?
While I was working on my masters, I had always thought I would go back to school to get my PhD in biology. I always liked the subject. One of my daughters did that (she is a molecular biologist), so now I don’t have to!

You’re marooned on a desert island; what three books (children’s, YA, and/or adult) and one food item do you want with you?
OK, if I could only have three books, I would take Island of the Blue Dolphins (my favorite book from fourth grade) by Scott O’Dell. (It might even give me some survival tips while marooned….) I would have to have Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein for comic relief, and I think I would take The President’s Daughter by Ellen Emerson White or maybe it would be The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. Do I really have to choose?! I enjoy strong female characters. Food, I am not sure. Gummy Bears for protein, I think.

What are your hobbies?
My hobbies are reading, dancing (not just zumba, but other aerobic dance, too) and keeping track of my family, which is getting bigger all the time!

What three words best describe you?
I asked my five kids for help with this. They said things like: open-minded, professional, enthusiastic, honest, sensitive, energetic, and break-dancing. (I did recently take lessons from some of our teens on breakdancing at a library program.) I thought they were going a little over-board. I think I would say the three words that best describe me are: hard-working, dedicated, and caring.

Bright Ideas

Kids Connect Via Skype in the Library

This past summer, the Clifton Public Library hosted a Skype program on Fridays during the summer with other U.S. libraries for 1st-4th graders. This program tied into the One World, Many Stories theme, but would work anytime.

Last spring, I posted a message on the ALSC-L electronic discussion list asking if any libraries would like to participate in a Skype program. I received ten responses from libraries throughout the Eastern Standard Time (EST) region.

Seven of the “visiting” libraries schedules collaborated well with ours. We had sign-ups for up to twelve children per Skype session. Some parents wanted to sit in during the program and see for themselves what this was all about, which was great.

I would have an atlas by the computer so everyone could see the town and state we would be communicating with that day. I also had a map of the U.S. to illustrate the distance between Clifton, New Jersey, and the other state.

Before the actual program, the “visiting” children’s librarian and I would have a Skype “test session” to work out any technology bugs. We swapped a list of questions with each other in case the conversation lagged. Some favorite questions were:

1. What is the weather like where you live?
2. What are some of your favorite books/authors?
3. What activities have you done so far during your summer reading program?
4. How do you get to school everyday?
5. What is your library near? (In some cases, it was near a beach or in a city, so more questions and answers evolved.)
6. Do you have brothers or sisters? How many?
7. What are some of your favorite movies?
8. What are your favorite hobbies?

The best physical arrangement was to place two chairs in front of our computer, because that is all the children on either side of the computer screen can see at a time. They would talk to the other children from the “visiting” library for about five minutes, and then we’d rotate to the next two children. Of course, they could get back on line for more Skyping until we ran out of time, or subjects to talk about. This arrangement worked out very well.

Some obstacles that I encountered were that some children were shy, and didn’t want to be on camera at all. They just wanted to watch a Skype session, which was fine. Of course the opposite was true too. There were those children who wanted lots of face and talk time.

I recommend that each librarian hosting the Skype session do some research about the other library and community, and talk about the group of children who will be attending. Not only does that help develop some different questions to add to your list, but it provides insight about both groups of children. For example, one librarian asked if our children would like to trade iPod playlists. Many of the children who attended this program don’t own iPods. The other librarian wouldn’t have known that if we hadn’t talked beforehand.

My other recommendation is to set a few ground rules with the participants before Skyping, such as no bad language, use good manners, and be polite because you are representing our community to another community. The children at the Clifton Public Library exceeded my expectations. They were kind and polite to our “visitors,” and offered a “please” and “thank you.”

The library only needs a laptop computer with a web camera, or they need to purchase a web camera to attach to their laptop. This became a popular program that cost nothing, after the initial purchase of an inexpensive web camera for under $100. It was a lot of fun, and a great learning experience for the children and their families.--Anne Beier, Hendrick Hudson Free Library, formally at The Clifton Public Library

Consider Librarianship: A Career Program

In 2000, Julius Lester’s book, What a Truly Cool World, was added to my library’s collection. Based on the traditional African American folktale, “How G-d Made the Butterflies,” this book features an African-American G-d with a wife named Irene, a secretary named Bruce who greets his boss with “Yo, What’s up, Deity?”, and G-d’s personal assistant, Shaniqua, who is an angel in charge of everyone’s business. The story itself focuses on the creation of butterflies, but it shows a modern-day heaven with vacuum cleaners, cozy chairs, and computers.

When a class of second graders entered the library and their teacher asked for an impromptu library program, I read the book aloud and led a discussion about it. Some children loved this creation story, but others felt it was disrespectful. A few students found God’s use of “street language” offensive. Others thought it unrealistic that God was walking around in house slippers and had a PR person. However, the majority of the students loved the book, claiming it used language they understood, contained characters that reminded them of people in their neighborhoods, and was an all-around good story.

At the end of this conversation, I asked the children to imagine they were librarians in charge of deciding which books to put in their library. With limited shelf space, they had to be very selective. In fact, their shelves were so crowded that for every new book added to the collection, one book would have to be removed. What factors should they take into consideration when deciding which books to purchase? Should the plot line, the quality of the illustrations, and the uniqueness of the story be weighed against possible criticism by parents? The students discussed these questions and then voted on whether or not to add What a Truly Cool World to the collection; their decision was overwhelming in favor of adding it.

Expanding on the excitement generated by this program, I repeated it a few times with groups of different ages. It always led to lively discussions with respectful but diverse views. Being encouraged to share their opinions empowered the children. In addition, children were exposed to an aspect of librarianship that had previously been unfamiliar to them.

For Girl Scout Career Day a few weeks later, I was asked to speak about being a librarian. Since children could see for themselves that librarians provide reference help, present programs, and sometimes shelve and checkout books, I decided to emphasize some behind-the-scenes, exciting parts of children’s librarianship. Due to the success of the earlier impromptu program, I decided to include parts of it in the Girl Scout Career Day presentation. My 30-minute talk highlighted the benefits of librarianship (“You are able to work with books AND with people. You can run programs for children of all ages, earning a salary for singing songs and reading stories aloud! You get to read new books before they even go out on the library shelves.”)

I spoke about censorship, book acquisition, and weeding, using What a Truly Cool World as an example of a book that might become controversial. After hearing the story, the children were asked if they would choose to add it to their library collection or not. A lively discussion ensued. At the end of the presentation, two of the Girl Scouts said they might consider a career as a children’s librarian.

A few months later, the library was invited to run a “Dreamcatcher’s Career Day” table for 120 middle school students and their parents on an outdoor plaza. This involved interacting with students, talking about “What it is that you do, how you got ready to do it, and what you love about what you do.” Other professionals were doing the same thing in the plaza that day, so something was needed that would capture the students’ attention, bringing them to my table.

Expanding again on What a Truly Cool World as a starting point for discussion, I set up a small display on censorship which featured multiple copies of three picture books that might be considered controversial: Julius Lester’s What a Truly Cool World, Robert Munsch’s Purple, Green and Yellow, and Simms Taback’s There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. A flannel board easel stood in front of my booth with a bold sign that read:


What do YOU think?

Below that was some text:

“Being a librarian involves many different skills. One of them is being able to choose appropriate books for your library. There is a delicate balance between not wanting to choose books that might offend people and being willing to take risks by choosing books that might offend some because you think they will be important additions to your collection.

Read one of the books on the table and fill out one of the book review sheets.Your name will be entered into a raffle for an awesome T-shirt and your book review might be published!”

I chatted informally with everyone who stopped by the table about why I chose to become a librarian, explaining how I trained for my career and describing some of the things I enjoyed doing as a librarian. I listed various aspects of librarianship and mentioned that librarians often have to think carefully before deciding which books to put in their libraries. Students were given a brief synopsis of some reasons the books on display might be considered objectionable.

1. In What a Truly Cool World by Julius Lester, G-d was informal, he had a wife and a PR person.

2. One of the markers mentioned in Purple, Green and Yellow by Robert Munsch smelled like cow plops.

3. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback mentions dying and the old lady dies at the end of the book. Sensitive children might find this book disturbing.

Three different colored binders contained copies of published reviews for each book from sources such as School Library JournalHorn Book, and Kirkus Reviews. Reviews by readers from Websites such as with titles such as “Strange but creative,” “This book is not for everyone, some will find it offensive,” and “Not everything is as it seems...” were additionally included.

Students were asked to pretend that they were librarians responsible for making acquisition decisions. They were asked to choose a book, read it, look over some of the reviews, think about issues that might be involved in purchasing the book, and decide whether or not to add the book to their collection. After making a decision, they were encouraged to write their opinion on a book evaluation form. They (and their parents) signed the form, giving permission for the reviews to be published by the library in print or online. The names of all evaluation writers were then entered into a T-shirt raffle.

Even students who did not write a review generally chose to stay at the booth after reading their book and seized the opportunity to passionately promote or reject it. What a fascinating opportunity for talking with children and youth about books and hearing their opinions on censorship! Several said they had never before thought about censorship from the point of view of a librarian; they enjoyed trying to decide what should or should not go into the library. A few wrote evaluations, and were delighted to win T-shirts (left over from a previous Summer Reading Club).

Information about banned books, including take-home lists of popular books that had been banned, was available at the table. These were not the focus of the program, however; the emphasis stayed on deciding whether or not to add the three selected books to the library’s collection. Since picture books rather than actual banned novels were featured, students were able to read them on the spot. Even students with reading skills below grade level were willing to tackle a book.

The ensuing discussions mentioned plot, illustrations, language, stereotyping, religious concerns, and diversity. Some students were already familiar with the authors and illustrators. Students put themselves in the shoes of the child hearing the book, the parent looking at the book, and the librarian deciding whether or not to add to the book to their collection. During these conversations, I also spoke about other aspects of children’s librarianship.

Enthusiastic comments deemed this table a success. While there, students were given the opportunity to read, think, listen, speak, be listened to, and write. Older children were reintroduced to picture books, albeit from a different perspective. Although librarians considering revising and reusing this program can highlight more recent picture books, What a Truly Cool World is still a great starting point for conversations about book acquisition, weeding, and censorship. The older, mostly positive reviews on are still available, but they are now accompanied by newer, strongly-worded negative reviews with titles such as “Sacrilege best describes this book” and “Appalled.”

Since these programs took place many years ago, there is no way to follow up with the students to see if any of them pursued careers in librarianship. But clearly, misconceptions about the librarian as a “shusher” were dispelled, and librarianship was presented as a thought-provoking, multi-faceted career.--Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen, children’s programming consultant and trainer,

Books that Shaped Richmond (Va.) Residents and Leaders

The Friends of the Richmond (Virginia) Public Library opened the exhibit “WHY CHILDREN’S BOOKS: Inspiring Generations” on Thursday, April 12, 2012, during National Library Week. The exhibit, on display during April and May at the main branch of the Richmond Public Library, offered library visitors a glimpse into the childhood of more than 55 notable Richmond personalities.

The colorful exhibit demonstrates the long-term influence of children’s books. Whether it is the memory of reading with a parent or teacher, the first time a book is read alone, or the emotional power of a certain tale, the stories shared in the exhibit reaffirm the importance of free and easy access to books for all children.

Visitors to the exhibit learn what books made an impression on university presidents, Richmond Kickers team members, politicians, artists, and many other community leaders, including Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) basketball coach Shaka Smart, singer Jason Mraz, and Robin Starr, CEO Richmond SPCA.

The variety of the chosen books is both delightful and surprising. Some are relatively new, such as Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe, selected by retired Richmond City Council Chief of Staff Daisy Weaver as one of the first books she read to her daughter. Also included is  turn-of-the-century The Goops by Gelett Burgess, which was given to the father of Dr. Hunter McGuire, Jr. and has been in the family ever since.

In addition to the display, special events were scheduled to complement the exhibit:

- Dr. Leila Christenbury and other faculty members of VCU’s Department of Education led community discussions about favorite children’s books and the future of children’s literature in the digital age.
- Saturday, May 12 was Children’s Day at the main library with children’s book authors, storyteller Megan Hicks, crafts, and readings from the exhibit. The event concluded Children’s Book Week.
- Anita Silvey, editor of the book Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book, provided insights into the topic on Saturday, May 19, as a culmination to the exhibit.

After closing on May 29, the exhibit traveled to the Children’s Museum of Richmond for the summer months. It will then visit all branches of the Richmond Public Library in September for Library Card Sign-up Month.--Lisa Crisman, Richmond (Va.) Public Library

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Celebrating "Builders of Tomorrow"

ALSC and LEGO® DUPLO® have teamed up to celebrate the “builders of tomorrow.” Together, these two organizations are providing even more inspiration for storytime at home and at libraries.

At the 2012 ALA Annual Conference, ALSC and LEGO® DUPLO® will announce a partnership that invites parents and supporters to nominate their local library for recognition. With the help of LEGO® DUPLO®, ALSC will be releasing a downloadable resource guide for members that describes activities for parents.

Student Sessions Return

On Wednesday, June 13 at 6 p.m. Central time, ALSC will offer a free online workshop for all students interested in children’s services. Getting Your First Library Job: Showcasing Skills and Packaging Passion features advice from Thom Barthelmess, curator, Butler Children’s Literature Center, Dominican University, and Alison O’Reilly, director, Cutchogue (N.Y.) New Suffolk Free Library. Join us for discussion about marketing yourself as an outstanding children's librarian and showcasing your professional assets.

Student Sessions last about an hour and are run through Adobe Connect. Participants only need a computer with Internet access and speakers. Hosted by the ALSC Membership Committee, sessions are open to all students, ALSC members and non-members.

ALSC Summer Ed

Online courses. The Summer session begins July 9. Courses include: "The Caldecott Medal: Understanding Distinguished Art in Picture Books"; "Connecting with 'Tween Readers"; "Introduction to Graphic Novels for Children"; "Reading Instruction and Children's Books"; and "Out of this World Youth Programming." Courses run four to six weeks and the fees are $95 for personal ALSC members; $145 for personal ALA members; and $165 for non-members. For detailed descriptions and registration information, please visit

Webinar. "Give Me Something to Read! When Social Networking Meets Readers Advisory" is scheduled for Tuesday, July 10, 6-7 p.m. and Thursday, August 9, Noon-1 p.m. (times are Central). At $45 a session for ALSC members, $55 for non-members, and $195 for groups, ALSC webinars are highly affordable, and because they're interactive, students get the benefit of sharing ideas with one another and networking from afar. For more information, visit

ALSC Scholarship Winners Announced

Six scholarship recipients have been chosen for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Four winners were awarded the Bound to Stay Bound Books Scholarship, made possible by Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc. All four recipients receive $7,000 in scholarship aid for the academic year. The four recipients are: Michelle Ahern, Bethpage, N.Y., Rebecca Baker, Frankfort, Ky., Micaela Sanchez, Greeley, Colo., and Lisa Jordan, Longmont, Colo.

Two winners were awarded the Frederic G. Melcher Scholarship, made possible by contributions from librarians, professionals, and others associated with the field of children’s literature. The following recipients receive $6,000 in scholarship aid: Katie Clausen, Moorhead, Minn., and Eileen Gilbert, Concord, N.H.

Every Child Ready to Read on Ning

If your library uses Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR), you'll want to check out ECRR now has its own space on Ning, an online platform where fans of ECRR can connect and share ideas, photos, and videos focusing on ECRR early literacy planning in the library. Like a website, Facebook page, and blog all rolled into one, ECRR's Ning space is a powerful resource for aggregating all things ECRR.

Arbuthnot Lecture Archives

A video of Peter Sis’ 2012 Arbuthnot Lecture, entitled “Reading in the Dark,” presented at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, this past spring is available at

In 2003, the legendary Maurice Sendak presented the Arbuthnot Lecture in Cambridge, Mass. A video of his presentation, “Descent into Limbo,” is also available to view online at

Dominican University to house Effie Lee Morris collection

Dominican University's Butler Children's Literature Center is the recipient of a generous bequest from the estate of Effie Lee Morris, renowned children's librarian and advocate who was the first coordinator of children's services at the San Francisco Public Library and founded the Children’s Historical and Research Collection there.

The bequest contains not only Morris' collection of nearly 500 children’s books and books about children's literature, but also her collection of hundreds of owl figurines.

The significance of the owl to Morris follows from an early newspaper column about children’s literature written by New York Public Library children's librarian Anne Carroll Moore in the New York Herald Tribune called "The Three Owls;" these represented the author, the publisher, and the critic. To Morris, a fourth “owl” was no less important: the young reader. She subsequently adopted the owl as her personal symbol of literary excellence.

Among her other achievements and accolades, Morris chaired ALA's Social Responsibilities Round Table; became the first African American woman president of the Public Library Association; received the Trailblazer Award from the Black Caucus of ALA; and was named an ALA Honorary Member, the organization’s highest honor; among numerous other achievements and accolades.

ALSC Supports Money as You Grow Initiative

ALSC is a partner in Money as You Grow (, developed by the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability. The initiative provides 20 essential, age-appropriate financial lessons—with corresponding activities. Written in down-to-earth language for children and their families, Money as You Grow helps equip kids with the knowledge needed to live fiscally fit lives. Other partners in the initiative are the Public Library Association, FINRA Investor Education Foundation, Junior Achievement USA, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Endowment for Financial Education, and Parent Teacher Association, among others.

Caldecott Award Turns 75

Join us in celebrating 75 years of distinguished picture books! ALSC has many special Caldecott-related events and activities afoot, making it possible for fans of the award and children’s book art to be involved in the celebration, in person, online, and in print.

2013 ALSC Preconference. On Friday, June 28, 2013, ALSC will host a preconference devoted to the 75th anniversary during the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Save the date; you won't want to miss it.

Online Course. “The Caldecott Medal: Understanding Distinguished Art in Picture Books,” a six-week course taught by Kathleen T. Horning, director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, looks at the history of the award itself and how the winners are selected, and addresses the artistic elements behind winning books over the years, with how-tos for identifying media, style, visual elements, and the basics of composition. A summer session is scheduled for July 9 through August 17. Registration information is at:

Webinars. "The Fine Art of Children’s Book Illustration" presented by Dilys Evans, author and artist, is scheduled for Tuesday, September 18, 3-4 p.m. Central time, and Thursday, November 8, 3-4 pm Central time. This webinar is completely free to ALSC members and $55 for nonmembers. The presentation focuses on the 10 principles for illustrating a great picture book. Following each principle, there will be illustrations of images from children’s books to illuminate the principle. For more information, visit

An archived copy of “Caldecott Uncovered: What You’ve Always Wanted to Know About the Caldecott Medal,” presented by Rita Auerbach, past Caldecott Committee chair, and held in May, is available online free at And more live webinars are being scheduled.

More fun stuff. 2008 Caldecott Medal Winner Brian Selznick has cleverly brought together characters from past Caldecott Medal-winning books—beginning with the very first in 1938 and spanning all the way to the 21st century—in a logo that he created especially for the 75th Anniversary celebration. Check it out at the special Caldecott Anniversary page at We sincerely thank Brian for this wonderful homage to the Caldecott Medal and the illustrators and estates of the depicted characters for allowing Brian to bring them together.

More visual treats are coming to the website soon in the Caldecott Scrapbook, which will include historic photos from the award’s storied past.

In addition, the Spring 2013 issue of Children and Libraries will be completely dedicated to the Caldecott anniversary. Watch for it in your mailbox in May 2013!

How Will You Celebrate?

Are you ready to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Award? A Caldecott mock election program is a great way to stimulate interest in book awards, foster children’s appreciation of fine art, and teach book evaluation skills. ALSC’s Newbery Caldecott Mock Election Tool Kit, revised in 2011 by Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville (Ore.) Public Library, delivers everything a planner needs to pull off an engaging and gold-medal mock program, including planning guidelines, tips on how to kindle meaningful discussion, ideas for follow-up activities, and much more. As a digital download, the new tool kit also provides Word, PDF, and Excel files of audience handouts, evaluation forms, certificates, and voting ballots that can be easily customized. More information is at 

IMLS-Head Start Partnership

In May, the Department of Health and Human Services issued an Information Memorandum titled "Head Start, Child Care, and Public Libraries: Partnerships to Support Young Children and Their Families."  The memorandum's purpose is to provide Head Start programs and CCDF grantees with information about a partnership between the Administration for Children and Families (ACF)/Office of Head Start, ACF/Office of Child Care, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), encouraging collaboration between early childhood programs and public libraries to help meet the educational needs of young children and their families. 
The memorandum states that "Public libraries provide centers for learning in nearly every community in the United States, and it is important for children and families to learn about and recognize public libraries as a valuable resource," and "encourages early care and education programs to connect with the public library in [the] community to learn more ways to partner and enhance the work" of each entity. 
For more information, visit Head Start at  

Top Ten Reading List for Babies

A committee of librarians, teachers, early childhood experts, and parents has developed Best Books for Babies 2012, a reading list highlighting the importance of books for babies. The committee strives to identify books that will delight and engage both babies and the adults who care for them.

“Our audience of parents, teachers, and caregivers along with other professionals who support the literacy development of children will find new editions of lively stories and images to bring the world of story to the very youngest audience,” said Margaret Mary Kimmel, professor emerita in the University of Pittsburgh’s school of Information Services and chair of the selection committee. “The committee looks for books that sound good when read aloud, that celebrate the beauty of language. We hope that these books will extend the experience of the youngest listener and that they will provide language and images that will grow with the young child.”

In 2011, more than 225 Pittsburgh Area Food Pantries received a set of ten books to be read to infants and toddlers under the campaign “Reading is the Fifth Food Group.” The program began thanks to a partnership between the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and the Best Books for Babies Committee, along with the generosity of Naomi Weisberg Siegel and Eric Cooper.

The 2012 list, made up of books published in 2011, includes: A You're Adorable (Candlewick), illustrated by Martha Alexander; ABC Kids (Kingfisher) by Simon Basher; All of Baby, Nose to Toes (Dial), by Victoria Adler, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata; Goodnight. Goodnight Construction Site Chronicle) by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld; Little Chicken's Big Day (Margaret K. McElderry Books) by Katie and Jerry Davis; Little Pookie (Robin Corey Books) by Sandra Boynton; My Face Book (Star Bright); My First Words (Priddy Books) by Roger Priddy; Orange Pear Apple Bear (Little Simon) by Emily Gravett; and Red Sled (Atheneum) by Lita Judge.

For more information visit

Reading Rockets Launches Start with a Book

This summer, Reading Rockets, the national multimedia literacy initiative from WETA, is introducing Start with a Book (, a companion website that uses books as a launching pad for exploration, conversation, and real world learning adventures.

To ward off the learning loss that many children experience over the summer, Start with a Book offers adults engaging, research-based ideas for getting kids into books all summer and beyond. The free resources from Start with a Book build on what young children already like—-dinosaurs, building, animals, sports, superheroes, and music—-so that parents, camp counselors, and others can have fun and interact meaningfully with children while helping to strengthen their reading skills.

The Start with a Book website feature: twenty-four kid-friendly themes featuring specific ideas for using books and related downloadable activities to get children thinking, talking, creating and exploring; suggestions for using reading time to build a child’s reading fluency with an opportunity to measure progress over the course of the summer; tips for parents in English, Spanish, and other languages to support English language learners.

While designed with families in mind, Start with a Book also has a place in libraries and summer camps. Local organizations working with children in grades pre-kindergarten through third grade are encouraged to take advantage of these free resources and adapt activities to group use. With topics like sleep and stars available, many of the downloadable activity packets tie in well with the CSLP Dream Big READ program—either for group activities or as a resource to send home with parents and young readers.

Help Set a Reading Record on October 4

Jumpstart’s Read for the Record Campaign highlights the need for high quality early education in America by mobilizing adults and children to set a record for the largest shared reading. Each year, millions of adults and children gather on a single day to set a new reading record and to show their support for early literacy by joining Jumpstart’s Read for the Record. By reading Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad by Jacky Davis and David Soman on October 4, you’ll help to set a new world record for the greatest number of people reading the same book on the same day.

This year, for the first time, the celebration is extended–-starting September 27 and leading right up to the record-setting day Thursday, October 4–-giving record-breakers across the country greater opportunity to read and to support Jumpstart’s mission to work toward the day when every child in America enters school prepared to succeed.

A record-breaking 2,184,155 people enjoyed Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney, on October 6, 2011, helping to set the latest overall reading record.

Join in on the reading September 27 through to the record setting day on October 4 to support Jumpstart’s mission to work toward the day every child in America enters school prepared to succeed.

Carle Museum Celebrates Ten Years

In November 2012, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass., will kick off its 10th anniversary with a year of special events, including parties, exhibitions, festivals, professional workshops, and family activities. The Carle, which opened its doors November 22, 2002, has become a major cultural resource in its young life, drawing more than a half million visitors from around the world and engaging audiences of all ages in picture books.

“Our founders, Eric and Barbara Carle, dreamed of creating a museum that would celebrate picture books and inspire a love of art and reading,” says Alexandra Kennedy, executive director. “We’re very proud of the many ways the Museum has fulfilled that mission. In just ten years The Carle has become a vital center for artists, writers, teachers, librarians, scholars, and families — a place where important conversations about the future of art, books, and education happen every day.”

On November 10, 2012 the Museum will host its anniversary launch party, inviting back the many renowned artists who have exhibited their work in its galleries. The evening will include tours of Iconic Images: Ten Years of Collecting, the first major exhibition drawing on the Carle’s permanent collection of more than 10,000 illustrations. Guests will have a chance to view works by William Steig, Ludwig Bemelmans, Maurice Sendak, and many more. The other special exhibitions on view will be Eric Carle’s Independent Art — a look beyond his famous book illustration — and an exhibition of the work of British artist Lucy Cousins and her beloved Maisy character. Other exhibitions slated for the anniversary year include Garth Williams’s rarely viewed original drawings from Charlotte’s Web and a major exhibition of work by Mo Willems.

The night’s event will include the debut of a bronze Very Hungry Caterpillar commemorative maquette created by renowned sculptor Nancy Schön. Best known for her “Make Way for Ducklings” sculpture at the Boston Public Garden, Schön is offering the maquettes for sale throughout the Museum’s anniversary year and contributing all profits to The Carle.

For more information about special events to be planned throughout the year in honor of the 10th annivesary, visit

Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards

The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families (Lee & Low), written by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore, and illustrated by Susan L. Roth, is the winner of the Jane Addams Book Award in the Books for Younger Children Category. Sylvia & Aki (Tricycle Press/Random House) by Winifred Conkling, is the winner in the Books for Older Children category. The awards are administered by the Jane Addams Peace Association.

The Mangrove Tree is ecological innovation at its best, all spearheaded by Dr. Gordon Sato, a survivor of the Japanese internment camp Manzanar and now a biologist committed to ending hunger throughout the world. In the village of Hargigo in Eritria, local women provide the labor to plant mangrove trees which supplies them with much needed income. The trees turn carbon dioxide to oxygen, attract fish, feed goats and sheep, and therefore children, all made visible in Roth’s brilliant multimedia collage renderings.

True friends to this day, Sylvia & Aki never imagined the course of events that brought them together in their childhood. Conkling’s narration introduces us to young Sylvia Mendez moving into Aki Munemitsu’s home when Aki’s family is relocated to a Japanese internment camp. Sylvia and her siblings are not allowed to register at the same school Aki attended, but are sent to a “Mexican” school. Thus the stage is set for Sylvia’s father to challenge the separation of races in California’s schools by filing the suit that ultimately led to the desegregation of California schools and helped to build the case that would end school segregation nationally.

Two books were named Honor Books in the Books for Younger Children category: Peaceful Pieces: Poems and Quilts about Peace (Macmillan/Henry Holt), written and illustrated by Anna Grossnickle Hines and Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend (Candlewick), written by Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Bettye Stroud and illustrated by John Holyfield.

Two books were named Honor Books in the Books for Older Children category: Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans,(Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins) written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson and Inside Out & Back Again (HarperCollins), by Thahna Lai.

Since 1953, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award annually acknowledges books published in the U.S. during the previous year. Books commended by the award address themes of topics that engage children in thinking about peace, justice, world community, and/or equality of the sexes and all races.

ALSC members Susan C. Griffith (Mt. Pleasant, Mich.), Oralia Garza de Cortes (Austin, Texas), Tessa Michaelson Schmidt (Madison, Wis.), and Junko Yokota (Evanston, Ill.) were among the members of the 2011 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Committee.

Kids Vote for Author/Illustrator, Books of the Year

The Children’s Book Council (CBC), in association with Every Child a Reader (ECAR), announced the winners of the fifth annual Children’s Choice Book Awards in May. The winners are: 


Three Hens and a Peacock (Peachtree) by Lester L. Laminack, illustrated by Henry Cole 

3-4 Grade

Bad Kitty Meets the Baby (Roaring Brook/Macmillan) by Nick Bruel 

5-7 Grade

Okay for Now (Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Gary D. Schmidt 


Clockwork Prince: The Infernal Devices, Book Two (Margaret K. McElderry/Simon & Schuster) by Cassandra Clare 

Author of the Year

Jeff Kinney for Diary of a Wimpy Kid 6: Cabin Fever (Amulet/Abrams)

Illustrator of the Year

Brian Selznick for Wonderstruck (Scholastic)

Hans Christian Andersen Award

The Hans Christian Andersen Award Jury of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) announces that María Teresa Andruetto from Argentina is the winner of the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Author Award and Peter Sís from the Czech Republic is the winner of the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator Award. The Hans Christian Andersen Award, considered the most prestigious in international children's literature, is given biennially by IBBY to a living author and illustrator whose complete works are judged to have made lasting contributions to children's literature.

Andruetto was selected from 27 authors nominated for the Award. The four finalists are Paul Fleischman (USA), Bart Moeyaert (Belgium), Jean-Claude Mourlevat (France) and Bianca Pitzorno (Italy).

Sís was selected from 30 illustrators nominated for the Award. The four finalists are Mohammad Ali Baniasadi (Iran), John Burningham (UK), Roger Mello (Brazil) and Javier Zabala (Spain).