Officially Speaking | ALSC Voices | Bright Ideas | Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
The Times They Are A-Changing (Song by Bob Dylan)
As I write this, my last ALSC Matters President’s column, I’d like to take some time to ponder on the peculiarities of my year as ALSC President and on the expectations that come with the excitement of returning to in-person meetings, events, and conferences.
After the unpredictability brought on by the surge of the COVID pandemic in 2020-21, which prompted the reinvention of every aspect of our practice and operation, it was reassuring to enter 2021-22 in full virtual gear. While resuming in-person events remained an elusive possibility throughout the year, having the virtual framework in place facilitated our work and the achievement of goals and objectives.
In the words of Bob Dylan’s song, “The Times They Are A-Changing,” in today’s rapidly changing world, ALSC continues to evolve as new challenges come our way. The virtual 2022 Youth Media Awards announcements event was followed by the Newbery Coffee Klatch, an informal get-together of the 2022 Newbery medalist and honorees to celebrate their wins and the Award. This informal event extended the joy of celebrating with the authors as part of the yearlong activities planned by the Newbery 100th Anniversary Celebration Task Force.
Another of this year’s many accomplishments was the creative adaptation of the Morris Seminar to a virtual format. Every Friday in February 2022, participants gathered virtually to learn together about children's media evaluation techniques. Moving forward, the biennial Bill Morris: Book Evaluation Training will precede the ALSC National Institute. Applications for the 2022 Bill Morris Seminar: Book Evaluation Training are open!
An aftereffect of the pandemic was the unavoidable realization that summer and out-of-school time have an urgent place in the conversation of libraries equitably serving youth. In November 2021, I had the opportunity to join members of ALSC’s Summer & Out of School Time Task Force to debut the Learning Beyond: 21st Century Summer and Out of School Time Programs for Youth Toolkit at the National Summer Learning Association’s Annual Conference. This toolkit provides valuable data and practical guidelines for structuring a summer learning program centered on equity.
As I prepare for our first in-person event since early 2020, I must say that I will not miss squinting at the tiny squares on Zoom meeting screens, trying to capture everyone’s expressions and comments, all while following the endlessly scrolling chats. Yet, even though we all agree that “there is nothing like in-person meetings,” virtual meetings allowed us to expand our reach and bring new members into the fold. Travel and finances became less of a barrier, and there is certainly value in continuing some virtual elements in conjunction with in-person events. Plus, I appreciate that these virtual meetings allowed me to get to know so many of my colleagues’ good-looking pets and to visit their homes or places of work.
Looking forward, I can’t wait to see everyone in person at the 2022 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC. There will be a great line-up of events and programs for those who are planning to travel. Please make sure to check out information on the annual Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy Banquet and the Newbery 100th celebratory events and products, the Pura Belpré Celebración, and the amazing ALSC education programs that members will be presenting.
I am also delighted to share that the 2022 Charlemae Rollins President’s Program, Boundaries Be Gone! Using Stories to Intersect and Connect, will feature authors, illustrators, and librarians addressing how they break boundaries with their own voices, using their specific skills to promote connections. Guest speakers include David Bowles, Dr. Cora Dunkley, and Michaela Goade. I am grateful to Sandra Rios Balderrama and Alicia Long, co-chairs, for their vision and their labor of love.
The end of my year as President, thankfully, looks nothing like the beginning. As the world awakens, and we return to a new sense of normalcy, I’m grateful for the lessons learned and the creativity our limitations unleashed. I’m looking forward to seeing how so many of you will use the new strategies and tools we’ve developed over the last two years to expand the role of libraries in our communities and continue to evolve the profession of children’s librarianship.
Kudos first go to ALSC staff, leadership, and volunteer members for their vision and resourcefulness that allowed for the rapid transition of the organization’s business, programs, and events to a virtual format. And kudos again, for their ongoing preparations to return to in-person work this summer and beyond.
My immense gratitude goes out to the ALSC member volunteers, staff, fellow members of the Board, and to all for the support and encouragement you have provided me throughout the year. I am humbled and forever honored to have served as president of ALSC, the oldest and largest organization in the world dedicated to library services to children.—Lucia Gonzalez, ALSC President, 2021-22
An ALSC Committee Is an Opportunity
I love the renewal of energy that comes with spring. This year, the energy of rejuvenation and revitalization that I’m feeling is not just about the anticipation of spending more time outside or of being able to gather again in person. The thing that has me most invigorated at the moment is unique to the vice-presidential role for ALSC: being the appointing officer, or the person responsible for appointing members to all of ALSC’s committees.
Springtime in ALSC is time for process committee appointments—the committees that conduct and direct the majority of association activity outside of our awards program. I know from personal experience just how much committee service can transform your career and your experience of being a member. I have had the privilege of serving on a number of ALSC process committees during my tenure as a member, and I’ve learned something valuable—about myself, our association, and applicable to my career—every step of the way.
When I served on the committee responsible for administering ALSC grants—currently called the Programs and Services Recognition Committee—I learned about the work of ALSC while reviewing grant applications, and I also had first-hand exposure to best practices for writing compelling grant applications. That’s a skill that I’ve carried with me since. When I served on the committee now known as the Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee, I got to collaborate with fellow library folks to start the work that ultimately became the Championing Children’s Services toolkit–an invaluable tool for library advocacy. And when I sat on the Budget Committee, I learned so much not only about ALSC’s finances, but about library finances more generally. That knowledge and experience helped to prepare me for the department manager role I now hold at my library.
I do not intend for this column to be a narrative of my ALSC resume—rather, it’s me extending an invitation to explore all of the many opportunities that await ALSC members who are interested in process committee service. Are you looking to meet colleagues across the continent who share a passion for library service to children? An ALSC committee is a great way to make connections forged through collaboration and meaningful work. Are you looking to build your skills in an area that you don’t get to exercise in the course of your job? An ALSC committee is an opportunity to acquire and practice the skills that can support you in your current work as well as your career aspirations. Are you looking to learn more about library best practices? An ALSC committee is an opportunity to explore current practice and research with your fellow committee members, and to share those widely with your colleagues. Are you looking to contribute to the health and development of our professional association—to give back and nurture new generations of library workers? An ALSC committee is an opportunity to share your knowledge and skills for the benefit of all of us.
Now is a perfect time to express your interest in ALSC process committees in particular by submitting your volunteer form (log in with your ALA credentials to fill it out!). While the majority of process committee appointments happen by mid-June, committee vacancies that arise throughout the year are filled as they come up—which means it’s always a good idea to have a current volunteer form on file with ALSC. Not sure what committees might be a good fit for you? Take a look at this handy “What Does That ALSC Committee Do?” page and explore your options! And if your interest is particularly in our awards committees—media awards and notables—hold tight; those are coming this autumn.
Serving as the appointing officer for ALSC is the responsibility I’ve most been looking forward to since being elected last spring. I’m especially excited to be piloting an appointments advisory working group as well—a small group of ALSC member leaders who are assisting in making process committee appointments, ensuring that interested members are connected with committee service opportunities and that committees have what they need to be successful. As we make these appointments, we’re also working on formalizing the process of having an appointments advisory working group so that it becomes an established practice for future appointing officers—just as many hands make for light work, many brains make for great connections and ideas.
I know firsthand how committee service can grow your network, your skills, your connection to ALSC, and your career. I am really, really excited to be able to extend those opportunities to my fellow ALSC members this year. I look forward to your volunteer form submissions!—Amy Koester, ALSC Vice President, 2021-22
Thank You to Our Friends
Many thanks to the following generous contributors to Friends of ALSC. To learn how you can support ALSC, visit our website.
Silver Circle - $250 to $499
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Early Learning/Outreach Librarian
King County Library System
ALSC Membership: 25 years
Where did you attend library school?
I attended the University of Washington’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science, now known as the iSchool.
What was your very first library position?
My first paid library positions were as a student employee at the University of Washington. As an undergraduate, I worked at the Health Sciences Library. I was working on my biology degree and the opportunity allowed me to contribute to a research project being conducted by staff in the department. My first librarian job was as a children’s librarian at the Bellevue Regional Library. I was hired by Judy Nelson who was a talented mentor and whom I now consider one of my dearest friends.
What do you love most about your current job?
I love the great colleagues I get to work with and learn from. I also appreciate the opportunity to sit at the table (virtually and in-person) in the community to build relationships and to represent the library and its programs and services. My greatest enjoyment comes from working with partner agencies to provide outreach programs and services to the families they serve.
What's your favorite season?
The second season of Bridgerton is my current favorite season! The costumes! The drama! (I couldn’t resist. I was looking at previous ALSC profiles and saw that Marie Aspinwall had answered this question with a television show.)
Do you have any pets?
I have three cats, Flareon (named after a Pokemon) and two kitty sisters Mary and Winifred (named after characters in the movie Hocus Pocus, due to the time of the year they were born.) We adopted Flareon during Meow Fest, an event at our local library that included a visit from a mobile cat adoption van.
What is your favorite family tradition?
I have three grown children. In the last year, we started a daily family text chat around our Wordle games. It is a chance to check in with each other, share our game boards, and sometimes even to boast or commiserate.
Do you prefer being the driver or the passenger?
I love being the passenger! While I prefer not to drive, I am an excellent navigator. I have spent many days off during the pandemic on driving adventures with my husband. We have explored many parks and trails in our area.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
I feel very fortunate to live in the Pacific Northwest. I love being near the mountains and the ocean. I am lucky that I can see Mount Rainier on any given day (if the skies are clear). While Mount Rainier is literally in my backyard, due to the nature of Washington weather, I can go weeks without actually seeing the mountain! Did you know that Mount Rainier can also be used as a weather forecasting tool? Lenticular clouds over the mountain usually mean rain is on the way! Also, if I want to see the ocean, I can be there in a few hours. One of my favorite things in the world is to drive on the beach and watch the sunset over the ocean. I find visiting the ocean to be incredibly soothing. The sound of the waves is calming, and I have fun walking on the beach and looking at shells and sea critters.
What's your favorite book of all time?
My favorite book from my own childhood is Mother Goose illustrated by Gyo Fujikwa. Some of my favorite memories of being read to by my parents include this book. Also, my father taught fifth grade for most of my childhood. Our dinner table conversation often touched on what I was reading and what he was reading aloud to his class. He introduced me to The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Parry Heide, and I always was tickled when I shared a book with him that he ended up reading aloud to his class.
How to Share Trusted COVID-19 Vaccine Information with Parents and Families
ALA is partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ “We Can Do This” campaign to share trusted information about COVID-19 vaccines with parents and families with children.
The partnership focuses on information for parents and guardians of children younger than 12 years old. COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are currently recommended for children ages 5-11, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is scheduled to consider authorizing vaccines for children younger than five years old in June.
To date, vaccination rates for children ages 5-11 are significantly lower than for older age groups. Only 35 percent of people ages 5-11 have received at least one vaccine dose, compared to 87 percent of people ages 12 and older.
The “We Can Do This” campaign provides a range of expert-verified outreach tools and sharable resources that libraries can use to inform their communities, including resources about COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5 and older.
Free webinar: On May 25, the Public Library Association presented a free webinar, entitled “Informing Parents and Families about Recommended COVID-19 Vaccines for Children,” sponsored by ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy office. A free recording will be available – watch ALSC Twitter for more information!
For those attending the 2022 ALA Annual Conference, ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy office is hosting a program, “Library Outreach about COVID-19 Vaccines for Children,” scheduled for June 27, at 10:30 a.m., in Room 151B of the Washington Convention Center. The session will also be presented through the ALA Annual Digital Experience.
Both the webinar and the conference program will feature examples from libraries that have undertaken activities to provide trusted information about COVID-19 vaccines, pediatricians who will discuss the current medical recommendations, and “We Can Do This” campaign leaders who will present free outreach resources that are available to libraries.
Jarry Receives 2022 Sullivan Award
Marie Jarry, director of public services, Hartford (CT) Public Library, was selected to receive the 2022 Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to Children. Sponsored by ALA, the Sullivan Award annually recognizes an individual who has shown exceptional understanding and support of public library service to children while maintaining administrative responsibilities.
Jarry was selected for her success in developing carefully planned initiatives to support community needs, managing system-wide collection development, and taking a leading role in ensuring that library design principles are employed to create an environment welcoming to all patrons. As a leader in Boundless, a model for urban learning and educational partnerships between Hartford Public Library and the Hartford school community, Jarry’s goal is to improve learning experiences by increasing literacy, thus preparing students for a more promising future. According to Leslie Rodriquez-Torres, Hartford Superintendent of Schools, “Boundless provides greater access to paper books and digital resources to help our students develop that crucial life-long love of reading.”
Jarry has written and received more than $200,000 in grants for STEM programming and materials for early childhood initiatives. She launched the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program and created the Stem Lab on the Go program for use in the library, in school, and at home. She also worked to guarantee that Hartford students and teachers had access to resources using their student/teacher ID’s, streamlining access to the library’s physical and digital collections.
According to Bridget Quinn, president and CEO of the Hartford Public Library, “Marie is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, her management style allowing for organizational growth and continued development of a staff culture of engaged, creative service-minded professionals. Marie’s vision continues to bring programs, initiatives, and resources together for larger impact and social delivery.”
The 2022 Sullivan Award will be presented to Jarry at the ALA President’s Program, on Sunday, June 26, during the ALA Annual Conference in Washington DC.
More information about the Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to Children can be found at the ALA website.
Pratt Library Collaborates with Dell Technologies
The Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore received a donation from Dell Technologies of Chromebook devices. The laptops were distributed, beginning in March, to students, preschool through 12th grade, who are a part of Pratt Library programs. The donation was made possible through a partnership with the Baltimore Digital Equity Coalition. https://digitalequitybaltimore.org/
“We are so thankful to Dell Technologies and the Baltimore Digital Equity Coalition for their support,” says Pratt Library President & CEO Heidi Daniel. “The Pratt is proud to be a leader in digital equity in Maryland and this donation is just one way we are helping bridge the digital divide in our community.”
The Pratt Library will develop a digital training program for children, teens, and families throughout the city at several library branches. Students in the program will learn how to use the device and access library services including free online tutoring. At the completion of the program, students will be given their own Chromebook. Pratt outreach specialists will conduct similar digital trainings outside of the library in partnership with several organizations including More Than a Shop.
“Technology is critical to everyone’s success in the 21st century. The Baltimore Digital Equity Coalition is thankful to Dell Technologies’ commitment to closing the digital divide and by investing in our communities. And we are proud of our partner and member, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, for being a leading entity in providing digital literacy skills to Baltimoreans,” says Cody Dorsey, executive director of the Baltimore Digital Equity Coalition. “This partnership will not only assist in closing the digital divide in our city, but also the gap that has divided so many of our people from opportunity.”
For more information, visit Pratt's website.
Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
After an extensive six-month national search, ALSC Past President Andrew Medlar was selected as president and director of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. He officially joins the organization on May 31, 2022. Andrew is the 12th presideent and director in the library's 126-year history. According to Patrick Dowd, chair of the Library’s Board of Trustees, Andrew was the unanimous choice of the search committee and the board. Congratulations, Andrew!
ALSC Past President KT Horning is retiring as director of the Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) as of July 1, 2022, after a long and distinguished career with the CCBC. She began working at the CCBC as an undergraduate volunteer in 1979, and under the mentorship of CCBC Director Emerita Ginny Moore Kruse, KT began working as a CCBC librarian in 1982. She has served as the center’s director for the past 20 years. Wishing you all the best in your next chapter, KT!
Tessa Michaelson Schmidt was recently named the incoming director of the CCBC. She will start in her new role in July. Tessa’s varied experiences as a former classroom teacher, school librarian, public librarian, and administrator give her an insider’s understanding of the needs of the CCBC’s constituents. Her experience as a CCBC librarian, an administrator, and most recently as the assistant state superintendent for the Division for Libraries and Technology within the Department of Public Instruction, has prepared her for the leadership role she will take. Congratulations, Tessa!
Maureen Schlosser is the author of the recently published Social and Emotional Learning for Picture Book Readers (ALA Editions/AASL). The publication features 24 compelling picture books with ready-to-go lesson plans that support social and emotional learning (SEL) through the National School Library Standards.
The latest publication from Michael Cart is Young Adult Literature: From Romance to Realism, Fourth Edition (ALA Neal-Schuman). A comprehensive update of his classic text, this pulications is relied upon by educators, LIS instructors and students, and practitioners for its insight and thoroughness.
Kudos, Maureen and Michael!
Summer Courses from ALSC
Registration is open for two summer online courses from ALSC.
Reading the Art in Picture Books (NEW!): Presented by Heidi Hammond and Gail Nordstrom, this 4-week course will prepare students to articulate why they like picture books by describing its artistic elements, media, style, and design. Students will develop visual literacy skills and learn how to examine and evaluate picture books for both text and illustrations. The course is good preparation for reviewing picture books or serving on book award committees, as well as for sharing picture books with children in a more expansive way.
ALSC Personal Member: $156.75
ALA Personal Member: $188.10
The Newbery Medal: Past, Present and Future: Presented by KT Horning, this 6-week course will give participants a solid grounding in the history of the Medal and how it’s changed over time; an opportunity to read, discuss, and consider past and present Newbery winners with colleagues from across the nation; a chance to talk with former Newbery Committee members and a Newbery author; and suggestions for programming using Newbery-winning books.
ALSC Personal Member: $215
ALA Personal Member: $260.10
For further details on either course, visit ALSC's online courses webpage.
Apply to Host the 2023 Children’s Literature Lecture with Bryan Collier
Applications to host the 2023 Children's Literature Lecture featuring award-winning author/illustrator, Bryan Collier, are open!
The Children's Literature Lecture, administered by ALSC, is an annual event at which an author, critic, librarian, historian, or teacher of children’s literature presents a paper that makes a significant contribution to the field. A library school, department of education in a college or university, or a children’s library system may be considered for host site. The lecture is traditionally held in April or early May.
The Children's Literature Lecture Award Committee Manual provides full details on hosting, including the "Responsibilities of the Host Institution" (Appendix D) and "Checklist for the Host Institution" (Appendix E).
Author and illustrator Bryan Collier’s unique artistic style utilizing watercolors and collage earned him a scholarship to attend Pratt Institute. He has illustrated more than 30 picture books and is the recipient of multiple awards, including numerous Coretta Scott King illustrator awards and honors, four Caldecott honors, and the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award.
Applications are due Friday, July 1, 2022.
Join Us for the 2022 ALSC National Institute
ALSC members, you can still be an early bird. Register by June 30 and save! The 2022 ALSC National Institute: Light Up the Future is scheduled for September 29 - October 1, in Kansas City, and includes engaging and topical education programs; thought-provoking general sessions featuring top-notch children's authors and illustrators, including Christina Soontornvat, Adam Gidwitz, Hena Khan, B.B. Alston, Julian Randall, and Young Vo; book signings; and numerous energizing and centering networking opportunities.
Visit the Institute webpage for all the details. We hope to see you there!
Summer Reading Lists Are Here!
ALSC's Quicklists Consulting Committee has updated the summer reading lists with new and exciting titles for 2022! The lists are full of book titles to keep children engaged in reading throughout the summer. Four lists are available for birth-preschool, grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. The lists are available for free download from the ALSC website.
2023 Media Awards & Notable Children's Books - Send Us Your Suggestions
ALSC personal members are welcome to suggest titles for the 2023 media awards and Notable Children's Books list. An ALSC Member Award Suggestion Form is available at https://airtable.com/shrhAgQqRLM1tlOpp, and the deadline for submissions is October 15, 2022. For more information about each award, visit www.ala.org/alsc and click on “Awards, Grants & Scholarships.”
ALA Store's Spring Sale!
Save 50% on 400+ books, posters, bookmarks, and more. This limited time offer is good only on the ALA Store while supplies last. Browse the sale now!
New Name for Fred Rogers Center
On May 23, 2022, the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media announced its new name, mission, vision, and values. The new name, Fred Rogers Institute, was chosen to better describe the organization and its work to advance the legacy of Fred Rogers by investing in the strengths of families and caring adults to support the healthy development of children.
To learn more about Fred Rogers Institute's commitment to academic pursuit and practice-focused initiatives that support children, families, and their helpers across many fields, visit the new website.
2022 Empire State Award
The Youth Services Section of the New York Library Association (NYLA) recently announced that the winner of the 2022 Empire State Award for Excellence in Literature for Young People is Kate Messner. She will be honored at a luncheon next November during the Association’s annual conference.
Kate Messner is well respected in the youth literature world and has a keen understanding of how to write for her intended audience. The quote on her website from Shelf Awareness sums it up: “Kate Messner has an intuitive understanding of how to present materials to children in a way that is entertaining, edifying, and always aimed directly at them.”
Her titles include award-winning picture books like Over and Under the Pond, Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, and Rolling Thunder; novels that tackle real-world issues like Chirp, Breakout, and The Seventh Wish; mysteries and thrillers like Capture the Flag and Eye of the Storm; the Fergus and Zeke easy reader series; and the popular chapter book series Ranger in Time.
First presented to Maurice Sendak in 1990, the Empire State Award is given annually to an author or illustrator currently residing in New York State, acknowledging their significant contribution to the field of literature for young people. Past recipients of this award include Brian Selznick, Rita Williams-Garcia, Bryan Collier, Jacqueline Woodson, Laurie Halse Anderson, and several other youth literature heavyweights. For more information about the award, please visit the NYLA website.
2022 EJK Foundation Award Winners
The Ezra Jack Keats (EJK) Foundation, in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), announced the 2022 Ezra Jack Keats Award and Honor Books in March. The annual award celebrates exceptional early career authors and illustrators for portraying the multicultural nature of our world in the spirit of Ezra Jack Keats.
The 2022 Ezra Jack Keats Award winner for Writer is Paul Harbridge for Out Into the Big Wide Lake, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon.
The winner for Illustrator is Gracey Zhang for Lala’s Words.
Writer Honors included:
Joanna Ho for Playing at the Border, illustrated by Teresa Martinez
Anne Wynter for Everybody in the Red Brick Building, illustrated by Oge Mora
Illustrator Honors went to:
Marta Bartolj for Every Little Kindness, written by Marta Bartolj
Kenesha Sneed for Many Shapes of Clay, written by Kenesha Sneed