ALSC Matters! | November 2018, Vol. 16, no. 4

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

Officially Speaking 

ALSC Strategic Activities Continue 

ALSC is buzzing with excitement as all our committees are advancing areas of our strategic plan. From advocacy work to learning and development events to diversity and inclusion efforts, we have a lot for which to be proud. If you haven’t had the chance, check out the ALSC blog where committees have been participating in “Children’s Librarian Expert” posts that tie into ALSC’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries. These posts highlight work of the committee as well as some of the many roles of children’s librarians. Our competencies provide a framework for ALSC members and those serving children in libraries to be innovators in the field of children’s library services, particularly in areas of access, advocacy, outreach, inclusion, and diversity. You also can write your own “Experts” posts for the blog by contacting Mary Voors, the ALSC blog manager.

At the end of September, the ALSC Institute successfully explored all three areas of our strategic plan in keynote and breakout sessions, sparking numerous invigorating conversations and unforgettable learning opportunities. In October, the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee hosted a community forum related to service to refugee and immigrant communities and solicited feedback to help in the committee’s refresh of the Library Services to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers: A Toolkit for Librarians and Library Workers. If you have suggestions on specific underserved populations that should be included or other ideas, please send them to the committee chairs, Jason Driver and Erin Lovelace.

The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) task force has selected ALSC’s inaugural class of Equity Fellows. Via this fellowship program, ALSC affirms its commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion by engaging new generations of racially and ethnically diverse library professionals. Recipients of the EDI Fellowships are Eiyana Favers, Ayn Frazee, Evelyn Keolian, Shahrazad "Star" Khan, Sierra McKenzie, and Jocelyn Moore. In similar news, Georgina Rivas-Martinez has been selected as the 2019 ALSC-sponsored Emerging Leader. She has a strong commitment to inclusion and serving diverse communities, which will greatly benefit ALSC, ALA, and the Emerging Leaders Program. Congratulations to all these recipients! If you see our fellows or sponsored Emerging Leader at Midwinter, please take a moment to give each of them a warm ALSC welcome!

Speaking of diversity and inclusion, I am delighted  that several ALA affiliate associations will have their youth awards included in the 2019 Youth Media Awards (YMAs) announcements at Midwinter. These awards will highlight titles selected by the American Indian Library Association (AILA), Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), and the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL). The YMAs are generously sponsored by Baker & Taylor this year as is the Joint Youth Reception that will be held on Monday, January 28, 2019 from 5:00-6:30 p.m. If you are attending Midwinter, I hope you’ll join me in thanking our magnanimous sponsor of these two events! You can stop by their booth in the exhibits hall and thank them in person there or at the reception.

During Midwinter, ALSC is co-sponsoring and/or hosting two events related to diversity and inclusion. The first is the Leadership and ALSC meeting on Saturday, January 26, 8:30 a.m. As part of this meeting, educator and diversity advocate Debbie LeeKeenan is our keynote speaker, discussing “Anti-bias Education and Children’s Literature: Provoking Courageous Conversations.” Her talk will explore how librarians can foster anti-bias environments and spark discussions with children about equity, diversity, inclusion, race relations, etc. Any conference attendee can attend this meeting that focuses on important issues and supporting leadership within ALSC. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet with ALSC priority group consultants, committee chairs, and the board of directors. 

Another event celebrating global diversity is the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) co-sponsored meeting on Friday, January 25, 8:00-10:00 p.m., where USSBY will unveil the 2019 Outstanding International Booklist and highlight the work of author Aida Salazar. Hope to see YOU at these programs! If you aren’t able to attend the Midwinter Meeting, please follow along via the live blogging posts on the ALSC blog.

In January, ALSC staff and I will participate in a leadership forum with the Erikson Institute and the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) that will establish an actionable definition of media literacy in early childhood. A practitioner forum will take place later in April. These forums are part of a collaborative partnership that ALSC has committed to with the Erikson Institute on the Building an Alliance for Media Literacy in Early Childhood Informal Learning IMLS project. This funded grant presents an exciting opportunity to convene national stakeholders and practitioners through discussion of media literacy in early childhood. These discussions will lead to the design of media literacy models for young children ages 0–5 and their families that will positively impact the work of librarians as media mentors. ALSC is proud to be a partner, stakeholder, and supporter of this timely and important project that we believe directly impacts our vision of engaging communities to build healthy, successful futures for all children.  

Related to media mentorship, ALSC will have a News You Can Use session at ALA Midwinter on Sunday, January 27, 8:30-10:00 a.m. Panelists Claudia Haines, Liz Mills, Katie Campana, and Marianne Martens will discuss preliminary results from the 2018 Young Children, New Media, and Libraries survey of technology usage with children in libraries. I am also working with various members to plan our next community forum around the topic of digital media. Stay tuned for more information!

From this exciting aforementioned list, you can see that ALSC is moving full steam ahead on our strategic activities. But, we can’t do all these exciting things without the help of our members. I encourage you to check out Vice President Cecilia McGowan’s column below for more information on how to volunteer for the next round of committee appointments.—Jamie Campbell Naidoo, ALSC President

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Our Vital Work Depends on, and Is Possible, Because of You! 

As you are most likely aware, one of the duties and honors of being the ALSC Vice President is to select and appoint ALSC members to committees.  To do this I need your help!  Our committees and task forces are comprised of hundreds of members.  Yes, hundreds.  Every committee member plays a vital role in a committee’s work—work that is accomplished through the passion, advocacy, and plain hard work of each individual.

Speaking of passion, I was fortunate in being able to attend the ALSC Institute in Cincinnati in late September and met hundreds of passionate, excited, and engaged youth-serving staff.  I sure hope some of them volunteer for committees!  Lisa Soper, Institute Planning task force chair, and members, Sam Bloom, Allison Knight, Samantha Lumetta, Amy Schardein, and Cassondra Vick, planned and facilitated a thought-provoking and meaningful array of programs and keynotes.  Many thanks to all of you.  The Institute is a perfect example of the power of ALSC members in accomplishing great things and making an impact.

I know some of you are thinking: What can I do? I don’t have much experience. I don’t know that many people. Where do I start? Good questions all!  The truth of the matter is that we need members from all backgrounds, with various levels of experience, in all types of libraries.  There is a place for you!  

Remember, separately we can accomplish little, but collectively we are a force to be reckoned with!  

Don’t know where to start? Begin at the ALSC Committees page. Listed there are all the committees, task forces, and discussions groups, arranged by priority group. Click on a committee and read the charge and the current members. Committees designated with a ‘v’ are virtual, of which there are many, meaning you can be a member and are not required to attend conferences. These committees meet virtually to accomplish their tasks. 

Another great resource for getting acclimated to ALSC’s structure and work flow is What Does That ALSC Committee Do?  

And don’t forget to talk to colleagues or members in your community who have served on committees. They, too, are a great resource. If you are attending Midwinter in Seattle, consider attending Leadership & ALSC and the All Committee Meeting. Both are great places to talk with members, chairs, and priority group consultants about committee work.  

Also, at the bottom of the Committees page, there are links to the committee volunteer form and details about the appointments process—so much great information there. You can’t be appointed to a committee if you don’t fill out a volunteer form; so read over the information and send in your form!

Before I sign off, I have some exciting Midwinter news to share.  An ALSC-sponsored News You Can Use session will take place on Sunday, January 27, 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.:

And the Survey Says…: Preliminary Results from the 2018 Young Children, New Media, and Libraries Survey of Technology Use in Today’s Libraries

Claudia Haines, Homer Public Library; Liz Mills, PhD Candidate, Beverly Cleary Research Assistant, University of Washington; Kathleen Campana, Assistant Professor, Kent State University; Marianne Martens, Assistant Professor, Kent State University
ALSC’s first national survey of libraries and new media, administered in 2014, demonstrated a strong commitment among libraries to providing a range of technology for families with young children. An updated and expanded 2018 survey mined exciting results that provide compelling, widespread insights into the changes in this still largely uncharted and disparate landscape. Join us to learn about the preliminary findings and discuss how your library is using new media in programming.    

Thank you!  Let’s work together to continue ALSC’s great work.—Cecilia McGowan, ALSC Vice-President

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Thank You to Our Donors 

Gold Circle

David Mowery

Notables Circle

Steven Herb
Marianne Martens
Cecilia McGowan
Ellen Riordan
Vicky Smith
Mary Voors
Caroline Ward

Friends Circle

Ramona Caponegro
Anne Dayanandan
Julie Dietzel-Glair
Elisa Gall
Africa Hands
Sujei Lugo
Beatriz Wallace

ALSC extends a hearty thank you to all of our 2018 donors whose generous contributions helped carry ALSC through another dynamic year. Look for the 2018 Friends of ALSC report coming next month, which will highlight the many projects and scholarships supported by our Friends. Find Friends reports from previous years on our website. 

We are committed to achieving even greater impact in 2019 and hope you will consider supporting ALSC on #GivingTuesday later this month on November 27. 

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ALSC Voices

ALSC Profile 

Celebrating colleagues with 25 years or more years of ALSC membership

Joanne Zillman
Youth Services Manager & Deputy Director
Batavia Public Library
Batavia, Illinois

ALSC membership: 26 years

Where did you attend library school?

Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois

What was your very first library position?

Head of Youth Services at Bedford Park Public Library in Bedford Park, Illinois. My husband and I had bought our first home across the street from the library just a few years earlier and were avid library users. When the Head of Youth Services position became available one of the Library Trustees, knowing my background in elementary education, encouraged me to apply. This opportunity launched my career down a path in public library service, which I hadn’t considered before but found to be exactly what I was looking for and very rewarding. 

What do you love most about your current job? 

I love the variety of what I do and the opportunity to have an impact both in the lives of children and library-wide. One of the most memorable experiences for me was our Solar Eclipse Party in 2017. Over 1,000 people, infants to seniors, families, neighbors, business people, gathered at the library in downtown Batavia, with lawn chairs and blankets, to view the eclipse from the Library Reading Garden. Eclipse activities and a live NASA feed inside the library turned the entire library campus into a solar eclipse gathering. This event really brought the community together at the Library! 

What's your favorite season?

I am a big fan of summer. I enjoy the busyness of Summer Reading Club and the chance to do many outside activities like swimming, hiking, gardening, and picnicking.  

What's your favorite book of all time? 

My current favorite is The Screaming Staircase, book one in the Lockwood and Co. series by Jonathan Stroud. Its premise is unique, and the story is packed with adventure and very surprising.  

What do you remember about your favorite teacher? 

I have the fondest memories of my high school music teacher/choral director. He was always upbeat and positive. He regularly encouraged and praised us and made us feel important. To this day, he remembers former students’ names and their graduation year!

Do you prefer being the driver or the passenger? 

Generally, I prefer being the driver. On long trips, my husband and I share the driving duty. I will read maps and travel information, searching for interesting routes and unique destinations. Once the route is planned, I like to share in the driving adventure.   

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

Australia. It is on my bucket list. Several friends have traveled there and thought it was fantastic. I am intrigued by its history, culture, and geography. 

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Bright Ideas

Summer Reading with a Twist: Pratt's Comic Book Convention

As Marvel and DC Comics superheroes surge in popularity, hundreds of thousands of people are flocking to comic book conventions every year.  But not everyone can afford the hefty price tag that goes along with those trips. That’s why the Enoch Pratt Free Library sought to bring some of that comic book magic to Baltimore, Maryland, for free. 

This year, the Pratt Library celebrated its 4th annual PrattCon, with a twist.  PrattCon takes place in June as the Summer Reading Challenge is starting. This year’s Summer Challenge theme was “Libraries Rock!” focused on music and dance. So this year, caped crusaders and comic book characters were joined by live musicians and dancers. When children’s librarian Kelly Burden was thinking about how to approach the “Libraries Rock!” theme in planning PrattCon, she drew on her connections as a dancer. She wanted to highlight the awesome talent in the city of Baltimore and the rich artistic and cultural background of the city.  So she reached out to multiple groups to become a part of this year’s celebration.  PrattCon performers included several dance troupes, a drumming circle, a spoken-word poetry group, and hoola-hoop artists. She even found an orchestra that plays video game music to perform! This resulted in one of the largest audiences in PrattCon history with hundreds of attendees.

PrattCon has grown throughout the three years. Game trucks positioned outside the Southeast Anchor Library helped draw people in, as well as a large banner outside. Adults and teens enjoyed talks from comic book enthusiasts and authors. The library meeting room transformed into a vendor area, featuring local comic book stores and cosplayers. Children had a blast getting their faces painted and playing Live Action Pac-Man. Many of the Pratt librarians dressed up as their favorite super heroes or graphic novel characters. 

The idea of PrattCon first came about in 2015 when Pratt librarian and comic book fan, Justin Switzer was inspired by other libraries hosting similar events. That year, the Summer Challenge theme was “Every Hero Has a Story,” which played well with a potential graphic novel theme. With the support of fellow staffers and friends, Switzer was able to piece together a successful event that proved to be both fun and educational.  The Pratt was able to partner with several organizations, including comic book shops, local cosplayers, and many more. 

PrattCon has lived on every year since then, and continues to focus on the key elements of the Summer Challenge. By promoting literacy while having fun, PrattCon proves that the library is a cool place to be.—Meghan McCorkell, Director of Marketing and Communications, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore

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Family Engagement Planning @ Joplin Public Library

When we plan storytime programming at Joplin Public Library, we intentionally plan for family engagement, especially opportunities for families to practice skills that build early literacy; Reading, Talking, Singing, Playing, and Writing.  Planned offerings look different for each age group and theme. Events are always play-based and can range from re-creating a family-child interaction in a book, such as Pete's a Pizza, by William Steig to using a scarf to "wash the feet" of a family member during a rhyme time.  Such planning takes thought about the skills being targeted and which strategy fits best with that skill. For instance, using singing to help develop Phonemic Awareness. While we provide a bookmark at the end of our storytime with deeper dive information for families who are interested, the key element is allowing families to practice what we are demonstrating. This refocus has changed our storytimes from staff being the center of attention to families taking an active role. 

Information from Harvard Family Research Project states that of the 6,000 hours of opportunity to educate children annually, only about 1,000 are spent in a formal learning environment (  This data has been instrumental in helping staff think about how we conduct programming. Because we have such a short amount of time to connect with children and families and demonstrate ideas for skill building, we understand how vital it is for families to practice with their children at home and in other environments.  By planning time and opportunity to practice during programming, our library is helping build the toolbox of family activities that leads to learning through play.--Tammie Benham, Children's Department Head, Joplin (Missouri) Public Library

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Art Appreciation Programs at East Hampton Library

Art at the Library, ages 6 and up, and Messy Masterpieces, ages 3-5, are two programs I facilitate at the East Hampton Library in New York. East Hampton has a very active art community and I wanted to bring more of that environment into the library for our youngest patrons. When planning these art programs, I first select an artist whose books for younger readers are available to me. I then select picture books that either reference that artist, their work, subject, or an aspect of art. Next I choose a work of art for inspiration. And finally, I pick an art project. 

Choosing a project can be the hardest part since it needs to be one that can be adapted for a variety of ages. Action Jackson by Jan Greenberg and Olivia by Ian Falconer worked great together with a washable tempera splatter art project. Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin paired with any picture book about snow, like First Snow by Bomi Park, and a tape resist snowflake project is always fun. 

The program format includes 15-20 minutes of reading two to three books, talking about the artist, and presenting a large print of their work to be used for inspiration. Following these activities, our young artists have 30-45 minutes to create their very own masterpieces. 

Other artists, books, and projects that work well together are: Georgia Rises by Kathryn Lasky, Georgia’s Bones by Jen Bryant, and I Feel Teal by Lauren Rille followed by a poppy watercolor pencil drawing; and Papa Chagall, Tell Us a Story by Laurence Anholt and Little Cloud by Eric Carle paired with stained glass sharpie art.—Anna R. Healy, Children’s Librarian, East Hampton (NY) Library

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Getting Together

Save the Date: ALSC 2020 National Institute 

Mark your calendar now to join us for the 2020 National Institute, October 1-3, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minnesota!

The Institute is everything you need in one place--programming, keynotes, networking, and much more. This intensive learning opportunity with a youth services focus is designed for front-line youth library staff, children’s literature experts, education and library school faculty members, and other interested adults.  

Many thanks to the more than 400 fellow children's librarians and educators who attended the 2018 Institute this past September in Cincinnati, Ohio! The Institute was a success and we appreciate our attendees, sponsors, speakers, and planning committee for their contributions!

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ALA Midwinter: Register Now and Save  

Early Advance Registration rates for the 2019 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, Washington, are available until 11:59 a.m. (Central time) on December 5. Register now to save.

Need to make your case to attend? Visit the Midwinter website for examples that show how you can be considered more valuable to your institution after attending an ALA conference. 

This Midwinter's highlights include...

News You Can Use 
And the Survey Says…: Preliminary Results from the 2018 Young Children, New Media, and Libraries Survey of Technology Use in Today’s Libraries
Sunday, January 27, 8:30 a.m. (PT)
Panelists Claudia Haines, Liz Mills, Katie Campana, and Marianne Martens will discuss preliminary results from the 2018 Young Children, New Media, and Libraries survey of technology usage with children in libraries.

ALA Youth Media Awards Announcements
Monday, January 28, 8 a.m. (PT)
Sponsored by Baker & Taylor
Join us as we honor the most outstanding books, videos, and other materials produced for children and teens in 2018. 

ALSC & YALSA Joint Youth Reception
Monday, January 28, 5:00 p.m. (PT)
Sponsored by Baker & Taylor
Members of ALSC & YALSA are invited to a Joint Youth Reception. Come unwind, mingle with friends and colleagues, and enjoy a wide spread of hors d'oevres as well as a cash bar.

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2019 Arbuthnot Lecture Coming Next Spring

Debbie Reese, PhD, founder of American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) blog, will deliver the 2019 Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, which will be hosted by the University of Wisconsin, Madison. 

The lecture will be held next year, and complimentary tickets will be available upon request next spring. Watch the 2019 Lecture webpage for details as they become available. 

Dr. Reese is a longtime advocate for Native representation and is a former teacher and university professor. She earned her PhD in Education from the University of Illinois, where she also helped establish the Native American House and American Indian Studies program. Dr. Reese also holds an M.Ed degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. She is tribally enrolled at Nambe Owingeh Pueblo in New Mexico.

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Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Member News 

ALSC has named Georgina Rivas-Martinez its representative in the 2019 Emerging Leader program. Georgina is a youth services librarian at the South Huntington (New York) Public Library where she designs and facilitates youth programs along with being responsible for Spanish language collection development. In May 2017, she graduated with her Master of Library Science (MLS) from Long Island University Post. Congratulations, Georgina!

Congratulations to ALSC Past President Thom Barthelmess, recipient of the CAYAS Award for Visionary Library Service to Youth, administered by the the Children’s and Young Adult Services (CAYAS) Interest Group of the Washington Library Association. The award recognizes an individual who, through practice and example, provides inspiration and leadership for others who serve children and young adults in libraries. 

Ann Crewdson received the Candace Morgan Intellectual Freedom Award from the WLA for her efforts to defend, champion, support, and educate others about intellectual freedom in Washington State. Kudos, Ann!

Astor County (Florida) Library recently received the Astor Chamber of Commerce's Community Spirit Award, largely for their work last summer with 2nd Harvest, supplying 998 meals for children at the library throughout the 2018 summer reading program. Congratulations, Jonathan Dolce and Astor County Library!

Congratulations to Karen Lemmons, named one of Wayne State University School of Information Sciences Shining Stars--outstanding SIS alumni who have had notable professional achievements. Karen and her fellow stars are honored in an online digital album.

Wishing the best to Amanda Williams who is retiring at the end of this year. She has been with Austin Public Library for more than 20 years and a librarian for 39 years!

Best wishes to Gratia Banta who recently retired from Lane Libraries, Hamilton, Ohio. She is passionate about children’s literature and will continue to be active in ALA, ALSC, and United for Libraries. Retiring from her position as Youth Services Manager at the Lane Libraries, she regards her work hosting emerging authors and illustrators and the Robert McCloskey United for Libraries Literary Landmark Celebration of Spring 2015 as some of her greatest achievements.

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STEM Course Begins in January

Register now for ALSC's online course, "Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs Made Easy," which runs four weeks, January 7 through February 1, 2019. Learn how to provide educational programs using STEM without going to school to become a scientist. Children’s librarians and associates will learn to present and adapt programs for multiple ages. More details are available on the course webpage. To register, visit the ALA Registration page.

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Book Lists Highlighting Diverse Voices

The American Indian Library Association (AILA) has compiled a set of book lists for young children, middle graders, and young adults that highlight American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and First Nations authors and illustrators. Many of the titles included are past winners and honorees of the American Indian Youth Literature Awards

The ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services (ODLOS) is also working to include book lists from all ALA Round Tables and affiliates in one convenient place. Check out the list, which currently is under construction.

In response to the 2018 tragedy at the synagogue in Pittsburgh and to rising anti-Semitism in the US, the Association of Jewish Libraries is creating a series of book lists for young readers. intended to provide children and their families with a greater understanding of the Jewish religion and its people. The first list in the series, “Love Your Neighbor: Book List #1 Standing up for Each Other,” features stories of Jews and non-Jews standing up for each other, working out differences, and confronting prejudice.

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Nominate an IF Superstar

Do you know someone who has bravely defended the freedom to read or access information? Someone who has fought against censorship? Someone who has contributed to the core value of intellectual freedom? If the answer is yes, please consider nominating this IF champion for the John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award presented by ALA's Intellectual Freedom Round Table. Hurry, the nomination deadline is December 1. For more information, visit the award website

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Wizarding News from ALA

Zoë Kravitz from the upcoming movie “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald," opening in theaters November 16, has taped video messages in support of libraries. In two PSAs, Kravitz discusses how libraries help uncover new magical worlds through books, resources, and technology. The video messages are available at There also is a special webpage for librarians that includes sample social media posts and other materials libraries can use in promoting the PSAs with their communities. 

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Children’s Book Week Turns 100! 

Every Child a Reader and the Children’s Book Council announced a year-long campaign to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week in 2019. With a new logo and theme, Read Now - Read Forever, the 2019 official Children’s Book Week poster will be illustrated by the beloved Yuyi Morales. Over 125,000 posters will be sent to 1,000 schools, libraries, and bookstores for events to be held from April 29 to May 5, 2019. Registration to be an official Children’s Book Week location is open now.

Additionally, a twelve-artist collaborative poster, to be revealed in stages throughout 2019, will be illustrated by Sophie Blackall, Eric Carle, Bryan Collier, Grace Lin, Juana Martinez-Neal, Barbara McClintock, Frank Morrison, LeUyen Pham, James E. Ransome, Erin Stead, Melissa Sweet, and Raina Telgemeier.

New online activity materials for the anniversary will include activity pages in over 15 languages and original bookmarks created by Selina Alko & Sean Qualls, Vera Brosgol, Jason Chin, Ekua Holmes, Juana Medina, and Jessie Sima.

The illustrators for the anniversary were chosen from CBC member publishers’ submissions by a 100th anniversary art committee comprised of Betsy Bird, Diane Capriola, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Christopher Lassen, Leonard Marcus, Susannah Richards, and Lisa Von Drasek.

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Family Literacy Takes Center Stage

Chances are your library has plenty going on in the way of family literacy. Did you know that November is National Family Literacy Month? The National Center for Families Learning invites everyone to join the celebration by sharing events and photos that focus on families learning together on social media, using the hashtag #NationalFamilyLiteracyMonth. Learn more at the National Center for Families Learning blog.

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Children in Crisis Task Force Earns Grant 

The REFORMA (the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking) Children in Crisis Task Force recently was awarded a $5,000 grant by The Believe in Reading Organization. The funds will support the purchase and delivery of books to unaccompanied refugee children. The arrival of tens of thousands of children crossing the southern border into the United States created an unprecedented humanitarian refugee crisis that continues today. REFORMA Children in Crisis was established in 2014 to solicit donations, purchase and deliver books for children in detention centers, shelters, law offices, and group homes around the country. The Task Force’s mission is to get books into the hands of these children, ensure that they have access to storytime materials, and to make all the recent arrivals aware of the wealth of library resources that are available to them here in the US.

Believe in Reading is funded by The Steve and Loree Potash Family Foundation, and is based in Cleveland, Ohio. Believe in Reading funds notable programs dedicated to the teaching and encouragement of reading for all ages anywhere in the world.

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Keats Mini-Grant Program Call for Proposals

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, which supports arts and literacy programs in public schools and libraries across the country, is putting out its annual call for proposals from educators nationwide.

Approximately 70 grants, up to $500 each, will be awarded to teachers and librarians in public schools and libraries whose proposals reflect imagination and a desire to make learning fun. Applications are being accepted now through March 31, 2019. Decisions will be emailed to all applicants in May, allowing educators to plan for the next academic year. Visit the EJK Foundation website for more information.

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Your Feeback Requested 

Karis Loop is writing a book for ALA Editions about viewing youth services as a continuum and providing transitional programming for children and teens. She is seeking input on this topic via a short online survey. Your time is appreciated! The survey is available at:

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Contest for Young Creators

Stone Soup magazine, in collaboration with Mackenzie Press, recently announced a new contest for young writers and illustrators of all ages. The Secret Kids Contest is a chance for kids to win a book deal and to become a published author and see their own book on sale in bookstores and libraries across the country. There are three entry levels for kids ages 5 to 18: elementary, middle, and high school. 

The winner will receive:

  • a book deal from publisher Mackenzie Press
  • $1,000 cash prize
  • one-year subscription to Stone Soup magazine.

Entry information is at Share the details with the budding writers and artists in your library! 

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