ALSC Matters! | November 2019, Vol. 17, no. 4

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

Officially Speaking

Start Planning for an Exciting Charlemae Rollins President’s Program at Annual Conference 2020!

Summer Reading and Learning has wrapped up for another year and many of us are starting our plans for summer 2020. It hardly seems possible that in the midst of fall we are turning our eyes to next year. I liken it to planning my 2020 garden: I’ve just put my garden to bed for the winter and started to read all the glorious seed and garden catalogs. Good planning means starting early to ensure we have all the materials we need on hand when it’s time to act.

The same is true for how we plan programs and events for ALSC. We want the very best programs for our members and that means working far in advance. I’ve been more than fortunate to have a great team working on the 2020 President’s program taking place Monday afternoon at Annual Conference in Chicago. Co-chairs Gaye Hinchliff of the King County Library System and Paige Bentley-Flannery of the Deschutes Public Library are the incomparable co-chairs, who were supported by ALSC staff member Kristen Figliulo for the majority of the planning and now by staff member Angela Hubbard. The amazing program they have planned is due to their incredible work. Please join us on Monday, June 29, 2020, for “Telling Our Authentic Story: Connecting, Sharing, and Bridging Divides through Children’s Literature.”  The program will feature a discussion with three notable children’s authors/illustrators in exploring how stories help us preserve and learn from the past, share our traditions, our folkways, our language, and our hopes and fears for the future. Our three panelists are Newbery medalist Erin Entrada Kelly, Caldecott honoree and Coretta Scott King award winner Oge Mora, and Newbery honoree and Eisner winner Cece Bell. The panel will be moderated by noted poet and author Janet Wong. 

I think you will agree with me that these authors/illustrators represent the very best in children’s literature and their work exemplifies the sharing of authentic stories.  

The President’s program will be continued in the evening with a special event at The Poetry Foundation with Naomi Shihab Nye, foundation's 2019 to 2021 Young People's Poet Laureate.

Stay tuned for more details about these events, but for now mark your calendars!

Until next time, thank you for supporting my work as President and ALSC’s Strategic Plan, in which you play a vital role. Without you we cannot continue our great work serving children, parents and caregivers in all of our communities.—Cecilia P. McGowan, ALSC President  

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Navigating Change

Fall is my favorite time of year; Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert made the move with me to a new office and is lovingly on display at my desk right now. After growing up in Southern California, I still get overwhelmed by the beauty of changing leaves here in Oregon. For me, fall feels like a time of new beginnings—an opportunity for change—more so than January and the ringing in of a new year. So change has been on my mind a lot lately. 

Across the country, libraries are continuing to adapt and evolve in an ever-changing climate where resources are finite; my own organization is evaluating staffing models, organizational structure, and library spaces as we plan for the future. ALA is not immune to this process and we are beginning to see the efforts of these assessments. 

I hope you all have been following the conversations on ALA Connect related to the work of the Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness (SCOE) and the future of Midwinter; recently, an update was released on the Future of the ALA Midwinter Meeting. Although the Midwinter transition will not officially begin until January 2021 in Indianapolis, we are starting to see changes to the existing structure that have an impact on how we do ALSC work in the future. But be assured many things are staying the same, including the Youth Media Awards, which will continue to be a mainstay of whatever Midwinter evolves into. Also remaining consistent is ALA’s commitment to a smaller campus, which means less running around in between meetings and scheduled breaks (also called “no conflict” times), which means more time for the exhibit halls. The longer no conflict times will have an impact on when ALSC committees and board can meet because it means we have smaller windows of time to conduct our business when we are together in person. As ALSC members, we want to be proactive in addressing these changes rather than being reactive. We are considering how we can be more efficient and streamlined to reduce redundancies and make every minute of time spent in face-to-face meetings count! 

It is important for ALA to hear your voice, so be sure to stay engaged by checking ALA Connect regularly and giving feedback when there are opportunities to do so. I would love to hear from you about what you think are the best ways to work more efficiently during the off meeting/conference times. What best practices have you, your colleagues, and/or committees started to use to make sure work is efficiently accomplished both in person and virtually?—Kirby McCurtis, ALSC Vice-President/President-Elect

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Thank You to Our Donors!

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

President's Circle

Andrew Medlar

Gold Circle

Anne Britton
Laura Jenkins
Ed Spicer

Notables Circle

Rita Auerbach
Christopher Brown
Soline Holmes
Maggie Jacobs
Kathy Jarombek
Susan Lempke 
Marianne Martens
Cecilia McGowan
Brandon Thompson III
Kay Weisman

Friends Circle

Jean Bellavance
Ramona Caponegro
Tony Carmack
Edith Ching
Anne Dayanandan
Betsy Diamant-Cohen
Julie Dietzel-Glair
Jane Folger
Rachel Fryd
Adrienne Gillespie
Barbara Klipper
Jamie Klos
Beth McGuire
Jeana Menger
Gail Nordstrom
Rebecca Ozinga
April Roy
Beatriz Wallace 
Dorcas Wong

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ALSC Voices

Mary Voors
Children's Services Manager
Allen County Public Library
Fort Wayne, Indiana

ALSC Membership: 26 years

Where did you attend library school?

I received my MLS in 1993 from Indiana University in Bloomington.

What was your very first library position?

My first library position was at Central Catholic High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I worked as a page/shelver/library assistant as a way to lessen the tuition cost. My first real job in a library was as a Circulation Desk attendant at a public library at which I checked out books for customers.

What do you love most about your current job? 

Hands down, my favorite part of my current position is the people with whom I work. They are vigorous advocates for kids; they have unfailingly strong customer service skills; and they are just all around good people. Together we discuss books, explore best methods of handling problems, brainstorm programming ideas, think about how to make our physical surroundings more kid-friendly, and more -- all with the ultimate goal of offering the best possible services to our young customers and their adults.

Do you collect anything?

I collect pin-back buttons—those plastic covered buttons with a safety pin device on the back. Funny buttons, political buttons, buttons that advertise, buttons asking questions, vintage buttons ... I love them all!

What's your favorite family recipe?

Fried Cheerios! Over medium heat, melt one stick of salted butter in a large, heavy frying pan. Add 4 to 5 cups of cheerios. Stir and salt until the cheerios are brown and crispy. Salt again. Pour into a bowl and enjoy.  (This may not be the “heart healthy” version of cheerios that is advertised, but it is a wonderful comfort food.)

What’s your favorite myth, legend, or fairy tale? Why?

The Duke Who Outlawed Jelly Beans from the book by the same name by Johnny Valentine. This story was one of my daughter's favorites as she was growing up and, from one of our first shared readings, it was one of my favorites, too.  It is the story of a ruler who makes outlandish proclamations that must be followed, including a final decree defining what constitutes an appropriate family. The children of the land are the heroes as they band together to find a way to stop him and his ridiculous decrees. 

What was the single-most influential event in your lifetime? Why?

Attending the first inauguration of Barack Obama was a very powerful event. Standing on the National Mall in below-freezing temperatures, with over a million other celebrating Americans in all their diversity, was inspiring.

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President Obama offered these words in his inauguration speech:

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics. We remain a young nation. But in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness."

It was a day that made me oh-so-proud to be an American.

What is the best compliment you ever received?

You've successfully raised a wise, caring, and perceptive daughter.

What song would you say best sums you up?

I have always been motivated by Elphaba’s portion of the song "Defying Gravity" from the musical Wicked. Sometimes, in times of stress, I find myself singing these lines in my head:

"I'm through accepting limits
'cause someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!"

I’m not sure this song “best sums me up,” but it does inspire me.

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Bright Ideas

Spider Sense 

There’s a really cheesy 1970s song by Jim Stafford called “I Don’t Like Spiders & Snakes.” (Go ahead, YouTube it!). But if I’ve learned anything as a children’s librarian, it’s that kids of all ages DO LOVE spiders and snakes! Well, let’s face it, the key to many successful programs is creepy crawly things that you can get up close and personal with—bonus points if you can touch them. 

As much as I personally eschew the creepy crawlies, I know what thrills my school-age patrons; and that’s why I came up with Spider Sense for one of my children’s programs this past summer. 

Spider Sense was one program I hosted as part of Bug Week at my branch—I touted it at all my spring Summer Reading Program school visits, as I donned a spider hat and tossed toy spiders into the crowd. That special week, we also had a visit from Tedd Arnold’s Fly Guy (a super cute, but a bit cumbersome, costumed character) for a dance party and a celebratory family storytime to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar

In search of an entomologist—OK, SPIDER man!—I had to look no further than University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where I found Dr. Michael Draney, a biologist whose passion for arthropods truly fit the bill. He was willing to come at no cost and bring various species of spiders—living and preserved—for the kids to view. 

And yes, I asked the one question everyone would want to know—could he bring a tarantula? Unfortunately, he told me, “My tarantula is vicious and venomous.” OK, well, I guess we’ll go with other spiders then….

On the afternoon of the event, after a mild few moments of panic—Dr. Draney apparently didn’t have Spidey-Sense and got lost on the way to our branch!—he showed up a few minutes late—our children’s area already teeming with eager kids and adults. 

Dr. Draney, whom of course I couldn’t resist but introduce as the REAL Spider-Man!, spoke a bit about his experience with and travels to study spiders and then brought out the good stuff—wolf spiders, jumping spiders, daddy longlegs, and other varieties of small to medium spiders. They crawled on a white sheet, and kids were welcome to touch; some opted to have them crawl on them. I was not in that group. 

Thoroughly engaged, we then exited to our patio and green space around the library, where the real fun began. The kids got small clear containers and nets—the tools of any good spider hunter. They were so excited to run back to Dr. Draney with their finds—eager to learn the species they had found. That afternoon, the kids found about seven different species—and quite a few cobwebs, too. 

It was a very well-received and low-cost program; the presenter didn’t charge and I had purchased just a few inexpensive pieces of spider décor, plus stickers and stamps. With about 50 attendees, it was second only to last year’s program with the local herpetology group (yep, that’s snakes!), which brought close to 100. 

So just as we know that some things in life are always certain—like death and taxes—my money is always on the creepy things to bring out a crowd of curious kids!--Sharon Verbeten, youth services librarian, Brown County Library, Green Bay, Wisconsin

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Bringing the Library to Laundromats 

The Enoch Pratt Free Library and Libraries Without Borders have partnered with the support of the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation and Media Democracy Fund to bring technology stations and digital skills programming to four laundromat locations across Baltimore City. The Baltimore Wash and Learn Initiative seeks to address the lack of access to technology tools and digital skills in communities where many households lack internet service.
Two of the laundromats are designated as independent learning locations, featuring computers and tablets pre-loaded with curated databases and educational portals for all age ranges.  The other two laundromat sites include all of the technology and resources of the independent learning locations as well as staffing by librarians ten hours a week to provide programming on a range of topics, including computer basics, social media lessons, G Suite, signing up for email, and more. Staff will also provide one-on-one technology counseling. 
“By meeting people where they are—the laundromat—we’ve found a space where adults and children alike are almost forced to be idle for two hours or more each week,” said Libraries Without Borders Deputy Director Katherine Trujillo.  “Most importantly, we’re reaching folks who don’t already have access to technology or the internet at home and connecting them to existing resources in their community—like the library!”  
Similar Wash and Learn Initiatives are successfully operating in various states and the District of Columbia.  For more information, visit the library's website.—Meghan McCorkell, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, Maryland

Editor’s note: Looking for more stories about learning in laundromats? Check out:
Laundry Literacy Coalition -- Creating Literacy-Rich Spaces in Laundromats—Pilot Evaluation Findings  
PBS News Hour – When a Laundromat Becomes a Library
Quartz – Laundromats are playing an unlikely role in the effort to shrink America’s literacy gap

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National Expansion of Reimagining School Readiness Toolkit 

In July, the Bay Area Discovery Museum (BADM) announced plans to expand its Reimagining School Readiness Tookit on a national level. Scaling the toolkit in this way is possible due to a $245,721 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded to the Pacific Library Partnership (PLP), which, along with the California State Library (CSL), is partnering with BADM on this work. As a result of the grant, the toolkit will expand to 18 states over three years. 

The toolkit resources--including implementation tips and strategies for librarians, and take-home activities for families--are based on research from Reimagining School Readiness, a position paper with key findings published by BADM's in-house research department. Following the paper's publication, the toolkit was developed by BADM with the support of CSL to equip librarians throughout California with the resources to help families prepare children birth to age eight for success in school and in life. 

Through its "train-the-trainer" model, the national rollout of the toolkit will empower more than 1,200 individual librarians across the country to feel confident about the research behind their programming and design new programming based on the observed needs of the communities they serve, ultimately reaching more than 51,000 children and adults. 

In the first year, 50 librarians from each of three new partner states—Arizona, Kentucky, and Wisconsin—will receive training on the existing toolkit. A subset of these librarians, in addition to librarians who have been using the toolkit in California, will participate in an evaluation to assess the kit's impact. These evaluations will allow BADM staff to refine the toolkit to ensure it is as effective as possible for as many librarians as possible across the country. In year two, 20 library staff from 10 states—all four of the year one states and six new states—will be trained as trainers, who are then responsible for training additional library cohorts in their states. In the third year, 16 library staff from eight new states will be trained as trainers and will be responsible for training library cohorts in their states. 

For more information, visit the Reimagining School Readiness Toolkit page.—from a press release from the Bay Area Discovery Museum

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Getting Together

Reading Pictures - Professional Development Opportunity

The Society of Illustrators is hosting an in-depth exploration of the annual Original Art exhibit, featuring the very best illustration in books for children in 2019. The event will be held on Monday, December 9, 2019, at the Society of Illustrators in New York. 

Art directors Laurent Linn (Simon & Schuster), Lily Malcom (Dial Books for Young Readers) and Cecilia Yung (G.P. Putnam’s Sons and Nancy Paulsen Books) will lead a gallery talk, providing an up-close examination of the works on view. Illustrators Brian Pinkney, Eliza Wheeler, and William Low will share their behind-the-scenes decisions and discuss and demonstrate their creative processes in the intimate gallery setting of the Society of Illustrators.
The day concludes with a book signing and an opportunity to chat with colleagues, illustrators, and the art directors over dinner.
The registration fee is $35 and includes a copy of the exhibition catalog, gallery talk, illustrator presentations, and dinner. For more information and registration, visit the event webpagePLEASE NOTE: To register for this event, you must be a librarian.

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2020 Midwinter - Register Now at Early Bird Price! 

Registration and housing are open for the 2020 Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. Take advantage of early bird rates--register by 11:59 a.m. (CT) on Friday, November 15

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

Make your plans to attend and...

  • be in the room as we cheer for the 2020 youth media award winners; 
  • participate in in-depth learning and educational sessions;
  • make new connections with colleagues from across the country.

For all the details as they become available, visit the ALA 2020 Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits website.

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2020 Library Legislative Day - Mark Your Calendar

ALA’s National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) 2020 will be held at Georgetown University Conference Center in Washington, D.C., on May 4-5. NLLD is a two-day educational event designed to provide attendees with the opportunity to learn from policy experts, caucus with other advocates from their state, and meet with decision makers on Capitol Hill to raise awareness about the importance of libraries to communities across the country.

To accommodate the growing number of NLLD attendees, the new Georgetown University Conference Center venue provides allotted breakout spaces for state delegation meetings and a more affordable room rate. For more information, visit the 2020 NLLD webpage.

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Tulsa to Host NCAAL 

The 11th National Conference of African American Librarians (NCAAL) will be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, August 5-9, 2020. NCAAL is the largest professional gathering of African Americans working in library and information science, individuals working in libraries serving predominately African American communities and those with an interest in African American librarianship. The theme of the 2020 conference is Culture Keepers XI the Sankofa Experience: Inspired by Our Past, Igniting Our Future. For complete information, please visit the conference website.

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Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Member News 

Virginia A. Walter, 2000-2001 ALSC President, was named a 2019 California Library Hall of Fame Honoree. The Hall of Fame honors the historical significance and lifetime achievements of the librarians, library workers, and supporters who have helped promote and improve library services in California. Virginia is the former chair of and professor emerita at UCLA Department of Information Studies; she also served as ALA representative to the International Federation of Library Associations’ standing committees on Libraries for Children and Young People (2001-2005) and Reading and Literacy (2007-2011), and is an author and contributor to sixteen monographs. The California Library Hall of Fame is coordinated by California Library Association’s Library History Interest Group. Congratulations, Virginia!

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Double Your Impact - Donate to Friends of ALSC Now

ALSC is excited to announce that an anonymous donor is matching gifts made to ALSC now through December 3 (Giving Tuesday)! Donations are tax-deductible, and gifts from individual donors, up to $1,000, are eligible. This means gifts, up to $1,000, are doubled through Giving Tuesday! Donations made to the following funds will be matched: Friends of ALSC Fund, Friends of ALSC Early Literacy Fund, Friends of ALSC Professional Development Fund, and ALSC Frederic G. Melcher Scholarship Fund. More details on this matching gift opportunity are available on the ALSC Giving Tuesday webpage.

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Learn with ALSC

Online Courses.  Registration is open for ALSC's winter online courses. Classes begin on January 6, 2020, and include:

Contemporary Issues in Action: Ethics for Librarians

Full STREAM Ahead: How to Take Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) to the Next Level with Maker Kits

For complete course descriptions, fees, and links to registration, please visit the courses webpage.

Webinar.  The following webinar will be presented in November:

Child Care is Everywhere: How Libraries Can Develop, Strengthen, and Support Child Care Part III: Developing and Supporting Child Care Programs
Tuesday, November 19, 10 a.m. Central

ALSC webinars are free and open to all. Learn more about webinar presentations and how to register on the webinars webpage.

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New Advocacy Toolkit 

ALSC is pleased to announce the availability of the Championing Children’s Services Toolkit created by the Public Awareness committee (PAC). Conceptualized by former PAC chair, Christy Estrovitz, the kit includes a variety of easy to use advocacy resources to empower children’s services staff to engage their communities to build healthy successful futures for children. Including a variety of programming ideas, customizable slide presentation, printable postcard template, and much more, the kit is sure to inspire youth librarians and support their work in advocating the essential services they provide to children and their families. Check out the toolkit and begin working on your advocacy strategy today!

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Complete Your Volunteer Form for Spring 2020 Appointments

ALSC's member leaders carry out the work of the Association with their passion and collective wisdom. Are you ready to take that step and get involved with ALSC? Or, are you looking for your next assignment? 
Appointments for process committees (non-award committees) begin in January. Now's a really good time to declare your interest in volunteering. It's easy! Just complete the online committee volunteer form. (Have your ALA login & password handy.)
Not sure what committee fit might be best for you? Looking for more information on ALSC structure? Be sure to check out "What Does that ALSC Committee Do?” before completing your volunteer form. 
We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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ALSC Professional Awards

Each year, ALSC awards over $100,000 through ALSC’s professional awards, grants, and scholarships. ALSC has four professional awards open for ALSC members to apply for including: the Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Program Grant, the Maureen Hayes Author/Illustrator Award, and the Light the Way: Library Outreach to the Underserved Grant. Please visit the website to learn more about requirements, criteria, and deadlines for each of these opportunities. 

December 1 is also the deadline to nominate that amazing colleague for the ALSC 2020 Distinguished Service Award!  This is the perfect opportunity to honor a mentor or librarian champion who has made a significant impact on your career or library services to children and the Association for Library Services to Children. The recipient receives $2,000 and an engraved pin at the ALSC membership meeting during ALA Annual Conference. Information about the criteria, how to nominate, and the application are on the award's webpage. Questions? Please contact Mary Beth Dunhouse.

Hurry! The Hayes Author/Illustrator Award deadline is this week - November 15!
The submission deadline for the Louise Seaman Bechtel Fellowship has been extended to November 15. For more details, please visit the Bechtel webpage.

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Library Census Equity Mini-Grants

Did you know ... children birth to 5 are one of the groups most undercounted in past census. 

ALA is now accepting applications for Library Census Equity Fund mini-grants. Applications are due November 22. ALA will provide 25 libraries with $2,000 mini-grants to bolster their service to hard-to-count communities and help achieve a complete count in the 2020 Census. 

All types of libraries and library organizations are eligible to apply (e.g., public libraries, school libraries, academic libraries, tribal libraries, state library agencies, Library Friends or Foundations, library cooperatives, state library associations, etc.).

Applicants may propose activities such as conducting community outreach activities or expanding the library’s technology capacity for people completing the census questionnaire online. 

For more information:
•    Application 
•    News Announcement
•    Background 

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Apply for the 2020 Summer Learning Awards

The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) seeks applications from youth-serving organizations nationwide for the 2020 Summer Learning Awards, which recognize exceptional informal or enrollment-based summer programs that keep students safe and healthy, support their academic growth, and improve the well-being of our nation’s most vulnerable children and youth.  

Eligible candidates for the Summer Learning Awards must submit an application by December 4, 2019, and demonstrate strong outcomes in promoting healthy youth development during the critical summer months through creative curricula, unique programming, and effective family engagement strategies. 

Each award-winning program will receive:

  • a $10,000 donation, supported by the New York Life Foundation;
  • national recognition through speaking events, publications, and media outreach; 
  • recognition at an awards ceremony at NSLA's national conference; and 
  • an official award seal for use on a website and/or in program publications. 

For more information on the award and application details, please visit the NSLA website.

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Fostering Readers Resources*

This past summer, Washington County (Oregon) Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) and OregonASK announced the Fostering Readers resources, designed to assist in the planning and implementation of research-based literacy programs for children in K-3rd grade. 

The resources, developed by four experts—two children’s librarians and two elementary reading specialists, are available for free download and use. The materials were tested and updated through a pilot project and include: activity plans; ideas for programming, storytimes, and book clubs; handouts (available in English and Spanish) for parents/caregivers; videos that introduce strategies and key elements; and a research review. 

Fostering Readers is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the State Library of Oregon.

For more information and to access the resources, visit the Fostering Readers website.  

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New Branding for Read Across America*

Since the very first celebration in 1998, NEA’s Read Across America has generated enthusiasm for reading nationwide. In recent years, to better support a growing diverse student population and all ages of readers, NEA has taken steps to evolve beyond Dr. Seuss-themed reading parties, promoting books that children can see themselves reflected in, as well as books that allow readers to see a world that might be different from theirs. This year, NEA is formally re-branding Read Across America to appeal to a wider audience (all grade levels, ages, and backgrounds). The new Read Across America brand is one that is independent of any one particular book, publisher, or character. This includes a new logo and materials highlighting a wide variety of diverse books. Have a look and find resources for your Read Across America celebration at

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* Do you have news of national interest to share with ALSC Matters readers? Please send us your stories for inclusion in “Field Notes.” For more information and deadlines, visit the Field Notes submission form.

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