ALSConnect, September 2011, Vol. 9, no. 3

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

Officially Speaking

Tell the Story: Make the Audience Care

Last summer I got a new boss. Like any group expecting a leadership change, we awaited his arrival with some anxiety. On his first day, the new boss called our staff together for a meeting. “I have three words I want you to repeat after me,” he told us.

Puzzled looks surfaced on faces all around the room.

“Really, I want you to repeat these words after me: I. Don’t. Care.”

Mystified, we all echoed the phrase.

“Thank you,” said our new leader. “That’s the last time I want to hear those words here. From now on, we always care.”

I am deeply glad to be part of an organization in which caring is openly deemed essential.

In fact, I am part of two such organizations. The second is ALSC.

Our association is powerful and vital because our members, our executive director, and our association staff care greatly about the work we do. That truth is reinforced over and over again in the many personal and virtual interactions I have with members and staff every week. It came through loud and clear as the Board and Priority Group Consultants drafted, and members made thoughtful comments on, our new strategic plan. These experiences make me proud to be a member of ALSC.

I’ve noted previously that my theme this year is communicating value. As we work at communicating the value of what we do, we must be certain that we deliver value. And value comes, first of all, from caring about what we offer. When we care, we can learn to persuade others to care, and to use their time, money, or influence to help advance the best interests of kids.

ALSC members care deeply about children and creating a better future for them through libraries. We have that part down. Where we may need to develop our skills is in persuading our audience to care – because they can help us make a greater difference.

That audience may be parents who are also voters, teachers who can be important partners, managers who make decisions about staffing, or politicians who influence funding. Or it may be committee chairs who can initiate a project, counterparts in other divisions, or association presidents.

Regardless of who they are, when we speak to decision-makers we must deliver our message in a language they understand, or they will never be able to care about it. Here are the languages we need to know:

1. Story. There’s a reason that stories like Cinderella have endured for hundreds of years – human brains remember stories. “The world is made of stories, not of atoms,” says American poet Muriel Rukeyser. Clothing your message in a story helps listeners attend to and remember your point.

2. Statistics. Some decision-makers are compelled to action by numbers. When you present the statistics of how many children participate in summer library programs, these folks take notice.

3. Visuals. For leaders who are visual learners, the best persuasive speech will have less impact than a photo of 100 kids having fun at the library.

4. Testimonials. Some of us are swayed by the opinions of people whom we know or admire. Testimonials from respected colleagues, the local principal, or a twelve-year-old patron can increase your argument’s effectiveness.

5. Self-interest. Anticipating a decision-maker’s question of “What’s in it for me?” is an opportunity to study motivation. Think of a compelling benefit based on the person’s role or personality, and make that benefit appealing and apparent, and you’re exhibiting fluency.

6. Collaborations. Leaders see partnerships as wise use of resources. Referencing a partnership, no matter how minor, strengthens your case.

At our most persuasive, we mix our languages, using a combination of techniques that help us to help others care about bringing children the best possible materials, the best programs, and the best librarian guides to develop into thoughtful and wonderful adults.

It all starts with us. So let’s make a pact: let’s always care about creating a better future for children through libraries. And let’s always care about the association that gives us the tools, the avenues, and the mentors to help make that future a reality: ALSC.-—Mary Fellows, ALSC President

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Councilor's Report: 2011 Annual Conference

Council I was held on Sunday morning, June 26, and started with the Information Session of ALA Council, Executive Board, and Membership. ALA President Roberta Stevens, President-Elect Molly Raphael, and ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels gave reports on their activities on behalf of the association for the year. All three agreed that this past year had been very intense and that the challenges facing libraries seemed to be growing. There was a sense that libraries were struggling to prove their relevance in a changing electronic landscape but that the services that libraries were providing was growing daily. While it is sometimes difficult to remain optimistic, all three leaders reported that librarians are making adjustments while meeting the needs of the people they serve better than ever.

Mario Gonzalez, chair of the Budget Analysis and Review Committee, reported that ALA continued to provide services to membership even while revenues were continuing to fall. ALA has made adjustments in spending as have librarians across the country. The revenue shortfalls will be met by the spending adjustments and by tapping into reserves. One bright spot: Dan Bradbury, chair of the ALA Endowment Trustees, reported a total in the endowment fund of $33,472,000; a gain of $1.8 million with positive results from virtually every investment instrument employed. The Trustees have done a good job of bringing the Endowment Fund back from a low point in 2008 of $23,421,000.

Sunday's information session was followed by the ALA-APA Council meeting. At that meeting, it was reported that Jenifer Grady, ALA-APA Executive Director, was leaving her position for a job in Nashville, TN. The treasurer of ALA-APA reported that the organization is showing a net revenue and that some of that would go to pay back some of the loan owed to ALA. A motion was made and passed of a budgetary ceiling of $271,988.

Council then accepted the nominations for the Council Committee on Committees and the Planning and Budget Assembly, and approved the minutes from ALA Midwinter Meeting. Executive Director Fiels then took the floor and reviewed the actions of the Executive Board and the implementation measures taken on Council actions from Midwinter. The next report was given by the Chapter Relations Task Force and included a number of recommendations. The Task Force provided results from a survey they had sent to all chapter councilors and chapter leadership. One of the key concerns coming out of that survey was the need for better communication between ALA and the state chapters. A number of recommendations were made on how to improve communication and increase a chapter’s participation in ALA initiatives.

The only resolution presented to Council I was one moved by Rhonda Puntney, the ALSC Division Councilor, and seconded by Nick Buron, YALSA Division Councilor and Sylvia Norton, AASL Division Councilor. This resolution on “Out of School Time Library Programs” was described in another councilor’s report as the noteworthy event of the Council I meeting. It called for local and national recognition of the importance of out-of-school library programs to improve literacy, student achievement, and more for children and young adults. The motion also called for funding to support such programs. The motion was passed unanimously.

The final report presented at Council I came from the Future Perfect Presidential Task Force. (Now ALA past) President Roberta Stevens charged the group to answer a single question:

If there were no governing body currently in place, what structure would you envision to reflect ALA’s goal of an engaged and collaborative membership, effective use of new technologies, and responsiveness to changes in outlook and expectations occurring with the new generation of people working in libraries?

The Task Force proposed six changes to the current structure. One change calls for the merging of Council and the Executive Board. It was pointed out by some Councilors that much of the ALA membership is not interested in association governance and needs a body of people (such as Council members) that are engaged and passionate about the viability and effectiveness of ALA. Because the report did not include any actionable items, the discussion ended amicably.

Attendance for New Orleans was reported at just over 20,000. That figure compares favorably with that of 26,201 in 2010 in Washington, D.C. and 28,941 in Chicago in 2009, since Washington D.C. and Chicago tend to have the highest attendance figures of any other ALA conference site.

The Council II meeting was called to order on Monday and work began immediately with committee reports that included a number of action items. The Policy Monitoring Committee chair brought forward a couple of motions calling for changes in language in the ALA Policy Manual. One of those changes called for the inclusion of language in library job announcements about the availability of benefits for domestic partners. Both motions passed with little discussion. The Constitution and Bylaws Committee presented two actions items. One of those called for language that allowed for meetings to be held virtually and the other called for the inclusion of language that addressed the issue of a Councilor-at-Large candidate withdrawing from an election. Both motions passed. The final committee report came from the Committee on Organization, which moved to approve the creation of a new Games and Gaming Round Table and to change language in the charge to the Children’s Book Council Joint Committee. Both motions passed with no discussion. The final motion brought by the committee called for the ALA Executive Director and others to implement changes that would allow for member participation in the association governance (in specific ways) virtually. The motion passed.

The next order of business was a report of the Presidential Task Force for Improving the Effectiveness of ALA’s Council. One of the task force's charges was to make recommendations on improvements to the way Council conducts business. The report acknowledges the importance of the Council as the governing body of the Association and that it determines all policies of the Association. However, the task force did identify a number of key issues relating to Council’s effectiveness and they made a number of recommendations with implementation details in their report. There were three recommendations that called for immediate action by the Council. After much discussion, a motion was made to postpone further discussion of the report’s recommendations until Council meetings at Midwinter. That motion failed and a second motion was made to postpone further discussion of the report’s recommendations until Council III. That passed.

After the Freedom to Read Foundation presented their report to Council, the Report of the Presidential Task Force on Equitable Access to Electronic Content was introduced to Council. The report called for a number of action items including referral of the report’s recommendations to the Executive Board and others for implementation and for the allocation of $200,000 for ALA staff efforts to promoted equitable access to electronic content. A number of Council members agreed with the premise of the issues but had problems with delegating the authority to proceed. It was argued that this issue was of such importance that it needed to be addressed quickly by others in ALA and that funding would be needed to do this work. The motion passed but not unanimously.

The final order of business for Council II was a resolution put forward that called for establishing voting rights for interns to ALA committees. In the past, the voting rights of interns on committees was at the discretion of the chair. It was pointed out that interns have played valuable roles on committees for many years. The motion passed by unanimous vote.

The Council III meeting on Tuesday began with memorials, tributes, and testimonials. We all stood as we remembered our colleagues who had passed including Virginia Matthews, Norman Horrocks, Peg Oettinger, and others.

The ALA Treasurer again reported that expenses of the association exceeded the revenues. ALA had responded by reducing expenses by nearly three quarters of a million dollars and would address the shortfall with reserves. Council was asked to pass a budgetary ceiling for the association of $62,912,676 and the motion passed.

The next three committees to report introduced motions that urged libraries that implement self-service holds to protect patron privacy by concealing names and other personal identity information; to oppose use of Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act; to fully fund the Government Printing Office and the US Census Bureau’s Statistical Compendia Branch; to include libraries in the Workforce Investment Act; and to increase funding for the Library Services and Technology Act. All of the motions passed. The final committee to report was the International Relations Committee and they summarized their work and provided the Council with their five international strategic goal areas for the ALA 2015 strategic plan.

Council returned to the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force for Improving the Effectiveness of ALA’s Council that had been postponed from the Council II meeting. As a result of the discussions at the informal Council Forum which was held between the Council II and III meetings along with discussions between the task force chair, the ALA President, the ALA Parliamentarian and the ALA Executive Director, the Council Effectiveness Task Force Chair, Jim Rettig, presented the actionable recommendations again to Council with additional information provided. While Council spent additional time discussing the issues brought forward, the recommendations of the Task Force were passed.

Council III ended with two additional resolutions brought forward. One of the resolutions called for the adoption of ALA Connect as the official tool for distribution, storage, and archiving of Council documentation, which passed easily. The final resolution called for ALA Council to endorse the 16 May 2011 Report of the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression. That motion was passed unanimously.--Rhonda Puntney, ALSC Division Councilor

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ALSC Strategic Focus Discussion

ALSC President Mary Fellows has invited ALSC members to join in the discussion on ALA Connect ( about ALSC's strategic focus. As a follow-up to the in-person discussion held at Annual Conference, members are invited to offer information and ideas on the following three questions.

When you think about the work of ALSC, how would you define it outside of the description of any particular age group?

Looking at ages 12, 13, and 14, what do we believe we bring to the children in those age ranges? How does ALSC support the work in those age ranges?

Looking at the 2012-2017 ALSC Strategic Plan goal areas, Advocacy, Education, and Access to Library Services, what might be some actions ALSC member leaders, committees, and staff could take in the coming year to further the goals and related objectives?

Feedback from the member discussion at Annual Conference was captured and posted at ALA Connect. That feedback as well as further discussion on ALA Connect will be considered by the ALSC Board at the 2012 Midwinter Meeting, as it considers ALSC's entire operation and makes strategic decisions about where we focus the association's energy.

The discussion will stay open on ALA Connect until Midwinter 2012. As always, this forum is for civil and respectful dialogue focusing on issues rather than individuals. Please help us keep the discussion productive and healthy. Thank you for your commitment to ALSC! To share your thoughts and learn those of others, visit


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Thanks to Our Donors

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

Friends of ALSC

Presidents Circle

Peggy Sullivan

Silver Circle

Anne Putman Britton
Susan Faust

Notables' Circle

Sharon Grover
Cecilia McGowan
Aimee Strittmatter

Friends' Circle

Alan Bern
Edith Ching
Christina L. Fuchs
Penny Markey
Rhonda Puntney
Theresa Zacek

Pura Belpré Award Endowment

Alan Bern

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ALSC Voices

Dudley Carlson Accepts 2011 Distinguished Service Award

Congratulations to Dudley Carlson, 2011 ALSC Distinguished Service Award winner. Dudley delivered the following award acceptance remarks at the membership meeting in New Orleans this past June.

I’m still trying to believe that that phone call really happened. (If it didn’t, please don’t pinch me yet.)

I’d like to thank the members of the Distinguished Service Award Committee for something that I can’t quite believe, but that I value deeply. Nothing could mean more to me than to be honored by this group. You’ve been my support group for more than 40 years, and I thank you – all of you.

This group – ALSC – is all about nurture and support. That’s what we provide for children searching for books, information, help as they learn; and it’s what we provide for each other. At the first ALA I attended, I was a lost soul; but by my second conference, I was part of a community.

I was lucky enough to start out under two of the great women of children’s librarianship – Isabella Jinnette at the Enoch Pratt Free Library and Augusta Baker at New York Public. I owe a huge debt to them, and to Bob Staples, the director when I went to Princeton Public Library. All three made it clear that a good children’s librarian joined her professional organization and PARTICIPATED. Just volunteer, they told me. Join a committee. Do anything. You’ll catch on, and we need help.

They were right. I met new friends, heard new ideas, and gradually I caught on. And I learned from – and about – ALSC and ALA.

From the beginning, what interested me most about librarianship was putting together a bewildered child and a book that I’d read and enjoyed, hoping that something good would happen, and that the child would be back for more. ALSC stretched my ability to do that, and taught me other skills I needed: how to use books in new kinds of programs, with different kinds and ages of children; how to use my reference skills to help children develop theirs; how to help raise money to do more of what worked; manage a budget; run a department or a meeting more effectively; introduce new technology; understand the effects of social changes on our work.

Just as important: ALSC gave me a place to recharge my batteries. It provided continuous learning; there was always a new problem or challenge, and always a group of friends, a sense of purpose and connectedness. Things I thought were just my problems turned out to be everybody’s problems, and everybody worked together on finding solutions.

And I found that the spark of excitement that came at the conjunction of child and book also came from connecting someone new to the community--a student or a new colleague who felt lost or at loose ends, as I had. Watching a promising newcomer step up to a tough assignment, give a great speech, or win an election is a wonderful feeling--and a great cure for burnout.

So I owe tons of thanks: to the department heads and library directors who supported and encouraged my participation, in spite of tight budgets; to the colleagues who covered “the floor” while I was away at conferences or doing committee work at home; to the friends I’ve made over the years with whom it’s always possible to pick up the conversation right where we left off, in spite of the passage of time. Thanks to the many editors, publishers, authors, and illustrators who’ve opened their doors, answered questions, explained processes, sent galleys, become friends. Thanks to all of you who have generously shared new ideas and challenges and helped me learn, and who’ve boosted my confidence through your example. Because of you, I’m a better librarian, and a better person.

Most of all, I treasure having worked in an organization whose focus is on the importance of children--all children; of learning; of reading; of encouraging the growth and development of understanding.

Thank you for this gift, and for the gift of friendship over many years. I accept the honor with the deepest gratitude; but I can’t accept the check. I’d like to return that to the association; please put it back in the pot and use it to continue what you do so well.

Just one other thing: This association has been blessed with a fantastic staff. They understand what we do, and why; and every day, they make things easier for us. They’re smart, they’re professional, they’re incredibly NICE. They answer our questions with grace and patience, and they field questions from the public and the larger organization on our behalf. They support and nurture us, and make us look good; and they’re largely unseen and unsung.

So Aimee Strittmatter, would you please come up on behalf of the whole ALSC staff? And would all of the staff who’re here please stand? I’d like to match ALSC’s gift to me with another check, for the staff alone, with my thanks to each one of them. They’re the very best.

Warm thanks to each of you for a day that I will always treasure.

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ALSC Profile

Melanie Lyttle
Head of Public Services
Madison (Ohio) Public Library
ALSC membership: 9 years

Where did you attend library school?
Graduate School of Library and Information Science at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

What attracted you to library service to children?
I want to know that my work makes a difference. Helping children find what they need either for recreation or school allows me to feel useful and enjoy the variety of experiences that comes with working with children!

Why did you join ALSC?
I wanted to be part of a group at the forefront of introducing new ideas and methods for serving children in libraries. I also wanted to be able to learn from the experiences of people all around the country. ALSC provides me with all those things.

What to you is the biggest reward of being a children's librarian?
It's knowing that I am a part of so many children's lives. I know when they lose their teeth, what kind of birthday cake they ate, and the names of their favorite stuffed animals. And because I know these things, they are comfortable coming and asking for help when they need to find something.

What is your favorite job responsibility?
Ordering video game guides. I have several children who make it a point to visit me and let me know when new video games are coming out. Then we check book vendors together to make sure I am ordering the right thing. I depend on these kids, and they feel tremendous ownership in the library.

Do you have any advice or a helpful tip for library school students or new librarians just starting out?
Push the envelope and never stop asking, “why?” Experiment and try new things. Sometimes it's the missteps that teach you the most.

What is most popular at your library?
The thing we are most known for is the Crabby Librarian ( that was first introduced as a way to promote summer reading. This character employs reverse psychology to get kids interested in the library, and she uses her Facebook fan page and YouTube videos to reach parents.

What is your favorite children's book released so far this year?
What To Expect When You're Expecting Larvae by Bridget Heos and Stéphane Jorish

What are your hobbies?
Ushering for several local theater arts organizations and of course...reading!

What three words best describe you?
Considerate, Unboxed, Cheerleader

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ALSC Spectrum Scholar Ready for New Challenges

2011-2012 ALSC Spectrum Scholar Robina Button lights five-dollar bills on fire.

Not because she’s a pyromaniac, not because she’s cold, and certainly not because she’s rich enough not to care.

No, Button lights five-dollar bills on fire as part of a science program that’s run through the Morton Grove Public Library, where she is a part-time youth services librarian and has helped start this library group to get kids interested in science.

“I usually ask the audience for a five-dollar bill, but people don’t actually want to give up $5,” laughs Button. “I soak it in rubbing alcohol and then light it on fire, but the bill doesn’t actually burn, just the alcohol.”

Button has been working at Morton Grove for eight years, but it’s just one of her two jobs. She is also a high school biology teacher. v

“At the high school I’m also the interim teen librarian,” she noted. “We have a lot of cool programs there. One of them is a cooking group called ‘Getting Saucy.’ It’s really popular. It turns out teens love to learn how to cook.”

Button says that her interest in librarianship stems from childhood trips to the local library with her brother. “I was looking for a Babar the Elephant book,” she remembered, “and the librarians were just so friendly. I went back many years later to get a job because of how friendly those librarians were.”

She remembers the library as a sanctuary in her youth. A place of friendly people and new ideas.

After many years of working as a part-time library assistant, Button eventually made the decision to go back to school to get a Masters in Library Science. She attended an information session presented by RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System). The program discussed school and funding options, and that’s when Button found out about the Spectrum Scholarship Program.

Established in 1997, the Spectrum Scholarship Program is ALA's national diversity and recruitment effort designed to address the specific issue of under-representation of critically needed ethnic librarians within the profession while serving as a model for ways to bring attention to larger diversity issues in the future. The program is designed to bring more individuals, such as Button, from diverse populations, into the field of librarianship.

This fall, Button will begin her first semester at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois-Champaign. She is enrolled in the online program and recently finished her ten-day boot-camp orientation in Champaign. An overachiever, she says that by the first week of August she had already begun some of her reading for a youth literature course—three weeks early.

Button says that even though she looks forward to her classes in youth librarianship, she’ll miss her summer reading program at Morton Grove. “We’ve been able to bring in some teen volunteers to check in with the younger kids,” she said. “The teens love spending time with them.”

But now a Spectrum Scholar and future full-time librarian, Button expects to be opening doors for kids the way other librarians did for her. She’s excited for the opportunity and can’t wait to become more involved in ALSC.—Dan Rude, ALSC Marketing Specialist, Membership

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Bright Ideas

National Robotics Week

This year's National Robotics Week was held April 9-17 and we used it as a chance to bring attention to math and science at the San Mateo County Library. Since this was our first year participating, we started small, with a partnership with a local engineering research and development company, SRI International. The children’s librarians created a book list of excellent children’s books about robots, and SRI paid for the printing of a bookmark and added a great photo of their surgical robot. We distributed this to all 12 libraries in the system for them to use as they chose.

SRI engineers came to one branch library and presented a program about robotics to our QUEST afterschool. The kids learned about robots, saw a demonstration, and built small robotic bugs of their own. SRI lent some robots to another branch library where they attracted attention in the display case all month.

At the Atherton branch, we invited the local high school robotics team to show off their competition robot “the Royal Twit.” The kids in attendance loved getting a turn to drive the robot. This was an easy, inexpensive, and very effective set of programs that attracted boys and girls of a wide range of ages. More information about National Robotics Week can be found at The website includes activities to download and a list of online resources. --Maeve Visser-Knoth, youth services librarian, Atherton (Calif.) Library

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Star Wars™: Now Playing @ your library®

When I accepted my position as youth services librarian for the Joliet (Ill.) Public Library, I anticipated a standard variety of responsibilities; collection building, reference, program planning. But I never imagined organizing a building-wide Star Wars™ event that would attract 1,500 children and adults within a four-hour timeframe. Then again, Star Wars™ is a pop culture phenomenon with cross-generational appeal. Kids watch Star Wars™: The Clone Wars TV series while an older generation, many now parents, nostalgically remembers the original trilogy. On April 16th, both young and old filled the Joliet Public Library for an afternoon of Star Wars™-themed games and festivities.

Upon entering the library, participants received a brochure called the “Jedi Passport.” Although games were restricted to those between ages three and fourteen, adults were handed a passport for informational purposes, and enjoyed watching the games, taking pictures, and mingling with festival staff. The passport provided information on event activities, including: five games, a costume contest, and a prize drawing.

Games were arranged throughout the first floor in carnival style fashion. They included: Lightsaber Practice (players use a toy lightsaber to keep a balloon in the air for at least ten seconds); Droid Toss (players toss beanbags into trash cans that are decorated to look like robots); The Trash Compactor Dive (players scrounge through Styrofoam and old newspapers searching for prizes); The Jedi Archives (players test their knowledge of Star Wars™ trivia); and Imperial Academy Blaster Training (players hit various targets with foam missiles).

Children also enjoyed our cantina (lemonade and cookies), rub-on tattoo parlor, and raffle for Star Wars™ toys. Nevertheless, the day’s highlight for all ages came as Darth Vader emerged from our main elevator flanked by several storm troopers. His appearance was followed by several more professional costumers in full replica regalia. Greedo, Count Dukoo, Boba and Jango Fett, Clone Troopers, Tusken Raiders, Jawas, Rebel fighter pilots, and a fully operational R2D2 were among the Star Wars™ characters that roamed our library, playing with kids and posing for photos. The costumers are members of the 501st and Rebel Legions, companion organizations that promote Star Wars™ by wearing quality costumes to community and charity events. Many high points punctuated my day, but the most touching was a three-year-old girl who walked up to R2D2, held up a crayon drawing of the robot, and said: “Look R2, I made this for you.”--Roger Burns, youth services librarian, Joliet (Ill.) Public Library

Editor's note: To find the local 501st in your area, visit If you're looking to create special treats for your Star Wars™event, check out Williams Sonoma ( They sell Star Wars™ cookie cutters and cupcake stencils! Instructions for Star Wars™ origami crafts are available at:

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Collection Development for Video Games

Perhaps it's librarian snobbery showing, but collection development classes tend to ignore one thing. They don't mention asking colleagues for help as an acceptable resource for choosing materials. It's a disservice to make a sweeping generalization that all children's librarians know nothing about video games and all technologists are hard core gamers. However, if that does happen to be your particular situation, why not use the resource presented to you?

When confronted by problems of a video game nature, there are few places to turn. In this case, asking your young patrons for guidance can be unhelpful or bias. Finding reviews takes time or the information is non-existent. The third option is best: ask your staff technologist. This person will be thrilled that you asked and will give you quicker, more dependable answers to your many questions.

What can you ask? It depends. For example, what are the relative merits of different video games and video game systems? Your answer will come tailored to your community's needs. Your technologist knows your patrons, your budget, and your tolerance for certain types of content. What about collecting books to support a video game collection? Your technologist will know when to use terminology like “game guide” or “strategy guide” and where you can find cheat codes. He or she can make you look good, never revealing you have no clue what you're saying. However, there may come a time when you can't convincingly pretend anymore. It may be wise to introduce your young gaming enthusiasts to your technologist. This will keep you from having to remember a string of words that makes no sense! It will also give your technologist a group of kids who will talk video games with him or her forever, if allowed.

So the next time you're confronted with a video game related collection development question, ask your technologist. It's okay to admit this isn't your area of expertise. Think about it this way, your technologist would probably have to ask you for advice if he or she had to lead a storytime. Everyone needs a little help sometimes!--Melanie A. Lyttle, head of public services, Madison (Ohio) Public Library and Shawn D. Walsh, senior technology analyst, Northeast Ohio Regional Library System.

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"Scene" on ALSC-L - Storybooks for the Masses

On June 20, “ncope04” posted on ALSC-L that her library asked her to create a children’s show for the state fair. Envisioning a story reading as part of the performance, she asked fellow ALSC-L subscribers to share suggestions for story books that lend themselves to a very large audience and with which children can participate from their seats.

ALSC-L subscribers offered the following suggestions. You might find these tried and true recommendations helpful too.

That's Good! That's Bad! by Margery Cuyler
Too Many Fairies: A Celtic Tale, retold by Margaret Read MacDonald
Mabela the Clever retold by Margaret Read MacDonald
Stop Snoring, Bernard! by Zachariah Ohora
The Gunny Wolf! (traditional)
Jump, Frog, Jump by Robert Kalan
Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha
Tanka Tanka Skunk by Steve Webb
Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin (performed as readers theater)
Caps For Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
Can You Make a Scary Face? by Jan Thomas
Bark! George! by Jules Feiffer
Big Chickens Go to Town by Leslie Helakoski
Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin 


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Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Member News

The final volume in Susan Patron's "Hard Pan" trilogy, Lucky for Good (Atheneum), was published in August 2011. This concludes the story that began with The Higher Power of Lucky (2007) and Lucky Breaks (2009). A youth services librarian for the Los Angeles Public Library for 35 years before her retirement, Susan Patron now writes full-time, with occasional breaks for reading.

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Plethora of Online Ed Options from ALSC

ALSC announces the release of its new Fall 2011 online education schedule. In addition to the division’s numerous webinars, ALSC is offering five courses, all starting on September 26.

Each of the five courses addresses a different topic and includes ideas for librarians and children’s literature enthusiasts. The courses run four to six weeks long and are administered through Moodle, ALA’s online learning platform. Through Moodle, participants will interact with other course members, read articles and resources, and share class assignments.

Connecting with ‘Tween Readers
September 26 - October 21

The Caldecott Medal
September 26 - November 4

Series Programming for the Elementary School Age
September 26 - October 21

Introduction to Graphic Novels for Children
September 26 - November 4

Reading Instruction and Children’s Books
September 26 - October 28

ALSC’s new webinars provide new insights into children’s literature and programming ideas that are sure to please your community. These one-to-two hour presentations are offered at specific times through Adobe Connect, ALSC’s easy-to-use web-based platform.

Newbery and Caldecott Mock Elections
Wedneday, October 5 at 7 PM Central Time (CT)

Sensory Storytime: Preschool Programming that makes Sense for Kids with Autism
Thursday, October 6 at 10:30 AM CT
Monday, October 24 at 10:30 AM CT
Thursday, November 3 at 10:30 AM CT
Monday, November 14 at 10:30 AM CT

Making Every Day a Día Day: Incorporating Día into Current Youth Programming
Wednesday, November 9 at 1 PM CT

Storytelling 2.0
Friday, December 16 at 10 AM CT
Friday, January 13 at 10 AM CT
Monday, February 6 at 1 PM CT
Monday, March 19 at 6 PM CT

For more information on ALSC online learning, please visit Questions? Contact Program Officer Jenny Najduch,, or (800) 545-2433 ext 4026.

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Nominate Now

ALSC is seeking nominations and applications for its professional grants and awards:

Bechtel Fellowship
ALSC/BWI Summer Reading Grant
Distinguished Service Award
Maureen Hayes Author/Illustrator Visit Award
Candlewick Press Light the Way:Library Outreach to the Underserved Grant
Penguin Young Readers Group Award

For more information about each award and to download award applications, visit, click on Awards & Scholarships - Professional Awards. To request a form by mail, send a postcard to ALSC, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611; or e-mail: Deadline for all professional award applications is December 1, 2011.

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Coming in November: Día 2012

On November 9, a webinar on programming for El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día) will be presented by Jeanette Larson. Making Every Day a Día Day: Incorporating Dia into Current Youth Programming will present ideas for introducing multicultural literature and bilingual literacy into any and all programs and events at the library. For more information, go to

On November 14, the redesigned Día website will be launched through a generous grant provided by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation (see above story). It will feature more resources for librarians; plus resources for parents, caregivers, and children. Also, through the website, registration will be open for all libraries wanting to be included in a database of Día events. Complimentary stickers will be sent to those who register, while supplies last. In the meantime, if you are looking for Día programming ideas, check the map at

Día: Many Children, Many Cultures, Many Books.

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Children and Libraries Receives Writing Award

Children and Libraries (CAL) received a 2011 Apex Award for Publication Excellence. Three Children and Technology columns from the 2010 volume year won an Award of Excellence in the category of “Writing: Regular Departments & Columns.” Members of ALSC’s Children and Technology Committee authored the winning articles: “Coloring a New World of Librarianship, Participating in the 21 Tools Program” by Gretchen Caserotti and Kelley Beeson; “Technology and Television for Babies and Toddlers” by Natalie Arthur; and “Consumerism, How it Impacts Play and its Presence in Library Collections” by Jill Bickford. The CAL columns were among 192 winners in the Writing category, which received 643 entries judged primarily on the basis of editorial quality.

For more information about CAL, visit Back issues of CAL are available to order at

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ALSC Receives Second Dollar General Literacy Foundation Grant

ALSC, along with the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), recently received a grant for a second year from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation for Everyone Reads @ your library®. For ALSC, the grant will fund the redesign and reorganization of the El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día) website. The website will extend Día’s reach to parents, caregivers, and children by providing resources directed to them. Additionally, the grant will allow ALSC to continue efforts to support and encourage libraries to promote Día and multicultural family literacy. Using feedback from the mini-grant sites that participated in the first grant, ALSC will offer models of various scope and budget for libraries and community partners conducting Día programming. It will take the form of a free, downloadable tool kit containing programming, outreach, book lists, activity sheets, and other resources. The grant provides $75,454 for ALSC; and runs for one year, ending July 25, 2012.

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2011 Scholarship Recipients

Congratulations to ALA’s 2011 Scholarship recipients!

Bound to Stay Bound Books Scholarship

Four winners were awarded the Bound to Stay Bound Books Scholarship, which is made possible by Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc. Recipients will receive $7,000 each in scholarship aid for the 2011-12 academic year. The four recipients are:

Nancy Graves, Denton, Texas, Texas Woman's University
Danielle Gregori, Elmont, N.Y., CUNY Queens College
Rachel Ortiz, Washington, D.C., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Robyn Woods, Saint Cloud, Fla., University of South Florida

Frederic G. Melcher Scholarship

Two winners were awarded the Frederic G. Melcher Scholarship, which is made possible by contributions from librarians, professionals, and others associated with the field of children’s literature and librarianship. This award is worth $6,000 per individual in scholarship aid. The two recipients are:

Patricia Prodanich, La Grange Park, Ill., Dominican University
Donna Hanley, Saint Johns, Ariz., University of Arizona

Many thanks to the 2011 ALSC Scholarship Committee which included: Lynn Piper Carpenter, Birmingham (Ala.) Public Library; Janis Cooker, Lexington Park (Md.) Library; Amanda S. Murphy, Warren-Trumbull County Public Library, Youngstown, Ohio; Karla M. Schmit, Pennslyvania State University, State College, Pa.; Ellen Rix Spring, chair, Rockland District Middle School, Rockland, Maine.

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Media Awards - Send Us Your Suggestions

ALSC members are welcome to suggest titles and names for the upcoming media awards. Send recommendations with full bibliographic information to the appropriate committee chair listed below. For more information about each award, visit and click on “Awards & Grants.”

Newbery Medal, Viki Ash, Viki.ash at
Caldecott Medal, Steve Herb, slh18 at
2013 Arbuthnot Lecture, Susan Pine, spiney48 at
Batchelder Award, Susan Stan, stan1sm at
Belpré Award, Daisy Gutierrez, daisy.gutierrez at
Carnegie Medal, Martha Simpson, msimpsonmls at
Geisel Award, Carole Fiore, Carole at
Notable Children’s Books, Kathleen Isaacs, kisaacs at
Notable Children’s Recordings, Sharon Haupt, shaupt at
Notable Children’s Videos, Martha Simpson, msimpsonmls at
Odyssey Award, Lizette Hannegan, lizhannegan at
Sibert Medal, Andrew Medlar, amedlar at

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Teen Read Week

Want to get more teens into your library or school? Then don’t forget to register for Teen Read Week™! It's free and easy to do. Simply visit YALSA's Teen Read Week (TRW) webpage at and click on “Registration.” Registration closes September 15. More than one person can register per school or library system.

All registrants will receive a free Best of the Best resource kit, including spine labels and 2011 Teens’ Top Ten bookmarks to help you promote this year’s award winning titles. All registrants will also get free access to a 60-minute webinar, which will feature ideas for programs. Both of these resources are funded by the Friends of YALSA.

You can also encourage teens at your library to enter the 2011 Teen Read Week Photo Contest, judged by Thirteen Reasons Why author Jay Asher, 2011 TRW Spokesperson, and to vote through September 15 for the Teens’ Top Ten (

Teen Read Week will be celebrated October 16 – 22, with the theme “Picture It @ your library®.” Award winning graphic novelist Gareth Hinds created the artwork that is featured on the poster and bookmarks.

Other resources you'll find at the Teen Read Week webpage include:

  • Information about the teen photo contest (teens could win an e-reader!)
  • A link to our TRW wiki where you can find and share ideas
  • A link to our TRW map, where you can add your library
  • TRW product information, including posters, bookmarks, and more


YALSA thanks you for all that you do to get more teens reading!

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Jessica Sibert Memorial Helps Library Collections Grow

Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc. (BTSB), Jacksonville, IL, has announced the establishment of the Jessica Sibert Memorial, a monthly drawing that provides school and public libraries a chance to win $500 toward the purchase of new books. The initial drawing will be held on November 1, 2011, and continue on the first of each month for each month of the school year. Both school and public libraries may qualify for the monthly drawing by visiting the website at, and answering a weekly question. Registration on the website is required.

Jessica Sibert was a librarian and a lover of children’s books. She was married to Robert F. Sibert, long-time president of Bound to Stay Bound Books and the man for whom the ALSC Informational Book award is named. Jessica Sibert passed away on March 4, 2011, and Bound to Stay Bound Books has chosen to honor her memory by establishing this award for school and public libraries.

In announcing the award, Robert L. Sibert, President of Bound to Stay Bound Books, stated, “I can’t think of anything that would have pleased my Mother more than the thought of hundreds of children all over the country excited to crack open a brand new book in the library thanks to her.”

For more information, go to, or call or email Mike Brady, Sales Manager, Bound to Stay Bound Books: 1-800-637-6586; mbrady at

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Bound to Stay Bound Launches S.O.S. Program

Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc. of Jacksonville, IL, has announced a new program, S.O.S. (Save Our School) Libraries, to help communities, large and small, maintain and add to their collections. This new free Program is effective as of September 1, 2011.

The program is designed to help individual school libraries and districts to develop and conduct fund-raising campaigns which are both creative and effective. It is a web-based program in which Bound to Stay Bound Books will create a custom fund-raising website for each

school, along with a wide variety of customizable marketing and promotional materials, and the means to track and document the program. The school librarian is responsible for getting permission from the school district to conduct the campaign, providing the elements to customize their website and their marketing materials, and conducting the campaign among parents, local businesses, and the rest of the community. In many cases parent-teacher organizations will also want to become involved in their school’s S.O.S. Library campaign.

For more information go to the website and click on the S.O.S. Library button, or call or email Lori Smith, Customer Satisfaction Manager, at Bound to Stay Bound Books: 1-800-637-6586: lsmith at

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Read for the Record Announces 2011 Campaign

This year’s Jumpstart Read for the Record book is Llama, Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney. On Thursday, October 6, record breakers everywhere will take part in helping to set a new world record for the greatest number of people reading the same book on the same day. This year, for the first time, participants can also set a new record for the largest reading of a digital book—by enjoying the Llama Llama story online.

To learn more about this event, and to register, visit

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Kids Count

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released the 2011 Kids Count Data Book. The report profiles the status of children on a national and state-by-state basis and ranks states on 10 measures of children's health and well-being. The PDF is at More information is available at

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Field Notes

Austin Public Library's Second Chance Books project has received a Kids Need to Read grant. Second Chance Books is a collaboration between Austin Public Library and the Gardner Betts Juvenile Detention Center, through which incarcerated youth are provided with books that they would like to read either for pleasure, personal growth, or both. The library has received its first shipment of over 100 titles from the Kids Need to Read organization and will receive additional shipments as they complete literacy activities also provided by Kids Need to Read. For more information about Second Chance Books, visit For more information about Kids Need to Read, visit

Recent donations to the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at California State University, Fresno, have created the largest collection of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning) themed books for young readers in any U.S. library. Three donations of nearly 500 books started when Michael Cart, Columbia, Ind., gave several hundred books. Cart is a former director of Beverly Hills (Calif.) Public Library and a past president of ALA's Young Adult Library Services Association. His gift inspired similar book donations from Kathleen T. Horning, director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and ALSC past-president, and Nancy Silverrod, San Francisco Public Library.

King County Library System (Issaquah, Washington) was named 2011 Library of the Year by Gale and Library Journal. The award is given annually to a public library in the United States that most profoundly demonstrates service to community, creativity, leadership, and innovation in developing specific community programs, particularly programs that can be emulated by others. In addition to a cash award of $10,000, King County Library System was featured as the cover story for the June 15, 2011, issue of Library Journal.

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Keats Exhibit to Travel U.S.

An exhibition featuring the works of author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats will be held at The Jewish Museum in New York September 9, 2011, through January 29, 2012. "The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats" will feature over 80 original works by Keats, from preliminary sketches and dummy books, to final paintings and collages. Documentary material and photographs will also be on view. More information about the New York exhibit is at Following the showing at The Jewish Museum, the exhibit will travel to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, Mass. (June 26-October 14, 2012); the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, Calif. (November 15, 2012-February 24, 2013); and the Akron (Ohio) Art Museum (March-June 2013).

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Keats Minigrants Program Returns

“We’re going green, shifting from a fall to a spring granting cycle and celebrating the educators whose creative Minigrant programs offer inspiration to all,” announced Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. “We’re thrilled to put out the call to teachers and librarians in public schools and public libraries, and we look forward to funding some amazing proposals.”

The new deadline for grant submissions is March 15 of each year. Decisions will be emailed to all applicants after May 15. With this timing, educators will begin the next academic year knowing if they have the funding they need for their special program.

In addition, all Minigrant applications will be submitted electronically; a video tutorial explaining the process is available on the website. This format will simplify the application process and provide confirmation of receipt to all applicants.

The deadline for submission of 2012 proposals for the $500 Minigrant award is March 15, 2012. Applications are available exclusively online at 

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Getting Together

Now Accepting Applications for the 2012 Morris Seminar

If you’re interested in book and media evaluation but have limited experience than this seminar is for YOU! ALSC is seeking applications for its third biennial Morris Seminar: Book Evaluation Training, to be held on Friday, January 20, 2012, prior to the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas, Texas. This invitational seminar supports and honors William C. Morris’ dedication to connecting librarians and children with excellent children’s books.

During this daylong event, members with limited experience are trained and mentored in evaluation techniques by former ALSC award committee members. The seminar will result in new and emerging leaders for future ALSC evaluation committees.

The Morris Endowment supports those selected to attend the training seminar by offering the seminar at no charge to the attendee. This includes all materials, breakfast, lunch, and afternoon break on Friday. To help defray additional costs for hotel and other expenses, a $200 stipend for each attendee is provided by the endowment.

Information and the application form are available at or call 800-545-2433, x4026. Applications must be received by September 16, 2011. Those selected to attend the seminar will be notified during the first week of November.

Please contact Jenny Najduch, ALSC Program Officer, with questions at jnajduch at or (800) 545-2433 ext. 4026.

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ALSC Seeking Program Proposals for One “Hot Topic” at Annual Conference

The ALSC Program Coordinating Committee is currently accepting program proposals to fill one additional "hot topic" program slot during the 2012 ALA Annual Conference. This program will be accepted by the committee during Midwinter and should be centered on a topic that has newly emerged in the field of children's librarianship. ALSC created the hot topic program to help position our members at the cutting edge of new technologies and timely subjects.

To submit a program for consideration, please fill out the hot topic program proposal form. Those submitting program proposals should be aware that this program will take place on Sunday, June 23, 2012, from 10:30 am - Noon. Planning time for the hot topic program selected will be very short and planners will need to have their information (such as audiovisual equipment needs, speaker names, etc.) ready for the ALSC office within a matter of weeks.

Please contact Angela Nolet (anolet at, the chair of the Program Coordinating Committee, with questions. More information and a link to the proposal form is on the ALSC website at:

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2012 Arbuthnot Lecture Date Set

The 2012 Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, to be delivered by 2008 Robert F. Sibert Medal and 3-time Caldecott honoree Peter Sís, will be held on April 4. Miami University in Oxford, Ohio is hosting the event. Ticket information will be posted at early next year.

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Wanted: Program Proposals for 2012 ALSC National Institute

ALSC is accepting proposals for innovative programs at the 2012 ALSC National Institute to be held September 20 - 22, 2012, in Indianapolis, Indiana. This is the first time that ALSC has had an open call for Institute programs—be part of this exciting professional development opportunity by submitting your program today!

The ALSC Program Planning Committee and National Institute Task Force are looking for a wide range of themes and topics such as advocacy, technology, multiculturalism, administration and management, early literacy, research, partnerships, best practices, programming, and outreach.

ALSC committees, members, and other interested individuals are welcome to submit a proposal. Please note that participants attending ALSC programs are seeking valuable educational experiences; the Program Coordinating Committee will not select a program session that suggests commercial sales or self-promotion.

To submit a program proposal, please fill out the online program proposal form at All proposals must be submitted by September 26, 2011. Please note that the submission form cannot be saved; you must submit all of your information at one time.

Please contact Angela Nolet, chair of the ALSC Program Coordinating Committee, at anolet at with questions.

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9th IBBY Regional Conference

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) will hold its regional conference, "Peace the World Together with Children's Books" October 21-23, 2011, at the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children's Literature, The Henry Madden Library, at the California State University, Fresno. Speakers include: Pam Muñoz Ryan, Peter Sís, David Diaz, Grace Lin, and Beverley Naidoo, among others. Registration is available online through October 1 at

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