I am now in the second quarter of my year as your ALSC President–the autumn quarter, if you will. These months are filled with lots of learning, of course–I started this autumn with the joy and honor of traveling to Kansas City, Missouri, for the biennial ALSC National Institute. The Institute was a packed three days of connections, learning, and exploring new ideas, and I returned to my library feeling invigorated and inspired.
These months are also filled with lots of looking ahead. There’s the imminent announcement of the 2023 slate of candidates to serve on the ALSC Board of Directors. I personally am very passionate about helping members to see themselves as strong association leaders–that’s a topic that will be woven into my ALSC President’s Program to take place at the ALA Annual Conference in June in Chicago (sneak peek!). There’s also in-progress strategic planning for ALSC, which the Board of Directors is undertaking this year. Input from many members and other children’s library folks is at the center of our strategic planning process, and I want to give a massive thank you to ALSC members Joanna Fabicon, Lucia Gonzalez, Hanna Lee, Jonda McNair, Mary-Kate Sableski, and Eva Thaler-Sroussi who have facilitated community conversations as part of this process.
Before we know it, it will be the LibLearnX Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, at the end of January. In addition to being the venue for lots of great professional development and learning, the LibLearnX event includes the annual Youth Media Awards announcements. I look forward to seeing many ALSC members and children’s literature champions in that room as we celebrate great works for children and the important, dedicated work of the committee members who select the award recipients and create our notables lists.
Committees and Appointments. Curious about the ongoing process of committee appointments? Autumn is the time for awards and notables appointments so that committee members are in place at the start of the new calendar year. At the time I am writing this column in mid-October, the appointments advisory working group, of which I am at the head as your current president, is hard at work on sorting through interested and eligible members so that we can appoint balanced committees for the important ALSC awards and notables work. Strong committees include members with a variety of experiences and perspectives–that is, folks with different types and amounts of media evaluation experience; veteran and first-time committee members; folks from different types, sizes, and locations of libraries; and folks from a variety of backgrounds and cultural groups, including historically marginalized people groups. It has been one of the privileges of my term as ALSC President thus far to pilot this appointments advisory working group process, which moving forward is the standard process for all committee appointments.
If you’re interested in process committee work, it’s always a good time to submit your volunteer form! There are always mid-term committee vacancies–the sort that arise when committee members’ circumstances change and they are no longer able to complete a term. Those mid-term vacancies create an opportunity for another member to get involved. When a committee vacancy arises, I often check in with the co-chairs to find out whether any interested members have been observing online committee meetings. That’s something any member can do! Committee chairs post notices and agendas for their upcoming meetings in the ALSC Community Space on ALA Connect, with an invitation for any interested members to attend. Sitting in on process committee meetings can be a great way to get a taste of the types of work you would find engaging as a committee volunteer. The annual process committee appointments process–in which half of all committee members are appointed–will start up again in late winter, with service terms beginning July 1, 2023. Current Vice President Jonda McNair will be working with a group of members to advise on those appointments throughout the spring.
In This Issue. As we find ourselves firmly in the fall and winter months here in the northern hemisphere, I invite you to warm up with a Bright Ideas story that harkens back to summer fun at the library: Gail Borden Public Library's (Elgin, IL) Wizard of Oz Educational Exhibit, an interactive fantasy-adventure based on the movie classic, which brought the colorful Land of Oz, Munchkinland, and The Emerald City to children and families this summer. This section also includes information on a groundbreaking, new tool from First Book & Susan Neuman for assessing and bolstering classroom libraries.
There are always great opportunities to learn and build skills for your work in this newsletter, too. I hope you've been following our Competencies in Action columns, in which a library practitioner delves into one particular area of ALSC's Core Competencies to provide valuable, real-world context and examples. In this issue, Justin Azevedo, youth materials selector at Sacramento Public Library, digs into Competency IV. Collection Knowledge and Management. This competency is a vital one at any time, but particularly relevant given the recent increase of challenges to library materials across the United States.
And don't miss the Hear Ye! section this month for news from the field and resources you can use, including information from ALA on 2022 book bans, grant/award opportunities from ALSC, First Nation Communities READ titles for children, and more.—Amy Koester, ALSC President
Dear ALSC Members,
First, I’d like to thank all of you for having the confidence in me to select me as the current ALSC vice president and soon-to-be president. I am truly grateful. In the days and weeks after the election results were announced, I received many emails from ALSC members congratulating me and, even more importantly, informing me that I had their support in whatever ways were necessary. Those emails meant so much to me and let me know that ALSC members “have my back.”
I joined ALSC in 2005, and since that time, I have benefited in numerous ways, personally and professionally. One of the highlights was serving as chair of the 2021 John Newbery Award Selection Committee. I am also thankful for friendships and solid relationships with ALSC members such as librarians, authors, illustrators, publishers, art directors, and editors. These friendships and relationships have supported me as a reader, journal editor, scholar of children’s literature, and teacher. When I think of all that ALSC has given to me, I am reminded that “to whom much is given, much is required.” I think of this phrase now as I learn alongside ALSC President Amy Koester and prepare for my term as president.
One of the challenges of learning this new position is that ALSC is doing so much good work—from grants and fellowships, to our many book awards and process committees, to partnerships with various organizations. I see the almost daily ALA Connect postings related to various committees and marvel at all the hard work taking place. I thank all of you for your efforts.
Speaking of committees, as vice president/president-elect, I serve on the ALSC Budget Committee, and Immediate Past President Lucia Gonzalez and I have been tasked with writing blog posts about the different ways members have benefited from receiving ALSC funding. Please email me (email@example.com) if you would like to share your story about receiving ALSC funding and how this has supported you, a program, or a special project.
Soon, I will begin the appointing process and look forward to reading and sorting through the volunteer forms that I hope many of you have submitted. Remember that the volunteer forms can be submitted at any time of the year, but it is recommended for process committees to submit the forms between September and January and for award and evaluation committees to submit between May and July. You can find the form at this link: ALSC Committee Volunteer Form.
Finally, I love the city of New Orleans! It offers good food and music, and with us in town January 27–30, 2023, for ALA’s LibLearnX 2023, there will be good books, too. I always enjoy attending the Youth Media Awards ceremony, and I look forward to seeing many of you in person again at LibLearnX 2023.—In gratitude, Jonda C. McNair, ALSC Vice President/President-Elect, 2022–2023, Charlotte S. Huck Endowed Professor of Children’s Literature, The Ohio State University
ALSC sincerely thanks our Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy Banquet sponsors. We hope everyone had a memorable evening!
Children’s Plus, Inc.
Lerner Publishing Group
Disney Publishing Worldwide
HarperCollins Children’s Books
Penguin Young Readers
Many thanks to the following generous contributors to Friends of ALSC. To learn how you can support ALSC, visit our website.
Notables Circle - $100 to $249
Friends Circle - up to $99