A list of resources by subject area for librarians serving youth.
Access | Advocacy | Book Lists | Building Partnerships | Common Core State Standards | Competencies for Librarians Serving Children | Copyright | Digital Media | Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion | Early Literacy | Environmental Scan | Intellectual Freedom | Junior Maker Space | LIS Educators | Mentoring | Partnerships | Programming and Services for Youth | Research | School Age Programs and Services | Service to Underserved Children | Summer Reading and Learning | Technology
Looking for a resource you thought was on this page? - Check out the ALA Institutional Repository for archived resources like toolkits and white papers.
Access to library materials should not be restricted for any reason. Unfortunately, children and teens suffer when policies are put in place that hinder their access to all types of information. Several sections of the ALA Web site pertain to access and intellectual freedom and revolve around The Library Bill of Rights. Sections of importance to children and those who serve them are:
Free Access to Libraries for Minors
Access for Children and Young Adults to Nonprint Materials: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (Adopted by ALA Council, 1989/Amended, 2004)
Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks
Access to Library Resources and Services Regardless of Sex, Gender Identity, or Sexual Orientation
Everyday Advocacy is a website offering a collection of resources designed to empower librarians and library staff to take action in their libraries, communities, and beyond. Advocacy is so important, but that doesn’t mean it has to be intimidating. Everyday Advocacy highlights ideas and tips that are quick, easy to implement, and highly doable. The site’s goal is to develop powerful advocates for children and library service to children. This go-to resource is for both day-to-day advocacy and crisis advocacy, providing resources that address a variety of advocacy circumstances.
How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities. This report is part of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, which is exploring the role of libraries in the lives of individuals and communities.
In 2014, the ALSC Emerging Leader Team E examined methods of appraising and communicating the full range of youth services and the resulting outputs and outcomes. Their final report, entitled Ask, Assess, Advocate: Demonstrating the Value of Library Youth Services, was submitted to the ALSC Board of Directors and available for download as a PDF.
Librarians are called to embrace diversity and inclusion. Many of us take action by “Reading Without Walls” for “Windows and Mirrors” because we agree #WeNeedDiverseBooks. What do these mean, what does the research say, and what can we do to be more proactive and informed in advocating, decision-making, and working with all stakeholders to promote diverse literature? We present our perspectives and action steps to bring diverse literature front and center in libraries and classrooms. Check out this recorded session from the 2018 ALSC Institute. Video recording sponsored by the Carole D. Fiore Leadership Fund
Championing Children's Services Toolkit
ALSC’s Public Awareness Committee created the Championing Children’s Services Toolkit, which encompasses a variety of easy to use advocacy resources to empower Children’s staff to engage their communities to build healthy successful futures for children. The suite of materials include: A toolkit formatted as a series of “Because Statements”, a video describing the value of quality children’s librarians featuring children’s author Meg Medina, a shareable infographic of Because Statements, a customizable PowerPoint Template for libraries to present to stakeholders, printable postcards for advocacy use, and an example infographic of how library programming aligns with Early Learning and Development Standards.
Through its many book lists, ALSC promotes literacy and reading for enjoyment.
The ALSC Building Partnerships committee works to build liaison relationships with national organizations serving children and youth and sharing similar goals to ALSC. This resource provides links to those national organizations, who likely can provide further information on local chapters with whom libraries can partner within their own communities.
Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been adopted in a majority of states, and librarians and teachers are scrambling for resources and knowledge to embrace the new paradigm. In response, ALSC's School-Age Programs and Services Committee has compiled a list of essential resources (articles, blogs, websites), which provide a starting point for becoming more familiar with CCSS in order to gain confidence in serving the educational community.
During the spring of 2014, the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Task Force on Common Core developed a toolkit and webinar on the common core and the public librarian.
Children's librarian must do more than simply provide age-appropriate service. Effective library service for children entails a broad range of experience and professional skills. ALSC's Competencies seek to define the role of the librarian serving children. Use the Competencies to develop job descriptions for your open positions or as a training resource with your youth services staff.
Cornell University Copyright Information
Current copyright information for all ages.
What Youth Librarians Need to Know about Copyright
Information about copyright issues for children's librarians.
Digital Media Resources
A go-to list of current articles, blog posts, and websites, about iPads, tablets, eBooks, apps, and more, for children's librarians navigating their way through the evolving digital landscape.
ALSC’s first national survey of libraries and new media, administered in 2014 (see below), demonstrated a strong commitment among libraries to providing a range of technology for families with young children. An updated and expanded 2018 survey delivers exciting results that provide compelling, widespread insights into the changes to this still largely uncharted and disparate landscape. This inforgraphic summarizes the findings.
Young Children, New Media & Libraries 2014 Survey Infographic
Between August 1 and August 18, 2014, 415 children’s librarians responded to a survey of 9 questions concerning the use of new media with young children in libraries. The survey was created as a collaborative effort between Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), LittleeLit.com, and the iSchool at the University of Washington. Preliminary finding are presented through this infographic created by ALSC’s Public Awareness Committee.
A Commitment to Building Literacy Rich Classrooms
First Book partnered with literacy expert Susan Neuman to develop a new tool that provides educators with a resource to evaluate and improve the quality and equity of their classroom libraries.
The Babies Need Words Every Day initiative, created by the ALSC Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee, represents ALSC’s commitment to bridging the 30 million word gap. Launched in August 2015, the visually appealing posters deliver simple, effective rhymes, games and other ways for parents and caregivers to communicate with babies. A customizable book list provides suggestion of books that parents can request at their local library. Over the course of the year, ALSC will encourage librarians to get the word out to their community partners about these free resources to engage them in the effort to bridge the word gap.
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood celebrates families. ALSC collaborated with Fred Rogers Productions and Grand Communications to develop a series of materials to support the theme of “Family” for new episodes of the PBS KIDS series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood that will premiere in September. ALSC encourages children’s librarians to incorporate the resources into programming with children and their families. ALSC’s Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee and the Quicklists Consulting Committee contributed to content development.
The Importance of Play in Early Literacy
ALSC is committed to examining the role of play in early literacy. This web resource was developed as part of a former partnership with LEGO® DUPLO®. It provides programming ideas, a librarian toolkit, and a white paper that addresses the importance of play in the lives of young children.
As represented in both the ALA Strategic Plan and the ALSC 2020-2023 Strategic Plan, ALA and ALSC are working to expand our membership so it is more reflective of the communities we serve and ensuring that the library profession has the tools needed to advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion in all areas of librarianship and our library communities. Here are the objectives for ALSC's startegic direction in Equity, Diversity & Inclusion:
- Increase the intentional recruitment and retention of a diverse membership and reduce barriers to participation. Transforming ALSC
- Expand opportunities for existing members from underrepresented experiences to serve in ALSC activities. Transforming ALSC
- Highlight best practices for infusing EDI values as a foundational practive for library staff serving youth. Transforming Children's Librarianship
ALSC Equity Diversity & Inclusion Statement and Resources
ALSC released an equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) statement along with new resources, located on a dedicated EDI webpage, that support the EDI-related work of the association. These materials, part of an ongoing commitment to EDI within the division and throughout the youth services library profession, further articulate and amplify ALSC’s commitment to EDI. The EDI statement and materials will be continually updated and further developed as living resources for ALSC members.
ALSC partnered with Netflix in support of Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices, a collection of 12 episodes featuring prominent Black celebrities and artists reading children's books from Black authors. Visit: https://www.netflixbookmarks.com/ to view the episodes and to access links to additional resources. The videos are also available for free without subscription on the Netflix Jr. YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/c/NetflixJr/. Featured ALSC member-developed resources include the Supporting Diverse Communities Toolkit, #LookToLibraries, and ALSC booklists.
Social Justice in Youth Librarianship Resources:
- Listen to Dr. Nicole Cooke; Assistant Professor and Program Director for the Master’s of Library and Information Science at the School of Information Sciences, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, presenting research in the areas of diversity and social justice in librarianship during the 2017 Leadership & ALSC meeting
- Access ALSC's archived August 2017 community forum discussing social justice in youth librarianship with Dr. Nicole Cooke, Assistant Professor and MSLIS Program Director at the School of Information Sciences, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and Jessica Anne Bratt, Youth Services Manager for the Grand Rapids Public Library and co-founder of Libraries4BlackLives. Please note access to this forum is limited to ALSC members using your ALA login and password
- "3 Ways to Speak English" by Jamila Lyiscott and the Anderson Cooper Doll Test
- Talking About Race in Storytimes
- R. David Lankes on Racism, Ignorance, and Librarianship
- Equality is Not Pie; Libraries and the Insidiousness of Subtle Racism
- This Is What (Straight, Cis, Capitalist, Christian, White Male) Democracy Looks Like
The impact of stress toxicity on the lifespan of children can be observed throughout educational and community settings, affecting families disproportionally over time. In this presentation, Dr. Janina Fariñas and Johanna Ulloa Girón MSW, will introduce how current knowledge on toxic stress and its impact is shaping the way Public libraries provide services and programs for children and their families. The presentation will offer a brief overview of the research, as well as clear, practical approaches for implementing solutions that support the critical role of libraries in diverse communities.
View Dr. Janina Fariñas and Johanna Ulloa Girón's Leadership & ALSC Midwinter 2018 presentation. Please note, due to technical difficulties the concluding five minutes of the presentation are not on the video recording.
Blogger and educator Debbie Reese, PhD, founder of American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) blog, delivered the 2019 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture on April 13, 2019. Dr. Reese is a longtime advocate for Native representation and is a former teacher and university professor. She earned her PhD in Education from the University of Illinois, where she also helped establish the Native American House and American Indian Studies program. Dr. Reese also holds an M.Ed degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. She is tribally enrolled at Nambe Owingeh Pueblo in New Mexico.
The team built a repertoire of resources that will inform an ALSC cultural competency training series and, specifically, enhance the understanding of microaggressions – what we say and how we say it- and the impact they have on common workplace and social interactions. The team employed research skills to locate relevant examples of cultural competency training, collaboration to develop training messages for individuals and groups engaged in ALSC committee work, and creativity to identify innovative media strategies to deliver an authentic and informative training video script that can be implemented by ALSC staff. Located in this final report is also the brochure distributed during their poster session at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference on What is a Microagression.
View the 2018 Emerging Leader Final Report | View the Emerging Leader brochure on Microagressions
The 2016 ALSC Emerging Leaders Team created an environmental scan [PDF] for the ALSC Board of Directors. The group gathered research on the trends and needs that will impact the future of youth services. This document presents the results of the group’s research. This research includes qualitative data gathered from a specialized survey created by the EL group, quantitative data from the survey, case studies gathered in literature reviews, and interviews with ALSC members and other stakeholders from around the country.
Intellectual freedom is the right of all individuals to read, view, or listen to whatever materials they choose and to speak and write the beliefs and opinions they hold. Intellectual freedom is the basis of democracy and is the core concept upon which libraries are built.
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that these basic policies should guide their services, as outlined in the Library Bill of Rights.
Intellectual Freedom Programming Toolkit - This toolkit provides practical tips and samples of programming that incorporates intellectual freedom and information literacy in a fun and engaging manner.
Kids! Know Your Rights (PDF) A publication created for children and young people, introducing concepts central to intellectual freedom and the library's role in protecting First Amendment Rights. A companion piece, created for parents and caregivers, is also available.
ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom
Established December 1, 1967, this office is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom. This site includes contact information for OIF staff. Do not hesitate to contact this office; the OIF works for you, as a paying member of ALA and its divisions! Also of interest in this section is basic information, publications, policies, statements and guidelines which can be found in Intellectual Freedom.
Three Bombs, Two Lips, and a Martini Glass Revisited
From Booklist, a caution against book ratings, with informative discussion of specific, potentially harmful effects of that practice. (March 31, 2016) by ALSC Past-President Pat Scales.
Respect for Minors is Key to Intellectual Freedom
Excellent discussion of how attitudes toward young people shape censorship, written by Maren Williams for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
Other groups supporting First Amendment rights and intellectual freedom:
National Coalition Against Censorship- NCAC’s Resource Guide on the First Amendment in Schools
More NCAC Resources - An overview of NCAC resources
American Civil Liberties Union ACLU’s take on Student Speech and Privacy
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
The Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison shares Intellectual Freedom 101 and offers even more IF Resources here.
Guidelines, policies, and other materials to help librarians and others deal with challenges can be found at:
Top 10 most-challenged books for years past, and additional statistics dating back to 2000.
Coping with Challenges: Kids and Libraries
Family- and child-focused considerations related to book challenges.
A one-stop shop for information and support, with links to a toolkit, recommendations for responding to a materials challenge, tips for proactively guarding against censorship, and more.
Selection & Reconsideration Policy Toolkit for Public, School, & Academic Libraries
Comprehensive IF support for a range of library types. Includes components of selection policies, and ready to use samples of forms and letters related to selection and reconsideration.
Banned Books Week from a Grad Student's Perspective
This article written by Sania Zaffar, 2017 ALSC intern and Loyola University Grad Student, reflects on the discussion of frequently challenged children's books with Kristin Pekoll, Assistant Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF). Some frequently challenged titles have received an ALSC award or honor, so what does that say to a caregiver, if anything? In this article, Sania discusses this point along with resources to help librarians and teacher have important conversations about challenged books.
What You Can Do and How to Organize
Celebrate the freedom to read, seek ways to combat censorship, and join other advocates of intellectual freedom.
Expurgation of Library Materials
The expurgation of library materials is a violation of the Library Bill of Rights. Expurgation as defined by this interpretation includes any deletion, excision, alteration, editing, or obliteration of any part(s) of books or other library resources by the library, its agent, or its parent institution (if any).
Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
Contains information for librarians implementing CIPA filtering at their libraries, including a legislative history of CIPA.
Privacy Resources for Librarians, Library Users, and Families
Educational resources for parents and children.
The Association for Library Service to Children is happy to be working with LEGO Systems, Inc. to bring Junior Maker Spaces to libraries across the country. This project will focus on giving children ages 4 to 6 areas to make and create in their local libraries.
ALSC offers the following resources to professors of library and information science that will help classes and students dig deeper into the field of library service to children.
ALSC Mentoring Program
The ALSC Mentoring Program matches mentors and mentees for one year of collaboration. The program, which is open to members and non-members, is intended to help build a new collection of leaders in the field of library service to children.
In October 2020, ALSC 2020-2021 President, Kirby McCurtis, attended the Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy's virtual Leadership Institute as a keynote speaker. Available to ALSC members is a recording of this opening keynote address, "Adaptable Leadership".
AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation Resources
* Toolkit including context and suggestions for creating partnerships of all sizes
* List highlighting past successful partnerships between school & public libraries
External Organizations Serving Youth
Contact information and descriptions of organizations serving youth
Curiosity Creates began as a grant-funded project and has since turned into a proclamation for librarians doing innovative work with children. In 2015, ALSC used an $800,000 grant from Disney to issue 79 minigrants of up to $7,500 each to public libraries for the implementation for creativity programming. ALSC also developed resources that will continue to support the ongoing work of librarians seeking to start similar programs in their communities. Visit the Curiosity Creates page to view a video compilation of some of the grant-funded programs, download the informative best practices resource, Curiosity Creates: Innovative Library Programming for Children, and learn about the 79 library recipients. ALSC librarians are also welcome to share their creativity programming ideas and photos on twitter using the hashtag #alsccreates.
The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children
The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children white paper explores the critical role libraries play in helping children make cross-cultural connections and develop skills necessary to function in a culturally pluralistic society. This white paper, written for the Association for Library Service to Children by Jamie Campbell Naidoo, PhD, was adopted by ALSC's Board of Directors on April 5, 2014.
Virtual Storytime Services | Libraries are quick to adapt to serve their communities, and while buildings may be closed, libraries are innovating to expand their digital collections and offer virtual programming to serve the needs of their communities. This forthcoming living guide is offered as a resource to those seeking to host storytime services from afar. This page also includes links to webinars and resources for getting started.
Children's Librarianship: International Perspectives | Have you ever wondered what library service to children and families looks like in different countries? Are you interested in learning from children’s library staff across the world? ALSC collaborated with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and students from Kent State University’s School of Information for this special event.
Kids! @ your library
ALSC's 2006-2010 public awareness campaign generated a tool kit filled with resources to help librarians position their library as a valuable and important community center for kids and their families. Although the campaign is no longer active, many of the tool kit resources are still relevant and valuable and can be found here.
In May 2023, the University of Washington Information School (iSchool) released the Autism-Ready Libraries Toolkit (ARLT), which provides early literacy programming and training materials to empower librarians to effectively serve autistic children and their families. The project was funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
The toolkit is available at: https://sites.uw.edu/neurodiversity/research-projects/autism-ready-libraries/toolkit/
The 2020-21 Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee devoted its service year to creating a vibrant, dynamic toolkit that provides ALSC members with up-to-date resources for working with marginalized populations. Each section of toolkit provides professional and leisure reading recommendations, support for programming, and materials for families. Section topics include: access to technology; autism and sensory processing disorder; children with print disabilities; financial insecurity and homelessness; new Americans; and Spanish-speaking populations.
Access Inclusive Spaces and Services for Children of All Abilities Community Forum presented by Jason Driver, Renee Grassi, Eva Thaler-Sroussi, and ALSC President Nina Lindsay. (please note, access is limited to ALSC members using their ALA username and password) - January 2018
- Presentation from Inclusive Spaces and Services for Children of All Abilities. This presentation includes notes with helpful resources. You can also download the PDF of resources.
Autistic Self Advocacy Network: The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization run by and for autistic people. ASAN was created to serve as a national grassroots disability rights organization for the autistic community run by and for autistic Americans, advocating for systems change and ensuring that the voices of autistic people are heard in policy debates and the halls of power. Our staff work to educate communities, support self-advocacy in all its forms, and improve public perceptions of autism. ASAN’s members and supporters include autistic adults and youth, cross-disability advocates, and non-autistic family members, professionals, educators, and friends. ("About" section on ASAN website)
State and local conferences
ALSC provides funding to members who represent the division at local and state conferences through a program called ALSC Roadshow. Members can apply for funding by presenting a program, hosting a social event or staffing a booth.
Summer reading is an integral part of most public libraries. But what's the importance of these programs? Find out more below.
Learning Beyond: 21st Century Summer and Out-of-School Time Programs for Youth (print-ready PDF, 1MB) (screen-ready PDF, 3MB)
This multi-part toolkit was created by ALSC's Summer/Out-of School Time task force to meet the varying needs of library communities.
Dominican University study on the impact of summer reading programs
The Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University received a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for a three-year research study (2006-2009) to answer the question: do public library summer reading programs impact student achievement?
The Importance of Summer Reading: Public Library Summer Reading Programs and Learning
This research paper and bibliography was created by the New York State Library and focuses on the advantages of reading over the summer months, access to books, time spent reading, and use of public libraries during the summer months.
Children are bombarded with choices about where to get their information. Librarians and parents can help them find the best materials by accessing some of the following resources, as well as informing them about the way children access the Internet.
Navigating the 'Net with Your Kids (PDF)
An informative PDF brochure for parents (downloadable).
Children and the Internet: Policies that Work
A collaborative electronic publication from ALSC and the Public Library Association
Guides to Cyberspace for Parents and Children
Links to resources that have useful information for librarians and parents about online safety.