Bright Ideas | November 2023

Fantastical Creatures Visit the Gail Borden Library

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In September 2023, as part of its celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Gail Borden Public Library District (GBPLD) in Illinois opened an exhibit of 20 paper mache sculptures on loan from the Mexican Cultural Center of DuPage. Known as "Alebrijes," these brightly-colored folk art pieces take the shape of fantastical creatures. Among those on display at GBPLD's Main Library through mid-January, are Goliath, a 16-foot deer, giraffe and eagle, and Lacuarium, a seahorse-dragon. If they sound familiar, Alebrijes were featured in the 2017 animated fantasy film Coco.

Throughout September, GBPL coordinated events with Hispanic Heritage Month and the Alebrijes. The month featured an Alebrije exhibit scavenger hunt, multiple dance and music performances, an Ofrenda Day of the Dead Exhibit, Alebrijes art contest for local area students, button give-aways featuring photos of patrons with their favorite Alebrije, and more.

"We love hosting these Alebrijes," said Carole Medal, GBPLD's CEO. "It fits our mission statement so well as we are 'the library where imagination and transformation flourish, fueled by the power of community.'"

Thus far, the Alebrijes have been a huge hit. The library is attracting many visitors of all ages and student field trips. Four additional Alebrijes have been added, bringing the total on display currently to 24.

Click on the smaller thumbnail image to view a larger photo. Both photos are courtesy of Gail Borden Public Library and used with permission.

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How Dr. P’s 3 P’s of Professionalism Informed My Career as a Librarian

When I was in grad school at Louisiana State University working on my MLS in the late 1970’s, Dr. Charles D. Patterson gave all of his students the most meaningful tidbit of wisdom to apply during our careers as a librarian. He called it “The P’s of Professionalism”. Today, I refer to it “Dr. P’s 3 P’s of Professionalism”, out of respect for him.

Quite simply, he explained that librarians have a responsibility to demonstrate your professionalism as a librarian by doing three things: 1. Publish, 2. Participate, and 3. Party. When I heard this third P, I thought “Oh yeah - I am so into this profession!!”. After all, I was attending LSU, well-known for being a “party school” at the time. Little did I appreciate the truth behind this word.

The importance and meaning of the first two are fairly obvious. To him, to “publish” meant to contribute to the literature of libraries – to share with others. This writing can include not only research articles, but also articles about all aspects of practical librarianship (including programming experiences and ideas), interviews with authors, and reviews of books. We in ALSC are fortunate to have several means of publishing – writing for Children & Libraries (our professional journal), ALSC Matters (our newsletter), and the ALSC Blog (our informal, conversational way of getting out information).

He felt to “participate”, you must join and support your professional organization(s) – whether at the local level, the state level, and/or the national level. But don’t just be a joiner! Being an active participant is also important. Support and attend your organization’s conferences and workshops (whether virtual or in person), present ideas and experiences with others at these conferences, contribute to your professional publications, and volunteer for committee work and leadership roles. When your organization expresses a need for financial support, be sure to give what you can – be it time, money, or expertise. My experience has been that the more you put into your organization, the more you will be rewarded both professionally and personally. It has been incredible to look back at all of the ways that ALSC has given me opportunities to try new things, to stretch and grow in both these ways.

When he said “party”, yes, he meant just that – to let down your hair and enjoy being with your colleagues. But over the years, I realize now he meant much more than just building a network with your colleagues. It is about building long-term friendships. Seeing and socializing with the friends you have made from across the country and around the world that share the same interests and passions you have is one of the most satisfying aspects of librarianship. Recently, most of my 2015 Newbery Medal Committee met up in Hollywood with Kwame Alexander for the World Premiere of the Disney+ adaptation of his award-winning book The Crossover. We had the best 3 days ever – enjoying each other’s company and being treated as special guests celebrating the success of “our book.”

You, too, can take Dr. P’s 3 P’s of Professionalism to heart as you get yourself out there to make libraries better and stronger for everyone! Publish/share your library ideas and successes. Fill in that volunteer form to participate this year. And, by all means, party with us. I can’t think of a better, more caring, more widely diverse group of people that I want to spend time with than all of the friends that I have made through my 25+ years as an active member of ALSC.—Stephanie Bange, ALSC Priority Group (VI) Consultant

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