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Pursuing excellence for library service to children

Last Build Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2018 05:01:32 +0000


What makes rural services to school-age children different?

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 05:01:32 +0000

I live and work in Nevada County, which is actually in California, to the great confusion of search engines and non-Californians (and many Californians). Our county has just under 100,000 people and 68% of people live in unincorporated areas, and 93.6% of the population is white (according to 2016 numbers from the US census). This county also skews older, with just 21% of the population under 18. Every rural county is incredibly different, so I cannot pretend to represent what working in a rural county is like everywhere, but here is my experience. I was born in San Francisco and lived there until I moved across the bridge to suburban Marin, worked in Oakland, and then in suburban Connecticut before landing here. Living in rural California has me understanding my own lens as urban. I expect excellent services that are easy to access. Patrons up here know that services exist,...

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Gimme a C (for Collaboration!): Fine Free

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 05:01:36 +0000

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Los Angeles Public Library system (LAPL) have created a system-wide collaborative effort similar to those discussed in the now completed Public Library & School Library Collaboration Toolkit. There are three System-wide Initiatives found in other parts of the nation described in the toolkit, but Los Angeles has cooperated in a way that is different, yet. (You can view the other System-wide Initiatives and many other programs that will fit any public or school district at: .) Where do you start on a project this big? In this case, LAPL originally approached LAUSD with a plan to issue Student Success Cards to every kindergartener the first year and grow the card disbursements from there. As LAPL and LAUSD discussed the fineries of the plan, it slowly became what it is, today. Every K-12 student in LAUSD – even those that are...

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Professional Development for Early Childhood Care Providers

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 06:00:21 +0000

As youth librarians for the very young, we know that our audience isn’t just the children in our communities, but also their families. We also know that there is another important caregiver audience out there, the early childhood care provider. A very broad term, early childhood care providers may work in public or private preschools, Head Starts, day care centers, places of worship, businesses or private homes. They may have varying levels of education and experience but they all work hard to give the children in their care quality experiences. Youth librarians are in wonderful positions to support them with books and resources but in some cases can also provide more formal professional development on topics such as early literacy and using picture books in classrooms. If your library is interested in providing formal professional development for early childhood care providers, here are some tips. Learn about local and state...

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Poetry and more

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 17:01:48 +0000

This year marks the 29th year of my library system’s annual poetry contest for kids. I love that this writing tradition has continued for so long and that kids and teachers still enjoy it. Below are a few other writing program ideas I’ve seen or read about going on in libraries.  I’ve added some book suggestions from the experts when applicable. I think the library is a great place for kids to experience writing for fun and hope one of these suggestions gets you excited to try something new. Start a writing club for kids. Use Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories by Jack Gantos as a group read and journal starter. It is pure fun. If you are part of the CSLP, which has the Libraries Rock theme, coloring journals in the catalog are only $1.25 – a cost effective way to promote...

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Women’s History Month: Books and Resources

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 17:01:58 +0000

How are you celebrating Women’s History Month at your library? Meet a room full of amazing people through books! Favorite New Children’s Biographies: Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome. Illustrated by James Ransome Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed The World by Susan Hood. Illustrated by 13 Extraordinary Women. No Truth Without Ruth: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Kathleen Krull Gloria’s Voice: The Story of Gloria Steinem – Feminist, Activist, Leader by Aura Lewis Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb and the Boston Marathon by Annette Bay Pimental Illustrated by Micha Archer The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers? The Story of Ada Lovelace by Tanya Lee Stone. Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Women Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez Illustrated by Felicita Sala Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala...

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Joining Forces with Tweens

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:00:27 +0000

Communication is Key The foundation of any successful partnership is communication. Partnerships have many forms, from agreements with large institutions, to local organizations, or between individuals. Rather than looking at a partnership from the perspective of two organizations collaborating, I looked at it as an internal relationship between the library and community, specifically the tween community. Before establishing a partnership, most people look into meaning, purpose, and the hopeful outcome of this collaboration. After struggling to connect with teens and multiple unsuccessful program endeavors, I thought about what we could do to ensure that we connected with kids before they became teens. If we focused on strengthening our relationship with the 6-8th graders, then we would have an established partnership and hope that this would carry on into high school, resulting in seeing these teens in our library. Making Your Move We had a group of tweens who would come...

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Advocacy Challenge: Ask “Why?”

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 05:01:26 +0000

Hopefully, many of you are feeling energized and refreshed after the Midwinter Meeting. Are you pumped about all the great things libraries are doing to help their communities grow and thrive, starting with our youngest citizens?    This month, I challenge you to take a look at the programs and services you currently offer, or want to offer, and ask yourself “why?” In my opinion, this is the first step in library advocacy. Library advocacy is supporting, and garnering support for, the library (including staff and departments), or a library product. To be successful, library advocates must understand the “why”, or else we’re just marketing services. Marketing is great, but you do not need to know why a program or service is important in order to entice people to attend the program, or use a service.   Let’s use a program, called “Play Date,” as an example. If I make a...

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Meet Your ALSC Board: Karen MacPherson

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 05:01:19 +0000

In this monthly feature, we profile ALSC Board members. We hope to offer information about the people who work to guide the organization so that you can feel more comfortable in reaching out to them with your concerns, questions, or comments. To continue this series, we invite you to meet ALSC Board member, Karen MacPherson. Despite my silver hair, I’m a relative newcomer to the world of children’s librarians. In 2007, I earned my MLS from the University of Maryland, but I’ve been working in my job – as the children’s & teen services coordinator at the Takoma Park Maryland Library – since 2006  (I got the job with the proviso that I finish my MLS). For 30 years prior to becoming a librarian, I was a newspaper reporter, mostly in Washington, D.C., and mostly covering politics. While working as a reporter for Scripps Howard News Service, however, I also began...

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ALA Midwinter Highlights

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 13:00:26 +0000

Mid-Winter Roundup 2018  At a snowy Midwinter Conference in Denver, intellectual freedom work occurred in small group sessions, cross-committee task force meetings and on the big stage where the question of library neutrality was ardently debated.  Here’s a quick rundown of some of the intellectual freedom highlights:  Take a look at the new Selection & Reconsideration Policy Toolkit for Public, School and Academic Libraries.  It’s fantastic!  The best defense to challenges is well-crafted policy. Available online and coming soon in print to the ALA store. Selection Policy Toolkit    Sorry you missed the President’s panel discussion, “Are Libraries Neutral?  Have They Ever Been?  Should They Be?”  You can read all about it here.       Reminder:  Reporting challenges is a professional responsibility.  Don’t keep it to yourself!  The Office of Intellectual Freedom can help.  This responsibility is based on Article 3 of the Library Bill of Rights, which states that “Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.”  Report Challenges   ...

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Professional Goals and Your Performance

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 05:01:50 +0000

Images: Courtesy of Did you achieve all your professional goals in 2017? Workplace goals are hard to define sometimes. Even for high achievers, setting realistic goals is more troublesome than we would like to admit. Other people might find setting goals a waste of efforts as they are not really met. Below you will find some tips to make your goals process more effective and valuable to yourself and your library. How does it work? Our library adopted the 4×20 Performance Evaluation design by which each one of us had to generate one or more Company, Library, and Professional goals. Once goals were set, staff had to meet four times for twenty minutes with their supervisors to discuss progress, changes, and completion of goals. During my first 4×20 progress chat with my library director, I realized some of my goals were too broad and thus not realistic. So I...

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