Tweens, young teens, and technology

Tessa Michaelson Schmidt has announced an exciting opportunity for those of us serving tweens and young teens in our libraries. Read on for details about how your library can be part of the 2012 Presidents’ Program at ALA in Anaheim (a joint affair between ALSC and YALSA.)

How are you handling the digital lives of tweens and young teens at your library? At the 2012 Presidents’ Program at ALA in Anaheim we will be talking about tweens and young teens and exploring their use of technology. What is the life of a tween or young teen like in this digital age? What are the particular challenges and opportunities they face online? What should libraries be doing? Show us in a video!

  • Videos should be 2-3 minutes in length and created by librarians, for librarians.  Show and tell us about an experience or project dealing with tweens and young teens and technology at your library.  What worked?  What didn’t?   What did you learn?
  • Post it on YouTube with the tag “youthprezprogram12”.
  • Email co-chairs Tessa Michaelson Schmidt and Sarah Couri at with the YouTube link and your contact information.
  • Deadline for submissions: Monday, April 30, 2012 at midnight.

All video entrants will be eligible to win a $100 Amazon gift card.   Selected videos will be shown at the 2012 ALSC and YALSA Joint Presidents’ Program in Anaheim! Speak up and speak out: how are you working with technologically active tweens and young teens?

Youth Media Awards: What You May and (May Not) Know

All year long, select members of the American Library Association serve on book and media award committees. These ALSC and YALSA members are examining the best of what is published and produced for children and young adults in the current year (for the 2012 awards, they’ll be considering what was published in 2011). Some of these members have been elected by their fellow division members, and some have been appointed by the division president.

In a few short weeks at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas, the award committees meet, discuss, re-discuss, and vote on the winners. Award-winning authors, illustrators, and publishers are called early in the morning on the Monday of Midwinter. The life-changing news is given in strict confidence (watch a short video montage of the phone calls from the 2009 Midwinter meeting). At 7:45am CT, ALA division presidents will announce the top awards in children’s and young adult literature at a large press conference. The ALSC president, Mary Fellows, will announce winners for the Newbery, Caldecott, Carnegie, Arbuthnot Lecture, Sibert, Geisel, Batchelder, Odyssey (with YALSA), and Pura Belpré (with REFORMA) awards. The YALSA and ALA presidents will announce their awards as well, such as the Printz and the Schneider Family Book Award, respectively.

Even if you won’t be in Dallas on the morning of January 23, 2012, you still have an opportunity to take part in the excitement by attending the Mock Newbery Discussion at SCLS next Tuesday morning. Or, follow @alayma on Twitter, and watch the live webcast of the press conference on your computer. Virtual seating for the webcast will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so it’s best to “arrive” early. If you will be in Dallas, try to attend the joint youth division reception on Monday night in addition to the press conference. The reception, co-sponsored by ALSC, AASL and YALSA, will begin at 6 pm CT.

Barbara Moon is serving on this year’s Odyssey Award Committee, and Renee McGrath of the Nassau Library System is serving on the Newbery Committee. Are you or someone you work with on an award committee that will pick their winners in Dallas?

Every Child Ready to Read

On Wednesday, October 26th at 10:00am, SCLS Youth Services will host a meeting for children’s services staff focusing on the Every Child Ready to Read 2nd Edition. Whether you are new to the ECRR program or have been implementing its principals for years, all Suffolk Library staff members are welcome to join us at the session to learn new ways to incorporate ECRR into your daily interactions with parents and caregivers. Jeanne McDermott of the Amagansett Free Library will be on hand to discuss her experience with the ECRR program from her work as an intern at the Brooklyn Public Library.  

Back in April, ALSC offered a webinar called Supporting Early Literacy Through Language-Rich Library Environments with presenter Saroj Ghoting. One suggestion from the Minneapolis Public Library is to create early literacy games (pictured to the right) and placing them in your children’s area. The exercises are accompanied by a one page sheet describing why the game is beneficial to young children. They are easy to create with any desktop publishing software, magnetic paper, and a cookie sheet, and can be rotated throughout the year.

Kristine Casper also participated in the April 21st webinar and had this to say about it:

So often we think of the competencies of Every Child Ready to Read from the programming perspective. This presentation incorporated them into the physical space, making me rethink the way we have utilized the open areas of the department.  It had a lot of ideas, not just for places with a lot of space and budgets, but also for those with limited space.  I liked when she said just start with one idea – one end cap. 

The recording of the Supporting Early Literacy Through Language-Rich Library Environments is available online, and may be beneficial to watch in conjunction with attending the children’s librarians meeting on October 26th.  


ALSC Penguin Young Readers Group Award

Were you dreaming of attending your first ALA conference while your colleagues were in New Orleans? Not to worry: with a little planning and effort, you could attend next year’s conference in Anaheim as a V.I.P. of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and Penguin Publishers.

If you’ll have one to ten years experience as a children’s librarian by June 2012 and you are a member – or willing to join – ALSC, consider applying for the Penguin Young Readers Group Award. Kristine Casper, who won the Penguin Award and attended her first ALA Conference in Chicago in 2005, says:

Receiving the Penguin Young Readers Group award made attending the ALA Annual conference for the first time so much easier and gave me the opportunity to get involved in other areas of ALSC.  It is the people I met that I remember the most.  I was in awe of the vast knowledge of other ALSC members who were eager to show us around, and I learned about the publishing industry from the editors and publishing representatives who told us about their books and authors. I was star-struck by the terrific authors we met and dined with at various functions. I recommend applying for this award to any librarian who is interested in broadening their professional experience.

Shortly after attending the Annual Conference as a Penguin Award winner, Kristine was appointed to the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award committee.

Award winners and past award winners are listed on the ALSC website, and many ALSC presidents look to this list of “professionally young” librarians to find upcoming leaders to appoint to ALSC committees and task forces. If that sounds appealing to you, consider applying for the Penguin Award. The deadline is December 1, and the application will be up on the ALSC website shortly. When filling out your application, keep these tips from Tracy Van Dyne, a member of the Penguin Young Reader’s Group Award Committee from 2007 – 2009 and current member of the newly formed Grants Committee, in mind:

  1. The little things matter: be sure to fill out your application correctly and submit it on time.
  2. The committee is looking for candidates who are creative and show leadership:  go-getters!  Include projects that you’ve helped to work on, but if something is your baby or you are a co-chair, spend more time telling the committee about that particular program. 
  3. Be sure to go to the right people for recommendation letters.  A great recommendation letter can go a long way.  BUT your recommendation letters should not be better than YOUR OWN letter.  Be proud of your accomplishments!  Flaunt what you’ve done!

ALSC gives away over $82,000 through professional awards and grants every year. The Penguin Award is only one example of the opportunities available. Be sure to explore all the ways you and your library can benefit from the ALSC Professional Awards.

Spectrum Scholar from Suffolk Makes a Splash in New Orleans

Darla, a librarian trainee at the Half Hollow Hills Public Libray, is here in New Orleans at her first ALA conference as a 2010-2011 Spectrum Scholar. I caught up with Darla at last night’s Spectrum Professional Options Fair at the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street.

“This is just like speed-dating,” Darla laughed.

Darla was right: The Grand Ballroom was set up with tables representing various divisions of ALA, professional organizations, and OCLC, the fair’s sponsor. I was staffing the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) table along with ALSC president Mary Fellows and ALSC Membership/Marketing Specialist Dan Rude. Spectrum Scholars sought out tables of interest to network and learn more about proffessional opportunities.

Darla, who is a student at the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at Queens College, still works at the Northport Public Library where she got her start as a page in the Youth Services Department. “Doris gave me so many conference tips on the plane ride down,” Darla said. I told Darla that when I was a trainee at Northport I was particulalry overwhelmed by my new role as reader’s advisor, and I kept recommending Sharon Creech to everyone who walked in the door. “I’m the same way with Neil Gaiman!” Darla confessed. Darla tackles this challenge by reading books off the new book carts at both of her libraries.

Darla left the ALSC table with a committee volunteer form in hand and encouragement from Mary Fellows to fill it out “multiple times.” Whether you are able to attend conferences or not, there are ways to get involved with ALA, and a little bit of perserverance always helps.

How To Be A (Bigger) Book Geek – Part I

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) is an excellent resource for youth services librarians. Among the many services it provides is CCBC-Net, an active listserv devoted to the discussion of literature for children and young adults. All are welcome to join, and if you sign up today you may catch the “beginning of the month announcements,” which often include news about upcoming literature conferences and author/book events. You’ll find more information about the listserv and how to join here. Also of interest are the CCBC Shorts, monthly webinars about new books for young people. The latest video features booktalks about brand new books that make great choices for toddler and preschool storytime.

The director of the CCBC, Kathleen T. Horning, is the author of From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books and is a leader in the field of studying literature for young people. KT also teaches online classes for ALSC such as the class on the Caldecott Medal (which begins today, so sign up quickly!) Suffolk County’s own Marybeth K. – who is active with the CLASC Literature Committee – recently took KT’s class on The Newbery Medal and had this to say about it:

“I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to learn from KT Horning! Her vast knowledge, combined with input from class members who were public and school librarians from across the country — several were even former Newbery Committee members — made for a valuable learning experience. I know I sound like a book geek, but it was extremely satisfying to immerse myself in discussing both the broadest and finest points of children’s literature with people as excited about it as I am.”

You, too, can up your “book geek” score by taking advantage of the resources available from the CCBC by signing up for CCBC-Net, tuning into a CCBC short, or registering for an ALSC online course taught by KT Horning.

Día 2011 Resources

ALSC announced today that the book list for the 2011 celebration of El día de los niños/El día de los libros is now available online. Featuring children’s titles and websites from cultures around the world, this is the perfect resource with which to celebrate Día’s 15th anniversary on April 30, 2011. Produced in conjunction with ALSC and REFORMA, the book list offers titles in 9 languages, websites, and tips for parents about reading with their child. The best news of all is that libraries can personalize the document using Acrobat (Reader or Professional). For more information and a link to the pdf, visit Día online. You’ll also find more resources for hosting your celebration.