Looking for me?

Yearning for some libraryvoice? I’ve begun to transition this blog into a touch-down space for my digital content and projects. But don’t despair! You can find brand new blog posts from me each month on ALSC Blog!

You can also check out the Storytime Warrior! Education Module developed to help new children’s library staff members become fluent in early literacy. I’ll be posting some fun new technology projects in the Tech Ed section as well.


Gird Your Loins: Summer Reading Begins!

As I was making the daily schedules this week for our children’s department, I wrote the phrase “Gird Your Loins: Summer Reading Begins” across the top.  Highlighted in yellow.

In our library, Summer Reading sign-up is no joke.  It is a level-five, all-out, nonstop event that is both physically and mentally demanding.  Case in point: yesterday we signed up well over 200 kids within the first six hours!  And we don’t expect that rate to slow down until at least the end of the week.

This onslaught- that has us speaking ourselves raspy after hours of talking about books, prizes, and passports, this torrent of activity that has us sneaking a quick lunch on the fly before jumping back into the fray alongside our comrades, this circuslike atmosphere that has us gasping for breath at the end of our day- this is the fruit of our labors from the past few weeks.  Believe it or not, this is exactly how we like it!

Since May, the Children’s Library team has been visiting every class, every child in town in order to get them riled up and excited beyond belief about Summer Reading.  Imagine that.  Mere days after school lets out, instead of riding bikes, or heading out to the beach, or playing a round of Wii, or signing into their Poptropica accounts, hundreds of children and families flock to the public library to sign up for a program that celebrates reading.  I’ve witnessed children literally running (running!) into the library, crowding around the info desk, tiny hands wringing in anticipation.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll sign up hundreds of kids, give out hundreds of free books, award dozens of cool prizes, and recommended tons of truly awesome summer reads.  And while statistics, sign-up numbers, and door counts can give us definitive proof, our sure sign of success is simply leaving each day totally exhausted and bleary-eyed.  When we librarians are all tuckered out and need a nap, it’s been a job well done!

Calling all children’s librarians…

…school media specialists, educators, and other assorted amazing folk who work to bring creativity, literature, technology, and information alive for children!  If you live in or around the tri-state area (NY/CT/NJ) and are interested in brainstorming about topics like book trailers, eBooks, podcasting, digital storytelling, and social media, then please join us for the

3rd Annual KidLib Camp

an Unconference at Darien Library

August 11, 2010


Perhaps you are wondering, “What the donuts is an unconference?”  Good question, my friend!  An unconference is kind of like an unbirthday!

Actually, no.  It’s not at all like an unbirthday.  But it is a chance for professionals to get together in a somewhat informal environment to talk about topics of interest.  Everyone who signs up to attend the unconference submits discussion topics they’d like to learn more about.  You can also volunteer to lead discussions on subjects of your choice.  Then, on the day of the unconference, we vote on which major discussions we’d like to have, and break up into smaller groups.  Every person is an active participant and has the opportunity to share their experience, skills, and thoughts.

Besides being a day of inspiring discussions, intense brainstorming, and true professional development, it is also a chance to meet other brilliant, creative, and funny children’s librarians!

To find out more and sign up, click here.

Understanding Sam and other books explaining autism to siblings

If you don’t already have a family member or close friend affected by autism, chances are you will in your lifetime.  Autism now affects 1 in 110 children (and 1 in 70 boys).

One issue that can often be overlooked is how siblings of a child with autism understand what their brother or sister has and how they can help.  Parents of newly diagnosed children are understandably overwhelmed and can find it hard to understand their child’s disorder, nevermind how to explain it to their other children.  While each child with autism is unique, and every family has its own dynamics, it is sometimes helpful to have resources to help jump start a conversation.

Here are five of my favorite books written for siblings of children with autism:

Yearning for some libraryvoice? I’ve begun to transition this blog into a touch-down space for my digital content and projects. But don’t despair! You can find brand new blog posts from me each month on ALSC Blog!

Takeaways from Trendspotting Ebooks Symposium

Highlights from CLC’s Trendspotting Symposium, Ebooks: Collections at the Crossroads, included a fiery, funny, and provoking talk by keynote speaker and library super geek, Eli Neiburger, and continued with a fascinating panel discussion that included Mr. Neiburger, the remarkable Barbara Genco, Harper Collins President of Sales Josh Marwell, and an exec from Overdrive, Mike Shontz (moderated by Kate Sheehan aka the Loose Cannon Librarian.)

Some takeaways:

  • Josh Marwell from Harper Collins said that the 26 checkout limit is NOT set in stone.  It is “a work in progress.”  (Also, bravo and major props to an HC man stepping into a roomful of wary librarians. That’s bravery.)
  • Dedicated ereaders (black and white devices whose sole purpose is to read ebooks) will be obsolete in a few years.  The future is in multifunction devices.
  • For libraries to adapt successfully in this brave new world of digital content, we need to Geek Up.  Libraries need to hire more geeks and train existing staff to be more geeky. That is, we must be comfortable navigating, creating, storing, archiving, and curating digital content.  And, we need to be able to confidently help our patrons do so as well.
  • It’s impossible to know what libraries and the ebook market will look like in 5, 10, 15 years.  But, as Barbara Genco put it, “we are beyond the tipping point.”  Ebooks and digital content are here to stay- and growing exponentially.  We need to dig in, learn, and experiment now- even if it’s scary and we aren’t exactly sure where we are going.
  • Librarians are really good at what we do- helping patrons, building collections, fostering community.  We are not so hot at marketing those value-added services and skills.  Even in the midst of being cut out of some of the digital community (ie, Kindle and Apple’s App Store) we can nevertheless put our awesome librarian skills to work.  We can be the learning labs in which our users play with content creation.  We can be the Genius Bar-like staff that assist them in creating their own stories, videos, apps, and photo collections.  We can be the storehouse, archive, and curators of this unique content.

In case you’d like to browse through the day’s tweets, there were two hashtags (one official, one grassroots): #clcebks and #clctrendspotting.

photo courtesy of Flickr user Pen Waggener

Highlights from the EJK Discussion Panel

I was surprised to find that yesterday’s Ezra Jack Keats event at the New York Public Library was not the announcement of the 2011 award winners (that will be May 10th), but a discussion about the award, its history, and the current state of picture books.  Although I was initially pumped up to hear the award winners announced, it turned out to be a rather pleasant surprise, as the conversation was smart, illuminating, and directed by some of the most interesting and well-read women in the biz.

The discussion ranged from the frustration in finding quality picture books about and by people of color, to the importance of arts education in shaping and encouraging future writers and illustrators, to the explosion of ebooks and children’s book apps and the place of picture books in this brave new world.

Although some of the arguments and predictions reiterated points that I have heard before, it was nevertheless refreshing to hear a panel of experts talk so passionately and confidently about the future of the picture book.  This was no doom and gloom affair, but rather a confirmation of what all savvy librarians and teachers already know to be true: the picture book is alive and well, thank you very much.

One point, made by Lisa Von Drasek, that really stuck with me was that librarians and teachers have a responsibility to spread the gospel of the picture book as a medium for all ages (not just babies and toddlers) to the parents in our communities.  It’s all well and good to attend panel discussions, conferences, and participate in the kidlit blogosphere, but that’s a little like preaching to the choir.  The places we really need to reach are the mommy, daddy, and caregiver networks.  This has really got me thinking about how to use this blog to reach out farther and better to parents and caregivers.  Hmmm….  Definitely some very good food for thought.

Many thanks to the amazing and brilliant panelists, and to NYPL and the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation for organizing and hosting the event.

NYPL lion photo courtesy of Flickr user Mike_fleming; picture book photo courtesy of Flickr user Enokson.

2011 Ezra Jack Keats Panel Discussion: Tomorrow @ NYPL

If you’re in or around the New York tri-state area and looking for a lovely way to spend Saturday afternoon, stop by New York Public Library’s Children’s Center for

An Afternoon with the Ezra Jack Keats Awards.

Saturday, April 2nd

New York Public Library
Children’s Center at 42nd Street
Room 84
42nd Street and 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10018

The Ezra Jack Keats Awards are presented annually by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and the New York Public Library to new authors and illustrators of picture books/illustrated books for children ages 9 and under.  I had the pleasure to attend last year when the stirring Most Loved In All The World and the graphic and delightful Only A Witch Can Fly won.

The extremely distinguished panel of children’s art and literature experts includes:

  • Deborah Pope, Executive Director Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
  • Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, 2008-2009 EJK Award Chair
  • Nina Crews, Children’s book author and illustrator
  • Pat Cummings, Children’s book author and illustrator
  • Lisa Von Drasek, Bank Street College of Education Library and EarlyWord.com

Moderated by Barbara Genco, the 2010-2011 Award Chair (Library Journal.)

Read 111 by 11/11/11

Last year, my coworkers and I participated in our own version of the brilliant Read 100 by 10/10/10 Challenge.  We created a shared iGoogle document to track our titles and each person created their own genre categories and goals.  While not all of us reached the goal, we had a blast sharing great books and comparing titles.

This year, we’re doing it again and upping the ante just a bit!  Our goal is to read 111 books by November 11, 2011.  Participants are encouraged to set their own category goals.  For example, read 10 graphic novels, 10 works of poetry, 12 novels, etc…

To play along, tweet your reads using the hastag #111111reading, join the Facebook group, or join the Goodreads 100+ Books in 2011.  Blog about it, comment below, and spread the word!

My Read 111 by 11/11/11 categories:

  • 11 Middle-Grade Fiction
  • 10 YA
  • 10 Picture Books
  • 10 Chapter Books (aka “Independent Readers” or “Young Readers”)
  • 10 Children’s Non-Fiction
  • 10 EBooks (any genre, cannot be counted in another category)
  • 10 Adult Books (any genre)
  • 10 Recommendations by others
  • 10 ARCs/Galleys (any genre, cannot be counted in another category)
  • 10 Guilty Pleasures
  • 10 Books that I would normally never read
photo courtesy of Flickr user Horia Varlan