Children’s Librarian Boot Camp: Organizations and Blogs

So, I’m definitely no expert on being a Children’s Librarian. As someone who had self-identified as a Teen Librarian, there’s so much I just don’t know about the children’s side of things. In order to get myself up to speed, I thought I’d pick a different topic each week to get myself up to speed on, and of course, report back to you, dear reader.

One of the first things I decided I needed to do when I shifted focus was figure out who the heavy hitters are in the childlib world. Where else to start but the American Library Association. The mega-organization is incredibly active in so many parts of the library world, for better or worse. I’m already a member of YALSA (the teen services branch) and PLA (for public librarians). YALSA has so many cool resources for teen and tween librarians — from webinars to booklists to blogs. I wanted to know what kinds of resources the Association for Library Services to Children offered, so off I trotted to their website. It turns out, they offer a lot of the same stuff for the tiny folks! Obviously, one of their biggest attention grabbers is the fact that they award the Newbery and Caldecott awards, but they compile tons of other lists and awards, too! They have a blog (well, I mean, who doesn’t!), which features upcoming trainings, reports from committees, ideas, and comments on trends. They also sponsor campaigns and research initiatives (remember my last post about Every Child Ready to Read?). There’s obviously a lot going on there, which isn’t surprising, when you consider how many children’s librarians and educators there are out there.

So, ALA and it’s many helpful divisions have got a lot of the theoretical parts of children’s librarian-ing down. But I was still thirsty for some more blogs that featured front-line reports of programming and reference services to children. Obviously, one of my first stops was Pinterest. The visual pinboard site has pretty much exploded over the past year, and for good reason. It’s way more fun to browse craft projects and displays when you can see the pictures of the final products. I usually search for a theme word and then scroll through the results to find useful stuff. Sometimes I add “craft” or “preschool” or “unit” to the terms to get more specific results. Once I find someone who’s pinned awesome stuff, I follow them, so I can steal more ideas in the future.

I also found some pretty great children’s library blogs to follow:

Miss May Liberry features great felt read-along activities for Flannel Friday (this is a thing where children’s librarians feature their awesome flannels in social media on Fridays).

My Storytime Life and Library Noise don’t seem to be posting anymore, but they both have some great stuff in the archives.

Teach Preschool has awesome ideas for sensory activities, games with sneaky learning aspects, and crafts.

Read It Again! focuses on storytime plans for the 2-5 set.

Abby the Librarian is awesome, and has a little bit of everything.

Mel’s Desk is really great about explaining the WHY behind different storytime or program ideas.

Finally, Design of the Picture Book is just a really cool blog focusing on the graphic design aspects of children’s book, and is great from an art perspective.

 

I’m definitely still trying to find more blogs to read and professional development things to browse, so if you have suggestions, shoot ’em my way!

 

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