Teen Read WeekYALSA celebrates Teen Read Week 2011

More than 5,000 libraries joined in Teen Read Week 2011, celebrated October 16–22 with the theme Picture It @ your library. The weeklong initiative encouraged teens to visit their school or public library and listen to audiobooks and read books about music or poetry, among other topics for the fun of it.

Programs ran the gamut from drawing workshops and photo sessions to book trailer film festivals and more. Edgewood Middle School in Wooster, Ohio, celebrated its first Teen Read Week with an all-school assembly and a dress-as-your-favorite-character day. Liberty Middle School in Madison, Ala., offered a number of events, including a book drive for teens in need and a book trailer contest. The Wareham (Mass.) Free Library held an anime night and a graphic novel design workshop.

Through the generous support of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) offered grants to libraries to support the implementation of Teen Read Week activities.

YALSA celebrates Teen Tech Week 2012

More than 1,400 libraries registered to participate in the fifth annual Teen Tech Week, held March 4–10, 2012, with the theme “Geek Out @ your library.” The weeklong initiative encouraged teens to explore the non-print resources available at their libraries, including DVDs, databases, audiobooks, and electronic games while advocating for teens to learn how to safely and properly navigate these new technologies. Promotional partners included ALA Graphics, Audio Publishers Association, AudioGo, Figment, Hackasaurus, Peachtree Publishers, and Tutor.com.

WrestleMania Reading Challenge

WrestleMania Reading ChallengeMore than 1,800 libraries took up the 2012 WrestleMania® Reading Challenge, sponsored by YALSA and World Wrestling Entertainment. The challenge began during Teen Read Week and encouraged participating youth to read beyond Teen Read Week by offering prizes and incentives. Participants read books, magazines, or graphic novels over a period of 10 weeks and then created an individual project to promote reading. Twenty regional winners in grades 5–12 from across the United States and Canada won a chance to compete in the WrestleMania Reading Challenge World Finals in Miami.

The world championships were held March 31 at the Central Branch of the Miami Public Library. The winners—Chase Leclair, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada (Grades 5–6) Nicole Jones, Mentone, Ala. (Grades 7–8) and Jesus Reyes, Denver, Colo. (Grades 9–12)—all received ringside seats to WrestleMania XXVIII as well as $2,000 for their libraries to use toward the purchase of materials for their tween and teen collections.

Steve Berry first spokesperson for Preservation Week

Steve Berry
Steve Berry

New York Times best-selling author Steve Berry was the first national spokesperson for Preservation Week, held April 22–28, 2012. Berry kicked off the week addressing a large audience at the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) Forum and entertaining visitors in the Preservation Week booth at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas. Berry’s most recent novel, "The Columbus Affair" (Ballantine, 2012), introduces a new protagonist, Tom Sagan, a disgraced Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist. Berry is the author of 10 books, which have been translated into 40 languages with more than 12 million books in print in 51 countries worldwide.

Berry and his wife, Elizabeth, are founders of History Matters, a nonprofit organization dedicated to aiding the preservation of the fragile reminders of our past.

A partnership of ALCTS, the Library of Congress, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Preservation Week advocates for the preservation of cultural heritage from families and individuals, thus helping to preserve the nation’s cultural heritage. More than 120 libraries contributed their programs to the Preservation Week website.

On the Road with PPO

The ALA Public Programs Office (PPO) toured 11 traveling exhibitions to 306 public, academic, and special libraries, reaching an estimated audience of more than 255,000 library patrons through related programs. The following exhibitions continued their tours in 2012: “John Adams Unbound,” “Lewis & Clark and the Indian Country,” “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” “Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible,” Nextbook Jewish Artists, including “In a Nutshell: The Worlds of Maurice Sendak,” “Emma Lazarus: Voice of Liberty, Voice of Conscience,” and “A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs, 1910–1965,” “Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience,” and “Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery.”

In 2012, PPO also began two new traveling exhibitions in partnership with the National Center for Interactive Learning at Space Science Institute, the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and the National Girls Collaborative Project. Ten libraries were selected to host “Discover Earth: A Century of Change” from January 2012 to December 2013. The exhibition focuses on local earth science topics—such as weather, water cycle, and ecosystem changes—as well as a global view of our changing planet. “Discover Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference” will be hosted by eight public libraries from through June 2014. The traveling exhibition was developed to raise awareness that engineers are real people who, through a creative and collaborative design process, arrive at practical solutions to help solve society's problems in the United States and throughout the world.

The Great Stories CLUB sponsors author tour

Great Stories CLUBThe Great Stories CLUB (Connecting Libraries, Underserved teens, and Books) received more funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to support library visits from Great Stories Club (GSC) authors, including Coe Booth, Jennifer Brown, Walter Dean Myers, and Coert Voorhes. This GSC Author Tour included visits with 370 teens in seven juvenile justice facilities, involving them in readings, Q&A sessions, journaling workshops, and book signings. The Great Stories CLUB was developed to reach troubled teens through reading and discussing books that are relevant to their lives. Funding was provided for this program by Oprah’s Angel Network.

Grants support understanding of Louisa May Alcott

Thirty libraries hosted a series of five reading, viewing, and discussion programs featuring the documentary "Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women" and the companion biography of the same name. The library outreach program is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), PPO, and Nancy Porter and Harriet Reisen for Filmmakers Collaborative. The film, biography, and library programs re-introduce audiences to Alcott by presenting a story full of fresh insights, startling discoveries about the author, and a new understanding of American culture during her lifetime.

Talking about the Civil War

“Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War” follows the popular Let’s Talk About It model, which engages participants in discussion of a set of common texts selected by a nationally known scholar for their relevance to a larger, overarching theme. Sixty-five public and academic college libraries hosted the reading and discussion program each received a $3,500 cash grant from PPO and NEH to support program expenses. Grant recipients also received program support materials, including 30 copies of three titles, promotional materials, and training for the local project director and scholar.

A total of 37 state humanities councils were also given “Making Sense of the Civil War” grants, which included $10,000 program support stipends and 100 copies each of three titles in the series. Each state council selected a minimum of four libraries to receive the collection of books and host a five-part reading and discussion series. Another 148 libraries hosted programs during 2012 with state council support.

Libraries build common ground through discussion

“Building Common Ground: Discussions of Community, Civility and Compassion,” a multi-format discussion program for public audiences funded by the Fetzer Institute, brought audiences together in the library for programs and events that include reading, viewing, reflection, discussion, and civic engagement initiatives, as well as community-created tours of sites of local memory and meaning. Cumulatively, Building Common Ground programs were attended by 15,588[1] people in 30 towns, cities and villages in 18 states across the United States. This programming initiative supports public libraries as they strive to enhance the quality of life and learning in their communities.

PPO celebrates America’s music

“America's Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway” is a new, six-week series of public programs created by Tribeca Film Institute in partnership with PPO and NEH and in consultation with the Society for American Music. The programs feature documentary screenings and scholar-led discussions of 20th-century American popular music. Successful libraries will host the series of six viewing and discussion programs that will be open to the public until Dec. 31, 2013.

 An opportunity to celebrate women in science

“Astro4Girls and Their Families” is a collaboration between PPO and NASA-funded Astrophysics education and public outreach. The project is designed to offer participants an opportunity to celebrate women in science, learn about the universe through hands-on activities, and empower girls in our community to explore the role of science in life and in their careers. The nine participating libraries were chosen from libraries that had hosted the traveling exhibition “Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery.”

Exploring Muslim culture through books

PPO partnered with NEH to develop the “Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys.” In the pilot program, six libraries from across the country hosted programs designed to help public audiences in the United States become more familiar with the people, places, history, faith, and cultures of Muslims around the world, including those within the United States, through book discussions. In 2013, the program will be expanded to up to 1,000 libraries and state humanities councils.

Demonstrating the value of academic libraries

VALAs part of its ongoing Value of Academic Libraries initiative, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) was awarded a National Leadership Collaborative Planning Grant Level II by IMLS for the project “Building Capacity for Demonstrating the Value of Academic Libraries.” Grant funding supported ACRL, in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research (AIR), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the Council of Independent Colleges, in convening two national summits to address the library profession’s need to develop skills to document and communicate library value in alignment with the missions and goals of their colleges and universities.

The two summits were held in December 2011 in suburban Chicago. Teams from a broad spectrum of institutions gathered with representatives from accreditation commissions and higher education organizations for dialogue around the assessment of student learning and faculty research productivity. In the first summit, a wide range of participants from the higher education sector discussed the data campus administrators would like libraries to provide and what collaborative assistance is available through institutional research offices. In the second, librarian participants addressed strategies to prepare the library community to document and communicate the library’s value in advancing the missions and goals of their colleges and universities.

An update on the summits was presented at the 2012 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas. In addition, “Connect, Collaborate, and Communicate: A Report from the Value of Academic Libraries Summits,” a white paper of summit findings and recommendations authored by Karen Brown of Dominican University and Kara Malenfant, ACRL senior strategist for special initiatives, was published in June 2012. The report summarizes broad themes about the dynamic nature of higher education assessment that emerged from the summits and presents five recommendations for the library profession. A series of podcast interviews with summit participants is also available on the Value of Academic Libraries website.

Following the success of the 2011 summits, ACRL has already taken steps to continue this crucial work. In September 2012, ACRL and its partners AIR and APLU were awarded a second IMLS grant to design, implement, and evaluate a team-based professional development program to strengthen the competencies of librarians in campus leadership and data-informed advocacy.

PLA receives grant to design leadership training model

The Public Library Association (PLA), in partnership with the International City/County Management Association, was awarded a collaborative planning grant from IMLS to facilitate the development of a replicable leadership training model that assists public library administrators, senior managers, and staff who want to increase their capacity to lead not only within the library but also in the community. The training model builds on PLA’s leadership training experience and will take a groundbreaking focus on developing skills for leadership outside of the library, teaching participants how to work with municipal officials towards enhancing the position and activities of the library within the community.

PLA will receive $45,145 from IMLS with $31,017 in cost share, for a total of $76,162 to put toward the initiative. The funding will allow for design and pilot testing of the training model as well as creation of an outcomes assessment tool to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot training.

IMLS grant for National Digital Summer Reading program

IMLSIn May 2012, PLA was awarded a planning grant of $50,000 from IMLS to support the research and design of a national digital summer reading (NDSR) program website application. PLA will work in partnership with Influx Library User Experience (Influx) to manage the grant project and plan development of the app.

This initiative will not only enhance the resources of public libraries to connect with children and teens in an interactive and modern way but also take advantage and showcase the possibilities of open access through the DPLA. The anticipated NDSR website app will enable children and teens to interact with public libraries and summer reading content in numerous ways, including: reading, listening, watching, playing, writing, reviewing, drawing and recording. The ubiquity and flexibility of the digital environment also offers entirely new ways to expand the success of the traditional summer reading program.

The initial phase of the grant project will result in an interactive online locator of summer reading programs, while the second phase (Spring 2013) will result in a white paper reflecting user research and outlining a plan for the creation of the NDSR website app. The white paper will reside online to allow for public contributions to the NDSR plan.

Public access technology benchmarks—The Edge Initiative

Edge InitiativePLA continues to collaborate on the Edge Initiative, a groundbreaking effort funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Edge Roundtable comprises 12 organizations, including PLA and ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy, working to develop, pilot, and promote the adoption of public access technology benchmarks for public libraries.

The Edge Roundtable drafted a beta benchmarks framework consisting of 14 benchmarks and 30 indicators. The benchmarks are divided into three subject areas: Community Value, Engaging the Community & Decision Makers, and Organizational Management. A full version of the benchmarks can be found at the Edge Initiative website. The benchmarks have been shared and tested with several libraries with very positive results. Members of the round table continue to work on refining terminology, instructions, and support materials. Extensive pilot tests began in fall 2012.

PLA’s granted-mandated responsibility in the Edge Initiative is to develop a training curriculum. In consultation with Organizational Resource Services, PLA has mapped out a series of training outcomes related to using the benchmarks for advocacy activities, technology management, and library leadership. Libraries will have the option of taking training after they complete the assessment and receive their benchmarks score.

Dollar General renews, expands support of school libraries affected by natural disaster

Dollar GeneralThe Dollar General Literacy Foundation renewed its commitment to the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and school libraries nationwide by dedicating an additional $435,000 in grants to Beyond Words: The Dollar General School Library Relief Fund. This donation brings the Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s support of rebuilding school libraries affected by natural disaster to a total of $1.6 million. In addition, a new round of grants offers two annual catastrophic awards and an increase in grant amounts. Previous grants ranged from $5,000 to $15,000’ grants now range from $10,000 to $20,000.

A catastrophic grant of $50,000 will be awarded to two schools that meet the Beyond Words eligibility requirements and receive the highest application evaluation scores. Additional requirements are outlined on the AASL website. Previous Beyond Words grant recipients that meet the above criteria may apply for a catastrophic grant. If selected, they will be awarded the difference between their already granted funds and $50,000.

The Beyond Words program, a collaboration between AASL and the National Education Association (NEA), is fully funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. To date, the program has awarded more than $1 million in grants to rebuild and expand library programs at more than 130 schools affected by natural disasters across the country.

In 2006, Dollar General, in collaboration with ALA, AASL, and NEA, began sponsoring a school library disaster relief fund for public school libraries in the states served by Dollar General. Beyond Words provides funding to public schools affected by disasters to rebuild and expand library programs. The grants can be used to defray the cost of replacing or supplementing books, media and/or equipment in the school library.

AASL continues and explores new partnerships and collaborations

Alliance for Excellent EducationAASL joined the Alliance for Excellent Education and other national educational associations and organizations in celebrating the inaugural Digital Learning Day February 1, 2012. The yearly event celebrates innovative teaching practices that make learning more personalized and engaging and also encourage exploration of how digital learning can provide more students with more opportunities to get the skills they need to succeed in college, career, and life. To learn more visit the Digital Learning Day website.

National STEM Video Game ChallengeAASL, an original outreach partner, once again lent its support to the National STEM Video Game Challenge presented by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media. The challenge aims to motivate interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games. More information can be found on the National STEM Video Game Challenge website.

NCLEAASL joined 30 other stakeholders groups representing educational and school and community leaders in support of the new National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE). The center, a project of the National Council of Teachers of English and the Ball Foundation, provides a clearinghouse for educator teams and schools engaged in innovative literacy education practices to share and learn from one another. More information about the initiative can be found on the National Council of Teachers of English website.

AASL and others from the non-defense discretionary (NDD) community delivered a letter to Congress urging leaders to avert sequestration by adopting a “balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs.” Joining AASL in this effort were nearly 3,000 national, state, and local organizations from all 50 states representing the education, public safety, and health communities. Despite the diverse interests, the organizations share a common purpose of protecting the core government functions that make up NDD spending from further cuts.

CoSNAASL joined with the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and other leading education associations in releasing a new report aimed at helping inform and guide education decision makers as they revise policies related to the use of mobile technologies and social media in schools. The report, “Making Progress: Rethinking State and School District Policies Concerning Mobile Technologies and Social Media,” was produced by CoSN and the FrameWorks Institute. The report can be read in its entirety on the CoSN website.

The U.S. Department of Education declared August Connected Educator Month (CEM), and AASL signed on as a participating organization. CEM was celebrated with four-plus weeks of online events and activities, including forums, webinars, guided tours, open houses, contests, badges, and more. CEM was aimed at broadening and deepening educator participation in online communities and networks while providing opportunities for education leaders to work together to move the field forward. CEM included educators at all levels, from all disciplines, and more than 60 leading education organizations, communities, and companies, all moving together toward a fully connected and collaborative profession.

El día de los niños/El día de los libros has a busy year

DiaIn September 2011, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and REFORMA (the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking) co-sponsored an El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día)—Children’s Day/Book Day—education program during the REFORMA National Conference. A proposal for a Día-focused program, also to be co-sponsored by ALSC and REFORMA, was accepted for the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color, scheduled for September 2012. In addition, multiple sessions of three Día-themed webinars, “Making Every Day a Día Day: Incorporating Día into Current Youth Programming,” “Connecting with Many Children from Many Cultures: Cultural Literacy @ your library,” and “Día 101: Community Partnerships, Marketing and Additional Funding,” were held this past winter and spring.

On November 14, 2011, a completely redesigned and expanded Día website was launched. The new site includes a free, downloadable toolkit containing programming and outreach ideas, book lists, activity sheets, and other resources’ it also features a new section with resources directed at parents, caregivers, and children. In addition, parts of the website have been translated into Spanish and Chinese. For the first time, this year’s Día brochure was available in Chinese, as well as English and Spanish. Also, ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee updated the Día book list for 2012.

For Día 2012, libraries registered more than 435 Día events via the online database on the Día website. On April 21, author and Día Founder Pat Mora participated in a Día event in Houston: Día at Discovery, sponsored by the Houston Public Library, Houston PBS, Arte Publico Press, and Discovery Green (an urban park). ALSC, as in past years, distributed free stickers (English, Spanish, and Chinese), bookmarks (English and Spanish), and “Ask Me about Día” buttons (English, Spanish, and Chinese) to all libraries that registered events in the database. For more about Día, please visit the Día website.

Every Child Ready to Read

Every Child Ready to ReadALSC and PLA continue to administer the early literacy initiative Every Child Ready to Read @ your library. A new curriculum launched in June 2010 enjoyed great success over the past year. The new edition includes a toolkit with customizable PowerPoint presentations/workshops, handouts, reading lists, brochures, posters, and bookmarks designed to enable public libraries and other early literacy centers to present workshops that help prepare parents/caregivers for their critical role as their child's first teacher.

In mid-January, PLA, in partnership with ALSC, hosted a live, hour-long Facebook Forum with guest Saroj Ghoting, early childhood literacy consultant, on the Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) Facebook page. The forum provided a free, easy, and convenient opportunity for busy practitioners to learn more about the ECRR second edition.

ALSC produced a 90-minute ECRR webinar, “Every Child Ready to Read—New Conversations on Research, Relationships, and Partnerships,” hosted by Elaine Meyers and presented three times in the spring. The presentation addressed intermixing materials from ECRR first and second editions and strategies for community partnerships. The ECRR Oversight Committee, established in 2011, presented “ECRR in Action” at the PLA National Conference in Philadelphia in March. A moderator and panel of library practitioners shared real-world experiences around the ECRR workshop “Fun with Science and Math for Parents and Children,” which is part of the toolkit, and responded to questions. More information is available on the ECRR website.

Money As You GrowMoney as You Grow

ALSC is a partner in Money as You Grow, developed by the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability. The initiative provides 20 essential, age-appropriate financial lessons with corresponding activities. Written in down-to-earth language for children and their families, Money as You Grow helps equip kids with the knowledge needed to live fiscally fit lives. In addition to promoting the initiative, ALSC provided a themed book list, compiled by the Quicklists Consulting Committee, for the campaign. Other partners in the initiative are PLA, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, Junior Achievement USA, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Endowment for Financial Education, and the Parent Teacher Association, among others.

ALSC encourages storytime inspiration

DuploALSC National InstituteALSC has partnered with LEGO® DUPLO® in a campaign to celebrate children’s librarians—the community stewards of storytime. Together LEGO DUPLO and ALSC worked to provide inspiration for storytime in libraries and at home by offering engaging activities and creative ideas. Two hundred libraries were set to receive a special Read! Build! Play! toolkit chock full of cutting-edge, early literacy programming that combines preschool books with a versatile collection of DUPLO bricks. LEGO DUPLO was also scheduled to participate in the 2012 ALSC National Institute as an official sponsor.

JumpStart/Read for the Record

A record-breaking 2,184,155 people enjoyed "Llama Llama Red Pajama" by Anna Dewdney on October 6, 2011, as part of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign, which highlights the importance of early education and reading through a one-day challenge to get as many individuals as possible to read the same book. As in past years, ALSC helped promote the annual event with announcements on ALSC-L and in the ALSConnect newsletter.

Career development activities

As part of the ALA 2015 Strategic Plan, the Office for Human Resources Development and Recruitment (HRDR) was awarded an internal grant to support a series of career development activities for job seekers through August 2012. The array of services was designed to provide a comprehensive response to the full range of career-related needs of ALA members (including needs expressed by attendees at the ALA conferences) and those services which were frequently requested by professionals going through job search, networking, career transition, professional development and retirement-related challenges. The program was designed to include items that individuals could immediately implement, as well as items that provided more in-depth coverage of a particular topic that required more reflection and, at times, “homework” on the part of the participants. Additionally, the overall program was meant to focus on the needs of individuals at different stages of their career development as library professionals, from first time job seekers graduating from college to mid and late library-related professionals. The program included several components, which members opted to participate inchoosing one, several or all of these offerings, depending on their current and anticipated career-related challenges:

Services were contracted with consultant, Dr. Caitlin Williams who has been in the field of career development for more than 20 years. She writes, speaks, conducts research and coaches individuals on ways to continue growing professionally, as well as ways to remain employable in a challenging economy. As a faculty member of San Jose State University at the time, she has been partnering with ALA for nearly 10 years to offer individuals help with managing their career and providing free one-on-one career coaching sessions at ALA conferences.

Nearly 2,000 individuals took advantage of the services over the course of the year.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) program

The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) awarded ALA the prestigious Authorized Provider status. IACET Authorized Providers are the only organizations approved to offer IACET Continuing Education Units (CEUs). The recognition period extends for five years, and includes all programs offered or created during that time.

In order to achieve Authorized Provider status, ALA completed a rigorous application process, including a review by an IACET site visitor, and successfully demonstrated adherence to the ANSI/IACET 1-2007 Standard addressing the design, development, administration, and evaluation of its programs. ALA is now authorized to use the IACET name and Authorized Provider logo on promotional course material. Although not all ALA programs will be eligible for CEUs, the HRDR staff is working with units across the association to establish quality standards for programming. In addition, we are now linked to the IACET website. YALSA was the first unit to offer ALA CEUs as part of it continuing education program.

Emerging Leaders program

75 individuals were selected to participate in the 2012 class of Emerging Leaders and they came from all across the United States, British Columbia and the United Kingdom, and represented a variety of types of libraries. ALA divisions, round tables, chapters or affiliate organizations sponsored approximately one-third of the participants.

The ALA 2012 class of ELs showcased their final projects at the poster session at the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif. The poster session was the culminating event for this class of Emerging Leaders. The groups worked virtually on projects related to ALA or a professional concern between Midwinter and Annual. These groups were supported by ALA staff and member mentors from the profession. The poster session allowed each group to showcase its creative and innovative solutions for their projects.

[1] The attendance figure of 15,588 people excludes participation numbers reported by libraries from large public events such as community fairs, installations and exhibits and discussion programs broadcast over public media. Should those numbers be included, the reach of Building Common Ground initiatives stretches to another 19,000 individuals, bringing the total measurable reach of the project to 35,577 people. The averages per program type listed above include the large events, installations and media programs.