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4 ways you can celebrate Banned Books Week

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Banned Books Week, (September 26 – October 2) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read! Libraries and schools create incredible displays, programs, and materials to raise awareness about the right to read.

With your support, we can continue to draw attention to censorship attempts and highlight the benefits of unrestricted reading.

Below are four actions that you can take to support Banned Books Week!


#1 Share on social media

This year’s theme is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” Check out the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom’s infographics, GIFs, and cover photos to raise awareness during the week!

Example social media post:

Sharing stories important to us means sharing a part of ourselves. This #BannedBooksWeek, we're drawing attention to the power of stories and the divisiveness of censorship. Learn more at ala.org/bbooks. #BooksUniteUs

#2 Share events and resources

Use the sample social media post above or create your own message to share! Check out these additional resources for ideas:

selection of available digital graphics for Banned Books Week

#3 Attend an event

We hope you can join us at some of the amazing events happening throughout the week — including Facebook Lives, Twitter Chats, and author discussions. Featured authors include Jason Reynolds, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Alex Gino, and Laurie Halse Anderson.

Banned Books Week events

#4 Tweet to a banned author

Dear Banned Author Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing program that encourages readers to write (or tweet!) to their favorite banned authors. Shareable postcards, Twitter handles, and author addresses can be found on the ALA website. Make sure to use the hashtags #BannedBooksWeek and #DearBannedAuthor.

 

Follow the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom on Facebook and Twitter as they promote events and continue to highlight the incredible work of libraries throughout the week!

6 things to know about Library Card Sign-Up Month Honorary Chair Marley Dias

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We are so excited that Marley Dias, the witty and purpose-driven 16-year-old founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks and author of Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You!, is promoting the value of library cards this month. She’s such an impressive young person, and she is a passionate advocate for diverse books and lifelong reading. In other words, we are totally fangirling over here. Here are six things you should know about the American Library Associations Library Card Sign-Up Month’s Honorary Chair:

1. She launched #1000BlackGirlBooks when she was just 10 years old.

As a student, Marley noticed that the books she was assigned to read didn’t feature many protagonists that looked like her. As she told American Libraries magazine, “So I told my mom, and she said, ‘Well, what are you going to do about it?’ So that’s really how [#1000BlackGirlBooks] started. I wanted to collect 1,000 books where black girls are the main characters and donate them to the high school in St. Mary, Jamaica, that my mother attended, so I would be able to give back to her community.” Her campaign succeeded beyond her wildest dreams. Marley has collected over 13,000 books to date.

2. You can check out her book Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! from your local library.

Marley is many things, and in 2018 she added “author” to her list of accomplishments. Well-known for her activism and commitments to social justice, volunteerism, and equity and inclusion, Marley wrote her book to show kids how they make positive changes in their communities and to encourage kids to become lifelong readers. Use your library card to check it out today!

3. She’s so committed to diverse books, she made a Netflix special about it.

Ever want to go to a storytime where Tiffany Hadish, Karamo Brown, Common, Lupita Nyong'o, and Misty Copeland read their favorite books to you? Well Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices on Netflix is for you! Hosted by Marley, the series features famous faces sharing children's books by Black authors to spark kid-friendly conversations about empathy, equality, self-love, and antiracism.

4. She says “The most important and valuable resource in your library is a librarian.”

And we agree! In an interview with an Orlando news station, she said, “They are the kindest and most supportive people … If you want to go on the computer and play games, if you want to look up something about your town’s history, or just borrow a book, they will support and help you along the way.” She also introduced us to her own local librarian Jane in a video she posted from West Orange Public Library in New Jersey!

5. She has her own READ® poster

Joining the ranks of Oprah, David Bowie, Miss Piggy, and, most recently, Baby Yoda, Marley unlocked next-level library cred when she became the star of her very own READ® poster. ALA's READ® campaign, supported by ALA Graphics, celebrates the joy of reading and the importance of lifelong learning. For more than 30 years, the iconic READ® posters have featured celebrities, musicians, award-winning authors and illustrators, and library advocates who’ve lent their star power to support our nation’s libraries. Not too bad for someone who just got her driver’s license!

6. You can join her in promoting the power of a library card on social media this September

Send her a picture of you with your library card! Make sure tag @iammarleydias on Instagram. She’ll be sharing your photos throughout the month!

Visit the Library Card Sign-up Month website for more ways to celebrate.

 

5 reasons to love school libraries (and the librarians who work there!)

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It’s back-to-school season, and if your students are coming home with books in their backpacks that channel their interests and enthusiasm into learning and literacy, there’s likely a school librarian to thank. There’s no better time to stop and celebrate school libraries and librarians. Here are just five reasons they’re the heroes we need now more than ever.

Information literate students are better prepared for college, career, and life

Post-secondary institutions, employers, and civic life demand the ability to find, evaluate, use, and create information in multiple formats. School librarians prepare students for their next life stages by teaching information, digital, and media literacies, as well as digital citizenship.

Students value the school library as a safe space

Students who feel safe and well-supported are more engaged in school and perform better academically. School librarians provide judgment-free learning spaces, curate resources that nurture student health and well-being, and promote reading for pleasure.

New technology introduced by school librarians elevate student learning and enhance teaching methods

When librarians vet and introduce new educational technologies, students learn to safely and constructively navigate tools and resources that deepen inquiry, collaboration, and creation. In turn, teachers can enhance classroom teaching with resources provided by the school librarian

Students find resources appropriate to their needs in a school library

School librarians curate diverse collections that provide mirrors, windows, and doors so that all students better understand themselves and the world around them. In so doing, school librarians empower students to embrace curiosity and learn independently.

Students achieve more in schools with libraries and librarians

Students with professionally staffed school libraries have higher reading, writing, and information literacy scores, as well as higher graduation rates. Studies show that Title I students and English language learners recognize even greater academic gains with a certified school librarian.

Schools with a strong school library program and a certified school librarian ensure their students have the best chance to succeed. If your children’s school doesn’t have a school library or school librarian—or the school library budget has been slashed—become an advocate

For more news like this, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

Adapted from “Students reach greater heights with school librarians (PDF)” by the ALA Committee on Library Advocacy

 

Want to choose your next great read like a librarian?

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For more than a century Booklist has published thousands of reviews each year to help library and education workers decide what to buy for their shelves and what to recommend to patrons and students.

Now you can access the same great reviews that librarians read in the Booklist Reader, a new digital library patron-facing magazine featuring dozens of reviews and recommendations for readers of all ages.

Each month, Booklist Reader showcases top 10 lists, must reads, interviews with (and articles by) top authors and illustrators, and adult, youth, and audio recommendations for everyone who loves to read.

In addition to great recommendations, Booklist Reader seeks to highlight authors and books that library patrons may not otherwise discover and to encourage all to explore these offerings in their local libraries.

The first issue is now online. Check it out and find your next favorite book – just like a librarian!

 

It’s time to CELEBRATE LIBRARY CARD SIGN-UP MONTH

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September is Library Card Sign-up Month (LCSUM)—an annual reminder that library cards empower individuals and communities by providing access to technology, multimedia content, and educational programming.

If you love libraries — and the access they provide to rich and diverse worlds — we invite you to join the festivities and help spread the word about the value of a library card. Here are a few ways you can participate:

Use Your Powers of Persuasion to Encourage Others to Get Library Cards

You have a library card, of course. But does your best friend? Neighbor? Cousin? Secret crush? There’s no time like to present to persuade those people in your life to register for a library card. Remind them that signing up for a library card is free and easy, and that libraries are still better than the internet.

Spread the Message on Social Media

Libraries and their supporters are using the hashtag #LibraryCardSignUpMonth and #LibrariesEmpower on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to help get the word out about the value of a library card. The Library Card Sign-up Month website has tons of sample social media posts and amazing graphics featuring LCSUM Honorary Chair Marley Dias for free download.

Tell Us How Your Library Card Empowers You

ALA READ poster featuring Baby Yoda holding a book. READ, this is the way The American Library Association is encouraging everyone to help spread some library love by posting to social media about how the library empowers you and your communities. Here's how it works: Post to Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #LibrariesEmpower. Entries can also be submitted by posting as a comment or wall post on the I Love Libraries Facebook page. Don't forget to tag your library! The creator of one randomly-selected post will receive a $100 Visa gift and an ALA Graphics The Child Poster. Additionally, three second-place winners will receive an ALA Graphics The Child Poster. Official rules are available on the Library Card Sign-up Month page.

Show Off a Library-Themed Yard Sign

Let your neighbors know you’re a proud library card holder with these awesome yard signs from the American Library Association. Pick your favorite sign—options include “library card holders live here” and “in this house, we support libraries”—or design your own, then print and display to jazz up your yard.

Follow the Creators Get Carded series on Social Media

September is Library Card Sign-up Month! Get Library Carded Comics creator George O'Connor poses with his library card. Big smile Comic creators are getting into the act this month to help spread the word about the importance of having a library card. Each day in September, at least one new creator will pose on social media with their library card. Search the hashtag #CreatorsGetCarded and follow @libcomix on Twitter and Instagram to see your comics creators like A.C. Esguerra (Eighty Days), George O'Connor (Olympians), Jennifer L. Holm (Turtle in Paradise), BonHyung Jeong (Kyle’s Little Sister), Robin Ha (Almost American Girl), David A. Robertson (Breakdown: The Reckoner Rises), MK Czerwiec (Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371), Varian Johnson (Twins), and many more.

Visit the Library Card Sign-up Month website for more ways to celebrate.

 

Love a librarian? Nominate them for an I Love My Librarian Award!

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What do a youth services coordinator from Anchorage Public Library, a librarian for history, Latin American studies, and romance languages at SUNY Albany, and a library media specialist from Dallas, Texas, have in common?

They are three winners of the I Love My Librarian Award, which recognizes librarians working in public, school, college, community college, or university libraries for their outstanding public service contributions.

Since the award's inception in 2008, library users nationwide have submitted more than 21,000 nominations detailing how librarians transformed their communities, including efforts to improve inclusivity, digital access, and literacy. TO date, 130 librarians have received this distinguished honor. And now the American Library Association (ALA) is looking to add another 10 to the list.

Nominations for the I Love My Librarian Award open June 23 and are accepted online through September 27, 2021.

ALA member leaders will select ten librarians from thousands of nominations, and each will receive $5,000 in recognition of their outstanding public service. The association will honor award recipients at the I Love My Librarian Award ceremony on January 22, 2022 at ALA's new event, LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience. Winners also will receive complimentary LibLearnX registration as part of their award package.

Know an incredible librarian who deserves to be recognized? Get inspired by reading about past winners, including winning submissions from their patrons. Then nominate your favorite librarian. More information is available online, as are promotional resources for your library to spread the word.

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Fresh librarian-approved kids’ reads for summer 2021

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Looking for great summer reads for the young readers (and pre-readers) in your life? This list of librarian-recommended books for babies through fifth graders is a great place to start. Compiled annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, this list is meant for parents and caregivers and can be used to explore titles that may match or spark their child's interest. Check these out at your local library!

 


Babies - Preschoolers

Antiracist Baby
by Ibram X. Kendi, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky
Racial consciousness develops younger than many people realize, and this picture book will give parents and caregivers a launchpad for having these important conversations with their little ones.

Families Belong
by Dan Saks, illustrated by Brooke Smart
A celebration of families loving, singing, and belonging together.

Future Doctor
by Lori Alexander, illustrated by Allison Black
A board book teaching the basics of being a doctor and encouraging Baby that they can be anything.

The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish
by Lil Miss Hot Mess, illustrated by Olga de Dios
Written by one of the first Drag Queen Story Hour performers, this picture book will get kids moving and proudly flaunting their most glamorous selves.

Hurry Up! A Book about Slowing Down
by Kate Dopirak, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
With repeating refrains, this picture book follows a busy morning and afternoon of a young girl. After school, she learns to slow things down and enjoy what is around her.

I Love My Tutu Too!
by Ross Burach
Every animal loves their tutu and wants to find more animal friends who love their tutus as well. Clever rhymes and a vibrant color palette make this a highly re-readable board book.

I Love You, Baby Burrito
by Angela Dominguez
With a mix of both English and Spanish languages, this book takes you through the act of swaddling a newborn.

Me & Mama
by Cozbi A. Cabrera
A young child enjoys a day with her mama, splashing in the rain and being cozy at home.

A New Green Day
by Antoinette Portis
Poetic riddles create a guessing game as readers explore nature during a summer day.

Raven Squawk, Orca Squeak
by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd, illustrated by Roy Henry Vickers
The sounds of the Pacific Coast are shared in this board book with simple text accompanied by colorful illustrations from an Indigenous artist.

Sing with Me / Canta conmigo
by José-Luis Orozco, illustrated by Sara Palacios
Enjoy six classic children’s songs in both English and Spanish, with charming illustrations.

The Solar System with Ellen / El sistema solar con Ellen
by Patty Rodríguez and Ariana Stein, illustrated by Citlali Reyes
Text in English and Spanish brings our youngest bookworms on a trip through outer space with Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina astronaut.

This Is a Book of Shapes
by Kenneth Kraegel
This board book begins as a simple introduction to shapes and gets sillier and more complex as other shapes that might not be so simple get added!

Two Many Birds
by Cindy Derby
A monitor shouts rules as birds line up to sit in a tree, but when the tree reaches capacity and two more birds hatch, things start to get a little wild.

We All Play
by Julie Flett
With a simple text in English and Cree and soft, beautiful illustrations, this book explores how both animals and humans play.

We Are Little Feminists: On-the-Go
by Brook Sitgraves and Archaa Shrivastav
A board book celebration of how we move, featuring colorful photographs of a variety of people moving in many different ways, highlighting the diversity of people and abilities in our community.

What Sound Is Morning?
by Grant Snider
This simple and beautiful book encourages its readers to consider their morning routines, paying special attention to the sounds and silences that accompany them.

Whose Bones? An Animal Guessing Game
by Gabrielle Balkan, illustrated by Sam Brewster
An informative board book about animal bones and anatomy in the form of a fun guessing game.

You Matter
by Christian Robinson
An uplifting and inspiring book encourages readers to explore the many different people we encounter in our world and our connection to them, highlighting the important mantra of the title, “You matter.”

 


Kindergarteners – Second Graders

Baloney and Friends
by Greg Pizzoli
This funny graphic novel for beginning readers stars Baloney the pig alongside his friends Bizz (a bee), Peanut (a horse), and Krabbit (a very cranky rabbit).

Black Is a Rainbow Color
by Angela Joy, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
There’s no black in rainbows, but Black is more than a color. It’s a culture. This picture book celebrates African American history and identity.

Carpenter’s Helper
by Sybil Rosen, illustrated by Camille Garoche
A sweet story about a girl and her family bonding while building a birdhouse in their home.

The Electric Slide and Kai
by Kelly J. Baptist, illustrated by Darnell Johnson
Kai’s family is excited for his aunt’s upcoming wedding, but since every family celebration means dancing, Kai’s worried he will make a fool of himself on the dance floor again. A picture-book celebration of family, love, and overcoming one’s fears.

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners
by Joanna Ho, illustrated by Dung Ho
A picture book filled with wonderful illustrations that encourage children to be proud of who they are and how they look.

A Hatful of Dragons: And More than 13.8 Billion Other Funny Poems
by Vikram Madan
A silly collection of interactive poems and rhymes in a variety of formats with fun illustrations about mummies, dragons, and more!

I Am a Bird
by Hope Lim, illustrated by Hyewon Yum
A little girl, riding on the back of her father’s bike, is wary of the mysterious woman with a bag they pass. One day, she finds out what the bag is for, and her wariness grows into kinship.

Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend
by Dawn Quigley, illustrated by Tara Audibert
This early chapter book follows Jo Jo, a young Ojibwe girl, as she navigates the troubles and tribulations of being in elementary school. This story also includes snippets of the Ojibwe language with more information in the back matter.

Lift
by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat
Frustrated with her little brother taking over her job of pushing the elevator button, a girl takes a discarded button to transform her closet door into a magical elevator. In the process, she discovers that adventures are more fun when you share them.

Milo Imagines the World
by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson
While on the subway, Milo imagines different stories for the people he sees, but he soon realizes you can’t tell who people really are just by their appearance.

A Place inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart
by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Noa Denmon
A Black boy, shown all over his neighborhood, experiences a range of emotions: fear, pride, sorrow, and joy.

Sadiq and the Green Thumbs
by Siman Nuurali, illustrated by Anjan Sarkar
Sadiq, a Somali American third-grader, starts a gardening club focused on helping neighbors. Part of a series.

Sharuko: El arqueólogo peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello
by Monica Brown, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri
In this Spanish-English picture-book biography, readers find out about this Indigenous scientist who found skulls and artifacts in the mountains of Peru as a child and went on to become the founder of modern Peruvian archaeology.

Story Boat
by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Rashin Kheiriyeh
Join a little girl and her younger brother as they leave behind the place they know as home and, along the way, make the best of times with what they find. A wonderful refugee story.

We Laugh Alike / Juntos nos reímos: A Story That’s Part Spanish, Part English, and a Whole Lot of Fun
by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez
Two groups of friends meet in the park, but one group only speaks English, and the other only speaks Spanish. Watch how they play together and discover all sorts of similarities!

What about Worms!?
by Ryan T. Higgins
Tiger is big and brave—except when it comes to worms! When faced with a worm-themed book and then a big group of worms, he must try to overcome his fear.

Your Mama
by NoNieqa Ramos, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara
This super fun book is a spin on the “yo mama” jokes. The twist with this book is that everything included here is pleasant, comforting, and warm, with more than just a hint of humor.

Your Place in the Universe
by Jason Chin
An introduction to size, scale, and distance that goes from comparing an eight-year-old’s height with a stack of books to examining the vastness of the universe.

Zonia’s Rain Forest
by Juana Martinez-Neal
Explore Zonia’s home, the Amazon rain forest, and learn as Zonia respects and protects the Peruvian wildlife and her heritage.

 


Third Graders – Fifth Graders

Any Day with You
by Mae Respicio
Kaia enters a filmmaking contest, drawing inspiration from the many Filipino tales her great-grandfather tells. When Tatang decides to return to the Philippines, Kaia will do whatever it takes to keep him in California.

Bear
by Ben Queen, illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton
This graphic novel follows a seeing-eye dog, Bear, as he loses his vision and embarks on an exciting adventure to return home after getting lost.

Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch
by Julie Abe
Eva has only a pinch of magic, which makes passing the test to become a novice witch difficult. When she lands in a small coastal town, she sets up a magical repair shop to prove her worth.

The How and Wow of the Human Body: From Your Tongue to Your Toes and All the Guts in Between
by Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz, illustrated by Jack Teagle
A fully illustrated comical tour of the human body focusing on disgusting, incredible, and hilarious facts about our very own, ever-oozing piece of machinery.

Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero
by Kelly J. Baptist
Now the man of the house, a boy finds passion in poetry after discovering his late father’s journal while struggling to hold his house together.

The Last Bear
by Hannah Gold
April’s father has always told her that there are no more polar bears left on Bear Island. When April sees something that looks like a polar bear across the horizon, she is determined to save it.

Pepper Page Saves the Universe!
by Landry Q. Walker, illustrated by Eric Jones
Twenty-fifth-century Pepper Page is obsessed with old comics, but when a high-school science experiment goes wrong and Pepper lands in the middle of a cosmic adventure of her own, Pepper’s reading may not be enough to save her.

Shaking Up the House
by Yamile Saied Méndez
Two sets of First Daughters shake up the White House with hysterical pranks on each other that escalate into an international affair!

Skunk and Badger
by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen
No one wants a skunk as a roommate, but Badger doesn’t have a choice. His quiet, solitary life is turned upside down by cheery Skunk in this odd-couple tale of friendship.

A Sporting Chance: How Ludwig Guttmann Created the Paralympic Games
by Lori Alexander, illustrated by Allan Drummond
Jewish neurologist Ludwig Guttmann, who escaped Hitler’s Germany, had a revolutionary idea—sports might help patients labeled as “incurables.” Discover how his work evolved into the international Paralympic Games in this biography that includes photos and other illustrations.

Stella Díaz Dreams Big
by Angela Dominguez
Stella learns how to navigate fourth grade, participate in several clubs, and have fun with her family and friends. Third book in a series.

Super Detectives: Simon and Chester Book #1
by Cale Atkinson
A hilarious first volume in a new graphic novel series centered around ghost Simon and human Chester solving the case of a mysterious dog who shows up in their house one day.

Three Keys: A Front Desk Novel
by Kelly Yang
The sequel to Front Desk finds Mia, now part owner of a motel, working to keep the motel afloat while facing anti-immigration sentiment and helping her best friend Lupe when her father is detained as an illegal immigrant.

The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez
by Adrianna Cuevas
Nestor wants to keep his ability to talk to animals a secret, but that’s a challenge when animals go missing in Nestor’s new town and rumors fly about a creature who lives in the forest.

Truman the Dog
by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Melanie Demmer
First in the My Furry Foster Family series of illustrated chapter books about eight-year-old Kaita, whose family fosters pets until they can find new homes for the animals.

We Are Still Here! Native American Truths Everyone Should Know
by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac
A creatively organized picture book gives both Native and non-Native readers an overview of important topics including forced assimilation, sovereignty, and language.

We Got Game! 35 Female Athletes Who Changed the World
by Aileen Weintraub, illustrated by Sarah Green
With amazing facts and detailed information, this nonfiction book shines a spotlight on amazing female athletes at the top of their game. New players and retired competitors alike are showcased for the mark they have made on the world.

When You Trap a Tiger
by Tae Keller
Lily makes a deal with a magical tiger in an attempt to heal her sick halmoni in this tale celebrating Korean folklore, strong women, and the power of the imagination.

The Year I Flew Away
by Marie Arnold
When 10-year-old Gabrielle moves from Haiti to Brooklyn, she finds that America isn’t quite what she expected. With the help of a magical friend, Marie transforms into the perfect American girl but makes sacrifices in the process.

 

For more top resources, visit the ALSC Book and Media Awards Shelf.

Photo by Marta Wave from Pexels

 

Check out these librarian-approved digital experiences to keep your kids learning

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We’re all glued to our screens these days, and there is a seemingly endless supply of content out there to choose from. Sorting out what’s educational from what’s garbage can be a challenge, especially for parents trying to regulate their kids’ digital intake. Luckily, these apps and experiences have been reviewed and approved by librarians who are members of the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.

Librarians can play an important role in serving as media mentors for families. All children benefit from guidance when exploring digital content, and skilled children’s librarians have the tools to help parents and caregivers explore apps and experiences that may match or spark their child's interest.

Check these out today or talk to your local librarian for more information.

 

Babies - Preschoolers

Duolingo ABC—Learn to Read app
This app teaches young children important literacy skills such as vocabulary and print awareness with the end goal of helping children become readers!

Funbrain
This website for children features cool science experiments, read-aloud videos, and fun games to explore.

The Imagine Neighborhood podcast
Kids will learn about social-emotional skills through stories, songs, and activities, prompting conversations between children and caregivers about big feelings.

Molly of Denali podcast
Listen to the adventures of 10-year-old Molly, an Alaska Native girl who lives with her bush pilot mom, adventure-guide dad, and her dog, Suki, in a small village.

Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams webpage
Jellyfish, sea otters, and sharks, oh my! Learn about and watch live videos with these sea animals and more.

Sesame Street Family Play: Caring for Each Other app
Maybe it takes a screen to help you unplug! In English and Spanish, this app just asks a few questions to guide its suggestions for screen-free games and activities families can do wherever they are.

Wow in the World podcast
A STEM-themed podcast with silly (but scientifically) accurate humor for curious young listeners.

 

Kindergarteners – Second Graders

Brains On! podcast
A podcast where different kid cohosts take the mic each week to tackle wide-ranging and fascinating science questions from listeners across the country.

Design Squad Global
Kids can take on challenges, watch videos, play games, and be wowed by the power of engineering.

Funbrain
This website for children features cool science experiments, read-aloud videos, and fun games to explore.

Go Noodle
Online videos that inspire movement for kids.

iCivics
Activities and games for both families and educators, all aimed at providing fundamental lessons in civics knowledge.

The Imagine Neighborhood podcast
Kids will learn about social-emotional skills through stories, songs, and activities, prompting conversations between children and caregivers about big feelings.

Molly of Denali podcast
Listen to the adventures of 10-year-old Molly, an Alaska Native girl who lives with her bush pilot mom, adventure-guide dad, and her dog, Suki, in a small village.

Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams webpage
Jellyfish, sea otters, and sharks, oh my! Learn about and watch live videos with these sea animals and more.

NASA STEM @ Home website
For children ages five and up, this website includes many activities both on- and off-screen based around NASA and space. Activities are broken down into three sections based on grade level: K–4, 5–8, and 9–12.

National Geographic Kids website
This fun and educational website for children features games, videos, and brain boosters.

Scratch website
An innovative block-based programming language that allows for the creation and remixing of limitless programming, from games to music to animation.

“Sơn Đoòng 360: Exploring the World’s Largest Cave” virtual tour
Explore the world’s largest cave in Vietnam with National Geographic’s 360-degree tour of Hang Sơn Đoòng, with fun facts, nature sounds, and interactive questions.

Wow in the World podcast
A STEM-themed podcast with silly (but scientifically) accurate humor for curious young listeners.

 

Third Graders – Fifth Graders

Brains On! podcast
A podcast where different kid cohosts take the mic each week to tackle wide-ranging and fascinating science questions from listeners across the country.

Design Squad Global
Kids can take on challenges, watch videos, play games, and be wowed by the power of engineering.

Funbrain
This website for children features cool science experiments, read-aloud videos, and fun games to explore.

Go Noodle
Online videos that inspire movement for kids.

iCivics
Activities and games for both families and educators, all aimed at providing fundamental lessons in civics knowledge.

I Survived Book Club website
Watch videos and download printable games and resources to go along with the I Survived book series, written by Lauren Tarshis.

Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams webpage
Jellyfish, sea otters, and sharks, oh my! Learn about and watch live videos with these sea animals and more.

NASA STEM @ Home website
For children ages five and up, this website includes many activities both on- and off-screen based around NASA and space. Activities are broken down into three sections based on grade level: K–4, 5–8, and 9–12.

National Geographic Kids website
This fun and educational website for children features games, videos, and brain boosters.

The Past and the Curious podcast
Kids and families can learn about shocking, inspirational, and often humorous historical events and people through short stories, humor, music, and fun.

Scratch website
An innovative block-based programming language that allows for the creation and remixing of limitless programming, from games to music to animation.

“Sơn Đoòng 360: Exploring the World’s Largest Cave” virtual tour
Explore the world’s largest cave in Vietnam with National Geographic’s 360-degree tour of Hang Sơn Đoòng, with fun facts, nature sounds, and interactive questions.

Wow in the World podcast
A STEM-themed podcast with silly (but scientifically) accurate humor for curious young listeners.

 

For more top resources, visit the ALSC Book and Media Awards Shelf.

Photo by Family First on StockSnap

 

Librarian with early-stage dementia wins national award for facing adversity with integrity

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As director of the Hollidaysburg Area Public Library in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, Janet Eldred has overseen major projects like building renovation and smaller daily tasks like working tirelessly with her team, lugging books, and sitting cheerfully at library booths through rainy festivals.

But the challenge she now faces with remarkable dignity and grace is a medical one.

In 2012, Eldred was diagnosed with early-stage dementia. Since then, she has not only experienced increasingly impaired cognitive function, but she has also developed neurological complications, including occasional seizures and bouts of syncope (loss of consciousness).

In 2019, in a speech for which she received a standing ovation (but does not recall giving), she observed: “You’ve often heard it said: No one is promised tomorrow. Life is fragile. I have learned that applies to the past as well. No one is promised yesterday, either. The one thing you can grasp is the moment. This is the moment you can choose what to do and who to be. The future and the past will take care of themselves.”

Her colleagues and patrons recognize her for her tireless work in the Hollidaysburg Public Library and community at large and celebrate her energy, zeal, cheerful kindness, inspiring selfless directorship, and for her determination to continue serving her community despite the immense complications of her medical condition.

Her goal – a “moonshot” – is to raise $1 million for her library, and the $10,000 prize associated with the Lemony Snicket Prize for Nobel Librarians Faced With Adversity, which she was awarded in April 2021, will go toward that.

In accepting the prize in June, Eldred said, “Early-stage dementia was a bad beginning, but my husband and I saw room, no, a wide window to turn a miserable decline into a kind of elevator. With the help of a village, my staff and board of directors and, with sticky notes, I remain grimly determined to serve my library as long as I can. Sometimes I think I’ve reached my ultimate day, so it’s thrilling to receive this award before the end.”

Read more stories about amazing librarians.

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Innovative library program gets kids active and fine-free in Buffalo, NY

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Approximately 42 percent of youths under 17 in Erie County, New York have Buffalo & Erie County Public Library cards. But nearly a quarter of that total, 18,000 youth, have fines or other suspensions on their cards that prevent them from accessing library resources.

The question was: how to get these library card holders back in good standing while also promoting the value of library cards more broadly?

Under the guidance of Director Mary Jean Jakubowski, the library and its partners designed a sports equipment lending and library card amnesty program called “Play Down Your Fines.” Piloted at the Isaías González-Soto Branch Library, located in an immigrant-rich neighborhood and next to a city park, the program expunged all fines, fees and charges from accounts when children borrow and return sports equipment, such as soccer, lacrosse, and snowshoe kits.

Since the program formally kicked off in July 2019, sports equipment kits have been borrowed 435 times. Of that number, 260 children (more than half of the total participants) under the age of 17 took advantage of Play Down Your Fines, representing the removal of a total of $16,500 in fines/fees from their library card accounts.

This summer, the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library plans to expand the program the summer of 2021 to include seven selected additional libraries and the Library’s bookmobile in underserved neighborhoods throughout Erie County, NY.

The Exercise for the Body and Mind - Children’s Library Card Amnesty Program and Sports Equipment Lending Program was recognized in June as the winner of American Library Association’s Penguin Random House Library Award for Innovation. The award, supported by Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, recognizes U.S. libraries and librarians who create lasting innovative community service programs that successfully inspire and connect with new readers.  

Read more about how libraries are innovating to meet the changing needs of their communities.

 

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