Helen Bloch’s highlights of her ALA Annual Conference attendance:
• ECRR2 – Does it Really Work? Evaluating the Program – This was a panel discussion looking at the research protocol used and results gathered from an IMLS grant (Project Views) run by the University of Washington Information School. The study found that storytimes which incorporate ECRR2 practices improve children’s early literacy behavior. For more info, go to their website: http://digitalyouth.ischool.uw.edu/research/current or their Facebook page www.facebook.com/VIEWS2.
• What No Tchotskes? Creating an Experience Based Summer Program – This was a presentation by three librarians from the Chicago, Arlington Heights and Lisle Public Library systems who talked about changing the focus of summer reading programs from reading a certain proscribed amount of time or pages to experiential learning (projects which encourage exploration and discovery). For example, the Chicago Public Library uses a series of design challenges. Tackle boxes filled with simple supplies like paper clips and pipe cleaners are put together. Then a series of challenge cards are created and children have to figure out how to meet the challenge using only the materials found in the box. As an example, the book, Caps for Sale was included and kids had to create a way to keep the caps on the peddler’s head as their weekly challenge. This type of learning accommodates all learning styles and helps prevent summer slip in math and science.
• Let Our Rejoicing Rise – 45 Years of the Coretta Scott King Award: A Conversation with Past and Present Winners – This was sheer pleasure. After a brief reception, a panel consisting of Bryan Collier, Nikki Grimes, Patricia McKissack, Kadir Nelson, Theodore Taylor III and Rita Williams-Garcia and led by Andrea Davis Pinkney informally discussed writing and the relevance of the Coretta Scott King Award.
• 2014 ALSC Charlemae Rollins President’s Program. The Ripple Effect: Library Partnerships that Positively Impact Children, Families, Communities, and Beyond – This program highlighted some outstanding partnership efforts that are taking place around the country. The one that really stood out to me was Brooklyn Public Library’s partnership (Nicholas Higgins, Outreach Coordinator) with the Metropolitan Detention Center to arrange televisits so that incarcerated parents could read to their children while the children are visiting a public library location.
Helen Block, Oakland Public Library
Alan Bern’s Report from ALA Conference:
In Las Vegas I attended a LLAMA_BES – Preconference Serving Homeless Library Users in Academic and Public Libraries. It was one of the best preconferences I have attended. It was organized by Minnesota architect, Jeffrey Scherer, FAIA, Founding Principal, MS&R with over 40 years of design experience working with libraries and commercial office buildings (msrdesign.com/people/jeffrey-scherer/).
There are, at least, 23 definitions of homelessness: it is vital to remember that the group we in libraries tend to think of first is the chronically homeless. Unlike some of the chronically homeless, most homeless people are not mentally ill, not addicted to drugs, not uneducated, and not criminals.
Although homelessness in the U.S. has actually decreased in the last year or two by a couple of percentage points, it has increased in the arena of families: so many families are still right on the edge of losing their homes. The largest growing group of homeless people is women and children. Children make up over 15% of the homeless population, and, if one uses the definition of the schools, many more are considered homeless; for example, a kid who lives with his uncle (for whatever reason) and may come to school without a proper breakfast or without proper rest is considered homeless by the schools. Enormous numbers.
Libraries have an opportunity, with training, to work more closely with other organizations serving those experiencing homelessness. There is also an opportunity to work with social workers (SFPL or SJPL) or with other professionals serving those experiencing homelessness within our libraries to better serve these populations.
For those with access to ALA Connect, please go to http://connect.ala.org/search/site/homelessness for the posted presentations (top hits on this page).
Alan Bern, Berkeley Public Library