Thursday, December 3, 2020

The WI Children's Book Award Committee Wants YOU!

 Hello YSS members!

Are you an adult who loves reading children's and teen books? Would you like to critically discuss excellent youth books with your peers? If so, please consider applying for WLA's Children's Book Award Committee (CBAC)! The CBAC annually bestows the Burr/Worzalla Award and Notable Children's Author/Illustrator Award upon Wisconsin's best and brightest book creators.

The CBAC is looking to fill 1 vacant committee seat starting in 2021. The committee will meet (likely virtually) three times during the Spring of 2021 to deliberate and decide. If you are interested, please review the committee duties and submit the following via email to CBAC Chair Katherine Schoofs (
  • Name, Job Title, Library, and City
  • Are you a current member of WLA and YSS?
  • Please describe your professional library work experience, including any reviewing experience and/or WLA committee work.
  • Please detail your reading preferences, including any areas of special interest.
  • Why should we consider you for a position on this committee?
Applications are due by 11:59pm on Monday, December 21st. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact Katherine via email.

Thank you for your consideration!

Katherine Schoofs

Will Zoom Be The Death of Me?

by Linda Jerome, Teen Librarian, La Crosse Public Library

Honestly, some days it sure feels like it might, but that being said, virtual programming has also stretched me in ways that I would have never imagined. Is it sometimes painful? Yes. Am I still grateful? Yep. Prior to this year, I hadn’t done any virtual programming—zero, zip, nada. So when it was determined that we wouldn’t being doing any in-person programming for the rest of 2020, I was, in a word, shook. I’ve been working with teens for over twenty years and now here’s a whole new challenge and I had nothing but questions…how does this work? Will teens want to do virtual programs? How do we promote virtual programs? Does my face really look like that? And while virtual programming is far from perfect (especially for teens who don’t have the tools to access virtual programming) we felt that some programming for teens was better than no programming for teens and so started to learn everything I could. And that’s one of my lessons from this past year: sometimes you just gotta jump. Make those mistakes, feel stupid, rinse, repeat. It reminded me that learning new things is HARD and that it takes time (sometimes a lot of time) for things to start to feel easier. Being uncomfortable is OKAY and it will NOT kill me (I’m pretty sure this is true).

Another thing I (re) learned this year was about authenticity. When I first started virtual programs, the camera made me feel like I had to put on some sort of performance for teens, like I had to only show my best side at all times. Not that teens expected that from me but I expected that from myself and that kind of pressure was not only unhelpful but unnecessary. I had to remind myself that being authentic with teens is really the only way to connect with them, to build those relationships, no matter if we are in the same room or on Zoom. And with this new format, that meant admitting when I didn’t know how to do something or not being able to figure when something wasn’t working the way I though it should. And when I did that, I started to enjoy virtual programs almost as much as I did in-person programs because while the format was different, the connection was still the same.

Now that I’ve been doing virtual programming for six months it has given me a new way of thinking about programming. Once we’re back to doing in-person programs, how can we use virtual formats to include more teens? In the future we will be using more of a hybrid approach to programs, meaning we’ll either livestream and/or record our programs for teens who can’t make it to the library but still want to participate. As you already know, teens are incredibly busy humans and so being able to provide them with another option to participate in our programs is THRILLING! And to be honest, I probably wouldn’t have ever considered doing this if it hadn’t been for the events of the past year. So, yes, this year has been terrible in so many ways, but there have also been a few “silver lining” moments and I don’t know about you, but I’m going to hang onto those for dear life.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

WI PBS Kids Community Learning Cohort Opportunity


Dear library staff serving children ages 2-8:

PBS Wisconsin seeks to empower and elevate family and community learning engagement in Wisconsin libraries over the next year. We are excited to announce a new opportunity for you! Apply today to be a part of our first PBS KIDS Community Learning Cohort! PBS Wisconsin will select 15 public libraries to be a part of this initial cohort. 


Participants will: 

· Create a community of practice with fellow library staff around the state;

· Receive training in the PBS KIDS family engagement model, which focuses on children ages 2 through 8;

· Participate in monthly play-based, skill-building workshops between January and May;

· Receive a $1,000 implementation grant and technical assistance from the PBS Wisconsin Education staff to support PBS KIDS program implementation during summer 2021;

· Build confidence in the use of PBS KIDS digital media resources.


One library will be accepted per library system throughout the state. Applications will be selected based on service audience diversity and commitment to full program participation. Applications will be accepted from December 2 through December 11, 2020. Selected cohort members will be notified by December 30th.

For the grant application, click here. Please send your questions to Help us spread the word by sharing the flyer linked here.  

 Apply today to receive training and funding to make your community engagement stronger!


Your partner in education,
Mouna Algahaithi
Education Engagement Specialist, PBS Wisconsin Education

Free Rural Library Summit

The Rural Library Summit is a half-day celebration of the impact rural libraries have on the aspirations of young people. 

We invite you to register for the Rural Library Summit, a half-day celebration of libraries' contributions to third grade reading outcomes and their impact on the aspirations of young people especially in rural communities.

Research has shown that children who read on or above grade level in third grade triple their chances of attending college. The Summit will explore how libraries can grow their impact on third grade reading by leveraging community support and resources.

Participants will learn about and connect with a range of opportunities with regional and national organizations, including the newly launched Rural Library Fellowship. The fellowship will support the efforts of 22 Fellows to engage in initiatives to increase third grade reading in their communities.

Learn more hereYou can register here for this free summit.

*All Summit participants will be entered into a raffle to win $1,000 to purchase books for their library—five lucky winners will be awarded!*

If you have questions, contact Katie Basham at

The Rural Library Summit is a joint initiative of Partners for Education at Berea College and Save the Children. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


Opening -The opening keynote for the Summit will be Kekla Magoon, author of books for young readers, including The Season of Styx Malone, The Rock and the River, How It Went Down and the Robyn Hoodlum Adventure series. She will address the important role libraries play in connecting students to current events, civil rights and civic engagement. Kekla has received an NAACP Image Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the John Steptoe New Talent Award, three Coretta Scott King Honors and been long listed for the National Book Award.

Opportunity Sessions- Participants will be able to select and participate in multiple Opportunity sessions, where they can learn about and connect with a range of opportunities with regional and national organizations, including the newly launched Rural Library Fellowship.

Closing - The Summit will close with an address by Hasan Davis, a “hope dealer” who blends art and advocacy to strengthen organizations and systems that support youth. Both his art and advocacy are rooted in his personal experience: as young black man he looked for images of heroic African Americans in the American Story only to discover they had been cut out. Today, Hasan uses his gifts as an attorney, researcher, writer and performing artist to bring the stories of America’s black heroes to life. In his address, Hasan will discuss how sharing stories like that of York, the only African American on the Lewis and Clark expedition, can play a transformative role in America’s quest for unity and social justice.

iSchool Spring 2021 Online Courses Announced

If you're looking for top-flight courses relating to youth services library work from amazing library folks, UW-Madison iSchool Department of Continuing Education has you covered. All courses come with a 10% early bird discount!

Storytime: an Opportunity for Social Justice with Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez  Feb 1- March 14 - This class will focus on making your storytimes more welcoming, inclusive, equitable, and grounded in social justice. With fellow students, you will have honest discussions and learn creative ways to approach storytime spaces (in-person or virtual). This class challenges the idea that libraries are neutral spaces, and stands with vulnerable populations. You will focus on inspiring and assisting other students to provide the best possible storytimes to families.

Babies in the Library with Brooke Newberry  Feb 1-28 - Library service to patrons begins at birth. How can library practitioners offer the best programs, collections, and services possible to the youngest members of our communities (0-23 months)? After laying the groundwork for developmentally appropriate practice, this course will provide strategies and ideas for providing outstanding services to families with young children. Whether you are new to the profession, considering starting a baby storytime, searching for outreach partners, or looking to refresh your collection, this course will build a foundation for working with the very young.   

Webinar: Library Services for Homeschoolers with Adrienne Pettinelli  Feb 9 & 16 - Homeschoolers are among libraries’ heaviest users and a growing segment of many communities. Part one (Feb 9) of this webinar gives background focused on how and why people homeschool, and part two (Feb 16) focuses on how to create policies, programs, and collections that will serve homeschoolers’ particular needs. Participants will walk away with practical strategies to improve services to homeschoolers on almost any budget. 

Programming with Purpose with Kelsey Johnson-Kaiser  March 1-28 - We all want our libraries to have strong programming. How do you know if your library is producing meaningful, intentional programs that align with your vision, support your mission, and recognize staff capacity versus simply falling into the “more is more” trap?This course will explore both broad perspectives on identifying programming values and goals as well as in-depth strategies for planning thoughtful, intentional programs for any age. Participants will actively focus on defining programming priorities; staying rooted in community; implementing tools and resources; and change management.

Plus there are a plethora of other great courses on creating positive work environments; fundraising; web archiving; serving older adults; running effective virtual meetings; collection management through an anti-racist lens and customer service. 

Stop here to read all about them, get further details and register.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Tell Them What You Want, What You Really, Really Want...

Please consider taking the following input survey regarding a future continuing education event related to Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equity. The survey deadline is December 15th.

If you have questions, please contact Cole Zrostlik:

Monday, November 30, 2020

Leaders, Leadership and Resilience in a Pandemic

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

We are all leaders even if we aren't in the position of a manager, director or administrator. The decisions we make as front-line staff and the ways we lead from our place in the organization are a vital piece or organizational culture.

As COVID cases continue to spike, we are looking at a long winter ahead. Our own leadership and resilience are sorely tested.

A recent blog post by a member of the ALSC Managing Children's Services Committee highlights skills and traits that can help in times of crisis like we are in. They write: "COVID-19 has been an extreme test of leadership across the country, causing even the strongest and most seasoned leaders to begin dreaming of early retirement. The library world is no exception. How can we be the kind of leader our teams need during so much uncertainty and change? What leadership skills and traits are most beneficial in these trying times?" Check out the blog post and see how these line up with your experience.

Another piece of leadership lies in our resilience and ability to cope in trying times. We are all experiencing fatigue and a depleted "surge capacity". This happens when a crisis has no definitive end but continues on a rolling basis. It affects our ability to roll with the punches, stay creative or find energy to continue to problem solve on a constant basis to meet the ongoing crisis. 

How can we work on our resilience? This article from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) has some key points to consider.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Take and Make Kit Ideas for Teens/Tweens

Looking for some new ideas to sparkle up your grab and go bags? In a recent blog post from Y.A. Awesomesauce blog ,we read some fun tips and wise words on providing successful make and take kits. 

The author writes: "Take and Makes are simply what the bulk of programming is write now (and probably will be for a while longer). Budgeting properly by not wasting time, money and resources on things that you KNOW your community wouldn't respond to is VITAL. The basic rule should be - if you wouldn't just sit it out at a table at a huge event, don't have it as a take and make."

Check out the blog post 

And while you're there browse through the other great posts on all things teen/tween authored by Brooke, a teen services librarian from Ontario who works at a combined public/school library.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Applications Being Accepted for ALSC Light the Way Grant

The ALSC/Candlewick Press "Light the Way" Grant opened on November 16th and will close on December 16th. The Programming and Services Recognition Committee invites you to apply! 

The grant is open to any project that seeks to engage an underserved population of children from birth up to the age of 14. Underserved children may include (but are not limited to) those who have learning or physical differences, those who are speaking English as a second language, those who are in a non-traditional school environment, those who are in non-traditional family settings (such as teen parents, foster children, children in the juvenile justice system, and children in gay and lesbian families), and those who need accommodation service to meet their needs.

The grant recognizes that underserved populations vary from community to community, and all programs that seek to specifically address concerns in this area are eligible for consideration.

Please visit here for more information and to apply. 

Thank you!

Programming and Services Recognition Committee (ALSC)

Friday, November 27, 2020

Upcoming Virtual Workshop On School/Library Partnerships

The 2020 WVLS (WI Valley Library Service) Fall Youth Services Workshop will be held virtually on Thursday, Dec. 3, from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Three public school librarians will give a brief tour of their space(s) and describe the realities of working in public school libraries, including responsibilities, schedules, challenges, and accomplishments.

  • Learn the diverse needs of school librarians in the Greenwood, Merrill, and Tomahawk school districts.

  • Leave with inspiration to further build connections and communication between school and public libraries.

  • Have the opportunity to ask questions of the panelists.

Michele Green, WEMTA Past President, will represent Greenwood. Paula Norman will represent Tomahawk, who works in a K-12 building with three, separate library spaces. Anna Julson will represent the Bridges Virtual Academy in Merrill.

Register here.  Contact Anne Hamland at if you have any questions.