Ernie Cox

Tween Read-Alouds

March 1, 2016

This scene was one that would make any librarian feel warm and fuzzy. However, with a few swipes and punches of a smartphone, the verdict was in: “not for your grade level.” Mom was doing what schools, and often what libraries as proxies, have trained her to do—think about books in terms of levels. Reading … Continue reading Tween Read-Alouds


Linda Braun

Everything Is Messy

October 30, 2015

I realized that word was a fitting—and not necessarily negative—description. Many people serving youth and families in libraries may find it to be a “messy” business. It’s messy because: The audience we work with is not static. What youth and families need is always changing, and how libraries support those needs has to change too. … Continue reading Everything Is Messy


Abby Johnson

A Place for Play

September 10, 2015

There is a wide range of possibilities, no matter what your budget may be. An amazing play space can make your library a destination for young patrons, as it has at the Barrington Area (Ill.) Library (BAL), where open-ended activities engage a variety of age groups and encourage adult-child interaction. BAL’s activities and spaces in … Continue reading A Place for Play


Linda Braun

Listen First

May 20, 2015

Listening and not speaking up are often hard for me. I think they’re hard for many library staffers. Those working in libraries are often so focused on telling others about all the great stuff we have to offer youth and families—databases, homework help, free books, downloadable music, etc.—that we don’t always make sure we understand … Continue reading Listen First


Richland Library's TAG group with author Grace Lin

Stuck in the Middle

May 8, 2015

“Their ideas told us that they wanted this to be a fun and happy place,” says Sarah Shuster, children’s librarian at Richland Library. “We learned a lot about the vibe that we needed to create for the tweens.” Although the library obviously cannot create a miniature theme park inside the branch, the kids’ suggestions will … Continue reading Stuck in the Middle


Abby Johnson

Storytime Underground

September 22, 2014

Storytime Underground, an informal idea-sharing website where youth librarians can learn from each other, started with Guerrilla Storytime—gatherings of children’s librarians sharing ideas, brainstorming, and troubleshooting issues related to early childhood librarianship—at the 2013 ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago. Since then, Guerrilla Storytime has been held at conferences all over North America, creating … Continue reading Storytime Underground