On March 23, ALSC held our quarterly community
forum for members, titled “Digital Literacy and Digital
Citizenship for Children in Libraries,” where we addressed
the topic of fake news. We made this a collaborative forum
with our partner division, the American Association of
School Librarians, and had a great exchange on techniques
for teaching media literacy with children in the library,
working with classroom teachers, and negotiating the
evolving landscape of information delivery. We’re so glad
our colleagues at AASL responded to the invitation for
collaboration: it was a richer discussion with them, and a
great demonstration on how and why we need to work
together, and outside our usual circles, at this time.
There is widespread concern about anti-immigrant
sentiment and other divisive speech and rhetoric in
the news now. Diversity—in our communities,
country, and in children’s books—remains a topic of
discussion. What are some of ALSC’s initiatives to
address issues of diversity?
Within our online resource document, the first two links
are booklists that ALSC created: the first list is titled
“Unity, Kindness, and Peace,” and the second is “Working
Together for Justice.” These were things we could do very
quickly to help members in their efforts to demonstrate
that the library is for everyone, and all are welcome.
Libraries can promote diversity and inclusivity with their
spaces, book displays, and signage, and many librarians
have used the hashtag #librariansrespond to post photos of
displays and signage they’ve created. These were some of
the first things librarians were doing in the wake of the
Further down in our document, under “ALSC Archived
Programs,” there are three programs from our recent institute that we decided to record and make available to
BY SHANNON MAUGHAN
Nina Lindsay is the current president of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of ALA, and is children’s ervices coordinator for Oakland (Calif.) Public Library, a 17-location urban library
system. Here she speaks about how ALSC is working to support
children’s librarians as they assist young people and their families in today’s complex political climate.
In light of confusing current events, which have been an
additional catalyst for young people to seek information, it
appears that the role of the children’s librarian has become
even more important. Is that accurate, in your view?
I do think the role of librarians has become more important.
We’ve always been at the forefront of helping young people
access and evaluate information and resources as they are being
taught in school, and by their caregivers to understand the
world. But right now it is a challenge because the way in which
people receive information is very different. It can be unmediated.
We want to affirm our role as media mentors in general. There
must be engagement with the caregiver in terms of all forms of
media. It’s not just providing the right materials to the right
person at the right time. Children need to engage with other
people and adults around that media.
How is ALSC working with its members so that they can
support students who have questions about things like
We understand that we have to respond quickly and nimbly as
the landscape changes almost daily. Shortly after the election, we
created a Google document titled “ALSC Supporting Librarians
in a Post-election Environment.” It was facilitated by the ALSC
Public Awareness Committee, and we are constantly mining
resources and ideas from our members to add to that living resource
document. And it’s viewable to all, not just our members. ; ; ;
PW talks with Nina Lindsay
The ALSC president discusses efforts to support children and families
in a shifting information landscape