Marketing and Outreach

Continuing the Conversation: Supporting Early Literacy Through Language-Rich Library Environments

Earlier today, we held the ALA Editions Workshop Supporting Early Literacy through Language Rich Library Environments with Saroj Ghoting. We’re following up with a few of the questions asked during the presentation that we felt merited further discussion: Saroj will be part of the discussion as well!

  • What do you think is the role of technology in promoting early literacy?
  • What is the ideal timeline for replacing displays and material in your space?
  • What’s the difference between open and closed-ended toys? Which type is better in promoting early literacy?

Links to Resources that Saroj Mentioned today:

The preliminary readings for this workshop were:

  • Welcoming Place,  Chapter 6 in Designing Space for Children and Teens in Libraries and Public Places by Sandra Feinberg and James Keller. Chicago: ALA, 2010 HU
  • Parent Participation,  Chapter 4 in Learning Environments for Young Children: Rethinking Library Spaces and Services by Sandra Feinberg et al. Chicago: ALA, 1998. HU
  • Meece, Darrell and Anne Soderman. Setting the Stage for Young Children’s Social Development . Young Children. September 2010 p. 81-86. HU
  • Greenman, Jim. Places for Childhood in the 21st Century: A Conceptual Framework. Beyond the Journal: Young Children on the Web, May 2005. HU
  • Early Literacy Research-Explained, Chapter 1 in Early Literacy Storytimes @ your library: Partnering with Caregivers for Success by Saroj Ghoting and Pamela Martin-Diaz. Chicago: ALA: 2006 HU
  • The following materials are suggested resources, though they may not be available for free:
  • Copple, Carol and Sue Bredekamp, eds. Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8 (3rd ed). Washington, DC: NAEYC, 2009.
  • Curtis, Deb and Margie Carter. Designs for Living and Learning: Transforming Early Childhood Environments. St.Paul, MN: Redleaf Press, 2003.
  • Diamant-Cohen, Betsy and Saroj Ghoting. Early Literacy Kit: A Handbook and Tip Cards. Chicago: ALA, 2010. (includes school readiness domains)
  • Feinberg, Sandra and James Keller. Designing Space for Children and Teens in Libraries and Public Places: How to Carve Out a Niche That Epitomizes Service. American Libraries. April 2010, pg. 34-37.
  • Gronlund, Gaye. Developmentally Appropriate Play: Guiding Young Children to a Higher Level. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press, 2010.
  • Harmes, Thelma. Environmental Rating Scales--Revised. New York: Teachers College Press, various dates.
  • Neuman, Susan B. et al. User’s Guide to the Child Home Early Language & Literacy Observation (CHELLO) Tool. Baltimore: Paul Brookes, 2007.
  • Seefeldt, Carol. Creating Rooms of Wonder: Valuing and Displaying Children’s Work to Enhance the Learning Process. Beltsville, MD: Gryphon House, 2002.
  • Tough, Paul. Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008.
  • Zigler, Edward. Children’s Play; The Roots of Reading.  Washington, DC: Zero to Three, 2004.
  • Todd Risley interview: Children of the Code
  • Library Environments for Early Literacy:
  • Early Learning Standards
  • School Readiness Domains
  • Governors’ Common Core State Standards

Saroj’s Slides:

Communicating with Deaf Customers in the Library

The customer approaches the reference desk.  “How may I help you?” you ask politely.  She points to her ear and shakes her head, letting you know she cannot hear you.  Do you panic?  No need!  Follow the tips below to provide excellent customer service to your Deaf customers:

•Maintain eye contact.  This is incredibly important.  Breaking eye contact without warning, especially to carry on a spoken conversation with someone else, is rude to the deaf person.

•Make sure the deaf person is looking at you before you speak, sign, or gesture.  If you need to get his or her attention, tap him or her on the shoulder or make a small waving movement in his or her peripheral vision.

•Don’t assume that every deaf person speechreads.  Speechreading is a very difficult skill to master (even for hearing people), and many deaf people don’t find it effective beyond common phrases such as “How are you?”

•Also don’t assume that every deaf person signs.  While many do, there are a wide variety of communication methods employed by deaf people. 

•Keep your face and lips visible.  Even if someone does not speechread well, a great deal of information is conveyed by the face.  Make sure your face is sending the message you want it to.

•Speak naturally.  Don’t exaggerate your mouth movements or speak too slowly.  And don’t shout!

•Avoid standing with your back to a window or other light source – this makes speechreading and getting information from facial expressions difficult.

•Offer a pen and paper to write notes back and forth, but be aware that English is a second language for most deaf people.  When writing notes:
-Keep it simple! Use short sentences and plain language.
-Don’t use idioms and slang.
-Repeat the question to make sure you understand.

•Look directly at the deaf person when speaking, even when communicating through an interpreter.

•ATTITUDE is the most important thing!  Keep in mind that most deaf people spend every day of their lives trying to communicate with hearing people, and so have many strategies for communicating with someone who doesn’t know their language.  Follow their lead in a respectful, patient way.  Deaf people will appreciate your efforts to communicate.

Kathy MacMillan is a nationally certified American Sign Language, librarian, and storyteller.  She is the author of Try Your Hand at This: Easy Ways to Incorporate Sign Language Into Your Programs (Scarecrow, 2005), A Box Full of Tales (ALA, 2009), and co-author of Storytime Magic (ALA, 2009) and Kindergarten Magic (ALA, 2011).  Find more information about American Sign Language at her website at  For programming resources, see

Pssst! New Titles and Big Savings from ALA Editions

Our brand new Spring/Summer 2011 catalog is out now and available for your perusal.  So surf on over to the ALA Store and check out all our new and forthcoming titles.

Use a secret discount code for big savings. Spend $100 on any combination of ALA Editions products and save 10% (ALA Members, that's 20% for you!). Enter promotional code 39103 at checkout to receive your discount. Offer valid only on orders over $100 and is not valid with any other discounts except member discounts. This offer expires Tuesday, 3/8/11, so don’t delay!

Continuing the Conversation: Readers' Advisory: How to Balance Your Library's Reading Budget

We just wrapped up the first session of Neal Wyatt and Joyce Saricks’  workshop Readers’ Advisory: How to Balance Your Library’s Reading Budget. We’ve gathered questions from the chat window so that Neal and Joyce can respond and elaborate.

Please continue the discussion of these, and any other questions you might have in the comments area. Neal and Joyce will be chiming in.

  • Can you give some tips for working within a limited budget?
  • Even if you don't like a particular book or author, you can know the intended audience and what people like about it, right? Doesn't that help compensate if your personal opinion is negative?
  • We are in a small community. How far should we extend our boundaries?
  • Review sources rarely provide critical review information.  Our readers are looking for qualitative info as well as appeal terms.  Suggestions?

The Preliminary Readings for this Workshop Were:

At Leisure with Joyce Saricks: The Curse of the Best-Seller List.
(Booklist January 1, 2007).

At Leisure with Joyce Saricks: Book Jackets.
(Booklist July, 2007).

At Leisure with Joyce Saricks: Reading (and Writing) Reviews.
(Booklist December 1, 2007).

At Leisure with Joyce Saricks: Recognizing What’s Popular.
(Booklist , February 1, 2011)

All 4 articles above are available at

The RA Tool Kit by Neal Wyatt
(Library Journal June 15th, 2008)

Resources Mentioned During Today’s Session:

Lists to Know and Publicize

Sites to keep track of best sellers lists

Staying on top of best sellers

Neal and Joyce’s Slides:

New Children's Programming Monthly and New Bonus Issue

It’s bonus time! In addition to the regular issue of Children’s Programming Monthly, subscribers can download a free issue, put together especially for those of you getting ready for summer reading programs. Here’s a peek at what you get:

Issue number 6, “My Clothes,” is chockablock with storytime ideas. Share a song or choose a read-aloud from more than thirty book suggestions. Plan a program around making goofy hats or ties. Or have kids help you dress a flannelboard baby. Patterns and instructions are right in the issue.   

In  the “World Wise” bonus you’ll find seven ready-made programs that take children across the world.

  • Chinese Stories”  (activities and books galore)
  • The Foolish Merchant and the Greedy Camel (an easy, one-person puppet play)
  • African Tales: Action (rhymes, fingerplays, and book suggestions)
  • All around the World (songs, books and fun facts to share)
  • The Magic Fox (a folktale to tell aloud)
  • Festivals and Fiestas/Los festivales y las fiestas: (games, rhymes, and songs in Spanish and English)
  • Sing the World (songs and activities that celebrate one world)  

Both issues are ready to download now.

If you don't already subscribe, you can purchase your subscription at the ALA Store.

Top Ten ALA Editions E-Books

ALA Editions now offers more than 300 titles in at least one e-book format, but can you guess our most popular titles? Here are our top ten bestsellers, in alphabetical order:

Bite-Sized Marketing: Realistic Solutions for the Overworked Librarian
By Nancy Dowd, Mary Evangeliste, and Jonathan Silberman
Written and designed to reflect the way people read today, this book is structured to quickly impart simple and cost-effective ideas on marketing your library.
ALA Store, Amazon Kindle, Google eBooks

Cataloging Correctly for Kids: An Introduction to the Tools, Fifth Edition
Edited by Sheila S. Intner, Joanna F. Fountain, & Jean Weihs
Based on guidelines issued by the Association for Library Cataloging and Technical Services (ALCTS), this handbook is a one-stop resource for librarians who organize information for children.
ALA Store, Google eBooks

Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management, Second Edition
By Peggy Johnson
Expert instructor and librarian Peggy Johnson addresses the art in controlling and updating your library's collection.
ALA Store, Amazon Kindle, Google eBooks

Gadgets and Gizmos: Personal Electronics and the Library (Library Technology Reports, April 2010, 46:3)
By Jason Griffey
Eminent blogger and library technology expert Jason Griffey provides a comprehensive guide to the present and future of modern gadgets, and how they can fit in to any librarian's plan for a high-tech future.
ALA Store, Amazon Kindle, Google eBooks

Introducing RDA: A Guide to the Basics
By Chris Oliver
Resource Description and Access (RDA) is the new cataloguing standard that will replace the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR). This Special Report offers practical advice on how to make the transition.
ALA Store, Amazon Kindle, Google eBooks

No Shelf Required: E-Books in Libraries
Edited by Sue Polanka
In this volume, Sue Polanka brings together a variety of professionals to share their expertise about e-books with librarians and publishers.
ALA Store, Amazon Kindle, Google eBooks

The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction, Second Edition
By Joyce G. Saricks
This revised edition provides a way of understanding the vast universe of genre fiction in an easy-to-use format.
ALA Store, Amazon Kindle, Google eBooks

Writing and Publishing: The Librarian's Handbook
Carol Smallwood, Editor
If you are interested in writing or reviewing for the library community, in publishing a book, or need to write and publish for tenure, then Writing and Publishing is for you.
ALA Store, Amazon Kindle, Google eBooks

Writing Reviews for Readers' Advisory
By Brad Hooper
Whether the ultimate goal is writing for a library website, book club, or monthly handout, or freelancing for a newspaper, magazine, or professional journal, readers will find plenty of ideas and insight here.
ALA Store, Amazon Kindle, Google eBooks

Young Adult Literature: From Romance to Realism
By Michael Cart
This survey helps YA librarians who want to freshen up their readers’ advisory skills, teachers who use novels in the classroom, and adult services librarians who increasingly find themselves addressing the queries of teen patrons.
ALA Store, Amazon Kindle, Google eBooks

Learn how to Liven Up Baby and Toddler Storytimes with Sign Language in new ALA Editions Workshop

Using sign language during library storytimes is both a way to communicate with babies and toddlers and to broaden the appeal of storytimes by making them accessible to deaf children and parents. This interactive workshop will alow participants to learn from American Sign Language interpreter, librarian, and storyteller Kathy MacMillan. MacMillan will use video examples to provide easy-to-learn signs that can be retaught and incorporated into storytime ideas. Librarians will be able to use the skills learned in this workshop to create programs that will help parents communicate with their children at home.

Registration for this workshop is available on the ALA Store. The workshop will last 90 minutes, and takes place at 1pm EST/Noon CST/11amMST/10amPST on Wednesday, March 23rd.

Register Today! Go to

Kathy MacMillan is a freelance writer, American Sign Language interpreter, librarian, and storyteller. She has contributed articles to Public Libraries, American Libraries, School Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates, and LibrarySparks, and is the author of Try Your Hand at This!: Easy Ways to Incorporate Sign Language into Your Programs (Scarecrow Press, 2006), A Box Full of Tales: Easy Ways to Share Library Resources through Story Boxes (ALA Editions, 2008), and Storytime Magic (with Christine Kirker, ALA Editions, 2009). She was the Library/Media Specialist at the Maryland School for the Deaf from 2001 to 2005, and prior to that was a children’s librarian at Carroll County Public Library and Howard County Library, where she developed and presented hundreds of programs for all ages. She holds an M.L.S. from the University of Maryland, College Park, and has been reviewing for School Library Journal since 1999. Kathy presents storytelling programs introducing sign language for thousands of children and families each year through Stories By Hand (

Jessica Moyer on Young Adult Readers' Advisory

On January 17, ALA Editions is launching a four-week, facilitated eCourse, Young Adult Readers’ Advisory, with Jessica E. Moyer, an ALA Editions author and LIS adjunct faculty at University of St. Catherine in Minnesota. ALA Editions interviewed Jessica about the course. To learn more and enroll, see the listing at the ALA Store.

I had a chance to talk with Jessica about her background, and what students can expect from this course.

Patrick Hogan: What’s your approach to teaching readers’ advisory in an online environment?

Jessica E. Moyer: One of the reasons I enjoy online teaching is the opportunity for all students to be fully involved in the course, regardless of where they are.  I create weekly discussion topics and expect all students to contribute regularly - the more contributions we have, the better the discussion.  Every time I teach I find that I learn new materials from my students and their interests and experiences.  

PH: What are a few of the factors that distinguish readers’ advisory services with teens from adult service?

JEM: I find that adult readers often know more about they like to read where as teen readers can struggle to say exactly what kind of reading experience they are looking for.  This means librarians suggesting books to teens may need to ask more questions, work with dislikes instead of likes and provide lots of interesting suggestions.  

PH: It seems like establishing rapport would be the critical. If a YA librarian has a knack for that, what readers’ advisory skill would deliver a  big boost in service?

JEM: Knowing how to talk about books in ways that teen will not only understand but will entice them into reading.  Knowing which books are mostly likely to appeal to certain readers.  

PH: A popular perception is that teens have neither the time nor the desire for leisure reading. What is your research telling you on that?

JEM: Teens do want to read, but they are limited by time.  I’ve found, however  that they are more limited by access.  If they can get access to materials they like and want to read, at a time they have a chance to read, they will read.  But often there are too many barriers - not sure what to read, no easy way to get it.  This is one reason I am excited about ebooks and digital library services - anything that will make it easier to get reading materials to teens when they have time to read.  

PH: You’ve probably learned from questions and discussion boards from your previous teaching experience. What about readers’ advisory with teens do librarians find most challenging?

JEM: Knowing when and what adult books to suggest.  Lots of teen readers like reading adult books, but aren’t sure what to read that they will enjoy.  Most teen librarians are familiar with the YA collections but may not know much about adult books so they can be challenged when working with these types of teens.

ALA TechSource Workshop: Integrating E-Books and E-Readers into Your Library

Cross-posted at the ALA TechSource blog.

We're happy to announce another ALA TechSource Workshop--Using E-Books and E-Readers in Your Library with Sue Polanka.

With the recent explosion in the popularity of eReading devices, many librarians are grappling with how to effectively integrate these devices into their services and collection. In  two 90-minute sessions on January 25th and February 1st, 2011 at 4:00pm Eastern, Sue Polanka will provide practical guidance on how to begin purchasing eBooks for your library to lend electronically and how to purchase eReader devices for patron use. The first session will provide a basic primer on acquiring eBooks, while the second will provide an overview of the issues surrounding library lending of eBook readers. 

Topics covered will include:

Session 1: Purchasing E-Books for Your Library

  • Selecting content
  • Evaluating vendor offerings and interfaces (publishers and aggregators)
  • Choosing the most cost effective business models
  • Monitoring the workflow

Session 2: Lending E-Book Readers in Your Library

  • Examining legal issues
  • Selecting devices
  • Purchasing content
  • Establishing policies and procedures

Sue Polanka is Head of Reference and Instruction at the Wright State University Libraries. She has provided reference and instruction services in public, state, and academic libraries for nearly 20 years. Her passion for reference and electronic resources spawned her eBook blog, No Shelf Required, a discussion of ebooks for librarians and publishers. She is also the author of the book No Shelf Required (ALA Editions 2010). She is Chair of Booklist's Reference Books Bulletin (RBB) Advisory Board and maintains her column, Off The Shelf, for RBB. Sue is a frequent contributor to Booklist and presents at many state and national conferences, usually on her favorite topic - eBooks.

Registration for this ALA TechSource Workshop on January 25th and February 1st, 2011, at 4:00-5:30 (ET) can be purchased at the ALA Store. To learn more, please refer to the ALA TechSource Workshops Frequently Asked Questions.

ALA TechSource Workshops are designed to give you and your staff the opportunity to participate in a hands‐on learning experience that will help you make the best technology decisions for your library.

ALA Editions on Google e-Bookstore

After several years of planning, Google has finally launched their ebookstore. And hundreds of ALA Editions titles are now available, from recent bestsellers such as No Shelf Required:  E-Books in Libraries to 1969’s ALA Rules for Filing Catalog Cards. Unlike many other e-book platforms, Google lets you use just about any device you own to read any book, anywhere. You can read e-books purchased from Google on the web, Android phones, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and several supported e-readers. Their overview is well worth a read.

You can browse this list of selected ALA Editions titles or use the search function to find a specific book. We’ll be adding more titles as they become available.

Syndicate content