Category Archives: Youth Services

We Need Diverse Books

From the Idaho Commission for Libraries December 2019 Scoop newsletter

Imagine a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book. (WNDB)

We Need Diverse Books is a non-profit and a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry; whose mission is “putting more books featuring diverse characters into the hands of all children.”

Their website offers loads of great resources to help you in your quest to bring diverse books to your library. Check out some of the resources they offer:

  • Where to find diverse books – a collection of websites/sources
  • Summer Reading series – reading recommendations based on popular children’s books
  • Booktalking kit – sheds light on lesser-known books about diverse characters and booktalk info

Also, run a list of your picture books through their Diverse BookFinder Collection Analysis Tool to help you diversify your collection. This free, online resource allows you to upload a single file and get a snapshot of  which racial/cultural groups are represented in your collection, and how they’re represented. This tool is funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Story Time from Space!

From the Idaho Commission for Libraries November 2019 Scoop newsletter

Imagine astronauts on the International Space Station reading stories to and conducting science experiments for the children of Earth as the world rotates below. Imagine no more…it’s Story Time from Space! Story Time from Space is a project of the Global Space Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit education foundation. This month’s story time is A Moon of My Own by Jennifer Rustgi, illustrated by Ashley White, and read by U.S. astronaut Dr. Serena Auñón-Chencellor from the airlock of the space station. You can also check out their directory to view recordings of previous story times from space.

Traveling Trunks from the Smithsonian

Reposted from Smithsonian Libraries

Traveling Trunks is a new resource-lending program of the Smithsonian Libraries. These multimedia library kits are packed full of resources from across the Smithsonian Institution that deliver immersive experiences. Through touch, tech, sound, and sight, Traveling Trunks creates a screen-free sensory-rich environment.

Through the current four themes students can listen to authentic songs and stories by the Latinx community, solve intricate mystery games based on US presidential history or ancient texts on zoology and herbology, and hear under-told stories of American women’s history. The program is a free resource for young learners and their educators, and Traveling Trunks can be sent to libraries, schools, community centers, and other learning sites for a month-long lending period, with the option to renew. All costs, including shipping costs are covered; access to a FedEx office is required.  ​​

Interested in learning more about how Traveling Trunks could come to your space? Pre-register to stay in the know. and to submit your questions and comments.

Upcoming Traveling Trunks


Coming January 2020
Cost: Free
Ages: All


Coming Spring 2020
Cost: Free
Ages: Middle School and up

Coming Spring 2020
Cost: Free
Ages: All


Coming Spring 2020
Cost: Free
Ages: Middle School and up


YALSA Announces TeenTober

From the American Library Association

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)’s new, month-long celebration will be named TeenTober and will take place every October. In June, a naming contest was held for the celebration and teens across the nation voted and selected “TeenTober” as their top choice.

TeenTober is a new, nationwide celebration hosted by libraries every October and aims to celebrate teens, promote year-round teen services and the innovative ways teen services helps teens learn new skills, and fuel their passions in and outside the library. TeenTober replaces YALSA’s previous Teen Read Week™ and Teen Tech Week™ celebrations, allowing libraries the flexibility to choose what to celebrate (digital literacy, reading, technology, writing, etc) and the length of time for each celebration.

Library staff are encouraged to use this new celebration to advocate for and raise awareness of the importance of year-round teen services in libraries. Digital marketing materials will be available for free download soon.

The mission of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to, or contact the YALSA office by phone at (800) 545-2433 ext. 4390 or by email at

Helping to Close the 30 Million Word Gap

Reposted from Library Research Service

A study recently published by Ohio State University researchers in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics found that young children whose parents frequently read to them could enter kindergarten having heard an estimated 1.4 million more words than children who were rarely or never read to. The researchers propose that more book reading sessions with young children is one way to address the 30 million word gap.

The researchers worked with the Columbus Metropolitan Library to identify the 100 most circulated books for babies and young children, which the researchers used to determine an average of how many words were found in each book. They found that board books intended for babies contain an average of 140 words and children’s picture books contain an average of 228 words.

Based on these estimates, children whose parents read to them once every other month would hear 4,662 words from books by age 5. One to 2 reading sessions per week lead to children hearing 63,570 words; 3-5 sessions per week, 169,520 words; daily, 296,660 words; and five books a day, 1,483,300 words. The estimated word gap from reading sessions is different from the conversational word gap mentioned above because reading books can expose children to words and topics that do not typically come up in daily conversation.

The full article can be found here, but is behind a paywall. A more in depth summary of the article can be found here.

Note: This post is part of the series, “The LRS Number.” This series highlights statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.


Bag of Tricks to Fight Summer Slide

Reposted from Colorado Virtual Library
By Kieran Hixon, Technology & Digital Initiatives Consultant at Colorado State Library

Ah, summer… it is a busy time for libraries! Between the Summer Reading Program and the extra kids utilizing the library, keeping things manageable and running smoothly can be a challenge. I wanted to highlight a few websites that might help keep the younger folks busy when they aren’t making Martian slime, spilling their juice boxes, or whatever else you have designed for your summer reading program.

Fighting summer slide can be fun!

Storyline Online –

Developed by The Screen Actors Guild Foundation, Storyline Online features accomplished actors and actresses reading some of their favorite children’s books. Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White and dozens more. Each story comes with a free Activity Guide and can be viewed on YouTube or SchoolTube. Watching Betty White read Harry the Dirty Dog can be fun for kids and adults! While the words do appear Closed Caption style, if you have the book in your collection, having the kids read-along is a great way to help children learning to read.

NeoK12 –

NeoK12 has a lot of videos for kids that are in grades kindergarten through 12th grade. The best part is that each of these videos has already been viewed and verified by teachers. There are lots of science videos, lessons, and games on many topics in physical science, the human body, life science, earth and space, and geography. There are also videos about topics in social studies, history, math, and English. In order to have access to all of the resources on NeoK12, you have to purchase a subscription, but there are quite a few free ones.

Loyal Books –

Loyal Books is a free service that provides audiobook and ebook downloads. Before changing its name to Loyal Books, the company was called Books Should Be Free. Because Loyal Books only has audiobooks that are in the public domain, their selection is limited. For kids, think Junior Classics, like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Anne of Green Gables, and The Swiss Family Robinson. Audiobooks on Loyal Books are voiced by volunteers, so some are better than others, but of the ones I listened to most were good.

Check these out and let me know what other websites you have for kids in your Bag of Tricks. As we talked about in other parts of this Bag of Tricks series, having resources at your fingertips and a basic familiarity with up-and-coming technology can come in very handy for better serving patrons and can also give you a bit more confidence. While I suggest that you create your own Bag of Tricks, I have an example to get you started at

National Summer Learning Week July 8-13

National Summer Learning Week is a celebration dedicated to advocacy and awareness around elevating the importance of keeping kids learning, safe, and healthy every summer, and ensuring they return to school in the fall ready to succeed in the year.

During this year’s celebration from July 8-13, each day will focus on a new theme:
• Share Your Story – “Kick-Off Day”
• STEM – “Discovery Day”
• Arts – “Masterpiece Day”
• College & Career Readiness – “Future Leaders Day”
• Literacy – “Bookworm Day”
• Nutrition and Wellness – “Winning at Wellness Day”

Check out the program toolkit, including these downloadable tip/activity sheets:

Youth Services and NASA@MyLibrary

Visiting the UW Planetarium.

Wyoming Youth Services librarians gathered in Laramie on March 28-29 for their annual spring meeting and to participate in a one-and-a-half day NASA@MyLibrary workshop. The workshop, sponsored by the Wyoming State Library, provided training in hands-on activities related to space. Wyoming librarians learned about space and how we explore it, health in space, and even got to visit the Planetarium at the University of Wyoming and look through the telescope. All of this learning was accompanied by activities such as a “Jump to Jupiter,” “Let’s Make a Supernova,” “Strange New Planet,” and more. They can now share these activities with their patrons. The workshop ties in nicely with this year’s summer reading program theme, “A Universe of Stories.”

Participants in the workshop also learned about the STAR Library Network (STAR Net) where they can find more activities and information to share in their programs.

(L to R) Carol Greet and Chris Van Burgh showing off some of the unique nametags Carol created for the meeting.


NASA@MyLibrary Workshop for Wyoming Public Librarians

The Wyoming State Library is pleased to announce that it was selected to partner with NASA@MyLibrary to host a public library staff workshop for Wyoming public librarians. This workshop will be held in Laramie, Wyoming, on March 28-29, 2019 in conjunction with the Wyoming Library Association Youth Services Spring Meeting.

Due to the hands-on nature of the workshop, space is limited. The WSL has negotiated enough space for two librarians from each county library system to attend, if interested. Also, the WSL is providing one double hotel room for each county library system using LSTA funds.

The NASA@MyLibrary staff will provide the training free of charge to public librarians in attendance. The workshop training aims to help participants in facilitating hands-on space science activities for children ages 5-13 and families in their libraries and connect to a broader online community of space science resources (STAR Library Network). Participants can look forward to activities demonstrated by two facilitators from the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado. The facilitators will provide supplies for everyone to participate in hands-on activities, as well as lunch and snacks on Thursday and Friday.

Part of the training includes an evening under the stars that includes outdoor activities. All of these activities are designed to be replicated in your own library programming! This workshop training will pair nicely with the Collaborative Summer Library Program theme of “A Universe of Stories.”

Download workshop flyer (PDF).
Register and request hotel room.
Please note the additional information on the registration form concerning hotel rooms. Deadline to request a room is March 4.

Questions? Contact Monica Owens, WLA Youth Services Interest Group Chair, at or (307) 721-2580 x5459, or contact Paige Bredenkamp, WSL School Library Consultant, at or (307) 771-6331.

Importance of Diverse Children’s and YA Collections

Image credit: School Library Journal

Reposted with permission from Library Research Service (LRS)

School Library Journal recently published the results of a survey asking librarians about diversity in their children’s and young adult book collections. The survey administrators defined a diverse collection as one with books that feature “protagonists and experiences involving under-represented ethnicities, disabilities, cultural or religious backgrounds, gender nonconformity, or LGBTQIA+ orientations.”

Image credit: School Library Journal

Out of the 1,156 school and public librarians who responded to the survey, 8 in 10 say that it is “very important” to develop a diverse book collection for children and teens. Nearly three-quarters (72%) consider it a personal mission to create a diverse collection for their patrons. Many librarians have institutional support as well – about half of respondents working in both public (54%) and school (50%) libraries have school- or district-wide collection development goals that focus on inclusive collections.

Librarians are putting their beliefs into practice when it comes to buying books for their collections. About two-thirds (68%) of respondents report purchasing more diverse children’s and young adult books in the past year than in previous years. Nearly all (98%) of the librarians who responded say that they are involved in the recommendation or purchasing process of children’s and young adult books for their collections, and more than 4 in 5 (84%) have the final say on which books are purchased.

While the respondents enjoy some power when it comes to diversifying their collections, it does not come without difficulty. More than 1 in 10 (13%) find it “difficult” or “very difficult” to find diverse children’s and young adult titles, particularly those featuring Native or Indigenous peoples, English Language Learners, and characters with disabilities. Aside from difficulty finding books, about 1 in 7 (15%) respondents say that they chose not to buy a book with diverse characters because of the potential that the book might be challenged.

The full report can be found here.

Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.