November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

YALSA Envisions the Future of Libraries, Teens

The Young Adult Services Association (YALSA) is finalizing results of a yearlong project identifying ways that libraries can adapt to better meet the needs of 21st century teens. Yet the report is “a beginning, not an ending” of YALSA’s efforts, which will expand to include more advocacy, outreach, and funding this year, says Beth Yoke, YALSA’s executive director.

North Carolina School Board Retains ‘The Color Purple’

North Carolina’s Brunswick County School District has voted to retain Alice Walker’s award-winning epistolary novel The Color Purple in its school libraries and classrooms, following a series of unofficial challenges to the book that began in October.

New York Granted Federal Waiver to Eliminate Double-Testing in Math

The U.S. Department of Education has approved New York State’s request for a waiver from the provisions of federal law that currently require students who take Regents exams in mathematics when they are in seventh or eighth grade to also take the state mathematics assessment.

NYC Welcomes Carmen Fariña as New Public Schools Chancellor

Incoming New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s choice of early childhood advocate Carmen Fariña to become the new public schools chancellor is being met with praise by the city’s parents and teachers—and with “cautious optimism” by its school librarians, they say.

ALA Plans Copyright Tweetchat for Educators

The American Library Association’s copyright expert, bestselling author Carrie Russell, will field questions from school librarians, teachers, principals, and superintendents during a free tweetchat on January 7.

Kate DiCamillo Is New National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo has been named the new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, 2014–2015. SLJ blogger and contributor Travis Jonker interviewed the author to learn more about her exciting new platform, “Stories Connect Us.”

Reading a Novel Changes the Brain, Study Shows

Reading a novel appears to produce quantifiable changes in brain activity, according to an Emory University study published this month in the journal Brain Connectivity.

Washington State Representative Introduces Student Privacy Bill

Washington State Representative Elizabeth Scott (R-Monroe) has introduced a state bill that aims to protect the educational privacy rights of students. A parent advocacy group, Stop Common Core in Washington State, is urging residents to offer support for the bill.

ALSC Awards 15 Grants to Libraries for Día Family Book Clubs

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has awarded mini-grants to 15 libraries to start Día Family Book Clubs and incorporate Día literacy activities into their existing programs throughout the year.

CLEL Announces Shortlist for 2014 Bell Picture Book Awards

Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLEL) has selected 25 books for the shortlists of its 2014 Bell Picture Book Awards, which celebrate the early literacy practices of read, write, sing, talk, and play. Five books will be selected from each of the categories and announced on February 5, 2014.

PBS Digital Innovators Award; Latin@s in Kid Lit; Urban Librarians Conference | News Bites

PBS LearningMedia launches its Digital Innovators Program. Take the Latin@s in Kid Lit challenge. The Urban Librarians Conference—April 2014—is seeking presenters. The national Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs is accepting nominations for its Américas Award. The University of Wisconsin – Stout is offering two winter courses on literacy and the Common Core.

Colorado School Librarians Hopeful, Yet Wary, After Education Tax Bill’s Defeat

The defeat last month of Amendment 66, a tax bill seeking to raise $950 million for education reform, has had little impact on the day-to-day lives of Colorado’s media specialists, since no funds in it had been earmarked for school libraries. Yet advocates say the proposed legislation sparked renewed advocacy efforts that they will be putting into action in 2014.

‘Nation’s Report Card’ Shows Los Angeles, District of Columbia Reading Scores Up as Progress Stalls in Houston, Cleveland

Fourth- and eighth-grade students in Los Angeles, the District of Columbia, and Baltimore show strong reading achievement during the past two years, while students in Houston, Cleveland, and Austin are still struggling, according to findings from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Never Counted Out: YA Author e. E. Charlton-Trujillo Fights for At-Risk Youth

At-risk youth have a new champion in e. E. Charlton-Trujillo—author, filmmaker, and, since the launch of her nonprofit Never Counted Out, a pioneer in empowering kids through the arts. What began as a DIY road trip to talk to kids unexpectedly inspired so much more, she says.

Darien (CT) Library Offers 2013 Children’s Holiday Gift Giving Guide

The children’s librarians at Connecticut’s Darien Library share their guide to the most beautiful book and toy selections for the holidays.

Bigger on the Inside: Brookline (MA) Public Library’s TARDIS “Awesome Box”

Patrons at the Public Library of Brookline (MA) have an engaging new way to learn about the most recommended items in circulation, thanks to teen librarian Robin Brenner: An “Awesome Box” in the shape of a half-size TARDIS, Doctor Who’s sentient spaceship.

Meet E-Volt, Candlewick’s New YA Ebook Tumblr

Candlewick Press has launched E-Volt, a new young adult Tumblr page that the publisher will use to promote new ebooks and share deals.

Scholastic Upgrades Nonfiction Program for the Common Core

Scholastic has released a new program for K–6 reading instruction aligned with the Common Core State Standards, a new collection of nonfiction books and informational texts that includes memoirs, photo essays, and more.

‘Bless Me, Ultima’ Returns to Idaho High School Classrooms

Rudolfo Anaya’s award-winning coming-of-age story Bless Me, Ultima, considered a classic of Chicano literature, has been returned to high school classrooms in Idaho’s Teton County School District following a parental challenge that temporarily removed it from the classroom.

North Carolina Community Rallies in Support of Challenged Allende Book

Residents of North Carolina’s Watauga County have rallied in recent weeks in support of Isabel Allende’s acclaimed novel The House of the Spirits, which is being challenged by a local group. In an effort to keep the issue in the public eye ahead of book’s next review, advocates hosted a teach-in about the book last week at Appalachian State University.