Tag Archives: professional development

Anti-Racism Resources

Black Lives Matter. Why is that such a controversial statement? Why do black men disproportionately get arrested and sentenced to prison time? Why do black people–and other people of color–die at the hands of police when walking down the street, sitting in their home, sitting in their car?

I don’t have some enlightened response. I’m on this journey, like so many white people. I’ve been learning and confronting my own racism. There are things I’ve said as a kid, as a teen, as an adult, that I regret. I’ve committed microaggressions. I was That White Kid who said she didn’t see color, that the only race was the human race, in a lofty way like I was the most enlightened kid in the world. I was That White Teen who had a lengthy argument with a black teen about why affirmative action was wrong because I thought it made it harder for me to get into an elite college. I was That White Young Woman in college who said “all lives matter” more regularly than I would like to remember.

Before, after, and meanwhile, BIPOC continued to die and struggle, while educated white people, like myself, pranced around feeling enlightened. We had a black president after all. Surely racism was over.

Libraries and librarians taught me better. Taught me to do better.

Libraries let me leave my box of like-minded people. When I had thought about race before, it had always been external–those racist old people. Those white supremacists. Those weird protesters claiming God was on their side and no one else’s. I’m not like them, so I’m not racist.

At library conferences, I met people from around the country. Around the world. I made friends, and I must have said or done some decent things, because they liked me and invited me to go to dinner with them. And I did something that I wasn’t always very good at. I listened. And while the words and conversations I heard were about other people’s words and other people’s actions, I saw myself reflected there. And it wasn’t pretty.

So I started reading. And learning. White Fragility spent three weeks staring at me on my nightstand before I finally decided to just do it already, read it. I delayed because part of my brain knew what I would find and knew I wouldn’t be “comfortable” with it. I read it without stopping once. The emotional whiplash didn’t leave for a much longer time.

I’ve kept digging. Kept learning. Kept growing. But I’ve made a mistake again, right here–this post is focusing on me. My white lady story. And sorry Facebook, we don’t need another white lady story. Or another white lady post showcasing protest selfies. Protest. Speak out. Inform. Donate. But please stop bragging while you do it.

George Floyd is dead. Breonna Taylor is dead. Thousands of others are dead. Millions more live in fear, knowing that they or their friends, siblings, parents, children could be next.

There are a lot of anti-racism book lists out there for all ages. In the time it would take me to review all of the book lists or even compile my own list below, I could have actually read a bunch of new titles.

We, Michala and I, decided to go a slightly different route with this post, focusing on anti-racism learning tools, resources, and articles that had a particular impact on us. Things that have helped us recently and helped us on our own personal journeys.

Maybe one of them will help someone else out too.

Anti-Racism Resources

Project READY: Reimagining Equity & Access for Diverse Youth

Project Ready: Our library’s youth department has been working through this training since January. For people who already have a background in anti-racism efforts and the struggles of BIPOC, much of this may be review, but for the average white librarian or educator, this is an excellent dive into race and racism. This is not a one day, one week, one month, or even one year training–our department is most likely looking at spreading this content over 2-3 years. Includes many suggested resources that allow users to dig even deeper into these issues.

Scaffolding Anti-Racism Resources: An excellent breakdown of resources for white people based on where they currently are on their anti-racism journey with thought pieces, articles, and teaching tools for all stages of learning. See all of the resources from this excellent toolkit here.

What Is an Anti-Racist Reading List For? by Lauren Michele Jackson: This piece made me rethink the reading lists that so many, including myself, have been so eager to help create and distribute. Beyond making my white lady self feel good, what is their impact? So much more to unpack–read the article, not me summarizing it. Also take a look at this Twitter feed.

A Plan for Movement Worksheets: There aren’t always protests or marches to be a part of. These worksheets help us keep ourselves accountable when this specific moment has passed.

Storytime Underground: I started librarianship after the reign of Storytime Underground’s website, so I have only ever been more familiar with their often scattered Facebook Group, containing random posts from participants mostly about storytime books and self-bragging about programs and decorations. In the last few days, the group admins have taken the group back, shifting its focus to what I was always told was part of their initial effort. Their new exploration started with this thoughtful apology from one of the co-founders and has continued with many of their posts this week, which are restricted to posts focusing on racism, black lives matter, and the like.

Examining Police in the Library: Two thought pieces that I read recently (even though neither is new) on examining how police are depicted in children’s books and their presence in libraries:

Embrace Race: This website sometimes feels more directed at parents than educators, but there are plenty of resources for both. Explore their resource page for webinars, articles, and more focusing on specific aspects of working with kids and talking about race.

Student Voice: A student from our community wrote and performed this piece about her experiences. It is worth a listen. <3

Stay-at-Home Professional Development


As many of us will be telecommuting for a few weeks longer than initially anticipated, I updated some of the links below and added a few more suggested resources.

Please share other great resources in the comments!

In the next few weeks, I imagine many of us will be either working at our libraries without patrons or working at home because of the coronavirus. While we all have plenty of tasks to keep us busy, this may be an advantageous time to complete online professional development work. There are many great resources out there–some costly, but many free.

I’ve completed a few of the below programs, and others are on my to-do list. Send me additional recommendations in the comments below, and I will happily add them to the list. I’m currently only listing programs that may be especially of interest to youth or teen services librarians.

Free, Available Anytime


Grant Writing and Crowdfunding for Public Libraries: Learn how to read a grant application and successfully apply for a grant. Particularly useful for large grants $50,000+. Optional $50 cost to earn a verified certificate.
Also consider the entire Public Library Management certificate.
Time to Complete: 12+ hours

Librarians Guide to Homelessness: Created by Ryan Dowd, learn best practices for library staff on how to understand and better serve the homeless population. Includes tips on how to deal with and de-escalate common situations and issues and make staff feel empowered and safe. May only be available to Ohio librarians.

Mel’s Desk Professional Storytime Development: Not quite an official course like many of these other offerings, but may be the most useful in practical day-to-day storytime improvement. Practice storytime flow, create your own storytime mission statement, and make and evaluate your storytime top 40 list.

Project READY: Reimagining Equity & Access for Diverse Youth: In-depth diversity training specifically designed for youth librarians in public and school library settings. Broken down into three sections covering foundational knowledge, transforming your practice, and continuing the journey.
Time to Complete: 30+ hours (not including activity and program planning and execution)

Raising the Bar Early Literacy Training: Access early literacy storytime training by the New York Public Library including a plethora of valuable resources for early ages.
Time to Complete: 10+ hours

Serving Library Users on the Autism Spectrum: Project PALS: Learn how to better serve your patrons on the autism spectrum.
Time to Complete: 4+ hours

Sesame Strong: Access bundles of resources focusing on family engagement, particularly focusing on hosting mini-programs with parents or caregivers.
Time to Complete: 3+ hours

Supercharged Storytime: Discover ways to improve your storytimes with intentionality, interactivity, and assessment.
Time to Complete: 10+ hours

Supporting Caregiving Families: Learn about serving families of military personnel and veterans in particular with helpful vocabulary, digital resources, and hands-on activities.
Time to Complete: 3+ hours

Trauma Basics for Youth Workers: Learn the basics for practicing and implementing trauma-informed care in youth settings including what trauma is, how it impacts the brain, and how to foster interpersonal safety. Two-hour course is free with options for lengthier in-depth training at a cost (8-hours or 30-hours).
Time to Complete: 2 hours


Advancing Racial Equality in Your Library: This webinar, presented by the Race Forward Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), presents an overview of concepts and approaches libraries are using to reduce racial barriers in their work.

Conflict as Opportunity: Library Restorative Practices for Youth: Pima County (AZ) Public Library (PCPL) has radically shifted its approach toward interacting with youth in violation of the library’s Customer Code of Conduct. Using restorative justice practices, PCPL created a justice board with community partners to facilitate more mindful approaches to incidents involving youth, focusing on creating opportunities for growth and engagement rather than barriers to library access.

Countdown to Coding: Computer Science for Preschoolers: Learn ways to incorporate coding concepts into storytimes and playtimes for 3-5 year olds.

Improving the Quality of Youth Programs: Through a series of trainings and assessment tools from the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, Houston (TX) Public Library made changes to create engaging programs where youth want to be instead of have to be.

Multicultural Picture Books: A Deeper Look at Your Collection: Learn about the Diverse Book Finder tool and how to use it to help develop your collection.

Thinking Sideways: Compuational Thinking and Early Literacy: This on-demand webinar explorers components of computational thinking, what it looks like in early childhood, and how library staff use developmentally appropriate activities to support whole-child development. Young children can become successful problem-solvers, creative thinkers, and lifelong learners at the library.

Using Your Library’s Virtual Presence to Reach Users with Disabilities: Is your library working towards improving online accessibility to customers with disabilities? Have you developed new programs and services that intentionally welcome individuals with disabilities, but are struggling to connect with your target audience? Developing inclusive library services will be more effective if your library connects with the disability community, and leveraging your organization’s virtual presence will help you do that.

Additional Webinar Resources:

Toolkits, Websites, & More

Championing Children’s Services Toolkit: Encompasses a variety of easy to use advocacy resources to empower librarians to engage their communities to build healthy successful futures for children.

Getting Started with Mindfulness: A Toolkit for Early Childhood Organizations: Learn about implementing mindfulness techniques into your daily work and organizational culture, try hands-on strategies for doing so, and learn more from organizations that have begun this journey.

Ideabook: Libraries for Families: Learn about ways to engage families and promote lifelong learning.

Learning Across Boundaries: How Librarians Are Bridging Children’s Interests: Contains insights into how libraries are helping families connect children’s learning across home, school, and local settings, and what it might take to make libraries even greater community connecters.

Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth: Learn about technology practices for ages 0-14 in public libraries.

Middle Grade Magic Virtual Conference: While the conference occurred on April 8, login to view excellent presentations from many diverse authors and information about upcoming children’s books.

National Research Agenda for Library Service to Children (Ages 0-14): Current research trends, areas of further exploration, and current needs in the field that might be addressed through research.

Public Library & School Library Collaboration Toolkit: When public and school librarians and library workers engage in collaboration, community members reap the benefits. This toolkit includes context and suggestions for creating partnerships of all sizes.

Reimagining School Readiness Toolkit: Created to help librarians help families prepare children ages 0-8 for school.

Revisiting the Potential uses of Media in Children’s Education: Journalist Chris Berdik interviewed more than 20 experts from a range of fields, including developmental psychologists, educators, media historians, app developers, as well as education nonprofit leaders and funders, to understand some of the lessons that can be learned from the successes and failures of children’s educational media over the past 50 years. Together, they explore what we must do to make the most of new technologies and the changing role of families and teachers, and grapple with questions about media, learning, and educational equity.

Virtual Events

April 25-26: YALLSTAYATHOME: Features panels and speakers ranging from middle grade through young adult lit.

May 1-2: Everywhere Book Fest: A virtual gathering of kidlit authors, illustrators, and books that will bring the book festival experience to young readers everywhere.

May 27: SLJ Day of Dialogue: Learn from authors, librarians, and educators from around the globe in this first-time-virtual event.

Cost, Available Anytime

ALSC Archived Webinars: If you are an ALSC member, these one-hour educational sessions are free. If not, each webinar costs $25 to access. Many topics available from advocacy and storytime to STEAM, child care,diversity, early literacy, and more. Some webinars available to everyone for free.

Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators™ Online Course (Zero to Three): Observe, understand, and reflect on critical interactions with infants and toddlers that support and nurture their social-emotional, cognitive, and language and literacy development and learning.
Time to Complete: 13 hours
Cost: $375
Also available as separate micro-courses:
Social-Emotional Development – 6 hr, $150
Cognitive Development – 4 hr, $100
Language and Literacy Development – 3 hr, $75

Spanish for Libraries from the iSchool @ UW-Madison: Learn vocabulary, pronunciation, common phrases, and other skills as you progress through the course by watching videos, listening to recordings, and reading relevant literature. Available March 27.
Cost: $100

Cost, Scheduled

Advancing Family Engagement in Public Libraries: A PLA Professional Development Series: Learn about family engagement and update and refine your programming and spaces to encourage this practice.
Time to Complete: 8 months
Cost: $550
Next Session: March session full; Fall 2020

Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca: Learn how to successfully deliver the various elements of bilingual storytimes, either on their own or with a bilingual community partner. Participants will discover new books, rhymes, songs, plans and resources that they can immediately put to use in their bilingual storytime programs.
Time to Complete: 4 weeks
Cost: $175
Next Session: Begins May 4

Computational Thinking: Introduction to Computational Thinking for Every Educator: With support from Google, learn about computational thinking and computational thinking integrated activities that you can take back to your school or library.
Time to Complete: 15-30 hours
Cost: Free
Next Session: Summer 2020

Cultural Competence for Librarians: For the library profession, which has historically struggled with developing a workforce that is reflective of the communities being served, these changing times will require cultural competence, defined by the Association of College and Research libraries as “a congruent set of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that enable a person or group to work effectively in cross-cultural situations” (ACRL, 2012). While cultural competence has become a part of some library and information science programs, for librarians currently working in the field, cultural competence may be an enigma. This course will introduce librarians to the concept of cultural competence in the library and information science profession.
Time to Complete: 4 weeks
Cost: $175
Next Session: Begins May 4

Foundations of Early Literacy: Both using and expanding on the early literacy information in the Every Child Ready to Read® initiative, you will become familiar with the early literacy skills and practices. Building on this knowledge, we will explore ways to apply them to your work, including ways to make library environments supportive of staff sharing early literacy information and activities with parents and caregivers.
Time to Complete: 4 weeks
Cost: $175
Next Session: Begins May 4

Library Resources and Services for Patrons on the Autism Spectrum: This course will provide librarians with a better understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder, effective means of communicating individuals with ASD, strategies for designing inviting and accessible library environments and programming, and suggestions for building relationships with community partners to better serve the needs of patrons with ASD.
Time to Complete: 4 weeks
Cost: $175
Next Session: Begins May 4

Practical Library Services for Grade School Kids (Kindergarten through Second Grade): R. Lynn Baker will provide information and hands-on practice to help library staff create intentional, literacy-based programs for children in kindergarten through second grade. You’ll gain practical knowledge and skills and an understanding of how to put them to work.
Cost: $175
Next Session: Begins April 27

Baby Time Boredom Conference Presentation

Baby Time Boredom Presentation Space

My coworker, Sarah Simpson, and I have the pleasure of presenting to our colleagues at the 2019 Ohio Library Council Convention and Expo today about our passion and programs for babies in the session Baby Time Boredom. Hopefully some of you reading this post had a chance to see our presentation (and learn some fantastic babywearing dance moves).

Check out these posts for some more information about some of the programs and activities we mentioned in our Baby Time Boredom presentation:

All of the handouts we shared can be downloaded or printed below.

STEM for Babies & Baby Toy Collection Purchase Guide

DIY Baby Play Activities

Baby Programming Resources

If you have any questions about our presentation or if you would like to learn more, comment below or email us at:

  • Annamarie Carlson, acarlson@westervillelibrary.org
  • Sarah Simpson, ssimpson@westervillelibrary.org