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YS Newsletter #24, December 2009

Topic of the Month: International partnerships

Looking for ways to expand the reach of your library, and expose your young patrons to new cultures and experiences? Consider partnering with a library in another country. Partnerships can range from simple and informal to more extensive collaborations involving book and staff exchanges. Here are just a few ideas…

What activities could we do with a partner library in another country?

  • Organize a pen pal—or email pal—program for your young or teen patrons to correspond with those at the partner library. This can be really informal or more structured—for instance, topics can be open or you could set a topic of month, such as what school is like or important environmental issues in each area, for them to discuss. Or, do this via a blog or discussion group.
  • Exchange children’s and YA books, photos, and cultural materials for each library to display. Children and teens can write labels for each item to be included in the exhibit.
  • Create a bulletin board display with photos of your partner library, its staff and young patrons. Likewise, send a scrapbook, PowerPoint presentation, or photos of and info about your library to your partner library. This would make a great project for a Teen Advisory Group or teen volunteers!
  • Link to your partner library’s website from your own, and have them do the same.
  • Arrange cultural programs—music, dance, food, language, storytelling, etc—in your library about or by people from the same country your partner library is in to give your patrons a better feel for the culture.
  • If the patrons in your partner library’s country speak a language other than English, young patrons from each library can record basic words on podcasts for their counterparts and post them on each other’s websites.
  • Let your local schools know about the partnership and suggest they participate by focusing on that country for a week at school or having their students do research or project on that country.
  • Have teen patrons from both libraries collaborate to create a joint website, blog, or social networking site.
  • Exchange artwork, poetry, photography, short stories, etc. that young patrons in each library have created; display in each other’s library.
  • Set up phone or videoconferencing sessions using Skype so your patrons can directly talk with those in your partner library.

This type of partnership can also benefit the staff at each library. Consider these activities too:

  • Keep an informal dialog going with staff at your partner library via e-mail to discuss issues, ideas, and concerns.
  • Arrange for short-term exchanges of professional staff.
  • Exchange staff newsletters.

How can we get started?

Sister Libraries Program

To promote the concept of a global community of libraries, the American Library Association (ALA) is encouraging U.S. libraries to form partnerships with libraries in other countries. Participants in the ALA Sister Library Initiative should choose the level of involvement with their Sister Library based upon the mutual needs of the libraries. Sister Libraries should make commitments at levels that are comfortable for both participants. Some partnerships will be informal, while others may involve formal contracts and ceremonies. Go to for ideas and resources to help you arrange this type of partnership.

Going it on your own

  • If your community has a Sister City, contact a public library there to see if the staff might be interested in participating in a partnership.
  • If you or another staff member or volunteer are planning a trip abroad, arrange an in-person meeting at a public library in that country to try to arrange a partnership—or, just show up at a library and inquire.
  • Take advantage of any contacts your library or community has with another country—a trade partnership, nonprofit that has worked abroad, relatives and friends living abroad. Having a connection can help start the partnership.

Already have an international partnership?

Please let me know! We’d love to hear about your activities, challenges, and successes.

State Library Updates and Announcements

2010 Summer Reading Workshops a Success!

In November and December, the State Library offered 4 workshops to introduce the 2010 Summer Reading Program to librarians across the state. A total of 98 librarians attended the workshops that featured the theme of water.

The State Library was pleased to partner with several organizations throughout the workshops. The NM Museum of Natural History & Science hosted the workshop in Albuquerque. Museum educator Tish Morris presented useful, interesting information and activities on water conservation and water in the environment. Sharon Sivinski, educator at the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, presented songs and other fun and educational activities for children relating to water conservation at the workshops in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The Portales Public Library hosted the third workshop in the eastern part of the state, offering participants of that session great hospitality. New Mexico’s newest state park, the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park just outside of Mesilla, hosted the workshop in the southern part of the state; the setting, along the Rio Grande, perfectly highlighted the SRP water theme (though wind was foremost on participants’ minds the day of that workshop as we struggled with near gale-force winds!). Also at that workshop, Maria Ehlers, a volunteer at the Marshall Memorial Library in Deming and Girl Scout representative, spoke on incorporating Girl Scout programs into SRPs.

Museum Educator Tish Morris leads the Albuquerque workshop participants in a water conservation activity.

Our collaboration with the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority will continue into Summer 2010 as Sivinski is creating resources on water conservation specifically for librarians and posting them on her organization’s website.

The State Library would like to thank all of the organizations that assisted with the workshops, as well as those of you who presented portions of a program and contributed your great ideas and experiences.

Upcoming Newsletter Topics:

  • January: Services for Homeschoolers
  • February: Community Partnerships

Please contribute any materials, tips, questions, and comments you have on these topics to be included in the newsletters! And please let me know if there are any topics you’d like to see featured in the newsletter.

Resources and Opportunities

2010 Coming Up Taller Awards

Libraries and museums are encouraged to apply for the 2010 Coming Up Taller Awards -- a program that recognizes excellence in afterschool, out-of-school, and summer arts and humanities programs for underserved children and youth.  Now in its 13th year, the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), has rewarded programs that cultivate character development and life skills in young people.  Award recipients receive $10,000 each, an individualized plaque, and an invitation to attend the annual Coming Up Taller Leadership Enhancement Conference.  The deadline for nominations is Friday, January 29, 2010.  Click here for a nomination form or visit for details.

We the People Bookshelf

The ALA Public Programs Office is pleased to partner with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for the seventh We the People Bookshelf project. This year’s theme, “A More Perfect Union,” invites reflection on the idea of the United States as a “union,” a “One” as well as a “Many,” and will complement library programs observing the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

Public and school (K-12) libraries are invited to apply online through January 29, 2010 at A single application may be submitted on behalf of multiple libraries within a library system, school district or community. Individual branch and school libraries are also encouraged to apply.

In spring 2010, NEH will award 4,000 libraries a collection of 17 classic hardcover books for young readers, related to the theme, "A More Perfect Union", as well as the option to receive Spanish translations of three titles, and bonus materials for readers of all ages. Successful applicants will also receive accompanying materials for programming, including bookplates, bookmarks and posters.
For further details, visit With questions, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The Big Read Grant

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and in cooperation with Arts Midwest, announces the 2010 deadline for The Big Read, a program to revitalize the role of literature in American culture. Organizations may apply for grants ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 with the grant size determined by community population, number of activities planned, and artistic excellence and merit. Selected communities will participate in The Big Read from September 2010 – June 2011.

Learn more about Big Read events and access free online versions of Reader’s, Teacher’s, and Audio Guides at Applicants must choose one of 31 available Big Read selections.

The application can be downloaded at The proposal deadline is February 2, 2010. Questions should be directed to Arts Midwest at 612-238-8010 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

ALA Testimony on Libraries and Literacy Skills

Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Washington Office, filed testimony in November for the official record of the House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education’s hearing, “Improving Literacy Skills of Children and Young Adults.”

The comments highlighted the contributions of librarians and library programs in both public and school libraries in improving the literacy skills of children and young adults.

“Public librarians have embraced their responsibility to be the first literacy coach for parents and caregivers of all children, especially children in low-income families,” Sheketoff states in her comments. “Some services provided to these families include bookmobile and storytelling mobiles, story-time kits and early literacy classes for child-care providers, Head Start staff and parents.”

Sheketoff’s testimony underscored the impact of school libraries in both traditional and technology literacy through the role of school librarians who are the central teachers who know the school’s curriculum and effective techniques necessary to cross disciplines.

The ALA supports both the House and Senate versions of the Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) Act, which contain various provisions to support libraries in the development and implementation of early learning through grade 12 literacy programs.

Reading Practice Beneficial in Many Ways

A new study demonstrates that reading practice can strengthen brain highways. See an article about the study at

Children who use technology are 'better writers'

Another recent study shows that children that blog, text or use social networking websites are more confident about their writing skills, according to the National Literacy Trust, a UK nonprofit. Go to to read about the study.

Net Safety Booklet Available

A new booklet released by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other government  agencies helps parents, librarians, and teachers steer kids safely through the online and mobile-phone worlds. The booklet, titled "Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online," was unveiled Dec. 15. The booklet tells parents and teachers what they need to know to talk to kids about issues such as cyber bullying, sexting, mobile phone safety, and protecting the family computer. According to the FTC and U.S. Department of Education, talking to kids about these topics can help them avoid rude online behavior; steer clear of inappropriate content such as pornography, violence, or hate speech; and protect themselves from contact with bullies, predators, hackers, and scammers. A PDF version of the booklet is available at Like all the consumer education resources at the site, the booklet is available free of charge for public use. Parents and educators can download sections of the booklet, link to it, or post it on their own web site. Printed versions of the booklet can be ordered in bulk at

YA Fiction Contest, along with Penguin Group (USA) and CreateSpace, have announced the third annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, an international competition seeking the next popular novel. For the first time, the competition will award two grand prizes: one for General Fiction and one for Young Adult Fiction. The 2010 competition will also now be open to novels that have previously been self-published. Each winner will receive a publishing contract with Penguin, which includes a $15,000 advance. Open submissions for manuscripts run from January 25, 2010 through February 7, 2010. Contest rules are at

School Partnering Manual

In an effort to reach all children and to work with schools as the natural partner for summer reading, the New York State Library created a School Partnering Manual that promotes collaboration between public and school libraries in support of summer reading. It’s available at
They hope that this will be a useful examples for communities in other states.

NM Hispanic Education Act Announced

Governor Bill Richardson announced his plans for a Hispanic Education Act this month. Over 183,000 of New Mexico students are Hispanic. “Closing the achievement gap for Hispanic students is not only an economic issue, but it is a moral imperative,” Public Education Department Secretary Veronica García said. Go to for the full press release.

2010 Census Resources for Students

There is a new web site for the 2010 Census,, and part of the website is devoted to the program Census in the Schools. This program, “2010 Census: It’s About Us,” gives schools a wide range of free, optional, standards-based lessons plans on subjects related to the census, ranging from math to social studies.  The program is designed for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.  There are specific pages for teachers, kids, and teens that contain specific census related activities.

To access these pages go to the following links:
Website for Teachers:
Website for Kids:
Website for Teens:

For more information about this program, contact Sonja Prince at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ideas from Kids! @ your library toolkit

2010 is upon us there is no better time to reenergize your library. Getting the new year off to a great start can be intimidating, but the Kids! @ your library toolkit can make that effort completely painless! Here are 10 FREE ideas from the toolkit to get you started.  More details for each activity can be found at the website:

  1. Brighten up the library with beautiful artwork from award-winning artist, David Diaz.
  2. Get your kids laughing with a fun game of Mad Libs.
  3. Challenge your patrons to a scavenger hunt.
  4. Get your kids singing along with Bill Harley and his catchy tune "@ Your Library". (Freely downloadable in any of its four different versions! There are also ideas for using the song in your library and your community, a public service announcement, the lyrics to the song, and sheet music.)
  5. Host a coloring contest using artwork from Michael P. White.
  6. Let those tweens be creative with a Brain Challenge.
  7. Invite local celebrities to a Read-a-Thon
  8. Try out reader's theater with one of 3 scripts available in the toolkit.
  9. Help your kids back into the learning groove with word searches and mazes.
  10. And last, but not least, Do the Library Rap.  (You know you want to!)

The Book Nook

‘Tis the season for book awards!

2009 NM Book Awards
Winners in the children’s and YA categories:

  • Children’s Picture Book:
    Porter, Pamela — Yellow Moon, Apple Moon (Groundwood Books)
  • Children’s Activity Book (workbook/craft book/coloring book):
    Cash, Marie Romero — Santos, A Coloring Book (Sunstone Press)
  • Young Readers Book (to grade 3):
    Eschberger, Beverly — An Elephant Family Adventure: The Elephants Tour England (Kinkajou Press)
  • Juvenile Book (grade school to junior high school):
    Drucker, Malka — Portraits of Jewish American Heroes (Dutton Childrens Book)
    Paulsen, Gary — Notes from the Dog (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House)
  • Young Adult Book (high school):
    Klages, Ellen — White Sands, Red Menace (Viking)

Go to for the complete list of winners.

Booklist’s Top of the List for 2009

Editors at Booklist completed the difficult task of choosing the top book of 2009 in each of 8 categories. The tops in the children’s and YA categories:

Youth Fiction:
The Storm in the Barn, by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)

Youth Nonfiction:
You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! by Jonah Winter and illustrated by André Carrilho (Random/Schwartz & Wade)

Youth Picture Book:
It's a Secret, by John Burningham (Candlewick)

Urban Fiction for Teens

Urban Fiction is popular with the YA crowd, particularly in urban areas. The reading lists found at may be helpful for educators and librarians in selecting urban fiction for their collections.

NY Times Notables

The NY Times has chosen what it considers the most notable children’s books of 2009:

CHARLES AND EMMA: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith
By Deborah Heiligman, Holt (Ages 12 and up)

DOWN, DOWN, DOWN: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea
Written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Ages 4 to 8)

GENIUS OF COMMON SENSE: Jane Jacobs and the Story of “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”
Written and illustrated by Glenna Lang and Marjory Wunsch, Godine (Ages 10 and up)

THE LAST OLYMPIAN: Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book 5
By Rick Riordan, Disney Hyperion (Ages 10 and up)

By Francisco X. Stork, Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic (Ages 12 and up)

By Nick Burd, Dial Books (Ages 14 and up)

By Rebecca Stead, Wendy Lamb/Random House (Ages 9 to 14)

YUMMY: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales
Written and illustrated by Lucy Cousins, Candlewick (Ages 3 and up)

Roald Dahl Funny Prize

The award champions the role of humor in children's books. This year’s winners:

For children 7 to 14: Grubtown Tales by Philip Ardagh
For children 6 and under: Mr Pusskins: Best in Show by Sam Lloyd

For more info on the prize, go to

Local Manga article

The November 9 Albuquerque Journal ran an article about local artist Pegeen Scott-Cohen, her work in the manga genre, and more broadly, where this popular graphic style fits into literature today along with reactions from professionals in the field.

Says Peter Gutierrez, spokesman for the National Council of Teachers of English, in the article, "Literacy has always been a collection of cultural and communicative practices shared among members of particular groups. . . It's not tied to print texts."

The complete article is reprinted here:


Waldo (Wally) Hunt, died on November 6 just before his 89th birthday. Pioneering the creation, production, and marketing of pop-up interactive books, he is widely considered to be the father of the modern pop-up book industry.

Beth Crist, Library Development Bureau Director
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; 505-476-9753

Tips for Library Users

Ask a librarian!

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