Thanks to the Northern New York Library’s Network’s professional development grant program, I recently had the opportunity to attend the ALSC National Institute, one of the only conferences dedicated to children’s librarianship. I attended some wonderful sessions on summer reading, early literacy, and advocacy, and I was able to chat with other librarians between and after sessions. Those informal discussions were often as inspiring as the official programs, and I came back to NCLS determined to create more opportunities for sharing and learning among youth services staff.

In our area, distance can be a barrier to professional development, so one of the first things I did after the conference was send out a notice to my member libraries about the self-paced course that early literacy expert Saroj Ghoting talked about at ALSC. The course is called Supercharged Storytimes for All and is available through WebJunction.

One of my priorities for the coming year that was inspired by the ALSC Institute is to put more of an emphasis on promotion and advocacy. Sometimes it’s harder to talk about the work we’re doing and why it’s important than it is to do the work in the first place! In 2019 the North Country Library System will be launching the Talking is Teaching campaign, which uses a friendly, accessible format to communicate to parents and caregivers the importance of talking, reading, and singing with children.

Looking even further ahead, youth services librarians in the North Country will have a great opportunity to share and learn together when the spring conference of the New York Library Association’s Youth Services Section will be held here in 2020! Details on the date and venue are still being finalized, but if you have ideas about topics you’d like to see at the conference, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me at

Article written and submitted by Angela Newman, Youth Services Consultant at North Country Library System and author of the blog The Frozen Librarian.