Category Archives: Advocacy

Sunday Storytime Challenge

Welcome to another Sunday Storytime Challenge! The goal is to encourage the SU community to try new things and share out those adventures. Challenges will vary widely and can include craftiness, elevator speeches, networking, professional development and beyond!


So here is this week’s challenge!




We hope that our work here at the Storytime Underground inspires you to do more for your library users. We want you to think, play, and work harder for them. We also want you to know that you are important. Your work is important. You deserve funding, compliments, chocolate, off-desk time, and so much more. 


We think you are:




It is unfortunate that you may not have your praises sung from rooftops every morning. Your fellow staff may feel like all you do is glue glitter on craft sticks. They are likely to go on believing this until you inform them of your baby brain building awesomeness. So, we want you to shout your praises to someone this week. Share a recent accomplishment, talk about your research, or discuss your future goals with those around you. (Your cat does not count)


Did you share your success at a library board meeting? Send in a request for an hour of time to do research? Did the mayor visit your Storytime? Make sure to come back and share with us! There are so many ways you can share:


  • Simply comment to this post!
  • Email us at
  • Tweet it out using #storytimechallenge
  • Do you have a kick-ass blog? Share your challenge story there and send us the link!


There is no concrete timeline for you to complete the challenges and they will always remain open.


We can’t wait to see what you can accomplish!

Advocacy Toolbox: Early Intervention and other Developmental Milestones Resources

HI all! This much delayed edition of Advocacy Toolbox is brought to you by a question I hadAdvocacy Toolbox with watermark (1) from a mom in a parent presentation recently. She was asking about speech delays – her daughter had one, she felt, and she was having trouble getting her child’s preschool to work with her to get her daughter evaluated. I referred her to the local free Early Intervention organization and she was happy to have another resource to try.


As youth librarians and early literacy advocates, we are experts in early literacy skills development and subsequently know quite a bit about how a young child’s brain develops. For some of our parents, however, that can translate into us being experts about all-things parenting related. I attended a focus group once, in which we were asking parents to use a new early literacy resource website, where we noticed something: parents don’t separate their parenting questions into separate “baskets.” It’s all one big basket, and into it goes every concern they have about their child: questions related to nutrition, discipline, learning, and more. So, naturally, when we answer questions about language and reading development it’s a natural progression for a parent to then ask a question about how their child is developing in other ways.


It’s easy to want to try and answer their questions but we know we can’t be all things to all patrons. So here’s where we do what librarians do best: connect them with resources that CAN answer their questions. Here are some I’ve compiled that might be useful for you:


Early Intervention: Most states offer this free service to parents of young children. The child can be evaluated for developmental delays, and if needed, get connected to services. Here’s a list of EI services by state.


Developmental Milestones: Often parents just need to be reassured that their child is developing on track. Here are some resources:

  • Learn the Signs: Act Early is the Center for Disease Control’s early milestones page. Includes milestones by age in months and printable and printed (free!) materials.
  • Zero to Three is an amazing resource with tons of information for parents on things like infant and child mental health, discipline, school readiness, and more.
  • You will have to wade past a few ads, but BabyCenter offers great information – categorized by baby, toddler or preschooler – about developmental milestones and more.
  • Your local children’s hospital – if you have one – may be a great resource for information about child development. Mine, the Children’s Hospital of Colorado, offers Babies 101 and Toddlers 101 to answer some basic questions.
  • PBS Parents offers sections on child development  up to age 8!
  • From the American Academy of Pediatrics comes, which offers great “ages and stages” information.



Advocacy Toolbox: Early Childhood Investigations Webinars

Happy Wednesday to all you early literacy butt kickers!


Advocacy Toolbox with watermark (1)

Today’s addition to the Advocacy Toolbox is a fantastic ongoing series of webinars geared towards early childhood educators. Not only are there some great topics coming down the pipeline, but all webinars are recorded for later viewing!


Early Childhood Investigations desires “to spark discussion in the early education community, and engage and motivate directors and teachers.”


We love this tool because the presenters are experts in their field, the topics are wide ranging (and sometimes controversial), and everything is FREE! Dive into research on emotional development of toddlers, discussions on engaging with families, and media literacy activity ideas!


Check out the upcoming webinars or browse the archive of past sessions today!



Resolve to Rock Roundup!

At the beginning of January, we challenged you all to Resolve to Rock in 2016. And boy did you! Here’s the round up of all your rockin’ resolutions!

Resolve to Rock meme image

Edited to add:

  • Erin resolves to be positive and be herself (so important!) and get rid of that darn imposter syndrome. Go Erin go!

Check out our original post for even more resolutions in the comments!

Did we miss you? Still want to resolve to rock? Share your resolutions in the comments and we’ll add you in!

Babies Need Words Every Day: the blog tour


Today I am SO THRILLED to be hopping on board the Babies Need Words Every Day blog tour! Do you know about Babies Need Words Every Day? This awesome work by the ALSC Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee highlights the importance of early literacy to help bridge the 30 Million Word Gap by providing a whole bunch of FREE resources for parents, librarians, caregivers…basically anyone who has every looked at a child. These beautiful posters are perfect for hanging up in your library and sharing with your community.


This week, the BNWED blog tour has highlighted four incredibly important early literacy skills: READ, SING, TALK, and PLAY, and a whole host (get it?) of fantabulous librarians have shared how they are using the BNWED posters in their libraries to encourage reading, singing, talking, and playing.


Go ahead, take a look. The blog posts shared on this tour offer a ton of really great new ideas and suggestions for ways to use the posters, ways to encourage early literacy skills in storytime and in the library, and even ideas to get the resources out into the community.


I printed all the posters on pretty much the first day they were available, and learned a TON from going back and looking at all the other resources now on the site. (Right? They weren’t all there from day one, were they? Am I blind? Maybe I should just stop talking…) After reading about my wonderful colleagues’ displays and suggestions, I am bursting with new things to try. How about sending posters to the pediatric department at your local clinic or hospital! Why not bring some along to hand out at your next outreach visits! Give them out in storytime! To your board members! On street corners!


So dear ninjas, go forth and conquer! Read up on the resources. Catch up on the blog tour and borrow ideas. Then print off some posters and booklists and start sharing! Let us know how YOU are using these resources below in the comments!