In November 2017 my colleague Christie Menzo and I launched a new project designed to get library staff serving children to read and discuss emerging research related to our field of practice. It’s called the Library Services for Children Journal Club. I’ve written recaps of each of our meetings here on Jbrary as a way to spread awareness of the club and to encourage others to join the discussion.
At the 2019 British Columbia Library Association conference held this past weekend Christie and I were given the Young Adult and Children Services Award for the creation of the LSC Journal Club which shows exceptional service in the area of children’s or teen librarianship in British Columbia. What an honour!
We were able to give a short acceptance speech and I thought I’d share it here too. I was so nervous accepting the award that I didn’t say everything I intended, but I hope the message rang true. I wrote the first paragraph and Christie wrote the second.
Thank you to the British Columbia Library Association and the Young Adult and Children’s Services division for this award. When you envision a children’s librarian you probably think of things like singing The Wheels on the Bus with a group of rambunctious toddlers or making rocket ships out of cardboard and glitter or getting a group of 100 people to shake their sillies out. Which is true! Doing those things is why I love my job so much. But we started the Library Services for Children Journal Club because we also see ourselves as researchers and analyzers of current research in any field related to child development and youth services. The “what” we do is important – those early memories of the library as a fun and welcoming space create future users many of you see later in life – but the “why” behind what we do is perhaps even more important. We want to push our field to think about those reasons critically.
We created Library Services for Children Journal Club so that we could have more space to discuss the “whys” behind the important work Children’s staff do. Lindsey and I believe that opportunities for professional development conversations and critical thinking in the field needed to be ongoing, regularized, and open to all levels of staff. Conferences like this are great AND we need to build on these conversations throughout the year so that we remain vibrant, research-informed organizations. We encourage all of you to consider beginning your own journal clubs in your own communities. Lindsey and I are happy to help you get started and you can check out our website: lscjournalclub.org for more information on how to get started or join our Vancouver group. Thank you again for this fabulous award. Happy learning.
As children’s librarians we don’t always get the recognition we deserve, but dang it feels good when we do.