April 15, 2020

Supporting 1000 books before kindergarten (from a distance)

When I was first thinking about this blog post and how NoveList can help libraries support 1000 Books before Kindergarten, I was going to joke about how I had read I Took the Moon for a Walk a thousand times. 

Times changed, and they changed fast. I’m still reading the lovely I Took the Moon for a Walk on a regular basis (my son giggles at the moon), but I’m also balancing reading Hippos Go Berserk, The Snowy Day, and Who Goes Quack? throughout the day while trying to work a fulltime job. For me, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten has become a lot more intimate. And, like many parents of young children out there surviving without daycare, it exists in some strange no man’s land between joyous and tedious while being impossibly hard.

How can libraries support parents like me?

Stick book suggestions everywhere 
I’m lucky that our local bookstores are still doing delivery, which means I can expand our repertoire of choices, even if the new books get tossed to the side in favor of the familiar. But my training is in adult librarianship, not children’s, which means I need the help of a good children’s librarian to suggest titles.

Want to help? Make flyers with reading suggestions and post them on social. Make widgets reminding parents about 1000 Books Before Kindergarten and share those. Make book rivers for your website. If your library has LibraryAware, you can do it all from within that service. If your library has NoveList Plus, finding book recommendations is easy. You can even search NoveList by illustration appeal, like cartoony, big and bold, and photographic (just use the field code and search AP [term]).

I speak for many parents when I note that if there’s a link that says, “Best Board Books for Being Stuck Inside,” I’m going to click on it.

Don’t forget your catalog. Your patrons are still going there to look for ebooks and eaudiobooks. A product like NoveList Select for Catalog can put reading recommendations in your catalog. With the experience of NoveList librarians behind you, NoveList Select also includes the Recommended Reads Lists and NoveList articles you rely on, including picture book extenders and curricular connections — extra helpful information for parents navigating a new reality. Parents of older kids will benefit from being able to search your catalog by Lexile or Accelerated Reader scores.

Help parents keep track
As you’re supporting 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, know that LibraryAware offers pre-made brochures that you can download as a PDF and post on your website for parents to print and use (search “books kindergarten”). Does your library use ReadSquared for Summer Reading management and have NoveList Select for the Catalog? Take advantage of a new integration available to NoveList Select customers and offer parents the ability to keep track of their reading and see NoveList Select recommendations at the same time.

Expand your collection 
Sometimes it feels like the “Stay at Home” order won’t end, but it will. Your libraries will be full of happy children again. Developing your collection now (if you can work from home) will mean being ready when those doors open. Core Collections now includes NoveList genre headings, so you can search for the most highly recommended board books, compare those to your collection, and order any you don’t have. If you’re able to be in your library for some solitary weeding, check those damaged books against the Most Highly Recommended and Core Collections titles before you get rid of the last copy.

Libraries do amazing things for their community and continue to do them, even in times of crisis. I got an email on Sunday from Long Beach Public Library with a list of programs they’ve moved online. The work and care behind that effort brought tears to my eyes. 
For all that you do, we thank you.

Looking for a collection development resource with unlimited seats and librarian expertise? Learn more about Core Collections.

Jennifer Lohmann is the Director of Sales and Marketing, NoveList. She’s currently rereading The Happiest Toddler on the Block, which tells you everything you need to know about her stay-at-home experience.


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