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Andrew Medlar's picture

Online Board Meeting: Children in Crisis Project

Greetings ALSC Board Colleagues,

An item of New Business at Midwinter which we deferred for virtual work is the verbal request received from REFORMA at the ALSC/REFORMA Joint Executive Committee Meeting on January 9 to support their Children in Crisis project. I am now calling an online Board meeting to address this request.

On the website about the project, you can read more about it and its goal "to raise funds for books and backpacks for young refugees in detention centers across the country who awaited immigration processing or deportation" (quote source), and further information includes articles from American Libraries and SLJblog posts from our own ALSC Blog and YALSA; support from the IBBY Foundation; and a Council Resolution from 2015 Annual calling on ALA units to support the project and develop resources.

The form which this support would take, if any, is up to us and so I would now like to entertain discussion on this request for ALSC to support REFORMA's Children in Crisis project.

Andrew

Kay Weisman's picture

Is there any compelling reason that we would not support this endeavor?
Kay

Kay Weisman

Elizabeth Orsburn's picture

Yes, I think ALSC does want to support Reforma's Children in Crisis Project; it's a question of how to accomplish this.  One quick idea would be to ask a local librarian to apply for one of $2000 DIA programming grants to use the funds to purchase and distribute wordless and Spanish language books to children being held in the detention centers.   The deadline for these grants is coming up soon, so we would need to identify an ALSC member to plan and submit the DIA grant application.Betsy

Sent from my iPad
On

Diane Foote's picture

I do think ALSC should take a support role here. I suggest we don't reinvent the wheel or take on anything that requires much staff or member time; I actually think we can have great "bang for the buck" in this case.

I support a donation from Friends of ALSC. I see IBBY donated $10,000 and I'm not sure I see us donating quite that much, but something in the low-to-mid four figures should be do-able. We could use the funds in one of two ways: simply donating the $$ (mechanics of that would need to be figured out by staff, which does require some time), or using the $$ to buy books (ideally Belpre books, those that are in Spanish or bilingual, or wordless, or other wordless award-winning books such as "Lion and the Mouse") and ship them. I think the book-buying idea would take MORE time to manage (figure out a vendor, or go to publishers individually, etc.), and also it looks like REFORMA, as any library does, would prefer the money so they can buy/ship via channels they've already figured out, and pick the books they want.

I also support sharing REFORMA's tool kit and resources on ALSC's Professional Tools web page, etc. I would rather not see us develop our own materials, for two reasons: 1) we have enough on our plates already, and 2) I think it would be insulting to the people/groups who have already put materials together. I know not all REFORMA's materials that we saw in the joint Executive Committee meeting at Midwinter were exactly as we may have written them, but I think it's ok for us to share them and let librarians use them, or not, as they see fit. We could *possibly* ask the LSSPCC Committee to vet the materials and make suggestions.

I do like Betsy's suggestion about the Dia grants.

Diane Foote
Assistant Dean & Curator, Butler Children's Literature Center
Dominican University GSLIS
dfoote@dom.edu, 708-524-6054
http://www.dom.edu/gslis

Christine Caputo's picture

I agree that we should support this project. I like Betsy and Diane's ideas, and they give us multiple strategies for participating.  After our discussion at Midwinter on ALSC priorities and all the diverse work that the staff is managing, I think donating to the project directly may have the lowest commitment of time. It would also allow those who are more experienced in this work to use the funding as effectively as possible. Communicating to members about the Día grants and tool kit/resources could be pretty straightforward and could be accomplished relatively quickly.

Thanks for the great ideas!

Christine Caputo

Ellen Riordan's picture

I agree that our response should be something immediate and doable such as a donation of materials. Another longer term strategy on providing resources to better serve this population could be rolled out later.

ER

On Jan 23, 2016 11:40 PM, "ALA Connect" connect@ala.org> wrote:

Diane Foote's picture

Ellen, just to clarify, when you say "donation of materials" do you mean actual materials such as books, school supplies, and backpacks? Or would you be comfortable with a financial donation to this project and let REFORMA pick, purchase, and ship those things? I think REFORMA would prefer the cash; I think it would take much less time for ALSC to send cash than for us to pick, purchase, and ship those things; and I think concentrating the buying and shipping responsibilities in one entity (in this case, REFORMA) is the most efficient for the project.

Diane Foote
Assistant Dean & Curator, Butler Children's Literature Center
Dominican University GSLIS
dfoote@dom.edu, 708-524-6054
http://www.dom.edu/gslis

Vicky Smith's picture

I agree with Diane. As a library administrator, I was way happier to accept a check than to accept a book that somebody else thought we should have 100% of the time.I am a little unclear how we could use Dia grants to accomplish this, as presumably libraries applying for Dia grants assume that it's an even playing field, which it isn't, if we decide that one or more should go to libraries (that we recruit) along the border for this particular purpose. 
Since our exchequer seems to be very healthy, why can't we just give REFORMA a nice check?
O

Ellen Riordan's picture

Agree donation in cash.

On Jan 24, 2016 4:10 PM, "ALA Connect" connect@ala.org> wrote:

Julie Roach's picture

This sounds like the best approach to me as well.



om: ALA Connect
To: Julie Roach
Sent: Sunday, January 24, 2016 9:55 PM
Subject: [ALA Connect] ALSC Board of Directors - Online Board Meeting: Children in Crisis Project (New comment)

Kay Weisman's picture

I agree with Diane. If REFORMA already has procedures and a system in place to accomplish this project, it would seem that a cash donation would be most useful to them. It would also be much easier for us to contribute financially to their project rather than trying to duplicate it in ALSC.

Kay Weisman

Gretchen Caserotti's picture

I second what has been shared - we want to support it, sounds like in the form of cash donation (via Friends) makes the most sense for us at this time and helping to share REFORMA's toolkit and pertinent information with our members & media channels

Jenna Nemec-Loise's picture

As other have shared and suggested, I agree a cash donation is the best route for a more immediate response with a significant impact. I defer to Diane on the specific amount.

While I agree ALSC already has a full plate and we don't need to create additional resources, I do think we've got a prime opportunity to activate our membership with a request to promote local awareness of the Children in Crisis Project. I've included the project in the January 2016 issue of the Everyday Advocacy Matters e-newsletter, and I agree with Gretchen that we can capitalize on social media to share messaging. Perhaps we can gather stories from members about how they've built awareness in their communities.

On a personal note, I'll be integrating the Children in Crisis Project into the 2016 summer learning program at my library. Since this project is something I know will resonate with the kids and families in my library community, we're creating a challenge that will result in an end-of-summer donation to the project made by my husband and me. We don't have all the details worked out yet, but I'm pretty excited about it!


Jenna Nemec-Loise
Division Councilor
Association for Library Service to Children

 

Diane Foote's picture

I could not agree more. A cash donation, on its own, has the potential to feel hollow, and crass. A statement of "support," backed up by nothing, has the potential to feel unrealistic, and self-serving. ALSC is in an extremely fortunate position to be able to do both: We've just made a forceful public statement, as Jenna has done in the January Everyday Advocacy Matters e-newsletter, and now it's time to back it up with material (read: cash) support.

Diane Foote
Assistant Dean & Curator, Butler Children's Literature Center
Dominican University GSLIS
dfoote@dom.edu, 708-524-6054
http://www.dom.edu/gslis

Diane Foote's picture

 

 

Diane Foote
Assistant Dean & Curator, Butler Children's Literature Center
Dominican University GSLIS
dfoote@dom.edu, 708-524-6054
http://www.dom.edu/gslis

Diane Foote's picture

It's sounding like we are leaning toward support for this initiative on two fronts: 1) A financial donation from Friends of ALSC to REFORMA (donation would be between $1000-5000); and 2) using ALSC channels to promote the toolkit/bookmarks/etc. developed by REFORMA, and/or to offer input and support from the ALSC LSSPCC Committtee about the toolkit/bookmarks.

Diane Foote
Assistant Dean & Curator, Butler Children's Literature Center
Dominican University GSLIS
dfoote@dom.edu, 708-524-6054
http://www.dom.edu/gslis

Doris Gebel's picture

Hi all, I'm delighted that there is so much support for supporting the IBBY/REFORMA project. I agree that a cash donation seems expedient and most effective. I'm attaching a powerpoint that was created by Liz Page, IBBY Director and Oralia Garza de Cortés. It is available in Spanish and I can send it along if anyone is interested. The Public Awareness Committee plans to include it in a blog post in February. 

Two additional points of information-IBBY maintains an ongoing Children in Crisis fund and supports projects all over the world including Haiti, Gaza and Lebanon. Someone mentioned Wordless Books.  IBBY Italia sponsors an ongoing project that is supported by all National Sections for refugees on the island of Lampedusa.   In addition to supplying wordless books for refugee children, a separate copy is supplied for a traveling exhibit to raise awareness of the situation.

Doris

The ppt doesn't seem to be loading. I can email separately if you would like to see it.

Doris Gebel

 

Andrew Medlar's picture

Thanks for this great discussion, everyone! (BTW, this is a confirmation that we've had a quorum of Board members present, per the responses above.)

With this growing consensus, and thanks to our Fiscal Officer's advisement that a contribution in the low-to-mid four figures would be actionable within the context of the current Friends of ALSC budget, I would like to ask for the Budget Committee's advice on allocating $5000 from Friends of ALSC to support REFORMA's Children in Crisis project. Having their input on this will facilitate an information-based decision on any financial components of ALSC's potential support of this project.

Diane, may I ask you to reach out to them and report back about this by EOD Thursday, 1/28/16, please?

Thanks!

Andrew

 
Megan Schliesman's picture

Agree on all that's been said.  (Sorry I'm late.)

 

Megan

Diane Foote's picture

Hello everyone! I'm pleased to report the Budget Committee supports the ALSC Board's possible vote to donate $5000 to REFORMA's Children in Crisis project from Friends of ALSC. A number of issues were raised in discussion, some of which have been raised by Board members here:

-Do people who donate to FOL expect ALSC to in turn donate their money to another organization, and/or might they be troubled by that? Our feeling here is that this particular project fits well within ALSC's strategic plan and goal to "create a better future for children through libraries" and is therefore appropriate.

-Although, as I think someone elegantly put it "our exchequer is healthy" (love it!), we aren't in fact a bottomless pit of cash and do want to be careful about perception that ALSC is able and prepared to just hand out the benjamins at the drop of a hat; should we couple this donation (provided we vote to do it) with an announcement that we've done so along with a call for donations to bolster FOL?

-One Budget Committee member wondered if this support is signaling a shift away from Dia and toward a new initiative. Two issues here: 1) I think we are thinking about this donation as more of a one-time, crisis-related thing rather than an ongoing initiative, correct? Basically, one-time things can be funded from FOL; ongoing things need to be built into the operating budget; 2) It didn't occur to me to consider this as part of the decision to put Dia into a quieter phase, but members might see it as such.

-Budget Committee is aware of the Student Gift Membership Task Force's activity and has in the back of its mind that there may be an FOL "ask" from this group. I'm serving on the TF, and it is too early to even characterize where the group is heading, including a recommendation about whether a student gift membership would be a one-time thing (FOL) or ongoing (to be built into the budget).

But in general, strong support for this from the money folks!

Diane Foote
Assistant Dean & Curator, Butler Children's Literature Center
Dominican University GSLIS
dfoote@dom.edu, 708-524-6054
http://www.dom.edu/gslis

Ellen Riordan's picture

The support of REFORMA's Children in Crisis project is important.  The issue is urgent so our action must be too and a one time donation for a specific aspect of a project is the most expedient way for us to show solidarity to an important partner. REFORMA  and ALSC have a long history of co sponsorship. Our  focus on diversity, our commitment to serve those children with significant barriers and our support of DIA as concept rather than project all suggest that our actions in this instance are warranted.

 

Andrew Medlar's picture

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts, and to the Budget Committee for their input. Are there any additional points to consider? Otherwise, I'm happy to entertain any motions on this that anyone would like to bring forward.

Andrew

 
Andrew Medlar's picture

Hearing no further discussion, the consensus I'm seeing is that ALSC make a one-time donation of $5000 to support REFORMA's Children in Crisis project from the Friends of ALSC, and that we then ask the Library Service to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers committee to explore other ways in which ALSC can contribute (non-financially) to the project.

Do I have a motion?

 
Jenna Nemec-Loise's picture

Please see motion below.


Jenna Nemec-Loise
Division Councilor
Association for Library Service to Children

 

Jenna Nemec-Loise's picture

I move that ALSC (1) make a one-time donation of $5000 from Friends of ALSC to support REFORMA's Children in Crisis Project and (2) task the Library Service to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers Committee with exploring other ways in which ALSC can contribute non-financially to the project. 


Jenna Nemec-Loise
Division Councilor
Association for Library Service to Children

 

Andrew Medlar's picture

Thank you, Jenna. Is there a second from anyone?

Andrew

 
Kay Weisman's picture

I second the motion.
Kay

Kay Weisman

Elizabeth Orsburn's picture

I second Jenna's motion.Betsy

Sent from my iPad

Andrew Medlar's picture

Thank you! I'll now leave 24 hours for any final discussion on the motion that has been seconded, and then will post the vote tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon.

Andrew

 
Oscar Baeza's picture

Thank you all for the support of this wonderful project. My wife is a volunteer and works with refugee children weekly. I visit with these children often and believe me, they are so happy and grateful for whatever you give them. One particular child cried when we gave her a book, when we asked why she was crying, she said it had been years since somebody had given her something and she had never recieved a book before. She is 14 years old. We must continue moving this project forward. Children are a blessing and we must remember that some of these blessings wonder through our lands alone, scared, hungry and cold.... but rest assure that they will not be forgotten. Thank you REFORMA for all the great work!

 

Oscar Baeza
Librarian
El Paso Community College