Editor’s Note: Little Cogs Make Big Machine Work

Sharon Verbeten

Hasn’t it been an extraordinary year to be involved in children’s literature? As I write this, I’m still basking in the glow of the Youth Media Awards, which gave us some amazing and somewhat surprising winners. But overall, the squeals of delight could be heard throughout rainy Boston. It’s an invigorating experience to be sure, much like every convention experience I’ve had.

I’m proud to learn more at each conference about the We Need Diverse Books movement and ALSC’s program Babies Need Words Everyday (which you’ll read more about in this issue).

I’m also thrilled to be surrounded at these events with some of the luminaries of the children’s literature world—those whom I’ve admired for years, such as children’s literature authority (and my former boss!) K. T. Horning of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) at UW-Madison and intellectual freedom champion Pat Scales, this year’s ALSC Distinguished Service Award winner.

And then, of course, there are the authors, illustrators, and publishers who leave me awestruck. But whenever I start to feel like a little cog in a big machine, I just talk with some of these people—who are so down to earth, friendly, and helpful that I realize we are all in it for the same reason. We love kids, we love books, and we love talking about them! Sure, some of us are more accomplished in various ways; some have won numerous honors; some quietly go about their work never seeking recognition or reward.

So many people I’ve talked to feel the same way—that ALSC is their home base for stretching their professional muscles, achieving their professional goals, and networking with kindred spirits.

Even if you can’t get involved through attending conferences—we know it’s not possible for all of you—remember how many advocates you do have at ALSC working to make children’s services and publishing even stronger entities every day.

Stay in touch with each other, become an advocate in your own library, and you’ll realize that all the little cogs in our big machine are necessary to keep children’s librarianship running smoothly. &


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