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ALSC receives $150,000 from IMLS to host Welcoming Spaces National Forum

ALSC and ACM Partner to Create Welcoming Spaces for Immigrant and Refugee Families

CHICAGO — The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), received a $150,000 National Leadership Grant for Libraries from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). ALSC will partner with the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) on this two-year project to host the Welcoming Spaces National Forum in Chicago in June 2020 to compile a best practices resource for libraries and children’s museums serving recent immigrants and refugees to the United States.

“Children whose families have recently arrived in this country need to have places in their communities that belong to them, where they can explore without fear or worry,” says ALSC President Cecilia McGowan. “Through thoughtful and respectful programming and intentional communication with families and caregivers, children’s librarians are ensuring that immigrant families experience the public library as one of these safe places.”

In the coming months, ALSC and ACM will convene an advisory panel to provide input on forum planning. Invitees to the Welcoming Spaces National Forum will be selected through an application process, and will include representatives from 12 libraries, 12 children’s museums, and 24 collaborating partners doing exemplary work to engage with members of their communities who have recently immigrated or resettled. Collaborating partners may also include patrons wishing to represent their lived experiences. The aforementioned participants will receive travel stipends. Up to 10 representatives from stakeholder organizations serving immigrants and refugees will also be invited to attend.

“Inclusiveness and equity are core values of the children’s museum field, and many children’s museums put these values into action with programming for immigrant and refugee families,” said ACM Executive Director Laura Huerta Migus. “We’re proud to partner with ALSC to identify resources to examine, amplify, and replicate our work with the wider landscape of organizations dedicated to serving children and families.”

ALSC and ACM will present findings from the forum in a webinar hosted by ALSC in August 2020, at ALSC’s National Institute in Minneapolis (October 2020), and at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Indianapolis (January 2021). A best practice resource with recommendations will be developed incorporating feedback from the webinar and conferences. This resource will be presented in a second webinar hosted by ALSC (May 2021), at ACM’s InterActivity Conference in New Orleans (May 2021), and at ALA’s Annual Conference in Chicago (June 2021). External evaluation of the project will be conducted by Garibay Group.

To stay informed on this project, subscribe to the ALSC Matters! e-newsletter.

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