Youth Services Update: January 2024

3 children of visibly different ethnicities reading while laying in the grass.

Upcoming Opportunities

These opportunities are available for free unless otherwise noted. Descriptions are provided by host organizations.

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All CT Reads 2024 Virtual Author Launch

January 19, 2024  |  11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET

All CT Reads is a year-long initiative of the Connecticut State Library to promote lifelong reading, learning, and connection that uses a rotating community committee structure to select one main book title and three shortlist book titles, each calendar year for three age groups: kids (ages 8-12), teens (ages 13-18), and adults. In addition to the books, All CT Reads provides a supported programmatic structure for Connecticut libraries built around the titles with room for individuality and creativity. 

Join the Connecticut State Library for an extra-special virtual launch with the authors of the 2024 All CT Reads primary selections. Each author will discuss their work and answer questions from the community. Recordings will be available on the All CT Reads website for those unable to attend live. For more information, visit the event registration page.

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Tocker Foundation Stipend

DEADLINE: January 20, 2024

The Tocker Foundation is pleased to provide travel stipends for staff at rural libraries to attend the TLA’s annual conference. Attendees will enjoy opportunities to learn from experts in the field, find new vendors in the exhibit hall, network with their peers, hear from authors as well gain valuable CEU’s at designated sessions. Library staff in towns of 12,000 or less qualify to apply for this grant. First-time attendees are given priority in this grant selection. For more information, visit the grant announcement.

This is a decorative logo for the Partners Library Action Network (PLAN)

Summer Reading and Sunny Storytime

January 26, 2024  |  Taylor Public Library

Join PLAN for a free in-person, full-day training at the Taylor Public Library. Montana Rindahl and Katie Talhelm will be leading workshops on building a summer reading program and planning storytime for different age groups. This is intended for rural librarians, but anyone will be welcome to attend. Since PLAN has limited spots, attendees are encouraged to contact the organization directly if they receive a message that the registration is full. For more information, visit the event webpage.

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Cast Your Vote: 2024 CLEL Bell Award

DEADLINE: January 30, 2024

The CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards are an annual recognition of five high-quality picture books that provide excellent support of early literacy development in young children. Librarians, caregivers, and all picture book lovers are encouraged to vote on their favorites via the award webpage until January 30, 2024.

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Texas Library Association Grants, Awards, and Scholarships

Demco/Upstart Innovative Programming Award |  DEADLINE: January 31, 2024

The Demco/Upstart Innovative Programming Award recognizes two libraries – one school and one for all other library types (i.e. public, academic, and special) that have implemented innovative programs that other organizations can drawn upon, adapt, replicate, and scale to fit the unique characteristics of their institutions and the communities they serve. Each winning library receives a $1,000 check and a plaque. Submission deadline is January 31, 2024. For more information, visit the award announcement.

Jeanette & Jim Larson Grant |  DEADLINE: January 31, 2024

Longtime Texas Library Association (TLA) member Jeanette Larson and her late husband, Jim, an architect, established this fund to help a public library or public library branch annually acquire materials in the mystery genre to delight their customers. Jeanette is a well-known library consultant, children’s services specialist, and author with work experience at the Mesquite Public Library, Austin Public Library, and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Both Jeanette and Jim are voracious mystery readers and viewers, borrowing many books, videos, and audiobooks from their public library. The fund is their way of giving back to all the libraries they have used. The Committee seeks to understand how applicant libraries will expand their collections; entice new users to their libraries and how this grant will update or expand their collections. Application is open to any public library in the state of Texas, including individual branch libraries of a larger library system. For more information, visit the grant announcement.

Woll Memorial Fund Grant | DEADLINE: January 31, 2024

This fund was established to perpetuate Christina Woll’s love of reading and commitment to providing quality literature for children. Based on the merits of individual applications, awards of up to $1000 will be granted to Texas school or public libraries. Submission deadline is January 31, 2024. For more information, visit the grant announcement.

PLD Annual Conference Stipend  DEADLINE: February 5, 2024

The Public Libraries Division (PLD) is offering 2 conference stipends of $800 each. The stipends are meant for public library employees who have not attended a TLA Annual Conference before. It is a great opportunity for those who might not be able to attend otherwise. The stipend will cover conference registration and a portion of travel expenses. To qualify applicants must be currently or formerly employed by a Texas Public Library. For more information, visit the stipend webpage.

Vivian Greenfield Award | February 1, 2024

This scholarship supports educational endeavors reinforcing work with youth. This can include, but is not limited to professional development activities (like taking a course or attending a conference), implementing a new idea in the workplace, performing a study, and more. Submission deadline is February 1, 2024. For more information, visit the scholarship announcement.

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Smokey Bear Reading Challenge

Registration Deadline: February 1, 2024

The Smokey Bear Reading Challenge was developed by the USDA Forest Service and Georgia Public Library System to celebrate Smokey Bear’s 80th Birthday year in 2024. Through Texas public libraries’ affiliation with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, they have been invited to partner on this free reading program. This challenge—available through the Beanstack and READsquared online platforms as well as a printable paper log—will engage youth in reading about wildfire prevention, forests, and natural resource careers while they explore their local environment. The challenge is designed to complement the 2024 Collaborative Summer Library Program slogan of “Adventure Begins at Your Library.”

Whereas Smokey’s actual birthdate is August 9th, libraries can run the challenge anytime from January 1st to November 28th, 2024 and will receive at no cost the following materials:

  • One roll of 500 Smokey Stickers
  • 50 Smokey Cards
  • One Smokey Stamp for use on paper challenge, completion certificates, and other items.
  • Access to one Smokey Bear Story Book – Teacher’s Version for shared use by Teaxas libraries.
  • Access to the digital toolkit containing everything needed to promote and implement the challenge, including:
    • Printable paper log, Smokey’s Reading List, posters, bookmarks, sticker/button templates, completion certificates, coloring sheets, “Pin the Hat on Smokey” game, and additional prizes.
    • Graphics and images for online platforms, social media, monitors, and websites.

For your convenience, instructions for expressing interest in participating are outlined in TSLAC’s Texas Summer Library Program Newsletter. Please contact if you did not receive this information.

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Take Your Child to the Library

First Saturday of February  |  Annually

Take Your Child to the Library is an annual international celebration that encourages families to take their children to their local public library. To celebrate, libraries across the country and around the world welcome families with programs, activities, and special events.

Libraries across the country are encouraged to register and participate. Participation is completely customizable – it can be as simple as handing out bookmarks or as elaborate as a full day extravaganza. Furthermore, registration is simple and free via the event registration form. Then, once libraries register, they’ll be placed on the map for their community to find. For more information, visit the event website.

Decorative logo for the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas State Library and Archives Commission Grants

Library Capacity Grant  |  DEADLINE: February 7, 2024

Library Capacity provides funds for programs and services that expand the capacity of library staff to meet identified and/or demonstrated community needs through professional training and development opportunities. It enables library staff to learn, expand, and/or hone skills needed to provide responsive programming and services to community members. Submission deadline is February 7, 2024. For more information, visit the TSLAC Grants Page.

Special Projects Grant  |  DEADLINE: February 7, 2024

The Special Project Grant program provides funds for programs that expand library services to include all members of the library’s community. It enables libraries to develop programs for populations with special needs or those having difficulty using the library. Programs focusing on community engagement or involving collaboration with other community organizations are strongly encouraged. For more information, visit the TSLAC Grants Page.

Texas Reads Grant

The Texas Reads Grant funds public library programs to promote reading and literacy within local communities. Programs may include, but are not limited to book talks; English literacy classes; author visits; book clubs or discussion groups; Día (El Día de los niños/El día de los libros; Born-to-Read or Every Child Ready to Read programs; One Book, One Community programs; or programs to enhance summer reading club activities.

Central Texas Teen & Kids Comic Con

February 17, 2024  |  9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Central Texas Teen & Kids Comic Con, presented by Round Rock Independent School District’s Library Services department, debuted on December 2, 2017 and now draws over 5,000 participants for the festivities. This FREE EVENT is a graphic novel and comic convention aimed at offering teens, kids, and educators the chance to interact with popular authors and illustrators, participate in workshops, and showcase their creativity.  The con features a fantastic line-up of creators and workshop presenters, and students have the opportunity to enter the art contest and cosplay contest. For more information, visit

Decorative logo for the Talking Books Program's Youth Services

Talking Book Program’s Family Book Club

Beginning February 27, 2024

The Talking Book Program (TBP) is excited to announce a new family book club! Beginning on February 27, 2024, TBP will offer three Family Book Club meetings per year. These events are designed for kids to read the same book as their parent or another person in their life so they can discuss the book together. Titles targeting readers in grades 3 – 7 have been chosen. However, since they’ll be read in community, other ages are welcome to participate. Audiobooks are available for download on BARD, via a shipped cartridge for talking book machines, or for check-out from school and public libraries. Furthermore, TBP will send a list of discussion questions and related activities in advance of the meeting. For your convenience, book descriptions and meeting date are outlined in the November 20th  TBP Youth Services Newsletter. Please contact the Talking Book Program at if you did not receive this information.

Will Eisner Week

March  |  Recurs Annually

Will Eisner (1917-2005) was a highly innovative and creative artist and writer who pioneered in the field of comics and graphic novels. For decades he strongly advocated for the inclusion of graphic novels in library collections and sequential art on museum walls. Because of Will Eisner’s unparalleled contributions, Will Eisner Week is now celebrated every March around the world. You and your library are invited to join in by hosting an in-person or virtual Will Eisner Week event or by creating a graphic novel display. For more information including videos and downloadable resources, visit the event website.

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Call for Proposals: Children and Teen Services (CATS) Annual Workshop

March 11, 2024

The Children and Teen Services (CATS) Interest Group of the California Association of Libraries (CAL) is thrilled to announce that its Annual Workshop will be held in Colorado Springs at the Library 21c on Monday, March 11, 2024. The workshop planning team is seeking proposals for sessions, and presenters will attend the Workshop for FREE! Furthermore, presenters are not required to be a current member or CAL or the CATS Interest Group to present or attend. Session topics may include anything related to serving kids, teens, and families in libraries, along with other subjects critical to librarianship. New presenters are encouraged to submit proposals; moverover, organizers welcome the diverse perspectives from public librarians, school librarians, educators, and support staff. To express interest, complete the Presenter Submission Form.

Ongoing Tools

These tools are available for free unless otherwise noted. Descriptions are provided by host organizations.

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Epic Reads YouTube Channel

The Epic Reads YouTube channel is a fan-centric channel that hosts young adult literature related video content including book trailers, quizzes, author interviews, original series, exclusive event access, and more. For more information, visit the YouTube channel.

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Eurekus – STEAM & Maker Discovery

Eurekus is a nonprofit organization that delivers experiences to spark diverse audiences and spaces by crafting projects and programs for schools and institutions. The organization also designs teaching tools and handy kits to excite learning inside and outside of the traditional classroom. In addition, Eurekus hosts professional development that aims to support others in the practice (and practicality) of STEAM and Maker education. Eurekus connects the dots through the creative process by linking STEM topics with a crucial cultural ethos and by fusing hands-on, project-based and transdisciplinary learning to energize critical thinking and the design process; thus, folks of all ages and backgrounds become “Artist Explorers” to investigate how the universe works. For more information about the nonprofit, visit the association’s website.

decorative logo for the Girls and Literature nonprofit organization


Girls and Literature (GAL) is a student-led, 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to assist girls around the world who do not have easy access to education. The organization hopes to give girls the opportunity to educate themselves, become leaders, and create their own change in the world. GAL was founded in the Washington D.C. area and now has both national and international reach. Along with hosting virtual reading events, GAL has donated hundreds of books across three continents. The organization has worked with students in Uganda, Kenya, and Southern India as well as Afghan Refugees, among others. GAL starts their process by organizing and holding book drives in community hotspots. The books they collect are then sent to any girl who may need them both on a national and international scale. For more information, visit the organization’s website.

Decorative logo for the texas library association (TLA)

Texas Library Association Reading Lists

The Texas Library Association’s reading lists provide a recommendations to encourage children ages 2-18 to explore current titles through various lenses. The current lists have been released and profer a wide variety of offerings.

Need more support?

Resource Archive

Wish you had access to a repository of all the tools that have been featured in the monthly Youth Services Updates? Check out our Resource Archive for more information.

Training Catalog

In addition, be sure to peruse our Training Catalog for webinars that focus on Youth Services. Our holdings are constantly updated, so check back often.


For more information, visit our youth services page, contact Christina Taylor at, or call 512-463-5465.

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