Where Are They Now? CLEL Award Winners Reflect

By Lauren Graham, Communications Co-Chair, CLEL Steering Committee

Today, we are hearing from Julie Crabb, Children’s Guide at Anythink Libraries Wright Farms. Julie won the CLEL Rising Star award in 2018. https://www.anythinklibraries.org/news-item/anythink-staff-member-wins-colorado-libraries-early-literacy-award


Where are you now and what do you do? 

I am happy to report that I am still an Anythinker and work at the Wright Farms location as a Children’s Guide. Before the pandemic, I presented about five early literacy programs each week plus two programs for elementary kiddos. Now, I provide virtual storytime every other week and am just starting to plan programming again. I have been trying to keep busy by getting more involved at both the state and national level. I worked as an author for the ALSC Virtual Storytime Services Guide and am currently serving on the CLEL Bells Selection Committee and the planning committee for CLEL’s first ever Leadership Institute.  

What are you working on that excites you? 

While I miss in-person programming so much, I get excited thinking of new ways we can serve our community in these tough times. I am currently working on a self-guided treasure hunt in our library’s backyard space and a virtual series titled Baby Band Camp. 

What’s your favorite recently released picture book and why? 

As a member of the Selection Committee for CLEL Bells, I can’t discuss possible nominations. Lilah, my four-year-old, is super into picture book biographies right now and these are on her shelf now: 

  • Drawing on Walls: A Story of Keith Haring by Matthew Burgess 
  • Lift as You Climb: The Story of Ella Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell 
  • Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe by Vivian Kirkfield 
  • Mamie on the Mound: A Woman in Baseball’s Negro Leagues by Leah Henderson

What advice would you give for those working with children and families? 

I am beyond proud that I can say I love my job and I wish that for every youth services provider out there because passion shows through in everything that you do. My responsibility is to spark curiosity and I do that by experimenting, constantly evolving, and being a little wild. I don’t ever want to feel settled in my position or in what I offer our community. I think we all should strive for growth, fun, and contribution. 

What has been your favorite CLEL session and why?

In 2019, I had a big goal of incorporating more math concepts into my early literacy programming. That goal was kick started by the wonderful Jessica Fredrickson and Lauren Graham at the 2018 CLEL Conference. Their session, ‘Balancing the Scale: Weighing Early Math and Early Literacy’ helped me to see that math isn’t scary! I walked away with a ton of ideas that I still use to this day.