Save the Date!: “ASL for Library Staff” eCourse to be offered again Fall 2017!

The next session of this popular eCourse, taught by Kathy MacMillan, will begin November 6, 2017. Watch this space or sign up to follow this blog by email to be notified when registration is open.

Description: American Sign Language (ASL) is an invaluable skill for library professionals. A basic grasp of ASL enhances your ability to serve deaf library users and opens up a new world of possibilities for storytime programs. It’s also a marketable professional skill that can translate to public service jobs beyond the library world.

Ideal for those without previous experience, this eCourse taught by librarian and ASL interpreter Kathy MacMillan will use readings, multimedia resources, and online discussion boards to introduce basic ASL vocabulary and grammar appropriate for use in a library setting. MacMillan will place ASL within a linguistic and cultural context, aiding participants in improving library services.

Estimated Hours of Learning: 30 (Certificate of Completion available upon request)

Length of Course: 6 weeks (participants will have a total of 12 weeks to complete all assignments)


An Interview with Nancy Churnin, author of THE WILLIAM HOY STORY

A few days ago, I posted my review of Nancy Churnin’s terrific new picture book, The William Hoy Story.  Today, I am excited to share an interview with the author herself!

.About the Book:

The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game
By Nancy Churnin
Illustrated by Jez Tuya
All William Ellsworth Hoy wanted to do was play baseball. After losing out on a spot on the local deaf team, William practiced even harder—eventually earning a position on a professional team. But his struggle was far from over. In addition to the prejudice Hoy faced, he could not hear the umpires’ calls. One day he asked the umpire to use hand signals: strike, ball, out. That day he not only got on base but also changed the way the game was played forever. William “Dummy” Hoy became one of the greatest and most beloved players of his time! 


About the Author

Nancy Churnin is the author of five non-fiction picture book biographies. Her debut, The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game, published by Albert Whitman & Company in March 2016, received a glowing review in The New York Times and was featured in People magazine and USA Today Sports Weekly. William Hoy is a 2017 Storytelling World Resource Award Honor Book and a 2017 North Texas Book Festival Best Children’s Books finalist and is on several book lists: the 2016 New York Public Library Best Books for Kids; the 2017 Texas Library Association 2×2 Reading List and Topaz Nonfiction Reading List; the 2017 Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street College and the 2018 Illinois Monarch Award Master List. Her second book, Manjhi Moves a Mountain (Creston Books), will be published Sept. 1, 2017 and is a fall 2017 Junior Library Guild selection. Coming up in 2018: Charlie Takes His Shot, How Charlie Sifford Broke the Color Barrier in Golf (Albert Whitman); Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing (Creston Books); The Princess and the First Christmas Tree (Albert Whitman). When she’s not writing children’s books, Nancy keeps busy as the theater critic for The Dallas Morning News. She lives in Texas with her husband, Michael Granberry, their four sons and two cats.

The Interview

How did you first become interested in the story of William Hoy?
I am the theater critic for The Dallas Morning News. After I wrote a story about a fascinating play being staged at a local high school in Garland, Texas called The Signal Season of Dummy Hoy by Allen Meyer and Michael Nowak, I received a thank you e-mail from Steve Sandy of Ohio. I thanked him for his email and asked why someone from Ohio would be interested in a story about a play in a high school in Garland, Texas. Steve wrote me that he is deaf and shared his dream that more people, hearing and deaf, would know the story about this great deaf hero. Steve told me of his dream that William Hoy would be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, where he would be the first deaf player honored there. The more we discussed this, the more I knew Steve was right. I tried to figure out what I could do to help. That’s when I got the idea that if I wrote a children’s book about William Hoy, the children would help us. And so far, they have. I have personally delivered more than 800 letters from kids to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which have been entered into his official file in the Hall of Fame library.
What kind of research did you do while writing the story?
Steve Sandy is a friend of the Hoy family and he shared all the precious things they had entrusted with him: copies of original letters, newspaper articles, photos. Also very important: Steve gave me an education on what it was like to grow up deaf in the 19th century as William Hoy had. He sent me papers about the international conference of deaf educators in Milan in 1880, when a declaration was made that oral education was better than signing. William Hoy never spoke. He always signed. This helped me understand and be even more in awe of the enormity of what he accomplished — bringing sign language to baseball and succeeding with pride and even a sense of humor on his own terms. In addition to Steve’s help, I am very indebted to Eric Nadel, the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame announcer, who is incredibly knowledgeable about baseball history. He double-checked my baseball references and was kind enough to write a blurb for the back of the book and to read it to kids at Texas Ranger story time sessions.

Were there any interesting tidbits about Hoy that didn’t make it into the story?

So many! One of the reasons it took me as long as it did to get to the final draft of this story (13 years, but who’s counting), was to figure out how to focus the story. I was able to add some anecdotes to the back matter, but I find kids enjoy hearing stories that didn’t make it into the book. I’ve got lots of stories, but my favorite one that didn’t make it is about his honesty. William was an amazing outfielder who made incredible catches. One day he was out in centerfield and the ball comes in very low. He catches it. The umpire calls the runner out. William shakes his head. No. The ball hit the ground. The runner was safe. One of the players on his team threw his cap on the ground because he was so mad! Years later, at the end of William’s life, a reporter asked him what his proudest moment in baseball was. William Hoy set a lot of records over the years. He even hit a grand slam to help the Chicago White Sox win the American pennant in 1901. But his proudest moment? The one where he let the umpire know the runner was safe.

Your book presents a very human, relatable portrait of Hoy. How did you navigate the challenges of creating a story full of moving details while keeping it historically accurate?
I realized I needed to figure out what William’s dream was, how he had achieved that dream and what he and we could learn from his journey. His dream was to play baseball. He achieved his dream through persistence, hard work and realizing that the very thing that made him different from his teammates — his deafness — was his gift. His mother applauding him in sign language in the beginning of the book returns as a memory to help him in the middle of the book when he can’t seem to connect with his teammates, the opposing team or the fans. The signs not only help him succeed in making those connections and being a successful baseball player, they make baseball a better game. Finally, the sign for applause becomes a way for the fans to show their love for him. I followed my instincts in writing the story. I went back and checked with Steve Sandy and Eric Nadel to make sure I hadn’t written anything that wasn’t historically accurate. I am so happy that the book has their blessing and the blessing of the Hoy family.
In the book’s acknowledgements, you mention that you are on the “Hoy for the Hall” Committee, campaigning to get William Hoy inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY.  Please tell us more about the campaign and how readers can support it!
This book got its start with my determination to help Steve achieve his dream of getting William Hoy in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Everywhere I present the book I ask kids if they think he should be in the Hall of Fame. They do! Then I ask them if they will draw pictures or write letters to the Hall of Fame. Some send me copies so I can post on my Facebook pages at Nancy Churnin Children’s Books and Nancy Churnin and on Twitter @nchurnin.  You can find the address for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in the free downloadable teachers guide on the Albert Whitman website.
Anything else you want readers to know about the book?
This was a labor of love, which kicked off a passion to tell more true stories of people who are not well known, but should be. I have four more children’s books coming out and none of this would have been possible if I had not gotten the opportunity to tell William’s inspiring story. I am so appreciative of Steve and his wife, Bonnie, who have become such good friends to me. I am thankful for the opportunity to get to know wonderful people in the deaf community. It has been my honor and privilege to be interviewed by DPanTV alongside Steve Sandy about William Hoy, which you can see here. I am thrilled about all the people who have taken William Hoy’s story to their hearts and spread the word, through blog posts, reviews, interviews and putting the book on state reading lists because that helps get William’s story in the hands and hearts of more children.

I recently heard from an 11-year-old boy I met at an airport last summer, waiting to get on a plane. I gave this little boy and his sister a copy of the book, which I autographed. Now, a year later, I received an email from the boy, saying he had been to his native Japan and saw The William Hoy Story in Japanese. He wrote that he found the books “piled up in front of the cashier as selected one of must-read books for 3rd and 4th graders during summer vacation. I was so excited and got one. I love this story!! I just wanted to let you know this great news.Thank you.” A letter like that is everything to me.


Review: The William Hoy Story by Nancy Churnin


The William Hoy Story by Nancy Churnin.  Illustrated by Jez Tuya.  (Albert Whitman and Company, 2017)

William Ellsworth Hoy has long been a hero of the Deaf community – a record-setting baseball player who played for multiple National League teams and changed the way that baseball was played. Churnin’s approachable text and Tuya’s expressive illustrations take readers along with William’s struggles to be taken seriously by the hearing world – which, in the 1880s, didn’t believe a deaf player could amount to much. William proves the critics wrong through determination, grit, and talent, and soon teams and fans are clamoring for him. Many biographies of Hoy get hung up on his nickname, “Dummy”, which was a common term applied to deaf people at the time, but Churnin wisely keeps the focus on Hoy’s accomplishments throughout the story, saving such details, with contextualizing comments, for an informative afterward. A timeline of Hoy’s life offers more details for baseball lovers.

Coming soon: an interview with the author!

Library Signs Resources

Want to learn some simple signs you can use to make serving Deaf patrons more successful?  Check out these resources!

Practice Videos by Kathy MacMillan on YouTube
Manners Signs
Library Signs 1
Library Signs 2
Library Signs 3

Library Signs Quiz Video


Library Signs Quiz Video Answer Sheet

Handouts to go with Practice Videos:
Library Signs (Vocabulary – Video 2)

Library Signs (Sentences – Videos 1 and 3)

Attention ASL-fluent Librarians! Job Openings at the MD Deaf Culture Digital Library

Shared from the Maryland Deaf Culture Digital Library website:

Deaf Culture Digital Library Positions – CLOSING DATE: June 5, 2017

Montgomery County Public Libraries is recruiting to fill two grant funded positions in the new Deaf Culture Digital Library. This state initiative will be housed in the Germantown Branch, and be the primary information center on deaf resources for library customers and library staff throughout Maryland.

Program Specialist I-IRC25751

Montgomery County Public Libraries seeks a Program Specialist I with knowledge of deaf culture, hearing loss and assistive technology as well as basic proficiency in American Sign Language to help to develop the Deaf Culture Digital Library (DCDL). As the Program Specialist I at the DCDL you will play a vital role in marketing the DCDL to the community and outside agencies.

Librarian I -IRC25750

Montgomery County Public Libraries seeks a Librarian I with experience using, discussing and sharing information on deaf culture, deaf history and deaf literature. As the Librarian I, you will use your collection development skills to help to tailor a print and electronic collection to support the work of the DCDL. Statewide programming responsibilities are also an integral part of this position, as is providing customer service at the information desk at the Germantown Branch. This position requires a Master’s degree in Library Science from a college or university accredited by the American Library Association as well as Basic Proficiency in American Sign Language.

To learn more about these exciting and challenging positions, please visit the Montgomery County Website

Please remember to address the preferred criteria in your submission. For additional information, please contact Debra Marshall, Human Resources Specialist Montgomery County Office of Human Resources, 240-777-5042 or or Barbara McClayton, MCPL Human Resources & Accountability Manager, 240-777-0107 or

Upcoming Interpreter Workshop: Kids are Consumers, Too!

The CCBC Interpreter Preparation Program Presents…

Kids are Consumers, Too!

May 13th, 2017 from 9:00-1:00

Catonsville Campus, Mathematics and Science Hall (MASH) 032

.3 CEUs Professional Studies


  • Current CCBC INTR Students: $20
  • All Others: $40


Register here!

Presented by Kathy MacMillan & Louise Rollins

Workshop Description:

(.3 CEU PS) In this hands-on workshop, participants will develop an understanding of the needs of young consumers and lay a foundation for the skills, vocabulary, and attitudes needed to serve children in a variety of interpreting settings. There are very few resources available in the field of interpreting on this subject, and much of what is available focuses exclusively on educational settings. This workshop focuses on the broad range of settings where interpreters work with children.

Topics covered include:

  • How interpreting for children differs from interpreting for adults
  • Vocabulary specific to settings with children
  • Basic overview of child development, with a focus on linguistic features of each stage
  • Important linguistic considerations when interpreting for children
  • Ethical considerations for working with children

At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Give a basic description of the stages of child development.
  2. Explain how these stages influence the interpreter’s role at each stage.
  3. Demonstrate at least 10 ASL signs commonly found in settings involving children.
  4. List at least 3 special considerations the interpreter must make when working with children in non-educational settings

Content level/target audience for workshop is little to none. Recommended for any interpreters who are interested in working with children.

If you need any accommodations contact Dr. Rebecca Minor at

Cancellation policy: in the event of cancellation the event will be rescheduled.

PCRID is an RID approved sponsor of continuing education activities.

About the Presenters

Kathy MacMillanKathy MacMillan has worked with both deaf and hearing children in many different capacities throughout her professional life: as a children’s librarian, as a school librarian at the Maryland School for the Deaf, as a camp counselor and director with Deaf Camps, Inc., as an interpreter, and as a signing storyteller with Stories By Hand. Kathy holds NIC Certification from RID, as well as a Master of Library Science from the University of MD, College Park. Kathy reviews interpreter resource materials for RID’s VIEWS, and is the author of several storytime resource books for librarians and educators.

Louise RollinsLouise Rollins is a teacher with Montgomery County Public Schools. She works with deaf and hard of hearing children ages birth to five and their families, and spent several years as a teacher at the Maryland School for the Deaf. Louise also volunteers as a camp counselor and director with Deaf Camps, Inc. Louise draws on her experience with the Deaf community through her parents, family members, and friends, as well as several years of interpreting in community and VRS settings. She holds a BA in Early Childhood Education from Towson University and an MA in Deaf Education, with a concentration in Family Centered Early Education, from Gallaudet University.


Register here!

In the Community: Celebrating and Preserving Deaf History Through Literature and Resources

In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of American Sign Language, Mother Father Deaf Day (April 30), and Preservation Week (April 23-29) ,

Montgomery County Public Libraries presents:

Celebrating and Preserving Deaf History Through Literature and Resources

Presented in American Sign Language with voice interpretation

Sunday, April 30, 2017, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Germantown Library 19840 Century Blvd, Germantown, MD 20874

Register online at:

Program Agenda

  1. Preserving Deaf History: an introduction
  2. Poet Dr. Curtis Robbins, authors Dr. Carolyn McCaskill, Gina A. Oliva, and Judith A. Jonas will discuss their works.
  3. Learn about Maryland Deaf Culture Digital Library and how to locate deaf history resources.
  4. Meet and Greet writers for book signings.

This program is co-sponsored by Montgomery County Public Libraries and the Friends of the Maryland Deaf Culture Digital Library.

To request other accommodations, email at least three work days in advance.

March 13-April 15 is Deaf History Month. Check out free books, DVDs, and online resources at MCPL and the Maryland Deaf Culture Digital Library.

In the Community: ASL Classes for All Ages at the Hearing and Speech Agency

Learn from a Deaf instructor at the Hearing and Speech Agency, a highly-respected Baltimore non-profit.



(Tuesdays 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.)
ASL 1 | ASL 2 | ASL 3 | ASL 4 | ASL 5 | Children’s ASL (Ages 5-12; parents may accompany child for an additional fee)

(10:00 a.m. – Noon)
ASL 1: Tuesdays | ASL 2: Wednesdays | ASL 3: Thursdays

For pricing and registration information, click here.

In the Community: Upcoming Events from Deaf Camps, Inc.


March and April are filled with terrific events for families from Deaf Camps, Inc., a nonprofit organization I have been proud to be involved with since 2001.  Deaf Camps, Inc. is a volunteer-run non-profit organization dedicated to providing fun, safe, communication-rich camps that promote the physical, spiritual, and social development of Deaf/hard of hearing children and children learning American Sign Language.

Online Auction Through March 31

Support Deaf Camps, Inc.’s 2017 Scholarship Fund with its first-ever Online Auction! From March 1 to March 31, bid on handmade items, travel packages, gift certificates, event tickets – even manuscript critiques from one of the top agents in the children’s publishing industry! A $100 Stories By Hand gift certificate is also up for bid!

Check out the items here and make your bids, knowing that every dollar raised goes straight to Deaf Camps, Inc.’s 2017 Scholarship Fund.

The DCI Online Auction is run through A credit card is required to register and bid.

The 2017 Kiwanis 16th Biannual Spring All-You-Can-Eat Country Breakfast & Flea Market

Sponsored by The Kiwanis Club of Ellicott City

Saturday, April 1, 8:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Location: Bethany United Methodist Church, 2875 Bethany Lane, Ellicott City, MD 21042

thusq1taepAll-you-can-eat breakfast (pancakes, eggs, Boarman’s sausage, sausage gravy, biscuits and beverages) $8.00 for adults. Children under 8 eat free

Breakfast proceeds support Kiwanis Club service projects.

Flea market proceeds support Deaf Camps, Inc.’s Scholarship program.


DCI Yard Sale, Saturday April 8 from 8 AM to 12 Noon

Location: Christ Deaf Church, 1040 S Beechfield Ave, Baltimore, Maryland 21229

Come find a bargain! We’ll have clothes, shoes, household goods, toys and more! All proceeds go directly to our 2017 scholarship fund.

Got stuff to donate for the Yard Sale? Contact to make arrangements!


DCI Easter Party, Saturday, April 8 from 4 PM to 6:30 PM

Location: Christ Deaf Church, 1040 S Beechfield Ave, Baltimore, Maryland 21229

Celebrate the season and have your picture taken with our signing Easter Bunny!

Admission includes:
* Pancake supper
* Easter egg hunt – begins at 4:45pm
* Easter Bunny pictures
* Crafts

All ages and all families welcome!
Admission: $6 per person
Children under 12 will receive a FREE photo with the Easter Bunny. Additional photos $3 each.

All proceeds benefit Deaf Camps, Inc’s 2017 scholarship fund.



DCI Paint Party: Sunday, April 30, 2017, 5-7:30 PM

Location: Bowman Restaurant, 9306 Harford Rd, Parkville MD 21234

Registration deadline: April 22, 2017

Enjoy an evening out and paint a spring masterpiece to take home with you, led by Tina Young of Canvas Celebrations. No experience necessary – anyone can do it! All materials will be provided. Food and drink will be available for purchase. This event will be accessible in American Sign Language and English.

Tickets: $32 per person,  All proceeds support Deaf Camps, Inc.’s 2017 Scholarship Fund.

Purchase Tickets