Blogger Ericka Chilcoat

1000 Books and Smiles!

This weekend we held our very first 1000 Books before Kindergarten graduation! We had 10 graduates who reached this milestone. Some registered with our pilot program in October of 2016;  others with our full rollout in January of this year.  I am still flabbergasted at the amount of planning that went into the graduation. Try as we might, there were still last-minute details that threatened to derail us, such as a “broken” printer! Luckily, we pulled it together, thanks to my fabulous detail-oriented partner-in-crime Susan Flinspach, who has put in thousands of volunteer hours toward this program. I believe the parents, children, family members, volunteers and local officials that participated all had a great time.

Blogger Public Awareness Committee

Reflecting on Summer Meals

Hearing about Summer Meals a lot lately?  There has been a lot of publicity for this growing program, coming from wide ranging sources. One article, featured in the New York Times, gave a broad portrayal of how lunch service is working in different libraries across the country.  This article, for the Office of Intellectual Freedom blog, takes a different approach and champions the service as an intellectual freedom issue. My library system (King County Library System) has 13 branches offering some kind of meal service this summer.  While most are federally funded, as described in the New York Times article, several (including mine) are being paid for by donations from our KCLS Foundation.  We follow similar guidelines (food for everyone 18 and under, must be consumed on site) for the three days per week that we serve lunch. This is the first year that my branch has served meals in…

Blogger Alyson Feldman-Piltch

Summer in the City fun!

This year, Boston Public Library initiated its own theme for summer reading, separate from the national one, which is “Summer in the City,” and I’ve had a great time developing fun and dynamic programming that reflects this. One of the great things about Boston is that everywhere you go, there’s some form of public art.  Whether it’s the fence of an empty lot decorated by MassArt’s sparc! team and community members, a free concert on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, or the Tony DeMarco statue in the North End, there’s tons of public art- famous and not!  I wanted to show kids that art can be everywhere, and that anyone can create it.  At the North End Branch, we have a beautiful courtyard garden that our Friends group maintains.  I thought it would be great to have the kids create art to share with the library that wouldn’t just be…

AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee

Gimme a C (for Collaboration!): Working Together to Beat Summer Slide

Summer Slide is the term for lost school achievement growth that can occur over the summer. Researchers have found that students from low income families can especially be affected, losing between 2 to 3 months in their reading levels during this time. Unfortunately, this can add up, leaving many students as much as 2 ½ to 3 years behind their peers. Children who read during the summer are more likely to have their achievement remain steady or modestly increase. School and public librarians can work together to help solve this problem. The Role of School Librarians Before the school year ends, school librarians can start a book distribution program with community partners to ensure children have books to read. In Durham (County) NC, we have partnered with Book Harvest to provide two free books to students in the school system. Prior to that partnership, I allowed for summer book check…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Taking STEAM Programs On The Road

Early this year, I learned that my library was one of the lucky recipients of an ALSC & Dollar General Literacy Foundation “Strengthening Communities Through Libraries” grant. We used the funds to create STEAM programming kits to be used alone or in different combinations for outreach programs. Our vision was to take these kits into after-school care sites serving disadvantaged populations and deliver the same type of STEAM programs we would at the library. We put out feelers to multiple sites, asking if we could come once per month to deliver a program. We thought that we would be lucky to get our foot in the door at a couple of places. In reality, we got ten enthusiastic “yes, please come” replies within days. And that’s how we ended up doing fifty extra STEAM programs that reached hundreds of kids in just five months. Every month, we developed a basic…

Blogger Ericka Chilcoat

Thoughts on Graduation

graduation, graduates, cap and gown

This is the time of year when you can’t avoid the evidence-it’s graduation time. You either know someone who is graduating or someone you know is going to a graduation. A friend’s child barely made it across the finish line and there’s relief. Others are in the throes of meeting final requirements, getting signatures, and making arrangements for the big day and beyond.

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Building Strong Summer Partnerships

Library outreach allows us to bring services and programs to children outside of library walls and to reach patrons in new settings. Children’s outreach can have an even greater impact in the summer months when school is out and energies can be focused on new learning activities. Summer outreach opportunities can also provide unique possibilities in terms of establishing new partnerships as you work with community organizations to bring summer library programming directly to their audiences. Whether they are summer camp sites, nonprofit organizations, neighborhood recreational centers, and more; there are a variety of community partnerships to forge in the summer to help expand the scope of the library and provide programming for youth. However, these opportunities can also bring about challenges in working with new community partners. Here are a few tips that may help you make the most of establishing new outreach partnerships over the coming months. 1. …