Guest Blogger

Roblox Mania

School age and tween library users will let you know the hottest computer gaming webpages—just ask them or watch them.  I remember the days of high IMVU use, which I admit was not a personal favorite.  I was thrilled when Minecraft became all the rage, as it allows users to create and build…in other words, teaching young people geometry and spatial skills underhandedly, while they were having fun.

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Bilingual Outreach at the Doctor’s Office

One of the most formidable aspects of public library work is reaching out to community members who are not current library users. This challenge can be made more daunting when trying to reach immigrant and non-English speaking populations who may not be present at more typical outreach events like back-to-school nights. Meeting these groups where they are is important as many times they have not previously used libraries and are not sure what services we provide or if they are able to get a library card. To bridge this gap, Alexandria Library staff members have been visiting a local doctor’s office in a low-income Hispanic neighborhood for the last three years. Every Monday morning at 8:30am, Patricia Amaya and Christian Reynolds arrive wearing aprons embroidered with the library logo to engage parents and children while they wait for their appointments. Patricia, a native Spanish speaker, talks with adults about what the…

Blogger Laura Schulte-Cooper

Think Spring, Warm Weather, and Gardens! Botanical Stories in Libraryland

Sitting here at my laptop, wondering what to write about as I gaze out the window. Snow on the neighboring roofs, frost on my window, a high of 7 degrees outside. What subject jumps to mind? Spring, warm weather, and gardens, of course! And, as a result of my wistful daydreaming, below is a sampling of articles that feature libraries that incorporated gardens into their community and programming. A Bumper Crop of Ideas: Library Gardens Offer Many Teachable Programs, Moments By Sandy Kallunki Children & Libraries (CAL), Vol. 13, No. 2 (Summer 2015) Gardening can promote healthier eating, sustain environmental health, inspire a sense of community, and offer outdoor experiences for all ages. It’s no surprise that libraries are among the public places introducing gardens. Learn how to combine early literacy components and garden-related activities to create engaging and rewarding library programming from this CAL article. Photo courtesy of Brown County…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Teaching Children Banned Words

Enlightening & Teaching 2017 was a whirlwind year, with many, many unprecedented changes, challenges and fear.  To help our youngest patrons, it is critically important that we aid in their enlightenment, making them more socially aware, teaching them new concepts, and making them more culturally competent. For 2018, I encourage you to explore these terms through your youth programming.  This will aid not only the children, but their parents as well.  So, let’s go!  Following each term will be suggestions for aiding you deliver these important concepts: Diversity My wife – Marianne Dolce, a highly successful school media specialist  – showed me how to take a picture book or a story and build a theme from it – to reverse the storytime building process, and thereby integrate diverse materials into storytime – Every. Single Week. Read up on ALA’s “Importance of Diversity” Entitlement These quick “fables” help teach children all…

Awards & Scholarships

Hosting a Mock Award Discussion with Kids

The end of the year is approaching. For me, that means skyrocketing speculation about the Youth Media Awards (YMAs), which include the Newbery, Caldecott. I love pouring over year-end best of lists and reading as many 2017 books as I can. Another reason I look forward to this time of year: I love a good mock award discussion. For this blog, I’ll focus on different ways to host a mock award with school-age kids (for more on the benefits of hosting a blog for your colleagues, check out Amanda Foulk’s stellar post on Guessing Geisel).

Blogger Heather Acerro

RPL’s ArtCart: Spinning Creativity

Back in April, when we were looking forward to the start of summer in Minnesota, Rochester Public Library introduced a new ArtCart. The ArtCart complements our 2015 Local Government Innovation Award-winning BookBike, a bicycle pulled trailer that provides access to books and DVDs, library cards, and advisory services within downtown and in nearby low-income neighborhoods. Over summer 2017 the ArtCart, an art room on wheels, traveled alongside the BookBike bringing fun and creative activities to the community.         Some of our favorite art activities included: Flyswatter Painting Salad Spinner Art Q-Tip Pointilism Collaborative Community Mural Chalk Art Solar Prints From easy and cheap to fairly complicated and expensive, the projects changed out on a two-week rotation in order to keep the ArtCart fresh and interesting for repeat customers. We made 74 stops over the summer months and had 3,672 visitors! We surveyed our customers and found that:…

Blogger Emily Bayci

Passive Program in a Post: Learn Basic Braille

A new after-school feature at my library is our maker-cart which has fun and engaging activities that rotate every week. This has been an experimental project and some activities are a hit, while others are a miss. The Braille maker cart was definitely a hit! Supplies: A large poster with the letters of the alphabet in Braille Small stickers Colored bookmarks that kids can decorate with their names in Braille Informational Books about Louis Braille and Braille Braille books or other texts Instructions: We advertised this as an educational way to learn about Braille and how to create a bookmark with their own name in Braille. Kids used the giant Braille alphabet as a guide to the letters of the alphabet. They then would place stickers on the bookmark to outline their own names. It was helpful to have six empty dots as a template when kids were creating their…