Guest Blogger

African-American Read-In

Last month was chock full of holidays: Groundhog’s Day, Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, President’s Day and, of course, Black History Month.  Each year, I strive to create an impactful Black History Month event for the largely African-American community in which I work. To be honest, my results have been hit or miss.  I had a wonderfully successful program focusing on Jacqueline Woodson’s Show Way where we discussed the book and created our own family teens.  I then struck out with a similarly structured program focused on Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue. Then I was alerted to the African-American Read-In (AARI) that a neighboring library system held yearly.  The Read-In is a creation of the National Council of the Teachers of English (NCTE).  NCTE’s website claims that the AARI “is the nation’s first and oldest event dedicated to diversity in literature.”    It was founded in 1990 by…

Guest Blogger

An Old-School Spin on STEAM Programming

Children experience engineering

At the 53rd Street branch of the New York Public Library, STEAM programming is in high demand, especially with our youngest library users. So how do you keep kids engaged after months and months of weekly programs? Fellow children’s librarian Grace Zell and I found an exciting new approach to STEAM programming from an unlikely source: Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) novels. For those less familiar with the CYOA set up, these stories are written from a second-person perspective and allow readers to step into the role of the protagonist, choosing the actions they take along the way. While the original series ran from 1979-1998, a relaunch began in the early 2000s and new titles, in a variety of genres and reading levels, are still being published. Grace and I created three distinct program plans, each featuring a series of STEAM challenges. These included coding, architectural, engineering, and simple puzzle…

Programming Ideas

Painting Under the Table: Innovative K-5 Art Programs

Linda Potter, an Early Literacy Specialist at the Kenosha Public Library, has turned the tables on ordinary art programs at the library. On one particular Friday, children lie on their backs, painting paper that’s been taped beneath the meeting room tables. Why? They’re learning what it’s like to be Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. (Turns out, it’s a tad difficult to paint like Michelangelo. Who would’ve guessed?) This is just one program in a popular series called “Art Sparks.” Art Sparks is a drop-in program for children in grades K-5 that runs for 2.5 hours once per month. Each month, Linda turns the spotlight on a different artist and offers an age-appropriate project in that artist’s style. For example, while exploring the work of Wayne Thiebaud, children painted giant cardboard doughnuts and sprinkled them with paper confetti. A program on Jackson Pollock found the meeting room kitchenette covered with plastic…

Blogger Alexa Newman

Winter Reading Programs : Game On at the Library!

Most public libraries, and many school libraries, conduct Summer Reading Programs. In fact, many of you (like me) have already begun planning your SRP. I’m curious to know how many other libraries out there hold Winter Reading Programs. And what your different programs entail. Please share your comparisons, ideas, and suggestions. I’d love to gather some innovative ideas. At the Algonquin Area Public Library District, we started our WRP years ago as a family reading program where the entire family would read and record their time together on one log as a group to earn a single prize such as a fleece blanket, or a sled. Each child also earned a paperback book of their choice upon completion of the family program. A few years ago we reformatted the program to more closely follow our SRP model. This included extending the length of the program, from 5 weeks to 2…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Celebrating Pura Belpré’s Birthday!

Celebrating Pura Belpré’s Birthday! February 2nd is Pura Belpré’s birthday – for those of you playing along at home, she’d have 119 candles on the cake!  Continuing my unofficial, non-sequential series of how to incorporate multicultural offerings in every program, we’re going to see how we can make Pura’s award winners come to life!  But first… Who was Pura Belpré? For those of you just joining us, Pura Belpré was born in Cidra, Puerto Rico.  By serendipitous circumstances, she ended up in New York City for her sister’s wedding and was hired by a public library.  Huge emphasis on this, folks: it was 1920 and they were looking to hire young women from ethnically diverse backgrounds!  Imagine that!  Almost 100 years ago! Her career took her from the Bronx to the Lower East Side, where she spread the love of stories in English and Spanish – which had never been done before.  As…

Blogger Emily Bayci

Small but mighty: Conquering February Library Events

For me, February is one of the most exciting but most overwhelming months in library-land. It’s the shortest month of the year and SO much is happening! Here is a small sampling of some February Library events and program ideas to go with them. I know I missed many, so please add ideas in the comments! February- African American History Month An important theme every month of the year, African American History Month is another opportunity to highlight amazing materials about past and current notable African Americans. Scavenger hunts are a simple, but fun and educational way to share knowledge with school-aged kids. I have also been pleased to find a growing amount of diverse and educational picture books for story times. February- National Library Lovers Month National Library lovers month is a great way to do shameless self-promotion for the best place ever- the library! One activity I did…

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…