Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Spring…break???

In my part of the country, most students had spring break this week or last.  I am always amused by the fact that when our local children have a break from school, we children’s librarians do not have a break from work.  At my branch, at least, there may be less children in the building than the afterschool crowd, but the demands are higher.  The kids have l-o-n-g days that are more unstructured than normal, and they are looking for something to do.  And, many times, their parents are looking for something for them to do.  Desperately.   Over time, my colleagues and I have taken several approaches to engaging children over spring break.  The simplest is having a passive program like a make-and-take craft.  Paper chicks are easy to put out on a table (I loved DLTK’s Crafts for Kids as a source for easy, printable crafts).  It might…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

We’ve Got the Power! – Bridging Last Summer with This Summer

The Children Of Fear Are Not Alone Last year’s summer reading theme was Build a Better World.  Its message must not be lost. I have been actively involved in Central Florida public libraries since 1993, and it had to have been one of the most rewarding themes – ever. Recent events are showing us that children are growing up in an increasingly frightening world.  And they must not bear this alone. Last summer, my co-workers and I took our show on the road with a message of hope, and I’d like to share how you can couple Libraries Rock with real social impact. Before that, though, let’s review a couple of things.   Power and Truth In 1927, Max Ehrmann wrote the poem Desiderata in which he wrote: “Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.” And, yet…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Low-Tech Makerspace Programming at the Denver Public Library

Today’s post focuses on two types of low-tech makerspace programming currently being developed and implemented at the Denver Public Library’s Children’s Library. While facilitated by all of the children’s librarians at the Children’s Library (myself included), these programs have been developed by my two innovative colleagues – Carrie Wolfson and Liesel Schmidt. For this post, I chatted with Liesel and asked her to provide insight into the creation of these super fun and very successful programs. The two types of programs are Open Studios and Tinkering Programs inspired by the friendly, accessible nature of the makerspace movement. Both these programs encourage participation and sharing of ideas. Liesel described them this way: Open Studios allow participants to explore different art media like watercolor paint, oil pastels or clay. We make real art materials available to visitors, along with suggestions of techniques to try. It works to demonstrate examples of new techniques…

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…