Guest Blogger

ALSC 101 & Play-Based Engagement at #ALSC20

I popped into the ALSC 101 short session to get some background from experienced ALSC members, and to learn more about getting involved in committees. There are tons of awesome ways to get involved!

Next I dove into Play-Based Community Engagement with Donna Zick, Caitlin Tormey, and Nate Halsan from Sacremento Public Library. They hold an annual Play-Summit and circulate play kits, so they decided focus library outreach and library areas on family-friendly play spaces. Their outreach areas are wide spaces to play, with comfortable floor seating, and informational tables off on the side. They also staff these spaces with staff members who are ready to get on the floor and play, too! They bring a range of activities for babies and toddlers. This type of outreach gives staff a lot of time to chat with and get to know families. The panel gave examples of awesome toys and play-exploration items they made with inexpensive materials. They also talked about sensory boards and dramatic and sensory-play “cities” they made for inside the early-learning areas in their libraries. “A place for young children to play is a necessary space for libraries to provide.”

The panel members expanded this idea to include library programming with guided-play. They noticed in their storytimes that a need for play (along with its “beautiful chaos”) was being expressed, so they offered a play space for kids to explore during storytime. Then they created play-based programming with open-ended play, and worked to normalize play as a library service. The play spaces and programs fostered better family engagement, built relationships with the community, and made the library a “destination space.”

So many great ideas; I was familiar with some, and some were new to me. Can’t wait to use what I learned!!

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