Blogger Erika Hogan

Many Paths to Reading

Audiobooks, graphic novels, and comics . . . Oh my! And that’s just a start. Early literacy experiences for the preschool crowd have storytime to rely on, but what comes next for elementary school age library users? An explosion of possibilities! When it comes to inspiring emerging readers, from displays to reading lists here are a few ways to promote many paths to reading. But I want them to read, not look at pictures. I’ve heard that sentiment so many times, and you probably have too. Though library staff may know that comics and graphic novels are reading, sometimes caregivers aren’t as easy to reassure. I’m usually optimistic we can find something everyone will agree on, but I’ve also started to look for subtle ways to promote many paths to reading. For starters, graphic novel and audiobook versions are featured alongside text in every display. Why? To dispel the notion…

Blogger Erika Hogan

Sustainability and Children’s Services

Earth Day is one month away, but what happens all year long matters just as much, maybe more. Ever since the ALA endorsed sustainability as a core value, there’s a recognition of the key leadership role libraries can play in community knowledge and resilience in response to climate change. While I often plan programs around nature-based activities, getting youth outdoors to appreciate the natural world is only one step toward ecological thinking. After joining my library’s sustainability team, I’ve begun to center thinking about the kinds of practices that lend themselves to children’s programs and services with a lighter eco-footprint. Here I’d like to share some reflections and resources I’ve found helpful on my continuing journey toward greater sustainability in children’s services.

Blogger Erika Hogan

All Weather Outdoor Fun

Northeast Ohioans sometimes joke about the beauty of experiencing all four seasons… in a day. Daily weather can change rapidly in a lot of locations, and if you’re someone who likes to hold outdoor programs you might have used the tag ‘weather permitting.’ Lately I’ve been inspired to challenge my assumption that some weather doesn’t work for outdoor programs. Instead, I’ve begun planning adaptations to suit the weather. Why? Because young children can explore the outdoors no matter what the weather.

Blogger Erika Hogan

Mini Cons: Genre and Fandom Programs

Enthusiastic fandom casts a spell that’s almost contagious. While genre celebrations often seem associated teen and adult fans, mini cons can hold appeal for all ages. Like a lot of library staff, I love reader’s advisory. Young patrons have so many interests and aspirations. Adventurers, gamers, future scientists, sports fans, magic enthusiasts, animal lovers, and more. Lately I’ve begun looking for ways for that energy to fuel my programming. How? Mini cons!

Blogger Erika Hogan

Middle Grade Horror Fiction

As the weather turns toward fall and the days shorten, some young readers might be turning to spooky books. Do you get chills when you handle questions about middle grade horror fiction? Fear not! There are plenty of resources available to help you navigate the genre that goes bump in the night… even if it’s not part of your TBR stack. A popular genre for all ages, sometimes horror is not always considered when doing reader’s advisory with children. But like other genres, middle grade horror fiction includes a variety of diverse voices and topics to explore, and studies have shown that reading scary stories can help build resilience, confidence, and more. The relatively recent addition of a Middle Grade award category to the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Awards also suggests that these genre titles will continue to be on the rise. From supernatural elements, genre mash-ups, and other…

Guest Blogger

Planning the Unplanned: Program Reflections to Encourage Growth Mindset

Like a lot of my library colleagues, I tend to be a planner and list-maker extraordinaire, working two calendars and a library schedule that extends six months in advance most of the year. While the library where I work is fortunate to have an ample early literacy play area and a variety of after school activities, I started to notice many of the programs I developed veered toward the hyper-planned, with linear formats and projects that moved from point A to point B. The End. I wondered if there was a way to include unplanned elements.