Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Winter Preschool STEAM

Back in October, I wrote about the aptly named Fall Fun Preschool STEAM program, the first of its kind I had offered.  I had been inspired by a colleague’s presentation, which you can read more about in the link. In February, our department held a Winter Preschool STEAM program that was also tons of fun, and I wanted to share. About 30 people (kids and caregivers) attended.  We started by creating a sensory snowman…aka a snow globe.  Voss water bottles were PERFECT for the snowman, and the lid resembled a hat.  Strips of blue flannel for a scarf really made him pop.  I’ve made snow globes before with glycerin and they never really worked.  Using clear glue, as suggested in the link, was a great upgrade…and added to the science as we discussed how the glitter was suspended by the glue. Next, we made a “melted” snowman…basically, it was white…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

The Virginia Hamilton Conference Creative Outreach Grants

The Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth celebrates its 35th anniversary on April 30th at Kent State University.  The Conference is the longest running event in the country that focuses exclusively on multicultural literature for children and young adults. Besides offering workshops on a myriad of topics, the Conference offers several awards, including the Virginia Hamilton and Arnold Adoff Creative Outreach Grants for Teachers and Librarians.  The application deadline is February 28th, and you or a colleague may be eligible. Each year, two $1000 grants are awarded—one to a K-12 teacher and another to a school or public librarian.  According to the Conference website, criteria for a proposal includes a program that: Promotes awareness of multicultural themes and issues through outstanding literature; Illustrates the use of exemplary multicultural literature, particularly but not exclusively the works of Virginia Hamilton; Demonstrates effective organization, methods and/or library service; Includes a plan…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Staff Empowerment

My first position as a department head coincided with the opening of a new branch.   It was hectic.   Our branch was the first in a major capital building campaign, and it featured a lot of new technology.  Besides different phones and fax machines, we also had an audio recording studio and a Smartboard.   To top it off…we were short staffed.  Just after the building opened, the head of children’s (I was teen at the time) left for a different position.  Therefore, we had a lot of substitutes in the building for a few months, which was difficult because they were not comfortable with the new equipment.   The department heads (me, the head of adult, and the branch manager) were running ragged.  Not only were we doing our typical job and handling the high volume of visitors we faced the first 6 months, but we were constantly…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Gingerbread House Fun

I’m tired.  Actually, my feet are killing me.  But it was worth it. Last night (as of this writing), my library hosted 70 people in a holiday Gingerbread House decorating program.  Obviously, our customers were excited. A word of digression before I explain how we put on this fun—a concern about diversity. Our branch is in a very diverse area and, although the program had worked in the past, I was concerned.  While we avoided religious symbols, Frosty, Rudolph, Santa, and the rest of the secular Christmas gang were represented in the candy used for decoration.  We did have blue and white frosting available if anyone wanted to make a Hanukkah-themed house.  Several members of our new-immigrant Southern Indian community did come and participate.  I would think hard about your community, as there are ways to do a fun “house” program that could be inclusive. We did a Halloween haunted…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Maker Space Fun for Kids

My branch has a maker space we call the Innovation Center.  It includes a 3-D printer, a laser engraver, a Cricut, a heat press, a programmable robotic arm, Snap Circuits, Arduinos, and more. The challenge is to come up with kid-friendly programs that utilize this space.  Typically, children cannot use the Innovation Center without a trained adult present, for good reason, considering the dangers of the equipment. A few years ago, when I was at another branch, staff at my current branch offered a Halloween Trick-or-Treat bag program, where they pre-cut heat-transfer vinyl on the Cricut and then heat-pressed the vinyl to multi-colored bags.  The program was very popular and had a long waiting list.  This year, we decided to offer the program again—two days in a row to accommodate double the amount of people!  We accepted 12 registrations per program.  With parents and some no-shows, we had 20 people…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Fall Fun Preschool STEAM

The past sixth months, I’ve been finding my programming “legs” at a new branch.  With my team’s help, we had some wildly successful summer school age programs, but, with school now back in session, I wanted to offer some additional programming for our younger friends. A colleague of mine from Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Fairview Park Branch, Jennifer Haag, had presented on Preschool STEAM at an Ohio Library Council Chapter Conference a few years ago.  It was a wonderful presentation, offering a full year of monthly program plans.  So, to dip my toes in the water, I chose ONE of her programs—October—to try this year. Quite simply—it was a lot of fun. The families and staff performed all the science experiments together, and then participants had the opportunity to spend time at Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math stations throughout the room.   Which liquids will dissolve candy corn and peeps—water,…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Readers’ Advisory Review

A coworker commented to me that we’ve recently had a slew of kids asking us for book recommendations, which is perhaps not surprising coinciding with the new school year.  Therefore, it might be time for a Readers’ Advisory tune up. I am always interested in how other librarians approach book recommendations and am happy to share my own ideas.  I try to talk to the actual child if they are present, even if their adult is a little pushy and/or the child is shy.  I usually ask what grade they are in, and what books they have enjoyed in the past.  At this point, reluctant readers will typically shrug.  I then ask what they like outside of reading—are they into sports?  Video games? Stranger Things?  Other shows or movies?  What do they watch on YouTube? Do they like animals?  The more I know about children, the better chance to pair…