Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Passive Programs Too Good to Pass Up

Whether you are a school librarian getting ready for the end of the year or a public librarian gearing up for summer reading, late spring is a busy time in children’s services. Passive programs are a great way to keep kids and families engaged when you have more things on your to-do list than hours in the day.  Reader’s Advisory – Flipped When Chloe Foulk started working at the Edmondson branch of Enoch Pratt Free Libraries in Baltimore, Maryland, she wanted to get to know the kids in the community and to become familiar with the library’s children’s collection. So she came up with a way to do both: Chloe invited kids to recommend books for her to read with her cat, Nate Jr. She then took a photo of her cat with each book and posted the cat’s reviews. As Chloe shared the photos and reviews, more kids got…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Low Tech Makerspace

Do you suffer from Makerspace envy? I do. I wish I had the dedicated space, materials and personnel that some of my more lucky library and school friends do. At my last school, they had a dedicated shop with a flank of 3-D printers, CNC machines, fabrication tools and a dedicated lab director. Sigh. As much as I wished to duplicate that for my public library patrons, like most of us, I didn’t have the space OR the money. But I still wanted my patrons to have the benefits that a good makerspace program can provide. So, I went on to do what we youth librarians have been doing for decades – I created the programming on the cheap. And by cheap – I mean price, not experience! After all, the concepts behind the makerspace movement don’t rely on money. They are based on constructive learning theory – we learn…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Two Simple Tricks for Reader’s Advisory

I live and breathe children’s books as a Children’s Librarian. I host a family book club, I coordinate our school district’s Battle of the Books, I place monthly book orders, and I read children’s books in my free time because I enjoy them. None of this literary knowledge populates in my brain when a patron asks me for help finding a book that they might enjoy reading. When I’m working on the children’s desk or walking the shelves, I wait in nail biting anticipation for this question because I’m afraid that I won’t have the perfect title to suggest and that it will make it look like I don’t know how to do my job. I care about reader’s advisory because it is an artful skill that’s essential for fostering a lifelong love of reading and promoting curiosity. Reader’s Advisory is not only about being well-read, it’s also about knowing…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Programming on the Fly

This year, I have been trying to boost library programming opportunities.  Planning a program can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be such a challenge.  If the goal is to get readers into the library and engaged with library resources, a program can be short, simple, and still fun!  In addition, planning time can be quick and dirty but still deliver a result that gets readers into the library. I’ve chosen to focus on lunch & learn opportunities.  I work in a middle school and want to catch kids while they are at school, and not outside school hours.  The best time to do this is during lunch, which is 30 minutes for each grade level.  Quick engagement sessions can be modified to work for a public library outside of school hours or for a school library at a different level with a different schedule as well. For each…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Wanted – Citizen Scientists!

We are born scientists.  Babyhood is one big science experiment after another. We test the limits of gravity (oopsy!), we identify and classify (a skunk is NOT a kitty) and we are constantly performing experiments (water plus dirt equals MUD!). Humankind is where we are because of the myriads of creatures before us that explored our surroundings and drove our knowledge forward.  After all, there could be no trip to Mars without discovering fire first! With all the STEAM push, you could be excused for thinking that learning about science is what all the kids want – but let’s be honest, learning how to Do science would be a much better way of getting kids on board. And what better way to learn about science than by doing science and collecting data that actually makes a real world difference! Scientist as a full time occupation is a fairly new concept….

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

A New Toolkit for Program Challenges

In the weeks leading up to the Drag Story Hour at my former branch, I was equal parts excited and worried. I had been wanting to host a Drag Story Hour for a long time because these special storytimes encompass some of the best parts of children’s programs in libraries: having fun, encouraging creativity, and celebrating diversity through stories. And I was certain that it would be popular with the families who came to that branch. 

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Virtual Program – AB Kids

AB Kids is a virtual storytime series hosted each fall at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Nicole Cooke, the Augusta Baker Endowed Chair for the School of Information Science and the team from the South Carolina Center for Community Literacy work together to bring families and school age children, The Augusta Baker Storytelling Experience: Inclusion Programming for Children of All Ages (AB Kids). This series is part of the Augusta Baker Endowed Chair programming at the University of South Carolina. Named in honor of Augusta Braxton Baker, a beloved children’s librarian and storyteller who made South Carolina her home after a 37-year career at the New York Public Library. The first African American Coordinator of Children’s Services within the NY Public Library system, she worked tirelessly throughout her career to diversify the genre of children’s literature and to make books for children and young adults more reflective of the…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Summer’s Over… Now What?!?:  Tips for Planning for a Year of Library Programming

As a school librarian member of ALSC, I have a programming hiatus thanks to our summer break.  I enjoy the break and time off to refresh and renew.  As the new school year approaches, though, I am beginning to look ahead to programming for this year.  This will be my sixth year in the library but only my second year as a full-time school librarian, and I know that thinking about a year of programming can be daunting.  So, for this ALSC SAPS blog, I thought I’d offer a few tips for my fellow librarians who are similarly in the planning stages for a year of programming! My first tip is for those of my fellow librarians who are also relatively new to this profession:  Remember that you don’t have to do it all all at once!   When I began work as a librarian, I had So. Many. Ideas! …