More and more, children bring additional languages to the contexts where they live, learn, and play. The vast majority of the books available to them in their schools and local libraries, however, continue to privilege the monolingual use of English. This striking discrepancy ignores the ways in which multilingualism provides children with rich opportunities to participate productively in a global society, as well as the valuable resource that stems from students’ experiences with multilingualism. In the field of bilingual education, the concept of translanguaging highlights how in reality, rather than keep languages separate, multilingual people mix and mingle all of their linguistic skills and knowledge in various contexts. Additionally, scholarship in translanguaging has demonstrated bilingual children’s unique ability to strategically use their full linguistic repertoire to make meaning, and has also supported teachers in developing pedagogies to support such fluid language practices.
Like many other libraries, during the pandemic, our in-person programming was replaced with grab-and go style bagged activities. After several months and hundreds of bags, we decided December was a good time for a bag break! This month, we are celebrating the holiday season with simple passive programs that still feel special and fun. You can adapt many of these programs for any season. We hope some of these ideas will help ease your holiday stress!
November is Picture Book Month! It is a time to celebrate our love for picture books. Picture books are important. They elicit emotions. They help us embrace our uniqueness. They help us understand each other. Whether silly, serious, or informative, they lead to great discussions. Picture books bring us together!
One of my library’s programs that pivoted entirely to a virtual format and has now pivoted back to fully in person is NYPL After School. This is a free drop in program for kids aged 6-12 that takes place after regular school hours, Monday through Thursday, from October-June, when school is in session. We launched September 27, 2021 in 20 branches and are so excited to welcome back our patrons in person with a program designed to meet them where they are and help them recover both literacy skills and supportive connections with caring adults.
Over the last two years, many of us have found success with packaged crafts and programs for children to take home and assemble. With more children returning to the branch, my creative co-worker, Renee Roberson-Tecco, has assembled interactive displays that double as passive programs.
Each year at the Simsbury Public Library, CT we create our own Summer Reading theme. By creating our own unique theme, we can reflect our community and to be responsive to trends and themes that are important locally. Our 2021 Summer Reading theme was “Reading Reconnects Us,” which coincided well with the expanded library hours and services we were able to offer this summer. Our community was eager to return to in-person browsing, programs and volunteer opportunities and it was clear they were looking for opportunities to connect with others.
SEL – three little letters that encompass so much! According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), “Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships and make responsible and caring decisions.”1
June is Pride Month—it began as a commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, started by trans women of color, and is a month of celebration and affirmation for the LGBTQ+ community. Many children realize their gender identity and sexual orientation at a young age, even if they don’t have the words for it. Every child deserves to feel safe and accepted at all times, but especially in the library.