It has been a long two years for libraries, and summer reading programs were no exception. We spent two summers creating passive programs in what felt like countless grab-and-go bags. This year, we are excited to host our first in-person summer reading program since 2019, but we also began our planning process feeling a little daunted: how could we best create a show-stopping 2022 program after two pared-down years?
Long before COVID-19 upended what we know about informal youth learning in libraries, ALSC commissioned a Task Force to consider the shift in core activities that would mark learning in the 21st Century. From this planning task force, an Implementation Task Force was formed in 2019. The Summer and Out-of-School Time Task Force was charged with creating a national tool predicated upon evidence-based approaches for developing quality and impactful programs and services for children. Learning Beyond: 21st Century Summer and Out-of-School Time Toolkit is the culmination of the ensuing work. The Toolkit reveal happened at the 2021 Annual Conference of the National Summer Learning Association in Washington, DC, where ALSC President Lucia Gonzalez introduced the work as “an integral part of the roadmap we need to help our children move forward through public library service.”
We are sure you’ve heard it said that it takes 21 days to form a habit. 21 days of consistent work to make a change. Maybe you’ve tried exercising for 21 days in a row or meditating for 21 days in a row to make it a habit…knowing that the more you exercise and meditate, the better you’ll feel. The same applies to learning and challenging yourself to be an ally and an advocate for change.
NYPL After School 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. Teen Reading Ambassadors are employed in our After School program, acting as leaders and role models to younger kids, ambassadors for the Library’s mission to inspire a lifelong love of reading and learning, and writers and editors of their very own magazine. Rachel Roseberry is the Manager of Young Adult Literacy Programs at The New York Public Library and I caught up with her to learn more about the magazine project and how it came to be.
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.