Blogger Erika Hogan

Once More, With Feeling: Read Aloud Fun

Round robin. Turn taking. When it’s time to read aloud, a lot of kids might look the other way in school. But in a library program, we can ask for volunteers. In read aloud book clubs, children benefit from listening and interpreting text whether they volunteer as readers or not. Even looking at the pages while someone else reads offers a new kind of experience and a taste of what grown up book clubs are all about: conversation and community. I’ve found the most success with strategies that lean into the fun, offering high appeal texts, especially those with lots of graphics on the page.

Administrative and Management Skills

More Than Numbers: The Story of a Data Nerd

Every program, every time. We know it. Numbers are a big deal. But also, even with a click counter in hand I’m not a machine. And kids of all ages, like crowds, move pretty quickly and can be hard to tally. Libraries need good data for meaningful reports, but it’s not just about the numbers. Good data also hides in the stories, and I love finding ways to collect a good story (or ten). That’s the fun part of data. That’s the data can be kind of inspiring.

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!