Like many area libraries, the Deerfield Public Library has offered an annual Preschool and Early Childhood Fair. For three years, the Fair brought together early childhood professionals, so that our patrons could easily gather information and make informed choices for their families. The best thing to come out of those Fairs, however, wasn’t for our patrons, but connections for the early childhood professionals themselves.
In a few weeks, the newest Mars rover, Perseverance, will touch down on the Red Planet, more than 200 days after it launched. Perseverance’s job is to look for signs of ancient life and collect samples for possible return to Earth. With a pretty high WOW factor, and lots of available resources, Perseverance and Mars lend themselves to great programming.
It has been both wonderful and challenging to stay connected with our young patrons. Screens make it wonderful because I can see and interact with them; screen fatigue makes it challenging. I needed to figure out something different, something active, something fun to do…and a literary scavenger hunt fit the bill!
I saw a social media post about a yard decorated for Halloween with simply the numbers 2020; the homeowners said that was the scariest thing they could imagine. 2020 has been a year….sometimes feeling like a century! For this reason and so many, many others, I’m looking ahead to 2021. The coming year also holds the promise of some great Coming Soon titles. However, I couldn’t resist looking back and sharing a few favorites from this year as well. The bright spotlight they deserve may have been dimmed by this year’s events.
Like so many libraries back in March, we pivoted to provide virtual programming, including live and pre-recorded storytimes. As the months wore on, though, we wanted to offer something something new AND empower our families to read, sing, play, talk, and write together without waiting for the next video or Zoom session. Thus, Storytime-to-Go was born!
The equation is difficult, one of the hardest math problems I’ve had to solve. Take 2020 programming, add COVID, subtract in-person options, and you get….??? Correct: you get a lot of questions. After puzzling over programming for our homeschoolers, I think I landed on a good solution to start the year off right.
In a slightly selfish act, I created our Homeschool Book Club just so my students could read books from the Bluestem Illinois Readers’ Choice Awards list. You see, I was in the midst of my term as a Reader for the Bluestem Committee. I wanted to interact with students who had read the very books that I had voted for….or against. Looking at my decision more generously, our homeschool students hadn’t been able to cast their votes in this statewide award. Honestly, I was excited to give them a chance to do what non-homeschooled children across our state did every year: vote for their favorite book!