Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Stomp Rockets: STEAM Done Cheap

I have recently learned the joys of stomp rockets, these super simple launching devices can lead to tons of scientific exploration and can be made for less than $2! So far this summer we have used these for a day long rocket launching program and a demonstration at a county run summer camp. The kids have been totally captivated. So our plan is to make a couple to drop off at the summer camp locations so the kids can experiment in their free time. This lead me to wonder where else would it be possible to have these cheap tools available for bored and curious kids? Since these have relatively low power they can be launched inside as long as the space has high ceilings so recreation centers, after school programs (cafeterias and gyms) and the like would be a perfect fit. Materials for Launcher: 2 pieces of 1/2 inch…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Helping Students Talk About Representation in Books for Children

One of my main goals as an educator has been to bring my students awareness about the need for more diverse books in classrooms, to expose them to some of these books, and to think about representation. My student population is comprised by many education majors. As our post from February 2, 2019 discusses, teachers need an understanding of how to select books that represent the diverse experience of many children. I wanted my students to understand not only how to read a book critically and analytically, but also how to evaluate good literature that is inclusive. So, the goal was not only to recognize the need for more diverse books, but to go a step further by recognizing how to evaluate the representations a book may present. Then, I wanted them to make connections to the real world and to further explore how children from underserved groups could be…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Spring Ahead with Outreach Opportunities

Spring is Here! Prior to the start of Summer Reading Club, Spring is typically filled with planning for the busy summer months. However, this season also allows us time to evaluate existing library partnerships and motivation to create new meaningful connections in the community. When it comes to Youth Services Outreach, the possibilities are endless. There are so many passionate librarians that are thinking outside of the box and finding ways to reach all residents. There are inspiring stories of librarians offering storytime in laundromats or creating floating book collections in barbershops. There are even partnerships between libraries and grocery stores and foodbanks. It’s an exciting time to work in Outreach Services, as we can see the positive impact these efforts make in our communities. One of the most important pieces of Outreach, is establishing relationships. Visiting different daycares and classrooms throughout the year is wonderful, and a service that…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

How DC Public Library Plans to Increase Participation for Children with Disabilities

DC Public Library (DCPL) has a Center for Accessibility to serve individuals with disabilities. This center does a great job serving patrons in many capacities. But it only has one children’s librarian. This person cannot be expected to serve all 26 DCPL libraries alone so it is imperative that other children’s librarians also be experienced to serve a diverse population. We say “the library is for everyone,” but what efforts are we making to include all children. DCPL youth services librarians want more experience and training to reach more children. The Library is committed to 1) providing learning opportunities for staff to create more universal design programs; and 2) increasing the number of children with different abilities using our resources. Professional Development for Staff To help us with the training component of this endeavor, DCPL worked with Carrie Banks, the Supervising Librarian for Brooklyn Library’s The Place for Children &…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Guiding Pre-Service Teachers to Quality Literature for Underserved Populations

Twenty years ago, I graduated from college and entered the world of public education, bright-eyed and eager. After nearly two decades in that field, I returned to academia and began working with pre-service teachers at Bowling Green State University. It’s unsurprising that pre-service teachers want to know so much, and it often feels overwhelming trying to fill those gaps of knowledge. I’ve found myself, though, focusing on exposing undergraduate education majors to children’s literature that highlights and reflects the experiences of marginalized populations. 

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

New Year, New Connections

The holiday season is over. Brand-new smart phones, laptops and gadgets are in the hands of many young people. Despite the flood of tech presents that were gifted this season, it is important to be mindful that there are still many families that do not have reliable Internet access in their homes. For years, librarians have been talking about the digital divide, referring to the gap that exists between people who have access to computers and the Internet and those who do not. More recently, the focus has shifted to also include the quality of connection to the Internet. According to Pew Research Center, school-age children in lower-income households are especially likely to lack broadband access. Roughly one-third of households with children ages 6 to 17, whose annual income falls below $30,000 a year, do not have a high-speed internet connection at home. This is compared with just 6% of…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Partnerships with arts organizations to enhance programs

As mentioned in my February 2, 2018 ALSC post (Arts enhance experiences for under-served populations), the arts provide many entry points for youth participation. It encourages individuality, exploration and the process is as important as the outcome. This past year, my colleague Becca Tanen,  DC Public Library’s Children’s Librarian for the Center for Accessibility, wanted to explore theater based activities for program enhancement. So she decided to do a partnership with a theater company. After researching organizations with experience creating universally designed programs, she reached out to Imagination Stage (IStage) for the partnership with this endeavor. IStage is one of DC’s renowned regional youth theater organizations, Partnership Goals and Process The partnership goals were to learn new program ideas through theater and to offer a different type of activity for all children – meaning there are no barriers to participation. Below Becca describes her experience with this collaboration. “The workshops were…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

The Basics and Libraries

My community has just launched a regional initiative based on The Basics. Our library is just starting to join the discussion and we are seeing that The Basics make a wonderful partner to Every Child Ready to Read which we already use in our community and with our storytimes. The simple language and videos that show diverse families putting The Basics into practice can be a powerful tool for libraries. We are looking forward to working within our community as a part of this initiative. The Basics The Basics began in Boston in 2015 and has been spreading across the country and world ever since. “The Basics are five fun, simple, and powerful ways to help all our children aged 0-3 grow to be happy and smart.”                   One of the key principals and the way libraries have been invited into this…