Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Tales from Self-Isolation

I haven’t had this much time off since high school summer vacation.  However, a pandemic is a much more stressful than time off school.  How did YOU continue being a librarian during this time off?  Here’s what I did. First, I helped with a portion of ALSC’s upcoming Virtual Storytime Services Resource Guide.  I am very excited to see the completed work! I live in Ohio, and thankfully, there were several online networking (and venting/commiserating) opportunities.  The State Library of Ohio continues to have a weekly “Ohio Youth Services Meet Up” every Tuesday morning.  I cannot tell you how much the sharing and listening that occurs in this meet up has helped me keep my sanity.  In addition, the North East Ohio Regional Library System also had a series of meet ups that served the same purpose. I watched a bunch of free webinars from publishers and publications previewing upcoming…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

TV Tips to Look Your Virtual Best

I started working at the library when I was 16 as a page (aka “shelver,” at the branch where I work now, though I worked elsewhere in between).  In truth, I never left.  My aim, however, was not originally to be a librarian.  My first goal was to work as a writer or producer in television, which is totally NOT as dramatic as it sounds. And I did it!  For 7 years…while still working as a page. (Again—TV?  Also not as lucrative as it sounds).  I eventually transitioned to be a librarian, and I have always seen a through line in those two professions.  Both are about disseminating information, whether to entertain, educate, or inform.  The medium is just different. I am, though, suddenly realizing that my background in television will help my career in children’s librarianship in a surprising way: by helping me frame my virtual programming videos. I am…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Winter Preschool STEAM

Back in October, I wrote about the aptly named Fall Fun Preschool STEAM program, the first of its kind I had offered.  I had been inspired by a colleague’s presentation, which you can read more about in the link. In February, our department held a Winter Preschool STEAM program that was also tons of fun, and I wanted to share. About 30 people (kids and caregivers) attended.  We started by creating a sensory snowman…aka a snow globe.  Voss water bottles were PERFECT for the snowman, and the lid resembled a hat.  Strips of blue flannel for a scarf really made him pop.  I’ve made snow globes before with glycerin and they never really worked.  Using clear glue, as suggested in the link, was a great upgrade…and added to the science as we discussed how the glitter was suspended by the glue. Next, we made a “melted” snowman…basically, it was white…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

The Virginia Hamilton Conference Creative Outreach Grants

The Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth celebrates its 35th anniversary on April 30th at Kent State University.  The Conference is the longest running event in the country that focuses exclusively on multicultural literature for children and young adults. Besides offering workshops on a myriad of topics, the Conference offers several awards, including the Virginia Hamilton and Arnold Adoff Creative Outreach Grants for Teachers and Librarians.  The application deadline is February 28th, and you or a colleague may be eligible. Each year, two $1000 grants are awarded—one to a K-12 teacher and another to a school or public librarian.  According to the Conference website, criteria for a proposal includes a program that: Promotes awareness of multicultural themes and issues through outstanding literature; Illustrates the use of exemplary multicultural literature, particularly but not exclusively the works of Virginia Hamilton; Demonstrates effective organization, methods and/or library service; Includes a plan…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Gingerbread House Fun

I’m tired.  Actually, my feet are killing me.  But it was worth it. Last night (as of this writing), my library hosted 70 people in a holiday Gingerbread House decorating program.  Obviously, our customers were excited. A word of digression before I explain how we put on this fun—a concern about diversity. Our branch is in a very diverse area and, although the program had worked in the past, I was concerned.  While we avoided religious symbols, Frosty, Rudolph, Santa, and the rest of the secular Christmas gang were represented in the candy used for decoration.  We did have blue and white frosting available if anyone wanted to make a Hanukkah-themed house.  Several members of our new-immigrant Southern Indian community did come and participate.  I would think hard about your community, as there are ways to do a fun “house” program that could be inclusive. We did a Halloween haunted…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Maker Space Fun for Kids

My branch has a maker space we call the Innovation Center.  It includes a 3-D printer, a laser engraver, a Cricut, a heat press, a programmable robotic arm, Snap Circuits, Arduinos, and more. The challenge is to come up with kid-friendly programs that utilize this space.  Typically, children cannot use the Innovation Center without a trained adult present, for good reason, considering the dangers of the equipment. A few years ago, when I was at another branch, staff at my current branch offered a Halloween Trick-or-Treat bag program, where they pre-cut heat-transfer vinyl on the Cricut and then heat-pressed the vinyl to multi-colored bags.  The program was very popular and had a long waiting list.  This year, we decided to offer the program again—two days in a row to accommodate double the amount of people!  We accepted 12 registrations per program.  With parents and some no-shows, we had 20 people…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Fall Fun Preschool STEAM

The past sixth months, I’ve been finding my programming “legs” at a new branch.  With my team’s help, we had some wildly successful summer school age programs, but, with school now back in session, I wanted to offer some additional programming for our younger friends. A colleague of mine from Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Fairview Park Branch, Jennifer Haag, had presented on Preschool STEAM at an Ohio Library Council Chapter Conference a few years ago.  It was a wonderful presentation, offering a full year of monthly program plans.  So, to dip my toes in the water, I chose ONE of her programs—October—to try this year. Quite simply—it was a lot of fun. The families and staff performed all the science experiments together, and then participants had the opportunity to spend time at Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math stations throughout the room.   Which liquids will dissolve candy corn and peeps—water,…