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,…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Readers’ Advisory Review

A coworker commented to me that we’ve recently had a slew of kids asking us for book recommendations, which is perhaps not surprising coinciding with the new school year.  Therefore, it might be time for a Readers’ Advisory tune up. I am always interested in how other librarians approach book recommendations and am happy to share my own ideas.  I try to talk to the actual child if they are present, even if their adult is a little pushy and/or the child is shy.  I usually ask what grade they are in, and what books they have enjoyed in the past.  At this point, reluctant readers will typically shrug.  I then ask what they like outside of reading—are they into sports?  Video games? Stranger Things?  Other shows or movies?  What do they watch on YouTube? Do they like animals?  The more I know about children, the better chance to pair…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

In Defense of Slime

In my June blog, I talked about a summer drop-in program pilot occurring in my library, including the successes and the challenges. Since that article, we have had several more popular and overwhelming programs, including one in which 75 people (!!) came to have Messy Science fun…including slime making.   As you might imagine, this was more than a bit overwhelming, and more than a little pricey. We went though 4 gallons of slime.  I had NO idea we’d get so many people, and luckily, I tend to overbuy and had enough.  I joke that it’s the same impulse my Italian family has to ensure 3 times the amount of needed food is available at every family get-together.   However, what I wanted to talk about was a comment I fielded the next day when a customer overheard staff talking about the huge turnout—why do libraries bother with slime programs?…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Fall Titles Galore!

For the past four years, my library system (Cuyahoga County Public Library in suburban Cleveland, Ohio) has hosted a Youth Book Buzz, a day when several publishers and Baker & Taylor come to preview upcoming summer and fall books.  This year, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, DC Comics, and Inkyard Press, along with the aforementioned Baker & Taylor, sent a representative to booktalk titles along with ARCs (advance reader copies) for attendees to snatch up at the end of the presentations.  In addition, ARCs the library system received over the past year were also available to take. (Many thanks to CCPL’s Collection Development department!)   I came home with one bag full of middle grade novels, and one bag of teen books.  Picture books were available, but I focused on grabbing longer texts.  Here are some of the children’s books I’m excited to see coming out in August and the fall!…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Making Changes…

It’s been two-and-a-half weeks since I started at a new library. It was a lateral move to a branch in the same system.  Same job description.  It’s even the first branch I ever worked at when I was a 16-year-old page, with a lot of the same staff.  It’s like coming home. But it’s still new.  And I’m grappling with how to simultaneously hit the ground running and make logical and not impulsive changes.  Changes that will actually improve the library for customers and staff, and not just “put my stamp on things.” I’m still muddling through, but I thought mentioning a few things that seem to be working, and have worked for me before, would be worthwhile. First, I recommend sitting back and watching for some time, and asking questions.  See how people approach the collection.  See how attendance is at programs.  See how fellow staff (or your staff…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Interactive Picture Books

In 2011, I read a most unique (at that time) picture book—Herve Tullet’s Press Here.  My guess is that most of you are now familiar with the book, but in case you are not:  Tullet created an interactive story where the author instructs the child to press a yellow dot which appears to affect when happens after the page turn.  Thanks to the child’s directed actions, the dot multiplies, changes colors, moves around the page, and grows.  Meanwhile, the child gets a chance to tap, rub, tilt, and blow on the book.   I though the book was brilliant.  In a way, it mimicked interacting with a tablet while still giving the child an experience with a book. I was so delighted with Press Here that I purchased multiple copies that holiday season and gave it to every toddler and preschooler I know.  Several relatives of these kids told me…