Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Process Art

You don’t have to be artistic or crafty to do art programs at your branch! As a kid, I hated (really hated) art class, easily frustrated when my creations didn’t live up to my standards. Early in my library career, I started doing art programs simply because the kids loved the programs and caregivers expected them. Doing specific types of programs because your patrons enjoy them is a totally valid motivation. Like nearly everything in life, I’ve gotten more confident with practice and experience. But I’ve grown to truly love art programming – and it’s not because I’ve become a more skilled artist or gone through a creative growth spurt.   The key shift for me has been embracing process art rather than crafts.       Crafts are product-oriented, with detailed step-by-step instructions. There might be some variation, but the end results look very similar. Process art emphasizes the…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

The Rule of Three: A Simple Formula for Building Dynamic Children’s Programs

  Public libraries offer a host of youth programs from traditional Infant and Toddler Storytimes to a wide array of activities for school-aged children up to ages thirteen or fourteen. There are book clubs, STEAM programs, yoga and art classes, just to name a few. With so many possibilities to choose from, you may wonder where to start. When onboarding new staff members I usually run them through the process below.   Before creating youth programs, I think it’s always important to ask yourself what your goal is. In my department, my goal is to create positive, lifelong memories of reading and the library. I also want to promote curiosity, wonder, imagination, exploration, and discovery. So, ultimately, our goal is to create dynamic youth programming that inspires lifelong readers and library users by connecting children to quality literature. With that in mind, my mantra is to always – start with…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

But Don’t Forget the Homeschoolers

 “We would love to have a program specifically for homeschoolers. We need a place for our kids to interact with each other and with an adult that isn’t the parents.” This was the plea that my community’s homeschool moms posed to me at the beginning of this year. As I listened to the parents, I realized just how big the homeschooling population really was in my community. I also realized that these kids needed a program that was hands- on and engaging meaning I would have to plan some amazing programs to keep attendees interested. Talk about pressure. Since I knew there was definitely a need, I decided to take action. I began reaching out to everyone I could: librarians within Tennessee, the moms themselves, and co-workers. And as many children’s librarians do, I turned to Pinterest. As the wealth of information poured in, I began to get a bit…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Non-Fiction Bingo & Newbery Club

Non-Fiction Bingo Every month, I visit the 4-5th grade elementary school in my community for Book Bistro, where teachers send 2-3 students to the school library during their lunch or recess periods. Sometimes we play a game like Apples to Apples or make up stories using Story Dice. We always chat about books. These regular visits keep me connected to the schools and help build relationships, especially with the students who don’t always make it to the public library, in a fun and low-key setting.   One of my most successful Book Bistro plans over the last few years has been Non-Fiction Bingo. As an avid non-fiction reader, I wanted to make sure I was introducing and promoting non-fiction just as frequently as fiction. Fair warning – putting this together does take a little legwork and some time. But the kids have responded so enthusiastically, it’s worth the effort.   To…

Author Spotlight

How Author Visits Helped Heal Our Community

This past November, tragedy struck my elementary school community when one of our fifth grade students died. Within hours of her passing, reporters and cameramen showed up on school grounds, filming our children on the playground and through the windows of the cafeteria, placing blame for her death on bullying at our school. In all the chaos, we didn’t have time to process anything. There really aren’t words to describe how difficult this experience was for us. We were grieving – not only for our student, but also for our community. After an emotional staff meeting, I realized that all of us needed something positive to rally our community around. Since we are located in a suburb of Denver, and ALA’s Midwinter Conference was taking place here in February, I began contacting authors in hopes of coordinating school visits. First, I reached out to Marley Dias’s agent with Scholastic. Scholastic…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

The Iridescence of Words and Pictures: Using Picture Books to Create Artist Workshops in Your Library

One of the greatest aspects of being a children’s librarian is having the opportunity to use a host of mediums to inspire and connect children to a wide array of literature. The profession lends itself easily to the use of books, music, movement, and performance, but it is also lends itself to the rich exploration of art and images. One of my primary goals as a librarian is to ignite a child’s imagination, and thereby motivate them to creatively explore both their outer and inner worlds. Personally, I’ve found one of the most satisfying ways to encourage young children to flex their creative muscle, is to inspire them through the work of famous artists, in what I like to call – The Artist Workshop. My rule of thumb for creating programs is to always let a great book be the starting point for my planning. The Artist Workshop is no…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Low-Tech Makerspace Programming at the Denver Public Library

Today’s post focuses on two types of low-tech makerspace programming currently being developed and implemented at the Denver Public Library’s Children’s Library. While facilitated by all of the children’s librarians at the Children’s Library (myself included), these programs have been developed by my two innovative colleagues – Carrie Wolfson and Liesel Schmidt. For this post, I chatted with Liesel and asked her to provide insight into the creation of these super fun and very successful programs. The two types of programs are Open Studios and Tinkering Programs inspired by the friendly, accessible nature of the makerspace movement. Both these programs encourage participation and sharing of ideas. Liesel described them this way: Open Studios allow participants to explore different art media like watercolor paint, oil pastels or clay. We make real art materials available to visitors, along with suggestions of techniques to try. It works to demonstrate examples of new techniques…

Awards & Scholarships

Hosting a Mock Award Discussion with Kids

The end of the year is approaching. For me, that means skyrocketing speculation about the Youth Media Awards (YMAs), which include the Newbery, Caldecott. I love pouring over year-end best of lists and reading as many 2017 books as I can. Another reason I look forward to this time of year: I love a good mock award discussion. For this blog, I’ll focus on different ways to host a mock award with school-age kids (for more on the benefits of hosting a blog for your colleagues, check out Amanda Foulk’s stellar post on Guessing Geisel).