Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Have You Noticed the Tweens?

When I first began as the Children’s and Teen Librarian at a small, rural library in Tennessee, I felt a bit overwhelmed. It wasn’t planning storytimes and programs for the littles that felt dauting. What felt like the most challenging area for me was planning programs for a group of kids that were not quite children anymore but not teenagers yet, either.

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

5 Reasons Why We Created Our Own Summer Reading Theme at Simsbury (CT) Public Library

Now that Summer Reading 2019 has ended and we’re fully launched into the Back-to-School season, libraries are actively planning for Summer Reading 2020.  While it’s popular to adopt the theme selected by the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP), many libraries have decided to forge their own paths in customizing their own Summer Reading Programs.

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…