Blogger Jonathan Dolce

You Still Can’t Beat Free!

word "free" written in white on a green field. The words free has a red $0 price tag attached

You Can’t Beat Free I can’t remember the first time I said “you can’t beat free” as a librarian — I think it was 2003. 17 years later, it’s still true. And public librarians – gosh – we can squeeze a nickle sideways, am I right? Well, if you’re done squeezing blood from a nickle, try FREE on for size! The Secret of My Success The secret of my success has been my ability to not just grant write, brainstorm and work with some amazing teams. More often than not, it’s my ability to locate free stuff. Lots of times, the free stuff snowballs into something mega, or just plain comes in handy. Many of my colleagues wonder how I’ve done it. It’s not that I fall backwards into free things for libraries. Oh contraire. Sorry, it’s a lot of work. Step One? “Oh, good!”, I hear you say. It’s…

Blogger Kary Henry

Homeschool Book Club: Past, Present, and Future

In a slightly selfish act, I created our Homeschool Book Club just so my students could read books from the Bluestem Illinois Readers’ Choice Awards list. You see, I was in the midst of my term as a Reader for the Bluestem Committee. I wanted to interact with students who had read the very books that I had voted for….or against. Looking at my decision more generously, our homeschool students hadn’t been able to cast their votes in this statewide award. Honestly, I was excited to give them a chance to do what non-homeschooled children across our state did every year: vote for their favorite book!

Blogger Public Awareness Committee

Fantasy and Sci-Fi Children’s Novels from Diverse Perspectives

I had been looking forward to this year’s Summer Reading theme, Imagine Your Story, since it was announced a few years ago.  Fantasy is one of my favorite genres and I knew the programs and displays we could have around that theme would be wonderful.  Of course like most things in 2020 things are not going the way I expected. 

Blogger Abby Johnson

Book Care Packages: A Curbside Service

One new service my library has debuted since closing our doors to the public due to COVID-19 is Book Care Packages and they’re going like gangbusters. Patrons fill out a form on our website to request a Book Care Package (personalized selections) or a Grab Bag (“random” selections for either ages 0-3, ages 3-6, or ages 6-8). I’ve wanted to offer this type of service for many years. With our patrons unable to browse the shelves, now was the perfect time to get it going. Many libraries offer similar services. I based our Book Care Packages form on Seattle Public Library’s Your Next 5 Books reading recommendation forms. Other libraries offering similar services include Hinsdale (IL) Public Library’s Book Boxes, Coos Bay Public Library’s BookBox, Eisenhower Public Library’s YA’ll Read Teen Subscription Boxes, and Greenwood (IN) Public Library’s Your Next Favorite Book. Some of these libraries include trinkets or candy…

ALA Virtual Conference 2020

The ALA Book Award Celebration #TheBookAwardCelebration

Today was supposed to be the Newbery Caldecott Legacy Banquet — the big celebration of children’s books at the ALA Annual Conference which honors some of the best of the best in children’s books which were published last year. As we all know, due to the pandemic, the “in person” conference was cancelled this year, and with it, the “in person” Banquet. But never fear! ALA has come up with an astounding day celebrating even more books for youth in an all day celebration! It’s The ALA Book Award Celebration! And that day is TODAY! Read on for for more information from the official ALA anouncement which gives all the details: The American Library Association (ALA) is offering an exciting new free all-day virtual event celebrating the winners of several of its major book awards, including the esteemed Newbery and Caldecott medals, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, the Printz Award,…