Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Take-Home Programs for Children

Since March, we’ve all had to find new ways to reach our patrons. From Stay-at-Home Storytimes to virtual live animal programs, we’ve tried many different ideas for engaging our patrons at the Simsbury Public Library, CT. Our live Zoom programs continue to be popular, but we know that kids and families miss the hands-on learning they’d enjoy at an in-person library program. While we can’t completely replicate that experience right now, we can create craft and activity kits that allow families to take a piece of library programming home with them. This summer, we offered “Take & Makes” every Friday and “Bag of Tricks” on select Wednesdays. We made 50 units of each activity, and families could pick them up anytime during our curbside service hours. It was so fun to watch kids jump out of the car and run to pick up a kit. This strategy proved so popular…

Blogger Heather Acerro

Summer Playlist: At Home Edition

In 2017, Rochester Public Library (MN) launched the Summer Playlist program to replace our traditional Summer Reading Program (SRP). You can read all about that process here. Summer Playlist is an all-ages reading and adventure program that is inclusive of all abilities and interests. When we started our SRP overhaul, we intended that the program would remain relatively unchanged for at least five years. For 2018 & 2019, we ended up making several large changes that were much-needed simplifications and improvements. In early 2020, we finally had the most absolutely perfect Summer Playlist program yet; everything was ready to go, our reward bags were ordered, our log was ready for the printer, and it was going to be the BEST! And you know how this story ends. Since mid-March, RPL staff have been heavily engaged in city-wide pandemic response work, including setting up and staffing a day center for people…

Blogger Emily Mroczek-Bayci

What is the future of children’s librarianship? #covid19 #childrenslibrarian

What is the future of children’s librarianship? #Covid19 has instituted a (valid) fear among many people about job security, a change in job duties, and an all-together new approach to “normal.” This was my first year on the committee for my library’s Summer Reading Program and in a weeks time we revamped it to something that has never been done before. Kids were given all their logs and prizes in one kit, instead of having multiple pick-ups. Hunts for the mysterious “Sasquatch” were done online and we did not have our helpful teen volunteers. However, we had comparable numbers of participants to year past. And that wasn’t the only unusual aspect of summer reading this year. In a time when our shelvers are usually full to the brim with work, they were asking for extra projects. At hours when the library is usually louder than a playground, it was silent….

Blogger Liza Purdy

Shift

I am a stark raving extrovert. My energy levels skyrocket with personal interaction. I love small talk, and if the conversation turns a little deeper, and people actually share something significant, I swoon. I am also a bit physically restless. If I have to do the same thing all day long, I feel like I am going to jump out of my skin! I get downright grouchy. That’s why being a children’s librarian is the perfect profession for me. There is an opportunity for meaningful exchange in every single reference interview. The creativity, community building and performance necessary to make a good storytime is my idea of heaven. All day long, my job changes. I go from a morning storytimes, to an afternoon reference shift, to an after-school program with elementary school kids and their families. And outreach! Taking the show on the road is so much fun! There is…

Blogger Amy Steinbauer

(Emotional) PPEs that aren’t supplied…

I cringe with this title, because, hopefully, the majority of these readers work somewhere that is supplying gloves, masks, and face shields in this public health crisis. But, I know better to hope for basic essentials. Instead, I wanted to talk about the PPE that lives in each and every one of us and is currently required for doing library work in a pandemic. It’s our emotional self and reserve that we need to use daily, sometimes hourly, to protect ourselves from the wear and tear of this job. P- People skills: Knowing how and when to defuse escalating situations. Giving service with a smile. (Even when it’s a snark hidden under a mask) Using a touch of humor to connect with patrons. Remembering that you can still safely connect with patrons through your sanitation shields. Meeting different users where they are- whether from 6 feet away or a screen…

Blogger Alyson Feldman-Piltch

Back to School: School Library Visits in 2020

Tuesday marked our first day of the 2020-2021 school year. For a large population of our students, this is the first time they have returned to campus since March (some returned for our Summer Program), and many are eager to see the library, as it only opened a mere few days before we transitioned to virtual. One of the things that has been important to me throughout this experience, is encouraging students to continue to explore books and develop a love of reading for fun. To me, one of the best ways to encourage this love is to allow my students time to just be in the space; looking through the collection and hanging out in our bean bag chairs. This year, for obvious reasons, I’m trying a different approach, and bringing the library to them through “Virtual Learning Commons Visits”. Thanks to Zoom and a device called the Owl,…