Guest Blogger

A Fun Reading Program to Help Battle COVID/Summer Slide

The summer of 2020 is one for the books, with librarians nationwide facing more challenges than ever before. In addition to planning around uncertain re-openings and operations, libraries are also working to promote the importance of summer reading as “summer slide” academic regression compounds into COVID Slide, a term for the months-long learning loss due to extended school closures. To help parents and caregivers support their kids during this time, Highlights and Baker & Taylor have launched the Highlights Activity Bingo reading program.

Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries

Archiving Online Programming

On March 17th, the Free Library of Philadelphia closed its physical locations (along with libraries across Pennsylvania) to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Although our locations closed, our staff kept working diligently to ensure that we reached as many patrons as possible.  Like the majority of library systems around the country, we didn’t have a plan for pandemics or a set of best practices guidelines for a situation like this, and our staff worked passionately and creatively to devise online programs.  Book clubs met online, storytimes took place on social media, and trial-and-error guided us as we sought to keep our communities connected, engaged, and sane. 

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

19 Positive Summer Reading Activities During COVID

chalk board with words what's your story

Adapt If COVID has taught me anything, it is to keep in mind the one-word slogan of Navy SEALS: Adapt. We are public librarians. We adapt. We adapted during the digital age to maintain our relevance. COVID is not going to stop us. Irrespective of where you are right now, summer reading has boiled down to three options: passive, curbside or virtual. We remain in the unique position of being able to touch the lives and hearts of our community. We have a responsibility to remain positive, and to disseminate hope. Read on to see how 19 positive summer reading activities during COVID can make the difference. 1 – Radio I’ll never forget growing up the impact just one radio station had on my hometown. The station was 45 minutes away by car, but everyone in my school knew it; always had it on. You couldn’t see the DJs, but…

Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries

5 Tips for Filming Virtual Storytime

Programming librarians everywhere have added yet another hat to their already extensive collection: the video producer’s hat. Since storytime has moved online for many communities in the United States, we find ourselves having to consider production value alongside the usual preparations. Whether you are filming at home or in the library, pre-recording or live streaming – here are five tips to consider while preparing to film your program:

Blogger Alexa Newman

Does Drama Camp Translate to Virtual Format?

O, Social distancing, how thou art a thorn in my side!   For the past seven years, I’ve been running a two week drama camp as one of the many activities my library offers during our summer reading program.  It is, typically, my biggest and most involved program each year.  I’m used to parents and campers rushing into the library to sign up for camp on the first day registration opens.  It is usually filled with a full wait list in just a matter of a day or two. Campers are rising 3rd-8th graders; counselors are high school and college students.  We do Shakespeare in Elizabethan English.  The campers put on a full (albeit abridged) production on the last day of camp.  The camp has steadily grown over the years. The past two years we have been on a real stage, with theater lighting, sound, and av effects.  We’ve done…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Imagine Your COVID Summer Slide Story!

Darth Vader reading on a playground slide

Imagine Your COVID Summer Slide Story? Summer slide in the age of COVID.  I don’t think anyone can really imagine what this summer will look like in terms of a summer reading program for any age group.  The show must go on, though – so let’s imagine your story together! Scheduling Scheduling a time for your summer reading program is essential.  Pick you set of dates, beginning and ending, as well as your “big” program days.  You’ve had some practice with online programming by now.  Now, just do it bigger! Space Familiarity is critical for your audience.  It gives a sense of anticipation, a recognizable (or branding) setting, and a reassuring repetition.  If the space you’ve been using for online programming isn’t as polished as you’d like it, time to refine!  Sound problems?  Get them ironed out!  This is crunch time! Supplies Your list of supplies this summer is going…

Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries

Escape Rooms Virtually – Not just for teens and adults!

Escape rooms have been around for a few years now, and many library systems were quick to adapt in having escape rooms as library programs within their branches. Many of these programs are designed for the older set – adults (ages 18 +) and teens (ages 12 – 18).  When I worked with my coworker, Hayley Burson, on our first escape room, we designed it specifically for teens because we had no idea that families with younger children (ages 5 – 11) would be interested as well.  Little did we know that many families of younger children and preteens would ask to participate, so in the future we designed in-branch escape rooms with a common theme with clues that could be changed for specific age groups. Sometimes the younger kids could even solve the clues for young adults faster than they teens could.