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…

Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries

Is “New” Necessary? Ideas for Enhancing Your Existing Children’s Library Programs

When it comes to designing and developing children’s programs to run in the library, we are always on the lookout for something different or new or a way to put a unique spin on something we’ve done in the past. We don’t like reusing “old” programs and often will try just about anything to avoid repetition. But I question whether this is a sustainable model given that the number of programs offered in the past 5+ years has increased by over 17%.

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

LEGO Robotics Leagues: Your Answer to STEM Programs with Coding and Teamwork

Are you looking for a program idea that merges STEM with teamwork, coding and LEGO?  Why not try setting up a LEGO Robotics League? In its third year at Brooklyn Public library, The Brooklyn Robotics League was offered in 32 branches in 2019 and participates in the NYC FIRST LEGO league program for grades 4-8. The overall goal is to teach youth how to be confident problem-solving members of their community through FIRST LEGO’s core values of gracious professionalism and cooperation.  This is achieved in a process that includes exploring new skills, using creativity to solve problems, applying what was learned, respecting others, embracing differences, teamwork and celebration of the project.

Blogger Gretchen Schulz

Designing a Programming Space

Picture of colorful gears of all sizes

Ever been tasked with designing a programming space? When I accepted my current position as Tween Librarian in September of 2017, I was given such a task. My boss gave me the job to head a committee and launch a STEAM space for kids. She wanted to re-purpose one of the four Storytime rooms we had. Where do you begin when designing such a space? I had no idea. Luckily, I happened to get an e-mail from Library Journal advertising their Maker Workshop online course. My boss let me sign up for it, and it was able to lead me in the right direction. The most helpful piece of advice the course offered, is one I could have easily overlooked. Instead, I took it to heart. They said to make a Mission Statement. I will never forget the positive and creative vibes that flowed in the room as we (the…

Blogger Alexa Newman

Art Programs in the Library: Traditional and High Tech

Arts programs in our schools are perennially  on the chopping block. Too many school districts in the US have had to eliminate or reduce art education.  Some of the cuts are budget related, others are tied to curriculum standards. In a recently published paper, The Brown Center Chalkboard concluded that  “… that a substantial increase in arts educational experiences has remarkable impacts on students’ academic, social, and emotional outcomes.” My library has picked up the arts mantle and offers a broad range of art programs for people of all ages.  We offer a variety of programming including in house programming, self directed art in the makerspace, and outsider instruction.   In House Crafts    The Youth Services Department offers drop in preschool crafts every few weeks where families can bring their preschoolers to make a variety of crafts at their own pace.  We also host recurring programs including school age…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

The Art of the Con – plan, host, conduct and maintain!

star wars cosplayer

The Art of the Con The Art of the con or convention is a fine art, but thankfully for you fearless reader, we have on hand Elise VanCise, creator and coordinator of the Annual Astor Library Geek Fest, now in its fourth year!  Elise is the young adult coordinator for the Astor County Library in sunny Astor, Florida. First Things First! J – For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on what it takes to plan, host, conduct and maintain a successful con.  But first, what exactly is a Geek Fest and why would a library want to have one? VanCise – Geek Fest is the name we gave to our mini-comic con or convention.  It’s a one-day con where we have cosplay, anything you geek is basically our theme – superheroes, science fiction, horror – anything you want!  This year we have exhibitors that do everything…