Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Libraries Rock: Between Summer READing ‘n’ Hard Places

Summer READing is upon us! So, you’ve got everything lined up for summer.  Performers – check!  Special storytimes – check!  Crafts – check!  Libraries rock! But what about the unexpected?  It’s all happened to us – a performer cancels at the last minute, or a crucial staff member calls in sick.  Will you be ready? Here’s some quick and easy hands-on activities that can be turned into full-blown, hour long programs!  All on the turn of a dime and just as affordable!  Rock – I mean – read on! Libraries Rock – Literally! Zen or Sharpie Stones What could be easier?  Take some rocks, get some Sharpies and create simply patterns all over them! These can be as simple or as complex as you want: Mini Rock Garden Easy mode: Get a shoe box lid, add some sand and rocks and create patterns with a plastic fork. Source: Pinterest Tip: Put…

Blogger Kathia Ibacache

STEM: Leadership Tips When you Get Coding Bots Out

STEM can overwhelm some librarians. However, do not despair. There are some organizational ideas and leadership tips worth trying if you are willing to give coding bots a try. After a year of an introductory STEM programs at the Simi Valley Public Library, it was time to spice this program up with a new element. Why not buy bots to teach kids computational thinking through basic coding? The idea became a proposal and with minor changes the proposal became a reality. We purchased two of the following four bots: Wonder Dash, Coji, Ozobot, and the Robot Mouse, to implement a year’s worth of monthly STEM programs focusing on coding. Wonder Dash and Azobot: are fine bots for kids 6+. Here children will be practicing coding at a basic and intermediate level if they dare to explore all the potential of these bots. Coji and the Robot Mouse: are convenient bots…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno


In my part of the country, most students had spring break this week or last.  I am always amused by the fact that when our local children have a break from school, we children’s librarians do not have a break from work.  At my branch, at least, there may be less children in the building than the afterschool crowd, but the demands are higher.  The kids have l-o-n-g days that are more unstructured than normal, and they are looking for something to do.  And, many times, their parents are looking for something for them to do.  Desperately.   Over time, my colleagues and I have taken several approaches to engaging children over spring break.  The simplest is having a passive program like a make-and-take craft.  Paper chicks are easy to put out on a table (I loved DLTK’s Crafts for Kids as a source for easy, printable crafts).  It might…

Guest Blogger

An Old-School Spin on STEAM Programming

Children experience engineering

At the 53rd Street branch of the New York Public Library, STEAM programming is in high demand, especially with our youngest library users. So how do you keep kids engaged after months and months of weekly programs? Fellow children’s librarian Grace Zell and I found an exciting new approach to STEAM programming from an unlikely source: Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) novels. For those less familiar with the CYOA set up, these stories are written from a second-person perspective and allow readers to step into the role of the protagonist, choosing the actions they take along the way. While the original series ran from 1979-1998, a relaunch began in the early 2000s and new titles, in a variety of genres and reading levels, are still being published. Grace and I created three distinct program plans, each featuring a series of STEAM challenges. These included coding, architectural, engineering, and simple puzzle…

Blogger Lisa Nowlain

Circulating tech kits to teachers

The California State Library has a grant opportunity called Pitch-an-Idea. We were lucky enough to get one of their grants and create a Technology Lending Library for teachers and after-school providers. All teachers need is a library card to check these kits out for a month, and non-profits sign an agreement for their employees. What makes this unique is that the kits are not for individual checkouts – they’re made to be used in school or after-school environments. It has built a lot of great partnerships with schools and teachers. We have done outreach at principal’s meetings, with the Superintendent’s Office, at teacher meetings, at local events with non-profits, and more, and it is always great to have something to offer that makes people’s eyes light up and say, “Really?”   We’re currently halfway through our grant period, and we’ve hit some speed bumps for sure, but the tech is circulating….

Guest Blogger

Roblox Mania

School age and tween library users will let you know the hottest computer gaming webpages—just ask them or watch them.  I remember the days of high IMVU use, which I admit was not a personal favorite.  I was thrilled when Minecraft became all the rage, as it allows users to create and build…in other words, teaching young people geometry and spatial skills underhandedly, while they were having fun.