Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Connecting Families to Resources

Libraries are no longer just hallowed halls of books and learning. They have adapted throughout time, always meeting the needs of the patrons and the greater community.  First, computers, then internet access.  Nowadays, it’s common practice for libraries to offer services such as homework help and career services, food programming with local food banks, and even resource closets with household supplies.  They partner with government agencies, local housing networks, and more. 

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

FamilySpace at the Library

Several years ago, before the COVID-19 outbreak, Invest in Children, a community wide public/private partnership administered by the Cuyahoga County Office of Early Childhood, and the United Way of Greater Cleveland came to the two largest library systems in Northeast Ohio (Cleveland Public Library (CPL) and Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL)—the largest suburban system for which I work) with an idea.  Although delayed thanks to the pandemic, the first FamilySpace location opened in September 2022 at CCPL’s Garfield Heights Branch, and three other locations (two in each system total) followed.  The response has been positive, to say the least.

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Empowering Caregivers in your Community

New Castle Public Library (DE) patrons using prop scarves with their children at storytime

Preparing children for a lifelong love of learning is a goal shared by most children’s librarians, although the ways we cultivate that joy vary vastly. There is, for example, no standardized way to deliver a storytime, and no prescribed set of programs a library absolutely must offer. This vagueness can be helpful because it allows us to cater to the uniqueness of our communities, but if I could suggest a common theme to incorporate into most children’s programming, it would be family engagement. The goal of family engagement, especially with our youngest patrons, is to empower caregivers to be their children’s first teachers. A recent research article from Frontiers in Psychology states that this movement is largely underway in spaces such as children’s museums, but also mentions that not every community has access to a museum, and that admission costs can be a barrier to families. Luckily, libraries are able…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Integrating Technology into Public Library Programs with Bedtime Math

For many public libraries, 2022 saw a slow but gradual return to in-person programming after two years of services altered or disrupted by the pandemic. This past summer was the closest my branch has been to “normal” programming, and we finally hosted our first big school night since 2019 in December. Like other libraries, the long pause has forced us to reassess needs and rethink the programming and services we invest in. Finding ways to expand access to out-of-school learning and creating opportunities for families to engage with each other? are both priorities for my team. So, when a librarian on my staff proposed the idea of creating a series of math enrichment programs last summer, I was all in.    The six-week program was very well-received, and we saw high family engagement throughout. Each session featured a math-themed book and a related hands-on activity. One of the most successful…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Resources for Families

Since re-opening to the public, the libraries in my system have encountered more and more families in need of referrals to other agencies for food, other essentials, support for special needs, parenting, etc.  We are especially finding this in our Kindergarten Readiness programming.  More than half of these children’s lives have been lived since the pandemic began, and, understandably, parents have been at times reluctant to have their children involved in activities outside of the home, even regarding assistance for special needs.  I am hopeful this trend will change now with the ability to vaccinate at 6 months. However, we will still see several cohorts of children affected by this isolation.  Some of these needs the library can address directly.  We work with our local foodbank to offer summer lunch programs at our eligible branches.  All branches have granola bars available to feed hungry kids on demand.  Several branches offer…

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Celebrate Summer with Audiobooks

Ah, June. School is out. Summer Reading has begun. And many families are ready to travel. Since June is Audiobook Appreciation Month, what better way to celebrate both audiobooks and summer than with titles great for family sharing? Added bonus – depending on your library, it might count towards Summer Reading for everyone!  I’ve been hooked on audiobooks ever since a grad school assignment required me to listen to one. I had tried listening to books a few times, but just couldn’t get into the format. One book changed it all: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, narrated by Lynn Redgrave. I was drawn into the story in ways that I never imagined possible. It was pure magic. And it was a perfect way to pass the time over my weekly 6-7-hour (roundtrip) commute.  In this digital era, it seems that the library’s physical audiobooks collections are slowly becoming obsolete. Many households…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Families Coding Together

In October 2017, I had the opportunity to attend the National Center for Families Learning Annual Conference, which was held that year in Tucson, Arizona. Although libraries had a presence at the Conference (indeed—I met ALSC’s Angela Hubbard there and she encouraged me to write for the blog, hence this post!), other organizations that focus on family learning were present as well. I found the non-library sessions to be extremely interesting, and they helped me think outside of the box.   One such session was with PBS Kids and originated from WQED, the PBS station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. WQED partners with school districts in their service area to bring PBS Kids’ Family Creative Learning programs to locals. The session I attended discussed a family coding program that used Scratch Jr.’s PBS Kids version (free to download) aimed at children ages 5-8 and their siblings/caregivers. You can read about PBS Kids…