Blogger Liza Purdy

Innovations in the Children’s Library

Our library pulled a lot of our fun toys and manipulatives from our children’s section with the advent of the pandemic. Of course, books and our outdoor programs are still a major draw for families to come to our library, but we’ve been trying to come up with other ways to engage families while they visit the library. Our staff has come up with some terrific innovations!

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Passive Programming Builds Community

Winter and spring breaks are coming up, which means our libraries might be more crowded than usual! This is a great time to engage library users, but can also be a bit stressful when trying to manage many age groups simultaneously. Your regularly scheduled toddler storytime now might include older siblings attending, and your children’s section might be filled much earlier than usual. So, how do you balance all of your patrons’ needs simultaneously? Passive programming! But, passive programming is so much more than a tool to help you multitask; it helps build community.


Including the Shy Ones: Passive Programming & Interactive Displays

One of the biggest challenges that youth library staff faces is providing programming that reaches the widest array of children possible. We cast huge programming nets in hopes of filling our programs with happy smiling faces that are raring and ready for some fun… but what about the shy kids? What about the children that aren’t super excited about being “trapped” in a room with thirty other kids? How can we engage these children without forcing them into our programs? The answer lies in passive programming. This generally underutilized programming option can be the bridge that connects your more shy patrons with library resources and materials. The trick is to portray the passive program as something else entirely, such as a game or fun activity. From my experience, the best method is to create a program that requires no staff supervision, can be completed with very little instructions, and most…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Fandom Jr. Update

Back in April, I wrote about how we are shaking up our Summer Storytime schedule and adding in a new program called Fandom Jr. The idea is to offer a drop in program on Friday mornings based on popular preschool topics and themes. I promised an update! I hosted my first Fandom Jr. last week and it was a huge success! For our first program, I wanted to focus on community heroes, so we chose the popular Nick Jr. show, Paw Patrol. The program combined a little bit of a playtime, a little bit of a storytime, and lots of fun. I had lots of various activities and stations set up around the room including: Pin the badge on the pup (made by one of my amazing staff using materials from the Nick Jr website) Community Helper dolls (from our circulating toy collection-we have three sets of  community helper action figures and…


Passive Programming in Practice

Earlier this year my colleagues and I decided to boldly step into the world of passive programming in order to serve our busy patrons. Passive programming encompasses a variety of types of programs that allow patrons to participate with minimal to no staff direction. Often they allow for varying amounts of patron involvement and/or time commitment. On the spectrum of passive programming you can have something as simple as a jigsaw left out on a table for communal puzzling or as complex as a forensic science program with clues, activity stations, and prizes for participants who figure out the culprit. We’ve found that passive programming not only increases participation, but also caregiver-child interaction and exploration. Thinking of trying passive programming? Here are some of the pros: Less staffing at the time of the program. Flexible length (a day/week/month) allows you to serve a large number of patrons Easy to save,…