Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Winter Preschool STEAM

Back in October, I wrote about the aptly named Fall Fun Preschool STEAM program, the first of its kind I had offered.  I had been inspired by a colleague’s presentation, which you can read more about in the link. In February, our department held a Winter Preschool STEAM program that was also tons of fun, and I wanted to share. About 30 people (kids and caregivers) attended.  We started by creating a sensory snowman…aka a snow globe.  Voss water bottles were PERFECT for the snowman, and the lid resembled a hat.  Strips of blue flannel for a scarf really made him pop.  I’ve made snow globes before with glycerin and they never really worked.  Using clear glue, as suggested in the link, was a great upgrade…and added to the science as we discussed how the glitter was suspended by the glue. Next, we made a “melted” snowman…basically, it was white…

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.

Blogger Alexa Newman

Yoga and Mindfulness for Kids

I am passionate about yoga, so much so that I went to a yoga school and obtained my certification through Yoga Alliance. Combine that with my love of youth programming, and I had to develop programs for our library.  I teach classes for all ages, from adults (with students over 80!) to preschoolers. My youth programs focus on fun, fitness, and mindfulness.     Yoga has seen a steady increase in interest over the past several years. Yoga for kids is also on the rise. I’ve been conducting yoga storytimes, kids yoga, and tween yoga classes for the past 18 months. They are all popular with our young patrons, with yoga storytime being the most sought after program.   There has been a heightened focus on mindfulness and meditation in the media and with the general public. Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness with children can increase concentration and reduce stress…

Blogger Alexa Newman

Storytimes on the Fly

Picture this:  you’re getting settled in for your morning,  maybe getting a cup of coffee, checking emails, going through mail when the message comes in:  someone has called in and now you are going to have to fill in for storytime. With fifteen minutes notice.  And they haven’t gathered their materials together in one place. You’ll have to punt.   This has happened to many of us, mayhap even most of us at least one time in our career.  These moments can be stressful and overwhelming, especially for people who like to be prepared. How do you find a theme, pull books, flannels, music, all in a matter of minutes?   Here are a few tips that I have learned over the years that can help you prepare a storytime on the fly. Have office copies of your favorite picture books.  Have playlists of your best storytime action music. Keep…

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 Alexa Newman

Community Helper Storytime Series

Celebrating National Library Week 2019   This year’s National Library Week theme was Libraries = Strong Communities. As part of our celebrations my library hosted a week of Community Helper Storytimes. My coworker and I planned the five day event. We invited mystery guests to visit the library and read to the children each day of the week, Monday to Friday. Each day featured a different community helper. Our visitors were really varied from traveling animal ambassadors from the local petting zoo (and their zookeeper), a police officer, a dental hygienist, to firefighters and a ballerina. We contacted and scheduled them approximately two months in advance. Since we requested that they each read a book to the children, we pulled a selection of appropriate titles for them to choose between, and had those ready for their review two weeks before the storytime.   The traveling animal ambassadors program was structured…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Process Art

You don’t have to be artistic or crafty to do art programs at your branch! As a kid, I hated (really hated) art class, easily frustrated when my creations didn’t live up to my standards. Early in my library career, I started doing art programs simply because the kids loved the programs and caregivers expected them. Doing specific types of programs because your patrons enjoy them is a totally valid motivation. Like nearly everything in life, I’ve gotten more confident with practice and experience. But I’ve grown to truly love art programming – and it’s not because I’ve become a more skilled artist or gone through a creative growth spurt.   The key shift for me has been embracing process art rather than crafts.       Crafts are product-oriented, with detailed step-by-step instructions. There might be some variation, but the end results look very similar. Process art emphasizes the…