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…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

The Rule of Three: A Simple Formula for Building Dynamic Children’s Programs

  Public libraries offer a host of youth programs from traditional Infant and Toddler Storytimes to a wide array of activities for school-aged children up to ages thirteen or fourteen. There are book clubs, STEAM programs, yoga and art classes, just to name a few. With so many possibilities to choose from, you may wonder where to start. When onboarding new staff members I usually run them through the process below.   Before creating youth programs, I think it’s always important to ask yourself what your goal is. In my department, my goal is to create positive, lifelong memories of reading and the library. I also want to promote curiosity, wonder, imagination, exploration, and discovery. So, ultimately, our goal is to create dynamic youth programming that inspires lifelong readers and library users by connecting children to quality literature. With that in mind, my mantra is to always – start with…

Blogger Pamela Groseclose

Play it Big : Helping Tweens Transition to Teen Services with Board Games

As a teen service librarian, one of the most challenging tasks is activating the tween and teen space.  In my six years of experience in youth services, I have always tried to think of the next big thing to boost programming numbers and make the area more inviting to tweens and teens.   I constantly brainstormed ideas and re-evaluated my services. Surely this was enough, but my tweens taught me otherwise. I was working too hard on something that was already happening.

ALA Midwinter 2019

Story Time Deep Dive at #alamw19

I have been lucky to connect with the amazing Mel (of Mel’s Desk) at past conferences, and she has been gracious to host some story time deep dives, at the Networking Uncommons, where attendees can come and chat about story time and youth services and brainstorm answers! If you are unfamiliar with Networking Uncommons it is a free space like a makeshift empty meeting room with tables and chairs to have informal meetups or just hang and chat. There are some art supplies and button makers if you feel the need to do some crafting! See my awesome coloring page from the Office of Intellectual Freedom that I started during this meetup! This year, the spot is super hard to find– across the street from the convention center and away from all the action of midwinter. But, we were joined by one other children’s librarian, and for 2 hours we…

Blogger Katie Salo

Instruments in Storytime

Instruments are pictured on a purple rug. They include two small hand drums, rhythm sticks, hand bells, Boomwhackers, hand shakers, and a xylophone.

Today’s installment of storytime props is instruments in storytime. (Previous posts: Parachute in Storytime, Scarves in Storytime, and Egg Shakers in Storytime.) Instruments are such a fun topic, with a huge array of different kinds of instruments; I could spend all day writing about them. But let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start… (Kudos to anyone now singing “Do, Re, Mi” from The Sound of Music. What instruments do you have at the library? Mostly percussion instruments: gathering drums, sound drums, rhythm sticks, bells, Boomwhackers, hand shakers (including egg shakers and maracas), and some miscellaneous (xylophone, two sets of finger cymbals, sandpaper blocks, tambourines). How do you take instruments out? The same way that I do egg shakers; the instruments are always in a container and I pass them out one by one. How do you store the instruments?: In plastic bins or fabric bins,…

Blogger Pamela Groseclose

Creating a Successful Tween Book Club

Book Clubs are always an excellent tween and even teen program, but it is often difficult to get one started. There can be many barriers to making it work. One of which is competing against school activities and precious time with family.  Tweens and teens are busier than ever, and libraries are having to go the extra mile to attract families to library programming. In the past, I have only been able to have success with book clubs through outreach. My former library was lucky enough to team up with the local school librarians to offer a book club over the lunch hour for students. Recently, I moved out of state to pursue another job. One of the things I missed most was doing a book club. Looking back, I realized it was my library’s version of a tween advisory board. I felt lost with it. I decided that I…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

But Don’t Forget the Homeschoolers

 “We would love to have a program specifically for homeschoolers. We need a place for our kids to interact with each other and with an adult that isn’t the parents.” This was the plea that my community’s homeschool moms posed to me at the beginning of this year. As I listened to the parents, I realized just how big the homeschooling population really was in my community. I also realized that these kids needed a program that was hands- on and engaging meaning I would have to plan some amazing programs to keep attendees interested. Talk about pressure. Since I knew there was definitely a need, I decided to take action. I began reaching out to everyone I could: librarians within Tennessee, the moms themselves, and co-workers. And as many children’s librarians do, I turned to Pinterest. As the wealth of information poured in, I began to get a bit…