Guest Blogger

Baby Time Boredom No More at #PLA2024

It seems like baby time boredom is sweeping the nation, if the turnout at my first presentation for the day, Baby Time Boredom: Building Culturally Responsive Programming for Ages 0-3, was any indication. Annamarie Carlson (Westerville Public Library, OH) and Sarah Simpson (a former librarian and current Family Engagement and Literacy Specialist at the A. Sophie Rogers School for Early Learning at The Ohio State University) presented to a full house of fellow children’s services librarians waiting eagerly for fresh ideas on this classic program. Using a culturally responsive model looks different at every library, and that’s exactly the point. By weaving your patrons identity into your programming, you make things personally relevant to a family’s experiences. Simpson talked about pulling inspiration from “funds of knowledge” – children’s accumulated experiences in their households with siblings, friends, communities, and caregivers. In addition, it’s important to think about your community expansively. How…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Low Tech Makerspace

Do you suffer from Makerspace envy? I do. I wish I had the dedicated space, materials and personnel that some of my more lucky library and school friends do. At my last school, they had a dedicated shop with a flank of 3-D printers, CNC machines, fabrication tools and a dedicated lab director. Sigh. As much as I wished to duplicate that for my public library patrons, like most of us, I didn’t have the space OR the money. But I still wanted my patrons to have the benefits that a good makerspace program can provide. So, I went on to do what we youth librarians have been doing for decades – I created the programming on the cheap. And by cheap – I mean price, not experience! After all, the concepts behind the makerspace movement don’t rely on money. They are based on constructive learning theory – we learn…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Programming on the Fly

This year, I have been trying to boost library programming opportunities.  Planning a program can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be such a challenge.  If the goal is to get readers into the library and engaged with library resources, a program can be short, simple, and still fun!  In addition, planning time can be quick and dirty but still deliver a result that gets readers into the library. I’ve chosen to focus on lunch & learn opportunities.  I work in a middle school and want to catch kids while they are at school, and not outside school hours.  The best time to do this is during lunch, which is 30 minutes for each grade level.  Quick engagement sessions can be modified to work for a public library outside of school hours or for a school library at a different level with a different schedule as well. For each…

Blogger Ariel Barreras

ESL at Home: English Language Learner Family Literacy Kits

Like many communities across the country, my library’s community has a growing immigrant population, particularly families with young children. Immigrating to a new country comes with many challenges and libraries can be of service to this population through programming and collection development. To help this population, I have recently added ELL (English Language Learner) Family Literacy Kits to our children’s collection through the help of generous grant funding. This is a completely new program at my library and we are excited to see where it takes us! In this post, I will tell you about what is included in each kit and how this can serve immigrant families.

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Celebrating Diwali with a STEAM Activity: Fostering Cultural Competency in Libraries

A photograph of the diya card fully decorated and with the LED lit.

As librarians, we strive to create inclusive spaces that celebrate diversity and promote cultural understanding. Diwali, also known as Deepavali or the Festival of Lights, is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world. Typically lasting for five days, it is observed by Hindu, Sikh, Jain, and some Buddhist communities. Diwali is a time of joy, gratitude, and hope for millions of people. Embracing this multicultural event enhances our understanding of different traditions and creates a welcoming environment for families that celebrate Diwali. A fun and easy Diwali STEAM activity that you can do at your library is to create a paper circuit diya card. A diya is an oil lamp that is lit during the holiday to symbolize the triumph of good and light over evil and darkness.

Guest Blogger

From Frustrated to Delighted: Analog and STEM programming

old fashioned postcards scattered across the image. A postcard of the Empire State Building and a postcard of the Statue of Liberty are included. Used for STEM programming.

In 2015, I was working as a Children’s Librarian at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania). I had to produce and present a summer reading program with iPads for school age kids. This was part of a pilot program that summer to introduce children, especially inner city children, to iPads as a way to decrease the digital divide. STEM programming on an iPad? I had no idea what to do. I didn’t even own a smart phone!