Guest Blogger

Afternoon Amazingness at #ALSC20

Thanks to living in Virtual Conference Land, we got to kick off the afternoon with a refreshing lunch on the porch with cohort Pongo (pictured below). I got to listen to publishers give us the deets on some amazing upcoming #DiverseReads; so many fab books- my ordering list is ever-growing. Then, I spent some time learning about immersive learning through virtual reality and augmented reality programs for children! Zach Stier (who has worked in libraries for ages!) explained how the learning experiences work, and demonstrated different devices to use- including info how to get stuff on a tight budget… because, REALITY reality. He has great ideas about programming, and also talked about how to tie those experiences back to non-tech activities and to books! And one fun plus to these programs- kids can often end up being the “teachers” for each other in the tasks. Next: what in the world…

Guest Blogger

Virtual #ALSC20 – too many great things

I have to say, I am SO glad that all of the sessions are being recorded for us! It’s been hard to choose what to see, and I am thrilled I can go back later and catch the ones I missed while I was in a different session. This is a huge plus of attending a virtual conference! I picked up some amazing Global Citizens programming ideas from Hallie Jackson from Fairfax County Public library; I can’t wait until we have patrons back in the library, because I want to jump into those new ideas asap. The We Are Water Protectors general session gave some fabulously interesting background stories of the book about the peaceful stand of current Indigenous-led protests. I thought it was interesting, too, to learn that the book was originally conceived as a YA novel; author Carole Lindstrom realized that young people “get it,” and need to…

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…