Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

How to Plan Future Programming With Uncertain Staffing Amounts

Welcome to Ask ALSC, where the Managing Children’s Services Committee asks leaders in children’s libraries to share their response to an issue or situation. We hope to showcase a range of responses to topics that may affect ALSC members. If you’d like to respond to today’s topics, or suggest a topic for the future, please leave a comment. A large part of managing a children’s department is keeping the department staffed and the programming going. How does one plan programming for Summer Reading when you aren’t sure who will be working in your department? How do you plan if you aren’t sure you will be fully staffed? Early this year, I had two staff notify me that they will be moving out of state in spring. Years ago, I would be sad to see great employees leave but focus on filling the openings  and continuing with our plans. Now, I…

Blogger Kirsten Caldwell

Baby STEAM Program for Summer

We are officially in prep mode for our summer learning program! My library is using the iRead theme: Find Your Voice. I have a great love of STEAM and we already have existing programs for older kids but haven’t had anything for babies and toddlers that is STEAM related. STEAM allows children to find their voice in different ways and we are always trying to incorporate it more into our programming. Our newest program will be a drop-in program for ages 0-3!

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

(Low Budget) Program in a Post: The Floor is Lava

Planning for summer reading while programming for spring is tiring. This easy, low-prep, low-budget program is perfect for spring break and no-school days. Check it out! Overview “The Floor is Lava” invites families of all ages to take the classic living room and playground imagination game to the next level. They must use the available materials to make their way across the “lava” floor, but be careful not to touch the ground or be tagged by the lava monster.  The combination of open play and nostalgia was a hit with both grownups and kiddos, with 60+ participants stopping to play between 10am-6pm.  Supplies Use what you have on hand. Here are some suggestions: Families will be creative with whatever you provide. Many things can be donated by local businesses (cardboard boxes!) or borrowed from staff. Set Up Spread the supplies out across the room. Families are encouraged to move things…


A Few Unique Ideas for Summer Reading Performers

In many places around our country, January equals cold temperatures, barren trees, and dark days (even as the sunlight slowly increases each day). The perfect time to discuss and start planning summer programming, am I right? In fact, I’m not the only one contemplating Summer, as Jonathan Dolce just posted a list of excellent resources on the collaborative summer library program theme in All Together Now 2023 SRP. In addition to program planning, many of us may find ourselves starting the elusive search for performers. We hope to find the right combination of popularity and budget to draw our communities into participating in our Summer Reading Programs. Hopefully most of us involved in this tedious research already have a master list of performers or participate in library Facebook groups like Programming Librarian Interest Group to solicit ideas. My goal is not to offer ideas for big names or trends, but to instead…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

All Together Now 2023 SRP

But It’s Still Winter… Believe it or not, this is my 20th year working – as a paid employee – in Central Florida libraries. If you include volunteering…well…that’d be most of my life. From all I’ve ever experienced, you can never be fully or overly prepared for a season of summer reading programming. As a matter of fact, I am known for ALWAYS having a backup plan for each program, right down to duplicates of mission critical equipment. Sounds like a military operation, doesn’t it? So, yes, it’s January and we are talkin’ All Together Now, our 2023 Summer Reading Program! Nitty Gritty, Nuts and Bolts I always love a tool kit, a place I can have everything in one spot, like a Swiss Army knife. I’m based in Florida, but this seems to have universal appeal: CSLP 2023 Program Resources 2023 Summer Program (and beyond) Resources: Overview of popular…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Integrating Technology into Public Library Programs with Bedtime Math

For many public libraries, 2022 saw a slow but gradual return to in-person programming after two years of services altered or disrupted by the pandemic. This past summer was the closest my branch has been to “normal” programming, and we finally hosted our first big school night since 2019 in December. Like other libraries, the long pause has forced us to reassess needs and rethink the programming and services we invest in. Finding ways to expand access to out-of-school learning and creating opportunities for families to engage with each other? are both priorities for my team. So, when a librarian on my staff proposed the idea of creating a series of math enrichment programs last summer, I was all in.    The six-week program was very well-received, and we saw high family engagement throughout. Each session featured a math-themed book and a related hands-on activity. One of the most successful…