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 Maria Trivisonno

Impromptu Programming

Children’s librarians are experts at many things as we recently learned. But I know a major skill that’s tested almost daily on the floor is flexibility. I was a brand-new library paraprofessional when the first day of spring break descended upon my branch…along with every preschooler-third grader in a 10-mile radius. Or so it seemed. However, they weren’t the only people at the library. There were a lot of adult patrons using the computer banks who were not happy with the noise level. I’m sure you’ve had this happen where you work—it’s not like any one person was inappropriately loud. The amount of (young) people in the building was just causing a lot of noise to build, and customers were looking sideways at each other…and at the staff. Well, as the only children’s staff member present at the time, to be fair, they were looking at me! So, I did…

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…

Administrative and Management Skills

ALSC Asks:

Many management and leadership decisions with patrons are judgement calls based on ones understanding of their library policy. We have a scenario for you to consider: A solo parent comes into the children’s area of the library with a teenager, a toddler, and an infant to enjoy a Summer Reading Puppet show. Upon arrival the teenager immediately leaves their family in the children’s area to hang out with  friends in the teen area. Once the puppet show begins the toddler starts screaming, laughing, and trying to climb on stage to touch the puppets. The parent, with their hands full holding the infant, apologizes for the interruption and pulls the toddler off the stage. The toddler continues to scream, laugh and point at the stage while the performance resumes. After 15 minutes the puppeteer asks the parent to quiet the toddler, because they are disrupting the show. The parent explains the toddler…

Blogger Katie Salo

Parachute in Storytime

Several children stand underneath a giant parachute. Most of them are blurry from action. In the middle stands a librarian, holding up part of the parachute.

Today’s installment of storytime props is the parachute in storytime. (Previous post: Scarves in Storytime and Egg Shakers in Storytime.) Are you ready to go over the basics? What size parachute do you use?: I have three different parachutes at the library. Two fit in our smaller programming room (parachutes size 10 feet and size 12 feet). This works for classes of 20 kids or smaller. Our large parachute fits our large programming room (parachute size 24 feet). I’ve used this parachute in classes with 70 kids before. How do you take the parachute out and put the parachute away?: In our large music & movement program, I ask the kids to find their grown-ups and stay with them while I pass out the parachute. For classes when I’m the only grown-up in the room, I have the kids touch the wall until I finish setting up the parachute. This…