Children & Technology

Children’s Makerspaces in Public Libraries

In the last several decades, the landscape of public libraries changed from what one might consider a stereotypical book storehouse to an eclectic gathering space not just for materials, but for people. To remain relevant in their communities, public libraries adapted to this shift in focus, working to provide more versatile and technological resources for their community members. One trend in particular that has sprung from this change is  the concept of makerspaces. A relatively young concept as far as technology goes, this  idea has taken root  and managed to establish itself in libraries across the country. It is believed that the concept of “making” was first discussed in 2005, as part of an article in  Make – a magazine that published information regarding maker projects. Since then, many libraries have taken the steps to build their own makerspaces filled with different types of technology.  At the very least, most…

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 Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Focusing on Consent @ Storytime

Consent is a topic I’ve been more intentional of integrating into all the storytimes I plan. This is often done in small ways but every now and then, it’s the theme! To become even more intentional, I was excited when the opportunity presented itself to begin collaborating with a local health organization, Canvas Health, once a month at storytime. One of their Prevention and Education Specialists, Jasmine Lee, attends storytime. Then, I have them do their own introduction after we’ve sung our last song. They never read or lead a song so that our routine stays the same. Jasmine keeps their intro brief and brings a handout about a health topic of interest such as setting boundaries or consent that grown-ups are welcome to take afterward from a table. This partnership is essential for local families so they have a familiar face should a problem arise or they simply have…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Winter Fun for All

“It’s never too early to plan for next year!” It’s a phrase often said in libraries, and while some of us cringe at the thought of “next year,” the holiday season is a great time to reflect. For nine years, we held a blow-out Christmas event. It drew 1,500 patrons to the library on a chilly night in December for trolley rides, letters to Santa, and even Santa himself. It was an event that families looked forward to every year; something that became a holiday tradition alongside cookie making and caroling. So we kept it going, right? An annual event for 1,500 people! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But the problem was, it was broken.

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Nontraditional Times for Traditional Programs

Libraries are a melting pot, a representation of a beautifully diverse society. As we progress further into the 21st Century, this fact, this statement, is becoming more and more understood. A focus, and a very important one, has been put on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in collections and spaces. However, do we take EDI components and take them into our library programs–namely the time and topic of our programs? What does this look like? Well, it means getting creative. It means thinking outside of the box. To be honest, I never really thought of programs outside of the 9 to 5 time frame until I became a working mom. I work until 6 PM most nights; it is impossible to take my daughter to what we view as a traditional storytime. I know I’m not just the only person this applies to. Many of your library patrons are in…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

A New Toolkit for Program Challenges

In the weeks leading up to the Drag Story Hour at my former branch, I was equal parts excited and worried. I had been wanting to host a Drag Story Hour for a long time because these special storytimes encompass some of the best parts of children’s programs in libraries: having fun, encouraging creativity, and celebrating diversity through stories. And I was certain that it would be popular with the families who came to that branch.