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…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Fall Fun Preschool STEAM

The past sixth months, I’ve been finding my programming “legs” at a new branch.  With my team’s help, we had some wildly successful summer school age programs, but, with school now back in session, I wanted to offer some additional programming for our younger friends. A colleague of mine from Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Fairview Park Branch, Jennifer Haag, had presented on Preschool STEAM at an Ohio Library Council Chapter Conference a few years ago.  It was a wonderful presentation, offering a full year of monthly program plans.  So, to dip my toes in the water, I chose ONE of her programs—October—to try this year. Quite simply—it was a lot of fun. The families and staff performed all the science experiments together, and then participants had the opportunity to spend time at Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math stations throughout the room.   Which liquids will dissolve candy corn and peeps—water,…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Stomp Rockets: STEAM Done Cheap

I have recently learned the joys of stomp rockets, these super simple launching devices can lead to tons of scientific exploration and can be made for less than $2! So far this summer we have used these for a day long rocket launching program and a demonstration at a county run summer camp. The kids have been totally captivated. So our plan is to make a couple to drop off at the summer camp locations so the kids can experiment in their free time. This lead me to wonder where else would it be possible to have these cheap tools available for bored and curious kids? Since these have relatively low power they can be launched inside as long as the space has high ceilings so recreation centers, after school programs (cafeterias and gyms) and the like would be a perfect fit. Materials for Launcher: 2 pieces of 1/2 inch…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

In Defense of Slime

In my June blog, I talked about a summer drop-in program pilot occurring in my library, including the successes and the challenges. Since that article, we have had several more popular and overwhelming programs, including one in which 75 people (!!) came to have Messy Science fun…including slime making.   As you might imagine, this was more than a bit overwhelming, and more than a little pricey. We went though 4 gallons of slime.  I had NO idea we’d get so many people, and luckily, I tend to overbuy and had enough.  I joke that it’s the same impulse my Italian family has to ensure 3 times the amount of needed food is available at every family get-together.   However, what I wanted to talk about was a comment I fielded the next day when a customer overheard staff talking about the huge turnout—why do libraries bother with slime programs?…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

STEM Teaching Begins with Preschoolers!

toddler interacting with science exhibit in Belgharia

STEM Teaching and Learning Begins with Preschoolers! So, I was explaining STEM to my dad, a retired physicist.  He’s skeptical by nature as any good scientist should be.  When I got to the part about teaching it to preschoolers, well, let’s just say I was bombarded by particles. But hear me out – it really DOES start with preschoolers!  And I can prove it! Penny Bauder, environmental scientist, teacher and mom of two, points out that “It is never too early to start STEM education, and an ideal way to teach STEM is to go out into nature!” Boston Children’s Museum, too, points out that children have a natural curiosity.  STEM is a great way to help 3-5 year-olds to focus and refine their naturally inquisitive behaviors. Linking it up to Summer Reading 2019! Even a pre-schooler can be a NASA citizen scientist!  Download and install the GLOBE Observer app…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Día! El día de los niños – El día de los libros – Children’s Book Day

selection of books celebrating diversity

Día! is upon us! So, you’re reading this and thinking OMG, this is not so LOL when Día! is upon us!  Don’t panic!  There’s still time left to make this a meaningful Día!   Sure, you may have somehow missed out on REFORMA’s March 31st deadline for applying for its Día! grants, but with a little planning, and some great resources, you can do this! Do YOU Día? But, I hear you say, Jonathan, I’m not Hispanic and I don’t speak Spanish above the “hola me llamo [insert name]” level.  Let’s review what Día is all about! El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), commonly known as Día, is a celebration every day of children, families, and reading that culminates yearly on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of ALL linguistic and cultural backgrounds.  Thus, you see that it’s not just about Spanish speakers.  Indeed, I…

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…