Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Low Tech Makerspace

Do you suffer from Makerspace envy? I do. I wish I had the dedicated space, materials and personnel that some of my more lucky library and school friends do. At my last school, they had a dedicated shop with a flank of 3-D printers, CNC machines, fabrication tools and a dedicated lab director. Sigh. As much as I wished to duplicate that for my public library patrons, like most of us, I didn’t have the space OR the money. But I still wanted my patrons to have the benefits that a good makerspace program can provide. So, I went on to do what we youth librarians have been doing for decades – I created the programming on the cheap. And by cheap – I mean price, not experience! After all, the concepts behind the makerspace movement don’t rely on money. They are based on constructive learning theory – we learn…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Celebrating Diwali with a STEAM Activity: Fostering Cultural Competency in Libraries

A photograph of the diya card fully decorated and with the LED lit.

As librarians, we strive to create inclusive spaces that celebrate diversity and promote cultural understanding. Diwali, also known as Deepavali or the Festival of Lights, is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world. Typically lasting for five days, it is observed by Hindu, Sikh, Jain, and some Buddhist communities. Diwali is a time of joy, gratitude, and hope for millions of people. Embracing this multicultural event enhances our understanding of different traditions and creates a welcoming environment for families that celebrate Diwali. A fun and easy Diwali STEAM activity that you can do at your library is to create a paper circuit diya card. A diya is an oil lamp that is lit during the holiday to symbolize the triumph of good and light over evil and darkness.

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

Summer Learning with Lego®

The Webster Groves Missouri School District offers a Summer Exploration Experience (SEE) for elementary students in grades first through fifth for five weeks at the beginning of the summer. Historically, this program has allowed teachers the opportunity to create their own curriculum based on Project Based Learning (PBL) methods. PBL is a “teaching method in which complex real-world problems are used as the vehicle to promote student learning of concepts and principles as opposed to direct presentation of facts and concepts.” All SEE teachers are trained in the PBL method of teaching before the summer session begins allowing for ample time to build a unit from scratch. Teachers can take the time to develop units that they can incorporate into their yearly curriculum or create a unit based on a topic of interest. The most important aspect of creating a PBL unit is that the teachers and their students have…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

3D Printing for Children

About ten years ago, my library got a 3D Printer. A Makerbot Replicator. Around that time, we heard that a library north of us was doing 3D printing school visits, so a colleague and I drove north to find out what they were doing. Credit is definitely due to that library – the Innisfill ideaLab and Library – for the seeds of what became a giant endeavor that centered around dragging a Makerbot Mini around the elementary schools in my town. Some of the things that made 3D printer-themed school visits wonderful no longer exist, but what I can write about is what I am still doing with 3D printing and our youth patrons in the library. 3D Printing for Kids as a program Program Tips The Two-Week Schedule Week 1 This week includes covering basics like how the printer works, how much it costs, and/or what limitations there are to…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Like Kids with New Toys: A Closer Look at the USA Toy Library Association

Thanks to Every Child Ready to Read 2nd edition, children’s librarians have explicit permission to promote play as an integral part of early literacy and developmental skills for young children.  Isn’t it just the best job ever?  I have ALWAYS been a huge fan of toys, since, er, birth.  And getting to pass that joy to a new generation—and encourage their parents and caregivers to rediscover their own inner children—is a delight!

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!