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.

Guest Blogger

From Frustrated to Delighted: Analog and STEM programming

old fashioned postcards scattered across the image. A postcard of the Empire State Building and a postcard of the Statue of Liberty are included. Used for STEM programming.

In 2015, I was working as a Children’s Librarian at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania). I had to produce and present a summer reading program with iPads for school age kids. This was part of a pilot program that summer to introduce children, especially inner city children, to iPads as a way to decrease the digital divide. STEM programming on an iPad? I had no idea what to do. I didn’t even own a smart phone!

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 Children and Technology Committee

Coding in Early Learning

As more schools add coding requirements in higher grades, offering coding opportunities for younger children can help give them a foundation for future learning. The need goes beyond success in middle or high school – it is also becoming important for career success. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, early coding experiences help children build skills that are “valuable for [their] future success in our digital world.” Fortunately for children’s librarians who are uncomfortable with coding in general, the options available for pre-readers are accessible and easily adapted to library programming. Coding Stories Coding stories are one way to introduce early coding in library programs. The NAEYC article linked below offers step-by-step instructions to retell familiar stories with coding. First, make a grid. Then work together with children to map out a character’s movements through the story. This helps children learn computational thinking concepts like…