Blogger Jaime Eastman

Toddler Games: Motor Skills + Fun for Ages 18-36 Months

Library program room set up for Toddler Games with bean bags, blocks, crawling tunnels, and balancing stones

Do you want to engage toddlers, practice motor skills, and capitalize on the enthusiasm of the summer Olympic Games? We did! With increasing toddler attendance at our early learning programs, we wanted to add programs specific to the target age of 18 to 36 months. Practicing gross motor skills and free play was a great start, and the beginning of Toddler Games. Read on for more details.

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

Integrating Technology into Public Library Programs with Bedtime Math

For many public libraries, 2022 saw a slow but gradual return to in-person programming after two years of services altered or disrupted by the pandemic. This past summer was the closest my branch has been to “normal” programming, and we finally hosted our first big school night since 2019 in December. Like other libraries, the long pause has forced us to reassess needs and rethink the programming and services we invest in. Finding ways to expand access to out-of-school learning and creating opportunities for families to engage with each other? are both priorities for my team. So, when a librarian on my staff proposed the idea of creating a series of math enrichment programs last summer, I was all in.    The six-week program was very well-received, and we saw high family engagement throughout. Each session featured a math-themed book and a related hands-on activity. One of the most successful…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Checking in on the 2019 Light the Way Grant winner: Mess Hall on the Loose!

In January, after careful deliberation, the Library Services for Underserved Children and Their Caregivers (LSUCTC) Committee awarded Jennifer Smith and the Suffolk Public Library with the Light The Way Grant, sponsored by Candlewick Press.    Smith’s proposed idea, Mess Hall on the Loose, included a weekly program in which children would take part in cultural outings or field trips in their greater community, opening them to new experiences that would enrich their lives.    Among some of their activities, the children have been able to learn how to play ukuleles, travel to the Virginia Air & Space Museum in Hampton, VA, visit a movie theater to see The Lion King – as the closest theater is half an hour away, and visit the Isle of Wight Land Farm, a working farm, to learn about agricultural processes.   If a picture is worth a thousand words, the following images are a…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

A Special Needs Summer?

Families that include those with special needs can sometimes struggle with finding inclusive programming. Librarians often feel pressure to provide programming exclusively for special populations. But that’s not necessarily the case. Just having an open and welcoming atmosphere can be all that it takes to make your current programs accessible for everyone.  Are you doing what you can to offer programs for all children? Don’t know where to start? As a programmer, ask yourself the following questions: The location of the program- Are the rooms bright and cheerful without being overwhelming with too many sights and sounds? A calm environment is important for children with sensory issues. Is light distributed evenly? This is important for children with low vision. Is the room accessible and clutter free, with clear pathways? Most mobility equipment requires a four to five foot turning radius. Are there a variety of seating options? Large bolsters and…

Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Food in the Library? An interview with Amanda Courie about Summer Food Programs

Over the past few years, there has been a growing awareness in public libraries that children within their service areas may not be getting enough to eat during the summer months when school breakfasts and lunches are unavailable. Many libraries have partnered with state and local organizations to address this “food insecurity” by offering summer food programs, but this may seem like a daunting enterprise for small, rural, and/or understaffed libraries. Caroline County Public Library, one of eight rural Maryland libraries that my organization serves, began offering a summer food program last year. I decided to interview Amanda Courie, Youth Services Manager, to find out how this kind of program can work on a smaller scale. Amanda, I understand that Caroline County Public Library is a small system. How many full time staff members are there? How many of them work in youth services? “We are a small system!  We…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

From Dinosaur Robotics to Digital Storytelling: Incorporating Technology Into Summer Programming

The ALSC’s Children and Technology Committee is interested in hearing about your experiences with incorporating digital resources, social media, and technology into your summer programming.  We looked around and found some great ideas from our colleagues around the country. Tech Labs The Frederick County Public Libraries has STEM Lab, where children can drop in to learn about or use 3D printers, apps, robotic dinosaurs, or drones.  This is similar to Darien Library’s TEA Room, (TEA stands for Technology, Engineering, and the Arts).  There, students can reserve space to use media production equipment or take classes on Raspberry Pi, 3D Printing, etc.  These programs offer a nice balance of a space/time that is both free and unstructured or structured group projects and classes. Tech Partnerships King County Library System in Washington State has partnered with the Museum of Flight during the summer to offer tech program s such as Everyday Robot…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Shaking Up Summer Storytimes

My library is storytime central. We’re the largest branch in our system and we’re the headquarters branch, which means lots of traffic. We also end up being “the toddler branch” which means huge numbers for storytime. My staff always joke we could do storytime every hour of every day and have a huge crowd at each session. We even hosted a day one summer where we ended up with storytime at 10, 11, 1 and 4 by accident of overlapping programming days and they were all full! This summer I’ve decided to shake up our storytimes just a bit. I’m trying something new and we’ll see how it goes. We discovered last year that the best use of our storytime and staff resources would be to repeat toddler storytimes on our busiest days. Our numbers for storytime climb even higher in the summer, we have an influx of people on…