As a children’s librarian, a primary goal for me is to help children embrace imagination through books, from imagining we are superheroes to going on a hunt to find a bear, flying in the sky, exploring a new land, to diving deep in the ocean. For some time however, including nonfiction titles in my programs has been a top request from parents and educators.
“One of the most beautiful qualities of a true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)
Growing up it was difficult for me to make friends. Some of the key phrases I was told included: “it is a natural process,” “the sky is full of many stars, but having one friend is larger than the universe,” and “smile to everyone you walk past.”
Throughout my childhood, my father and I traveled to the local library with a wagon. He insisted that I fill the wagon as high as we could with books. We went on hundreds of journeys with some of the most special characters in children’s literature. The adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh and friends in The Hundred Acre Wood was and continues to offer exciting adventures.
“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” (Ryunosuke Satoro)
Tis the season to be… It is hard to sometimes understand how difficult the holiday season will be this year. Although this is difficult, technology has made it possible for us all to connect and participate in holiday fun. For my article this month, I’ve listed activities that you can provide for families to do together during the holiday breaks.
I live and work in a train community and often use trains as an analogy when I talk about storytime. Like a train, storytime offers an audience a chance to hop on board to experience a new world with characters. The characters of a story can help us understand some of the experiences the children listening to the story might be going through.… more
I am excited to start year two of Bookology! I contemplated doing themes around COVID-19 and then I thought why not write about the importance of being a purple person? Some of you might be asking yourself the following questions: Does this relate to science? Do you become purple by eating eggplants or beets? Do you paint yourself purple?… more
In early fall of 2019, I completed a grant application through our local early childhood board. I proposed a new early literacy program called Little Engines. Each month, we will have an early childhood professional provide a storytime program with activities. These include literacy, nutrition, childcare, school readiness, music/recreation, creativity/arts, and STEAM. The library provides families a tote bag that includes various activities and a book to enjoy at home together.… more
Although COVID-19 has been difficult, libraries continue their core mission to provide access to resources and services by improving and increasing their digital services. Storytime is a key service the public library provides to support early literacy, family engagement, and helping children find the joy of reading. Face-to-face interaction helps to improve the connection with families — however, librarians have had to transition storytime programming to a virtual platform.… more
“Investing in early childhood nutrition is a surefire strategy. The returns are incredibly high.” —Anne Mulcahy I am the head of children’s services at Ericson Public Library in Boone, Iowa. According to Iowa Department of Education, Boone has 1,901 students and 877 of those students are in a free or reduced lunch program (Kids Count, 2017).… more
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” —Mahatma Gandhi I went into the weekend prepared to take it easy from a long and busy week. I quickly shifted my focus to the horror happening in Australia. I was watching a video that showed a small fraction of the animals and humans faced with this disaster.… more
“Exploration is really the Essence of the Human Spirit.” —Frank Borman ’Tis the season for fall themes such as pumpkins, leaves, and turkeys. As I was planning programs for October and November, I decided it was time to go rogue and think of new themes. I started searching terms such as “funny fall celebrations” and “unusual holidays.” From National Mad Hatter Day to National Cake Decorating Day, my search helped me develop new program opportunities for families to enjoy including: National Mad Hatter Day, October 6, 2019 Journey down the rabbit hole and make Wonderland come to life.… more
Encourage kids to be creative without worrying about being perfect. —Dav Pilkey At the start of the fall program season, I asked our youngest patrons what programs they would like the library to offer. I heard a child yell out, “DOGMAN”! I smiled and I told him that was a great idea. Dogman© is a graphic novel series written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey that tells the story of George and Harold’s newly created hero of justice.… more
For the past four years, my library has provided our community with a summer reading carnival to kickstart our summer reading program. For the first two years, we had a few bounce houses and cotton candy and 400 patrons attended. To plan our past carnival, I brainstormed ideas on how to continue by providing a carnival with more than bounces houses and cotton candy.… more
“We could never have loved the earth so well if we had no childhood in it.” —George Eliot In the state of Iowa, where I live, the change from winter to spring is like an on and off switch. Yet, at the end of another vortex, Spring has finally come to Iowa. Spring is a perfect time to schedule your storytime programs outdoors.… more
Creating a Library Exchange Network Last year, I had the distinct honor to attend a professional development opportunity at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). As part of the training, we were given a chance to see some of the projects students and professors are working on in fields such as education, fashion, and healthcare. I was surprised to learn from Dr.… more
Celebrating Our Furry Friends with a Pet Reading Program “Animals are such agreeable friends — they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” —George Elliott In October 2011, I was in a state of transition. I had just returned from interning at the Library of Congress to a full-time job as head of a children’s department. I was excited about this new adventure but, to move forward, I was missing a furry friend.… more
Using Puppets to Enhance the Storytime Experience “Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me. ” ― Fred Rogers I recently watched Won’t You Be My Neighbor, the new documentary on the life and career of Fred Rogers … Mister Rogers. At the conclusion of the documentary, I reflected on how he shone a light on the role storytelling has in our service to children and families.… more
The first snowfall is like being transported inside a snow globe. The landscape transforms with a fresh sprinkle of snow on everything from the trees to houses. “Crunch, crunch” can be heard from the boots of families making their way outside to experience the first snow of the season. Snow is an experience where families can engage with each other through activities such as sledding, making snow angels, making snowmen, or making snow ice cream.… more
It is amazing how quickly department stores move all of the Halloween items out and bring out Christmas lights, wrapping paper, religious items, different sized Santa Clauses and ornaments. Oh, and who can forget about the start of Christmas music at the beginning of November? I love Christmas, but for the longest time, I’ve been confused about why department stores do not dedicate space for Thanksgiving.… more