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Friday, May 3, 2013

Prescott Public Library’s DIY Activity Center

Thanks to Becky Arenivar from Prescott Public Library for this inspiring guest post!

I’m always on a quest to engage kids and families who come to the library, but don’t attend events or Storytime.  It would be great to get them to come to events and Storytimes.  Another goal is just to serve these kids and families with literacy activities that are fun and interesting, that they can do at their convenience.  The day I came across DIYProgramming and Book Displays: How to Stretch Your Programming WithoutStretching Your Budget and Staff by Amanda Moss Struckmeyer and Svetha Hetzler* was a turning point in this quest.  It not only describes a structure for creating do it yourself activities you can place in the children’s area, but also includes a year’s worth of weekly DIY activities, with clear instructions, comprehensive supply lists and reproducible forms.  The activities are adaptable to a library’s needs and constraints.

I planned to start DIY during National Library Week, and slightly altered an activity straight from the book to create our Top 10 List: Why I Love the Library activity.  We set up a small table in the children’s area, with a ballot box, ballots, pencils and instructions.  We have a brightly colored sign, visible from the library’s entrance, and encourage kids and families to participate when they come into the library.  The response has been great, with 35 ballots turned in so far!  Once we had a significant number of ballots, I created a poster that tracks the reasons kids love the library.  After 3 weeks, I’ll put a different activity at the table, and create a top ten list from the ballots to post in the children's area. 
What I love about this activity is how it engages children and their parents and caregivers.  We tell parents that they are welcome to help younger children fill out their ballots, but I’m pleasantly surprised to see how many younger children are writing.  Those ballots may be harder to decipher, but it’s exciting to see children working so hard to do it on their own.  The poster encourages kids to count the smiley faces and figure out how many votes there are for each reason to love the library.  Not only literacy, but STEM content?  Awesome!
Now, all I have to do is decide what the next activity will be!  Maybe something that will promote our Summer Library Program ...

*Note: we also have this title in the IFLS Professional Collection

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Storytime Bonanza Follow-Up

I can't believe I forgot to take photos at the Storytime Bonanza Workshop!  I find I'm always too interested in what is going on to take time to remember things like taking pictures--especially when we have such great presenters as all those IFLS librarians!  Fun stuff!

For those of you who had to stay away due to your own programs, or illness, or short-staffed libraries, or whatever else--take a peek at the handouts that were created as part of the workshop.  These include:
  • Favorite Books--by children's librarian Julie Belz, but also a compilation of books shared by all the attendees at the workshop!
  • Suggestions of blogs and other resources that have excellent storytime ideas (the IFLS website will soon be updated with some of these resources, as well)
  • Favorite Fingerplays and Books (thanks again, Julie Belz!)
  • Awesome suggestions for using poetry in storytime (thanks Jenna Gilles!)
  • Ideas for emphasizing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math)
We also talked about the second edition of Every Child Ready to Read and some of the key components of this information and training.  Remember to contact me if you are interested in getting on a list to borrow the IFLS copy of the Every Child Ready to Read kit.