Summer Reading 2014

Our summer reading program starts today. Hundreds of kids, teens, and adults will read, discover and explore together now through the first of August. Like many libraries across the country, we are using the Fizz, Boom, READ theme for our kids program and the Spark a Reaction theme for our teen program. As a huge fan of integrating STEAM into storytimes and other library programs, the science oriented summer program has been fun to plan!

Behind the scenes, our theme is slightly different. I see the library as part of our community’s information web.  Not only do we provide access to a plethora ofrobot_big resources in the library and through our website, but we connect patrons with experts and resources beyond the library. This summer we’ve expanded our community connections, integrating local artists and experts into our Maker Mondays sries, our special events, our reading log activity pages, and even our reading prizes. I want kids to know their community and discover the many mentors that might help spark new interests and help develop growing talents. Here’s what community connections we have planned for this summer.

Maker Mondays
For two hours each Monday in June and July I or a local expert will explore a new idea to help kids ages 8-18 to create with high and low tech tools. Programs include: Make Your Own Pizza (with a local mobile wood fired pizza oven), Sweater-T-shirt Chop Shop, Propulsion & Flying Machines, Electricity & Brush Bots, Multimedia Art, and 3-D Printing.

Storytimes
Our preschool EXPLORE storytimes during the summer include a larger ae group and could be consider family storytimes. Kids ages 3-7 hear stories, sing, dance, play and explore multiple stations run by a teen assistant and myself. We successfully redesigned our summer storytimes last summer as part of our plan to offer regular programs to all of our kids under eleven. We also continue to offer our toddler storytimes throughout the summer. Themes include: Taste & Smell, Water, Sound & Music, Simple Machines, Independence Day, Construction, Robots, and Camouflage & Colors. We’ll also welcome local naturalists for two storytimes during the program.

Special Events
Throughout the summer program we’ll be hosting a variety of events featuring both community members and visiting presenters. Programs include: Dogs and Crime Science with a local K-9 Unit, Beauty and the Beast Marionette Puppet Show, Stuffed Animal Sleepover, 4th Annual LEGO Contest, a Robot Sumo/Arduino Programming Workshop, a Sci-Fi Fan Fiction Writing Contest for teens, and a second 3-D Printing Demonstration (for adults).

Other Community Connections
At our local museum, a special exhibit will be on display all summer. It focuses on the living history and Indigenous System of Knowledge of the Dena’ina people, Native Alaskans. In support of the exhibit, we have included an activity page from the exhibit in our reading log with information about the exhibit and we will welcome a Dena’ina storyteller to the library for a family program.
One of our reading prizes includes a magnifying glass. When I ordered them I intended to award them by themselves, but then I came across the nature scavenger hunt in the SRP manual. I had an idea. I bagged up the magnifying glass and a copy of the scavenger hunt in a plastic bag. When I was talking to a friend who is a local environmental educator, she told me about a nature trading post they have at their visitor center. We came up with the idea to include information about the trading post with the scavenger hunt so kids could trade any cool objects they find during their hunt. They can also return their bags and completed hunt for a prize drawing at the end of the program. And the very smart friend? She’ll be presenting about Shackleton and the Endurance to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the dramatic expedition.
For the third year, our library will host Teen Night @ the Library, as part of the National Teen Library Lock-in event. Last year almost forty libraries participated in virtual author visits, games, and challenges. Each library plans their own event and then connects with others in different ways. This year I am working with librarians and IT folks to host a Minecraft event that will allow teens at libraries across the county to explore the same Minecraft world at the same time. Want to know more? Check out Chain Reaction!

What do you have planned for this summer?

 

Storytime on the Go: Village Visit

Out at one edge of our service area lies a small village which I visited a couple of times this year. It has a beautiful view of the bay and snow-covered, majestic mountains across the water. There are no stores, traffic lights, or even paved roads. There are schools though- an elementary, middle, and high school. Here, the kids head home from school for lunch in twos or threes on four wheelers or on foot.

My trips to the village are part of Storytime on the Go, a seasonal program designed to provide early literacy experiences, similar to what I offer at the library, to community members living at the outer edges of our large service area and to promote library services and programs. Many of the people with whom I share Storytime on the Go don’t make it to the library, at least during the Winter. Some families don’t come because of the weather, others can’t make the long drive, and some for cultural reasons. I’m sure there are other reasons that I don’t know.

During my visits to the village, I spend about 45 minutes with a small group of about fourteen kids in a K-1 class. They are enthusiastic learners with quick smiles and lots of interesting questions and insights. My storytimes elsewhere are targeted at preschool age kids or toddlers and their families, but here I bring stories for the older kids for a few reasons. Many kids in the village don’t come to the library often, if ever, so I am a new face and bring some different books than they might have at school or at home. There also isn’t a community space to meet with the few preschool age kids in the village. Lastly, I am only fluent in English and since the community speaks English as a second language and many kids don’t start speaking English until they start school, visiting with the Kindergarten and 1st graders is a nice fit.

Timing is Everything
Beyond what books I bring or activities we do, my first consideration is when to visit the school. The village’s school calendar reflects their community holidays which vary from the other school calendars in the district. This year, like last, I showed up after lunch and before recess, a perfect window for sharing storytime. It also allows me to host a family storytime in another part of our service area before I head to the village.

Early Literacy
As with storytimes at the library, the kids and I read, talk, laugh and play easily together. Because of community traditions though, we don’t sing or clap or dance. While some tried and true early literacy practices are hard to part with, cultural considerations are an important part of outreach. Sometimes I change a song into a rhyme, saying the words slowly and dramatically instead of singing them to reap the early literacy benefits.

Choosing books
I look for books that reflect the kids’ experiences and interests and spend time talking about aspects of the stories that might relate to their daily lives, not unlike any storytime experience really. We do have a Russian language collection of books and movies for all ages at our library, but I read English language stories because of my limited knowledge of Russian. For example, I might ask, “How do you say (___) in Russian?” or “Do you have a garden in the summer?” The kids loving teaching me new words!

Before each visit, I check in with the teacher to find out what kids might be interested in, what they’re learning about in school, and what holidays are coming up. For my last trip to the village, I brought folk tales with me. These kids are huge fans and loved sharing in the telling of the stories they already knew and anticipating “what happens next?” for others. Since this is the second year I have visited the school, the kids and I know each other pretty well so the conversation flows easily. We read:

Snap! by Marcia Vaughn Photo credit: Amazon.com

Snap! by Marcia Vaughn
Photo credit: Amazon.com

Snap! by Marcia Vaughan and Sascha Hutchinson (Scholastic, 1996)

I also read Snap! at the library as part of an Alligator & Crocodile storytime with preschoolers. It is truly a magical story with just the right amount of repeated text, a trickster element, new kinds of animals to learn about (from Australia), onomatopoeia, interesting illustrations of torn paper collages, and more. Be prepared to have so much fun with this tale that you’ll lose track of time!

by Janet Stevens Photo credit: shop.carlemuseum.org

Three Billy Goats Gruff by Janet Stevens
Photo credit: shop.carlemuseum.org

Three Billy Goats Gruff (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987)

This is a classic Norwegian tale by Janet Stevens about three goats trying to cross a bridge to greener pastures and an ugly troll who wants to eat them instead of let them pass. There is lots to enjoy about a tale like this one: the concept of size, interpreting the illustrations and finding the hidden features (rock faces), and repetition. Since this is a familiar story, it was easy for the kids to help me tell it as turned the pages.

Take Care, Good Knight by Shelley Moore Thomas Photo credit: indiebound.org

Take Care, Good Knight by Shelley Moore Thomas
Photo credit: indiebound.org

Take Care, Good Knight (Dutton Children’s Books, 2006)

This a silly little story by Shelley Moore Thomas and Paul Meisel, follows the antics of three little dragons who are good-hearted and responsible, but can’t read. So, when they try to care for the old wizard’s cats, they make lots of mistakes. Their friend, the knight, comes to their rescue and helps them decipher the care instructions and learn to read. We had a good laugh about the play on words!

Success

I know the trip to the village is worth it because the kids and I have such a great time together, but there are other signs of success. I was invited back for a second year. I see families I met through the storytimes at the library on occasion and I can great many of the kids by name. The school will again be taking a field trip to town with a stop at the library later this Spring!