DCPS Open House – Tabling Outreach

As part of our continued partnership with our local public school system, DCPS, we do our best to make it out to the schools for different events throughout the school year. During this time of the year, we are mainly heading out to each school’s open house event. These events typically feature different organizations from the local community coming out and setting up tables to provide the school staff, students, and parents with information about their organization. This was from my first open house of this school year! I was lucky enough to be placed as the very first table meaning that I was able to see everyone that came out to the event! For my tabling outreaches, I like to bring multiple flyers detailing the different programs and services that we offer at the library. Additionally, I bring a lot of goodies to give out to the kids, including: Free books, magic color-changing pencils, stickers, and bookmarks. For this particularly open house, I gave out over 60 books, 100 pencils, and countless stickers & bookmarks! Being able to reach 150-200 individuals at these events makes them very valuable marketing opportunities for our library and helps to strengthen our partnership with DCPS and strengthens our bond with the local community!

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ALSC Blog Post!

Great news! I now have a blog post featured on the ALSC Blog. Check it out here:
ALSC Blog

The post is titled, “Including the Shy Ones: Passive Programming & Interactive Displays” and talks about the benefits of including some sort of passive program or interactive display in your library to better engage shy patrons that avoid formal programming. Thank you for reading and sharing!

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month!

In case you didn’t know, September is national Library Card Sign-Up Month! As such, I like to create a display at the beginning of the month to promote the library card sign-up push. This year, I created a simple display right next to our children’s reference desk. The display features a poster with Snoopy as his ultra-cool persona, Joe Cool. Surrounding the poster are real library cards. I even attached a pad of library card applications to the wall by the display so that patrons wouldn’t have to look far for one. The display is finished off with a giant library card cut out and some information on how to obtain a library card. We use the giant library card to capture wonderful photos of children getting their first library card! Now you have to ask yourself, “Is my library card active and up to date?”… well, is it?!?!

Summer Programming Closing Party

At the end of our summer programming, we like to throw a party for all of the kids that came out and participated in all of our wonderful summer awesomeness! With this year’s theme being “Build a better World” and our department’s focus on collaborative art, we decided to make the summer closing party second as an art exhibition to showcase the collaborative art created by the kids over the summer. Each artist that showed up got to wear a laminated badge indicating that they are one of the summer artists that created the work in the exhibit. To go along with the art exhibit, we set up multiple stations for the visitors to experience and have fun with. We had two texture tables, magnetic blocks, matching games, puzzles, hopscotch, beanbag tic-tac-toe, and more. There were snacks and music to make the event special. Even our 30 foot alligator couch was in the festive spirit with a decorative party hat! We had over 80 visitors during our hour long party. I love these events because they allow us to interact with our patrons and thank them for all of their support and for coming out to our programs! Check out some of these collaborative art exhibits! Too cool!

ALA Committee Appointments!

I wanted to give a quick update about some awesome recent developments! I was recently approached to be a part of two wonderful committees for two different subgroups of the American Library Association (ALA). One of the appointments is Chair of the committee! They are:

pla I was asked to sit as the Chair of the PLA Continuing Education Advisory Group. This is a one year appointment with a following year as just a member of the committee. The purpose of this committee is to advise the PLA on the identification, development and evaluation of relevant, cost-effective, and emerging face-to-face and online continuing education products and services. I took over Chair duties at the conclusion of the 2017 ALA Annual Conference.

alscI was also asked by the president of the ALSC to sit as a member on the ALSC School-Age Program and Service Committee. This is a two year appointment. The purpose of this committee is to identify and disseminate information on effective, cooperative or innovative programming for school age children to libraries, schools, and community agencies serving youth. To develop training workshops on school age programs and services and present them at conferences, institutes and for other institutions serving youth. To cooperate appropriate with other ALSC committees and other associations working with the school age child to initiate activates and projects.

I am very excited about both appointments and look forward to all of the wonderful work that we will do together. I will occasionally post updates of relevant committee happenings as they come up.

Summer Information Display

To kick off our summer programming, I created a simple display to house our flyers and programming materials. I used our groovy display building blocks to create the base. I added different sized posters that note our summer theme “Build a Better World”. The display is topped with a custom cardboard cutout stand-up and is finished off with an array of events calendars and flyers showcasing our different summer programs and special events! Yay summer!

Summer Reading Tracker! (Interactive Display)

Each summer during our summer programming, we encourage everyone (yes, adults too!) to keep reading and to keep track of the books that they read. We offer both an online and paper way to track the books that are read over the summer. Once a certain amount of books are read, the children came come in to get prizes and a free book.

Throughout our library system, the Main library and all of the branches were tasked with creating a unique tracker to help keep track of the books that were read by their own respective patrons. I took up the challenge to create the reading tracker for the Children’s Library at our Main Library. Since our summer theme was “Build a Better World”, I decided to create a skyscraper as our reading tracker. I created a ten foot outline of a skyscraper, outfitted with groovy windows, antennas on the roof, and birds and clouds to give it some atmosphere. The idea is that as students come in to claim their prizes for reading, they can put their name and how many books that they have read onto a pre-cut “brick” to add to our skyscraper. As the summer moves along, we should see this outline fill up with plenty of bricks! Happy summer reading, everyone!

Last DCPS Visit of the School Year!

I had the honor of being the tour guide and presenter for our final DCPS school visit of the year. As we continue to strengthen the relationship between the Jacksonville Public Library and DCPS, these class field trips are an excellent way to connect with school age children and demonstrate what we have to offer at the library. Here are the happy fourth graders with their noses buried in their awesome new books!

Flower Garden – Interactive Display (Passive Programming)

I’m very excited about the new interactive display that I created for the Main children’s department! To celebrate the spring, I wanted to create our very own growing flower garden. The display itself features a gang of happy little flowers in rainbow flower pots. Behind them are giant growing vines that are waiting for some colorful flowers to grow!

The display is a simple scavenger hunt similar to the Pokémon Scavenger Hunt, Display (Passive Program) that I previously made. The children are tasked with finding the seven missing flowers that are hiding throughout the children’s library. Each flower has a word on it that correlates with each letter in the word “Flowers” (Fun, Love, Outdoors, Wish, Enjoy, Sun). The children will have to go around and find the flowers and write down the words that they find. This part of the passive program helps children with letter recognition, word recognition, and basic writing. Once the children find all seven flowers/words, they can color their very own flower to add to the garden. The children will also be able to cut out their flowers which is an important manual precursor to early literacy skills.

I am a huge advocate for interactive displays and passive programming within a children’s library. They allow for a consistent source of fun and learning, and often get tied to library materials which is a win/win for everyone!