Tag Archives: community

20 Titles to Create a Classroom Community

11 Aug

school community

There’s a lot of talk about reading a book a day during the school year, the importance of reading aloud to students and the need to teach and show kids empathy and kindness in today’s world. This is a wonderful list of titles that you can share at any time of year, but would make a great way to start the school year – expecting kindness from every student in the classroom and using picture books to show that expectation.

  1. You’re Finally Here! by Mélanie Watt
  2. One by Kathryn Otoshi
  3. I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
  4. Ish by Peter H. Reynolds
  5. School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson
  6. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
  7. The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Patrice Barton
  8. Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall
  9. Be A Friend by Salina Yoon
  10. I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by David Catrow
  11. Zen Ties by Jon Muth
  12. Hey, Little Ant by Phillip M. Hoose and Hannah Hoose, illustrated by Debbie Tilley
  13. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
  14. Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah Ohora
  15. Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins
  16. It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr
  17. Last Stop On Market Street by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson
  18. The Monster Who Lost His Mean by Tiffany Strelitz Haber, illustrated by Kirstie Edmunds
  19. Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea
  20. We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio

Far Too Common a Problem Results in Unexpected Heroes

28 Jun

I think at this point almost everyone who follows social and community issues has heard of the skyrocketing numbers of deaths due to drug overdoses, specifically that of heroin in the past few years. It’s a national crisis and you can learn more about the startling number of people it affects on a daily basis from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. What people may not be familiar with is that public librarians are being trained in administering the antidote – that’s right those so called meek and mild shushing librarians – on the front lines of the opioid epidemic across the United States.

The first article a friend shared with me was from Philly.com about a branch of the Philadelphia library that has trained staff to administer Narcan, the antidote for a suspected opioid overdose. I’d heard the story before it was published, but reading about how these librarians save lives on a regular basis both in and around their building and then go right back to their job is amazing. Other articles have been posted in recent weeks, including a CNN article that was posted just the other day. You’ll find similar stories in areas all over the United States as librarians step up in their communities to try and make a difference. Just as they have by hiring social workers who come in to help provide services for the homeless population, by offering a place where children from low-income families can find lunch during the summer when they’re out of school and help people polish resumes and submit online job applications when they don’t have access to the Internet at home. Librarians have been community heroes for years.

Thankfully, we haven’t had to deal with the specific issue of opioid overdoses in our library, but after a program I attended at our local mosque about sharing the Islam faith with the community, I’ve been thinking more and more about what we can do to make a difference in our community.

My plan is to provide community dialog problems that address social issues like the opioid epidemic, bullying, racial equality, LGBT+ rights, and so much more. I’m hoping that the library becomes the meeting space for organizations who are already doing amazing work in these fields to come together to not only educate the public, but to also create a shared sense of responsibility for what happens in our own backyard and to, again make a difference. I clearly haven’t fleshed out all the details to this long-range program idea, but I’m really excited about the potential partnerships we can form and how we can positively affect our community.

Community Connections – Interfaith Education

14 Jun

I spent a few hours last night at a Sharing Ramadan event hosted by our local Islamic Society. It was a wonderful event with a speaker who took the time to talk about the beliefs of the Islam faith as well as how Muslims are being viewed by the media. He even took time to answer questions from the audience – and there probably would have been even more questions, but it was time to break the fast before prayers. We also got to go into the prayer area of the mosque for prayers and then shared dinner together as a large group. It was so nice for a group of people to open up their house of worship for questions and understanding and when it comes down to it many of today’s religions (specifically in this case Islam, Judaism and Christianity) are far more similar than they are different.

I’m now thinking about ways to provide an interfaith program at the library from an educational standpoint to share how people are people and that a person’s beliefs are just one part of their identity. We’re also looking at partnering with the school district on a bullying prevention program and with the police department on the opioid epidemic. I believe that these topics all require community connection and dialogue because no one agency or organization can make a difference, but by working together we can start to make our communities stronger and safer for generations to come.

If your library is currently working on anything like this, I’d love to hear more!

Community Survey Results

16 Mar

We created a community survey using Survey Monkey and also had it available on paper for people who stopped in the library and were willing to fill it out. After about six weeks, we gathered 333 responses, about 1/3 of which were gathered online, while the majority were gathered on paper. We also made the survey available at the Community Center and Senior Center in the hopes of getting more people to fill it out.

The results are in and it’s so interesting what people know and don’t know about our library. Many people are unfamiliar with our online resources, many people don’t know our hours or that our book drop is available 24/7 (even when the library is open) and there are always requests for more – more materials, more programs, more space.

Overall, I’d say that most of the people who filled out our survey are happy with the services we provide, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that we have things to work on as well.  The first being customer service, one interaction is all people need to form an opinion about an organization and sometimes that opinion isn’t always positive.  I’m hoping that through our customer service training that we just covered last month, this will begin to improve. I also hope that by working at the desks along side my staff, I can see for myself what’s happening as well as set an example of what we should be doing.

The question becomes, why don’t people know about (insert resources, programs, materials here)? What can we do to better promote ourselves in the community. We are continuing to work towards a number of goals this year and I’m beginning to line up some ideas for next year as well – projects that take time and funding. I’d like to begin promoting ourselves better, something I’ve known for a long time and something that we are continuing to work towards as we create our strategic plan and new website design.

Finally, I keep reminding myself that we can’t change everything we do and we can’t make everyone happy, but we can continue to listen to our community and provide resources and programs that our community wants and needs.

10 Read Aloud Titles About Service for MLK Day

13 Jan

MLK.png

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day that many people spend time offering service to their community – small acts to make a difference. Volunteerism can start with the littlest ones in your family and sharing some of these stories is a great way to teach kids kindness and service. These books range from one small act of kindness that ripples through a community to even larger acts such as purchasing an animal for a family overseas which can make a big difference to their way of life. But no matter what you have to offer, teaching children kindness and to think of others is something that I think everyone can do. Holding the door for someone, smiling a hello as you pass them by and asking another child to play together are all simple ways to teach kids to think of others around them. Share some of these great stories for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and share some other titles with me!

  1. The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
  2. Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt
  3. One Love by Cedella Marley and Bob Marley
  4. Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña
  5. The Mitten Tree by Candace Christiansen
  6. Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
  7. Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier
  8. Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams
  9. One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway
  10. Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming
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