Tag Archives: partnerships

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!

What’s A Librarian To Do?

30 Apr

Our high school began a Literacy Night last year to promote the clubs, programs and projects that the high school students are involved in.  I was asked to be a speaker last year because of my blog, (I should have known the kids know much more about social media that I do!), but overall it went very well and it was a great experience.

This year, the high school received a grant for the event and are inviting some paid speakers, authors, and more to be a part of the program.  The grant specifies that the event must be multicultural in nature which made me adapt my program a little, but I think I’ve made it work.  As the planning progressed, the teachers began leaning towards offering a program for younger siblings who come with their families to the event.  We have a strong relationship with our high school, so I volunteered my services to provide such a program.

Without having any idea what age group of kids I’ll see or how many, I decided to create a program similar to my Fun Friday programs that can be made more simple or difficult depending on the age of the child.  I love the book Windblown by Édouard Manceau and the publishers have made a great activity page to go with the book.  Depending on the age of the child, I’ll have some copies of the activity page already cut out, while others will need to be cut out by the child.  Throughout the book, the children will be able to make the animals as I read the story and then there will be plenty of time afterward to create their own animal using a black piece of paper and a glue stick.

The next part of the program includes a multicultural folktale called Mediopollito/Half-Chicken by Alma Flor Ada about how roosters became weathervanes (which works perfectly with my “wind” theme).  We’re going to read the story and afterward create balloons in the sky from an activity a co-worker found in The Mailbox magazine.  We’re going to use white cardstock that the kids can shade with a blue crayon to create the sky.  Then the kids will use bingo stampers to create balloons in the sky and finally if they want to add clouds, they children can use cotton balls to create clouds in the sky.  I think this type of project, although much more focused on product vs. process, will be fun for a group of older kids who can choose how many balloons, where to place the clouds, etc.

Finally, we’re going to create a rainstorm using our body… I know, it’s not very focused on wind, but it’s a pretty cool thing!  Check out this YouTube video to find out how to do it!

I’m hoping that the books I’ve chosen as well as the projects I’ve chosen will work for whatever age group of kids I get!  And maybe I’ll bring a book for myself to read just in case no one shows up!

Not Only Storytime, Early Literacy Training

18 Dec

Today, I’m spending the day at a training to become an instructor to provide training for early childhood providers as well as parents. We’re focusing on the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards for Infants – Kindergartens as well as the Pennsylvania Core Knowledge Competencies for Early Childhood & School-Age Professionals. These are all somewhat intimidating, but all things we, as children’s librarians, are already doing, this just gives us a framework for what we do in storytime, other programs and in our library world and shows our importance.

Once we are trained in this PQAS training, we will be able to offer training for early childhood teachers who need a required number of training hours to continue working. This is a great way to provide early childhood educators with valuable information about early literacy skills, the importance of diversity in children’s literature, and book knowledge can transfer to play in a child’s life.

This training is more extensive than usual with, a need for references, resumes, educational transcripts, and 25 hours of experience. The training is covering child standards as well as standards for teachers, overviewing how to write objectives and how to get our training materials approved before we can begin our training classes.

Summer Camp Outreach

17 Jul

Fairuse_GruffaloEvery year the library partners with the local Park & Recreation Department to bring a library program out to the summer day camp.  This year we’re focusing our services on children ages 5 – 8, which is a little easier than offering a 30 – 45 minute program for the older kids (many who are uninterested in anything I can bring for that short time).  During each visit, I introduce myself, talk briefly about the library and the summer reading program, stressing that the library is open late so they can stop by the library even after camp is over for the day.  After the introduction is finished, I read aloud from a picture book or short chapter book and then we do some form of craft or activity.

For a number of years I tried to read books that coincided with the summer reading theme, but after awhile, I realized it was more important to read great read alouds, funny, exciting books that kids are interested in, rather than trying to work around a theme.  Today, I went to camp and read The Gruffalo written by Julia Donaldson and illustrations by Axel Scheffler.  It’s a great read aloud with a rhyming pattern that the kids were happy to help me with and they all loved how the little mouse tricked all the animals including the gruffalo.  After we read our story, the campers all got a chance to go through an obstacle course I set up for them.  I have found that obstacle courses are one of the easiest and most inexpensive programs to provide for a large group of kids, especially if you’re not sure of the exact number you’ll have.

For our obstacle course the kids had to:

  • Attempt to jump rope 5 times
  • Throw a ball into a short basketball hoop
  • Balance a ping pong ball on a spoon and weave around cones
  • Crawl through a pop-up tunnel
  • Balance a bean bag on their head and walk heel-to-toe across a curvy balance beam
  • Attempt to hula hoop 5 times
  • Toss three bean bags into a bucket

I tired to set up two of each challenge when I was able to, so that we could get twice the number of kids through the course at a time.  The kids had a great time with the course and then we made the counselors run through the course as well, which was almost as fun for the kids!  Does an obstacle course have anything to do with the library?  Not really, but my hope is that the campers had a lot of fun and connect that reading and the library can be fun too!

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