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Challenge Your Students to This Women’s History Quiz!

How well do you know U.S. women’s history?

To celebrate Women’s History Month, take this Playbuzz quiz to see if you can pair up the correct state with an event in U.S. women’s history. Each question is based on facts taken from SIRS Issues Researcher timelines, including the one for our Women’s Rights Leading Issue.

(If you can’t view the matching game below, you can access it on PlayBuzz.)

What are you doing with your students to celebrate Women’s History Month?

Tweet us at #ProQuest or comment below!

Public Libraries Offer Services to Refugees

Edible Alphabet Students

Students of an English-as-a-Second-Language program called Edible Alphabet, offered by the Philadelphia Free Library’s Culinary Literacy Center (photo used with permission by Liz Fitzgerald, Administrator, Culinary Literacy Center)

According to the U.S. State Department, America has accepted more than three million refugees since 1975. Last year, the U.S. welcomed 84,995 refugees from around the world. Currently, there has been a torrent of court filings over President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel to the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim countries. While courts have temporarily blocked Trump’s travel ban, the issue is far from being resolved and may even reach the U.S. Supreme Court. As an editor for SIRS Issues Researcher who works on the Immigration Leading Issue, I am following the multiple angles of this issue closely. Regardless of varying opinions on the current controversy, once refugees enter the United States legally, they often need assistance. I have always been impressed with the amazing services libraries offer the community. So I was curious as to what role libraries play in welcoming refugees who legally enter the United States.

Citizenship Corners

I have learned that libraries across the nation have often been a welcome spot for refugees and immigrants. Through a wealth of immigration services and programming, libraries play an important role in raising awareness about the naturalization process and the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship and in helping refugees and other newcomers to the U.S. participate in the broader society.

Since 2013, the Institute of Museum and Library Services has partnered with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help libraries assist refugees with immigration and citizenship information and resources. As a result of this partnership, hundreds of public libraries have set up areas known as “Citizenship Corners,” which include free brochures and immigration forms.

In addition, in 2015, the American Library Association’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table issued Guidelines for Outreach to Immigrant Populations. These guidelines for library services and programming offer ideas on how to help immigrants adjust to life in their new homeland while preserving their cultural and linguistic heritages.

Free Legal Help, Cooking Classes and More

Two such libraries that are helping immigrants and refugees are the Brooklyn Public Library and the Free Library of Philadelphia.

The Brooklyn Public Library offers programs for immigrants in many languages and includes citizenship classes and study groups, bilingual family arts and culture programs and courses to help immigrant businesses succeed. Additionally, the library’s immigration services include free immigration legal help with the Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC). IJC Fellows hold office hours at select branches to help immigrants file applications for citizenship and green cards as well as offer other legal support.

In addition to offering a myriad of immigration and naturalization resources, events and classes, the Free Library of Philadelphia also offers a unique six-week course via their Culinary Literacy Center called Edible Alphabet. The program uses food as a way to unite people from different cultural backgrounds and helps immigrants learn English through cooking lessons. According to Liz Fitzgerald, the Administrator of the Culinary Literacy Center, the meals they prepare include a smoothie, carrot coriander soup, panzanella, pancakes, pasta primavera, and chana masala. The library partners with a non-profit organization called the Nationalities Service Center (NSC), which has been helping immigrants and refugees in the Greater Philadelphia area since the 1920s.

Tell Us Your Story

Does your library offer services to refugees? If so, drop us a line in the comments section below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!

12 Winter Things You Can Borrow From Libraries

Happy Holidays!

Need some ideas to spruce up your holiday? Our infographic below lists a sampling of 12 wintertime items you can borrow from libraries besides books.

Library Winter Things Infographic

12 Winter Things You Can Check Out at Libraries (Infographic) via Piktochart

 

Services for the Homeless at Libraries

Atrium, San Francisco Public Library

Atrium in the San Francisco Public Library [Photo courtesy of Katherine Jardine, Public Relations Officer, San Francisco Public Library]

One of the SIRS Issues Researcher Leading Issues my colleague Amy and I work on at ProQuest is Homelessness. Learning about the different challenges the homeless face on a daily basis, we wanted to know more about what is being done to help them. After some initial research, we came across the San Francisco Public Library and Leah Esguerra who was hired there as the nation’s first library social worker helping homeless patrons. Here’s what we learned from our conversation with Leah Esguerra and an infographic highlighting the different services offered for homeless patrons at some libraries.

Typical Work Day

Leah Esguerra has been a social worker at San Francisco Public Library for almost eight years (she contracts out from the San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team) and described to us how her work has evolved and changed over time. Today, she has a team of eight people, 7 are outreach workers known as Health and Safety Associates (HASAs). The HASAs are employees who have dealt with homelessness at some point in their lives. The goal is for the HASAs to link homeless patrons with outreach and resources they can use on their own. She supervises the outreach workers, who work in four shifts.

They have a visible place in the library, known as The Spot where patrons can check in and up with the HASAs. In addition to working with the outreach workers, Esguerra does walkthroughs and acts as a consultant for staff in dealing with situations that arise with patrons. She answers questions about social services, behavioral issues, and mental health. Some days, she sees as many as 15-30 people.

The library also works to establish community partnerships with Veteran’s Affairs, Lava Mae  (a service providing mobile showers for the homeless) and others.

The Role of Health and Safety Associates (HASAs)

The HASAs do outreach in the bathrooms to find people who are inappropriately using the bathrooms (for example, sleeping in the stalls or bathing) and use their own experience as formerly homeless to help and to tell them about places they can go to for help. The HASAs provide inspiration and patrons are drawn to them because of relatable experiences.

Some of the original HASAs have moved on, continuing to grow in their line of work. One is in civil service and another is now a senior case manager.

Biggest Challenges

Challenges include the housing crisis in the Bay area. Esguerra’s original position 8 years ago was tied to finding housing. She would link homeless patrons with single room occupancies. Now, finding housing is a tougher issue. Finding housing is possible, but it often takes more than a year. They went from 400 to 30+ available rooms. She also said she has little access to these rooms and the rooms are not solely for library use. Another challenge presented itself with displacement among the elderly.

Rewards of the Job

People will come back to Esguerra after many years and thank her for her help. They tell her they are working and still have a house or that she’s helped them deal with mental health issues. She gets calls during the holidays from people she’s helped as well.

Esguerra said the HASAs are seen a safety net too. Staff will first call the HASAs if homeless patrons are causing a disturbance instead of calling security.

Best Practices for Homeless Outreach Programs

It is essential for libraries to have social services and/or social workers. Libraries without the means available to hire a social worker can partner with universities or create other partnerships with community organizations. Social service programs in libraries are great for both staff and patrons. Esguerra told us how the homeless have said the library is their sanctuary. She and her team at the library consider themselves ambassadors. They make the homeless feel included in the community. Having HASAs work at the library brings a different face of homelessness to the staff. The HASAs work very hard and are really good at what they do. They humanize the homeless and raise the level of compassion and understanding.

“Libraries are the community living room.” — Leah Esguerra

Esguerra says other libraries who are interested in starting a social services program should definitely give it a try. She said there are many ways to accomplish it.

Today, the movement is international. The San Francisco Public Library has inspired libraries and institutions elsewhere around the world – including Korea, Japan, and Australia – to implement their own social service programs.

Libraries and Homelessness [Infographic]

#FridayFunDay: Take Our Librarian Quiz!

It’s #FridayFunDay! Take this fun quiz to find out what librarian you most resemble.

 (If you can’t see the quiz below in your browser, click on Playbuzz.)

Libraries and Halloween STEAM

Libraries across the country are celebrating Halloween with spooky stories, devilish decorations, and clever costumes. Some are even adding an educational twist to the festivities through the use of enriching Halloween STEAM activities.

A handsome young scientist delighted with gooey green slime.

A handsome young scientist delighted with gooey green slime. [Photo Courtesy of Children’s Librarian Jennifer Boyce, Fairview Branch, Santa Monica Public Library]

What is STEAM?

STEAM is an acronym that stands for the integration of an A for the arts into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning. STEAM activities help equip kids with essential 21st-century skills that will help prepare them for the job market. The creative arts component — the “A” — in STEAM activities can engage students and spark interest in science and technology. STEAM is especially useful for helping students develop skills that are necessary to prepare for creative industries, including digital games, software, design, and marketing. However, research reveals the importance for all employees, not just those in creative industries, to demonstrate creativity in the workforce.

Libraries to Inspire You

Are you working on a STEAM Halloween project and need a little inspiration? The libraries below caught our attention for adding STEAM to their Halloween.

Champaign Public Library:

Today (October 26), middle school and high school kids will be creating 3D pumpkins from 3:00 to 5:00 at the main library. Sarah Butt, the library associate we contacted at the Champaign Public Library in Champaign, Illinois, explained that she created a pumpkin template in a program called Sculptris. The kids are then able to use the tools and create faces for their pumpkins. Once they are finished, the files can be printed on the 3D printer and ready for the kids from the middle school next door to pick up.

Sculptris Pumpkin Template at Champaign Public Library [Photo Courtesy of Sarah Butt, Library Associate]

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STEAM 3D Printed Pumpkin at Champaign Public Library [Photo Courtesy of Sarah Butt, Library Associate]

Santa Monica Public Library (SMPL):

SMPL (Yes, the very same library we blogged about that has a summer beach library!) is also holding STEAM events at their Ocean Park and Fairview branches.

Ewok Launcher (marshmallow launcher)

Ewok Launcher (marshmallow launcher) [Photo courtesy of Youth Librarian Julia Casas, Ocean Park branch, Santa Monica Public Library]

Also today, in connection with Star Wars Reads, SMPL’s Ocean Park branch is holding a Star Wars STEAM program from 3:30 to 4:30 for kids and teens. Participants are encouraged to wear costumes at the event.

Rescue a Jedi from Carbonite STEAM activity

Rescue a Jedi from Carbonite STEAM Activity [Photo courtesy of Youth Librarian Julia Casas, Ocean Park branch, Santa Monica Public Library]

Youth librarian Julia Casas, who is coordinating the event, has planned several activity stations that will give kids the chance to explore science concepts at their own pace. Among the activities are an “Ewok Launcher” (marshmallow launcher), which helps kids to learn about force, motion and gravity, and a “Rescue a Jedi from Carbonite” (lego minifigs trapped inside a baking soda mixture), which explores chemical reactions.

Children’s librarian Jennifer Boyce let us know that on October 31, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., the Fairview Branch will be featuring a program, “STEAM Craft: Glow-in-the-Dark Slime,” for children ages four and up. According to Ms. Boyce, the program will explore science concepts (in this case, chemistry) in a “fun, unstructured way.” Fairview’s Halloween STEAM event is part of their monthly STEAM programs, which in the past have included events such as a DIY Girls Club that focused on creative electronics and a “Build with Minecraft” program.

North Mankato Taylor Library:

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2016 Halloween STEAM event [Photo courtesy of Children’s Librarian Michelle Zimmermann, North Mankato Taylor Library]

Children’s librarian Michelle Zimmermann of North Mankato Taylor Library in North Mankato, Minnesota, hosted a spooky science lab for their Halloween STEAM event, which was held on October 20th. The event, for ages eight to 12, was part of a monthly program, STEAM Rollers.

The mad scientists — some of whom had an evil laugh down perfectly — learned how sound is made with vibrations by making eerie sound devices with plastic cups, yarn, paper clips and water. They also made slime to learn about chemical and physical properties and examined how using different ratios changed the composition of the material they were making. The third activity involved making pumpkin lava lamps and dealt with the concepts of polar and non polar molecules. Kids also learned about how oil and water don’t mix. According to Ms. Zimmermann, the lava lamps seemed to make the biggest impression on the young scientists.

 


More Halloween STEAM Activities

Still looking for inspiration? Below are five spooktacular links you can use to incorporate STEAM into your Halloween event:

Special Guest Post

And be sure to check back tomorrow for another wicked STEAM/STEM post with featured blogger Dawn Treude. The Library Assistant in Youth Services will explore the Halloween activities at the Scottsdale Public Library. She will be discussing how to create science-based projects by using everyday items with a spooky theme.

Tweet Us!

If you’ve implemented a Halloween STEAM activity in your classroom or library, let us know what you’re doing in the comments section below or tweet us at #ProQuest.

Haunted Libraries

My coworker, Jaclyn Rosansky, and I blogged about unusual things you can borrow from libraries. While researching that post, I came across many libraries that host Halloween costume exchanges. I also read about libraries that hold Halloween parties with ghost stories and spooky decorations. With Halloween fast approaching (and because it happens to be my favorite holiday), I wondered what other spooky things involve libraries. Would I find haunted libraries and, if so, where are they and how many are there? To see what I learned, click on the interactive map below or view it in a larger, presentation mode here: Spooky Libraries.

If you know of a haunted library in one of the states in which I couldn’t find any, please let me know in the comments section at the end of this post. Thank you, and Happy Halloween!

Library Showdown: Cats Vs. Dogs

Last year, my coworker Jaclyn Rosansky, and I blogged about 50 unusual things you can check out from libraries besides books. While researching that post, I learned about libraries that offer therapy dogs that university students can check out to relieve stress during final exams. For example, Countway Library of Medicine, an alliance of the Boston Medical Library and Harvard Medical School, lets students check out a Shih-Tzu named Cooper for 30-minute sessions.

BOW WOW!

Being that we are in the dogs days of summer and also because I am a dog lover and a fan of libraries, I wondered, aside from literature, what else could I find regarding libraries and dogs?

Lots, it turns out.

I found canine sculptures, a dog with its own library card, and much more. Reading therapy dogs seem to be especially popular with many libraries. Read on to learn about four libraries and their canine connections:

Knee_Hi

Knee-Hi, the Free Library of Philadelphia mascot (Photo used with permission by Sandra Horrocks, Vice President of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation)

Knee-Hi: According to Sandra Horrocks, Vice President of External Affairs at the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,  the charming little dog pictured above was posed in front of the library to be their mascot and also may have been used to promote Summer Reading. These days, dogs can still be found at various branches of the Free Library. I noticed on the Free Library calendar that just yesterday (August 2, 2016), the Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library featured a Read with Raffi, The Reading Therapy Dog program for kids. Ms. Horrocks also mentioned to me that they have a dog that goes to their Chestnut Hill Library branch for children who are reluctant readers and “they love reading to him!”

Ruff

Ruff, a plush puppet that can be checked out at Randall Library. (Photo used with permission by Christine Morrison, Youth Services Librarian, Randall Library, Stow, Massachusetts)

Ruff and M.U.T.T.S. Club: Youth Services Librarian Christine Morrison of Randall Library in Stow, Massachusetts, has a plush dog puppet named Ruff that can be checked out by patrons.  The library features a page on their website dedicated to Ruff’s adventures, including a visit to a farm to see goats, bumper cars at a fair and a trip inside a washing machine. Ms. Morrison also mentioned that the library has a M.U.T.T.S. Club for teens. The club, which is currently on summer vacation, offers teens an opportunity to help shelter animals in need and become involved in programs that promote animal welfare.

 

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Rufus at Kids Opening Day 2016 (Photo used with permission by Lisa Mauch, Content Specialist, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Cincinnati, Ohio)

Rufus the Reading Dog: I learned about Rufus the Reading Dog from Lisa Mauch, Content Specialist at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Rufus is named after Rufus King II, the founding father of the library and has been keeping very busy as the library mascot for 10 years. You can view his photo page on Pinterest. Rufus isn’t the only dog at the library. On Fridays at 3 pm, the Main Library offers a Tales to Tails program in which children practice reading aloud to a certified therapy dog.

Read to a Dog Program

Child reading to a dog in Oshkosh Library’s Read to a Dog program. (Photo used with permission by Lisa Voss, Head of Library Development, Oshkosh Public Library, Oshkosh, Wisconsin)

Read to a Dog Program: Oshkosh Public Library in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, also offers a program in which trained therapy dogs are used to improve literacy skills in children. The dogs are trained through the Reading Education Assistance Dogs program, a division of Intermountain Therapy Animals. “Reading to a dog is a fun and effective way for children who struggle with reading to build both skills and confidence,” notes Lisa Voss, Head of Library Development at Oshkosh Library.

Vs. MEOW!

After all I had learned about dogs and libraries, I thought, what about cats? Sure enough, there are libraries with kitty connections, too. And, I’m not talking about World Cat. I searched online and one of the first things I found was the existence of a Library Cats Map. Apparently, there are hundreds of libraries around the world that house cats, including, even, the spooky ghost cat, which I mentioned in a blog post last Halloween. Below are four cat-loving libraries, past and present:

Calling Miss Gertrude: A search in ProQuest Historical Newspapers revealed a Hartford Courant story on January 25, 1959 about a library cat named Miss Gertrude Bronson. The cat was reported as being listed in the Waterbury, Connecticut, city directory as an assistant at the public library.

ProQuest Historical Newspaper article

Screencap of a ProQuest Historical Newspaper article from the January 25, 1959, edition of the Hartford Courant.

 

 

Stacks on a Book Cart

Stacks the library cat (Photo used with permission by Sara Zumwalt, Library Director, Litchfield Public Library District, Litchfield, Illinois)

Stacks the Library Cat: Litchfield Public Library District in Litchfield, Illinois, is home to a celebrity. The purrfectly named Stacks has been featured in Cat Fancy magazine, the Springfield Journal, and just recently, the Chicago Tribune. A long-haired domestic female cat, Stacks has been living at the library since 2009, when she was adopted from Adopt-a-Pet Shelter in Benld, Illinois. Sara Zumwalt, Library Director, considers Stacks to be a great asset to their library, with people coming in all the time to ask “where’s Stacks?”

 

 

 

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Trixie the Library Cat (Photo used with permission by Young Adult Services Coordinator Brittni Trytek, Independence Public Library, Independence, Kansas)

Trixie the Library Cat: Trixie, who lives at the Independence Public Library in Independence, Kansas, has much in common with Stacks. As with Stacks, Trixie arrived to her library home in 2009. Both cats are approximately seven years old and have been written about. Trixie, who was once featured in a magazine in Germany, is a social media star with a blog that details her younger years and also a Facebook page. According to Young Adult Services Coordinator Brittni Trytek, Trixie is well loved and very playful. She notes how some mornings, the custodian will find craft supplies (yarn, pom poms, and feathers) dragged from the third floor to the first floor.

Kitten Kuddle

Kitten Kuddle (Photo used with permission by Lisa Voss, Head of Library Development, Oshkosh Public Library, Oshkosh, Wisconsin)

Kitten Kuddle: Cats and dogs in the same library? Oh, yes. Not only does Oshkosh Public Library have a Read to a Dog program, but Head of Library Development Lisa Voss also let me know that they also partner with the Oshkosh Area Humane Society (OAHS) to offer a Kitten Kuddle event for teens. OAHS brings in five or six kittens to the library for kids to help socialize the animals by playing with them. The teens also make crafts that the OAHS sells as a fundraiser.

Take Our Poll

(If you can’t view the poll below in your browser, you can also view it on Playbuzz.)

 

 Arcanines and Meowths in the Library?

So, there you have it, cats and dogs in the library, a dream come true for me. Tomorrow, my aforementioned colleague, Jaclyn, and I will be posting about Pokemon Go in the library.

(Hmm… I wonder if there are any librarians or library patrons who have spotted an Arcanine or a Meowth hiding among the stacks?)

Tweet Us!

Have you spied a cat or a dog in your library, Pokemon Go kind or otherwise? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us a picture at #ProQuest!

New York Public Library Lion

Fortitude, one of the lion statues outside the Main Branch building of the New York Public Library by Ken Thomas [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons.

Libraries and Summer Fun

Surfside Library Pop-Up

Santa Monica Public Library at the Beach 2015, Santa Monica, California (Photo used with permission by Jeff Kaplan, Reference Services Librarian, Santa Monica Public Library)

BOOKS ON THE BEACH

About a year ago, I read a Fast Company blog post about a gorgeous pop-up library on a beach in Istres, a town in the South of France. I live in Florida and spend practically every single weekend at my local beach, and I’m a bibliophile to boot, so the idea of a library on the beach thrilled me. I wondered if such a library existed in my part of the world.

Curious, I googled pop-up beach libraries in the U.S. and discovered that, yes, they do exist, just not (at least, at this point) near me.

Hula Hoop Fun at SMPL at the Beach 2015

Hula Hoop fun at the Santa Monica Pop-Up Library in 2015 (Photo used with permission by Jeff Kaplan, Reference Services Librarian at the Santa Monica Public Library.)

Santa Monica Public Library (SMPL) is one such library that offers books on the beach. I contacted the library and heard back from Reference Services librarian, Jeff Kaplan, who said he had read the very same blog post about the French beachside library. In fact, the post inspired him to pitch the idea to his library’s Director, Maria Carpenter, who approved the idea to create a series of library pop-ups at their local beaches.

Mr. Kaplan gave me some background information on SMPL at the Beach, which debuted last summer and was a huge success (they had four 12×12 canopies serving over 500 visitors, including 151 participants in their beach programs). According to Mr. Kaplan, they strove to make their pop-ups  “a ‘beachified’ version of the library, with all its services, programs and collections represented, not just a bunch of books on the beach.” Services even included a Seaside Story Time for children and reference and instruction services with mobile wifi hot spots.

SANTA MONICA LIBRARY GOES BACK TO THE BEACH – SUMMER 2016

I was happy to learn that beginning July 8, SMPL at the Beach 2016 will offer five seaside pop-up libraries with summer fun programming, including ukelele lessons (I am sooo jealous!), fitness  classes, beach games like bocce and ladder toss, music performances and even a Surfside Lounge. The Library Foundation will also be providing free giveaways (beach towels, trucker caps and water bottles).

IOWA LIBRARIES WELCOME RAGBRAI CYCLISTS

July also marks the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI), and local libraries are prepared for the fun and for doing what they can to make lives easier for the cyclists. I contacted a few librarians at the libraries situated along this year’s bike route (419.9 miles across state’s scenic southern terrain) and the excitement RAGBRAI generates is palpable among them.

Imagination Mural at the Shenandoah Public Library

Brick mural called IMAGINATION by artist Jay Tschetter at the City of Shenandoah Public Library in Shenandoah, Iowa (Photo used with permission by Joy Stortvedt of the Shenandoah Public Library)

Librarian Joy Stortvedt of Shenandoah Public Library said that they are opening their library on Sunday, July 24, even though they are typically closed that day. Cyclists can use the Shenandoah library to cool off, use the bathrooms and charge their devices. Wifi access will also be provided outdoors, and can be accessed, even when the library is closed, from their outdoor amphitheater. They also hope to offer paperbacks, but aren’t yet certain about their stock. Ms. Stortvedt recommends the library’s brick mural by artist Jay Tschetter (see photo above) and a historic arch as excellent photo ops for the cyclists.

1888 Steinway Grand Piano

Rebuilt 1888 Steinway grand piano that will be open for RAGBRAI bikers to play at the Washington Free Public Library (photo used with permission by Debbie Stanton, Library Director at Washington Free Public Library in Washington, Iowa)

Library Director Debbie Stanton of Washington Free Public Library said that their library will be open to the public until 11 p.m. on July 29, the day RAGBRAI comes through their town. She also shared that they are converting their library’s used bookstore room into an entertainer’s lounge, which will provide “backstage” accommodations for their headlining bands, and they are adapting their two janitors’ sinks into showers for the cyclists. They are also providing overnight accommodations for two teams of bikers (about 50 people total) in their meeting rooms and working with a local Internet service provider and an economic development group to provide wifi access points downtown.

Letts Library

Letts Library and Community Room (Photo used with permission by Karen Koppe, Library Director, Letts Library and Community Room, Letts, Iowa)

Library Director Karen Koppe of Letts Public Library let me know that this will be the first time RAGBRAI will go through her small town. She says the library will sell homemade pies and that she has plans to have the kids in town help with making banners, signs and donation buckets for the July 30th event in Letts, which will feature 15 vendors and a DJ.  Ms. Koppe also notes that cyclists might be interested to know that the town has a Civil War Medal of Honor recipient buried in the town’s cemetery.

LIBRARY GARDENS

Insect Hotel

Insect Hotel at the LibraryFarm at the Northern Onondaga Public Library, Cicero, NY (Photo used with permission by Jill Youngs, Branch Manager, Northern Onondaga Public Library at Cicero, NY)

Not only do libraries help plant seeds of knowledge, but some also offer real-life garden plots! The LibraryFarm is one such garden. Located on the grounds of the Northern Onondaga Public Library at Cicero, New York, the LibraryFarm is an organic community garden that donates to three local pantries and offers regular programming dedicated to sustainable gardening and food literacy. Programs range from home solarization to backyard chickens. The garden also includes a neat insect hotel that was constructed out of discarded shipping pallets by the library’s maker club. If you can’t get away for the summer, a community garden is a nice way to relax after a day of work. Check out your community to see if the library or another organization offers garden plots.

SUMMER-THEMED ITEMS YOU CAN BORROW

You might be reading this and thinking, “Aww, but my library doesn’t have a garden, and I don’t live near Santa Monica, California, or one of the many libraries along this year’s RAGBRAI trail in Iowa.” No worries, fellow bibliophiles, these aren’t the only library summer fun spots. Innovative libraries across the country offer a range of summer programming, from summer reading challenges for children and adults (such as the one my local library offers) to puppet shows and more. In addition, many libraries offer summer-themed items you can borrow.

Here are examples of four items you can borrow from some libraries that go hand-in-hand with summer fun:

Bicycles:

Fishing Gear:

GoPro Cameras:

Museum Passes:

Share with Us!

What is your library doing this summer? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us a picture at #ProQuest!

Libraries on the Go: Trains, Planes… and Camels?

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Photo of a Little Free Library by LisetteBrodey [Public Domain], via Pixabay

When I think of a library, I picture the traditional services of a brick-and-mortar library, such as my neighborhood public library that I am fortunate enough to frequent. However, not all libraries are housed inside buildings. After reading Jennifer Genetti’s Little Free Libraries, which detailed the worldwide movement of miniature curbside libraries, I wondered what other nontraditional ways librarians and other bibliophiles are sharing their books with their communities? More specifically, I was curious as to what types of mobile libraries exist today.

A search on the Internet and via ProQuest (i.e., by conducting a Boolean search using the terms “mobile libraries” and “library outreach” and also by searching types of library outreach, such as bookmobiles) revealed many unique ways libraries and other organizations and institutions reach out to disadvantaged and underserved populations who don’t have easy access to reading materials. Additionally, librarians and others are finding ways to reach out to those who are on the go, such as commuters.

Five Examples of Unconventional Libraries

Books on the L

Person on train platform holding a book from the Books on the L program in Chicago, Illinois (Photo used with permission by Chicago Ideas.)

Riding on a Train

Lucky commuters riding on Chicago’s “L” transit system can take, read, and share books of all genres in an initiative launched in 2015 by Chicago Ideas called Books on the L.  The books can be identified by yellow stickers that include the words “Take it. Read it. Return it.” L train riders are encouraged to take a picture of books they find and enjoy and post them on social media with the hashtag #BooksOnTheL.

Waiting for a Plane 

airport

Photo of the Free Library of Philadelphia outpost in the Philadelphia International Airport. (Photo used with permission by the Free Library of Philadelphia)

Passengers waiting to board their flight at the Philadelphia International Airport can read and relax in an outpost of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The library outpost, created in 2013, offers comfortable lounge chairs and free Wi-Fi to access to digital content, including podcasts and audiobooks.

Delivered on a Boat

For the past four decades, those living on one of the remote islands around the town of Pargas in Western Finland have been getting their books delivered by the Public Library of Pargas’s book boat service staffed by library volunteers. Books are delivered to patrons of all ages during summer months.

Street Books

Diana Rempe, street librarian, with Street Books’ new bike library. (Photo used with permission by Street Books, Portland, OR).

On a Bicycle 

Street Books, founded in 2011 by Laura Moulton in Portland, Oregon, is a bicycle-powered mobile library that enables the homeless to check out library books. Patrons do not have to provide proof of address or identification to receive a library card.

On a Camel 

The Kenya National Library Service has been using camels to reach nomadic populations in North Eastern Kenya since 1985. In addition to books, the camels carry tents and mats for patrons to use when reading in the field.

Camel

Camel by OpenRoadPR [Public Domain], via Pixabay

Share with Us!

Do you work or volunteer at a mobile library? If so, tell us what type of mobile library and what you like best about it in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!