Flower

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?

little-library-1351491_1280

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!

Star Wars Day: May the 4th Be with You

Lego Star Wars Stormtroopers

Lego Star Wars Stormtroopers by Andrew Martin [Public Domain], via Pixabay

Since the Beginning: Librarians and Star Wars

The first organized Star Wars Day celebration occurred on May 4, 2011, at the Toronto Underground Cinema in Canada. However, librarians — experts in tapping into popular culture as a way of reaching out to their patrons — have been holding Star Wars events long before this date.

Shortly after the film series began in 1977, libraries began offering Star Wars-themed reading programs, film screenings, children’s shows and other events. For example, a quick search in ProQuest’s Historical Newspapers reveals that, in the summer of 1978, La Mesa Library of the San Diego, California, County Library, offered children a space-theme series with a film screening of Hardware Wars, a Star Wars spoof.

ProQuest Historical Newspaper article screencap

Screencap of a ProQuest Historical Newspaper article from the July 13, 1978, edition of the Los Angeles Times

Here’s another ProQuest’s Historical Newspaper article from 1979,  detailing a Star Wars reading program for children by Terryville Public Library in Terryville, Connecticut.

star wars reading program

Screencap of a ProQuest Historical Newspaper article from the June 26, 1979, edition of The Hartford Courant

Star Wars Day in Libraries Today

West Regional Library Staff Celebrate Star Wars

West Regional Library Staff Pose with a Stormtrooper. (Photo used with permission by Wake County Public Libraries, Raleigh, NC)

star wars pancake

Yummy Darth Vader Pancake made with PancakeBot. (Photo used with permission by Xenia Community Library)

Librarians and libraries everywhere continue to offer a host of Star Wars programs and events. Here are three such happenings going on:

Cameron Village Regional Library Staff Celebrate Star Wars

Cameron Village Regional Library Staff and a Stormtrooper. (Photo used with permission by Wake County Public Libraries, Raleigh, NC.)

Moraga Library in Moraga, California, is hosting a Star Wars Day event for kids and teens from 4:00 – 6:00 pm today. Event goers, who are encouraged to come costumed as a favorite Star Wars character, can make origami Star Wars figures, watch a movie and more.

Wake County Public Libraries in Raleigh, North Carolina, are having a Star Wars Fest for all ages at Cameron Village Library, North Regional Library, West Regional Library,and other libraries across Wake County.  The festivities will include a screening of The Clone Wars, crafts, activities, and Star-Wars themed books. Some libraries will be holding events later in the week. Check out the website for registration and information.

Xenia Community Library in Xenia, Ohio, is offering an assortment of Star Wars crafts and activities from 4:00-5:00 pm today. According to Head Librarian Kevin Delecki, they will be making buttons, creating Death Stars with cupcake liners and coffee filters, and designing Star Wars-themed pancakes with their PancakeBot (You can read more about PancakeBot here: PancakeBot producing food, opportunities).

Star Wars Origami

Star Wars Origami. (Photo used with permission by Moraga Library, Moraga, CA.)

Activities, Party Ideas & Lesson Plans

Whether you’re a teacher or a librarian (or both!), here are six links to Star Wars-themed activities, party ideas and lesson plans perfect for Star Wars Day, Star Wars Reads Day or any time throughout the year.

Lesson Plan | Teaching ‘Star Wars’ With The New York Times

Library-Star Wars Reads Day Party Ideas

NASA: Star Wars Day Shareables

Star Wars in the Classroom

Star Wars Program Ideas

Star Wars Reads Day Program Ideas

 Fun Facts

* The Star Wars character Maz Kanata, introduced in the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is based on a high school English teacher named Rose Gilbert.

* Diehard fans continue their celebrations on May 5th, Revenge of the Fifth Day, a play on Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. On this day, fans release their inner Sith and celebrate the Dark Side.

*May the force be with you” was first uttered by General Jan Dodonna to the rebel troops in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.

* Star Wars featured a librarian, Jedi Master Jocasta Nu, in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones (2002) and in the video game adaption of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith (2005).

* Historians at the British Library’s Medieval Manuscripts Department revealed a Yoda-like image in a medieval manuscript of canon law now known as the Smithfield Decretals.

Share with Us!

Does your library or classroom hold Star Wars Day events or activities? If so, let us know what you’re doing in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!

Election 2016: Should Felons Be Allowed to Vote?

Jail Cells

Jail cells by TryJimmy
[Public Domain] via Pixabay

There is one group of Americans who will not be voting this election season. Nearly six million Americans nationwide are denied the right to vote because of laws that prohibit people with felony convictions from voting. A disproportionate number of those denied the right to vote due to criminal convictions are African Americans, leading some to charge that such felony disenfranchisement laws unfairly target minorities.

Only two states—Maine and Vermont—allow unrestricted voting rights for people who are felons. Both states permit voting while incarcerated for a felony offense. The other end of the spectrum includes three states—Florida, Iowa and Kentucky—that impose lifetime voting bans to all persons with felony convictions unless the governor expressly restores the right to vote.

For the Classroom

Students can learn more about Felony Disenfranchisement in ProQuest’s SIRS Issues Researcher by clicking on the Convicted Felons’ Rights Leading Issue in the A-Z List. The Convicted Felons’ Rights issue contains editorially-selected materials, including an overview and an essential question, Should felons be allowed to vote after they have served their time? Supporting pro/con articles help students gain an understanding of the different sides of the issue so they can present a cogent argument in a paper or a debate.

Take Our Three-Part Poll

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

Rank the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election Issues

Vote!

Vote up or down to rank the following 15 issues, which get re-ordered in real-time. (If you can’t view the list below in your browser, you can also view it on Playbuzz.)

 

Teach the Election

With the presidential election dominating the news, now is the perfect time to engage future voters with projects and debates on the candidates and where they stand on important issues.  ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher provides students with both editorially-created and selected content that will equip your students with the research and understanding they need to prepare for debates and other assignments. Direct your students to our Election 2016 issue, which contains an overview, timeline, essential question and other resources. If your students are researching a specific issue, such as Gun Control, Immigration or Economic Inequality, show them the A-Z List or have them type the issue in the search box.

Tell Us What You’re Doing

Are you and your class doing a project or debate about the election? If so, let us know what you’re doing in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!

Heroic Librarians

“Librarians are the coolest people out there doing the hardest job out there on the frontlines. And every time I get to encounter or work with librarians, I’m always impressed by their sheer awesomeness.” ― Neil Gaiman

All librarians are heroes to me, and with Thanksgiving approaching, I thought I would share my top ten list of amazing real-life librarians who have enriched our world. (If you can’t view the list below in your browser, you can also view it on Playbuzz.)

Who is your Super Hero Librarian?

Is there a librarian you are thankful for? Feel free to share with us in comments section below!

50 Things You Can Borrow from Libraries Besides Books

When most people think of libraries, books come to mind — rows and rows of books as in the picture below. Some might add that you can also find newspapers and magazines — or even movies, audiobooks and music — at your library.

library-488690_1280

Picture of the interior of a library by jarmoluk [Public Domain] via Pixabay

But there’s more — a lot more — inside your library than you might think.

One of the things that impressed me about the library in the town where I grew up was that it was more than a place to check out a good book. One image in particular that stands out in my mind was my mother picking through grocery store coupons that the library maintained in a neat little row of boxes. Anyone was welcome to take whatever coupons they needed from the bins or leave any extra coupons they might have for sharing with others. I remember how appreciative my mom was and how that helped us stretch our food budget.

Thinking back on that image made me wonder what else – besides books and coupons – libraries offer to their patrons.

Are there any unusual items you can check out?

Curious, I decided to google libraries and strange and/or unusual things you can borrow. I came up with a list of more than 60 items, which made me think — as I’ve often thought of in the past — that libraries are really like the Doctor Who and his Tardis. As with the Tardis — that flying contraption used by the Doctor to travel across space and time in the BBC TV show, Doctor Who — libraries are bigger on the inside and full of all kinds of nifty things.

In my search, I found things, such as Santa Suits (Bolivar County Library System in Mississippi) and snowshoes (Baldwin Memorial Library in Wells River, Vermont). (As I write this, I am in Florida in summer. It is hot. Very hot.)

I even found libraries where you can check out actual people or even dogs!

After I showed my list to a colleague of mine, Jaclyn Rosansky, she offered to pair it down to a more manageable 50 and created the infographic below.

So, for all you librarians and library lovers out there, enjoy! And the next time you drive past a library, stop, go inside, and explore because it — like the Tardis — offers much more on the inside than you might expect.

New in Researcher: Election 2016 Leading Issue!

Just in time for election season, ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher’s Election 2016 Leading Issue will help your students gain an understanding of the latest race for the White House.

Campaign Fund-Raising Arms Race

Nearly $400 million has been raised during the first half of 2015, and next year’s presidential contest is expected to cost up to $5 billion, which would make this election the most expensive on record. Rather than going directly into the campaigns, most of the money is flowing into super PACs and other outside groups that are allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money from wealthy individuals, corporations and labor unions. According to a New York Times analysis of Federal Election Commission reports and Internal Revenue Service records, there are less than four hundred families responsible for almost half the money raised so far in the 2016 presidential election.

With so much money being raised by so few people, our Election 2016 Essential Question poses the question — Will the super-rich buy the 2016 election? Editorially-selected yes/no viewpoint articles are provided to help students critically assess the issue and come up with their own answer.

How would you answer our Election 2016 Essential Question?

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

[playbuzz-item url=”//www.playbuzz.com/amyshaw10/election-2016-can-the-white-house-be-bought”]

Tell Us What You Think

What other issues are of importance to you and your students in this election? Let us know in the comments section below or tweet us at #ProQuest.

Library Quote Matching Game

What kind of library lover are you? Test your knowledge by matching each library quote with the correct person. (If you can’t view the matching game below, you can access it on PlayBuzz.)

[playbuzz-item url=”//www.playbuzz.com/amyshaw10/who-said-these-ten-library-love-quotes”]

 

 

 

The STEAM Movement and the Future

Fractal Art by werner22brigitte [Public Domain] via Pixabay

STEM + Art = STEAM

STEAM is a movement that integrates an A for the arts into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) initiative from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education.  STEAM education was created in 2006 by former teacher Georgette Yakman.

The Creative Component

Advocates of STEAM contend that there should not be a dichotomy between science and art. Instead, art should be seen as a driver of creativity that can foster innovation and spark engagement and learning in science education.

“Engineers, inventors, and designers produce drawings as part of their creative process. They draw to work out and refine concepts and details. They draw to persuade. They draw to give direction. And they draw to record their ideas and to learn from others.”–Doodles, Drafts, and Designs, Industrial Drawings from the Smithsonian

Pathway to Economic Growth

John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, sees STEAM as a pathway to fostering U.S. economic growth. Maeda, writing in Edutopia, has said that “[d]esign creates the innovative products and solutions that will propel our economy forward, and artists ask the deep questions about humanity that reveal which way forward actually is.” He cites Apple as a well-known example of a company in which design is crucial to the success of technology.

Tried and True

The idea of integrating the arts and sciences in education is nothing new. Leonardo da Vinci, for example, was not only a famous Renaissance artist but was also a scientist, engineer, and inventor. In fact, he used his skills as an artist to draw his mechanical ideas.

“If someone had told Leonardo da Vinci, Newton, or Galileo that the study of science in the 21st century would be separated from the creativity of the arts or the social, cultural, and historical insights into human behavior offered by the humanities, they would have wondered what scientists had done to make the world disrespect them so much.  It’s an odd idea to separate out different kinds of knowledge that inspire and enrich one another in the real world and the virtual too.” – Duke Professor Cathy Davidson

Future of STEAM

Mathematic and scientific knowledge fuel the mechanics of invention, but what fuels the innovative aspect, the design, and uniqueness? Imagination. And imagination comes with a love for the arts. As long as there is a need for invention and innovation, there will be a need for the arts.

A recent Washington Post article on arts inclusion in the STEM program argues this point well. Even with reports of the U.S. economy in need of more scientists and the like, it’s important to remember that the arts are a fundamental piece of what makes scientific advances as a whole.

Without the arts, the STEM program remains stagnant. Tomorrow’s innovators deserve the chance to innovate.

Links for Teachers and Librarians

Over the past several years, more and more schools have begun integrating the arts into their STEM curricula. Below are six links you can use to incorporate STEAM into your classroom or library:

Websites for Students

Are your students working on a STEAM project and need a little inspiration? Below are five editorially selected websites from ProQuest’s SIRS Issues Researcher.

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