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According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, at the end of 2014, there were more than 1,500,000 adult prisoners in state and federal correctional facilities in the United States. America has had libraries for prisoners since 1790 when the Philadelphia Prison Society began furnishing books to the inmates in the Walnut Street Jail. The first state prison library was established in 1802 at the Kentucky State Reformatory. It contained primarily religious books and was supervised by the prison chaplain. Prison libraries offer inmates a place to improve reading skills, write a letter home, watch an instructional video or just escape for a while by reading for pleasure. The American Library Association also works to provide library services to prisoners and their families. While many correctional institutions have book lending services or small libraries, some of the best facilities and programs in U.S. prisons are featured below:
1. Angola State Prison, Louisiana. The nation’s largest maximum security prison’s Main Library was dedicated in 1968, but there are actually four other branches that serve Angola inmates as well, called Outcamp libraries. The prison is part of the Inter-Library Loan Program with the State Library of Louisiana.
2. Bucks County Correctional Facility, Pennsylvania. Prisoners here work with the local Lions Club to produce reading material for the blind. The program was the first in the country of its type and uses county inmates to transcribe textbooks, worksheets, and tests into Braille for blind students.
3. Folsom State Prison, California. A March 2003 profile of the library noted that its collection included 16,522 fiction and 4,176 non-fiction books, as well as 1,449 law texts. The law library is the most popular and offers a Paralegal Studies Program to train inmates in research skills to help them find forms and legal resources. The library also offers educational programs, as well as a vocational-intern program to prepare certain inmates for the working world outside of jail.
4. Illinois State Prisons. The Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners project accepts request letters from Illinois inmates, finds books that meet their needs and provides them at no cost to the inmates. The community and individual libraries provide donated books, and volunteers staff lending libraries in local jails, interacting directly with the inmates. At last count, they have provided over 120,000 books to more than 18,000 prisoners. They also publish prisoners’ writings and artworks.
5. Norfolk Prison Library, Massachusetts. When a young Malcolm X was incarcerated here in 1948, he taught himself to read and write by copying an entire dictionary page-by-page. He later took advantage of the large library, reading every book available in philosophy, history, literature, and science. Today the library still provides education programs to inmates in the culinary arts, computer technology, HVAC, college transition, ESL, reading enrichment, and getting a GED.
6. Racine Correctional Institution, Wisconsin. In 2006, the Racine Correctional Institution Library hosted a poetry slam and competition. Another program is the Shakespeare Prison Project, a collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Fifteen to twenty inmates study and rehearse Shakespeare plays for nine months, working with theater artists and preparing to perform for the other prisoners and for the community.
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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.
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.
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.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.
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.
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.
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:
- Pumpkin Geoboard
- Pumpkin Optical Illusion
- Batwing Challenge
- Witch-Inspired Salt Crystal Science
- Spider Web Science
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.
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.
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.
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: 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 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.
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: 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.
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.
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?”
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: 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.
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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?)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Athens County Public Libraries, Athens, OH
- Georgetown Public Library, Georgetown, TX
- Winter Park Public Library, Winter Park, FL
- Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, MO
- Raymond M. Blasco, M. D. Memorial Library, Erie, PA
- Woodward Memorial Librarry, LeRoy, NY
- Arapahoe Libraries, Englewood CO
- Glen Ridge Public Library, Glen Ridge, NJ
- Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento, CA
- Cumberland Public Library, Cumberland, RI
- Longwood Public Library, Middle Island, NY
- Miami‑Dade Public Library System, Miami, FL
- Seattle Public Library, Seattle, WA
Share with Us!
What is your library doing this summer? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us a picture at #ProQuest!
ProQuest’s new Ebook Central provides many new avenues for learning to your school library. This all-new ebook resource that expands upon ProQuest’s ebrary resource provides easy searching, reading, downloading, organizing, and sharing of key ebook content on an extensive range of subjects. How you access the content is up to you as well. You have options to buy books outright, let usage determine your purchases, provide short term loans, and much more. Ebook Central is an opportunity to help expand the reach of your library, and thus substantially increase its benefit to both students and faculty.
Learn all about ProQuest Ebook Central as well as any of our other exceptional ProQuest resources for schools, public libraries, and colleges. You may register and join a public webinar. If we are not currently listing a class of interest, you are welcome to contact us and we would be happy to make arrangements directly with you.
Solving the world’s problems. That’s a very challenging task. There are so many variables and so many points of view. So many different interests to consider. But with critical examination of all the angles, and new ideas, nothing’s impossible! SIRS Issues Researcher has been helping guide the way through the world’s toughest issues for a very long time. Each year it gets better. Today it covers approximately 330 separate and sometimes related, but always sharply debated, issues. Coming soon, it will provide an all-new, exciting, and intuitive environment for elucidating young problem solvers in schools everywhere. We’ll keep you posted on that.
Learn more about SIRS Issues Researcher today, or many of our other exceptional ProQuest resources, by joining one of our monthly public webinars. If you don’t see the class you’re interested in, contact us , and we’ll be happy to arrange a meeting to discuss the resources you’re interested in learning!
ProQuest Research Companion was developed to address the need of teaching information literacy and research skills to students, thus helping them take better advantage of your library’s information resources and at the same time providing them with lifetime learning skills. One of the best parts about ProQuest Research Companion is that it is flexible. You may choose to use it simply as a reference tool, the sections of which may be accessed at will for instruction or support, or you may set it up so that individuals may progress through its organized construction and monitor their progress. You may support your existing research skills materials and reference resources by connecting to them from within ProQuest Research Companion, or you may pull the instructional sections out of ProQuest Research Companion and incorporate them with your outside information literacy instructional content. The idea is to make it adaptable for you, so that you can maximize its benefit for your students.
Join the ProQuest Training and Consulting team to learn more about ProQuest Research Companion as well as all of your other ProQuest resources. You may sign up for one of our public webinars at any time. If you don’t see the webinar or time you’re looking for, you are always welcome to contact us to arrange a private session.
Now’s a great time to catch up on the important elements of your ProQuest K-12 resources. We’ve posted our April webinars and would like to invite you to join us. Share this information also with some of your key faculty who you know would benefit from greater familiarity with your excellent ProQuest library research and learning tools. Our new public webinar page also expands your view of ProQuest possibilities. Not only may you access training for your K-12 focused resources, but you may also learn more about ProQuest’s full array of research and learning tools. Many of these have potential application in advanced secondary learning environments.
Libraries are popping up all over the country. Not the traditional libraries with thousands of books, a reference desk, computers, and more. Instead, these are Little Free Libraries. These small, bird-house like structures are filled with dozens of books, free to anyone who wants a good read.
The Little Free Library program started in 2009 when Todd Boi of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one-room schoolhouse and filled it with books. He placed it in his front yard labeled with a sign, “Free Books.” The idea was so popular with his neighbors and friends that it spurred him to build several more and place them in various locations. The Little Free Library movement was poised to take off.
By 2011, the project had garnered national media attention and more than 400 Little Free Libraries were spread across the United States. Since then, that number has continued to grow, and today there are an estimated 36,000 libraries worldwide.
The idea is simple. Anyone is encouraged to build a library, place it in a public place and register their library on the program’s website. The Little Free Library motto of “take a book, leave a book” keeps the libraries stocked. The libraries are credited with spreading literacy and fostering a sense of community in neighborhoods, especially in areas without easy access to a public library.
For more information on the Little Free Library program, check out http://littlefreelibrary.org/
Is there a Little Free Library in your neighborhood? Comment below or tweet us at #ProQuest.
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