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Posts Tagged ‘libraries’

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!

Our 10 Favorite Education Blogs

It’s a new year and with that comes new goals. Maybe you want to incorporate technology into your classroom this year. Or create a makerspace. Maybe you’re interested in professional development. Whatever your 2017 goals are, having a collection of helpful education blogs to turn to is important. As ProQuest editors, we look to education blogs to gain insight on the issues near and dear to your hearts and ours so we want to share our top ten favorite education blogs so you can focus on what matters to you.

#10 — Worlds of Learning

Screenshot of Worlds of Learning

The tile format of this blog works well in showcasing everything from makerspaces to writing to libraries to coding and more. Everything is neatly organized by categories and this is the place to visit if you’re wondering about ways Disney World can impact the future of learning.

#9 — Edudemic

Screenshot of Edudemic

This is an education and technology blog. This blog is incredibly useful with articles covering topics such as social media and 1-to-1 computing while also addressing topics of student mental health. It breaks everything up into sections for students, teachers and teacher guides.

#8 — The EdTech Roundup

Screenshot of The EdTEch Roundup

This is another edtech blog. What makes this blog work well is its inclusion of lesson plans, suggested education apps, professional development ideas and ed tool reviews aside from its edtech blog posts. A bonus feature is an archive of its weekly edtech podcast from 2013 to 2014.

#7 — Common Sense Education

Screenshot of Common Sense Education blog

Common Sense Education is just that. The site brings reviews, teaching strategies, and digital literacy all together while its blog provides answers to navigating the best ed tools and how to decode teens’ digital lingo. A ‘Browse by Category’ feature helps organize all of the content.

#6 — Mind/Shift

Screenshot of Mind/Shift

Mind/Shift is a blog that goes outside the box. It approaches topics like being a more confident teacher and what makes the imagination so complex with expert commentary and media to back it up. It’s a great place to visit if you’re looking to be inspired or want a deeper look at an issue. The Mind/Shift tagline is ‘How we will learn” and this blog indeed focuses on the “how” of learning.

#5 — The Jose Vilson

Screenshot of The Jose Vilson blog

Jose Vilson’s blog addresses current events in the scheme of education and what role they play in shaping our students and classrooms. Jose is a teacher, author, speaker and activist, and his blog posts will stir healthy debates. One post titled, “Politics Are Always At Play In Our Classrooms” fiercely addresses how politics affects students.

#4 — Catlin Tucker

Screenshot of Catlin Tucker’s blog

Catlin Tucker’s blog focuses on blended learning and technology in the classroom. She includes her favorite web tools, interviews and a section on keynote presentations, training and coaching. She offers plenty of useful posts like MyShakespeare and Trading in Traditional Notebooks for Multimedia Blogs.

#3 — Edutopia

Screenshot of Edutopia

From Battling Fake News in the Classroom to 4 Proven Strategies for Teaching Empathy, Edutopia covers a wide range of topics for K12 educators. Edutopia combines research with experience to bring best practices to the forefront and showcase what works and what doesn’t in education. Each post is written with these points in mind.

#2 — Free Technology for Teachers

Screenshot of Free Technology for Teachers

Richard Byrne’s blog “Free Technology for Teachers” highlights useful digital tools, websites, and apps for educators. What’s great about his blog is that each post explains how to use those resources and incorporate them into the classroom. One such example is his post Storyboard That Offers Lesson Plans for Every Month where he alerts readers to Storyboard That’s free lesson plans.

#1 — The Daring Librarian

Screenshot of The Daring Librarian

The Daring Librarian is a wonderful collection of digital tool tips, personal anecdotes and photos from The Daring Librarian herself, Gwyneth A. Jones. Her posts are both informative and fun. Take her post Pokemon Go QR Code Library Scavenger Hunt where she explains how she created a QR code scavenger hunt inspired by the PokemonGo game.

 

What are your favorite education blogs? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!

4 Unique Libraries in Chilly Places!

It’s winter, though here in Florida it still feels like summer. For a lot of us, winter means snow, ice and bundling up. To get into the winter spirit, let’s take a look at some unique libraries in chilly places. These libraries are pretty “cool” to say the least.

Wyoming: Albany County’s Seed Library

Often when we think of gardening and the weather needed to grow a decent crop, warmer climates “sprout” in our minds. In a state like Wyoming where the climate can be dry and cold during the winter, creating a seed library seems improbable. But alas, Albany County Library was up to the challenge. The idea is that patrons can check out a packet of heirloom seeds, plant them, then once the plants develop more seeds, the seeds can be saved and returned to the library to later be replanted and so forth. The hope is that after five generations pass, people will have plants that are adapted to the colder Wyoming climate.

France & Italy: Library of Ice

Scientists observe climate change in their day-to-day research and projects, so it’s understandable that they would want to preserve as much data as they can from the ice around the world which is dwindling. Each ice sample is different and vital to uncovering details about our planet. The “Protecting Ice Memory” project, which started in August 2016, is a way for researchers to create an ice archive so to speak. Blocks of ice must be extracted then transported to an underground ice bunker in Antarctica. There, scientists can study the samples and gain valuable information relevant to climate change. While the project started in Italy, participants conducting the archiving effort include French institutions.  European countries, as well as Brazil, China, Nepal, and Canada have also shown support.

“Iceberg on frozen sea at sunrise” Photo credit: Foter.com / CC0

Washington: Gear Lending Library

Whether for snowy weather, rainy days or a camping trip, Washington’s Gear Lending Library has it covered. Jackets, rain pants, layers, boots, and outdoor packs can be borrowed. Offered through the Washington Trails Association with the help of donations, the Gear Lending Library is for adults age 18 and up who participate in the Outdoor Leadership Training program which is designed to get more young people outside and aware of how the outdoors can benefit them.

“Ice gear” Photo credit: simonov via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Alaska: ARLIS at the University of Alaska Anchorage Campus

Ever see polar bear fur or a stuffed puffin in person? Well at the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services (ARLIS) at the University of Alaska you can. All you need to borrow these exotic and interesting items is a library card. Here you can find everything from furs to animal specimens to skulls and so much more. Research is brought to life with the help of these interesting items. Harry Potter fans, there’s even something for you. Yes…a snowy owl.

Photo credit: Wonderlane via Foter.com / CC BY

Where is your favorite library? Let us know in the comments 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

 

6 Outstanding Libraries in U.S. Prisons

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:

Folsom State Prison in California (Credit: Carol M. Highsmith via Library of Congress) [public domain]

Folsom State Prison in California
(Credit: Carol M. Highsmith via Library of Congress) [public domain]

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.

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]

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]

img_7055

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:

north-mankato-halloween-steam

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!

Libraries Serving Spanish-Speaking Communities

A library sign in English with Spanish translation, in a Texas library (Un letrero en inglés y español en una biblioteca en Texas).. The city has a large number of Spanish speakers moving in so the public library now has Spanish books and also some Spanish signs. (Pete Unseth, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license) (via Wikimedia Commons)

A library sign in English with Spanish translation, in a Texas library (Un letrero en inglés y español en una biblioteca en Texas). The city is serving its large Spanish-speaking population. (Pete Unseth, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license) (via Wikimedia Commons)

The Spanish language is an integral part of the American experience.

According to the 2011 Pew Research Center’s American Community Survey, Spanish is the main language spoken in more than 37 million homes. According to the 2012 U.S. Census, Hispanic Americans comprised 17% of the country’s population–53 million people.

How do the more than 16,000 public libraries across the United States serve this culturally rich community?

There are numerous ways that public libraries can find the fiscal support, cultural materials, and language expertise necessary to successfully serve their diverse Spanish-language-speaking communities. In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated each year in the U.S. from September 15 through October 15, let’s take a look at some.

Guidelines for Library Services to Spanish-Speaking Library Users

The American Library Association offers a comprehensive overview to librarians and media specialists who seek to initiate services to Spanish-language-speaking populations or to build upon their existing resources. Visit Guidelines for Library Services to Spanish-Speaking Library Users for an overview of collection development and selection; cultural programming and outreach; the value of personnel training and development; and the significance of collection placement.

REFORMA

The National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (REFORMA) was established in 1986 with the purpose of providing educational, charitable, and programming outreach to Hispanic American librarians and to libraries wanting to serve the Spanish-speaking population.

The REFORMA site provides extensive online resources for libraries, including a Spanish-English dictionary, Spanish-language brochures and flyers, and storytime materials. The organization offers awards and recognition to libraries and holds events and conferences on Spanish-language literature and in support of outreach to Spanish-language communities.

SOL

Spanish in Our Libraries (SOL), although no longer being published, is now an archive of valuable information. This electronic newsletter helped to connect librarians and media specialists serving their libraries’ Spanish-speaking communities.

PLUS

Public Libraries Using Spanish (PLUS) is a growing searchable database that provides libraries with documents necessary for any library to serve its Spanish-language communities. Find printable card applications, signs, programming information, and more, written in Spanish with English translations. The site’s owner is accessible by email and asks for users to share their comments, experiences, and document submissions.

WebJunction’s SLO Program

WebJunction is an online learning community for librarians. The organization offers knowledge and support in many areas of librarianship: leadership and communication, staff training, library services, technology, and programming.

One facet of WebJunction is its Spanish Language Outreach (SLO) Program. Case studies, webinars, and materials (such as an action plan template and checklists) assist libraries in creating, maintaining, and growing Spanish language collections, services and programming, and outreach. Text to the site’s Spanish Language Outreach Workshop Curriculum–including a PowerPoint presentation and a resource packet–offers in-depth instruction and support to librarians and media specialists.

These sites are only some of the resources available to public libraries serving, or looking to serve, their Spanish language communities–communities that are integral to the advancement of our nation and its libraries.

SIRS Knowledge Source and SIRS Discoverer commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Month each year by spotlighting the history of and the news, events, and issues affecting this vibrant and diverse population. Find articles, timelines, photos, and more.

Pokémon GO Meets Libraries

Youth Services Desk at Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library [Photo Courtesy of Erin Douglass, Youth Services Librarian]

Youth Services Desk at Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library [Photo Courtesy of Erin Douglass, Youth Services Librarian]

Catching the Pokémon Craze

As soon as Pokémon Go came out, I found myself saying things like, “Be back later, going to hunt Pokémon” or “Gotta catch ’em all.” I’m not the only one. My colleagues and friends are also venturing outside all in hopes of catching as many Pokémon as they can. My colleague, Amy Shaw, and I wanted to write a blog post about how this game has impacted libraries specifically since many of them are set up as Pokémon Gyms or Pokéstops, and are organizing activities centered on the game.

Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library’s ‘Pokémon Go Walk and Train Club’

Pokémon Go Walk and Train Club [Photo Courtesy of Erin Douglass , Youth Services Librarian at Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library.]

Pokémon Go Walk and Train Club [Photo Courtesy of Erin Douglass, Youth Services Librarian at Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library.]

Erin Douglass, the Youth Services Librarian at Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ said they are enjoying the Pokémon mania through a Walk and Train Club to fit in with their 2016 summer reading theme of sports and fitness. Players can bring their smartphone and join a walk around the neighborhood. They stop at a Pokémon Gym, Pokéstops, and share tips as Pokémon spawn while a lure module is dropped in the park. Douglass said her hope is to have the club grow and be able to incorporate a walk for charity app to contribute to a cause and catch ’em all at the same time.

Douglass also put together a craft activity based on the game. Pokémon fans are able to create a Pokéball that opens to reveal a Pokémon inside and participants can choose from Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Gengar, Snorlax, or Eevee. Since the Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library is a Pokéstop in the game, Douglass said they’ve scheduled lure modules to drop at specific times. Players are invited to take a break from the heat while rehydrating inside the library. Future dates of Pokémon Go activities will appear on the library website. Douglass said her Pokémon tip is to explore new places, but be safe and attentive. Also catch a lot of Eevees — they’re adorable and can evolve three different ways!

New York Public Library Luring Patrons

At the New York Public Library, Pokémon Go has been a great way to get people outside and exercise. Lauren Weiss, NYPL Social Media Marketing Associate, said the game has been super innovative.

She said people of all ages are bonding over it and interacting. One thing the NYPL is doing is challenging others to “beat the library” by holding down the Pokémon Gym. They are coming up with ways to get people into the library through the Pokéstops and gyms. She said the crown jewel of Pokémon seems to be the Snorlax. Weiss also shared the library’s Pokémon Doppelgangers found in their Digital Collections! Here you can find side-by-side comparisons of various Pokémon to real images found in the NYPL collection.

In response to the Pokémon Go game’s popularity, Weiss said, “I think it is going to get bigger. Those of us who grew up with it are the ones who are the core audience.”

Teen Summer Reading Club at Kingsbridge Library - NYPL [Instagram Screenshot with Permission from Lauren Weiss, New York Public Library]

Teen Summer Reading Club at Kingsbridge Library – NYPL [Instagram Screenshot with Permission from Lauren Weiss, New York Public Library]

Beaufort County Library Wants You to Bring All Things Pokémon

At the Bluffton Branch of the Beaufort County Library Ryan Easterbrooks is in charge of Children’s Programs. Being a huge Pokémon fan, he saw an immediate opportunity to combine Pokémon and libraries.

He created a Pokémon display meant to bring attention to the game and said a friend of his saw it on his personal Facebook page and posted it to Reddit. He said it was on the front page of Reddit by the end of the day and had 5500 upvotes, with 1.3 million views on Imgur. He said it was awesome to see something library-related go viral.

Pokémon Display at Beaufort County Library [Photo Courtesy of Ryan Easterbrooks in Children's Programs]

Pokémon Display at Beaufort County Library. This picture went viral on social media. [Photo Courtesy of Ryan Easterbrooks in Children’s Programs]

His library has been contacted by several others in the U.S. that want to know what children’s programs they are planning on. His idea for the future is to have a Pokémon club where people can bring their Pokémon trading cards, Nintendo DS, or device with the game to the library and play against and with other kids. He said they are also promoting the manga as reading material to kids.

“Pokémon is selling the library in many ways,” Easterbrooks said.

Uniting People Through Pokémon

Warwick Public Library has been busy with Pokémon Go events. Kristin Munson, a reference librarian there, said they’ve held a live gym meet for teens in grades 7-12 who could battle for ownership of the library Pokémon Gym. They’ve also had stations for creating Pokémon-shaped bookmarks, 3D perler bead pets, or to take photos with a plush Pikachu and props.

Later on, the library is going to give out gym badges that can be earned through submitting photos of Pokémon people have caught.

“My favorite part of Pokémon Go by far has been the camaraderie and genuine kindness of everybody playing,” Munson said.

It’s been a great icebreaker for the shy or socially awkward and a great motivator to get those who are depressed outside. People are playing for purely selfless reasons, dropping lures at children’s hospitals, picking up litter while they hunt, leaving out water and snacks for strangers and even walking shelter dogs to progress in the game.

She said, “It’s been the ultimate restorer of faith in humanity.”

Pokémon Themed Book Covers at Warwick Public Library [Photo Courtesy of Kristin Munson, Reference Librarian]

Pokémon-Themed Book Covers at Warwick Public Library [Photo Courtesy of Kristin Munson, Reference Librarian]

Bridging Generational Gaps

Teens Catching Pokemon at Farmers Branch Manske Library [Photo Courtesy of Korey Finch, Youth Services Librarian]

At Farmers Branch Manske Library in Farmers Branch, Texas, Youth Services Librarian Korey Finch recognized the programming potential of Pokémon Go right away. Finch, who has loved Pokémon since the game first came out in the ’90s, set up a Pokémon Go Adventure Walk, which she called “a total Field of Dreams moment.” Not only was the event well-received, it also managed to reach one of hardest to reach groups – teenagers. Inspired by the successful turnout of The Adventure Walk, Finch created a 5K Egg Hatch Walk, which also had a good turnout, in spite of the Texas heat.

One of the best things about the events, according to Finch, was that Pokémon Trainers of all ages participated, bridging generational gaps. Finch also noticed other benefits to Pokémon Go, including increased traffic to the library. According to Finch, “[m]ore people have been coming in to get library cards, pay off old fines, enjoy the cool air, and quite a few come in just to chat with me about different things they’ve caught or places to catch certain things.”

“In my opinion, one of the coolest things about this game is its ability to bridge generational gaps, and allows libraries to connect with teen patrons in such a fun way. Out at the park we encountered some teens who found out about Pokémon we had caught in the library, and they took off running to go explore the library! When does that happen voluntarily?!” –Korey Finch, Youth Services Librarian, Farmers Branch Manske Library, Farmers Branch, Texas

IndyPL: Gotta Catch ’em all READING!

 

Zubat in Central Library

Central Library Facebook post of a Zubat in the stacks. [Photo Courtesy of Jon Barnes, Communications Specialist, The Indianapolis Public Library]

The Indianapolis Public Library joined in on the Pokémon craze by holding a Pokémon Lure Day on July 23. During the event, library staff dropped lures to attract players to its many branches. Central Library in the heart of downtown Indianapolis served as the main Pokémon site, dropping lures every 30 minutes during library hours and offering 2K and 5K Walking Maps of nearby gyms and stops. The event attracted more than 2,400 patrons to Central Library, which according to Jon Barnes, Communications Specialist at the Library, was a 500 visitor increase compared with the previous Saturday. The downtown library even featured a special drink, the Pikachu Power!

The Indianapolis Public Library event showcased their event in a staff-created online resource guide: “IndyPL: Gotta Catch ’em all READING!”  The resource guide is chock full of all things Pokémon, including 63 different how-to videos on how to draw Pokémon.

Fosters Collaboration

Oddish

Oddish in the library stacks (Photo used with permission by Cari Rérat, Director, Pryor Public Library, Pryor, Oklahoma)

Pokémon can also be used as a way to foster collaboration between libraries and those in their communities. Such collaborative events can be a way to reach current and new library users in a new way. Korey Finch, of Farmers Branch Manske Library, says she has been in talks with the Farmers Branch Historical Park about creating a Pokemon Go Meetup Event for teens at the park before school starts. (Update: Ms. Finch let us know that she finalized plans with their historical park for a Pokémon & Popsicles event on Friday, August 19th, from 9AM-11AM!)

Cari Rérat, Director of the Thomas J. Harrison Pryor Public Library in Pryor, Oklahoma, mentioned that the library will be partnering with the Main Street Association, their town’s Rec Center and downtown businesses to organize a Pokéwalk, with at least one lure every 30 minutes, through their downtown area.

Pokémon and Safety

Libraries are also using Pokémon as a teaching tool to address digital safety and privacy issues. Skokie Public Library in Skokie, Illinois, plans to use the game to teach children about both physical and digital safety. On August 16, from 3:00-4:00 p.m., they will be conducting a Pokémon Go Safari with children in Grades K-5. According to Amy Koester, the Youth & Family Program Supervisor at the library, the safari will take the children on a walk to several Pokéstops that are within a several block radius of the library.

Tweet Us Your Library Pokemon

Are there Pokémon in your library? Send us your photos or let us know how you’re joining the fun! Tweet us at #ProQuest or send us a comment below.