Posts Tagged ‘library’
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.
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!
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’
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.”
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.
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.”
Bridging Generational Gaps
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!
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.
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.
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!
At the heart of local culture and creative storytelling emerged zines. The beauty of a zine is its cut-and-paste eclectic taste that questions status quo and gives a voice to anyone and everyone who has something to say. They are visual forums without commercial backing. Zines haven’t gone away, and there are some today that remain pillars in culture for people from all different backgrounds and life experiences. Gritty and messy, zines are mostly about self-expression.
Even libraries have an interest in zines, with articles written about what some institutions are doing to preserve the culture and history of these handmade works. One such example is the University of Iowa Library, where science fiction zines and others from the 1930s and 1950s are being archived. Another example is at the University of Chicago Library where zines about women, music and activism are collected. The need to be heard is always growing, and zines make that possible.
With the first “science fiction fanzine” published in 1930, it’s easy to see that zines have been around for a while. The infographic I’ve created provides a brief history of zines with a more complete timeline found on the Duke University Libraries page.
Some colorful examples of zines can also be found here:
Does your library collect zines? Have you ever made a zine? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest! We’d love to hear about it.
After four years of renovations (totaling $30 million US dollars), the al-Qarawiyyin library in Fez, Morocco has reopened. For the first time in its history, however, it is now open to the general public.
The library is part of the al-Qarawiyyin University, which opened in 859 and is the world’s oldest continually operating university. In the 9th century, a wealthy Muslim woman from Tunisia named Fatima al-Fihriya provided funding for the construction of a mosque, which later expanded into a university. Her diploma, a wooden board, can still be seen today.
Aziza Chaouni, a Canadian-Moroccan architect, oversaw the site’s renovation, which boasts restored fountains, colorful mosaics, and refurbished texts. The library restoration included a new gutter system, solar panels and digital locks to protect the rare books room. Air conditioning was also installed to control the humidity.
For 1,157 years, the library could only be accessed by theologians and academics. Today, visitors from around the globe can flock to see the oldest library in all its glory.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.)
Libraries have opened their doors to therapy dogs in an effort to motivate children to read. In 2006, several trained therapy dogs and their handlers in Minnesota participated in a pilot program called “PAWSitive Readers” where children read books to the dogs. After reading to the dogs once a week for seven weeks, 10 of the 14 children improved their reading scores by one grade level. Since then, similar programs have spread to libraries across the country.
Results have shown that participants in these programs not only improve their literacy skills, but also develop a love of reading. According to Therapy Dogs International, these programs are successful because the therapy dogs are non-judgmental and won’t laugh at the young readers if they stumble over their words or make a mistake. Instead, the dogs lie next to the reader and simply enjoy the attention. This allows the child’s reading ability and confidence to improve.
The positive influence dogs have on human’s physical and emotional health has been well documented, and programs such as these are showing tangible results. A study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine in 2002 found that the presence of dogs lowered people’s blood pressure while reading aloud to a dog. The study’s findings went on to state that pets can also reduce the perception of stress. A 2011 study published by the School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University found second-grade students maintained their reading skills over the summer if they read aloud to dogs. This increased their self confidence and improved their literacy skills when they returned to school after summer vacation.
For more information on these programs or to start one in your area, check out the following resources: