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Posts Tagged ‘library’

Public Libraries Make a Difference: 5 Key Benefits of Summer Education Programs

Public libraries perform a key role in the education and development of young learners through summer education programs.

Summer vacation threatens to reverse many of the achievement gains that students—and teachers—worked so hard to reach during the previous school year. Low-income students are especially vulnerable to the “summer slide.” According to the Young Adult Library Services Association, low-income students “lose more than two months in math skills and reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains.” Summer education programs can stop the summer slide.

 

Public libraries that offer dynamic summer educations provide these five key benefits:

1. Foster a Love of Reading

To foster a lifelong love of reading, summer reading programs offer incentives for kids to read multiple books during the summer. This summer, the New York Public Library is encouraging kids to read by challenging them to enter an essay contest where they write about how the book they are reading or how books in general help make the world a better place. The winners will see the Yankees, meet a player, and take a bow on the field.

2. Close the Achievement Gap

Summer educational programs help reduce the achievement gap experienced during the summer months. This is especially critical for low-income children who may have other opportunities available. In 2010, a study carried out at Dominican University found that:

• Students who participated in the public library summer reading program scored higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year than those students who did not participate and they gained in other ways as well.

• Students who participated in the public library summer reading program had better reading skills at the end of third grade and scored higher on the standards test than the students who did not participate.

3. Provide Much-Needed Meals

Children from low-income areas may spend all day at the library because their parents are working and cannot afford to enroll them in a camp or provide childcare. Children who depend on free or reduced-price lunch programs during the school year are at risk of hunger during the summer months. And when kids are hungry, they are not receptive to learning. Many libraries provide meals alongside enriching programs involving craft, games, music, and movies. Lunch at the Library is an organization that “provides library staff with the tools and support they need to develop successful public library summer meal programs that provide children and teens in low-income communities with free and nutritious lunches through the USDA Summer Food Service Program.”

4. Offer STEM/Hands-On Education

According to the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), students need 21st-century skills to prepare for college and career. YALSA recommends a broad learning program for summer and a focus on STEM with hands-on activities that capture the interest of children and teenagers. The Orange County Library System in central Florida, offers camps, classes, and programs during the summer with many hands-on learning opportunities. Technology camps offer the opportunities for kids to learn engineering, robotics & electronics, graphic design, audio & video production, sewing, knitting, weaving, space exploration, and more.

5. Enable Teen Volunteer Opportunities

The Collaborative Summer Library Program’s 2017 theme is Build a Better World. One of the best ways teens can build a better world is by giving back to their community through volunteering at their local library during the summer. Teen volunteers at the Kirkwood Public Library in Missouri make flyers, do prep work for activities, help with summer reading programs, and become reading buddies to kids.

Public libraries provide key services to children during the summer months and all year long, often partnering with local schools to make sure students have the resources they need to succeed. They truly make a difference in their communities.

Support public libraries and join the American Library Association’s effort to save library funding. #saveIMLS

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National Library Week: 4 Impressive World Records!

Libraries transform readers to writers. Libraries nurture curiosity. Libraries give everyone a chance. Getting a library card is like a rite of passage. Without libraries, we wouldn’t learn about the work of so many diverse authors. We wouldn’t be as informed. We wouldn’t get access to everything print and beyond that libraries have to offer.

April 9th-15th is National Library Week. This year’s theme is “Libraries Transform” and to celebrate, we’ve compiled 4 outstanding library, author, and book-related records that were set according to Guinness World Records.

 

JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong by Wing1990hk CC-BY-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong by Wing1990hk CC-BY-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Highest Library from Ground Level

On November 7, 2003, the library located on the 60th floor of the JW Marriott Hotel in Shanghai, China took this title with a height of 757 feet 6 inches.

 

Kewanee Public Library by Kepper66 CC-BY-3.0 via<br /> Wikimedia Commons

Kewanee Public Library by Kepper66 CC-BY-3.0 via
Wikimedia Commons

World’s Largest Library Book Fine Paid

On April 19, 1955, Emily Canellos-Simms checked out the poetry book Days and Deeds from Kewanee Public Library in Illinois. Forty-seven years later, Emily found the book at her mother’s house and returned it to the library with a check for $345.14 in overdue fines.

James Patterson by Susan Solie-Patterson CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

James Patterson by Susan Solie-Patterson CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

First Author to Sell More Than 1 Million E-Books

On July 6, 2010, Hachette Book Group reported author James Patterson was the first author to have sold over 1 million e-books. He sold 1.14 million. Self-published author John Locke surpassed this record in June 2011, selling over 2 million e-books.

Comics artist Ken Bald at the 2013 Wizard World New York Experience Comic Con, at Pier 36 in Manhattan, June 29, 2013 CC-BY-3.0 © Luigi Novi/Wikimedia Commons

Comics artist Ken Bald at the 2013 Wizard World New York Experience Comic Con, at Pier 36 in Manhattan, June 29, 2013, CC-BY-3.0 © Luigi Novi/Wikimedia Commons

Oldest Artist to Illustrate a Comic Book Cover

At age 95, Ken Bald is the oldest artist to illustrate a comic book cover as verified on November 4, 2015. He illustrated Contest of Champions (2015) #2 (Bald Classic Variant). Ken is also the oldest comic book artist.

How are you celebrating National Library Week? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.

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Libraries and Halloween STEAM

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

A handsome young scientist delighted with gooey green slime.

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

What is STEAM?

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

Libraries to Inspire You

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

Champaign Public Library:

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

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

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

Santa Monica Public Library (SMPL):

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

Ewok Launcher (marshmallow launcher)

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

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

Rescue a Jedi from Carbonite STEAM activity

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

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

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

North Mankato Taylor Library:

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!

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.

 

Library Showdown: Cats Vs. Dogs

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

BOW WOW!

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

Lots, it turns out.

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

Knee_Hi

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

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

Ruff

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

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

 

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

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

Read to a Dog Program

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

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

Vs. MEOW!

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

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

ProQuest Historical Newspaper article

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

 

 

Stacks on a Book Cart

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

Kitten Kuddle

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

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

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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?)

Tweet Us!

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

New York Public Library Lion

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

Zines, Culture and Self-Expression

"lairs zine" by danie on Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“lairs zine” by danie on Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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:

The Lab
Mashable
Creative Bloq

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.

World’s Oldest Library Restored

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.

 

Al-Karaouine University (Al-Qarawiyyin)

By Anderson sady (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Al-Karaouine University (Al-Qarawiyyin)

By Anderson sady (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Al-Karaouine University (Al-Qarawiyyin)

By Anderson sady (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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.

Little Free Libraries

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.

First Little Free Library

First Little Free Library
By Lisa Colon DeLay [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

50 Things You Can Borrow from Libraries Besides Books

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

library-488690_1280

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

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

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

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

Are there any unusual items you can check out?

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

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

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

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

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