Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Resurrecting this blog back from the dead...

Wow, it's been some time since I've posted on this blog!  Losing library funding saw the demise of our monthly programming for kids, but that doesn't mean that I've just been sitting around doing nothing!

On the contrary, we've instituted some new and exciting programming here at the Bucyrus Public Library that I'd like to pass along to you!

In-house, we've made available 4 computers in our Teen Room.  These take only 18-and-under cards and are well used nearly every day after school, and on days like today when there is a snow day and no school!  Young patrons get on them to play games, check their Facebook accounts, do "blizzard bag" assignments for school, and we even have some homeschoolers using them.

We have also made our Wii and Playstation available to young patrons who wish to play.  The games, controllers, and game platforms themselves are kept locked in a cabinet until needed, and we have a TV that we wheel out when needed.  Our aim is to get the TV mounted on the wall above the cabinet.

We have a table set up in our Teen Room that has painter's tape making a Tic-Tac-Toe board.  For the past few months we've had Steampunk Tic-Tac-Toe set up on it (simply multiple pictures of the same two steampunk-themed items).  This month, it's Hearts and Cupids Tic-Tac-Toe.

In the Children's Room, I also have a tabletop reserved for Tic-Tac-Toe, and I change it with the months.  October was pumpkins and ghosts, November was turkeys and pumpkins (the same pumpkins from October), December was Santas and trees.  January was snowmen and snowflakes.  This month, since the Teen Room is hearts and cupids, I chose profiles of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  We also have another table dedicated to a checker board.  Believe it or not, both tables get a lot of use!

Passive programming has been the name of the game in the Children's Room.  I have two four-sided columns on one side of my room, and it's here that I've been posting my passive programs.

In November, the passive program was to Guess the pro football team mascots.  I found pictures of each of them, copied them off onto black construction paper, then cut the silhouettes out, laminated  and posted them.  Post them with the picture side down so that only the silhouette appears.  Then I numbered them and that was the guessing game.  I had a key handy to answer who was who.

December's passive program was guessing elves/snowmen from movies and books.  I simply went onto Google Image search and found pictures of elves and snowmen, put them into Publisher, printed them out in color, laminated them, and posted them on the columns. That display stayed up through January, as, well....there was snow.

February's passive guessing program is "Name That Candy Bar!"  I went onto Google Image search to find cross sections of different candy bars.  In most cases I enlarged them, put them into Publisher and printed them off.  They are numbered as well with a key at my desk.

We have also started putting out coloring sheets for our younger patrons, coordinating with whatever holiday, season, etc is current.  Right now we have Valentine's Day ones available.  The Hello Kitty ones are very, very popular!

We have begun some incredibly successful Music, Movement, and More programs.  About two years ago, a lady from our local Help Me Grow approached us about being a place to hold their program (which was called Tots, Tales, and Tunes) and wanted me to provide a story and fingerplay with the participants at the end of the session.  With state budget cuts, Help Me Grow lost funding for that program, and when they did, it was a natural fit for us to pick it up.  That next year, I was able to fund the expense of paying the lady who did the program out of my programming budget, and we did it very low key.  This year, thanks to a grant through our local United Way, we have been able to expand the program.  We advertise, as always through the local newspaper and the local JFS and WIC programs.  Our aim is to reach birth to preschool-aged children.  The United Way grant has freed up my programming money this year and is paying the instructor for 3 sessions (we will be able to offer a summer session....SO excited), and we are purchasing Musikgarten instrument/CD/book kits that will be given to families attending 7 of the 10 week sessions!  That way, they can recreate the experience at home in between sessions.  We are loving our theme this time around, which is Body Awareness.  The past couple of themes, we have had some sort of simple craft for the parent and child to do together.  This time it was a skeleton that was colored and put together with brads.  They are displayed in our program room until the end of the session.  Our attendance has sky-rocketed.  At our last session, we had (with children and parents) 50 total attendees!  We are so thankful for the United Way funding that allows us to reach some of the families that attend that would certainly not have the money to go out and spend on similar programs that are out there in the community.

Our second new program is our StoryWalk Adventures.  This idea was adapted from a program that was done on walking/biking trails in Vermont.  We take their same idea of taking apart books, laminating the pages and displaying them, but instead of stakes and boards, we have our book pages mounted on posterboard and portable easels.  So far, we've done 4 successful installations:  One at the local Parks District for the Family Tent Camping Night, one at a local city park for a family programming group called Together Time, the annual Halloween Bash at the local Parks District, and our last one was for the downtown Candlelight Christmas celebration.  Each one has been a learning experience!  I have also offered the program to local schools for their Right to Read weeks and so far, one has jumped on board.  Our program was featured in Ohio Libraries Quarterly (published by the State Library of Ohio) in an issue dedicated to community outreach projects.  This idea was also submitted to AWE (who do the Early Literacy Computers) as a project to win a contest that they sponsored during the recent American Library Association convention.  While we did not win, the idea was published by them on their site in a PDF of ideas from around the nation.  So, we were excited about that as well!

Please contact me at or if you'd like additional information on any of the programs I've talked about or any of my past programs!