Ideas to Make Your Library Shine

Sharing ideas from around the system & around the country, on programming, fundraising, grants, free stuff, and more.
Brought to you by the Winnefox Library System.

Screen-Free Family Night Programs

As part of their summer reading program, the Princeton (WI) Public Library is inviting everyone to "turn off your phones and TVs, and come down to the library for a screen free night of family fun."

By offering these low-cost programs in the evening, caregivers of children who work during the day have the opportunity to attend events with kids too. And branding the series as "screen-free" offers caregivers a break away from ever-present tech devices.

Here's what the library is offering in the series:

  • Board Game Night
    • This week we are getting out the classic board games from Monopoly to Scrabble to Rummikub to Sorry. Or bring along your favorite.
  • S'Mores and Ghost Stories
    • This week we are breaking out the campfire and making s'mores. Plus ghost stories. The program will be held outdoors if the weather is convenient.
  • Lawn Games
    • This week we are heading outside and play some lawn games. From yard yahtzee, to giant jenga, to croquet, sidewalk chalk and more. Children of all ages can participate and have a good evening of family fun.
  • Talent Night
    • It is the end of our Summer Reading Program and we want to recognize all the talents of our wonderful patrons. All children can participate with music programs, skits, poems and more. Let a Librarian know how you would like to participate and we will sign you up. And family members, please come down and cheer on your loved ones.

Here's the library's full calendar of July events.

Photo credit: Fil.Al at Flickr, Attribution 2.0 Generic; hat tip to Photos For Class


Best Apps for Teaching & Learning

Over two dozen of the best iOS and Android apps for teaching and learning have recently been chosen by the American Association of School Librarians, and they're not just kid stuff!

Fnd them all at Best Apps for Teaching & Learning 2018, and to whet your "app-etite" here are ones you might find most useful:

  • Clips
    • "Turn your iPhone into a video production studio ... Create and edit dynamic videos with the ability to add subtitles, animated stickers, filters, and music, all within the app."
  • Complete Fairytale Play Theatre
    • "Users can choose from among 60 characters and tell the classics or rethink/enhance the tales."
  • Google Spotlight Stories
    • "This app puts the reader in the middle of a growing number of virtual reality stories and demonstrates new possibilities for interactive storytelling. Each of the stories is a 360 video experience to be viewed within a VR viewer or on a device or screen."
  • GooseChase
    • "... combines scavenger hunts with mobile technology ... to create and facilitate a customized scavenger hunt. Create a game on the GooseChase website and add missions from the mission list or make your own missions. Students use the app to join your game..."
  • Hopscotch: Make Games
    • “Coding may sound a bit dry and daunting ... but those are the last things that come to mind while using Hopscotch. The app lets you have as much fun making games as playing them, and with its colorful, friendly interface and stacks of help and tutorials, kids (and grown-ups!) can build all kinds of apps—while learning the fundamentals of programming."
  • Metaverse – AR Browser
    • "... the easiest way to create Augmented Reality experiences. Create mobile games and choose your own adventure interactive stories using the Metaverse Studio and watch them come to life in the Metaverse app browser."
  • Office Lens
    • "Capture and crop a picture of a whiteboard or blackboard and share your meeting notes with co-workers." "Printed and handwritten text will be automatically recognized (using OCR), so you can search for words in images and then copy and edit them."
  • RelationShapes
    • "Geared towards early childhood, RelationShapes allows young users to move and resize shapes on one side of an axis, then create a matching image on the other side. After each level, new shapes and stickers are unlocked to create fun pictures."
  • Science Journal
    • "Turn your phone into a light, sound, and motion sensor. Measure these experimental variables with greater accuracy and create detailed data displays."

Best Apps for Teaching & Learning

Free Webinars in July

ImagePlan to attend these free webinars; all you need is your computer & speakers or headphones (no microphone needed.) If you attend a live webinar, it may be counted as a Category B continuing education activity towards renewing librarian certification.

Webinars with a ★ are the ones I think you'll find most useful.


After-Hours Programs for All Ages

The Corvallis-Benton County (Oregon) Public Library (CBCPL) has been hosting after-hours events for all ages called "Takeovers", and three of their staff have provided information you can use on...

  • the origin of the idea for CBCPL’s Takeovers
  • how these events are planned and coordinated
  • tips for any library interested in hosting their own Takeovers, and
  • the ways in which these events tie into the CBCPL mission

The libary's Takeovers involve crafts, video games, Nerf games, and more — all while the library is closed.
Each Takeover event is tailored to a specifc age group (either tweens, teens, or adults) and people from outside that age group are not permitted in the library during the event.

The events enrich participants’ lives through social interaction and play.
The events are intrinsically exciting and they give the specifc age group targeted a sense of ownership of the library space.
The events encourage exploration by bringing many brand new people to the library and introducing them to a range of activities available in our space.
Though these events can feel chaotic, the excitement and energy of everyone involved in Takeovers is uplifting, thrilling, and completely different from what we typically see at library events.

Ripon Public Library has been hosting Nerf Battles since March 2016, and they have both Teens Only (ages12-17) and Adults-only (ages 18+) events on the calendar for this summer.

• Brzozowski, B., Johnson, E., & Kemper Hodge, K. (2018). Library Takeovers: After Hours Nerf Games and More at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library. OLA Quarterly, 23(4), 35-39.
• Upcoming Nerf Battles at Ripon Public Library: Teens Only (ages12-17) and Adults-only (ages 18+)

Photo credit: Family Nerf night fosters advocacy


Teen Reading & Discussion Program: Great Stories Club Grant

The American Library Association (ALA) is accepting applications for the Great Stories Club, a grant program in which library workers lead reading and discussion programs with underserved teens in their communities.

Application and guidelines:
Deadline: July 9, 2018

Grantees will receive:

  • 11 paperback copies of up to four book selections (10 to gift to participants; one for discussion leader/library collection)
  • Travel and accommodation expenses paid for one staff member to attend a 1½-day project orientation workshop in Chicago
  • Programming materials, including discussion guides, related reading lists and promotional resources

Watch this webinar recording to get...

  • An overview of the Great Stories Club program and application process
  • A review of the grant requirements
  • Instructions for the online application process, including the option to apply for two Great Stories Club grants at once and select 3-4 books from a longer reading list
  • Strategies for establishing or stengthening a community outreach partnership

Working with small groups of approximately 10 teens, grantees will host reading and discussion programs for up to four thematically related books. The titles — selected in consultation with librarian advisors and humanities scholars — are chosen to resonate with reluctant readers struggling with complex issues like academic probation, detention, incarceration, violence and poverty.

All types of libraries are eligible, as long as they work in partnership with, or are located within, organizations that serve under-resourced youth, such as alternative high schools, juvenile justice organizations, homeless shelters, foster care agencies, teen parenting programs, residential treatment facilities and other nonprofit and community agencies. Libraries located in high-poverty communities are also eligible to apply, though outreach partnerships with youth-focused organizations are still encouraged.

Apply now for the Great Stories Club, a reading and discussion programs for underserved teens
Great Stories Club website
webinar recording

Photo credit: Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library in Topeka, KS via Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0); photo was modified by cropping and resizing image

Free Webinars in May

ImagePlan to attend these free webinars; all you need is your computer & speakers or headphones (no microphone needed.) If you attend a live webinar, it may be counted as a Category B continuing education activity towards renewing librarian certification.

Webinars with a ★ are the ones I think you'll find most useful.


Let Patrons Create a Poet-Tree

How do you share a love for words, poetry, and expression with patrons who think poetry is boring?  A "Poet Tree" is part "stealth programming" and part National Poetry Month display, that can appeal to all ages.

The idea of the poet-tree is to create a space where patrons of all ages can celebrate poetry by writing and sharing it.
Encourage members to write original poems or copy them from your library's poetry collection onto index cards or die-cut leaves.
As people walk by, they can add to the poetry or simply read the poems that others have shared.

Your tree can be made of construction paper posted on a bulletin board, or "a small potted tree, a fake tree that you buy, or a makeshift tree you cobble together. Feel free to use your library's Christmas tree or a shrubbery of some sort. The tree needs to be able to stand alone and provide branches on which to hang things." Get more tree ideas from Lindsey Dunn here.

You can download free printable leaves from FirstPalette for a variety of shapes and sizes that include maple leaves, oak leaves, oval-shaped leaves, heart-shaped leaves, and star-shaped leaves. And download a free ready-to-display poster from the NoveList Book Squad you can use to encourage patrons to "leaf" the tree.

Lindsey says, "In short, having a poet-tree can encourage participation, increase circulation numbers of the poetry collection, create material for participation in library programs, and stimulate conversations between staff members and library patrons. It's a great way to celebrate National Poetry Month!"

Source: Steal this idea: Read and share a poem on the poet-tree, by Lindsey Dunn at the NoveList blog
Image credit: NoveList Book Squad (PDF)

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