Top: Puppeteer Morgan Matens (left) and Children's Librarian Greg Hall pose with puppets from Nashville Public Library's in-house troupe, Wishing Chair Productions. Below: Scenes from their viral Facebook video "Curbside Baby." Photo: Samantha Saldana/Nashville Public Library (Matens and Hall)

Bookend: The World on a String

September 1, 2020

Wishing Chair Productions draws on the legacy of the prolific puppeteer Tom Tichenor, who worked in the library in the 1930s. After his death in 1992, NPL established a program in his honor that grew from small, single-performer storytimes to full-blown productions staffed by a team of 10 professional puppeteers. With marionettes, juggling, magic tricks, … Continue reading Bookend: The World on a String


Youth Matters, by Leigh Fox

Partners in Crisis

June 1, 2020

As youth librarians, our most important partners are schools and educators, which these days include many caregivers who have been thrown into homeschooling for the first time. In my system, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library (BPL), staffers have been busily figuring out ways to provide resources that our students, parents, and teachers may need as they … Continue reading Partners in Crisis


Youth Matters, by Larissa Clotildes

Waste Not, Want Not

March 2, 2020

I am not denying the educational value of crafts. They stimulate creativity, develop fine motor skills, and engage multiple senses in a learning experience. But I challenge myself to find activities that do not produce single-use waste, without sacrificing everything that makes crafts so great. I use the five Rs as my baseline: Refuse. Reject … Continue reading Waste Not, Want Not


Youth Matters by Tricia Bohanon

Making Room for Inclusion

January 2, 2020

Despite interest from the communities I have served, numbers have been consistently low—usually one to two families attend the monthly program. Recently, Akron–Summit County (Ohio) Public Library, where I work, made the decision to discontinue these storytimes. When sensory programming may not be feasible—whether because of low attendance, inadequate staffing, or lack of administrative support—we … Continue reading Making Room for Inclusion


A child undergoes a hearing test at a Sense-Screening Storytime at Omaha (Neb.) Public Library’s Swanson branch. Photo: Omaha (Neb.) Public Library

Testing the Senses

November 1, 2019

Sight and sound are integral parts of storytime and early literacy, so it makes sense for libraries to take an active role in children’s eye and ear health. Across the country, institutions are hosting free vision and hearing screenings tied to children’s reading sessions. OPL started hosting its Sense-Screening Storytime program last September and has … Continue reading Testing the Senses


Pickle reads Jacob’s New Dress at West Hollywood (Calif.) Library at an event by the national organization Drag Queen Story Hour. Photo: Jon Viscott

Fierceness—and Fierce Opposition

November 1, 2018

But while queens have proven their ability to bring the party with fantastic fashions and tales of individuality and acceptance, pockets of resistance remain. Many programs held in libraries still draw protests, as organized opposition groups insist that these storytimes aren’t appropriate for children. Lafayette (La.) Public Library (LPL) faced protests of its planned drag … Continue reading Fierceness—and Fierce Opposition


Youth Matters

Outside-the-Box Outreach

November 1, 2018

Your youth services staffers may already be doing this outreach. For instance, your library might bring storytimes to local day cares or crafts to after-school programs. But what about reaching the adults in your community as a means of reaching the kids? This outside-the-box approach to youth services outreach can reap results beyond what you … Continue reading Outside-the-Box Outreach


Khole Kash reads "Stella Brings the Family," at Mobile (Ala.) Public Library on September 8.Photo: WPMI

Drag Storytimes Bring Fierceness—and Fierce Opposition

September 20, 2018

But while queens have proven their ability to turn the party with fantastic fashions and tales of individuality and acceptance, pockets of resistance remain. Some programs held in libraries still draw protests, as organized opposition groups insist that these storytimes aren’t appropriate for children. Lafayette (La.) Public Library (LPL) is currently facing protests of a … Continue reading Drag Storytimes Bring Fierceness—and Fierce Opposition


Students at Overlook Middle School in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, built a pyramid with EverBlock bricks.

Ready, Steady, Build!

September 4, 2018

EverBlock EverBlock took the typical plastic brick toy and made it larger—almost the size of a cinderblock. The bricks fit together with lugs and can be used to build modular furniture, walls, and even small buildings. As a free-play tool, the possibilities are vast, limited mostly by the size of the play space and number … Continue reading Ready, Steady, Build!


The Social Component

June 27, 2017

Lytle presented new research that suggests there is no evidence of learning from screens for kids at an early age. This is true of infants as well as older toddlers. “If you want more robust learning, you have to have that social component,” she said. She also presented research on video chats such as Skype … Continue reading The Social Component


Gala attendees enjoy the Harry Potter-themed photo booth. Photo: New Lenox (Ill.) Public Library District

Happy Birthday, Harry Potter

June 16, 2017

The first book of the seven-book series by J. K. Rowling was published on June 26, 1997, in the United Kingdom. That same year, Scholastic Corporation bought the US rights and published the book as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone a year later. The series has since been translated into 67 languages and sold more than 400 million copies worldwide, according to … Continue reading Happy Birthday, Harry Potter


Abby Johnson

Summer Reading Reboot

May 1, 2017

It’s understandable. Summer is a busy time at the public library, and repeating a program saves work, even if it’s not the best thing for your youth participants or staff. Though your plans for summer reading are probably set, now is an opportune time to take inventory of what you’re doing, what is and isn’t … Continue reading Summer Reading Reboot