Summer Reading Switcheroos

May 4, 2020

The answer for most: online programming, such as virtual storytimes, science experiments, and small-scale cooking demonstrations. “Our plan is to do a pretty strong and regular slate of virtual programming put out on Facebook,” says Luke Bentley, assistant director at Guernsey County (Ohio) Public Library (GCPL). While that will feel very different from last year’s … Continue reading Summer Reading Switcheroos


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


Librarian's Library by Anna Gooding-Call

Digital Strategies for Librarians

January 2, 2020

Your Technology Outreach Adventure: Tools for Human-Centered Problem Solving By Erin Berman This title will guide professionals in exploring computer-focused library programming. While it provides good examples of tech programs that benefit from outreach, the bulk of the book deals with group planning and design. These are often applicable to any program series or project … Continue reading Digital Strategies for Librarians


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


Discord in the Community

June 24, 2019

So many people came to the program, the drag queen held a second storytime immediately after her session. Now, even though the program is over, the library is still receiving around 50 emails per day asking them not to hold it. Sukrit Goswami, director of the Haverford Township Free Library, shared how he and his … Continue reading Discord in the Community


Chicago Public Library STEAM Team First Assistant Librarian Alejandra Santana (left) reads to storytime attendees at Bubbleland laundromat.Photo: Chicago Public Library

Front-Loading Literacy

May 1, 2019

That’s why, in 1989, Chicago Public Library (CPL) Children’s Librarian Elizabeth McChesney (now CPL’s director of children’s services and family engagement) visited a local laundromat to introduce herself to families. How she responded to what she saw there would help change the landscape of children’s literacy initiatives for decades to come. “What I saw was … Continue reading Front-Loading Literacy


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


Librarian's Library: Karen Muller

Reimagine Programming

November 1, 2018

Why libraries must expand their community role is explained in Transform and Thrive: Ideas to Invigorate Your Library and Your Community, by Dorothy Stoltz with Gail Griffith, James Kelly, Muffie Smith, and Lynn Wheeler. The authors explain how to build a culture in which risk-taking is encouraged and “unlearning” is developed to spur innovation. They … Continue reading Reimagine Programming


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


Drew Alvey (in red shirt), manager of Houston Public Library's Stimley–Blue Ridge branch, models interactive play for families. Photo: Houston Public Library

Bringing Libraries to WIC

June 1, 2018

It’s a question that Marisa Conner, manager of youth and family engagement at Baltimore County (Md.) Public Library (BCPL), says her staffers are often asked when doing outreach at Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) centers. She explains: Many WIC clients, particularly those originally from other countries, aren’t sure what a library is or whether it … Continue reading Bringing Libraries to WIC