Ashley J. Cooksey

Partnerships Beyond Four Walls

January 3, 2017

Sometimes collaboration is accidental. I’ve had lessons that just happened to coordinate with the curriculum. For instance, our library at West Magnet Elementary in Batesville, Arkansas, was able to give students a “virtual field trip” via live stream to see President Barack Obama answering questions at DC Public Library’s Anacostia branch. Our 4th graders were … Continue reading Partnerships Beyond Four Walls


Abby Johnson

’Tis the Season …

November 1, 2016

In recent years, there has been much discussion among children’s librarians about whether to provide—and how to execute—holiday programming. I think the answers to those questions depend on your community, and the first step is to stop and think objectively about what you’re offering and why. Start by reading “Librarians—Check Your Holidays at the Door,” … Continue reading ’Tis the Season …


Youth Matters: Linda W. Braun

Ready to Code

September 1, 2016

The OITP–Google project, Libraries Ready to Code, launched in April 2016 and will continue through the fall of this year. The team working on the project hosted focus groups and one-on-one interviews and conducted site observations in order to learn what’s going on across the country. As project researcher for this initiative, I wanted to … Continue reading Ready to Code


Shelver Kara Van Muyen (left) and librarian Karissa Alcox at the Kitchener (Ont.) Public Library escape room. Participants had 15 minutes to complete all puzzles. Photo: gr8 Escape

Libraries on Lockdown

September 1, 2016

“Anytime I experience something cool in my real life, I think, ‘How could I bring this to the library?’” says Karissa Alcox, escape room aficionado and youth librarian at Fort Erie (Ont.) Public Library. “It takes place indoors, and you don’t need much aside from some locks and props—a library can afford to do it.” … Continue reading Libraries on Lockdown


Fifth-grader Evan Sass asks NASA astronaut Jeff Williams a question via video chat while Denise Raleigh, Gail Borden Public Library's division chief of public relations and development, holds the microphone. The Elgin, Illinois, library was one of eight nationwide selected for the traveling exhibit, Discover Space: A Cosmic Journey. Photo: Jason Brown

Houston, We Have a Library Program

August 8, 2016

His appearance was part of Discover Space: A Cosmic Journey, a traveling exhibit that teaches library-goers about topics such as stars, planets, and gravity. The program was offered by the American Library Association’s (ALA) Public Programs Office in collaboration with the Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning, the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and the Afterschool Alliance. … Continue reading Houston, We Have a Library Program


Linda W. Braun

Using Design Thinking

May 31, 2016

What if I said that that’s not how that program—or any library program—should work? By running a program in that way you aren’t really supporting youth learning. Imagine instead if you: Start by asking youth to talk with one another, in small groups or in a full group, about what they like and don’t like … Continue reading Using Design Thinking


David Piper

Growing a Program

May 2, 2016

The boys were eager to share their favorite graphic novels and joke books, and it was fulfilling to see them have fun and cultivate a joy of reading. While the enthusiasm was inspiring, the library needed to find ways to attract more participants and make the program worth the time it required each week. For those who have … Continue reading Growing a Program


Abby Johnson

Pulling the Plug

May 2, 2016

Maybe your funding, meeting room space, or employee availability is limited. Maybe the attendance isn’t there, or the staff member who supervised the service has left the branch. How do you decide to discontinue a program? Libraries should allocate resources in the most efficient way possible. Of course, “bang for your buck” can mean something … Continue reading Pulling the Plug


Linda Braun

Everything Is Messy

October 30, 2015

I realized that word was a fitting—and not necessarily negative—description. Many people serving youth and families in libraries may find it to be a “messy” business. It’s messy because: The audience we work with is not static. What youth and families need is always changing, and how libraries support those needs has to change too. … Continue reading Everything Is Messy


Abby Johnson

A Place for Play

September 10, 2015

There is a wide range of possibilities, no matter what your budget may be. An amazing play space can make your library a destination for young patrons, as it has at the Barrington Area (Ill.) Library (BAL), where open-ended activities engage a variety of age groups and encourage adult-child interaction. BAL’s activities and spaces in … Continue reading A Place for Play