Summer.  Summer.  Summer.  We can hear it whispering on the breeze, feel it pulsating through the growing grass, and sense it drifting off the blossoming trees.  It seems to be all we can do to survive the next four weeks until that blessed last school bell rings, propelling both kids and parents alike into 11 weeks of homework-free bliss. 

    For many, it’s the best time of the year:  vacations, family reunions, days at the pool, moonlit night games, and glowing fireflies.  Unfortunately with all of that fun comes the dreaded “summer slide” – a research-proven loss of math and reading skills in our kids.  Children from low-income households fare worse than average, losing “more than two months in reading achievement” over the summer when they no longer have access to the academic resources available through their school (National Summer Learning Association). 

    The good news is that, together, we can beat the summer slide! Scholastic offers the following three tips to prevent loss of reading skills over the summer (follow the link for more in-depth descriptions):

    1. Six books to summer success: Research shows that reading just six books during the summer may keep a struggling reader from regressing.  Take advantage of your local library.  (That’s us!) 
    2. Read something every day: Encourage your child to take advantage of every opportunity to read.  Find opportunities throughout the day in the comics, the weather report, a recipe, or even online. 
    3. Keep reading aloud: Reading aloud benefits all children and teens, especially those who struggle.  One benefit is that you can read books your children can't, so they will build listening comprehension skills with grade-level and above books.

    The Provo City Library is here to help your children have fun AND keep reading this summer.  Our Summer Reading Kickoff event will be on Saturday, June 4 from 9 am to 5 pm.  Come sign up and get a jump start on our 2016 Summer Reading Program.  Parents, you too!  Register for the adult program and be a great reading model for your kids.  The Children’s Department will be hopping with lots of fun programs and challenges throughout the summer, so let’s work together to beat the summer slide!

    *The Children’s summer program schedule is now available at the Children’s Reference Desk.*

  • open book


    It’s almost award time!  One of the most exciting times of the year for our Children’s librarians is the annual announcement of the ALA Youth Media Awards.  Many, if not most of you, are likely familiar with the John Newbery and Ralph Caldecott Medals.  However, did you realize that there are 10 separate youth media awards given?  We’ll touch on some of the other awards in another post, but today let’s look at the Newbery Medal!

    The John Newbery Medal is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and is awarded each year by the American Library Association (ALA) “for the most distinguished American children's book published the previous year” (The John Newbery Medal).  The medal was first awarded in 1922 and was the first ever children’s book award.  The award is often given to a children’s chapter book, but last year many were surprised when a picture book was named as the winner – a heartwarming story called Last Stop on Market Street.  You can find a full listing of previous winners here.  Several notable children’s classics were named Newbery Honor books (runners up) in the year following their publication, such as Charlotte’ Web, Old Yeller, and My Side of the Mountain, but lost out on the prestigious bronze medal to books that have remained lesser known through the years.  Check out these pages for more information on the history of the award and selection criteria.

    We are especially excited that our library director, our very own Gene Nelson, has been working hard for the past year as a member of the Newbery selection committee for the 2017 award.  His office shelves have been overflowing with hundreds of books that are eligible for the Newbery Medal, and we’re anxious to see which book he and the rest of the selection committee feels is deserving of the honor of being named the most distinguished children’s book of the year.  Stay tuned for ALA’s annual award announcements at their Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta, GA on January 23, 2017!

  • Our Big Guy, Little Guy celebration for 2017 is in the books, and it was a BLAST! (ha, see what I did there?) Our Space Academy cadet training was a huge success, and we now have lots of little trainees out there who are ready to take on the dangers of deep space: yellow eyes, sausage toes, frozen hearts, and all! The Grand Admiral of the Universe was so impressed with our qualified cadets and their exceptional saluting skills. From our entire crew of lieutenants, lieutenant commanders, commanders, Captain Joella, and Grand Admiral Gene, thank you for helping us save the world from the dangerous Petronium 327! We hope to see you again at next year’s adventure, but until then, here’s a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the logistics of BGLG 2017:

    big guy little guy 01

  • book clubs

    Most of us know the joy of being part of a book club – great conversation, tasty treats, and the opportunity to read outside of our typical (book) “box.”

    But have you thought about passing that happiness along to your kids? Here at the library, we have parent/child book clubs during the school year for kids ages 9-12, and boy, do we ever have a grand old time! If you’ve never joined us before, give it a whirl. Registration begins on the 1st of each month.

    But maybe your budding readers would enjoy starting their very own book club! Did you know that, in addition to our book club sets for adults, we also have book club sets for kids? Whether they enjoy something funny, fantastical, or adventurous, we’ve got a set just for them. Just check the reservation calendar for an available set, submit your request, and then pick up the full set of 15 books from the First FloorReference Desk. The books, along with a helpful book club guide, will be snug as a bug in a handy canvas bag, ready to go. The whole set will be yours to share with your group for six weeks!

    Involving your kids in a book club is fun; children often enjoy being able to discuss what they’ve read with their friends and why they love (or hate!) a certain story or character. However, there’s also a lot of value in this process. According to PBSparents, discussions at kids’ book clubs help children “develop a deeper understanding of books, consider others’ perspectives on the same book and practice analyzing” the books they read.

    So give it a try! Come join us for one of our book clubs, start your own, or discuss a book that you’ve read together as a family. You may just be surprised by the profound little thoughts that are shared!

  • christmasy

    So much of the Christmas season is simply magical during childhood:  twinkling lights, glittering snow, crackling fires, the smell of warm cookies, favorite holiday songs, an abundance of decorations, the anticipation of giving and receiving gifts, etc…  However you celebrate, what you love most is probably steeped in personal traditions that you look forward to every single year.  Of course, a favorite tradition for many people is breaking out their beloved childhood Christmas books.  You gotta love a good Christmas book!  Whether your favorite characters include Scrooge, Charlie Brown, Rudolph, or the Grinch, surely there’s at least one story that you love to read every single year.  I’ve realized, however, that some of my favorite Christmas stories aren’t really Christmas stories at all!  But they have beautiful Christmas scenes that pull at my heartstrings whenever December rolls around.

    So whether you’ve overdosed on too many Hallmark movies and need to take a step back, or all of a sudden it’s next June and you’re yearning for a little holiday spirit, here are five not-Christmas kids’ books with Christmas scenes that will put the warmth and magic right back in your heart:


    12.22 Little WomenLITTLE WOMEN

    12.22 The Lion the Witch and the WardrobeTHE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE

    12.22 The Mysterious HowlingTHE MYSTERIOUS HOWLING

  • ffthrowback


    I’m always a little surprised when I come across a book on the shelves in the Children’s Department that I completely loved as a child…especially some of the ones that I thought only I would still remember. Because let’s face it, it’s been a really long time since I was in elementary school, and I wasn’t always reading the classics. But it happens! And suddenly I can still recall whether it was a book I read with a flashlight under my blanket, or while swinging in the wicker egg chair that hung from my bedroom ceiling, or if it was read aloud by my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Brown, down in the great state of Texas. Here are a few of the stories that have stayed with me for over—(gulp)—35 years! Some you may recognize, and some you might not, but when reading a book creates an experience that you remember for decades (and decades)…well, I think that’s something worth talking about.

    mrspigglewiggleMRS. PIGGLE WIGGLE 
    By Betty MacDonald

    Mrs. Piggle Wiggle has a cure for everything! The Never-Want-to-Go-to-Bedders Cure, The Slow-Eater-Tiny-Bite-Taker Cure, and of course, The Radish Cure. She’s fun, quirky, and kind. She loves children and she smells like cookies. What more could you want? She’s the plump, eccentric woman I wished lived down the street from me as a kid…and to this day, she’s still popular enough to warrant a reboot series for yet another generation. Book 1 is hot off the presses with Book 2 due to arrive in 2017!


    girl with silver eyesTHE GIRL WITH THE SILVER EYES 
    By Willo Davis Roberts

    I’ll be honest, when I stumbled on this one in our collection I gasped. I adored this book as a kid. It was one of my super special—Apple paperback—Scholastic Book Fair finds. Katie was quiet, bookish, and felt like she was different. I’m sure it’s shocking that, as an 11-year-old girl, I completely identified with her. And who doesn’t dream of having special powers? I mean eventually we got Harry Potter, but back in the 80s, silver eyes and telekinesis were pretty darn intriguing.


    littleprincessA LITTLE PRINCESS
    By Frances Hodgson Burnett

    You know those days when you just want to read a book with all the feels? Well for my 10-year-old self, this was it. Another of my treasures from the school book fair (remember when those were actually affordable?), Sara Crewe’s riches-to-rags orphan tale captured my imagination and my heart. Through exotic glimpses of India, the atrocious boarding school headmistress Miss Minchin, the loss of Sara’s father, and the consistent manifestation of Sara’s noble and kind heart, Burnett weaved a heartwarming and enchanting story. While it never garnered quite the same recognition as THE SECRET GARDEN (which also has a recently-published continuation tale, this beloved book is what likely began my love for Victorian literature. Be sure to catch the delightful film version as well!


    scarletslippermysteryTHE SCARLET SLIPPER MYSTERY
    By Carolyn Keene

    Nancy Drew anyone? A consummate classic, and I definitely read far more than this single installment. While the specific plot points may not be seared in my memory, the Nancy Drew mysteries were and still are a fantastic, tame entry into the realm of mystery fiction for those looking for an innocent spine tingler. If the original Mystery series seems too dated for your taste, several recent spinoffs (with a more independent, cell-phone-carrying, hybrid-electric-car-driving Nancy) have been published, including The Nancy Drew Files, Girl Detective series, and Nancy Drew Diaries.


    intothedreamINTO THE DREAM
    By William Sleator

    This. Book. This was the book that my 5th grade teacher read aloud that was driving me crazy because I could not for the life of me remember the title. But I LOVED this book. I know you know how it is because you come to the reference desk and do the same thing— “Do you remember a book from the 80s about a boy and a girl that’s really, really good? It has something to do with a ferris wheel, a UFO, and ESP?” Yep, that was me. And let me tell you, when I finally figured out what it was, I literally did a happy dance in the Children’s Department. Unfortunately this title is not currently in our collection (hopefully it will be soon—we’re working on that), but it is available on Amazon, and you’d better believe that thanks to Prime, it’ll be on my doorstep the day after tomorrow!


  •  SR 2020 FB

    It’s that time of year, and our Summer Reading Program is in full swing! Once again, this year we’re using the super fun software from Beanstack to track reading and activity badges. And whether you’ve been doing reading challenges with us on Beanstack for a few years, or whether this is your first rodeo with online tracking, we have some tips and tricks we’re excited to share with you for the free and easy Beanstack mobile app! 


    First, to download the app, simply search Beanstack Tracker in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. 

    01 Beanstack App Store

    Type in Provo City Library, and then sign in just like you would on the Beanstack website. 

    02 Beanstack App Welcome



    03 Beanstack App Choose Library



    04 Beanstack App Sign In

    If you haven’t already, you can also set up your account right on your phone.  From that point you can click on the Account gear icon on the right of your bottom screen menu, and then on Readers. 

    05 Beanstack App Bottom Menu

    If your account was created previously on the website, all of your readers should show up here (don’t forget to add some cute profile pics!).

    06 Beanstack App Account Readers

    If you’re just setting up your account, start adding readers from this screen by tapping Add a Reader.  Once your readers are all entered, it’s time to head back to the home screen to register for a reading challenge! 


    Choose the reader you want to register for a challenge.  You can change readers by tapping the profile pic (or circle with reader’s initials) at the top right on your home screen.

    07 Beanstack App Change Readers

    You can then search for that reader’s available reading challenges by tapping the Discover compass icon at the bottom of your screen.  If your reader has not registered for any challenges, you’ll have the option to see any available challenges. 

    08 Beanstack App See Challenges

    If your reader was previously registered on the website, you’ll see a list of their current and past registrations, any available new challenges, as well as their logging status. 

    09 Beanstack App Challenges

    Tap on Register to get started in a new challenge! 


    Logging is where the Beanstack mobile app shines!  On the website you have two options when logging – you can log for a single reader, or you can log for all readers on your account.  However, on the mobile app, you can log for a single reader, all readers on your account, or any combination of readers, AND you can also log reading in multiple, concurrently-running programs like Summer Reading and 1000 Books Before Kindergarten!  But first things first…  To log reading in the mobile app, tap the giant plus icon on your bottom menu and tap Reading.  You’ll then be prompted to choose which readers you’re logging for.  If you’ve done a family read aloud, choose them all! 

    10 Beanstack App Choose Readers   

    Next comes the logging method, another place where the app excels.

    11 Beanstack App Logging Method 

    You can type in a title or ISBN, select a recently logged title if it’s a repeat read or a continuing read, or simply log minutes without a book title attached.  However, the easiest, quickest, and most fun option is the Scan ISBN feature.  Just tap it, flip that book over, and hover the red line over the book’s barcode – that book is in! 

    12 Beanstack App Scan ISBN

    You can choose whether or not to Track Progress by tapping the toggle, which would end up looking like this:

    13 Beanstack App Progress

    Then you have a few choices:   

    Start a Reading Session starts a timer right within the app. 

    14 Beanstack App Timer

    When you stop the timer, the minutes will automatically be logged for the readers you chose previously.  Slick!  Be sure to say yes if you finished the book to log it as completed!   

    Log Past Reading gives you the opportunity to log reading for any previous days or if you choose not to use the app timer.  Simply enter the date if you’d like, the number of minutes read (required), the number of pages (optional), and whether or not the book is finished.  Bam – logged! 

    Quick Log as Complete will quickly log a book read.  However, all but one of our reading challenges tracks minutes, so the only program this would be currently useful for is 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. 

    15 Beanstack App Quick Log Error


    Logging Activities is easy peasy – tap the giant plus icon on your bottom menu and click Activity.  Choose your readers, and tap on the appropriate category!  Or to see available activities, tap the Discover compass icon on the bottom menu and click on the Activities tab at the top. 

    16 Beanstack App Activities


    Logging 1000 books sounds pretty daunting.  However, chances are you’re reading many of the same books over and over.  My top tips for you:

    1. Use the scan ISBN feature when logging a book.  It’s super quick and easy to scan the stack of picture books when you’re done reading together.

    2. When re-reading a book you’ve already logged – IF YOU’RE NOT WORRIED ABOUT TRACKING MINUTES FOR A SEASONAL READING CHALLENGE– tap Log in your bottom menu. Scroll until you find the book, then swipe left on the title and click the green Quick Log As Complete.  It will complete it a second, third…or seventeenth…time.

    17 Beanstack App Quick Log

    18 Beanstack App Reading Log


    All of our seasonal reading challenges (Summer Reading, Winter Reading, Spring Reading, etc.) track MINUTES for completion.  However, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten tracks BOOKS.  If you have a child registered for BOTH of these programs, the mobile app is your magic wand.  It is the only way to log one time and have it applied to BOTH PROGRAMS.  The Beanstack website does not have the functionality for this.  Just make sure that when you’re logging reading for a child enrolled in 1000 Books that you log minutes, as well as the title of the picture book, and mark the book as complete.  If logged this way in the mobile app, the reading will automatically be applied to both programs! 

    All in all, the Beanstack mobile app is an incredibly convenient and powerful tool for logging your family’s reading, particularly if you’re reading aloud to multiple kids, doing a family read aloud, or logging for concurrent programs.  So be sure to take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with it.  If you have questions or need help, we’re here for you – give us a call or come to one of our reference desks.  And as always, Happy Reading!

  • wolf howl

    Every once in a while you hear about one of those totally random but strangely intriguing national celebration days, yes?  Well, did you know that October 26th is National Howl at the Moon Day? Unfortunately, this year there won’t be a full moon for the lupine celebration (did you catch that awesomely huge Harvest Moon a couple of weeks ago though?), but here are five fun picture books about wolves to help you get your howl on: 

    10.25 Wolfie the BunnyWOLFIE THE BUNNY 
    By Ame Dyckman

    When Mama and Papa Bunny find a baby – a wolf baby – they’re so excited to add another child to their family. But their bunny daughter Dot freaks out just a bit, convinced that “HE’S GOING TO EAT US ALL UP!” This highly rated, award-winning picture book offers a comical look at new baby angst and sibling rivalry (and at having each other’s back). A perfect treat for families that are expanding! 


    10.25 Wolf CampWOLF CAMP 
    By Andrea Zuill

    I wanted to go to Space Camp as a kid. Like really, really wanted to go to Space Camp. Who could blame me, what with growing up in Houston in the 80s and watching the movie SPACE CAMP? So it’s not that unreasonable to think that a dog might want to go to Wolf Camp, right? This canine twist on summer camp had me giggling at the reference desk as Homer and his friends attempt to connect with their primeval roots. And Homer’s letter home is just too, too good. 

    10.25 A Well Mannered Young WolfA WELL-MANNERED YOUNG WOLF 
    by Jean Leroy

    This poor wolf. His parents taught him impeccable manners, so he always asks for an animal’s last wish before he eats him. And he has to respect the last wish! However, because his prey do not have impeccable manners, they consistently use the opportunity as a chance for escape. But, no matter what, the young wolf always respects the last wish! Bright illustrations and a surprise karmic ending make for an amusing adventure in the forest. 


    10.25 The Wolf The Duck and the MouseTHE WOLF, THE DUCK, AND THE MOUSE 
    by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

    This brand new offering from the Barnett-Klassen picture book dream team is a riot! Seriously, it’s so fabulous that when it arrived in our library director’s box, he immediately came down to the Children’s Department office and read it aloud to three of us librarians. And suddenly there were four adults cracking up over a tale about…well, you guessed it…a wolf, a duck, and a mouse. Your kids are going to love it too. These guys are geniuses. 

    10.25 The Wolves in the WallsTHE WOLVES IN THE WALLS 
    By Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

    If you have a child who’s a little older and loves a delightfully creepy tale, this oldie but goodie doesn’t disappoint.  Lucy hears lots of noises in the walls of her big, old house – creeking and clawing and rustling and thumping. She’s convinced that there are wolves in the walls, but her family dismisses her concerns. Imagine their surprise when wolves do come out of the walls! You won’t want to miss this Neil Gaiman classic.


  • fantasy

    Parents of voracious readers have, no doubt, at some point found their children lost in the pages of a thick fantasy book.  It can be thrilling to see our kids (perhaps even those who have been labeled "reluctant readers") so consumed with a story that nothing else seems to matter.  Afternoons are oddly quiet, flashlights appear under the sheets at night, words like Quidditch, Ents, and Tumnus begin infiltrating their vocabulary, and there's the ever constant plea, "Hold on -- I'm almost done with the chapter!"  Huzzah!  They're reading!  And yet...there's an annoying little voice in the back of our minds wondering if all of that time spent in a world that isn't "real" is healthy.

    J.R.R. Tolkien once insisted in his essay "On Fairy Stories" that Fantasy is a "human right."  Why might he feel so strongly?

    The advantages of reading Fantasy come from the way it cultivates imagination and encourages readers to think outside the box.  It allows us to escape to a Secondary World and then to explore human values within that world.  In their book CHILDREN’S LITERATURE, BRIEFLY, BYU's own Michael Tunnell and James Jacobs write that “good fantasy actually tells the truth about life.  It clarifies the human condition and captures the essence of our deepest emotions, dreams, hopes, and fears.  If fantasy does not do these things, it fails” (121).  They also quote famed psychologist Bruno Bettelheim’s support of Fantasy in his statement that “fairy stories are not only safe for children, but also necessary…children may vicariously vent the frustrations of being a child controlled by an adult world, for they subconsciously identify with the heroes of the stories, who are often the youngest, smallest, least powerful characters” (109).  I would venture to guess that all of us (adults included), at times feel powerless and manipulated by situations that are out of our control.  Reading Fantasy just might help us to find our own strength within us.  And possibly the greatest advantage of the genre is its ability to captivate and provide adventure and pure enjoyment.  These sentiments are echoed by renowned Fantasy author Lloyd Alexander who stated that “realism walks where fantasy dances” (105).

    So let those kids keep reading!  Talk to them about why they love these stories so much, and ask which characters they relate to or admire.  Then maybe take a long overdue dance through Fantasy along with them.  Need a recommendation?  Check out our Children's Department Fantasy booklist!


    Tunnell, Michael O. and James S. Jacobs.  Children’s Literature, Briefly.  Columbus:  Pearson Education, 2008.  Print.

  • DSC 4180

    The mountains are bursting with color, blustery winds are blowing, and caramel apples and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies have made their long-awaited reappearance!  The arrival of fall is one of my favorite times of year, and you might have noticed one of the reasons right here in the Children’s Department – pumpkins!

    At the beginning of each October, we make the trek into the nether regions of our 4th floor attic storage (which is a little spookier than normal during this time of year), and pull down our many dusty boxes of artificial pumpkins.  For years now, the Children’s librarians have had the opportunity to creatively honor some of our favorite books and characters through these imitation jack-o-lanterns.  Deciding who we’ll pumpkinize each year is always a fun challenge, and it’s almost like Christmas as we open the boxes and bring out our past crafty renditions of our favorite friends.  Inevitably, as the pumpkins are unpacked, dusted off, and placed in their spot of honor for the month, memories of the library staff who created them fill my mind.  Some are still here at the library, some are here but in different departments, and some have moved on to other life adventures.  Regardless of their current whereabouts, it brings me a little bit of joy to think of these co-workers who have become friends over time and through the years of our library adventures.  We sure do get fun ones over here!  

    Here are some of my favorite pumpkins.  Come to the Children’s Department to pick out YOUR favorites.  Are there any characters you’d like to see in our collection next year?  Let us know!

     DSC 5039

    DSC 4182

    DSC 4185

    DSC 4224

    DSC 4189

    DSC 4200

    DSC 4205

    DSC 4226


  • making the most


    Your little one has been eyeing the castle door for months, and now that they’ve had that magical third birthday, it’s time to join us at Preschool Time! Recognize that this is a big step for your child; they are not only dealing with separation anxiety, but they are also in a more structured story time where they will begin to learn school readiness skills. Here are a few tips to help them transition smoothly and make the most of the Preschool Time experience:

    Prepare your preschooler beforehand.

    Take an opportunity to visit the Story Room with your child a time or two before beginning Preschool Time, so that it becomes a familiar place. Talk about what they can expect during story time (you can get a copy of the basic outline at the Children’s desk).  If possible, during a Preschool Time show your child the TV monitor outside the Story Room.  This will allow them the opportunity to see what goes on and can also reassure them that even though they can’t see you, you can still see them. Please remember to stay in the Children’s Department for the duration of story time in case your child needs you.

    Arrive early.

    Make it a point to arrive approximately 10 minutes early each week.  This will give you time to pick up your child’s nametag at the Children’s desk, make a bathroom stop, get a drink, and hear the storyteller announcements. Please be aware that once the Story Room door has closed, children will no longer be admitted to Preschool Time. I promise we’re not picking on you! We simply want to provide a safe and distraction-free story time for all of the children in the room. Latecomers are always welcome to attend Toddler Time in the Story Circle. 

    Listen to your child.  

    Some preschoolers are ready to join Preschool Time right after they turn three—others may need a little more time to adjust. Even if your child is a Preschool Time regular, they may occasionally just have a hard day.  We all know how that goes, right?  Give encouragement and be supportive of your little one trying new things. That may be all it takes.  However, forcing a sobbing child into the Story Room does not a happy story time experience make.  In addition, if your preschooler is complaining of a tummy ache, is running a fever, or has a significant runny nose or cough, let them stay home and get well! We’ll still be here next week, and we are happy to provide handouts from a missed week when you come back.

    Keep the conversation going.

    Right before your child leaves the Story Room through the secret tunnel, our storytellers will give a brief review of what they did in Preschool Time. Just like in Toddler Time, preschoolers will also receive handouts:  a die cut “letter of the week” (lower case to help them begin to recognize the two forms of each letter) and a coloring sheet that includes letter writing practice, an early literacy tip, book suggestions . They will also receive a hand stamp. As with your toddlers, ask your preschooler about story time and revisit the things they learned later in the day or week to solidify their learning. Share their experience by allowing them tell you about the books they read, the songs they sang, and about the silly puppet show!

    Our goal is for story time to be a FUN, safe, literacy-rich environment for your children. We love watching them grow in so many different ways. Thank you for sharing them with us!

    (If you missed part one in this series with tips about Toddler Time, find it here)

    Curious about our story time schedule? Find dates and times here!

  • making the most


    It’s Back-to-School time, which means it’s also back to our school-year programs in the Children’s Department!  We’ve had a busy start to August, putting the final touches on another successful Summer Reading Program and prepping for your little ones’ return to Story Time at the end of the month.  Our fall semester programs will begin on August 29th.  Story Time is a favorite part of each day here in the Children’s Department, and we hope that you and your children look forward to joining us for a weekly visit.  To kick off the fall season just right, we’re offering some helpful hints over two posts to help you and your kiddos get the most out of your story time experience.  Let’s start with Toddler Time!

    Be engaged with the program.

    Toddler Time is only 20 minutes long.  Set aside these few minutes each week to focus on your child.  Take time to snuggle, laugh, sing, and listen with your little one.  Do your best to avoid distractions:  leave your phone in the diaper bag, and come early or stay late to enjoy some much-needed conversation with other caregivers.  The more engaged you are as a parent, the more your child will benefit from story time!

    Encourage—but don’t force—participation.

    Help your child take advantage of new opportunities for socialization, but remember that each child develops at their own pace.  Some toddlers are perfectly content in the midst of the action, but others may not be ready to leave your lap for the story blanket or to have a conversation with our beloved bright yellow puppet, Kevin.  Follow your child’s cues and recognize that their level of comfort may vary from week to week.

    Take the story time experience home with you.

    We will always have handouts for the toddlers at story time (and usually hand stamps too!).  Children receive a die cut “letter of the week,” as well as a coloring sheet that includes early literacy tips and book suggestions.  And don’t forget to check out some books!  Plan to take these things home and use them later in the day or week to revisit the program.  Talk about your child’s story time experience to reinforce the learning and the fun.  Try singing story time songs at home too (I promise they’ll be stuck in your head all day).  Repetition is a toddler’s best friend.   Early literacy expert Saroj Ghoting emphasizes that parents are their child’s “first and best teacher.”  We feel privileged to support you in that role.  

    One other note: 

    There’s going to come a day when your 2 year old has a meltdown…right in the middle of the library.  Shocking, I know.  Please, please let it go and come back next time.  Believe me when I say that it happens all. the. time.  Here’s a big secret you may not know about those of us in the Children’s Department:  we’re here because we love kids!  Tantrums and all.  We get it.  We’ve been there.  We know what you go through to get your kids here each week, and we appreciate the (sometimes Herculean) effort it takes.  So pack up those sippy cups, hunt down the missing shoe you know was snugly strapped to that chubby little foot, and let the threenager wear the cape or princess dress that they’re refusing to take off.  It’s all good because…IT’S STORY TIME!

  • reading without walls

     Are you ready for a challenge? We all tend to get in an occasional reading rut where we choose the same kind of story over and over again – whether it’s the same type of characters, the same genre, or the same topic. I often hear parents in the Children’s Department wishing that their kids would branch out and try something new.  Well here’s a great opportunity!

    Throughout the month of May, the Children’s Department will be participating in a national initiative called The Reading Without Walls Challenge. As part of Gene Luen Yang’s platform as the 2016-17 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Yang is inviting kids to “expand their reading horizons” and is encouraging them to “explore books of diverse voices, genres, and formats.” 

    It’s simple, really: Yang is asking kids to step outside of their reading comfort zone in one of three ways for just ONE BOOK.  Anyone can try something new for one book! And who knows, your kids may just discover something that they really, really love. The challenge is to choose ONE of the following:

    1. Read a book about a character that doesn’t look or live like you.
    2. Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about.
    3. Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read for fun. Easy, right? 

    And parents, you can be a great example and branch out of your reading rut too.

    Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, Professor Emerita at The Ohio State University and 2017 winner of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, wrote an incredible and frequently-cited article describing the power of books to act as mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors in our lives. If you have a chance, it’s a read that I highly recommend if you haven’t given much thought to the lack of diversity in children’s publishing. Referring to this article, Roger Sutton of Horn Book Magazine beautifully conveys the value of Yang’s Reading Without Walls Challenge, saying “Perhaps even more daringly, the challenge asks us all, for at least one book, to put down (to use terms introduced by Rudine Sims Bishop) the reading mirror and open the reading window. Everybody needs some air.”

    So join us—I’m seriously so excited about this! Check out our Reading Without Walls-themed display case in the Children’s Department throughout the month of May and participate in the national challenge. Kids who participate can come tell a librarian at the Children’s Desk and then receive a certificate and treasure box prize for their awesome efforts. Let’s open some windows!

  • things to do in May


    One of the most frequent questions we’ve had at the Children’s desk the past couple of weeks is “What do I do with my kids during May without story time?”  We love that our programs have become such a regular part of your lives each week, and rest assured, we won’t let you down.  We’re here for you!  It’s true that we don’t have our regularly-scheduled story times and after school programs during May, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not hard at work.  Our storytellers will be visiting the district elementary schools to get your big kids excited about our upcoming summer reading program, and the librarians are frantically prepping all of the summer programming.  BUT we’ll still have lots going on in our department, so make sure you pay us a visit!

    • Do a passive program:  Each week we’ll have something different, including an I Spy in one of the display cases, a shredded book in a jar, an “Argonautika”-themed guessing jar, and a mythological scavenger hunt.  Put your kids’ problem-solving brains to work, and they can win prizes!
    • Attend Little Artists in The Attic:  In conjunction with our Homegrown Art Show exhibit, come participate in an art and story activity with your kids ages 4-6.  Get more information and register here.  
    • Drop in for Preschool Play:  Research has shown that imaginative play is the best and most important way your children learn.  We’ve gathered quite a collection of really fun developmental toys (yep, even a kid-sized puppet theater!), so come drop by for some playtime with your kids.  See our schedule on the Kids’ Calendar.  
    • Participate in the Reading Without Walls Challenge:  Help break down your kids’ reading walls in just ONE of the following three ways, and come tell us at the Children’s desk anytime during the month of May.  We’ll give them a certificate and a prize!  Read a book:  1) about a character who doesn’t look or live like you; 2) about a topic you don’t know much about; or 3) in a format that you don’t normally read for fun.
    • Check out our kid-friendly websites:  Have a day where you really just want to stay home?  Did that blustery wind and rain sneak back into our spring weather again?  Spend some quality (yes, quality) digital time with your kiddos.  We have a page of great websites that are safe and appropriate for family fun.  Whether you’re looking for awesome games, fun facts, learning sites, or early literacy support, we’ve got a link for you!

    So don’t despair--May will fly by with lots of library fun, and Summer Reading Kickoff will be here before you know it (June 3rd, to be exact!).  Don’t let us get lonely in the Children’s Department…come see us at the library!