June 28, 2017

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TPiB: 3 cheap and easy after school programs

I’m always looking for small program ideas that don’t take a lot of planning time, are inexpensive, are flexible, and appeal widely. Here are three to try. Sci-Fi Stitches – or – Embroidered notecards You can be silly or serious with this one. I did both and both were fun. For the “sci-fi stitches” I […]

New Year, New Ideas: Knockout Programming for 2017

From astronomy and salsa storytime to family literacy and more, these programming ideas for the year ahead hit it out of the park.

This article was published in School Library Journal's January 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Librarians, What Are Your Plans for 2017?

Take this quick survey and let us know about your programming ideas for the new year.

Embracing Content Creation Queries – Guest post by Lynette Pitrak

“I want to design a Gandalf figure to print on the 3D printer.” “How do I insert text over my video in iMovie?” “I want to take pictures of the fall leaves on the trees in my neighborhood… but it’s really cloudy today.” I’m paraphrasing here, but all three of the above are questions I’ve […]

Take 5 Community Reads for YA

Thinking about doing a community-wide read for teens? You could create a list of companion books for teens inspired by an adult selection like the St. Joseph County Public Libraries did, you could select a book specifically for your teens, or you could encourage the whole community to dive into teen lit by selecting a YA […]

Swift Playgrounds: Not Just Another Coding App |SLJ Review

Are your students budding coders? Apple has just released a sophisticated app for students serious about programming. Our review of Swift Playgrounds.

TPIB: Photo Shrink Jewelry Charms

Although we have some permanent stations set up in our Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, we also occasionally rotate in some different stations to make sure our teens have a variety of activities to engage in. One of our permanent stations includes a bank of iPads which we […]

Librarian Launches Indiegogo to Fund Hands-on Coding Blocks

School librarian Laura Fleming and two other educators have launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund a coding blocks and storybook set to teach computer science.

26 Forward-Thinking Programs for Back to School

From a picture-book presidential election to a course in cleaning up digital footprints, designer garment upcycling, and TOEFL test prep, these initiatives pack a powerful impact.

This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Turn STEM into STEAM: Storytelling with ScratchJr

ScratchJr is designed for younger learners and hardwired for telling stories. Tips for integrating ScratchJr and coding with storytelling, from library media specialist Addie Matteson.

Take 5: Ways to combat summer fatigue

My summer newsletter items are due in a matter of days, and I’m already exhausted. Anyone else? This year should be easier for me. We finally have a part time position tasked with serving tweens, so the pressure to plan for grades 5-12 all together has been lifted and I can just focus on teenaged teens… […]

Guidance for Kindergartners, Programming for Teens, and Inspiration for ESOL Educators | Professional Reading

This month, find plenty of guidance, whether you serve kindergartners, teens and tweens, or English-language learners.

This article was published in School Library Journal's March 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

View from Behind the Lens: It’s a Wrap! a guest post by Lynette Pitrak

My previous post detailed the first half of View from Behind the Lens, an eight-week advanced photography workshop for middle school and high school students.  In the first few weeks of class, Downers Grove-based instructor Mike Taylor and I worked on teaching the students camera basics, various types of photography shoots, and working with both […]

Classrooms Connect Virtually To Code with Finch Robots

Distance didn’t keep these three school librarians from scoring a grant for Finch robots so that their students could all code together.

TPiB: Book Planters

I am not a crafty person. At all.  I’m unable to draw a straight line or measure correctly and have little to no patience for not catching on to something quickly. So when we ended up with all this extra dirt at the library (don’t ask), and my supervisor said hey, want to make some […]

Getting Schools Revved Up About Robotics

Expert panelists from our recent webcast share advice on how—and why—to dive into robotics with your students.

Tiny Ozobot Gets Kids into Block-based Programming | Test Drive

School Library Journal reviews Ozobot, the golf-ball size robot designed to draw kids into learning programming.

This article was published in School Library Journal's February 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

View from Behind the Lens: Advanced Photography for Teens, a Guest Post by Lynette Pitrak

In the fall and winter of 2014, I had an amazing experience coordinating a filmmaking workshop for high school students called View from the Director’s Chair.  To highlight a different aspect of our library’s Media Lab this year, our IT Department Manager and I created a similarly-structured workshop called View from Behind the Lens. View […]

Saying goodbye to a successful program

Last month I hosted another Career Conversation event at my library. I really enjoy these evenings. I’ve learned interesting things at every single one of them, even when the jobs that the panelists hold are nothing like the kind of work that suits me. The same has seemed to be true of the teens who attended. Those who […]

Star Wars Reads Day 2015 at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County

Saturday October 10th was Star Wars Reads Day – one of my favorite holidays of the year! Why? Well for one, I got to dress up like Princess Leia. Of all the princesses I think she is my favorite because she saved Han Solo and Luke Skywalker just as much as they saved her. Never […]