September 30, 2016

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 […]

Teen craft cabinet essentials

When I began hosting craft programs at the library, I wondered how people could possibly talk about crafts as an inexpensive activity. Everything cost money! Even many “cheap” crafts don’t come cheap if you don’t have any supplies stored up. Case in point: Poetry Month favorite, blackout poetry. Use your damaged and discarded books and newspapers and […]

5 Reasons Why Maker Days/Labs/Spaces Can Trump Traditional Library Programming

As I approached my position as the YA coordinator at a new library, one of the things I knew I wanted to do was to evaluate my maker programming and try and recreate the parts of it that were successfull while making any necessary changes to improve on the model. And since it was a […]

TPiB: Comic Book Creations

Today I am hosting my first Teen program for this year’s super hero themed program. This is hands down my favorite SRC theme to date. So many cool, easy and fun things to do. Today I’m just having a kind of informal comic themes Maker program where we will cut up discarded graphic novels/manga/comic books […]

Be a Changemaker Workshops

Sometime last year I got a call from Kirsten Cappy at Curious City asking if I wanted to help her write a series of workshops supporting a book called Be a Changemaker by Laurie Ann Thompson. If you aren’t familiar with Curious City, it’s a site where you can find a variety of book based […]

Career Conversations – What I learned when my teens wanted to host a program series on careers

This year I undertook a challenge: an ongoing program series designed by my teen board, reliant on the generosity of adults in the surrounding community, not especially fun, on my night off. This became Career Conversations, and we had our fourth and final program last night. Overall, it was a smashing success. Here’s what I’ve learned […]

Book Review and Program Ideas: Playing with Surface Design by Courtney Cerruti

When The Mr. and I were in college, he was an art major. I had the distinct privilege of of learning about an array of artistic ideas while watching him take classes. Because of this experience, or perhaps just because of the moments we’ve shared and the influence he has had on me, I’ve always […]