Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fresh New Programs For 2013

I love libraries.  I love working in them.  I loved managing one.  And I love using them, especially with two young children.  And, I love story time, but I hope that youth librarians will consider some new additions and more frequent alternatives to the same storytime routine on their event calendars in 2013. Here are a couple of the programs that my family and I would love to attend this year:

Digital media or tech labs for kids and families.  These have become practically obligatory for teens, but it's time for libraries to embrace the fact that more and more elementary age children are being taught with tablets, e-readers, and other technologies, and that they love it!  Libraries are missing out on scores of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders who would love to "geek out" at the library with a make-your-own-movie Saturday, or build-a-blog night.  And why leave out our very youngest patrons?  Tech companies and publishers are wise to the fact that babies and toddlers love computers and apps, too.  Where is the family "geek out" night where librarians show off downloadable books for children or great learning apps on their Kid's webpage? 

Creative Movement.   Dancing, stretching, pretending, singing.  Toddlers can't sit still for long.  Instead of fighting their endless need to move, I'd like to just go with it and host a toddler's Creative Movement Morning.  We can help build imagination by stretching and walking liking animals, build vocabulary with song, and build math skills with rhythm and beat...just to mention a few literacy skills we could integrate. 

Bilingual storytimes done well.   Spanish, Swahili, Mandarin, Hindi...it doesn't really matter, languages are amazing and magical, and good for our brains.  Many parents want to expose their children to a second language, but language classes for young children are still rare in most parts of the country and pretty expensive no matter where you live.  Families would love the opportunity to bring their child to a free, weekly program that exposes their youngsters to another language.  Bilingual storytimes aren't unheard of in 2012, but they are rarely in a language other than Spanish and often rely on volunteers.  I would love to see libraries offering consistant bilingual programs that are truly done well: singing, fingerplays, action rhymes, and activity sheets...the works!

Math and Science skill builders.  Let's face it, most librarians are liberal arts devotees.  If more engineering or chemistry majors ended up working in libraries there would be alot more programs about using protractors or learning the periodic table.  And, as a liberal arts devotee myself, I have to admit that, that wouldn't be a bad thing. I love the Super Science Programs that some of our Pittsburgh libraries facilitate for k-5th graders.  With 3 or 4 simple experiments to try out and a few informational texts to listen to these are a great way to include more science in our family dialogue.  How about some Magic Math Programs next year, too, and replacing some of the standard baby lapsit programs with Baby Math Builders (matching, sorting, and counting are super basic math skills for our youngest, future engineers).

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