LSC Journal Club: June 2018 Recap: Co-Designing the Library

The Vancouver Library Services for Children Journal Club is still going strong! We had our June meeting a few weeks ago and talked about co-designing the library with community members and barriers some community members face when accessing the library. You all know how much I care about community outreach, so this topic was right up my ally.  Here’s what we got up to.

First we reviewed the 2-page article by John Pateman on developing community-led systems. The community-led library model was developed in Canada and the U.K. and I’m always surprised how few American libraries know of it or implement it.  Pateman starts with the premise that we do a great job of serving people who need us the least. These would be the active users of the library. But there are also passive users (lapsed or ex-users) and non-users of the library. How are we reaching and serving these groups? He notes four barriers to access:

  1. Insitutional
    • requiring an ID to get a library card
    • requiring proof of residence to use online library services
    • Charging fines
  2. Personal and Social
    • family and cultural history with government institutions
    • poverty
    • language barrier
    • time
  3. Perception and Awareness
    • the library as a quiet place
    • fear of judgment based on child’s behaviour
    • demographics of those who attend programs
    • nothing there for them
  4. Environmental
    • hours of operation
    • time of programs
    • location
    • cleanliness

Keeping these four barriers in mind we then turned to the article by Virve Miettinen which documents  three ways the Helsinki Public Library engaged users to help co-design their library space. These three projects were part of  the building of a new library in the capital city for the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence. Their goals were to provide better customer service, empower citizens, and designate the library as a 3rd space in the community with a meaningful social infrastructure. Using the co-design process they sought to raise design awareness among both community members and staff members.  We broke into groups and each analyzed one of the projects. We asked:

  1. What was the strategy?
  2. What were the outcomes?
  3. What are the benefits and drawbacks of this strategy?
  4. Who is included? Who is excluded? What barriers are there to participation?
  5. How can we apply a similar strategy to our work with children and teens?

The three projects were: Participator Budgeting, Central Library’s Friends, and the Dream On! Campaign.  I took pictures of our large flipchart notes but they don’t translate well to a blog post. Email if interested and I can send them to you! Overall we were impressed with the level of involvement from the community in these projects though we questioned how much effort was put into recruiting members from a diverse array of backgrounds. The author didn’t really touch on this topic so it is hard to know. Some of the projects had a dual impact in that they helped the library achieve a goal and they gave community members skills they could take with them into their personal and work lives. We came away with inspiration on how to get kids and teens more involved in the planning and development of our library programs. Personally, my biggest take-away was to gather feedback with a purpose. Know what you’re going to do with the feedback before you design and administer a survey.

We’ll be taking a break over the summer but plan to be back in September with another article. Check out the Library Services for Children Journal Club website to stay up-to-date!

Community Outreach and the Devaluation of Children’s Librarians

I’m one of those people who excitedly awaits their copy of the American Libraries magazine every two months so I can read up on all the cool stuff people are doing in our field. In the May 2018 issue there is an excellent article by Meredith Farkas called Get Out of the Library: Embedding Librarians in Our Communities. Coming from an academic library stand point, Farkas talks about the concept of embedded librarianship which situates librarians within their communities so that patrons don’t necessarily need to come to the physical library to get help.  She gives a few examples of how this model works in different types of libraries; for example, public library staff attend local community events to share books and answer questions.  She states that “embedded librarianship is about building strong relationships within the communities libraries serve and requires a deep understanding of the needs and habits of our patrons.” I wholeheartedly agree.

What Farkas calls embedded librarianship I’ve known under the phrase community-led librarianship. The model and philosophy is similar. I highly recommend reading The Community-Led Libraries Toolkit for concrete strategies on how this model works.  Being a community-led library means investigating barriers to library service, especially for socially excluded communities, and finding ways to empower those communities to be involved in the planning of future library services. It requires library staff to be embedded in the community as relationship building is crucial. It is slow, sometimes difficult work, but absolutely necessary in helping the library be a force for social justice. At my library we have community librarians whose major job responsibility is to be out in the community, but children’s librarians are also expected to do community-led work. At its best, this model involves all level of staff in community outreach efforts.

A few weeks after reading the articles by Farkas, I came upon another article on the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) blog about community outreach. This one is titled  Getting Creative: Utilizing Volunteers in Early Literacy Outreach.  The title alone gave me pause, but reading it through filled me with many questions and concerns. It sat in stark contrast to the first article I read where outreach is seen as a key and critical role of our job as library staff. I wanted to take some time to dive into the post and the broader problem I see with regards to children’s librarianship specifically and outreach.

In the blog post, the author begins by noting that her library is  “working with too few staff and is receiving more requests for outreach visits.”  It’s an unfortunate reality that many public libraries are understaffed. This library’s solution was to enlist volunteers to fulfill these requests for outreach visits. The author notes that they worked with their Human Resources department to “determine that providing outreach storytimes was an acceptable task for a specifically trained volunteer because it is not an essential service and it is an expansion of services initiated and managed by the library staff.” [bold text added by me]. And that folks is where all my questions begin.

In the very next paragraph the author says the volunteers are managed by the Youth Services & Outreach Librarian. How is outreach not an essential service if it is literally in the name of one of the jobs at this library? Is this not what the Youth Services & Outreach Librarian spends a huge chunk of time doing in her paid position?  Even the fact that an “expansion of services” can be done by volunteers is worrying to me. Why would the library ever need to hire more youth services librarians when all that extra work is now done by volunteers?  It doesn’t even matter if the volunteers are already knowledgeable about early literacy. Sure, that will make the visits more successful for the kids. But it does nothing to advocate for our unique positions as paid library staff members who bring value to our community. We are outsourcing our jobs for free and we’re somehow excited about it.

A part of me wonders if library outreach volunteers are more common for things like storytime because working with children continues to be a devalued service.  Which is the case for any job dominated by women. You’re just reading to kids, right?  You just sing a few songs, right? Storytime does not hold the same prestige or value as the embedded work in academic libraries Farkas describes in her article.  As much as we tirelessly advocate for how important the first three years of life are for setting up brain development for the rest of life, it is still not seen as something that should be fully funded and protected. We advocate for how the work we do as youth services professionals contributes to a self-regulating, literate population that is able to keep using the library in all it’s different forms.  But sometimes it feels like someone hears us singing “Roly Poly” and our credibility goes out the door. All we have to do is look to the U.K. to see the hollowing out of children’s public library services which this research article shows is “coupled with a rise in closures, community run and outsourced libraries, and volunteering.”

Another thing that worries me about the use of volunteers for library outreach is the move away from relationship building, the key component of community-led libraries, towards a system of “wine and dine them” for preschools and daycares. When I visit preschools and daycares I am doing much more than just a storytime. I am investigating the level of need among their kids and their space. Do these kids have regular access to books? What library resources can I further connect them to to continue to support their literacy after my visit? What is their neighbourhood like and what resources are nearby? Is there potential for another sort of partnership between the library and this group?  What training is needed or wanted by the preschool teachers themselves? These are the in-depth questions we ask when we do outreach as part of our job. I’m sure a volunteer could be trained to ask some of these questions, but they will miss the bigger picture of how this visit fits into an overall strategy of serving a distinct library user group.  Sending volunteers also assumes a one-sided relationship between the library and the centre (i.e. the library has something to offer and the centre is there to consume). These relationships are shallow, often short-lived, and do not help build community relationships to the same degree.

So we’re in high demand. So we’re understaffed. What can we do instead of implementing volunteers who do outreach for us? How can we maintain our value to the library itself and to the community? Here’s what I’ve got:

Bringing in volunteers to do the paid work of a youth services staff member isn’t creative. It’s scary.  I believe embedding ourselves in the community is part of our jobs. How can we creatively make this happen without devaluing our profession?

LSC Journal Club: April 2018 Recap: Play and the Learning Environment

We had our third Library Services for Children Journal meeting this past Sunday.  We read two articles that explored play and the learning environment.  Here’s a quick recap of the articles and discussion points.  This post, except for the final thoughts at the end, was written by our group leader Jennifer Streckmann. Want to get involved with the LSC Journal Club? See if you have a local group or start one of your own!

Article #1: Play and the Learning Environment

  • This was an in-depth look at child play psychology as related to the physical space of the classroom, which can be extrapolated out to the library setting.
  • Includes good materials/equipment suggestions
  • Benefits of play include: development of motor skills, vocabulary growth, sharpening of the senses, increased concentration, expression of emotions—empathy, flexibility, sharing, turn taking—harmony, role taking, ordering, sequencing, expansion of imagination and creativity, and delay of gratification

Commonly recognized types of play:

  1. Functional play or exploratory play. This type of play is a sensorimotor approach in which
    a child learns the nature of his or her surroundings. Such examples include dumping, filling,
    stacking, water play, and outdoor play.
  2. Constructive play describes children combining pieces or entities, such as with blocks.
    The purpose of this type of play is to make something and/or work out a problem.
  3. Dramatic play entails pretending. The child pretends to be someone else, for example the
    teacher or a fireman. This type of play does not require any social interaction with other
    children. See the example provided below.
  4. Sociodramatic play is a form of dramatic play with more than one player socially interacting around a theme and a time trajectory over which the play continues and evolves. Children
    enact real-life types of play activities.
  5. Games with rules encompass cooperative play, often with winners and losers. These games
    are distinguished by child-controlled rules and thus are different from the competitive games
    usually called “sports.” Children begin the games with rules stage at about age 6.

Article #2: Influence of Number of Toys on Toddler Play

  • Interesting study that involved looking at the number of toys available, and how that affects how children interact with the toys.
    The first dependent variable was the number of incidences of toy play. Toy play incidents were operationalized to include observable engagement such as physical contact/manipulation of a toy and focused attention to play. (Greater in the 16-toy variable)
  • The second dependent variable was the duration of each toy play incident. The beginning of an incident occurred when a toddler purposely touched a toy. For an incident to end, a toddler’s attention must be distracted away from the toy and refocused to another element in the room. (Greater in the 4-toy variable)
  • The third dependent variable was the number of manners of play with each toy. Unique verbs were used to describe the manners of play (Bjorklund & Bjorklund, 1979). A manner of play was anything the child did to engage in play with the toy, for example actions such as drumming, dumping, exploring, pretending, matching, gathering, or inserting.(Greater in the 4-toy variable)
  • An abundance of toys present reduced quality of toddlers’ play.
  • Fewer toys at once may help toddlers to focus better and play more creatively.
  • This can done in many settings to support development and promote healthy play.
  • This study was quite limited in its scope as the sample size was small and it captured a picture of mostly middle class white female toddlers.

Group Activity: Planning a Library Space

The group participated in a ‘blue-sky’ activity where we paired off and re-designed a library space. Each pair was given a copy of the image below that depicted a children’s department. Then they were given a blank layout to design the space from scratch. After working in pairs we all shared our designs.

Discussion points included:

  • The importance of natural light in programming spaces
  • Including interesting conversation starters that invite patrons to speak with a staff member. This could be anything from a terrarium with butterflies to an engaging display which encourages the children to ask staff a question.
  • We often want to separate different age groups from each other, however a good point was brought up that this sometimes makes it much harder for caregivers to keep track of their whole family. Thus sightlines are very important.
  • Weeding was done by all groups, in an interest of using space for programming.

Final Thoughts

One of the reasons I love the LSC Journal Club meetings is that I start to think about things in a new way. After listening to many of the challenges libraries face (budget, staff, space) on their quest to design a play-friendly space, I had an “aha!” moment where I narrowed down three important factors to consider with regards to design in general. They are:

  • Focus on the Collection: Are displays placed where community members will see them? Is the collection well maintained and weeded regularly? Is the collection organized in a way that makes sense to kids and families? Is signage clear and attractive (not too much, not too little)?
  • Focus on Play: Are there opportunities for play in the library? Are there play opportunities for little kids and bigger kids? Do families feel comfortable playing in our spaces?
  • Focus on Relationship Building: Are there elements in the space that encourage kids and families to talk to staff? Are there opportunities for kids and families to contribute their ideas or thoughts to the space? Are staff regularly in the space to interact with the community?

We also talked about how important it is to observe your space. Some of the organizations in Vancouver like Science World do a great job of testing out their spaces and regularly observing them before making tweaks and changes. This of course requires time and energy but the resulting changes can be powerful.

That’s a wrap, folks!  Did you read the articles this month? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

Guest Post: Storytime Out Loud: A Storytime Podcast

Are you ready to have your storytime life changed? Because I am about to introduce you to two ladies who have started the first ever (at least, the only one I know about) podcast all about library storytime! It’s called Storytime Out Loud and there are three episodes out already.  You can also follow them on Instagram and Facebook. I asked Christy and Lauren to write a guest post about who they are and why they started Storytime Out Loud. Read on to learn about this amazing new professional development resource!
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Hi, we’re Christy and Lauren! We are youth services librarians at a large regional public library in Raleigh, NC where we plan and present baby, toddler, preschool and family storytimes. We just started recording a brand-new podcast called Storytime Out Loud, where we’re having a blast talking storytime ideas, new books, and much more. Other topics include anything in the “culinary-retro-film-Gilmore Girls-Broadway” world. Is that a thing? It is now.

Our podcast is for anyone doing storytime. Especially those who enjoy modern ideas, are looking to adapt tried-and-true resources in different ways, are interested in learning about new picture books, work in libraries, preschools and daycares, and like to have fun! To be honest, it’s for anyone who will listen, but this was our purpose in creating it. It took us forever to make the leap using every excuse we could think of… kids, time, our pie-baking regimen. I mean, let’s be real, we know nothing about podcasting. But we finally took the plunge, and our hope is that we can provide fresh and modern storytime ideas, as well as connect with others who are working with young children.

Over the years we have gained a robust knowledge of storytime and surrounding topics, from songs and rhymes to books and storytelling. Our backgrounds play a big role in our book selection and storytime choices. Before working in public libraries, Lauren was a school librarian, while Christy worked with children in the performing arts, yet somehow, we ended up with similar storytime styles. We enjoy collaborating and bouncing ideas off each other. We’re like peanut butter and jelly. Mario and Luiji. Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins. You get the picture.

Our podcast topics range from what’s happening in the world around us to random things we like talking about. We can be totally crazy, but we have a lot of fun. Christy may or may not belt out the Pippi Longstocking theme song from 1988 every now and then. Ultimately, we want you to feel like you are right there at the table with us. After our chat, we present the themed content in Storytime Selections. This includes rhymes, songs, games and flannels. The ideas are explained and demonstrated. Sometimes you just have to break into song. You just do. Christy knocks it out of the park with her vocal skills, and Lauren tries her best.

Our Book Buzz segment features new and forthcoming books that we are excited about. Get ready for a lot of great new books, Lauren just can’t seem to rein it in and always leaves listeners with something to look forward to. The words/lyrics, as well as any visuals are posted afterwards on our social media accounts, so you have everything you need to weave these ideas into your own programs.

One of the books featured in Book Buzz!

Recording the podcast has been so much fun that we’ve decided to go from a monthly program to bi-weekly. Connecting with our community and listeners is huge for us, and we are really hoping that this will continue to evolve as we go. In the future, we hope we will be able to feature YOU and YOUR wonderful ideas. We would love to interview librarians and other professionals who present storytime. There are so many in this field who inspire us (Jbrary, we’re looking at you!), and we love learning from our community of fellow youth services pros. In the next few months you can expect more of our favorite storytime theme ideas, a firsthand look at School Library Journal’s Day of Dialog, information from our big in-library event called the Storybook Ball, a visit to a conjuring arts library in NYC, special guests, and our favorite recorded music. Then: some original songs? Yeah, maybe. All we have to do is learn to play the guitar, drums, and keyboard, and find someone who will produce…for free. We’ll work on it.

 You can find us on Twitter @StoryOutLoud and Instagram @StorytimeOutLoud. Our website isn’t complete yet, but you can find us there very soon at StorytimeOutLoud.com. Let us know what you’d like to hear discussed in future episodes! Anything goes!

LSC Journal Club: January 2018 Recap: Educational Apps

On Sunday we had our second Vancouver Library Services for Children Journal Club meeting.  Have you heard about the LSC Journal Club? My friend Christie and I started it as a way to promote research-based library service and professional development opportunities for anyone serving children in libraries. In November we discussed executive function and this month we took a look at what counts as an “educational” app.  We highly encourage you to start a local group if you’re interested in being research nerds like us!

The research article we read this month is called “Putting Education in ‘Educational’ Apps: Lessons From the Science of Learning.”  I led the group discussion this month by reviewing the purpose of the article and the term Science of Learning which was new to me.

Purpose of the Article:

  • There are thousands of unregulated apps in the app store categorized as “educational.” Parents and educators have a hard time navigating this marketplace. Can they trust that label?
  • What does the Science of Learning tell us about how kids learn best? The researchers investigated research that applies to kids ages 0 – 8 years old. Their goals are to guide researchers, educators, and designers in evidence-based app development and to help people like us (library staff) evaluate already existing apps.
  • They came up with 4 Pillars of Learning that define “educational.”  This definition means apps should promote active, engaged, meaningful, and socially interactive learning.

Science of Learning

  • This is an amalgamated research area that takes different learning theories and draws similarities between them. It is relatively new, about 20 years old.
  • It includes research from a variety of fields – psychology, linguistics, computer science, animal behaviour, machine learning, brain imaging, neurobiology, etc.
  • It seeks to know HOW children learn not WHAT we should teach children. More about the process, less about the content.  Strives to identify strategies kids can use to think flexibly and creatively in the future.
  • Views kids as active learners, not vessels to be filled with knowledge. Takes its cue from Piaget who called children “little scientists.”

From there the article goes into depth for each of the four pillars of learning looking at what the Science of Learning says about them, what television research says, and how we can apply this knowledge to apps. At our meeting we broke up into groups and each group wrote down the key points for each of the four pillars before sharing with the whole group. Here are our notes:

Pillar #1: Active Learning

Pillar #2: Engagement in the Learning Process

Pillar #3: Meaningful Learning

Pillar #4: Social Interaction

The article then talks about what I call Secret Pillar #5: Scaffolded Exploration Toward a Learning Goal. It states:

  • Apps need a context for learning. They should promote exploration toward a learning goal.
  • Adults can play a supportive role in guiding play to lead to the best overall learning outcomes. A halfway point between complete free play and direct instruction.
  • Apps can provide scaffolding options such as providing background knowledge, offering more or less challenging levels, or by responding to individual children’s needs.

The article evaluates an app called Alien Assignment and discusses how the four pillars hold up. We were able to download the app to view it but the sound didn’t work on the iPad we had as it is an older app. It’s interesting to note that the developer is the Fred Rogers Center who came out with a position statement in in 2012 in conjunction with NAEYC that states, “when used intentionally and appropriately, technology and interactive media are effective tools to support learning and development.” So it’s not surprised their app is pretty great.

We ended our meeting by talking about the following discussion questions:

  • Do all apps need to be “educational” for us to recommend them to caregivers?
  • How can we apply these guidelines to our work with children in libraries?
  • How does this research compare to other research, position statements, and app rubrics that have been developed?

We all agreed that the four pillars are a good tool to use when evaluating apps for educational content. We can look at the apps on the anchored iPads in our children’s area, on our website, and on our bookmarks to see if they hold up to the “very deep” learning category.  While the majority of the apps we select for these things should be educational we also discussed the merits of other “playful” apps such as the Toca Boca apps.  We still think it is worth including some of those types of apps as caregivers and kids often use them in unintended ways that foster learning.  Having the four pillars in our minds when talking to caregivers is a great tool we can use to guide these conversations. One of members, Kate, came up with an acronym and mental image to help her remember the four pillars. It’s called M.E.A.L.S. She says, “Choosing Apps: Are You Serving Your Child Balanced M.E.A.L.S?” Meaningful, Engaging, Active, Learning Goals, and Social Interaction.

We also talked about how it is common for caregivers to set their child down in front of the iPads in the children’s library and leave them there unattended or without engaging with them. Parents wanting or needing a break and using technology as a babysitter, while alarming to some, is not something we as library staff can solve or regulate in our spaces.  We discussed how we provide the technology to help bridge the digital divide and we can encourage joint media engagement through our signage and handouts and conversations with caregivers.  The research from this article is further evidence that caregiver participation in media is essential for learning, especially with young children.

In terms of other research around evaluating apps, we discussed Lisa Guernsey’s 3 C’s for choosing digital media: Content, Context, and Child. Perhaps a fourth C could be something like “Cause” to align with the learning goal element discussed in the article. There are two other app rubrics we looked over, both developed by Claudia Haines. They are both worth a look and can be used to evaluate the apps you recommend and provide in the library.  Check out Evaluating Apps and New Media for Young Children: A Rubric and the Diverse and Inclusive Growth Checklist for Inclusive, High-Quality Children’s Media.

What did you think of this month’s article? Let me know in the comments!

LSC Journal Club: November 2017 Recap

Yesterday we had the inaugural meeting of our Vancouver Library Services for Children Journal Club! If you missed my post about the LSC Journal Club, go read it now and find out all about this free professional development resource aimed at anyone serving children in libraries.

The articles we read and discussed were about executive function skills in early childhood development. Our discussion leader started by recapping the articles and giving us a clear definition of executive function. It can be broken down into the following three dimensions:

  • Working Memory: The ability to hold and use information in our minds over a short period of time. For example, a child being able to follow three simple directions is using their working memory.
  • Inhibitory Control: The skill we use to think before we act and resist temptations. A child would use this skill to refrain from hitting another child who has taken their toy.
  • Cognitive/Mental Flexibility: The ability to switch gears or tasks and take on different perspectives.  A child uses cognitive flexibility, for example, when trying different ways to get a science experiment to work.

Executive function skills support the learning process and develop over time with the preschool years being a prime developmental window.  Stress in early childhood can affect the development of executive function, but interventions have been shown to help kids overcome this deficit.

We spent a large portion of our discussion talking about ways we can support the development of executive function at the library.  As a place, we are one of the key environments kids spend time in as they grow.  There are so many storytime examples in particular that we are already doing such as: having a mystery box or having kids practice taking turns or doing deep breathing and asking kids about their emotions.  The list goes on! For even more examples, I encourage you to watch the webinar Using Storytime to Grow Executive Function and Self-Regulation in ECE.

We noted though that as a library we often only have kids in our programs for 30 minutes to an hour. It can be hard to build relationships with the kids or between kids in such a short time span.  We felt that early childhood educators such as preschool and daycare teachers who see little ones all day long would benefit from learning about executive function too. We offer professional development programs for ECEs and brainstormed ways we could include this content in some of our workshops.  Finding ways to make the language around executive function accessible to all is another point we stressed.

Here are some questions we continue to ask ourselves:

  • How can we take the academic lingo in these research articles and translate it into layman terms that would be appropriate to use in storytime or other programs for adults?
  • What are some ways to incorporate executive function scaffolds into school-age programs, especially for the kids who would otherwise be deemed a “problem'” or “lazy”? How can we make adjustments, not punishments?
  • What types of play-based programs for the 0-5 crowd can be utilized to fill the gap for families who for whatever reason don’t come to storytime?

What I love about the LSC Journal Club is that even if I don’t come away with all the answers, I do come away with more knowledge of the why we do things and the confidence that it is rooted in research.  I’d love to hear your thoughts about executive function! Let me know what you think in the comments.

Introducing the Library Services for Children Journal Club!

Oh, friends. Have I got something exciting to tell you!  For the past few months I have been hard at work on a special project that is finally ready to launch. I would like to introduce you all to the Library Services for Children Journal Club.

This project is the brainchild of myself and my friend and colleague Christie Menzo. I had been throwing around the idea of hosting something similar on Jbrary as a way to facilitate professional development reading amongst library staff serving children. Christie had been learning about journal clubs in the medical field through her husband who is a doctor. When we got together and started chatting, voila! The Library Services for Journal Club was born.

So what is the LSC Journal Club?

The Library Services for Children Journal Club is way for children’s library staff to engage in professional dialogue or critical appraisal of research publications and other professional literature related to children’s library services. Our goal is to help children’s library staff keep up to date and engaged with published research and new developments in the field of children’s library services, and to think critically about the quality of the research that informs our decision making.

How does it work?

Once every two months Christie and I will be selecting one or two articles for us all to discuss. The articles will fall into one of six themes.  We’ll be hosting a local Vancouver meet-up and we highly encourage you to set up meetings wherever you are! This could be an informal gathering at someone’s house or it could be more formal like at a library staff meeting. We’ll also be sharing out thoughts on social media using the hashtag #lscjournalclub.

When does it start?

Now! We’ve posted information about the first discussion which will take place in November. You can read the two articles we selected which are all about executive function. Start gathering your group together! I’ll be posting my thoughts on each article here on Jbrary and I encourage any other bloggers to do the same.

Please feel free to leave me any questions or comments you have about the LSC Journal Club. I hope my fellow research nerds will rally behind this project that holds a special place in my heart.

 

Library Display Calendar

In January I started working at a new library.  One of the best things about this branch is the amount of display space I have for highlighting our children’s collection.  But this also means I’ve been spending a lot of time whipping up posters and scouring the internet for display ideas.  To get myself more organized I finally sat down and created a calendar filled with a year’s worth of display ideas.

This calendar reflects both my city (Vancouver) and my country (Canada), so not all the ideas will be applicable to everyone. With that said, sometimes I’m lenient on the “National” marker and included some U.S. special days.  I also only listed ideas if I think I have enough material in my collection to fill (and refill) a display that will last at least a week. So unfortunately things like National Donut Day didn’t make the cut.  Lastly, I didn’t include generic displays that can be put up anytime of the year.

I’d love to hear your display secrets!  Did I miss any ideas your community loves?  Please leave me a comment with your suggestions.

January

  • National Hobby Month
  • New Year’s Resolutions
  • National Science Fiction Day (January 2)
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday: social justice books (January 15)
  • Lunar New Year (end of January/early February)

February

  • Black History Month (U.S.)
  • Tu B’Shevat/Celebration of Trees (February 11)
  • Valentine’s Day/Blind Date with a Book (February 14)
  • Pink Shirt Day: anti-bullying and books with pink covers (February 22)
  • Freedom to Read Week (February 26)
  • Oscars: movies and actor biographies (end of February)

March

  • National Craft Month
  • National Nutrition Month
  • Monstrous March
  • March Madness (sports books)
  • Dr. Seuess’s Birthday (March 2)
  • International Women’s Day (March 8)
  • St. Patrick’s Day/Read Green (March 17)
  • Spring Reads/Spring into a Good Book (March 21)

April

  • National Poetry Month
  • National Humour Month (joke and riddle books)
  • Artsy April
  • Math Awareness Month
  • Stress Awareness Month
  • Passover (varies)
  • Easter (varies)
  • Earth Day (April 22)

May

  • Asian Heritage Month
  • Middle Grade May
  • National Bike Month
  • May-nia (fill in with any alliterative title, such as Music May-nia)
  • Star Wars Day (May 4)
  • Mental Health Week (first week of May)
  • Vancouver Bird Week (2nd week of May)
  • Mother’s Day (second Sunday of May)
  • International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (May 17)
  • Ramadan (varies)

June

  • Aboriginal History Month
  • Gay Pride Month
  • Great Outdoors Month
  • National Garden Week (1st week of June)
  • Summer Reading Club Launch (mid-June)
  • World Refugee Day (June 20)
  • Father’s Day (3rd Sunday)
  • Summer Solstice (June 20)
  • National Aboriginal Day (June 21)

July

  • Summer Reads
  • Canada Day/Canadian Reads  (July 1)

August

  • Family Fun Month
  • Vancouver Pride Parade  (August 6)
  • International Cat Day (August 8)
  • Book Lovers’ Day (August 9)
  • Summer Olympics  (every 4 years)

September

  • Classical Music Month
  • SeptZenber: relaxing reads
  • Back to School (September 4)
  • International Literacy Day (September 8)
  • Grandparents Day (2nd Sunday)
  • Dot Day: books with dots/spots; art and drawing books (September 15)
  • Science Literacy Week  (September 19)
  • Fall into Reading (September 21)
  • Rosh Hashanah (varies)

October

  • Women’s History Month
  • National Vegetarian Month
  • Star Wars Reads
  • Thanksgiving (October 9)
  • Halloween (October 31)

November

  • Picture Book Month
  • National Novel Writing Month
  • Dino-vember
  • Remembrance Day (November 11)

December

  • Human Rights Month
  • Hanukkah (varies)
  • Winter Solstice (December 21)
  • Christmas (December 25)
  • Kwanzaa (December 26)