Fall LEGO Building Challenges

Thousands of tiny LEGO pieces on the floor… kids working to recreate a photo from tiny bricks…kids and caregivers taking a break to have a moment of time where their only responsibility is to be creative…and lots of requests for photos of their completed work. Sounds like a great Kids’ STEM Lab to me! We hosted a fall themed LEGO building challenge, and even though it was super low prep, I think this was one of my favorite programs so far! We had a small handful of kids at the beginning of the program, but the open-ended nature of the project drew in more kids who did not know there was a program going on, but wanted to join in!

The skinny: This was a FREE program for us because we already had the LEGOs. The STEM Laboratory offered a free download of photos representing fall objects (black cat, tractor, pumpkin, apple pie, among others). You need to give your email address to access the free download. This program was very open ended, so it would make a great activity if you know kids will drop in, and not necessarily be there at the beginning.

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid Party: The Getaway

The 12th book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, The Getaway was released yesterday, November 7, 2017! Could our library let an occasion like that go unnoticed? I think not! We hosted a Book Launch party complete with games, activities, mom bucks, and presented a copy of the newly released book to a very happy elementary school student. Definitely a lot of fun. Definitely, something I want to do again (and, as quickly as Jeff Kinney seems to be able to get these books out, that will not be long!).

This is the first DOAWK party that I have planned, so I looked to my colleagues for inspiration and support. After an internet search, I found many blog entries incredibly helpful in brainstorming some ideas (I included a list of blog posts and resources that were especially helpful at the end of this post. Check it out!).

On the day of the party, I set out a copy of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid paper scavenger hunt from Thrive After Three as well as a drawing page for kids to be able to design their own book covers so that kids who arrived early right from school would have something to do.  Both of these documents needed a little editing. I cut off the bottom of the scavenger hunt form and updated the information to promote The Getaway. I also cut off the top of the book cover design page, and just ran off copies of my physically shorter page. The kids never knew the difference.

When the kids arrived at 4:00 p.m.  it was party time! We began by sitting in a circle and I asked each kid to tell me what their favorite Diary of a Wimpy Kid book was, and why. Then, I told them just briefly that The Getaway is about the Heffley family spending Christmas vacation in Mexico, and instead of it being a relaxing trip, everything goes wrong. I then asked the kids to tell me about a trip that they went on where things either went well and they had fun, or things went wrong.

These conversations took up maybe 8 minutes, but they were a great way to get started, and it gave us some time for kids who were coming in late to feel that they were not missing anything.

Then, we transitioned to a game of Cheese Touch. It is like the game, “hot potato”. I asked the kids to remind me what the cheese touch was. After hearing how they described it, (“It is like being infected”) I showed the kids the Moldy Cheese bean bag I had made. This is just a bean bag covered in yellow felt. A friend used markers and white-out to create the mold effects. I told the kids that I was going to play some music, and they needed to throw the bean bag around to each other. I would randomly pause the music, and the child holding the beanbag, or the last person to have touched it, was out. I used the “Capitol Kids Christmas” CD and used the Twelve Days of Christmas track because it had the faster beat that I wanted to keep the energy up. The kids loved this, and we played three games. When I do this over, we will spend more time on this, because it was a favorite!

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Spiders!

Creepy Crawlies! Spiders! Webs in the dark! Does it give your give you goose-bumps just thinking about it? Add kids and a few lessons about the science of arachnids, and you have a program that gives new perspective on a creature that inspires most to squirm…or scream!

The skinny: We hosted this program days before Halloween. I wanted to give the kids who came a different way of appreciating spiders, because I used to be very afraid of them myself. This program lends itself to a host of fun ideas, but in the end we read a book together that give great information on spiders in a humorous information style, walked through an interactive Prezi presentation, and finally tried our hands at building our own spider’s web while working on some fine-motor skills and problem-solving techniques.

The cost: Pennies. Literally. I would estimate that we paid about $0.05 for each child for the single paper plate and the yarn.

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2017 Kids Coding Club- Weeks 4 & 5

Whew! Our coding programs have been a lot of fun these past four weeks! We do not have the technology for this program, and I am really thankful to have been able to borrow the laptops from our system to have made this happen!  I am writing Lessons 4 and 5 into this one post because I think a lot of the information is the same. If you are interested, here are the links for Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3.

We are still following the “Beginning Code Camp with Code.org” lesson provided by Jen Fait on WisCodeLiterati. Where Jen’s program went for 6 weeks, we stopped at 5. This was practical because our students were able to finish the Code.org course that I assigned when I began this program.

In week 4, the kids were still pretty energetic, so I did a super simple unplugged activity inspired by the teacher’s lesson plan. We talked about conditionals, and I simply held up different cards, encouraging them to cheer if the card was red or pretend to cry if the card was black. We also connected the idea of conditionals to their experience with parents putting conditions on this like, “Yes, you can watch your TV show after you clean your room.” We re-wrote that sentence in computer code to look something like, “If (room is clean) {

Tvshow.yours=on;
}

Else {
TVshow.yours=off
}

The kids then went to work with the online lesson: Conditionals with Bees. Some of them got through this lesson more quickly than other students, and Code.org moved them into the Flappy Bird Game. This was what I had planned for Week 5, but I let them experiment with it until the end of the program. The kids who were not that far were really interested in getting to Flappy Bird, and it was great to stir up some excitement.

In Week 5, I had the kids tell me about some of the things they remembered working on last session, and some of the things they worked on during our coding club. I asked them to tell me about something they learned. Some of their answers were silly (I forget their comments now. 🙂 ), and some were more serious, like, “I learned how to move the blocks over to write my code program.”

I had no Unplugged Activity, and the kids got right to work on Flappy Bird. This is where kids actually get to program a game and make it interactive. They had a lot of fun, but it was a struggle for them to find out what the program wanted them to do to run their game. I think this is because they were coding two or three events in their program, instead of just one like they had in the lessons previously. But, they were able to figure it out by trial and error. Sometimes, though, I think they just kept guessing until the program worked, and they did not know what they did to get it to work. But, I gave them lots of credit for coming up with the solution on their own!

At the end of the program, I asked them to show the group one of their Flappy Bird games that they were proud of. We went around the room, watched their program, and clapped to recognize their efforts.

When our time was almost done, I asked everyone to set their laptop near the wall, and told them that we finished our six weeks of Kids Coding Club. We would be having a week off, and then start up again in November. All the kids were interested in programming more with games, so I will do some research and see if I can find a curriculum, possibly even on Code.org, that is similar to what they were asking for.

And that is our wrap!
If you have used Code.org and know of other ideas that I did not use, please leave a comment! I would love to connect with you!

Some things I am thinking about: I had a 5th-grade class come to the library for a STEM day, and I put them on code.org for our program. The kids were mesmerized! Their teacher was very interested in having her students keep working in Code.org when they got back to school. I sent her the information on how to get started with a teacher’s account, and how all the lessons tie to Common Core standards. I also gave her the link to the Wisconsin Coding Initiative.

I was also asked by the Middle School if I could lead coding programs there. I bought a sample lesson in Code.org, and again, the students loved it! I need to figure out what we will be doing since I have been invited to come every week.

And finally, I met with some representatives of a local organization that serves Hispanic/Latino needs. We talked about coding education, and how it can be a great way to children to learn a job skill that our labor force will be needed in the coming years.  It was great to begin those conversations, and think about how we can begin to offer after-school coding programming for Hispanic/Latino families.

Keep coding everyone!

2017 Kids Coding Club- Week 3

I may be a little behind on blogging my lesson plans, but we are still coding in Kids Code Club! I have a core group of kids who have been coming. It is not always the same kids each week, but I am averaging 8-10, which is a great size group for the number of laptops that I have available.

If you have not read my Week 1  or Week 2 notes, I have information on what we learned leading up to this lesson. I also blogged about setting up a teacher and student accounts on Code.org, and a first-week lesson plan to introduce coding to your group.

We are still following the “Beginning Code Camp with Code.org” lesson provided by Jen Fait on WisCodeLiterati. In Week 3, we learned about debugging programs, or finding the errors in code, and then re-writing the code to eliminate the errors to allow the program to run correctly. I did not do the Replay Programming from the Teacher’s Lesson Plan because the kids were a little energetic that day and having difficulty listening to directions. We went right into the online portion of the lesson with Debugging with Bee and Artist.

Even though the kids were energetic, it was a great program, and the kids left enthused about what they were doing!

YSS Powerhouse Presents: STEAM Programming for the STEAM Anxious

Hello library friends!

I was privileged to present with two of my colleagues, Julie Kinney (Marathon County), Jenna Gilles-Turner (Chippewa Falls) on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) programming we have offered at all three of our libraries. The webinar was made available by the YSS (Youth Service Section) of WLA. The recording is now available! If you would like to watch the webinar (or download the slides), here is the link! Enjoy!

YSS Presents STEAM Programming for the STEAM Anxious!

Kids STEM Lab: Marble Drops

Marble Drops. So simple. So fun. And, a great time to exercise design, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills while creating a slide for a marble to run down! I stood back for most of the program and watched parents and grandparents work with their kids to create the design their kids wanted for an entire hour. At every STEM Lab, I hope that the activity is engaging enough for kids to interact with adults and learn together as a community. That happened with this program!

The skinny: Great problem-solving exercise that the parents wanted to get in on as much as the kids! So many smiles as kids worked with their adult to create something fun at the library. I drew my inspiration from Coffee Cups and Crayons blog. They have a great video of how her kids did their project, so be sure to watch! This is a great project because even pre-kindergarteners were able to do it, as well as big kids. And, families worked diligently for a whole hour before they felt their design was just right, showed me how it worked, and then helped me clean up before heading home.

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2017 Kids Coding Club – Week 2

Our second Kids Coding Club meeting is completed! Offering coding programs has become one of the highlights to my week! The kids are interested in the topic and the activities are paced well enough so that they move from one lesson to another quick enough without getting bored.

If you have not read my Week 1 notes, you can get them here. I have instructions on setting up a teacher and student accounts on Code.org, and a first week lesson plan to introduce coding to your group.

For Week 2, we continued following the “Beginning Code Camp with Code.org” lesson plan provided by Jen Fait on WisCodeLiterati. For week 2, we learned about “Loops” in programming, and how they are basically synonymous with the repeat concept. Instead of writing numerous lines of code to have the program accomplish a task over and over, we can write one line of code, and loop it as many times as we wish.

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Balloons!

Everyone, everyone, everyone loves balloons! I think they are one of the fastest ways I know to get kids to smile and feel engaged. So, why not plan a whole STEM program around them?

Resouces:
I researched two programs posted by Growing a Stem Classroom and StemActivitiesForKids.com. Both were excellent resources and helped me envision what I wanted to create with this program. I was also able to find these sites which also have great balloon STEM activities:

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2017 Kids Coding Club- Week 1

This week we held our first Kids Coding Club meeting! This is the first official “coding” program we planned and scheduled for kids at the library. I was able to use a variety of resources to put together a plan that I felt comfortable leading. If you are, or thinking of, leading a coding program, read on!

My biggest fears about offering a coding program are probably not that different from any other librarian’s:

  1. No kids will come. (Actually, that is my biggest fear for any program. And yes, it is okay to admit it).
  2. I am not sure where to begin putting together a lesson plan.
  3. I do not have the technology to offer a program like this.

Thankfully, kids did come, a little help from an awesome librarian pointed me in the right direction for lesson planning, and we were able to find enough computers through some clever asking and borrowing.

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Upcoming (FREE) STEAM Webinar!

Hello library friends!

Please plan to join a free webinar provided by the Youth Service Section of the Wisconsin Library Association on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM CDT. I will be there presenting along with two of my colleagues. Here is the blurb:

STEAM Programming for the STEAM-Anxious
 Are you intrigued by the push to do library programs that feature science, technology, engineering, art and math, but intimidated by the technical skills you do not possess?  Feeling pressure to put together some STEAM offerings but worried that you will just pass on your anxiety about math?  Worried to try something only to have it fail miserably?  Or just not that interested in the STEAM craze, but getting requests from your community?  Julie Kinney (Marathon County), Jenna Gilles-Turner (Chippewa Falls), and Emily Zorea (Richland Center) will share tips and ideas to bolster your confidence and interest, and put STEAM programming in your grasp.

Click here to register: STEAM Programming for the STEAM-Anxious

 

Plant Parts Storytime

With summer winding down, we chose to give our Storytime families and kids a taste of a little science by introducing some plant vocabulary including, “root”, “stem”, “leaves” and “fruit”. Although I originally thought this topic might be a little bit too hard for the kids, they were able to grasp it, even the ones as young as three!

Books:
Plants Can’t Sit Still by Rebecca E. Hirsch
I love this book! Totally great for Stortime and keeping the kids engaged! The books illustrate how plants are not sedentary, rather, they are always wiggling, growing, squirming, reaching, climbing, creeping, and tumbling! Great vocabulary words! I had the kids help me act out all of the actions that the plants make. The action words are in red, which is also great to point out to parents to watch for different colored text to give us clues on how to make books interactive, and draw attention to the print! Again, I loved this book!

Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres
A cutely illustrated gardening story! I love that it really shows the plants in the illustrations! For example, we see a cross section of garden to see carrots, worms, and bugs all together under the soil. This is great to bring up the “root” vocabulary word, and it is so obvious that “roots” are under the ground! The book keeps repeating the “up, down, and around” line, so it is great to have kids mimic since they know what is coming!

From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
I love Gail’s work! This can be a long book, so if your crowd is restless, skip right to page 20 (the pages are not numbered, so just count), where you see the large yellow seed. Use the “seed” vocabulary as you follow the seed through the next two pages. On page 22, we see the “root” vocabulary word introduced again. On page 23, we see the “stem” and “leaves”. On page 25, we see the “flower” or “buds”. Let the kids know that the flower part of the vegetale plant produces the fruit. Turn the page, and we are greated with an abundance of crops, many that come from the “flower” of the plant.

Rooting for You by Susan Hood
A clever little story. A seed is afraid to set down its roots, and then reach for the sun. A worm, however, is a very vocal cheerleader, and helps the seed have confidence that it is meant to be up there in the sun, air, and breeze! Several of the pages fold out unexpectedly to give us more room for illustrations that “grow”. The kids really liked that the illustrations opened up, but they were not into the story for some reason. Try to preview the book, and maybe just summarize the reading, instead of going word for word. Also, try to talk about encouragement, and what we say to each other when we are being encouraging. That might help the kids put the story in context.

Extension Activities: 

Our local Farm to School educator came and helped with this lesson plan. She had a diagram of a plant on her easel and talked to the kids about the different vegetables that are roots (carrots, potatoes, etc), leaves (spinach), stalks (asparagus, celery), fruit (tomatoes). The kids had a little bit of a harder time grasping the lesson, but they were engaged the whole time. Afterward, she prepared some vegetables already cut up and served it to the kids on bagels or tortillas with cream cheese. A yummy snack to end Storytime with!

 

 

Happy Birthday Storytime

Happy Birthday Storytime!

What to do with a Storytime also falls on your birthday? Plan a Birthday themed Storytime, or course!

Books:
The Fairytale Cake by Mark Sperring
A very cute tale where familiar fairy-tale and nursery rhyme characters work together to bake a cake for a youngster. Of all the books I used, I think I would switch this one out in the future. It was hard to tell the story while also finding the familiar characters. I thought I would read the book through, and then we would go back and find them, but once we were done reading the story, the kids were already restless to move. I loved the illustrations though!

The Secret Birthday Message by Eric Carle
A child receives a letter giving them directions to where they will find their birthday gift. I love that the directions are partially told though shapes. The kids helped tell the story by identifying the shapes as we read, and then making the shapes with their hands or body. Everyone loved the birthday gift at the end!

Don’t Spill the Beans by Ian Schoenherr
It can be hard to keep secrets! Bear has a secret, and so many friends! Okay, maybe just tell a few friends…whoops…the secret is out! I asked the kids to play while we told the story. They leaned over to their neighbor and made whispering sounds while cupping their hands like they were telling a secret. They loved the ending and how the birthday theme came out with writing! The kids old enough to read loved shouting the last line out loud!

Where is Baby’s Birthday Cake? By Karen Katz
A great lift-the-flap book to end Storytime on! I really enjoy these baby kind of books to end Storytime with. They are great for pulling everyone’s attention back on the book at the end of our time. The books are always colorful, and everyone loves to see the flaps lifted and the big reveals! Baby is looking for his birthday cake! Where could it be? It is just a little thing, but I loved that baby is wearing a purple shirt with stars on it!

Other Birthday themed books:
If You Give a Pig a Party by Larua Numeroff
A Birthday for Cow! By Jan Thomas
The Birthday Box by Leslie Patricelli
Happy Birthday, Bunny! by Stephanie Graegin

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When you Receive a Call from Google about your Library’s Coding Program!

Hello everyone! After attending the 2016 WLA session, “A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Coding go Down” lead by Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Ryan Claringbole, and Jen Fait, I knew that I had to bring coding education into my library programming.

Computer science is a new world for me. My major was in Communications. I did take two computer sciences classes my senior year, but that education was minimal. As I was working through the college courses, and the continuing education I have pursed in coding since attending that session, the more I realized that almost every part of our lives is touched by a computer program. If you dial your phone, a computer program will has been written to give your phone instructions to complete that task. If you start you car, computers in your car operate so that your car runs safely, without your even knowing the computers are there. If you turn on your washing machine, a computer program regulates how hot the water temperature will be.

Since our lives are so intertwined with computer programs, I believe that coding is a necessary 21st century skill for both youth and adults. Still more, I believe that anyone, regardless of education background, can learn to code. 

Today, the jobs and futures of our children depend on their being able to look inside the black box and see how coding works. Even more, they deserve to be not simply consumers of media, but also know how to create it in code. In the coding programs we have lead it always amazes me how interested both parents and kids are in coding, and how excited they become when they learn they can create media on their own–all by using code. I lead a Scratch program with one class of 5th graders. Afterwards, I heard comments from their parents that their child was not asking for time to play on video games. Instead, they were asking for time on the computer to create their own games. I checked in with this class at the end of the school year, and each of the kids had original and creative ideas for websites, games, or apps that they were hoping to learn how to create with code. When I asked a similar 5th grade class, they had trouble understanding what coding was, and what it could create. A simple one-hour program changed how the first class understood coding, and made them understand that their creativity and ideas belonged in the coding world. 

The more I learn about coding, the more ideas I find that I want to try. I have been able to blog about a few of our coding programs that we have hosted.  What I did not know was that the blog posts were given to Google, who chose to feature our library on their blog post releasing information on their Phase III “Ready to Code” initiative! I received a phone call last week from Nicky from Google asking if they could use our library’s name and program information for their big announcement! Yeah! 

Have you planned coding programs at your library? I would love to chat with you and share notes! Happy coding! 

And…here is the Google blog announcement!
https://www.blog.google/topics/education/libraries-across-us-are-ready-code/

 

Kids’ STEM Workshop: Tabletop Coding

Tabletop Coding

One aspect of the coding revolution that is sweeping libraries around the country is the idea that we can expose youth and adults to coding concepts without even needing a computer. This is based on the idea that coding follows logic, and logic we can demonstrate and experiment with without fancy equipment. This is great news if you have a large group for a coding program, and you know that you do not have enough devices or gadgets for everyone!

I was able to lead a no-tech coding program for a class of 5th grade students with no computer needed. We worked on the Tabletop Coding kit, which you can download from Wiscode.org. This lesson plan does not require any technology, and instead uses a checkerboard, two game pieces, sticky notes, and index cards to show students that computer programs are made from sets of instructions to achieve a pre-determined goal.

And…even without technology…our students loved this activity!

The skinny: This was a great program, and my students ran with it! They developed complex ideas and games just using their checkerboard and some random objects that I made available to them. Two students turned their checkerboard into the house in the Westing Game book. The goal of their “program” was to help a kid travel through the house without being hurt. I was surprised at how creative they took this, just using the simple instructions I gave them.

Cost:
$0. We already had the checkerboards already on hand! You will need one checkerboard for 2-3 students. I would not try to make the groups any larger than 3 students.

Time needed:
For this 5th grade group, this activity took about 30-45 minutes.

How it worked:

I followed the lesson plan from WisCodeLiterati. I showed the students a checkerboard and gave myself two checker pieces. I randomly placed my red and black checker piece on the board and told the students the object of their program was to write instructions to make the red checker piece land on top of the black piece without moving the black piece. I showed them the cards that I made them, and how the “X” cards allowed their red checker piece to move horizontally, and the “Y” cards allowed their piece to move vertically. I then placed  a basket filled with odds and ends from my craft room on the floor. I told them that they could place these objects on their board to close off certain squares. They would have to write their program to go around these objects. I then gave groups of 2-3 students their checkerboard, two checker pieces, their deck of “X” and “Y” direction cards, and told them to have fun!

As I said, I was really surprised at how seriously the kids took this activity! They looked through their cards, and quickly found the order that they needed to organize their cards to bring their checker piece where they wanted to go. Then, they began to add obstacles and then arranged their cards again to avoid those obstacles. It was a lot of fun to see how creative they were!

This is a very simple activity, and the students caught on to the computer science of it right away! If you would like to begin offering coding programs, I would highly recommend this program! It can be adapted for any age, and it requires very low cost, set-up, and preparation!

Have you tried a “no-tech” coding activity? Do you have ideas to share? I would love to hear them!

Happy coding!

 

 

Honeybee Window Decoration Passive Program Craft

Every Tuesday we offer Crafts for Kids. Basically, we set out several craft projects as a passive program. Surprisingly, it is very well attended, with people driving into town on Tuesdays just to make the crafts. This week, one of our projects was a honeybee window decoration. I have attached the template to this post so that you do not need to try to draw it out on your own, unless you want to. It may be hard to see in the photo, but the yellow body of the bee is made from contact paper. Kids stick on little squares of yellow tissue paper to make the stained glass kind of look. They can hang it on the window if they like, and see the light come through the body of their honeybee!

You will need:
Black paper
Yellow tissue paper
Contact paper
Glue sticks
Scissors

Happy crafting!

Template Download: 
Homebee Window Decoration Template

Farm Friends Storytime

Farm Friends Storytime

Books:
Before We Eat: From Farm to Table by Pat Brisson
My Farm Friends by Wendell Minor
Counting Cows by Woody Jackson
Color Farm by Lois Ehlert

What better way to celebrate June Dairy Month than to plan some Storytime fun, and honor our local farmers at the same time? Where our library is located, I think within a 10-minute drive any direction, you can find an operating dairy farm. Weaving stories about farming into Storytime gives our children local vocabulary they need to describe the world they see.

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Bookmarks, Posters, and Increasing Community Ownership at your Public Library

This March, with summer reading program plans dancing in my head, I decided to try something new: why not have a poster and bookmark contest to promote summer reading! The idea was not entirely my own. I heard that my friends at Platteville Public Library had hosted a bookmark contest the year before and that it had been incredibly inexpensive to run. (Thank you, Platteville Public Library!). Our city is just over 5,000 people, and our service population encompasses another 10,000 who live in the rural areas around our city. I am always looking for ways to increase our community’s sense of ownership in our public library, and few activities promote as much ownership as seeing your creative work displayed as a poster, or given away as a bookmark!   

In the past, our library purchased bookmarks and posters from professional library supply sources to promote the summer reading program. This year, we decided to use this opportunity to showcase local artistic talent by printing designs created by local artists. In late March, I created a registration form with the rules for the contest, and made this form available at our circulation desks, on Facebook, and on our website. We had four categories: K-3rd grade, 4-8th grade, 9-12 grade, and adult.

I was worried that we would receive almost no entries. Anytime our library does something new, it takes time for our community to know about it, and begin participating. However, two of our area art teachers saw that registration form, and gave it to their students as an optional assignment. With these teacher’s partnerships, our library received over 40 entries. After the entries came in, we taped the artwork to black construction paper, and using sticky tack, we attached them to a wall and placed a number by each entry.

I also wanted our community to feel ownership, even if they had not submitted artwork. So, I made a simple ballot and asked our circulation librarian to give the ballot to each patron when they came to check out their items. I also took pictures of all the entries and uploaded the photos to Facebook so patrons could vote via that medium.

After a month I simply counted up the votes to find out which designs would be our winner. I contacted a local print company in our city, and they were able to print 500 color bookmarks (2.25 inches by 7 inches) and 14 posters for about $100.

The contest was a huge success. We were able to submit the contest results to the local paper, along with an invitation to the community to pick up a bookmark to take home while signing up for our upcoming summer reading program. Great publicity for everyone!

This was a lot of fun, and a wonderful way to bring our community together around the goal of promoting summer reading. The bookmarks are now out at our circulation desks, and the posters decorate walls that had just a little too much white space. Our patrons have begun to notice them, and realize that they were designed by local artists. We will certainly be doing it again in the future!

I think the largest takeaway for me is to look for an opportunity, any opportunity, to allow your community to find a way to leave their mark in their library. Doing so bring people from outside the library walls in, and our library grows and strengthens because of it.

Here is the registration form we used (I am so sorry. I was not able to find the editable word document on my computer):

Here is the ballot that we used: Poster and Bookmark Contest Ballot

And, here are a few more posters: