If you’ve been on the second floor of Central Library recently, you’ve seen some signs of renovation. Soon, some of that work will move to the first floor Children’s Room. Yes, we’ll soon see some changes that will support our new emphasis as a Family Place Library. That designation will align us with over 300 libraries in 23 states which have made a commitment to serving families with children from birth to age 5. Here’s the website: http://www.familyplacelibraries.org/.
What makes a Family Place Library special? Here are the core components:
- Strong collections of materials (books, music, toys) for babies, toddlers, parents and caregivers.
- The Parent-Child Workshop, which is a 5-week program for toddlers and parents, which emphasizes the importance of play and the importance of parents as a child’s first teachers.
- Coalition-building with community organizations to develop programs and services that meet local needs.
- Outreach to new and non-traditional library users, especially parents and very young children.
- Developmentally-appropriate programming for very young children and their parents.
- Library staff trained in family support, child development, parent education, and best practices.
Here at KPL, we’re just getting started on implementing Family Place Libraries. One of the most exciting projects is expanding the space in Children’s Room at Central Library so that we have more room to play! Soon, you’ll see a brand-new Activity Room open, the Story Room will lose one of its walls, and some things will be re-arranged. We’re excited about this time of growth and hope that you’ll be a part of our development as a Family Place Library!
Family Place Libraries
The next time you visit the second floor, you may think to yourself that things are not exactly the way you left them. It’s not your imagination; we have started to move things around in anticipation of renovating the Clarence L. Miller Family Local History Room. At this point the changes are minor, but we hope you will enjoy a lot more wonderful sunlight as we remove the shelving that once defined the eastern edge of the Local History Room. This also allows us to immediately serve patrons in this area from one desk, rather than two. We expect to start truly kicking up dust near the end of August.
Speaking of dust, on the first floor you may hear some construction noises coming from the staff areas. In preparation for the expansion of the Children’s Room, we are moving things around and consolidating spaces. Advances in technology and process improvements have helped use less space to circulate more materials. This frees up some square footage adjacent to the Children’s Room, which can be annexed to provide more activity space for children. So those noises you hear will become a fun new space in just a few months. Stay tuned.
The Association for Library Services for Children maintains a great web resource for families: the cleverly-named Great Websites for Kids. The folks at ALSC are always watching for terrific resources for this list; recently, they added ten new sites. Aimed at kids up to age 14, there are also some very good sites aimed at parents and caregivers.
Using links like these, which are all vetted by the American Library Association, is one way for parents to sort through the immensity of the internet in search of quality sites for kids. Take a look at some of these and let us know what you think.
This is what a Monarch caterpillar looks like when it's ready to morph from a caterpillar into a butterfly. This animal has already been alive for several weeks. As in the Eric Carle book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, it began as a little egg laid on a leaf. The egg was laid by a Monarch butterfly. Then, after the caterpillar hatched from the egg, it got bigger and bigger as it munched on milkweed in its caterpillar form until a few days ago when it climbed up high to hang so that it could turn into a chrysalis. A few weeks after it morphs into a chrysalis, it will emerge in butterfly form. Then, it will be able to lay eggs that will hatch into very tiny Monarch caterpillars.
Have you seen very many Monarch butterflies this summer? I have not. I'm told Monarchs have had a difficult time migrating northward. Maybe you'll come to the library to check in on the chrysalis and borrow some books about butterflies.
Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle
Anita Silvey always has great recommendations and reminders about children’s books. She has spent her professional life reading books, writing about books, reviewing books, and promoting books. Now she has a great website: the “Book-a-Day Almanac.”
Here’s the website: http://childrensbookalmanac.com.
Urban Fiction writer, Earl Sewell, will be at Alma Powell Library July 30 at 6:00 pm. Mr. Sewell is not only an urban fiction writer but he also writes a series of teen books for Kimani Tru. I've read a couple from his teen series called Keysha's drama series. I enjoyed Maya's Choiceand If I were your boyfriend. One of the things I liked about Mr. Sewell's teen books is that they are very diverse and culture wise. Many teens would find a lot to identify with, if not for themselves then for some of their friends. Mr. Sewell addresses a great deal of the challenges young people face today. In Maya's Choice Maya's cousin, Viviana, moves in and it makes life difficult for Maya and her life begins to fall apart. In If I were your boyfriend Keysha has a lot to learn and life changing decisions to make.
If you're a urban fiction lover or like teen books that are full of life challenges then please join us to meet and hear from our guest Earl Sewell.
The Kalamazoo Public Schools 2013 Summer Reading lists are a great place to get reading suggestions to read twenty minutes or more per day. The lists are arranged by the grade students to which students are "rising" when school starts in the fall. These titles are great choices for Summer Reading or any time of year, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Looking for more great summer reading ideas? Come visit! We'll be glad to see you! Don't forget to check in for Summer Reading Games with your gameboard or get signed up if you haven't already!
So Many Summer Reading Choices
The National Association for the Education of Young Children has some fine online materials about playing with music at home with children. Kids love music and you will love the ideas for incorporating music into your play with children. I appreciate the great music for children that's on the NAEYC site, as well.
We know that playing with music can be a powerful and enjoyable tool to learn about the world and to develop reading readiness skills. All children's programs at KPL incorporate music in accessible ways. Musical Storytime at KPL features a special musical guest every month. Kalamazoo Public Library has lots of recorded music for children available to borrow as well and additional resources if you would like more ideas about playing with music with your children.
Kids and Musichttp://www.kpl.gov/kids/events/musical-storytime.aspx
The Kalamazoo Public Library is celebrating the Earth with a variety of programs for all ages in the coming weeks. This afternoon at Oshtemo, tweens and teens can make crafts from recycled items. On Saturday, also at Oshtemo, join us for a family-friendly outdoor concert with the Earthwork Music Collective. The Kalamazoo chapter of the American Chemical Society will be at the event to talk about the impact chemistry has on the planet, and the Organic Gypsy will sell delicious food from her truck. You can learn to make your own green, nontoxic cleaning products at Eastwood on April 23, and learn how to make compost for your garden on April 30 at Powell. KPL's librarians will be at the People's Food Co-op on April 27 to read stories for Grow It Yourself Day.
What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?
Earth Day Concert 2013
One of the great rewards of parenting is remembering how to play make-believe. A perennial favorite is ghost hunt. The kids want to play a game of looking for ghosts around the house. A child proclaims that a small flashlight is actually an instrument to reveal where the ghosts have been. Ectoplasm? It’s suddenly everywhere we look!
Kids aren’t seeking to be too scared when they engage in imaginative play about scary subjects. They know how to stay in control of their own make-believe. Children’s fears and interests might inform their play as they learn how to regulate scary feelings. I’m pretty sure my job as a parent is to play along. As demonstrated by the dad in the family favorite My Neighbor Totoro, laughter is the ever available antidote to childhood fears. It also can be helpful to mix up a big batch of monster repellent in order to ward off bedtime fears.
What are some of your favorite ways to make-believe with the kids?