Thursday, June 18, 2015

Stock Your Digital Suitcase: A Family Tech Program

Summer usually means two main things at the library: summer reading and vacations. As youth librarians, we want those two things to go hand in hand; we want kids to include reading as part of their summer vacations. For many libraries, this intended connection has long led to heightened promotion of audiobooks in the summertime. After all, what better way to pass the time of a long family car trip than with a great book that's performed for you? With this summer ethos in mind, I decided to offer a program to highlight the particular value of the library's eresources during the summer. And so the concept for "Stock Your Digital Suitcase" was born.

My idea for "Stock Your Digital Suitcase" was to allow my target audience--school-age children and their caregivers--the opportunity to learn about the different downloadable and streaming eresources my library offers, then give them time to start trying them out while I was in the program to help with questions and troubleshooting.

Because I knew I wanted families who attended the program to be able to get hands-on and actually download a resource, I clearly stated in the published event description that attendees should bring an ereader and/or wi-fi-connected device (smartphone, tablet), their library card, and any password they might need to download the free eresource apps. I asked people to register for the program so I could gauge the general level of interest in this topic--if only one or two signed up, I was prepared to scrap the program and instead set up one-on-one appointments with the would-be registrants. While the program roster didn't fill up as quickly as some of our summer program offerings, I was pleasantly surprised that, come program day, I only had one slot left in my 20-person roster. Eresources is obviously a topic of interest for many of our patrons.

I spent the first half of the program--about 30 minutes--giving an overview of the basics of my library's eresources. I presented these basics with the visual aid of some simple slides, which I had on my iPad mini and projected via Apple TV. We talked about what is required to use ersources: library card in good standing; device; and internet connection. And, because my library has eresources available for both download and streaming, we talked about the difference between those two models. The big takeaway: if you're going on vacation to a place where you don't know if you'll have wi-fi access, make sure to download everything before you leave!

In this introduction to our eresources, I also explained that each of the platforms--in our case, 3M Cloud Library, OverDrive, OneClick Digital, Hoopla, and Zinio--requires users to set up an account with them. I emphasize that, while this initial setup process can feel a bit tedious, it is a one-time process. From there, I touted what each resource offers, running the gamut from downloadable and streaming ebooks and eaudio, to downloadable magazines and streaming comics, to streaming movies, tv shows, and music. To say that the attendees were flabbergasted at the breadth of content available who be accurate.

I had created a little half-page handout for attendees to use in the second half of the program, which was hands-on trial time. The handout listed the web address of where to find the list of the library's eresources as well as the names and types of content offered by our different platforms. I included images of each platform's app icon as well to make locating them in the app marketplace easier.

I moved about the room as the kids and their caregivers got down to business downloading a first app and setting up an account. The account creation aspect is the reason I specified this program was for families, including the caregiver: creating an account on each platform requires an email address (which many kids either don't have or don't know), and most ask you to check a box saying you are over 13 or have a parents' permission to proceed. 

Once the desired apps were downloaded and required accounts created, kids searched and browsed for the books and other materials (but primarily books, which made me so happy!) they found interesting, then tried their hands at downloading and/or streaming. At this point, we talked a bit about how eresources return themselves (no late fees!), how best to browse for kids' materials, and how to put an eresource on hold. All of the questions were outstanding ones that really helped kids and their caregivers understand how to use these resources in the same ways they would the library stacks. After the end of the program--which I ended with a reminder to add all ereading to kids' summer reading logs--lots of families left with smiles and statements that they couldn't wait to "pack" for their summer vacations.

I'm thrilled that this program was such a success. As the staff member who purchases all the children's and teen content for our ebook/eaudiobook platforms, I know that we've upped our budgets for eresources in past years. The fact that there's a sizable audience of library cardholders eager to put these materials to use makes me happy. When I shared the success with my colleagues, they recommended possible times to repeat this type of program: perhaps after the holidays when devices have been received as gifts, or in advance of spring breaks. I'll figure out the logistics of when, but I think it's safe to say this program deserves some repeats to highlight a great pocket of our collections.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

What It Means to Me to Be a Media Mentor

I consider myself a pretty competent desk worker. When I'm on the youth services "Ask Questions Here" desk at my library, I genuinely enjoy advisory questions--it's a joy to get great materials into the hands of eager youth. I get a rush from a good reference query; it's like a sort of logic puzzle to find the specific resource or information that the child or caregiver seeks. And I feel like my natural curiosity serves me well in my job: I read a lot about literacy, education, developmental appropriateness, etc., and I am always happy to share some of the research and recommendations I've read when parents ask questions about specific materials, encouraging literacy, or appropriateness of a certain item for their child.

I love doing all of these parts of the desk worker's daily trade. And, in a twenty-first century library, I don't think any of these services is limited strictly to books.

Did you notice that I didn't specifically mention books and traditional reading materials in the first paragraph of this blog post? That was intentional. If my experience working at reference desks over the past few years has taught me anything, it's that library patrons--of every age--consume information widely and in many different ways. Books. Audiobooks. Downloadables. Web resources. Databases. And, most recently, new media--predominantly apps.

The way I see it, my job is to answer patron questions. If they ask me about books, I tell them about books. If they ask me about the appropriateness of a book for a child of a certain age, I share resources that can provide perspectives on that topic. I use the knowledge I have gleaned from my education, training, and years of service to given patrons the best possible resources in answer to their questions, whatever those questions may be. And if that holds true for books, it holds true for other types of media, too.

That's one of the reasons I co-authored Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth, a white paper adopted by the ALSC Board this past March.

Media mentorship means providing children and their caregivers with the best possible answers to their queries, regardless of the type of media they ask about. Being able to answer those questions well--which is my job--requires me to be knowledgeable about all those types of media my kids and caregivers might ask about. I need to have some basic information about all those types of media, specifically information and recommendations from experts. And I need to know where to go to find reliable, quality information when I a patron's question requires me to find it.

That's what being a media mentor means to me: supporting children and their families in their information needs and wants, and having access to and knowledge of the information that can help me do that. It's not about format--I am a media mentor when asked about books as much as when I'm asked about apps. After all, books are the original library medium.

I don't find the idea of media mentorship controversial. It's not about technology; it's about children and families and doing the best we can to serve their needs. That's what it means to me to be a media mentor.


Do you have a perspective or story about what it means to act as a media mentor to children and families in your library? Help us spread the word about the virtual release party for the new Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth white paper! After Tuesday's ALSC Community Forum, we'll be taking to Twitter and blogs to spread ideas for media mentor programs and services. You can join us by using the hashtag #mediamentor.  

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Exploring Colors in Science Club, Jr.

For the past few months, I've been offering Science Club, Jr. programs here at Skokie. These programs, aimed at children ages 3-5 with an accompanying caregiver, take place in our youth craft room, which boasts laminate floors, counters, and a sink. It's the perfect space to get a little bit messy, y'all!

And that's what we've been doing as families become accustomed to this new program offering: getting hands-on (and a tad bit messy) with some science. Because the room is quite snug with 15 kids and their caregivers, I've reformatted the Preschool Science programs that I used to do in Missouri for a different space. In Science Club, Jr., we focus on a main topic of the day. We first explore that topic with a story, talking about our topic as we go. Then it's time for the hands-on experimentation, which brings the program to 30 minutes.

This month, we explored colors in Science Club, Jr. As we waited for our scientists to trickle into the program space, we all talked about our favorite colors. Then we shared a story: Hervé Tullet's Mix It Up! Have you read it? If not, you're probably familiar with Press Here, the great interactive picture book also by Tullet. Mix It Up! boasts lots of the same interactive aspects while also exploring how colors mix together--specifically, what happens when primary colors combine. One thing I love about the book is that it reinforces the learning about secondary colors by having kids guess what will happen several times. It's not tedious, I promise; rather, it's perfect for a group of kids whose familiarity with colors may vary.

From there, I had the young scientists put on their smocks just in case things got really messy. Then it was experiment time. I had prepped our new indestructible test tubes so that each child would have access to tubes of red, yellow, and blue water (made with liquid food coloring; only 1 drop of blue per tube, please). I had also stocked each workstation with four empty cups for mixing colors, as well as a one-page, both-sides observation sheet on which the kids could record their experiments. There was room for four experiments: mixing red and yellow; mixing yellow and blue; mixing blue and red; and mixing any two (or more!) colors the child might choose. The observation sheet showed two empty tubes and one empty cup for each experiment; kids could use the appropriate colors of crayons to color in the tubes to show what colors they mixed, and then to color in the cup to show what color resulted.

Kids had so much fun getting to mix primary colors to create new colors they also recognized. Many of the kids seemed to enjoy the process of recording their experiments by coloring in the observation sheets, too. I tried to prompt the caregivers, who assisted their young scientists in the experiments, to ask thoughtful questions about "What do you think is going to happen?" and "What do observe from mixing the colors," and I have to say I was satisfied with the interactions happening between children and caregivers throughout. Some kids (and caregivers) needed a bit more step-by-step guidance to proceed through the four experiments, but others were pleased as punch to get down to business and try mixing anything and everything. That's a sign of a great scientific exploration, if you ask me: high engagement and interest in what else might happen.

When all was said and done, this was a simple, straightforward, and engaging edition of Science Club, Jr. It used all items we already had on hand: Mix It Up! by Hervé Tullet, plastic test tubes, paper cups, water, liquid food coloring, and crayons. The only thing I needed to make from scratch was the observation sheet, which you're more than welcome to access for yourself here.

If you offer this program, or some other permutation on exploring the science of colors with young children, I'd love to hear how it goes for you. I've also previously offered a Preschool Science program on colors, which you can read about here.

Monday, May 11, 2015

How I've Done Preschool Science: A Q&A

Over the few years since I started offering Preschool Science programs at my previous job, and in particular as I started blogging about those programs for the ALSC Blog, I've gotten a bunch of questions from librarians all over asking for some additional details on how I ran those programs. I am always so happy to answer questions about these or other of my programs; why should every programmer have to start from scratch for every program? It's so much more efficient to start with examples of programs that have succeeded at real libraries, culled from whatever sources you prefer.

So, on that note, today I'm sharing a Q&A pertaining to my Preschool Science programs, inspired by some recent questions I've had about theme. I'm referring to the Preschool Science series of programs I started at my previous job in Missouri--I haven't written about my similar programs here at Skokie yet.

And in case you want to check out the program plans/write-ups first, you can find them at the following links:

Do you offer these programs on a one time occasional basis, in scheduled sessions of multiple weeks in a row, or are they integrated into a schedule that also includes non-science storytimes?
     Preschool Science programs appeared on the program calendar for the branch library every other month, or six times per year. The regular branch storytime schedule involved three weeks of back-to-back storytimes each month, but Preschool Science (and any other “bonus” preschool programs, like dance parties, etc.) were scheduled in addition to regular storytimes. We did make an effort to schedule Preschool Science on a day of the week that we didn’t usually have a storytime; this decision was to allow as many families with a range of schedules and availability the option to attend one of our early literacy programs.

Do you bring in other elements of a traditional storytime into a Preschool Science program? (e.g., fingerplays, rhymes?)
     I certainly do integrate fingerplays and rhymes into Preschool Science programs. I prefer to match rhymes and other elements with our science topic--as another way to reinforce basic concept knowledge--but if I need to throw in a song for a fidgety group, I’ll do that, too. I haven’t always found songs, rhymes, or fingerplays that match all my science topics, but I’m always on the lookout.

Do you set a lower age limit, or do babies and toddlers come to play too?
     The programs are advertised for ages 3-5 with a caregiver. Siblings are welcome to attend as well, but the program content is not geared at younger children.

How long does a typical Preschool Science program run?
     The story and other concept introduction portion lasts 10-15 minutes, and then kids are able to spend the rest of the time at any or all of the hands-on stations (with their caregivers). As a result of this self-paced format, the program can last anywhere from 20-45 minutes. That is, after everyone finished the introduction portion together, some kids will spend 5 minutes at the stations while others will happily spend 30 minutes. It’s up to them and their level of engagement.

I imagine these events are wildly popular. Do you register and/or cap attendance, or is it come one come all?
     I have always put a registration limit on my Preschool Science programs because of the size of the program room. Technically speaking, I could easily do the storytime introduction portion for a huge group, and since the hands-on activities are self-paced, there’s no limit to potential audience their, either. So I’ve just always let the capacity of the room be my guide for capping attendance. That said, if a coworker were leading the program and felt more comfortable with a restricted group size, I’d totally accommodate that.

I see you set up stations for after the storytime. Some of them seem sequential, while others seem to be more go-to-what-interests-you in any order. How do you decide what set-up will work best for a given program? Does one way work better than another in terms of: How kids enjoy it? Getting the lesson across? What is easiest to do?
     Let me start off by saying that, when I’m planning the hands-on stations, I never envision that they need to be done in a certain order. I intentionally plan for the stations to be able to stand alone; this is because, with the self-paced nature of the hands-on exploration time, I would have no control over who goes to what station when, and I also wouldn’t want to create a bottleneck of everyone trying to do the same stations, in the same order, at the same time. So I make sure that stations can be done in any order at any pace and still be meaningful.
     Kids really seem to enjoy the fact that stations are self-paced, as it allows them to spend an amount of time on an activity that is appropriate to their attention span and interest. Also, because stations are self-paced, it is expected that the child’s caregiver will “do” the stations with the child. As a result, kids seem to love getting to “do” science with their grownup, whatever the particular activity is.
     I do make sure, in setting up each station, that I include on each table a caregiver “cheat sheet,” if you will, which gives brief, simple instructions for the activity at the particular station as well as a few key vocab words and/or questions they can ask their children as they do the activity together. That’s how I try to ensure that the science concept for the program gets across.
     And to reiterate an earlier point, I think it’s easiest to offer standalone stations to keep the flow of the room moving. If I had to spend my time in the program helping people take turns along a set course of stations, I wouldn’t have time to meander about the room and talk to kids and caregivers about what they were doing and observing.

Putting these programs together, do you tend to start with a book you like or the concept?
     When I first started offering Preschool Science programs, I would start with a basic science concept and then build a program around it (i.e., find a book or books, figure out some group discussion activities, and then plan the stations). After I’d gotten the program rolling for a few months, however, I started to keep a list of newer picture books that would lend themselves well to a science topic of a future Preschool Science program.

Do you have additional staffing requirements to run the stations?
     Because the stations are self-guided and standalone, and because caregivers are expected to attend with their kids and go through the stations with them, I don’t require any extra staffing for the stations in the program. I’d occasionally have a homeschooled teen volunteer come before a program to help with set up the stations, but didn’t require additional help in the program.

Do you have a set end time, or do people linger and trickle out gradually?
     I booked the program room for a 45 minute long program. As I mentioned above, some kids and their caregivers only stayed for 20 minutes--that was sufficient time for them to go through the activities in a way that was meaningful and interesting for them. Others (usually slightly older preschoolers) stayed in activities for much longer, and so the 45 minute cap gave them good parameters for when it was time to wrap up their explorations at the library. I did always encourage further exploration at home, so it never felt like I had to kick a kid out of the program when our time was up.

You have noted positive caregiver/child exchanges at the stations. Have you had similar interactions between librarian and caregiver?
     Yes! I always tried to talk to caregivers as I meandered between hands-on activity stations. This was especially possible with the caregivers of kids who stayed longest in the program. I would talk to caregivers about how they could replicate simple science activities at home; how they could ask open-ended questions to help their children learn; and I’d also answer questions about science resources at the library and elsewhere in the community. The interactions were great, and they left me feeling confident that science wasn’t just an at-the-library thing for many of the families--that they became dedicated to being scientists at home, too.


Do you have any additional questions about how I've done Preschool Science programs? Ask away in the comments!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Rhymes Around the World: A Día Celebration

The village my library serves is remarkably diverse. It's been that way for decades, with large community initiatives like the Festival of Cultures and Coming Together in Skokie and Niles Township meant to celebrate and explore that diversity on a continual basis. In putting together my first Día program since coming to this library, I wanted to do my best to help the diversity of our community show through in a Día program. My attempt at this goal was Rhymes Around the World.

(photo by Skokie Public Library,
CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Rhymes Around the World was a 30-minute storytime-style program that took place smack dab in the middle of the preschool area of the youth department. I intentionally opted to do the program in an open space (as opposed to in a program room) so that anyone who happened to be in the library on our program morning would be able to join in, even if just for a few minutes. As part of my planning process, I sent out a call to many of the library's contacts within cultural community groups in the village; these are groups the library has had working relationships with, and who are huge supporters of the library. The invitation: to share favorite nursery rhymes and/or songs with the program attendees, and in so doing help celebrate the culture of literacy and love for children that transcends languages and backgrounds.

During the actual program last Thursday, we had nearly 50 kids and caregivers participating throughout the program. Many of these caregivers said they came to the library for a play outing but were pleasantly surprised to be able to join in a program. (A handful said they particularly liked the out-in-the-open setting for the program, as it made them feel less self-conscious about kids whose attentions waver in enclosed settings.)

(photo by Skokie Public Library,
CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

These ~50 folks enjoyed songs and rhymes in English, French, Spanish, and Urdu, with lots of caregivers chiming in to offer their children's own favorite rhymes and songs with the group. For a relatively informal event--people could come and go as they pleased--I was struck by the successful simplicity of it all: caregivers to passionate about teaching and celebrating their children; children captivated by rhymes they knew as well as rhymes the were hearing for the first time; and an overarching sense that our community shares a value for supporting young children that is not bounded by lines of culture or ethnicity.

(photo by Skokie Public Library,
CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

I wrapped up the program with a resonating thought: that a community rich in cultural diversity can offer something truly great to all the children we serve when we share and celebrate our literary heritages.

I hope you had a successful Día celebration of your own!

(photo by Skokie Public Library,
CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Stargazer Nights at the Library

This spring at my library, we're exploring both microcosms and macrocosms as part of the newest rotation of the BOOMbox, our flexible STEAM space. Under the heading Big and Small, the space is filled with microscopes, telescopes, and all manner of activities to explore these various cosmos.

My coworker Amy had the outstanding idea to move some of the formal programming for this spring outside of the physical library space by offering Stargazer Nights on the Village Green adjacent to the library. All the better to take advantage of the Cometron telescopes the library purchased, Amy reasoned. And to maximize the potential audience for these sessions, Amy asked me if I'd be willing to host one session per month on the night of my usual weekly evening shift while she offered sessions on hers. I was excited to help!

So far we've hosted four of our six total Stargazer Nights. While these events appear on our online and print calendars and BOOMbox flyers, they're drop-in events, with no registration required. Despite the fact that we've had 2/4 overcast evenings, we've had several dozen participants each time. And I consider this next bit exciting: through informal conversations with the folks who come to participate, we've found out that about 80% of participants had not come to the library specifically for the event; rather, they serendipitously discovered it was happening on their way into or out of the library. Visibility, here, was a huge factor--folks could see the telescopes pointing upward as they went about their library business, and natural curiosity and wonder induced them to stop and look up, too.

Regardless of the visibility on any given evening, each Stargazer Night introduced families and individuals across a wide age spectrum to basic telescope skills and etiquette. We talked about using the finderscope to help to point the telescope at the desired object to view; how the mirrors of the telescope cause what we see through the eyepiece to be inverted; and how to focus the telescope. Amy and I have also discovered an excellent way to help young stargazers use the telescope without bumping it and thus changing the view: we ask kids to put their hands in their pockets before leaning over to look in the eyepiece. Simple!

We talked about simple astronomical identification skills such as finding the Big Dipper; using the Big Dipper to locate the North Star; and how to tell a star from a planet from a man-made satellite. We also talked visible constellations, including Orion (we had a great view in March) and Leo (in April). We saw the moon in several different phases over the course of the four Stargazer Nights, and so we had conversations about the phases of the moon and their names as well.

The cream of the crop, though, truly was looking through our Cometron telescope to see the moon in sharper relief as well as a few planets. We've been able to see Venus (both with the naked eye and through telescopes), but Jupiter really takes the cake. Jupiter is plenty visible without a telescope, but we were also to see a whopping 5 of Jupiter's moons when we viewed the planet through the telescope. 5! So many participants' minds were blown at being able to see such distant celestial bodies.

While we have two more Stargazer Nights coming up in May, I must say we've already had some outstanding outcomes. On the most basic level, we've had lots of participants of all ages expressing thanks for being able to even do this sort of thing at the library. We're relatively near Chicago, with its Adler Planetarium, but even so everyone we talked to was thrilled to have this type of opportunity in Skokie. Parents commented that they particularly appreciated being able to expose their children to this type of technology. One family who stumbled upon the event and joined had never even seen a telescope before--what an amazing opportunity for the library to have a significant impact on their scientific knowledge.

The programs thus far have engaged a wide range of ages and knowledge levels. We had the aforementioned novices, but we also have had longtime astronomy hobbyists who enjoyed a) participating in something they care deeply about with others, and b) having the opportunity to share their knowledge by answering some questions when Amy and I were helping other folks.

The majority of participants fell into some middle ground--they knew a bit about stargazing and/or astronomy, but hadn't been reminded to look up in quite some time. Stargazer Nights resparked their interest. And that's what we ultimately want of any BOOMbox activity: to spur an interest or motivation to engage in a topic beyond the library program itself. To that end, we made sure that anyone who was interested in continuing to stargaze on their own was able to take home the monthly Evening Sky Map we had printed from

If we can inspire behavior that leads to further exploration? I consider that a stellar program.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Little Learners Browsing Bins: A Themed Pocket Collection for Ages 4-7

We debuted a new pocket collection at my library this week.

Let me take a step back to start. We’ve been redesigning a space in the youth department designated for children ages 4-7, whom we call “Little Learners,” and their caregivers. The goal of the space is to engage these emerging readers and their families in literacy-positive activities, including reading and hands-on learning.

One of the initiatives for the space, and the one that I’ve helmed, is the creation of a pocket collection: ten themed browsing bins of age-appropriate picture books (YES! Picture books, and nonfiction in picture book format, are wonderful for all ages!). I’ve done theming/organizing of collections before, but the really cool thing about the Little Learners Browsing Bins project is that it was building a pocket collection from scratch. Turns out it’s super gratifying to go through all the steps to create a shiny, accessible new collection.

The first step was deciding on the bin themes. I did some research on libraries that have organized/reorganized their picture book collections into neighborhoods, thinking about what themes recur most and would be most appropriate for ages 4-7. I created a list of about a dozen themes, then shared them in a poll with all the folks at my library who work the youth services desk. My team members were expert at weighing in on themes--they know what types of books families with children this age ask for over and over again, and they have a great sense of what hidden gems in the collection could use more time front-and-center. They voted on preferred themes, including writing in suggestions. A combo of these themes then went to a poll on the library’s Facebook page, which library patrons were able to take. We got some good feedback from the folks who took the public poll, too.

Thus was our set of 10 themes determined--and 10 was the magic number because our new browsing bins would have space for 10 themes (4 “major” double-binned themes, and 6 single-binned themes):
  • Award-Winners - titles that have received accolades, with an emphasis on awards recognizing diversity and inclusion 
  • Fairy Tales - folk and fairy tales from both multicultural and traditional Western traditions 
  • Science - titles that invite scientific interest and inquiry 
  • Longer Tales - longer stories told in picture book format (we had previously noted many of these books in our collections with a note reading “Illustrated Fiction” in the MARC record) 
  • Dinosaurs - picture books and picture book-format easy nonfiction dealing with dinosaurs as historical creatures and characters in stories 
  • Things That Go - books that depict vehicles and transportation 
  • Multilingual - titles including multilingual elements, with an emphasis on major languages spoken in the community 
  • School Stories - stories about the experience of starting or going to school 
  • Animals & Nature - picture books and picture book-format easy nonfiction that portray animals and nature as they are in real life 
  • Listen-Along - picture books with musical accompaniment 
Then it was GO TIME for getting books in each theme. With the exception of titles for the Longer Tales and Listen-Along categories, which were culled from our existing collections, the books for the bins were gathered by purchasing brand new copies of great books. I bought one copy of each title for the bins, and the library also owns at least one additional copy of each title housed in our regular stacks. In my purchasing, I prioritized titles that are more recent (think the past few years) as well as titles by, about, and/or featuring diverse persons. Equity is a major goal with this pocket collection.

The library’s access department staff were outstanding in cataloging and preparing these items, and our graphic designer made outstanding icons for each of the themes; each book in the Little Learners Browsing Bins collection has a beautiful spine sticker, with both text and icon, to identify its theme and home. Very simple for both customers and staff.

There are more elements to the redesigned Little Learners area at my library than these Browsing Bins, including interactive panels, circulating Little Learners backpacks for at-home learning, a rotating monthly display, and eventual hands-on activities for children and caregivers to do together. I like to think, however, that the Little Learners Browsing Bins are a cornerstone of this revamped section--something previously not offered by the library, with great books displayed beautifully and in a manner that pre-readers and emerging readers can use effectively.

I so look forward to seeing how this pocket collection is used--and, hopefully, enjoyed--by our 4- to 7-year-olds and their families.


Debut collection for the Little Learners Browsing Bins at Skokie Public Library (we’ll keep adding new titles as excellent choices are published):

  1. Princesses on the Run by Smiljana Coh
  2. Part-time Princess by Deborah Underwood
  3. Red Kite, Blue Kite by Ji-Li Jiang
  4. Barbed Wire Baseball by Marissa Moss
  5. Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light by Tim Tingle
  6. A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant
  7. Back to Front and Upside Down! by Claire Alexander
  8. Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales
  9. Firebird by Misty Copeland
  10. Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty
  11. Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue
  12. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
  13. One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo
  14. Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds
  15. Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave
  16. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Erin Stead
  17. The Three Pigs by David Wiesner
  18. So, You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George
  19. Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
  20. Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
  21. Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say
  22. Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully
  23. Grandma's Gift by Eric Velasquez
  24. The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon
  25. A Coyote Solstice Tale by Thomas King
  26. Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt's Treasured Books by Susan L. Roth
  27. The House Baba Built: An Artists' Childhood in China
  28. Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia
  29. Zephyr Takes Flight by Steven Light
  30. Here Come the Girl Scouts! by Shana Corey
  31. Molly, by Golly! by Dianne Ochiltree
  32. Once a Mouse by Marcia Brown
  33. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  34. May I Bring a Friend? by Beatrice Schenk De Regniers
  35. The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship by Arthur Ransome
  36. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
  37. Ox Cart Man by Donald Hall
  38. Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
  39. Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman
  40. Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback

Fairy Tales:
  1. Walt Disney's Cinderella by Cynthia Rylant
  2. The ABC of Fantastic Princes by Willy Puchner
  3. Aladdin by Giada Francia
  4. Beauty and the Beast by Giada Francia
  5. Cinderella by Giada Francia
  6. Little Red Riding Hood by Giada Francia
  7. Rapunzel by Giada Francia
  8. Sleeping Beauty by Giada Francia
  9. The Little Mermaid by Giada Francia
  10. Snow White by Giada Francia
  11. Little Red Riding Hood by Jerry Pinkney
  12. Precious and the Boo Hug by Pat McKissack
  13. Hansel and Gretel by Rachel Isadora
  14. Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal by Paul Fleischman
  15. The Tale of the Firebird by Gennadii Spirin
  16. Goldy Luck and the Tree Pandas by Natasha Yim
  17. Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky
  18. Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco
  19. Town Mouse Country Mouse by Jan Brett
  20. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
  21. Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
  22. The Girl of the Wish Garden by Uma Krishnaswami
  23. Brush of the Gods by Lenore Look
  24. Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin
  25. Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble
  26. Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote by Duncan Tonatiuh
  27. One Grain of Rice by Demi
  28. Ganesha's Sweet Tooth by Emily Haynes
  29. Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer
  30. The Contest by Nonny Hogrogian
  31. The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton
  32. Juan Bobo Goes to Work by Marisa Montes
  33. Just a Minute by Yuyi Morales
  34. The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka
  35. Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens
  36. It Could Always Be Worse by Margot Zemach
  37. The Emperor and the Kite by Jane Yolen
  38. Ten Big Toes and a Prince's Nose by Nancy Gow
  39. Lon Po Po by Ed Young
  40. Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe

  1. Look Up! Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer by Robert Burleigh
  2. The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins
  3. Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A. Nivola
  4. Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette Leblanc Cate
  5. The Day-Glo Brothers by Chris Barton
  6. Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson
  7. Light is All Around Us by Wendy Pfeffer
  8. What Happens to Our Trash? by D.J. Ward
  9. Secrets of the Seasons: Orbiting the Sun in Our Backyard by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
  10. Lookin' for Light: Science Adventures with Manny the Origami Moth by Eric Braun
  11. Simply Sound: Science Adventures with Jasper the Origami Bat by Eric Braun
  12. Plant Part Smarts: Science Adventures with Charlie the Origami Bee by Eric Braun
  13. Rainbows Never End: And Other Fun Facts by Laura Lyn DiSiena
  14. Saturn Could Sail: And Other Fun Facts by Laura Lyn DiSiena
  15. What is the Water Cycle? by Ellen Lawrence
  16. What are Rocks Made Of? by Ellen Lawrence
  17. How Are Rain, Snow, and Hail Alike? by Ellen Lawrence
  18. What is Weather? by Ellen Lawrence
  19. What is Climate? by Ellen Lawrence
  20. What are Clouds? by Ellen Lawrence
  21. Volcano Wakes Up! by Lisa Westberg Peters
  22. The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top: A Book About Volcanoes by Joanna Cole
  23. The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds: A Book About How Living Things Grow by Joanna Cole
  24. How Many Planets Circle the Sun? by Mary Kay Carson
  25. A Trip into Space: An Adventure to the International Space Station by Lori Haskins Houran
  26. You Can't Ride a Bicycle to the Moon! by Harriet Ziefert
  27. Gravity by Jason Chin
  28. Pluto's Secret: An Icy World's Tale of Discovery by Margaret A. Weitekamp
  29. It's Raining! by Gail Gibbons
  30. It's Snowing! by Gail Gibbons
  31. Clouds by Anne Rockwell
  32. Energy Makes Things Happen by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  33. Sounds All Around by Wendy Pfeffer
  34. What Makes a Magnet? by Franklyn Mansfield Branley
  35. What's Alive? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
  36. My Five Senses by Aliki
  37. Forces Make Things Move by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  38. The Human Body by Jon Richards
  39. Volcanoes by Seymour Simon
  40. No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart

Longer Tales:
  1. Hope Springs by Eric Walters
  2. Dancers of the World by Aurelia Hardy
  3. Harlem Renaissance Party by Faith Ringgold
  4. Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
  5. Goin' Someplace Special by Patricia McKissack
  6. Lost + Found by Shaun Tan
  7. January's Sparrow by Patricia Polacco
  8. A Boy Called Dickens by Deborah Hopkinson
  9. Mister Whistler by Margaret Mahy
  10. Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin A. Ramsey
  11. Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek by Deborah Hopkinson
  12. Red Butterfly: How a Princess Smuggled the Secret of Silk Out of China by Deborah Noyes
  13. Black Dog by Levi Pinfold
  14. The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman
  15. Ladder to the Moon by Maya Soetoro-Ng
  16. The Secret River by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
  17. The Man in the Moon by William Joyce
  18. Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet
  19. Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp
  20. Testing the Ice by Sharon Robinson
  21. Henry and the Kite Dragon by Bruce Edward Hall
  22. A Packet of Seeds by Deborah Hopkinson
  23. Trouble with Trolls by Jan Brett
  24. Jack and the Giant Barbecue by Eric A. Kimmel
  25. When Grandmama Sings by Margaree King Mitchell
  26. The Beautiful Lady by Pat Mora
  27. The House at the End of Ladybug Lane by Elise Primavera
  28. The Odious Ogre by Norton Juster
  29. Stand Straight, Ella Kate by Kate Klise
  30. The Django by Levi Pinfold
  31. The Girl Who Wanted to Dance by Amy Ehrlich
  32. Naming Liberty by Jane Yolen
  33. The Flying Bed by Nancy Willard
  34. Pancakes for Supper! by Anne Isaacs
  35. Wings by Christopher Myers
  36. The Yellow Star by Carmen Agra Deedy

  1. My Dinosaur is More Awesome! by Simon Coster
  2. Brontorina by James Howe
  3. When Dinosaurs Came with Everything by Elise Broach
  4. Tea Rex by Molly Idle
  5. Dinosaurs Love Underpants by Claire Freedman
  6. Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems
  7. Time Flies by Eric Rohmann
  8. Dino Pets by Lynn Plourde
  9. If Dinosaurs Live in My Town by Marianne Plumridge
  10. Dig Those Dinosaurs by Lori Haskins Houran
  11. How Big Were Dinosaurs? by Lita Judge
  12. Amazing Giant Dinosaurs by DK
  13. Why Did T. Rex Have Such Short Arms? by Melissa Stewart
  14. If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur by Linda Bailey
  15. Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? by Julie Middleton
  16. Bang! Boom! Roar! A Busy Crew of Dinosaurs by Nate Evans
  17. Camp Rex by Molly Idle
  18. The Three Triceratops Tuff by Stephen Shaskan
  19. Suppose You Meet a Dinosaur by Judy Sierra
  20. Dinosaur vs. the Library by Bob Shea

Things That Go:
  1. The Too Little Fire Engine by Jane Flory
  2. Construction by Sally Sutton
  3. The Village Garage by G. Brian Karas
  4. Machines Go To Work in the City by William Low
  5. Everything Goes By Sea by Brian Biggs
  6. Everything Goes in the Air by Brian Biggs
  7. Everything Goes on Land by Brian Biggs
  8. Moonshot by Brian Floca
  9. The Glorious Flight by Alice Provensen
  10. Locomotive by Brian Floca
  11. Backhoe Joe by Lori Alexander
  12. Night Light by Nicholas Blechman
  13. Digger, Dozer, Dumper by Hope Vestergaard
  14. Planes, Trains, and Cars by Simon Abbott
  15. Supertruck by Stephen Savage
  16. The Tweedles Go Electric by Monica Kulling
  17. The Fire Station by Robert Munsch
  18. Number One Sam by Greg Pizzoli
  19. Earth Space Moon Base by Ben Joel Price
  20. Go! Go! Go! Stop! by Charise Mericle Harper

  1. Maria Had a Little Llama / María Tenía Una Llamita by Angela Dominguez
  2. Book Fiesta! Celebrate Children's Day-Book Day / Celebremos El Día de los Niños-El Día de los Libros by Pat Mora
  3. Gracias / Thanks by Pat Mora
  4. Count Me In! A Parade of Mexican Folk Art Numbers in English and Spanish by Cynthia Weill
  5. Alicia's Fruity Drinks / Las Aguas Frescas De Alicia by Lupe Ruiz-Flores
  6. Healthy Foods from A to Z / Comida Sana de la A a la Z by Stephanie Maze
  7. Grandma's Chocolate / El Chocolate de Abuelita by Mara Price
  8. Movi la Mano / I Moved My Hand by Jorge Lujan
  9. La Florecita de la Maleza / The Little Weed Flower by Vicky Whipple
  10. Little Crow to the Rescue / El Cuervito al Rescate by Elizabeth Cummins Munoz
  11. Playing Lotería / El Juego De La Lotería Mexicana by Rene Colato Lainez
  12. Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come! / Preparate, Kindergarten! Alla Voy by Nancy Carlson
  13. Mirror / (Arabic) by Jeannie Baker
  14. Time to Pray / (Arabic) by Maha Addasi
  15. Waiting for Mama / (Korean) by Tae-joon Lee

School Stories:
  1. Lizzie and the Last Day of School by Trinka Hakes Noble
  2. Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt
  3. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
  4. The New Girl...And Me by Jacqui Robbins
  5. Follow the Line to School by Laura Ljungkvist
  6. The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
  7. My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best
  8. Miss Brooks' Story Nook by Barbara Bottner
  9. Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio
  10. The Best Thing About Kindergarten by Jennifer Lloyd
  11. The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten by Maureen Fergus
  12. Adventure Annie Goes to Kindergarten by Toni Buzzeo
  13. Kindergarten Diary by Antoinette Portis
  14. Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney
  15. Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin
  16. A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech
  17. Preschool Time by Mij Kelly
  18. The Night Before Preschool by Natasha Wing
  19. Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly by Alan Madison
  20. Miss Nelson is Missing by Henry Allard

Animals & Nature:
  1. Little Puffin's First Flight by Jonathan London
  2. My Spring Robin by Anne Rockwell
  3. My Garden by Kevin Henkes
  4. Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner
  5. Neighborhood Sharks Katherine Roy
  6. Whale Trails, Before and Now by Lesa Cline-Ransome
  7. Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth
  8. These Bees Count! by Alison Formento
  9. Picture a Tree by Barbara Reid
  10. Plant a Little Seed by Bonnie Christensen
  11. Awesome Autumn by Bruce Goldstone
  12. Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell
  13. Time to Eat by Steve Jenkins
  14. Time to Sleep by Steve Jenkins
  15. Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea by Steve Jenkins
  16. How Do You Know It's Winter? by Ruth Owen
  17. Shaping Up Summer by Lizann Flatt
  18. Swirl by Swirl by Joyce Sidman
  19. The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry
  20. At This Very Moment by Jim Arnosky

  1. The Composer is Dead by Lemony Snicket
  2. Pictures at an Exhibition by Anna Hartwell Celenza
  3. Vivaldi's Four Seasons by Anna Hartwell Celenza
  4. Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite by Anna Hartwell Celenza
  5. Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue by Anna Hartwell Celenza
  6. Bach's Goldberg Variations by Anna Hartwell Celenza
  7. The Heroic Symphony by Anna Hartwell Celenza
  8. Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf by Peter Malone