NNLM and SciStarter Present Virtual Citizen Science Workshops!

Is your library searching for virtual engagement opportunities? Are you interested in citizen science and crowdsourcing? Are you looking for more ways to supplement your #SummerReading programming? The Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) and SciStarter have collaborated on a series of workshops that you will certainly want to check out!

Imagine Your Story

SciStarter is an online platform for those who want to explore and engage with citizen science. With their Project Finder, users can filter through thousands of ongoing projects, and discover ways to contribute. Starting with Citizen Science Month 2020, the NNLM has paired up with SciStarter to promote several health-related projects, which can be found on the NLM page of their website.

Each of the upcoming virtual citizen science workshops in this exciting series is graciously hosted by a public library, and features a researcher whose work directly impacts an NLM-supported citizen science project. After a short introduction to citizen science from SciStarter, the researcher offers their perspective, and the workshop ends with an interactive Q&A session facilitated by public library staff. These events are designed for a public library NNLM and All of Us Research Program logos

audience of teens and adults.

In July, with support from the All of Us Research Program, the series kicked off with two workshops. The first featured Dr. Connie Walker, who directs the Globe At Night research project. This project uses crowdsourcing to “raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution.” She was interviewed by Michelle Lesniak, Director of the South Butler Community Library in Saxonburg, PA. The second of these workshops was hosted by Tredyffrin Township Libraries in eastern Pennsylvania. This time, the Stall Catchers research program was featured, and Children’s Librarian Angie Andre interviewed Dr. Pietro Michelucci. This projectSciStarter logo is especially suited for engaging families because of its interactive and gamified approach to Alzheimer’s research!

Keep an eye out for the rest of workshops in this series, and encourage your communities to register! Check out the links below for more information about upcoming webinars:

Watch the Recording: Globe at Night with South Butler Community Library in Saxonburg, PA on 7/9

Watch the Recording: Alzheimer’s Research Online Q&A with Tredyffrin Township Libraries – Paoli Library in Paoli, PA on 7/23

Free Registration: Help Develop RNA-based Medicines Online Q&A with the Newton Public Library in Newton, KS at 1 PM CT on 7/31

Free Registration: How to Measure Light in the Night Online Q&A with Riverside Regional Library in Jackson, MO at 10:30 AM CT in on 8/4

Free Registration: Investigating Weather and Climate Online Q&A with San Benito County Free Library in Hollister, CA at 2 PM PT on 8/4

Free Registration: Fight Plastic Pollution Online Q&A with Glendora Public Library in Glendora, CA at 4 PM PT on 8/12

Free Registration: Alzheimer’s Research Online Q&A with Olathe Public Library in Olathe, KS at 5:30 PM CT on 8/17

Free Registration: Protect Tap Water Online Q&A with the Studio City Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library in Studio City, CA at 4 PM PT on 8/19

Free Registration: Discover New Antiviral Drugs Online Q&A with the Watts Branch Library at the Los Angeles Public Library in Los Angeles, CA at 1 PM PT on 8/25

Free Registration: Investigating Weather and Climate Online Q&A with Howe Library in Hanover, NH at 7 PM ET on 8/26

Free Registration: Protect Tap Water Online Q&A with Torrance Public Library in Torrance, CA at 4 PM PT on 8/27

Free Registration: Help Track the Flu Online Q&A with Scotch Plains Public Library in Scotch Plains, NJ at 2 PM ET on 8/28

Free Registration: Fight Plastic Pollution Online Q&A with the County of San Luis Obispo Public Libraries in San Luis Obispo, CA at 3 PM PT on 9/3

 

This blog post originally appeared on the NNLM MARquee Blog on July 29. Re-posted with permission from the author.

What Summer Learning Looks Like in Action: Teen Programs that Inspire

What is Summer Learning? Surprise, you have been doing it without even knowing it! In recent years, there has been a move to transition Summer Reading into Summer Learning. Why? Because libraries have naturally transitioned into third spaces. We are advocates of combating the summer slide, which primarily affects disadvantaged youth, by providing hands-on activities and resources that support them. These materials can be in the form of books, audiovisuals, and e-media. Summer Learning appeals to every type of learner because it is all-inclusive. The teen that struggles with reading but enjoys the library and its atmosphere knows that they are just as welcome and intimidation is null as the avid reader. “Tickets” and “participation logs” reflect this change by adding additional ways to participate by including activities that teens and children can do in and outside of the library.

Those of us who work closely with youth are well informed about our summer program, but other departments in your library may not be. It is your job to educate staff so they can make the public aware of what Summer Learning activities you offer. Take the initiative by sending out an e-mail blast to your coworkers or ask to present at one of your staff meetings to make everyone aware of what Summer Learning is and what that looks like in your library. Emily Samos, Urban Libraries Council, presented her 5 Strategies to building a Summer Learning culture throughout your library as a part of the Making the Transition from Summer Reading to Summer Learning YALSA Webinar, November 2016.

1. Engage team members across the library.
2. Connect Summer Reading with other library services.
3. Start Planning in September [for next year].
4. Initiate and cultivate partnerships with schools, museums, and other partners.
5. Plan programs with clear learning goals.

What Does Summer Learning Look Like in Action?

Reading Public Library—Reading, PA
At the Reading Public Library, we transitioned to Summer@RPL to encompass all that we offer for children, teens, and adults throughout the summer. As that relates to teens particularly, our teen ticket has three activities that participants can complete, “Read,” “Participate in a Teen Program,” and “Volunteer/Do A Good Deed in Your Community.” We encourage them to try all three but note in the rules that they may do any combination. They earn level prizes, can put in for prize packs, and submit for the grand prize after completing all the levels. The “level up” approach keeps them engaged all summer long. Our programs are a combination of fun, entertaining, informative, and always engagingfrom special performances to daily STEAM programs, special guests, and workshops to prepare them for the year ahead and beyond. Performances include a Bollywood interactive performance during Family Night. Our STEAM programs include a Maker Event and weekly opportunities to participate in an engineering program with Snapology where children and teens will be guided through hands-on activities using things they already love: LEGO® bricks, K’Nex, and technology. SAT Prep will be taught by an instructor with more than 23 years of experience teaching the SATs. And our Job Training workshop will be instructed by the Department of Labor and Industry.

Teen Loft Lounge Area at Reading Public Library (Pennsylvania).

Boyertown Community Library—Boyertown, PA
At Boyertown Community Library, Lisa Rand has many cool programs in the works. She is starting a new series called, “Try It Out.” Barrio Alegria, a community development organization that utilizes art as a platform for change, will teach the teens Latin Dance Basics, with an evening salsa class and weekend bachata lesson. A Yoga instructor will lead three afternoon and evening sessions. These programs have flexible times in hopes of accommodating potential participants’ various schedules.

In the past, Lisa has held Ukulele Basics classes provided by a local music shop, Funky Frets. Teens attended three sessions, which gave them a solid base of learning that could be continued with paid lessons, practicing independently, or through the help of resources such as YouTube. “I received great feedback on this program. Teens were glad for a chance to try something new, free of charge. They could approach the learning opportunity as simply something fun to do, with very low commitment. However, meeting for three sessions gave enough of a taste that some teens discovered a new hobby to pursue,” Lisa said.

“When choosing programs for teens, two of the questions I ask myself are Will it be fun? and Would my teens have access elsewhere? We have a wonderful dance school in our neighborhood, but Latin dance is not a part of their curriculum. During the school year, our teens may not have access to Latin dance instruction. On the other hand, for those teens who already love Latin dance, this will be a chance to learn from a live instructor.”

“For the yoga class, I wanted to offer a format where someone could come once to try, or return another time if they enjoy the experience. This program is a way to provide tools for stress-management and wellness but in a low key, recreational setting. We are not a gym or a PE class, so trying a new physical activity here could be welcoming for patrons who might not try on their own.” She says.

Fleetwood Area Public Library—Fleetwood, PA
Stacy Lauks at Fleetwood Areas Public Library has a very cool program series in the works called Practice Makes Progress. “Summer is a great time to explore new things but…it is also important to practice your skills in subjects that you love in order to progress,” she says. Each week during Summer Exploration, patrons will have the opportunity to participate/submit work in a designated subject area such as an art sketchbook, community music recital & community music evaluation, graphic history organizer, community science fair project, or writing submissions. Each submission category includes a positive-based assessment from a member of the community that works in that particular field.

Fleetwood Area Library decided to focus on exploring new things because summer is a great time to “explore what you want when you want, how you want,” she says. “New things are exciting and great, but there are some things that students need to continue practicing during summer. Practice Makes Progress addresses this dichotomy, connects students/library to the community, and is still flexible enough that students can use their practice to explore their interests.”

To make their goal come to fruition, they picked subject areas and coordinated dates; got community members to donate their time to review submissions and plan programs; advertised with the school/private teachers; and are now waiting for the fun to begin. “Can’t wait to see what happens,” she says.

This is what Summer Learning looks like in action. Each of us has a different vision as evident by the examples provided. Nevertheless, we share common goals; we want our youth to excel in areas that we have noticed need developing or may spark an interest and have all found an approach to guide them. We believe in quality experiences for our teens that include using partnerships to our advantage by asking members of our community to give of their time and talents to provide our teens with hands-on experiences, supporting the resources that libraries offer.

Libraries Welcome all Families: Collaborating on Inclusive Summer Initiatives

This post was written by School and Public Libraries Collaboration Committee members April Witteveen, Natasha Carty, Jill Woychowski, and Robin Gibson.

Public libraries are beginning to look ahead to their summer reading or summer learning programs. Through school and public library collaboration librarians can identify approaches for success using an equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) lens.

In order to reach as many students as possible with information about library summer programs, a great strategy is to collaborate on school visits. Natasha Carty, who’s been a public librarian, school teacher, and now a school librarian, has seen the value of these visits from all angles. As a public youth librarian, Carty’s school visits resulted in a 50% increase in participation. She’s now looking forward to inviting her local public librarians to school to promote their summer reading program, and she will be investigating if there are ways to get students registered for the program while still in school. Carty stresses the importance of summer reading as a way to address the summer slide when working with students and their families at school. She has handed out recommended reading lists from the public library in order to encourage participation in programming. Both school and public libraries have the opportunity to create summer reading lists that represent diverse characters and experiences. This School Library Journal article shows the need for increasingly diverse summer reading lists.

Summer meal sites offer another opportunity for librarians to extend their reach beyond standard library locations through both program promotion and participation. Jillian Woychowski, a high school librarian in West Haven, Connecticut notes that her local public library’s youth librarians “coordinated activities to happen before or after the [meal] delivery times” at school sites. Robin Gibson, Youth Services Manager at Westerville Public Library in Ohio shares that “Youth and outreach staff visit local WARM (Westerville Area Resource Ministry) lunch sites that provide free lunches during the summer months. We visit to promote the summer reading program and to distribute books to kids of all ages. Many of these children don’t come to the library itself, and we are working to add more services (think early literacy and playful literacy building activities) to these summer visits.  We are a school district library with one location, so we need to get out of the building to reach more families. Artificial boundaries (like a main highway) make some neighborhoods feel distant, so we are working to overcome these barriers and build relationships with these often underserved families.”

Carty concurs, saying that she loves “the idea of public librarians going to where the children and students are to read to them, maybe have a quick craft project, and to sign up students for the summer reading program and promote reading.” WebJunction has an archived webinar on “starting or expanding a USDA summer meals site” at your school or library.

Looking for more ideas to bring EDI to your library? On February 28, Amigos Library Services is hosting a full-day online conference: Open Doors: Reaching Underserved Populations. Speakers will discuss a variety of inclusive library practices and programs, sure to provide inspiration and ideas for librarians working on their plans for summer initiatives.

Planning for Tweens

Like many of you, I’m feverishly planning for summer reading. My complete schedule is due at the end of this week and even here in the Deep South, everything has been thrown off by ice and snow and power outages and missed deadlines…as crazy as Summer Reading is in a public library, I’m definitely looking forward to summer.

My library isn’t large enough to have separate programming for tweens in the summer, so I encourage rising 6-12th graders to come to my teen programming. Which means I’ve had kids as young as 11 at teen programming. This can work. This is good for socialization and some of your kids will really enjoy it. Fun mentor-type relationships have sprung up among my group. You just have to remember a few things.

  • Adult Supervision. I’ve never had any issues at teen programming among the actual teens, but y’all, there is a big age gap between 11 and 18 and we have to be responsible around that. Make sure your programs are staffed properly. Safety first.
  • Participation, not humiliation. Try not to plan any programs that call anyone out specifically, but do encourage participation. Last year I talked about my photobooth program, which was well-attended and wildly popular. Kids were able to participate without feeling like I’m going to call on them at school.
  • Casual forever. My tween/teen programming is MUUUUCH less structured than my kids programming. Part of this is numbers: I’m never going to get 100 kids at a teen program. But part of that is that junior high and high school kids have their lives structured down to every single second and having a place where they can come make a craft or watch a movie without having to ask permission to use the restroom.
  • Have fun with them.  My main problem in the summer is that while I’m trying to do multiple programs a week, I forget to sit down and actually enjoy myself. The teen and tween programs are an ideal place to do this, as they ARE less structured and require less of me running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I try and take this hour every week during the summer to relax and have a chat with my kids. I love it.

Good luck on those summer plans, fellow public librarians! You can do it!

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Our cross-poster from ALSC today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a youth services librarian in Mississippi, and has worked with ages birth-18 for the last 6 years.

Back to School: Summer Reading

Heading into my final year of high school, I realize I have much to look forward to. I’ll be (hopefully) passing my driver’s test in a week and, in addition, have my own car for the year. I’ll be taking many anticipated, higher-level courses that I’ve been thinking about since I was a freshman. I’ll be a leader in many of the clubs and activities I’ve been in for the last three years. Yet, despite all these grand new beginnings to kick off my new year, I know that there is also one grand ending: summer reading.

Having taking honors/AP English for all four years, a part of my summer has always belonged to the written word. Though there are novels I willingly pick up on my own when the warm months roll in, I can’t attest to having always been enthralled by the books handpicked for me. When I first heard about summer reading from my twin sisters, who were just heading into ninth grade at the time, I was appalled. Isn’t summertime designed for children to relax? I argued. To take a break from books and education? Of course, I’d watched movies with characters that had summer reading and even, ironically, read books with this same act of atrocity. But I never thought that I, a measly eighth-grader, would have to suffer through it. It wasn’t even that I hated the idea of reading; as I stated before, I willingly pick up books, quite often in fact. It was more the idea that I would have to read a book that someone else wanted me to read. It was the idea that I couldn’t choose what I wanted to read.

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Tweens in the Summer

Most libraries, like my own, have a core group of kids know and love our programs and are super excited about libraries in general. ‘ But, especially in the summer, these kids are often accompanied by siblings in a group a bit more disconnected from library services: tweens. Tagging along with their siblings, tweens who are unfamiliar with our library programming often end up exposed to our summer offerings. What can we do to keep them coming back?

1)‘ Plan programming that interests everyone. Summer programming for teens in my library serves both middle school and high school students (we’re not large enough to divide it up). So we work hard to find programming ideas that will appeal to both age groups: crafts that older kids won’t find lame, cooking classes that 6-12th graders will all enjoy, a photobooth night where the kids can post to Instagram until they drop. We don’t have a lot of resources to work with, but if you’re not planning a program that will appeal to the wide swath of “teen” ages, you’re going to lose these kids. If your library is large enough to support separate middle school and high school programming, fantastic! Plan things that you know your middle schoolers love! Crafts! Minecraft! Book club! Ask them what they want to see and then provide it.

2)’ Talk to them about middle grade AND young adult. As soon as the kids in my town hit sixth grade, they want to books from the teen center where our YA collection is–on the other side of the library from juvenile fiction. And that’s fantastic! But I’ve had several conversations with some awesome middle schoolers about middle grade books, publisher’s age recommendations, and how I logistically can’t shelve MG in the teen center or double-buy titles. As soon as a 12-year-old sees the “Ages 10-14” note inside of a book, they give themselves permission to be in the children’s department again. ‘ Not only has this opened up more of the library’s collection for some of my younger readers, this is a great intro conversation for an ongoing readers’ advisory relationship!

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Virtual Road Trip: Kentucky

Read One Book, Change Two Lives

Krista King-Oaks, Boone County (KY) Public Library

Learning is a year-round process that begins and never ends, even when a child has learned to read.’  Regardless of a child’s age, whether they are just starting kindergarten or embarking on the beginning of their senior year of high school, research shows that even reading just a handful of books over the summer months lessens the dreaded “Summer Slump” effect. kentuckyHowever, we all know that reading is more fun when you not only get to choose your own books, but when you can share them with a friend – and that is exactly what makes the library’s Read with a Teen program a smash hit!

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Winding Down or Gearing Up? Fall Months in a Public Library

After the Summer Reading Program Ends…

This year the teen summer reading program ended August 1st, giving the teens six weeks of reading and earning prizes and lots of programs to attend. I held about three programs a week. The rest of August is spent helping teens track down their summer reading books – at this point, most of the books are out, so it’s a struggle finding something they want to read and that’s on the list.

Once school starts, the library will be quiet until the afternoon when teens start coming in to use the computers. During the day, I’ll start inventorying the collection. Doing an inventory also counts as shelf-reading as I make sure everything’s in the right place. It also helps with weeding. I check to make sure the book’s circulated in the last three years. If not, then I make a decision to keep or toss that book. I don’t have extra shelf space and with all the great new books that keep coming out, I need all the room I can get. Continue reading

Mini Grants for 2013 Summer Reading Programs

Applications are still being accepted for two kinds of mini grants for 2013 summer reading programs made possible by YALSA and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.’  Apply today!

  • Summer Reading Funding: Twenty libraries that provide programming to underserved teens will receive $1,000 to support their outstanding literacy focused summer reading program.
  • Summer Reading Teen Assistant Funding: Twenty $1,000 grants are available to be used to recruit, train and compensate teen assistants to help with summer reading programs.

Books_DG_LitfinalIndividual library branches within a larger system may apply.’  Deadline extended to January 14, 2013.‘  Apply at www.ala.org/yalsa/awardsandgrants/yalsaawardsgrants.