Thursday, June 25, 2015

Reading is my Super Power!

Super Readers in West Hartford 

Here's how it happened This past April while attending the Connecticut Library Association Conference I had a conversation with a library director about lawn signs.  She had recently approved the purchase of lawn signs for a library promotion.  My brain went into instant overdrive.  Honestly!  I am not being dramatic here!  

At this very same an alternate universe the script was written, the roles assigned, rehearsals were about to start for our annual Summer Reading Show - where a talented troupe of librarians travel to eleven elementary schools promoting summer reading.  This year's show: Every Hero Has a Story - Be your own Hero! While practicing my lines and my dance moves ...well, I was seeing lawn signs with superhero shields on them.  Yep! Visions of superheroes dancing in my head! 

Approval from management came quickly.  My colleague, Joe Molnar, a graphic artist when he's not at the library desk, designed our Super Reader signs. And then the fun began!  BOOM!

A week after school ended about 60 families in town awakened to find a Super Reader sign on their lawn.  How did this happen?  Did superheroes come to West Hartford while we were sleeping?  The next morning ... 40 more lawn signs were decorating the town.  And this morning, another 40.  The excitement is wonderful.  The community is talking, Facebook is buzzing, our phones are ringing. And we're still sticking with our story of Superheroes! 

Carol Waxman, Head of Children's Services and Interim Director of the West Hartford Public Libraries sat down for an interview today.  We'll post it on our Facebook page soon.  Mrs W needed to come clean with just how these signs are landing on the lawns. 

Here's the scoop: Each night, under cover of darkness the West Hartford League of Librarians fly across town in their gold capes delivering lawn signs to families committed to summer reading.  Our League includes staff from every department -many thanks to Amy McCue.  We are a team!  Now that you know this...well we may have to...HUSH! You see what I did there, right?  Librarians...Hush? 

Thanks for visiting Piper Loves the Library.  She's had a quiet week on the home front.  Programs begin in July - we'll be busy.  We're ready.  Piper wants a gold cape.  I'm thinking...yes!  I better give Dee Williams a call.  She makes Superhero capes.  Shhhh!  

P.S. (Piper Script) Girls ruled the top shelf in graphic novels for about 5 minutes today!

Flannel Friday rocks our world with both support and inspiration.  Visit the official blog for more info.   Have a great summer!  Questions and comments are always welcome.  

Friday, June 12, 2015

Common Ground with the Common Core

Helping young families prepare for the Common Core 
Just what we needed.

Piper and I talk about our incredible library community quite often.  We work in an international neighborhood and we love it.  The diversity of culture provides an amazing environment for learning and we believe our little library is one of the best places in town to meet-up, share and learn.  Story time, Party like a Preschooler, Prime Time, Science Matters, Pop-up Maker Space...we've got it but it's the families that BRING IT!  We are here for them.

Almost three years ago I presented the idea of Common Ground Kits for circulation for our library system.  We have many kits designed with themes for educators, parents, grandparents, English language learners and children - it's a format that works in our town.  I wanted to add one more.

The Common Core State Standards were new in our schools three years ago and families were struggling. Many families across the nation struggled with this rigorous approach to learning.  My plan - let's create something that helps families understand just what's ahead of them. Let's work together - find the common ground.

What are the expectations for pre-k, K and first grade? What books should we be reading?  How can we prepare our children when we don't know what's to come?  Now think about that and learning English and American life all at the same time - YIKES!  This is what I was experiencing in the library.  And this is how I realized we were the common ground...families came to us, educators came to us...we just needed to listen.

And there you have it...the Common Ground Kits based on our town/state standards, using books and concepts from the town's website to introduce families, especially my neighborhood families, to the educational adventure their children were about to experience.

Now, I am not going to debate education...I am here to support our families, our schools, our teachers and that's what we do in the library...without judgement.

So here's two of the kits - so adorable!

And inside the monkey you'll discover:
Four books, three from the Common Core State standards

Bears for sorting, parading and playing!

Alphabet recognition, matching and manipulating!

These amazing multi-lingual cards.  Thank you God.

Piper's friend - a nice dog! 

Aren't these perfect for a multi-lingual community!  SCORE!

Piper wants to know...Who let the dogs out?  
This photo from my recent visit to the Charter Oak Family Resource Center.  
I brought ten new kits with me and they were all checked out.  YES!

The world shifted with the addition of these kits to our library.  We are intentionally reaching out to foreign born families of preschoolers and giving them a boost into the American school system. It is a delight to outreach with these kits. We sing, dance, do flannels and I introduce the kits.  And always - I return to the library with no kits!    

P.S. (Piper Script): It's all good.  Thank you Mrs Waxman and Mrs Stone for believing in this.