Families Receive a Warm Welcome

The Children’s and Parents’ Services Department of the Patchogue-Medford Library reopened on Saturday with a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration that included crafts, refreshments, face painting by Cee Cee from Faba Gaba Face Painting, and balloon creatures masterfully created by John Reid. The room is completely rearranged and features a new media area that houses the DVDs, audio books, playaways, readalongs, music CDs and a new collection of DS and Wii games. Only 3 games remained on the shelf after a week of being open, and orders for more of these hot items are being placed to meet demand. New children’s books are also featured in this highly browsable area located near the entrance of the room.

Also new is a comfortable seating area (informally referred to as “the nest”) for parents. It’s situated near the picture book and parenting collections and adjacent to the program room that features windows so parents can see their children in programs. The parent-friendly environment is evident in this arrangement as well as the department’s welcome brochure that emphasizes family programs and the importance of parents acting their child’s first reading partner.

Some more furniture is coming soon, such as countertops that will hold nine computer stations for older children and four early childhood computers, and a brand new children’s reference desk by the entrance. Hundreds of people attended and enjoyed the festivities on Saturday, leaving with arms full of books, media, and other fun creations. Congratulations to the staff and families of the Patchogue-Medford Library district!

Sayville Reads – One Friendly Town

The children’s and teen’s areas at Sayville Library are featured in the March/April 2011 edition of American Libraries. Be sure to take a look!

For the first time this year, the Sayville Library is launching a program called “Sayville Reads: One Friendly Town.” The library has collaborated with Sayville schools and selected a theme – dogs – and four correlating books for different age groups: adults, high school students, 3rd through 8th graders, and Pre-K through second graders. Children are participating in dog-themed craft programs, storytimes, and book discussions of Bad Dog, Marley and Marley: A Dog Like No Other, both by John Grogan. Activities for teens include a program in which they bake dog biscuits that will be donated to a local animal shelter.

For more information on this unique collaboration, check out their website or contact the Sayville Library.

Screen Free Week

The Early Years Institute is participating in Screen Free Week during April 18th – 24th, and they invite you, your library, and the families in your community to participate as well. Jessica Wyatt, coordinator of Screen Free Week at EYI, reports that there is still time for your library to register a “screen free” activity to be included in the Screen Alternatives Guide.

For more information, activity registration forms, posters, and more, visit The Early Years Institute.

Senses Engaged at the Fran Romer Workshop

Could YASD possibly have better timing? On Friday at the Fran Romer Memorial Booktalk Workshop, YASD hosted author/editor extraordinaire Marc Aronson as the keynote speaker. Marc’s book, Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Spice, Magic, Slavery, Freedom, and Science, co-written with his wife Marina Budhos, was recently announced as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes in the category of Young Adult Literature. The March/April 2011 issue of The Horn Book focuses on non-fiction for young readers, featuring Aronson’s article “New Knowledge.” As if that wasn’t enough to make Aronson a serendipitous selection for YASD’s annual spring event, he is also the chair of this year’s National Book Award committee in the category of Young People’s Literature. Kudos to YASD for bringing an internationally known expert in literature for young people to Suffolk County!

Aronson inspired the audience to think of teen literature as something that is constantly evolving and impossible to define unless using clarifiers such as “right now” or “has been in recent years.” According to Aronson, we can never truly label teen literature because as soon as we do, it changes.

Also emphasized was how important non-fiction books (which Aronson suggests we call “reality books”) are when you consider them as handbooks for young people making important life decisions. An example he gave was non-fiction books about war and how teens may use these in determining whether or not they enlist in the armed forces.

Aronson urged us to “look for writing that engages the senses” when we seek quality non-fiction. All of the books selected for the break-out sections – in which librarians practiced their book talking skills – certainly engage multiple senses and deserve a place in our reader’s advisory arsenals.

Many thanks to all involved in putting this memorable morning together and the staff of the Harborfields Public Library for their hospitality. If you missed this program, you can read up on what Aronson has to say at his blog, Nonfiction Matters. YASD kindly donated extra copies of the March/April 2011 issue of The Horn Book to SCLS, and you can request your very own copy from Youth Services.

Autism Awareness Month

In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, the Northport-East Northport Public Library has created a display of materials about autism at each of their branches. Accompanying the display is a bibliography of additional resources for families. The poster above the display explains the origin of the colorful puzzle-patterned ribbon for autism.

On April 27th at 10:00am, Stacey Ratner, MS, BCBA, of the Variety Child Learning Center will be speaking at a Children’s Librarians meeting at SCLS. Please join us to learn more about how you can successfully include children with autism in your library programs.

Folklore, Fairy Tales, Fables & More

The Children’s Department of the South Country Public Library has done away with Dewey in a few of their collections, including their newly arranged Folklore, Fairy Tales, Fables & More collection. The children’s staff have pulled books in this genre and arranged them in a new classification system: J Folklore General, J Folklore Cultural, J Folklore Mythological, J Folklore Popular, and J Folklore Scary.

Within these categories, stories from certain countries are grouped together, as are popular stories like Cinderella. Staff and patrons no longer have to look for the story of Little Red Riding Hood in multiple places. At first, parents had questions about the new arrangement, but now the patrons have learned the new system and the books are circulating well. As you can see, the area is very attractive and features face out displays and a beautiful hand-made sign.

International Children’s Book Day

April 2nd is International Children’s Book Day, and there’s still time to display books from around the world or take a book home to share with a child this weekend. The newly published 2nd edition of If the World Were A Village: A Book About the World’s People might make a great title for family reading and discussion (view the book trailer here or download the teacher’s guide.) Take advantage of the resources provided by USBBY and plan an activity introducing International Children’s Book Day to your family or community. These resources may also be useful for summer programs incorporating the theme One World, Many Stories.