Parents and Children Get Together to Talk about Books

The New York Council for the Humanities’ Together—Book Talk for Kids and Parents program provides funding for libraries to create a welcoming forum for families to come together to talk about books. Each of the six 90-minute Together sessions is co-facilitated by a public librarian and a humanities scholar from the local community. The sessions explore key themes in American life such as courage, freedom, and what it means to be American.

According to Erika Halstead, the Program Officer for the New York Council for the Humanities, six libraries in Suffolk County have received a grant to host a Together—Book Talk for Kids and Parents program:

• Brentwood Public Library (fall 2008)

• Floyd Memorial Library (spring 2009)

• South Huntington Public Library (fall 2009, fall 2010)

• Emma S. Clark Memorial Library (spring 2010)

• Rogers Memorial Library (spring 2011)

• Northport-East Northport Public Library (fall 2011)

This summer, Brentwood Public Library is hosting a Family Reading and Discussion Program through a Together extension grant. I stopped by on Wednesday night, July 13th to participate in the discussion. Myrna and her collaborator Yolanda, a teacher at Southeast Elementary School, are pictured here with the featured books The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson and Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles.

The Together program is a wonderful opportunity for families to spend time together talking about ideas and experiences and it all starts with a book as a catalyst. It is great to hear a parent share their experiences and hear a child say, “Mom, I never knew that happened.” And kids have lots of ideas and experiences to share that they may not have even considered talking about until we bring them in a group and encourage them to share. It’s a great way to bring everyone together to read and talk and hopefully the reading and conversations will continue at home. – Myrna, Children’s Librarian at Brentwood Public Library

Check back with the blog in the fall for the latest from the Northport-East Northport Public Library, who will be partnering on the Together project with Heather Forest, storyteller and speaker at the September 14th SCLS program “The Magic of Words.”

Would you like to offer the Together program at your library? The deadline for spring 2012 applications is December 1, 2011.

Dig, Plant, Water, and Grow

Today is a big day for the Middle County Public Library, who was recently featured in the March/April 2011 issue of American Libraries. The Nature Explorium opens for the season at 11:00am with a celebration of National Garden Month. NYS Assemblyman Steven Englebright will be on hand as well as Newsday’s Garden Detective Jessica Damiano. Activities are planned for kids and teens, and local organizations will be showcasing displays and exhibits. For more information about today’s event, please visit the Nature Explorium online.

Heidi Younger, the artist who designed the map of the Nature Explorium, is an artist to watch.  She was able to create this gorgeous image after only a brief conversation with the Middle Country staff. Serendipitously, Heidi has family that lives in the Centereach community. This talented artist, whose work is featured on book covers and in magazines, needs to illustrate a children’s book, don’t you think?

The Brentwood Public Library and Riverhead Free Library have partnered with Middle Country and will also be offering gardening programs as part of the Grow It! grant provided by the National Grid Foundation. For those of you celebrating National Garden Month around the county, enjoy getting your hands dirty!