Monthly Archives: February 2015

Resources from Upstart

???????????????????????????????You may be familiar with Upstart as the official vendor for the Collaborative Summer Library Program. I don’t order products for the State Library other than for summer reading, so I never gave much thought to Upstart beyond that. However, I recently discovered that Upstart offers a variety of free activity guides that are available online to help you develop library programs. They include “suggestions for bulletin boards, book displays, games, crafts, recipes, writing project, special events and more.”

These are themed activity guides, and while Upstart has also designed matching products you can purchase to use, such as bookmarks and certificates, I was surprised that the activity guides themselves are not simply ads for these products. Granted, you may need to purchase items to execute some of the ideas, but they are just as likely to be supplies you would have to purchase for any library activity program, not necessarily Upstart products. Many include free reproducibles, and you don’t have to purchase anything to find value in the ideas they present. Think of them like mini summer reading manuals – a good starting point, but some tailoring my be required for your specific situation.

Some themes include:

  • Pete the Cat
  • Dr. Suess
  • Take your child to the library
  • Reading road trip
  • Read like a rock star

Demco also has an Idea + Inspiration site that features a smaller selection of Upstart Activity Guides.

Also, be sure to check out LibrarySparks, Upstart’s magazine for librarians. You can view many of their resources online. The Web Resources section offers web resources and article resources. The article resources I looked at included activities and printables. You can also view past issues in the archive.

Have you used any of these guides as starting points for programming? Where else to you find ideas for library programs? Share your suggestions in the comments!

Book Spine Poetry

book spine poetry

National Poetry Month is coming up in April.  One program idea is to have your patrons “write” book spine poetry. Using books your library owns, patrons can use the spine titles to create unique and fun poems. They can be funny or serious and they can make sense or be totally nonsensical. The only thing that matters is that your patrons are having fun!  The following website has some examples of poems using book spines:

You can find more information and tips on programs, discussions, collection development, and book displays for the National Poetry Month at their official website:

Does your library participate in National Poetry Month? What types of things do  you do to celebrate?

Blind Date with a Book at the NDSL

BDfacebookThis is a guest post by Kristin Byram and Shari Mosser  who organized the NDSL Blind Date with a  Book program.

We’ve always wanted to do the Blind Date with a book program since it started to become popular with libraries. This year we found a way to create it with items we had on hand! We had staff submit books that they thought others would enjoy from our collection, which ended up being around 200 books. A few of our staff wrapped them up in brown paper and then decorated with hints, clues, and other eye catching decorations. We also reprinted the barcode on a label so we could easily check them out to the patrons. Included inside was a “Rate the Date” card so we could get some feedback on the books and hopefully the program. These cards will be entered into a raffle for some cozy reading goodies. Our prize was a basket of small staff donated items: chocolates, decorated mugs, hot chocolate, etc.

Some interesting take-aways we found from the program were:

  • Walking the books 500 yards from our location to the Capitol tower made a significant difference in participation!  People loved that we brought the books to them.
  • Having some hints/decorations on the front of the books really helped to get the attention of people walking by!  We also feel we got their attention by have short descriptions and that they spent more time looking over the books because of this.
  • Some people can’t resist a wrapped treasure and couldn’t wait to open the books up!

This program doesn’t just have to happen over February.  Libraries could use it over Halloween for “trick or treat” and around Easter your patrons could find the hidden “eggs.” You could also do a hidden treasure theme for kids or teens, or “try your luck” over St. Patrick’s day.

Have you tried a Blind Date with a Book program at your library? Tell us about it in the comments!

International TableTop Day, 2015

Logo of International TableTop Day featuring cards, dice, spinners, and game piecesInternational TableTop Day lands on April 11th this year, and it’s not too soon to get your library signed up as an event host! It’s free and will be a blast for you and your patrons.

TableTop Day is a celebration of the fans of tabletop gaming. It’s a single day where the world is brought together by the common purpose of spending time together and having fun.

If you have board, card, or other tabletop games at your library, you have everything you need to participate. Whether you already have games or not, it never hurts to acquire more. Visit a local game or hobby shop, or if you don’t have one, a box store and see what new games they have. Complex/European games have been the flavor of choice for some years now–don’t be afraid to dive in and try something new! By adding a few of these to the mix, you can help ensure you’ll have engaging offerings for adults, teens, and children.

If you’re curious, you can learn more about TableTop Day by visiting the official site. If you’re ready to commit, go ahead and create  an official TableTop Day Event and place your library on the map. This will make it easy for gamers to find you!

World Read Aloud Day

This year wradWorld Read Aloud Day is Wednesday, March 4. World Read Aloud Day is a day to support the right to literacy. Since 2010, it has been held each year on the first Wednesday in March. It is organized by LitWorld, a non-profit organization founded in 2007 by Pam Allyn. Their goal is to  implement “innovative solutions to the hard-to-tackle challenge of illiteracy worldwide.” The program has now reached “31 million people online and over 1 million people across 82 countries.”

If you would like to host an event, there are downloadable kits available for your classroom and community. Either kit is easily adaptable to a library setting, as much of the content is the same. There is also a kit for celebrating at home.

The kits include:

  • Event guide and suggested activities
  • Read aloud titles by topic
  • Printable bookmarks and graphics
  • An activity sheet
  • A participation certificate
  • Guide for using it as a fundraiser

Has your library participated in World Read Aloud Day in the past? Do you plan to do so this year? If so, be sure to register your event! You have a month to plan! Share your stories in the comments!

Outside the Lines: Libraries Reintroduced

Outside the Lines logoThis September, libraries everywhere will once again celebrate Outside the Lines in their local communities. Last year, 178 libraries across the U.S. and Canada participated. This year, let’s help that number grow through increased participation in North Dakota!

Outside the Lines is a way of demonstrating that libraries are more relevant than ever before. It’s about showing people libraries have changed, instead of simply telling them.

Outside the Lines is a week-long celebration demonstrating the creativity and innovation happening in libraries. It’s about stepping out and engaging the community you serve outside of the building you traditionally serve them in. Whether your organization is large or small, a school library or a public library, you can participate by hosting at least one event or campaign that:

  1. Gets people thinking — and talking — about libraries in a different way
  2. Showcases the library out in the community
  3. Highlights how your library is relevant to people’s lives
  4. Represents your local community
  5. Is active and gets people engaged
  6. Is extraordinary and unexpected
  7. Most importantly, is fun!

Outside the Lines is scheduled for September 13-19, 2015. Registration is not yet live, but you can learn more about the event at their official site or by checking out this Storify of how libraries participated in 2014.

International Book Giving Day

ibgdposterlargeDid you know that Valentine’s Day is also International Book Giving Day? What a perfect day to share the love of reading!

The purpose of International Book Giving Day is pretty straight-forward: “To get books into the hands of as many children as possible” by “encouraging people worldwide to give a book to a child” because “in the United States, two-thirds of children living in poverty do not own books.”

What are some ways you could participate as a library to share the love of reading?

  • Make time this month to visit a daycare or preschool for a special story time.
  • You may not have a budget to buy new books, but do you have  donated or weeded books you could send home with kids?
  • If you don’t already, consider using books as prizes for your summer reading program.
  • Do you have any special recognition for when a child signs up for a library card for the first time?
  • Encourage participation in Imagination Library, if you have a program in your community, or, if not, why not try starting one?
  • Do you have a Reach Out & Read program in your community? Why not start one?

For promotion, you can download and print a poster designed by Chris Haughton, a bookplate designed by Gus Gordon, a bookplate designed by Angus Mackinnon, and a bookmark designed by Anna Walker.

How do you plan to participate in sharing the love of reading on Valentine’s Day? Share your ideas in the comments!