Thursday, October 08, 2009

National Poetry Day!

Here is a great article - an interview with a children's librarian - on why it's important to share poetry with children:

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Best Practices

We need your Best Practices Award entries. Why? Because now more than ever it is so important to remind everyone how valuable libraries are to the communities they serve. So please share your best practices so that we can recognize public libraries from across the state that have innovative and successful programs in place for children, families and caregivers.

The deadline for applications is October 30. Remember, you can enter in more than one category. Mark your calendars now for the Best Practices Awards application deadline. *NEW FOR 2010 – BONUS POINTS WILL BE AWARDED TO FIRST TIME APPLICANTS*

Week of September 7, 2009 – PaLA Best Practices Award applications issued
October 30, 2009 – PaLA Best Practices Award entries due
April 14, 2010 – PaLA Early Learning Forum and Best Practices Awards luncheon,
Hilton Harrisburg

Again, PaLA will distribute the Best Practices in Early Learning booklets featuring the Best Practices award winners and their library programs at the PaLA Early Learning Forum and Best Practices Awards luncheon on April 14 in Harrisburg. In order to have those booklets ready for distribution at that event, the deadline for applications is October 30.

This year’s awards program again includes a category for innovative programs conducted in conjunction with the One Book, Every Young Child program utilizing the selected 2009 book, If You Were A Penguin.

Attendees at the Early Learning Forum and Best Practices Awards luncheon will have an opportunity to learn from and meet Jane and Will Hillenbrand, the author and illustrator of the 2010 One Book, Every Young Child selection, What a Treasure. Other leaders in the field of early learning also will be speaking. All Best Practices Award winners will receive their awards from the Hillenbrands, and their stories will be part of the Best Practices in Early Learning booklet distributed that day and shared with elected officials and policy-makers. You do not have to be an award winner to attend this FREE day of learning and fun and may bring an unlimited number of guests such as library staff, board members, major funders, etc.

Don’t forget to submit your application by Friday, October 30, 2009. Please email your completed application to Teri Hurst at or send to:

Teri Hurst
122 State Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101

We look forward to sharing your award-winning innovative programming across the state!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another reason why library's should have toys

If you have toys in your library and people ask why, hand them a copy of this article:

Literacy at the Doctor's Office

A great article about how parents can share literacy activities while waiting at the doctor's office!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Building Math Skills

A great idea from PBS KIDS. Build math skills by graphing with those annoying stickers from fruit!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Check Up for Young Readers

The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Pennsylvania Association of Family Physicians and the Pennsylvania Library Association have formed a collaboration to promote the new statewide program, Checkup for Young Readers. In this program, pediatricians and other health care providers partner with local libraries to encourage parents to share books with their preschoolers.

We'd like to know what your library is doing with this great partnership opportunity. Please comment here to let us know what you and your health partners have been doing. If you have photos, send them to and I will post them here too.
For more information on this great program, please go to Check Up for Young Readers.
We also invite any health care providers to join our blog and post comments about your relationship with your local library and how it benefits your young patients.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hello out there!

I realise that I have been remiss about posting to this blog for quite some time. Hopefully, you are all out there too busy with Summer Reading Club to realize this, however. I hope that your summer is going well and you're having a great time being creative! I know we are at Montgomery County-Norristown. check out some of the fun and crafty programs we've been having.

I'd love to share what YOU are all doing too! So, send me those links and I'll post them here for everyone to see!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Call for Conference Programs!

Dear Gang,
The 2009 PaLA Conference Program Proposal form is now ready. We suggest that you submit a program proposal using this link:

Click Here to take survey

The Youth Services Division is eager to hear from you. Please help us provide you with the best lineup of programs ever at the annual conference.

We are requesting your responses by March 16. We are hoping this will give the committee enough time to review them, before we need to turn them in to the Program Committee on or before April 6.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

From Green Sign to Green Sign, by Katherine Ayers

A particular logo pops up as you travel across Pennsylvania—a green sign with a stylized profile of a person reading along with the word LIBRARY. These green signs appear in large towns and small, in cities and rural counties, all pointing in the direction of books.
For nearly six weeks this spring I traveled Pennsylvania, visiting these public libraries. As the author of the 2008 Pennsylvania One Book (Every Young Child), I hit the road to promote early childhood literacy from Pittsburgh to Susquehanna, from Philadelphia to Greencastle, and numerous points in between.
Because I was working with young children (70+ events with children, 5 with teachers and librarians) I met many children’s librarians. These folks were kind, extremely cheerful, and possessed great senses of humor. As children entered, the librarians gave them a wide smile and said, “Hello friends.” That’s all you have to do to become a friend, just walk in the door. These days, there is no shushing. Children’s learning can be noisy and that’s just fine. Toddlers darted about. Infants bounced on laps. Sometimes they fussed but that was okay. Story hour is about the children, after all.
Or is it? In one library, while the children were having a snack after their story, the mothers were socializing intensively. But of course—it was the start of spring, and they’d been cooped up indoors with small children for months. Story hour provided intellectual stimulation for the children, but also a social support network for their mothers.
And across the state, libraries have been stretching their missions in an attempt to become centers of community. New library buildings crop up next to municipal buildings, in the midst of town playing fields, in the midst of the action. You want a tax form? No problem. Need to use a computer? Sign up here. Nationwide, libraries are developing Family Places, programs that reach out to parents with children three and under to provide information and support about all aspects of childhood from child health to typical patterns of growth and emotional development to early literacy activities.
On my own trip, I was greeted effusively in every town, every county. In one library, the community room was soon to undergo reconstruction. So on their own time, the librarians painted huge vegetables on all four walls. (My book, Up, Down, and Around is about how veggies grow.) Early in the tour, 160 children arrived for the story and songs dressed as veggies, wearing colorful tee shirts and amazing headgear—green beans dangling from vines or a green foam visor “planted” with three bright beets. Later, a librarian and teachers collaborated so that 300 kindergarteners sang my story as a song. (Twice! Once in the morning , and again in the afternoon.) Another librarian had four-year-olds decorate a tee shirt with veggies as a gift. Still another set up a farmers’ market outside the entrance. By noon, some of her display carrots had been nibbled. In seventy different events, there were seventy different stories to tell—all filled with a joyful spirit—the delight of words and stories and learning.
Children respond to this generosity—they bloom, share opinions, get excited about books and ideas. “I weally, weally wove wettuce,” one little boy confided after hearing my book. Another girl informed the room that “My sister lives with me!” I led a small group, spinning in and around the children’s room bookshelves, pretending to be pumpkin vines, tangling up the books. “This is so fun, I want to keep doing this,” said a kindergarten boy. I agree. I want him to keep tangling with books for the rest of his life. Another child, whose thoughts were stimulated by a story and discussion, asked hard, interesting questions: “Why do seeds grow?” (Not how, which I could answer.) And then, “Why don’t we grow like plants do?” Such a question had never occurred to me. I checked the bottoms of my feet for roots.
As I traveled the state, the children invigorated my spirits. Yes, I got tired of the turnpike, but I only got lost twice and ate in some fine and funky restaurants. And although I was away from home, away from my family and usual companions, I was rarely lonely. Several governors ago, the state had a promotional campaign. Its motto: You have a friend in Pennsylvania. After traveling for six weeks, from green sign to green sign, I can testify to the truth of that statement. We all have a friend in Pennsylvania—she is the librarian.

Katherine Ayres is the author of 10 books for children. She teaches writing in the MFA program at Chatham University and lives in Shadyside.