Share Your Story
Today is National Voter Registration Day and so we thought it only appropriate to feature in this edition of the Social Library, some of the ways in which libraries are raising awareness for voters in their communities. From voting workshops to mock ...
If you are looking for an impressive number of resources, templates and ideas on how to reach and serve entrepreneurs at your library, then look no further than the webinar Support Small Business Development at Your Library.
Laura Metzler, Sma...
Today, universities and colleges across the United States are having open and sometimes intense conversations about the matters of diversity, multiculturalism and inclusivity in their campuses. These conversations are often a great start for students...
This edition of the Social Library features libraries that are hosting programs and groups in support of emerging and established writers. Writers' groups are hosted regularly, some with visiting authors and others with specific guidelines for how to...
If the recent webinar Beyond the Job Description: Ten Practical Tips for the Rural Library Director could be summed up in one sentence, it might just be: "Make sure you know your community and that your community knows you."
Submitted by Carole Ingram, Washington County Free Library, Hagerstorm, MD
Summary:My Library opened the door to find my soulmate and build a 57 year relationship.
Story: I was just a teenager and moved to Hagerstown, MD in 1958. I came from Kingwood, PA and lived on a farm which was also a Poultry Processing Plant. Never did I go to a Library or enjoy the gift of taking a free book home and entering a new world of magic.
After we moved, I thought I should check out the Library. It was in a old stately building in downtown Hagerstown. Just walking up the tall marble steps gave me a feeling of excitement. I found after a few visits this lovely lady who worked at the check-out desk. She reeked of class and warmth. We became immediate friends. A visit to the Library was not complete without her expertise and warmth. She was the glue that made me return again and again.
As fate would have it, I, unbeknownst to either one of us, met her nephew in high school at the age of 13. To condense the story it was Aunt Dot who was the thread which wove our family together. After 50 plus years we have a wonderful family and are adding a new son-in-law soon.
The gist of my story is that the people that are employed and serve at the Library make such a difference. They make or break your experience of going to the Library.
Aunt Dot was laid to rest a few years ago, but a funny thing happened. While taking a Master Gardener Class my partner was a gal who worked for our Library. She was a delightful, attractive, bubbly and intelligent person who was extremely proficient in her profession. I had to think back to Aunt Dot and the grand lady she was, but here in the seat next to me was another outstanding person who, I am sure, was just as devoted to helping people. Life is full of wonderful gifts, we only need to reach out, take the blinders off our eyes, and grasp the beauty.
We have a brand new Library now and it is like a dream come true. There is no limit to the knowledge and wonder that fills the walls. I am grateful for this "free" place to go that so enriched my life and the many others who take advantage of its numerous benefits.
I am only sorry Aunt Dot cannot take a trip there with me and see what a fabulous place it is and know there are still caring special people just like her to assist us in our search for knowledge.
Coding Camp for Kids: MineCraft Mods
Submitted by Rebecca Forth, Sonoma County Library, CA
Summary: My library is just about to roll out a grant project I developed through the California State Library's Pitch an Idea LSTA grants. The project is called Coding Camp for Kids: Minecraft Mods. It teaches kids, ages 11-14, the basics of the programming language Java by leveraging the popularity of the game Minecraft.
Story: The goal of this project is to create a replicable program that effectively demonstrates the essential aspects of the software development process to middle-school children. Creativity, problem solving, collaboration, communication, logical analysis, and of course actual coding are skills that participants will learn through hands-on modification of the source code behind the virtual reality game Minecraft.
Minecraft is a virtual reality game that allows players to build, explore, and interact in a 3D world-- gathering resources, crafting virtual objects, and engaging with other players. Minecraft is an open world game that has no specific goals for the player to accomplish, allowing players a large amount of freedom in choosing how to play the game. If you are not familiar with the game, it is like a limitless set of legos. Players can build anything they can imagine—even designing their own bricks. Game play can range from a solo building activity in a private space to collaborative building with other players to designing strategic battle plans and tools for engagement with fellow gamers.
Minecraft is an ideal platform for this program’s purpose because it is analagous to a "hot rod" within 21st century technology instruction. It is a highly popular game, especially so among the middle-school age group. In the same way that generations of 20th century teens were highly motivated to learn automotive technology because they wanted to drive fast, 21st century pre-teens are highly motivated to internalize computational technology because they want their Minecraft avatars to have the coolest gear, the most effective mining tools, the most innovative creations.
Like the mid-20th century automobiles beloved by hot-rodders, the Java code running Minecraft is easy to modify and is universally adopted to serve millions of uses around the world. By teaching the skills of "souping up" Minecraft, this program will help kids practice real-world skills that are highly desired by fast-growing tech firms hungry for software-savvy talent.
The Coding Camp for Kids is a week-long program that teaches kids, ages 11-14, the programming language Java, by leveraging the code modification capability in the very popular game Minecraft. Participants will be issued library-owned laptops, loaded with the game and the editing software, to use during the 3-hours that the program is in session daily. One instructor and an assistant will guide participants through the basics of Minecraft, and will then begin exploring how objects are created within the game using Java.
Our first three sessions are rolling out in March, April, and June of this year, and have already been filled to capacity. Now I'm scrambling to find ways to make more sessions available to meet the demand.
Submitted by Rena Gonduan, Matheson Library, Lae, Papua New Guinea
Summary: Some time ago, my library implemented a moving library by purchasing a water buffalo to carry books in the neighbourhood to spouses and children of staff employed at the university here. This helped to portray the library as a moving service and not only confined to a building.
Story: A staff trained to handle the beast would go out with the animal once a week with books stacked at its back. It was hilarious at times when the buffalo got excited by screaming children and bolted off leaving the assistant puffing and panting behind in pursuit of the frightened animal.
This idea may be advisable in a rural setting with experienced handlers.
Submitted by Micheal Rhian Driscoll, Kent Island and Annapolis, MD
Summary: Like Kevin Kline's character in "El Dorado," who only felt at home in a good saloon, a room or building full of books just feels that way to me.
Don't miss more great stories about libraries supporting their patrons with health information on the Health Happens in Libraries page.