The Social Library, Volume 50

Jennifer Peterson /

Image: Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden, Grant Park, Portland, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 by Krista Kennedy on Flickr Libraries and organizations highlighted in this week's edition of the Social Library demonstrate the scope of library impact, in everything from celebrations to engaging conversations. We learned about a library bridging the digital divide, another welcoming newcomers with English language kits, a festive pozole cooking contest, and that Beverly Cleary will be turning 100 this April! Each week, we share news from five libraries we follow on Facebook. If you'd like to see your library featured in the Social Library series, please let us know via, or find us on Facebook.

  • Thanks to the Missouri Library Association, we learned that Beverly Cleary will be turning 100 on April 12! And a little more searching surfaced resources to help your library celebrate this notable centenarian:

    • The Oregon Library Association's Children's Services Division has a list of Program Ideas to celebrate 100 Years of Beverly Cleary.
    • Plan to promote Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R) all month long in honor of the author's birthday. You may remember that Beverly Cleary wrote about D.E.A.R. in Ramona Quimby, Age 8.
    • Libraries in the Northwest may want to suggest the Walking Tour of Beverly Cleary's Neighborhood provided by the Multnomah County Library. You can visit the wonderful sculpture of Ramona, pictured above!

    And thank you to the University of Washington iSchool for recognizing her contributions to the field in establishing the Beverly Cleary Endowed Professorship in Children and Youth Services, a position first held by Eliza Dresang, who also led the research behind WebJunction's Supercharged Storytimes project until her passing in 2014.

  • The Kansas City Public Library in Missouri was featured in a National Journal article, Bridging the Digital Divide, for the their partnership with the school district and other nonprofits in a pi­lot pro­gram that equipped 25 un­der­served fam­il­ies with port­able Wi-Fi hot spots and a tab­let at no cost. Un­der the ar­range­ment, each par­ti­cip­at­ing fam­ily can "check out" the small device for the school year.
  • Omaha Public Library in Nebraska was featured in the Omaha World-Herald for introducing English Language Learning Bags, for patrons who are learning English as a second language. "The new kits contain items to accommodate three learning levels so an entire family may benefit." The library provides a number of additional resources for new Americans, including language and citizenship classes, as well as materials available in various languages. At right is a Welcome to the Library video in English, also made available in six other languages. It provides an "introduction to Omaha Public Library for newcomers to the community and for adult learners of English as a Second Language. It explains the concept of libraries and presents them as a place of learning, discovery and enjoyment."
  • Napa County Library in California caught our eye for two reasons. First, just like Beverly Cleary, they're also celebrating their 100th year! And we enjoyed learning about their recent Pozole Contest, with more than 200 hungry individuals of all ages and backgrounds in attendance. The librarian pitched the idea as a way to get more, and different, people into the library, and it was a huge success!
  • And speaking of engaging with communities, we enjoyed learning from The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation about some of their work in a short, but informative video, Community Conversations: Libraries and the Harwood Method, presented by staff from libraries in the Tampa Bay Library Consortium. The initiative, Libraries Transforming Communities, is a collaboration between ALA and the Harwood Institute, teaching libraries how to address challenges facing their community, through community engagement.

Thanks to all of this week's featured libraries for such outstanding service to your communities!