Category Archives: Activities

Interactive Program: Magnetic Poetry

I have just set up a Magnetic Poetry interactive display in the teen area of my library. I have gone for the imaginative title of Magnetic Po(l)etry as it is on one of the metal pillars holding up the ceiling in my branch.

It should be very easy to set up – all you need is a magnetic board or something similar (in my case it is a pillar) and some magnetic words. You can find a whole range of magnetic poetry kits online or in stores at reasonable prices. Some kits can contain <ahem> mature words so if you live or work in conservative area it may be worth knowing what you are purchasing before you buy it. On the other hand this program is aimed at teens, people who can make even the most innocent words into suggestive phrases so this sort of thing can be a risk no matter how much care you put into organising it.

Once teens start playing around with it I will update this post and possibly share whatever they create using it.

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‘Celebrating’ Banned Books Week

Over the years I have started looking at what I do as a Librarian and Human more critically, one of the (library-related) things currently taking up brain-space is Banned Books Week, and the question should we be ‘celebrating’ it?

Should we have a week to recognize the dangers of censoring books and ideas?

Yes

In an ideal world it would be more than a week, an on-going program of events and displays highlighting censorship and challenges to literature and the reasons behind them may have more of an impact.

Should Banned Books Week be cutesy and fun with photo opportunities, badges and social media opportunities to show how aware we all are? Your mileage may vary but recently I have been moving even more into the no camp on this. I have worn “I Read Banned Books” badges in the past, but my displays have mostly featured a history of banned books and books that were (and are) banned in specific countries as well as the reasons for banning.

My personal favourite display always featured Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence with prosecutor Mervyn Griffin-Jones’s question to the jury during the obscenity trial: Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?

Books are dangerous, they are carriers of ideas – the Nazis knew this when they organized book burnings. The Catholic Church for centuries had the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (List of Prohibited Books) until it was abolished in 1967.

I grew up in South Africa where, in my lifetime, books were routinely, and often with the assistance of librarians, banned and burned – I only discovered this recently while researching the effects of Apartheid on Public Library provision.

Today we live in a world where state censorship and the banning of literature and people occurs globally. People in America, parts of the European Union and beyond still have good old fashioned book burnings.

The American Library Association compiles lists of books that are regularly challenged in schools and public libraries around the country.

Links:

Banned Books Week US

Banned Books Week UK

ALA Frequently Challenged Books

Library Philosophy vs Apartheid Legislation

Index Librorum Prohibitorum

Nazi Book Burning

Library International Story Time

I have started looking towards 2020 for planning Library activities and currently at the top of my list is an idea to create an intercontinental story group.

Presently I am limiting my focus on linking my Library groups in the US and UK, mostly because I am in the US (Kansas) and most of the library people I know are based in the UK.

There is a six hour time difference between where I am and the UK so initial planning will focus on finding a partner or partners in the UK, agreeing on a date and time for the groups to meet. This means that during the school year I will be limited to baby & toddler groups, and, now that I think about it, home-school groups too. Older story-times will be limited to school holidays here.

The basic idea is, using video chat software (Skype or something similar), to link up two Library groups with a similar age range in the US & UK and form links through story-telling.

The sessions could begin with the reading of folk-tales an dlocal stories from where each group is based and then segue into general stories and rhymes (if appropriate for the group).

If the initial plan works, phase two will explore creating links with Libraries in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

If successful these story times could be a springboard into intercontinental story suggestions via post card and once the story time links are are extended, a display could be made with post cards from the various groups around the world.

At present though I am just in the early stages of planning but if anyone wants to collaborate please let me know and we can create a network of connected international libraries!

Interactive Display: Where Would YOU Like to Live in the FUTURE?

This interactive display has been more popular than I ever expected, a simple question: Where would YOU like to live in the FUTURE? and then four options of future residences with little laminated astronauts for participants to stick under their choices rapidly mushroomed.

I could not cut out astronauts fast enough to keep up with demand (I eventually dragooned two colleagues in to help me keep up with demand), currently close to two hundred library patrons of all ages have participated in voting as can be seen in the image above.

If anyone would like to make their own display they may download images below. For the first time I have made downloads available in US and UK paper sizes:

US Letter size

Download (PDF, 1.3MB)

UK A4 size:

Download (PDF, 1.19MB)

The astronaut template page can be photocopied to make extra astronauts

Library Island by Matt Finch

Library Island is an activity which simulates five years in the life of a nation’s library services. Participants become librarians, government officials, or community members on this island and face the challenges created by conflicting wants, needs, and limited resources. There is an Indigenous community and colonial history to be reckoned with, plus a range of political interests with their own agenda for the library.

It’s a simple game played with nothing more than office furniture, pens, and paper, but it swiftly leads to rich and complex scenarios. The fictional setting allows us to explore structural issues, political challenges, and even some of the disruptive behaviour that professionals may face from their users, within the relative safety of a “make-believe” context.

Source: What exactly is Library Island anyway? – matt finch / mechanical dolphin

Matt has provided a toolkit that can be downloaded with full instructions on how to run, adapt and play the game. It is available here:

https://booksadventures.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/library-island-toolkit.pdf

Space-related Ideas for Libraries

NASA

NASA Selfie App: available for iPhone & Android https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7220

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory education website: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/learn/

 Straw Rockets: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/teach/activity/straw-rocket/

NASA Image & Video Library – free to download & use: https://images.nasa.gov/

NASA Kid’s Club: https://www.nasa.gov/kidsclub/index.html

Apollo 50thhttps://www.nasa.gov/specials/apollo50th/

European Space Agency

Education: https://www.esa.int/Education

European Space Education Resource Office https://www.stem.org.uk/esero

Music & Songs

Zar and the Broken Spaceship by Dino O’Dell 

Trout Fishing in America – Alien in my Nose

Lyrics: https://www.flashlyrics.com/lyrics/trout-fishing-in-america/alien-in-my-nose-41

Space Day Camp Song Sheet: https://ftclatsopbsa.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/2011-space-day-camp-song-list.doc

Science Experiments

Steve Spangler Science: https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/

Science Kiddo: https://www.sciencekiddo.com/

Science Bob: https://sciencebob.com/category/experiments/

Science Sparks: https://www.science-sparks.com/category/science-experiments-for-kids/

Imagination Station Toledo: https://www.imaginationstationtoledo.org/educator/activities/

Activity Ideas

Two Book Geeks site: www.twobookgeeks.blogspot.com

Fun with black light flashlight – tide liquid soak glows in uv light https://sciencenotes.org/list-of-things-that-glow-under-black-light/

Post-it note 8bit art https://8-bitart.com/

Glow in the dark slime https://www.thebestideasforkids.com/glow-in-the-dark-slime/

Pre-Kinders Space Activities: https://www.prekinders.com/space-theme/

Nebula in a Bottle: http://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-for-kids/diy-nebula-jar/

Straw rockets: https://buggyandbuddy.com/straw-rockets-with-free-rocket-template/

Hoop Glider: https://sciencebob.com/the-incredible-hoop-glider/

Stories       

Constellation Legends: http://tcoe.org/scicon/instructionalguide/constellations.pdf

Star tales: http://www.ianridpath.com/startales/contents.htm

Other Resources

CSLP Facebook page – for ideas and links to resources: https://www.facebook.com/cslpreads/

Herschel Space Observatory: http://herschel.cf.ac.uk/education

National Schools’ Observatory: https://www.schoolsobservatory.org/

GAIA in the UK: https://www.gaia.ac.uk/education

National Space Centre: http://education.spacecentre.co.uk/information/learning-resources

Astro Science Challenge: http://www.astrosciencechallenge.com/

UK Space Agency STEM Resources: https://www.data.org.uk/for-education/secondary/uk-space-agency/

Kid’s Astronomy: www.kidsastronomy.com

Rocketry for Kids: https://a2zhomeschooling.com/explore/astronomy/rocketry_kids/

RosCosmos: http://en.roscosmos.ru/117/

Scouts & the UK Space Agency: https://fundraising.scouts.org.uk/ukspaceagency

International Literacy Association: https://www.literacyworldwide.org/blog/literacy-daily/2019/03/05/blast-off!-space-exploration-and-litera

Passive Display Idea: Let fate decide!

A fairly simple idea using origami fortune-tellers (also known as cootie catchers, chatterboxes or whirlybirds) as a passive activity for library patrons to choose books or authors that may be diffrent from their usual tastes. I have included a craft element for patrons that wish to learn how to make their own fortune-tellers to take away. The instructions on how to make and use fortune-tellers can be found below.

Download (PDF, 321KB)

Download (PDF, 316KB)

Chinese New Year Craft: Peppa Pig Lantern

The Chinese New Year begins tomorrow Tuesday 5th February and it is the Year of the Pig. I have created a simple paper lantern craft activity featuring Peppa Pig and her family. This will be suitable for younger Library users.  

“新年快乐” translates as Happy New Year: Xin Nian Kuai Le
Pronounced “sheen neean kwai luh,” kuai le means “happy” or “joyous” and xin nian means “new year.”

You can download a .pdf of the lantern here: Peppa Pig Lantern

Peppa Pig was created by Mark Baker, Neville Astley and Phil Davies.

Peppa Pig‘s trademark and copyright is held by Entertainment One

Feeling crafty?

SearchPress publish loads of amazing arts and crafts books, for beginning projects up to daunting expertise, and they very kindly offered to share a couple of free projects with us to entice you to their website. I know lots of libraries run or host craft sessions, and you will definitely have some manga fans, so have a look for some inspiration…

From Crocheted Cactuses comes this really cute (but baffling to a non-crochet-er) plan for, you guessed it, a crocheted cactus!

They have loads of manga titles, but the pages they’ve shared with us are from How to Draw Manga (in simple steps) by Yishan Li:

There are other free projects available on their website too!

Black History Month Ideas: African American Spies, from the Revolution to the CIA

The CIA has an incredibly interesting article available on their site titled Black Dispatches: Black American Contributions to Union Intelligence During the Civil War

It provides details about African-American spies and the work they did to provide intelligence for the Union.

Spies ranged from Harriet Tubman, better known for her work in helping escaped slaves find their way to freedom on the Underground Railroad to William A. Jackson – a slave in the Confederacy’s presidential household who provided invaluable information to his northern contacts. You can find out about more Civil War spies here.

Still with the CIA, they have a list of operatives who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country: https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/2014-featured-story-archive/remembering-cias-african-american-heroes.html

Other agents include James Armistead  a slave of William Armistead in New Kent County, Virginia, he volunteered to spy for the Continental army commander General Lafayette. James became a servant to British general Lord Cornwallis, who asked him to spy on the Americans! As a double agent, James gave unimportant information to Cornwallis, while keeping Lafayette informed about British troop strength and positions. James Armistead remained enslaved after the war. In 1784, Lafayette wrote to theVirginia General Assembly, describing his valuable service and asking that he be freed. In 1786, he was freed—and from then on, he called himself James Lafayette.

Born into extreme poverty in St Louis Missouri Josephine Baker went on to become a vaudeville star, was recruited into an all black dance troupe and went to Paris. In 1940 she became a spy for the French Resistance, while she picked up intelligence at parties, her fellow secret agent Jacques Abtey, masquerading as her assistant, recorded the information in invisible ink on her sheet music.

On her return to the USA she fought segregation across the states and ended up on an FBI watch list.

Activity Idea:

There are several methods one can use to make invisible ink:

  • Lemon juice & water – made visible by heating paper
  • Baking soda in water – made visible with dark fruit juice concentrate
  • Write with white crayon – made visible paint over with watercolors

    Once you have decided which technique to use encourage attendees to choose a spy, or more than one if they are feeling adventurous and create an invisible drawing of the agent or write a secret message to a friend hidden in another message.

    They could even create a cipher and make an invisible, encoded message.