About this time of year, my colleagues and I begin to ponder just why it was we chose careers that see us at our busiest in the summer months – at a time when it seems the rest of the world is looking to kick back and relax. Along with other public libraries around the country, we spend months planning and preparing a Summer Reading Program, we spend weeks visiting area schools and encouraging students in grades K-6 to participate in our Summer Reading Program, and then we have thousands of kids come through our doors eager to pick up a Summer Reading game board and attend special events. Why? Why do we do this? Couldn’t we just quietly go about our business and slip away to the lake more easily in June?
And then we remind ourselves. We do it because it matters. We invite kids to take part in our Summer Reading Program because studies have shown that “students who participated in public library summer reading programs scored higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year.” (Public Library Summer Reading Programs Close the Reading Gap, 2010)
We know that developing and improving reading skills takes practice. The more you read, the better you get. And we know that when kids get to choose what they want to read, they are more likely to read for fun. Yet, when schools close for the summer, many students no longer have access to reading materials that appeal to their interests and suit their reading ability. Your public library fills that gap. Our free Summer Reading Program is all about encouraging kids to read for fun so that they sustain and build a reading habit over the summer. They can choose books, magazines, graphic novels, audiobooks, ebooks, fiction, nonfiction – they’re all included in our summer reading program.
Visit our Summer Reading website for details about our program, or give us a call at 349-3100. But most of all – we hope to see you here at the library this summer. As we’ve been reminding kids recently: We’re open 7 days a week, including evenings and weekends. In between the other fun things you have going on this summer, we encourage you to stop in to the library and choose something fun to read. We won’t even be jealous if you tell us you’re going to read it at the lake.
For more information about the benefits of library Summer Reading Programs, see our Get Reading, Get Movingpage. And to see how much fun we have with our Summer Reading Program, watch our video: Dig Into Reading!
While some predict the imminent demise of the printed book, some profess that the printed book will continue on in perpetuity. I stand with the second group. As much as I enjoy the convenience of ebooks, there is a majesty to a beautifully illustrated and bound printed book that not even the most colorfully animated ebooks can equal. There is so much ephemeral electronic correspondence today that a printed book, by its sheer mass and substance commands a certain amount of respect. Or, perhaps it’s simply the history of the printed book that I revere.
From the Good Mountain: How Gutenberg Changed the Worldlavishly presents the early history of the printed book as pioneered by Johannes Gutenberg in 1450. Categorized as a biography, this new picturebook by James Rumford focuses more on Gutenberg’s revolutionary invention of the printing press, than on the life of Gutenberg himself. Each richly illustrated double-page spread describes the process of creating a book as a mystery of sorts, asking the reader to guess the elements that formed the finished product: “What was this thing made of rags and bones?” and answering on the next page: “It was paper, and it was ready.”
The epilogue to this book notes that Gutenberg’s invention remains a bit of a mystery, as no one knows for sure how he was able to produce such beautifully crisp and clear letters in the 1400s. But some of the books he produced more than 500 years ago endure to this day. In fact a copy of one of those books resides in Bloomington at the Lily Library on the campus of Indiana University. The Gutenberg Bible rests in a glass case on display in the Lily Library, open for anyone to visit.
From the Good Mountainconcludes with an illustration of computer circuitry, suggesting that as hand copied books gave way to printed ones, and printed books give way to ebooks, perhaps it doesn’t matter at all what books look like – what form they take – as long as people keep writing and reading them. What are you reading today?
Founded in 1958 by the American Library Association, National Library Week grew out of a desire to encourage more Americans to read as a leisure activity and to promote the use of libraries. Those desires have remained constant over the years, but as Monroe County Public Library looks to the future and the role the library plays in our community, we see libraries as a place that nurtures reading - and so much more.
Our Mission: To enrich lives and strengthen our community by providing equitable access to information and opportunities to read, learn, discover, and create.
We offer some special events this week to help celebrate National Library Week, April 14-20: Meet author Amy Krouse Rosenthal on Monday, or pick a night Monday through Thursday to attend the Vital Quiz Bowl which supports adults learners.
But you can come in any time to find fun materials to read, or view or listen to. You can even share your thoughts about what you’ve read by creating your own local review. Access our Research Tools to learn something new like how to make smart financial decisions with Morningstar, or learn a new language with Mango Languages. Check our calendar and discover opportunities to take part in special events and participate in community organizations at the library. Use our public computers to connect to Scratch and create your own interactive story.
These are just a few of the ways we strive to help Monroe County residents read, learn, discover and create. We have big plans for additional opportunities as we develop a Digital Creativity Center especially for teens, expand our meeting room facilities, and increase access to ebooks and other downloadable materials. These initiatives stem from expressed needs and desires of our community members.
Read more about our vision for the future, and MCPL's Strategic Plan to help us get there together. This week, and every week, we'd like to learn from you: How do you use the library to Read, Learn, Discover and Create? And what more would you like your library to be - and do for you?
Pete the Cat has been a cool cat fixture in children’s literature for a couple of years now. He first appeared on the picturebook scene in 2010 with Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, followed by Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes in 2011. Each story features Pete singing a little ditty, which you can listen to and download for free through the publisher’s website. (You can also watch a short video of each Pete the Cat through the website, too.)
In 2012, Pete managed to save Christmas – and sing about his four groovy buttons. And 2013 has already proved to be an impressive year for Pete as he launches a beginner reader series and earns a Geisel Honor Award. Pete was charming as Santa’s substitute, but it was Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons that earned kudos from the Association for Library Services to Children, which cited it as one of three Honor Books for the 2013 Geisel Award. Named for the great Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel), the Geisel Award is presented annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States.
Up, Tall and High! a cleverly designed lift-the-flap book was the 2013 Geisel Award winner. This humorous story, with limited text and an interactive format will certainly appeal to beginning readers. And the other Geisel Honor books are both delightful. But while Pete The Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons is notable for its accessible vocabulary, repetition of phrase, and rhymes which serve beginner readers so well – it also did an outstanding job of incorporating simple math into the story. As (spoiler alert!) Pete’s buttons pop off his favorite shirt one by one, large numbers appear at the bottom of the page, showing that 4-1=3. And later, 3-1=2, and so on…
My newly 5-year old daughter and I had great fun with this story talking about numbers and math, as well as the definition of groovy. And giggles abounded as we discovered that in the end, Pete is left with one button after all. Can you guess what type of button he still had?
Increasingly, our patrons are asking about downloadable ebooks and audiobooks for children. You can search our online catalog for downloadable materials, and when you connect to our partner provider - Indiana Digital Media (also known as Overdrive) – you can further limit your search to juvenile materials. These items can then be downloaded to a number of different mobile devices.
Many parents and teachers have also turned to TumbleBooks, an online collection of animated picture books and “read-along” chapter books, as another way to access ebooks for children. Available for free through the library’s website, TumbleBooks offers a variety of fiction and nonfiction titles especially for young children. (Find a link to TumbleBooks on the right side of the Children’s Services home page: mcpl.info/childrens.) Read more »
Author and Illustrator Patricia Polacco has a knack for creating picture books for older readers. Her thoughtful, sensitive stories have addressed a range of issues including cancer, cultural differences, race relations and slavery. Her most recent book, Bully, takes on a topic she has written about previously in both Thank You, Mr. Falkerand Mr. Lincoln’s Way, but this story depicts how bullying can take place via social media, as well as through direct interactions with peers.
Bully describes how Lyla attempts to make friends and fit in at her new school. A new friend encourages her to get a cell phone, a laptop computer, and a Facebook account so that she can “stay connected with the world!” Her parents relent, and her new friend Jamie, who is a computer wiz, helps her set everything up. The cool “celebrity” girls invite Lyla to join their clique – not for her newfound electronic communication skills, but for her tumbling and cheerleading abilities. Read more »
The versatile Mo Willems, author and illustrator of popular picture books about the much loved Knuffle Bunny, the demanding Pigeon, and Early Readers featuring good friends Elephant and Piggie, has unleashed his creative humor into the realm of classic folk tales. Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs as retold by Willems, follows the basic plot of the familiar story featuring the three bears and an adventurous blond haired girl. But instead of porridge, the dinosaurs are preparing bowls of delicious chocolate pudding at varying temperatures. They seem to be setting a trap for an “unsuspecting kid” as they loudly announce their departure for “someplace else” – not necessarily a walk in the woods. Read more »
It seems like a basic concept, a “no-brainer” if you will: the more you read, the better you get at it. But it was good to be reminded of this proven fact at the Literacy Summit sponsored by the Monroe County Community School Corporation last week. Dr. Richard Allington, Professor of Education at the University of Tennessee was one of the featured speakers. He underscored research demonstrating that the number of minutes spent reading outside of school directly correlates to how well you read. Like anything else, reading takes practice to get good at it. A former elementary school classroom teacher before beginning his career as a teacher educator and instructional researcher, Allington also emphasized the importance of allowing children to choose for themselves what to read. “Students must have choice along with interesting texts – things they want to read,” he said. Read more »
In our Move to the Groove program last month, we took a look at how you can find dance music at the library. I had pulled a sampling of CDs from our collection to share with the kids, but also demonstrated how anyone with a library card - and a computer – can download music for free through Freegal! Read more »