ILA Best Practices

Archive for the ‘CHILDREN’ Category

While many of us dutifully read our library blogs and journals, we are often talking to ourselves. What has inspired you lately outside of our own profession? Have you gotten a great programming idea from a sports team? How about picking up on promotional tactics at the grocery store? Or thinking about a new library layout based on a well-designed web site?

Do you actively expose yourself to ideas outside of our field? Are you reading publications other than those in your subject areas? Are you attending classes or events on topics you know nothing about?

Has inspiration ever hit you as you go about your daily life? What were the circumstances? Have you found a way to increase the odds of adding new and creative ideas to your repertoire?

Even more difficult than generating lots of shiny and new creative ideas is the daily work of continuing to improve current offerings. How do you keep some of your most basic library offerings fresh and relevant? Academic librarians: Are you continuing to tweak your information literacy sessions each quarter? Public librarians: Are you reassessing summer reading programs each year? Special librarians: Are you ensuring you are continuing to meet the information needs of your patrons?

Your fellow Illinois librarians want to learn from you. Share the most off-the-wall thing that has inspired you, and how you translated that initial spark into a successful service or offering for your patrons.

Hilary Meyer

Chicago, IL


The Family Reading Night program sponsored by the Illinois State Library is really intended for public libraries. Our community college does not, properly speaking, have any patrons who are children. However, our student and staff patrons have families. So about five years ago we began to participate in the Family Reading Night program with the intention of giving a boost to family literacy in the community.

We began small, with just a story time presented by a professional storyteller. Soon we came up with the idea of involving our Children’s Literature class, since the students in there are mostly intending to be teachers or child-care professionals. This program is now incorporated into the Children’s Literature syllabus, with the students planning for and presenting a different program in conjunction with our storytelling. We have expanded to holding a program in the spring as well as in the fall when Family Reading Night occurs.

Although it is not ordinarily part of the mission of a community college library to put on children’s programs, we feel that fostering the literacy skills of our current and future students is very much within our mission. Submitted by Jan Zuke, Southwestern Illinois College, Sam Wolf Granite City Campus, Granite City, IL

The Hayner Public Library District in Alton IL has implemented a program titled “Bow wow Pow wow.” On the second Saturday of every month, handlers bring certified therapy dogs to the Hayner Youth Library. Library staff sets out an attractive collection of books for varying ages and reading skill levels and the children are invited to come “read to the dogs.” They pick out books (or can bring their own) and sit with a dog and read to it. Some children who are not reading yet just play with the different dogs or a parent will read to the child and dog together.

This has been an incredibly fun and rewarding project for all involved- the kids, parents, handlers and staff! We also are immensely grateful to the handlers who generously volunteer their time this month and have been instrumental in making this program a success. Submitted by Bernadette Duvernoy, Public Relations Coordinator

Mission: Recognition is a community wide youth recognition program launched in November 2006 and sponsored by The Hayner Public Library ( District in Alton, Illinois. Anytime a young person through age 18 is “caught” doing something that significantly and positively contributes toward the betterment of our communities, observers are asked to submit a nomination form that captures their good deed. Submitted by Jeffrey Owen, Executive Director (2007)

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