Category Archives: Programs

The Tessera: a ghost story to spark computational thinking

From the DistrictDisptach.org website – a very cool ARG program for teens, or other fun-loving tech fans!

by Elizabeth Bonsignore, Katie Kaczmarek, Kari Kraus and Anthony Pellicone from the University of Maryland; and Derek Hansen from Brigham Young University

Vintage catalogue card
A card from the catalog, with the ISBN, page, line, and word location from a published book that will lead players to the “right word” for this particular Tessera puzzle.

 

The following scenario offers a glimpse into gameplay for ARG The Tessera:

Ms. Edmunds is a middle school librarian running a #ReadyToCode after-school club that has been playing The Tessera, an interactive online mystery that introduces teens to foundational computational thinking concepts and key individuals from the history of computing. Her 8th graders have just entered a room within the game world that contains materials curated by members of a secret organization called the Tessera.

Here, they discover an old library catalog whose cards contain “book ciphers” that, once decoded, will reveal a letter from Ada Lovelace, a Tessera leader who is known today as the author of the world’s first computer program. The teens must work together to find the books listed in the catalog cards, then follow the encoded clues to locate the words within those books that comprise the contents of Ada’s letter.

Ms. Edmunds helps her club members to find several of the books in their media center or online via resources like Project Gutenberg. They page through the books together, compiling a growing list of words that disclose the letter’s contents. Once complete, Ada’s letter rewards players with key details about the Tessera’s secret mission against the evil “S.” During after-school sessions, Ms. Edmunds shows her teens how they can share their questions, frustrations, and successes with others in-game, through the Tessera players’ forum. She also encourages them to contribute their own findings and musings on the public-facing Tessera community wiki.

Like the teens in her club, Ms. Edmunds has a player profile, which she uses to respond to players’ questions and share her own thoughts. Over the course of 8-12 weekly after-school sessions, Ms. Edmunds facilitates online and face-to-face meetups with teens in her media center as they tackle the multi-level computational thinking challenges in this interactive, multiplayer mystery.”

(Read the rest of this article here!)

CMLE Travel Bug Lands in a Member Location!

If you have been following the adventures of the CMLE travel bugs, you have noticed they have been quiet over the winter. Less hiking and exploring in the cold weather means less hunting for geocaches. But Spring is here (technically!), and our travel bugs are eager to get moving on their adventures!

This is the travel bug Library Fan #1, dropped into its first cache! As you can see in the photos, this is a very cool cache – big enough to hold some fun things, not too hard to find, and subtle enough that it blended into the scenery very nicely.

The cache is “Milo and Chevy’s Excellent Adventure!” hidden 2/26/2016 by Pink candy, Babeonbon. ” Milo and Chevy are our two fur babies. If they were dogs, they’d probably love taking walks when we’re out caching, but they’re both too lazy. Continue reading CMLE Travel Bug Lands in a Member Location!

New study says toy “sleepovers” can help kids’ literacy

Getting young kids involved in activities that involve reading is important to encourage their literacy skills. And when the kids can bring their favorite stuffed animals along, everyone can participate in the fun!

You may remember a few months ago CMLE’s office mascot Orville got to take part in a great Stuffed Animal Sleepover program offered by the St. Cloud Public library.

These events are becoming increasingly popular all across the world, and thanks to a new study, can even promote early literacy skills. This article from School Library Journal explains just how useful these events can be to get young kids interested in reading!
Continue reading New study says toy “sleepovers” can help kids’ literacy

Want to try some beautification projects??

Yarn bombing
Libraries are always thinking of new and interesting programs to try.  Have you been thinking about something new to try? Consider a program in beautification or street art!

These can add some excitement to your area, and also help to showcase the library as an organization that does interesting work. (It’s always good for us to not just be the “boring people with dusty books” when people think about us!!)

Try out one of these project, and then tell us about it!

  • Chalk the Walk: “Chalk the Walks (a project of The Joy Team) is all about spreading joy, optimism and inspiration through the magical power of sidewalk chalk. Remember when you were a kid and you’d draw pictures and write happy thoughts with chalk in your driveway and down the sidewalks of your  street? And the adults always smiled when they read the big, pastel-colored messages? This is just like that. Only we’re bigger now. And we don’t have to go in the house when the street lights go out.  The idea is as simple as it was in childhood: write happy messages, have fun doing it, spread some joy while you’re at it.”
  • Moss Graffiti: “Contemporary artists have discovered that street art is not only beautiful to look at, but that it can also be soft and smooth to the touch. Moss graffiti is eco-friendly as it doesn’t use any aerosols; what the “painting” needs is just a dash of water to thrive. Here is a recipe for how to make your own moss graffiti. Just bear in mind that choosing the right space for street art is very important.”
  • Yarn Bombing: “While yarn installations – called yarn bombs or yarnstorms – may last for years, they are considered non-permanent, and, unlike other forms of graffiti, can be easily removed if necessary. Nonetheless, the practice is still technically illegal in some jurisdictions, though it is not often prosecuted vigorously. While other forms of graffiti may be expressive, decorative, territorial, socio-political commentary, advertising or vandalism, yarn bombing was initially almost exclusively about reclaiming and personalizing sterile or cold public places. It has since developed with groups graffiti knitting and crocheting worldwide, each with their own agendas and public graffiti knitting projects being run.”
  • Rainworks: Using hydrophobic spray, you can paint designs on concrete that are invisible – until rain shows the art! “Anybody can visit our official tutorial page to learn how to make their own rainworks. We’ve shared all of our tips & tricks from our years of experience so that you can avoid making the mistakes we made while we were learning.  The Official Rainworks Map now has over 100 rainworks, from dozens of contributors, spanning over 4 continents. Anybody who makes a rainwork can add its location to the map!”

Teen cooking program suggestions!

US Navy 090818-N-6326B-001 Staff and patients participate in a healthy cooking class at Naval Medical Center San Diego
These are suggestions for teen cooking programs from assorted libraries – but they could easily be done for all ages! The library people running these programs report they get a very good turnout; so might be a fun (potentially messy – never wrong) way to bring some new life into your programming.

Note: If your library does cooking programs, know that the CMLE HQ staff is ready and willing (even eager!) to come help with the taste testing! (And if you were not planning to include taste testers – we still volunteer!)

  • Teen Iron Chef
  • Cupcake Wars
  • Cake Boss
  • Fruit Bouquets
  • Stranger Things Cookie Bake-Off ( teens stop by the teen room to pick up a mystery ingredient that they have to incorporate into their cookies; since our theme is Stranger Things/80’s, we’ll be asking teens to use ingredients like Marshmallow Fluff, Teddy Grahams, and other snack foods that were released in the 80’s)
  • Make pasta from scratch – with rolling pins, the way my grandmother made it, not with a machine
  • A culinary school near by and the owner and an assistant (possibly student) came and did a pizza making program
  • Hunger Games Cornucopia themed food program where teens had to rush into the Cornucopia and grab an unmarked bag. They then had a certain amount of time to create a food creation using all of the ingredient.