Category Archives: Programs

Discover some fun Back-to-School ideas for your school library!

If you aren’t already back to school, you will be soon! We thought this list from School Library Journal had some great suggestions that you could potentially use in your school library this year!

Read some of the ideas below, and check out the full list here.

  • This idea sounds both fun AND delicious: “I’m really excited to be getting a small hydroponic garden system for school-wide use,” says Ellen Luca, media specialist at Brookdale School in Bloomfield, NJ. Reflecting the school’s implementation of Next Generation Science Standards, Luca’s media center “is becoming a hub for STEAM-related activities.” Students will plant lettuce and basil, with the goal of making pesto. “
  • We love how this school librarian is getting the word out about her awesome media center: “Jaime LeRoy, library media specialist at Cross Timbers (TX) Middle School, is looking forward to another year of sneaky library advertising with her Bathroom Book Blurbs, advertisements for popular titles, in student bathrooms, as well as her Potty Mouth newsletter, housed in faculty restrooms, with news about library happenings, new books, tech tips, and more. “I am willing to do whatever it takes to promote the library and its goings-on!” she says.”
  • This school librarian has a fun way to get her students to experience her collection: “Anastasia Hanneken, who recently genrefied her school library’s fiction collection, is planning an “Around the Library in 180 Days” program. Students will receive a passport “and will be asked to read a book from each genre, including nonfiction and biography.” Prizes await students who complete the genres in their passport.”
  • Learning math with dancing robots? Yes, please! “Laura Gardner, teacher librarian at Dartmouth (MA) Middle School and SLJ 2016 School Librarian of the Year finalist, has been collaborating with the school’s math department using Ozobots. Last year they worked with students to teach the mini-robots how to dance, and this year they will use lessons found on the Ozobot website to explore the concepts of pi and slope.”
  • This public library is teaching students some very important adulting tips: “The San Jose Public Library will continue offering a series of Life Skills Academy programs, says Berman. Teens ages 14–19 can attend sessions on topics including “Pizza Is Not a Food Group,” “There Are No Potty Breaks in College,” and “Why You Shouldn’t Have 27 Credit Cards.”
  • This media specialist has a cute and relatable idea for her program: “In her new position as media specialist at Falmouth (ME) Elementary School, Amy Reddy will offer the passive program “Once Upon a Time…We Were Your Age, Too!” Teachers and staff will share photos of themselves as kids, with a favorite book. Students will guess their identities, and winners will receive gift cards. At Reddy’s old school, “Students made connections to the teachers and often chose a teacher’s favorite books to read.” Plus, “they realized their teachers were children once, too!”

Are you trying out a new or exciting idea in your school library this year? We’d love to hear about it! Share a comment or consider writing a blog post for us about it!



33 Winning Back-to-School Ideas

Day Eighty Nine of the CMLE Summer Fun Library Tour!

I’m a scifi and pop culture fan (and I’ve watched all the Project Runway shows!), so this was right in my interest area!

Could your library do a fashion and fun festival?? It is an increasingly common program for us!

Women rule costume contest at Hoover Public Library’s 2017 Sci Fi Fantasy Fest

“Women ruled the costume contest at the third annual Sci Fi Fantasy Fest at the Hoover Public Library Saturday night.

Jessica Collier of Gadsden walked away with first place among the 20 contestants, portraying the Sombra character from the Overwatch video game.

Second place went to Blythe Stovall of Trussville (dressed as Merida from the “Brave” movie, with a dose of Mel Gibson’s William Wallace character in “Braveheart.”)

Hoover’s own Illissa McGowin came in third, sporting a costume from another Overwatch character called the Widowmaker.

The judges picked three others as “judges’ choice” selections. One was Collier’s father, Terry Collier, who portrayed Negan from “The Walking Dead.” The other two were Suzanne Crowson of Gardendale, dressed as the Wicked Witch of the West in “Wicked,” and Ezekiel Addams of Columbiana, dressed as Javar from “Aladdin.”

The library’s Sci Fi Fantasy Fest is a three-day event that began Friday and ends Sunday. It includes sessions on gaming, TV and media, Star Wars, Star Trek, cosplay, writing, comics and the paranormal.

In the first two days, this year’s festival already has drawn a bigger crowd than last year, when more than 2,100 people came, chairwoman Krysten Griffin said. An estimate was not yet available and would need to come from the library’s automatic people counters, she said.

Some of the most popular aspects of the festival so far have been the prop building contest, live Dungeons and Dragons play, open board game play at the Hoover Senior Center, and a passionate debate about whether the Harry Potter series is better than the Star Wars series, Griffin said.

Saturday also featured John Anderson, an actor and comedian from Birmingham who landed a role as a ravager in the recently released “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” Anderson also appeared in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” “The Case for Christ,” “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” “MacGyver,” “Being Mary Jane” and Tyler Perry’s “Too Close to Home.”

Activities on Sunday go from 2 to 6 p.m. and include two workshops at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on how to make a sheet of chainmaille. Chainmaille is a type of armour made of small metal rings linked together in a pattern to form a mesh-like material. The cost is $10 per person. Each participant will receive pliers and steel rings to make one sheet of chainmaille. Space is limited.

Other Sunday activities include open gaming, a breakout room, an Artemis Spaceship bridge simulator, a science fiction double feature of “It Came From Outer Space” and “Forbidden Planet” in the Hoover Library Theater, a session on epic failure sci-fi shows that never took off, and sessions related to Star Trek and Star Wars. Admission is free, except for the chainmaille workshops.”

(Read the rest of this article here, and see all the great photos!)

Day Eighty Two of the CMLE Summer Fun Library Tour!

this is the bike we have at HQ!

At CMLE Headquarters we love our bike desks! And we are not alone – more libraries are starting to use them for patrons.

Texas A&M libraries install bike desks to keep with changing times

“…The six stationary bike desks were installed and open for use Tuesday in three locations across the campus: Evans Library, the West Campus Library and the Medical Sciences Library. The adjustable units include an attached desk space, a water bottle holder and a ride computer to track the time, distance and calories burned during each session.

Jared Hoppenfeld, interim director of the West Campus Library, said at about $300 per unit, he is confident the bikes will be a good investment. He said not two minutes after installing the units at his library, a group of students had already gathered around to give them a try.

“I went downstairs to get the signs, and when I got back three students were taking pictures, sitting on it and asking me questions about the bikes,” Hoppenfeld said.

He said in the first day of being installed, eight students responded to a voluntary online survey about the bikes and several indicated that they would be “more likely to come to the library to study if they could use the bike.”…

Hoppenfeld said the bike desks are a part of a larger effort in the libraries to implement innovative strategies and technologies. As resources increasingly move online, Hoppenfeld said they are hoping the new opportunities help keep the libraries relevant.”

Day Seventy Nine of the CMLE Summer Fun Library Tour!

Think about participating in this really interesting program from Web Junction: Outside The Lines

Outside the Lines: Libraries Reintroduced

Libraries and library staff are skilled in their ability to adapt to meet the changing needs of their communities. Step into today’s library, and you might find expanded collections that include everything from telescopes to fishing poles to sewing machines. Libraries have embraced ideas and services that help communities to be their best, whether that’s by providing access to the latest technology or facilitating life-long learning through programming for all ages. Yet, despite these innovations, many outdated perceptions of libraries linger. For the library industry as a whole, the challenge remains: How do we help our communities understand that libraries are more relevant than ever? Outside the Lines, now in its fourth year, is an international grassroots initiative aimed at doing just that.

A weeklong global celebration

Outside the Lines is a weeklong celebration – September 10-16, 2017 – demonstrating the creativity and innovation happening in libraries. Libraries of all types–small, large, urban, rural, public, academic–are invited to participate in an effort to reintroduce themselves to their communities. To do this, organizations agree to host at least one event or campaign during Outside the Lines (OTL) that gets people thinking and talking about libraries in a new way.

As of the late July, more than 160 libraries from across the globe–from Alabama to California, Brazil to Croatia, Ghana to Australia–will take part in OTL 2017, tailoring their events to meet the needs of their specific communities. Outside the Lines is designed to be flexible so that all libraries, no matter their size or resources, can engage with their communities in a way that works for them. Creative outreach can benefit any community – OTL simply provides a framework and support to help make it happen. And you are invited to include your library and community to this weeklong celebration!

Brainstorming for a successful OTL

Figuring out how to participate in Outside the Lines might feel a little daunting at first – the possibilities are endless. So how do you figure out a creative way to celebrate the library while also representing your community? When working with libraries on developing ideas for a successful OTL, we’ve found the following brainstorming activity to be effective. With your planning team, ask the following questions:

  • What words describe your community?
  • If you were to take your library out into the community, where would you take it?
  • What would the community be surprised to learn about your library?
  • Thinking about your answers, what dream OTL event would you host? With this question, we encourage libraries to think big and take inspiration from those big ideas. Your big dream might be closer to a reality than you think, and you can always scale back as necessary.

From a battle of the bands to wine festivals and floating libraries, check out some of the ideas that formed from one such brainstorming session at the Public Library Association 2017 conference.

“Every day of OTL I met people who were delighted to find the library out and about. We learned together about our community, splendid parks, amazing nature, fascinating personal stories, and the power of play.”

Heather Ogilvie, Bay County Public Library, Florida

In 2016, Bay County Public Library participated in Outside the Lines by hosting adventure walks, potluck picnics and a “Read on the Beach” session where residents received free admission to a state park with their library card.

Last-minute ideas

For libraries interested in participating but worried about not having enough planning time, there are several ways to create an easy OTL experience. In fact, sometimes the simplest ideas can be the most effective. We’ve seen a number of libraries share great success in setting up shop at their local farmers’ market, on the bike trail, or at the bus stop. What about a pop-up story time at an unexpected place like the park or a local business? You don’t have to throw a parade to make an impact on your community.

Using OTL to reach your organizational goals

Is there a specific audience your library is trying to reach? Is there a community partnership you’d like to form? What about a strategic goal you hope to fulfill? Whatever your library’s current goals, Outside the Lines can help you reach them. For example, if your library is looking to promote a specific service, think about the target audience for that service. Where in the community might you reach them? Outside the Lines is a great way to experiment and try something new.

“We were surprised at the fact that we were able to accomplish so much in just a week. A lot of our campaigns and events were things we have been wanting to do for a long time, so it was nice to finally have a catalyst to do them and find out that it was all possible!”

Jenna Harte, Sterling Municipal Library, Texas, OTL 2016

Learn more about setting and achieving organizational goals using specific examples in this free webinar hosted in conjunction with the Public Library Association.

Day Sixty Two of the CMLE Summer Fun Library Tour!

Monoclonius dinosaur
It is always fun to see what other libraries are doing, and the different programs going on in libraries.  The public library in Liberty, NY has a fun program for kids: digging up dinosaur bones! Hands up: how many of us spent our childhoods being interested in dinosaurs? Me too!

Add together digging, some education, and dinosaurs, and you have all the makings of a fun program!

Dig for dinosaur bones at
Liberty Public Library

“LIBERTY — On Aug. 3 at 6:30 p.m., the Liberty Public Library at 189 N Main Street in Liberty will be hosting a real, hands-on Dinosaur Dig inside the library. To get the children ready for the dig, the program will start off with a 30-minute interactive fossil talk presented by Field Paleontologist, Mike Straka. During the talk Mr. Straka will cover how and where we find fossils and will show some amazing fossil discoveries from the time of the dinosaurs to the time of the ice age.

He will then assist children in digging for real dinosaur bones, identifying the bones and placing them on top of a Triceratops cut out. Please note that while this program is free, the hands-on “dig” workshop is limited to 50 participants, ages 5-11. Weather permitting; the dig will be set up outside the library so children should come dressed in play clothes. After the dig, children will have an opportunity to spend time looking at the expanded fossil “museum” set up in the library.”