Category Archives: Programs

Spotlight Program: Library Chess Club

Chess board opening staunton

At CMLE, we so enjoy all our different types of libraries, archives, and other members! Seeing all the work you are doing is so inspiring; and we want to return the favor by helping you to find some of the great programming going on around the profession.

Each week we will share an interesting program we find. It may inspire you to do exactly the same thing; or to try something related; or just to try out some different programming ideas.

This is such an excellent blog from the Programming Library site:

“By Jenn Carson, MSLIS, CYT, CCYT Library Director of LP Fisher Public Library, Woodstock, N.B., Canada

At the L.P. Fisher Public Library in Woodstock, N.B., we already have a monthly Family Board Game night and an afterschool Board Game Club, but when local chess aficionado Derek Vihvelin inquired about possibly beginning a chess club we answered with a resounding “YES!”

The L.P. Fisher Public Library’s weekly chess club meetings draw about eight players per week.

A number of families in our community had been asking if I knew of anyone who offered chess lessons, and my first diggings came up blank. So it was a happy act of fate to find Derek looking for a place to teach and play chess when we were looking for someone to lead lessons!

The best part was that he was willing to volunteer, so families could come for free. Derek was even kind enough to donate some chess books to the library for our circulating collection.

About our chess instructor

Derek started playing chess when he was 3 years old. His father would play games against his friends, and Derek would try to grab at pieces of the board. So they set up a separate board just for him. Then either his father or his friend would teach Derek and his sister how to move the pieces when it wasn’t their turn.

Derek isn’t a titled player yet, but in blitz chess (timed chess where each player has only five minutes) he is consistently in the top 10 in New Brunswick. He has beaten several National Masters and Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) masters at blitz chess, and last year in the annual championship came in a tie for third/fourth place.

He estimates that in his lifetime he’s probably played around 100,000 games of chess. He’s been playing every day online since he was about 12 or 13 years old.

Setting up the club

Our first step for beginning the chess club was to buy some affordable, durable and portable chess sets, which we ordered from Strategy Games. We recommend getting the more expensive, thicker sets that won’t warp as easily. Once we received the sets, we sent them off to be cataloged as part of our board game collection. Then we made a Woodstock Chess Club Facebook page, which Derek and I both manage.

We decided, based on his busy schedule as a lawyer and young father of two, that Thursday night from 6:30 to 8 p.m. would be the club’s official meeting time. Even if Derek is away, we still hold matches at that time, and people can come anytime to check out a chess set from the circulation desk to practice.

If our volunteer instructor can’t attend one of our evening meetings, members use the time to play.

Marketing the club

We set out advertising the club on our Facebook, website and print calendar. Additionally, I contacted all the families I knew who would be interested. Derek and I are also involved in our local jiu-jitsu club (which is said to be like chess for the body), so we promoted it to families there as well.

We opened it for all ages and levels. Each week, we get around 6 to 8 people, and presently have about 12 members in total.


If you’re interested in getting into chess, Derek’s favorite place to send his students to learn chess tactics is Chess Tempo. He also recommends downloading a chess clock app, like this one for Apple devices or this one for android devices.

Additionally, Lichess is an online platform to play chess recommended by Derek. It is free and has zero advertisements. He invites anyone to find him on there to play; his username is “Dubbik.””

Read the rest of this blog here!

Resources for the African-American Read In

February is Black History Month, and we wanted to share this event with you since it is a great addition to the existing festivities! From February 1st – 28th, participate in the African-American Read In.  The goal of the African-American Read In is to “document readers making the celebration of African American literacy a traditional part of Black History Month activities.”

The celebration encourages places like schools, churches, libraries, professional organizations and citizens to get involved in making literacy “a significant part of Black History Month by hosting and coordinating community Read-Ins.”

To help you plan your event, check out these resources from Read Write that include links to classroom activities, a Library of Congress exhibit, and a host report card for you to record what happened at your own event.

Also visit NCTE’s site, which has this toolkit to help you prepare for your read in event. The toolkit has links to multiple booklists to help you with reading material selection.

Plus, on Tues. February 20th, CMLE will host our own African-American Read In at our headquarters location! Join us (and Office Dog Lady Grey) to celebrate African-American literature. We’ll have library books available to read and some light refreshments. Stay tuned for more information as the date approaches! 

Comicon draws costumed crowd to Tempe library

Cosplayers (5778411680)
(not at the library, but clearly they are in the spirit!)

I know some of our members have been to assorted Cons, and enjoy working with the costumed fun that can entail. This program, at the Tempe, AZ library, sounds so fun – I really want to see it here in Central Minnesota!! (I’ll come to your event, and find a fun costume!!)

Check out this article from the local paper: (You will want to see all the photos!)

“Superheroes, wizards and Jedi gathered for the fourth year at the Tempe Public Library for the library’s annual Comicon.

The all-day event Saturday featured panel discussions, comic and figurine vendors — and at least one shark.

“I had this in the closet, the left shark costume,” said 21-year-old Zack Tucker, wearing the full-body shark costume made internet famous after a Super Bowl dance routine. “I figured people would like a dead meme.”

Tucker came with friends, all wearing different costumes.

“I’ve never been to a Comicon before,” he said. “It’s fun so far.”

Jason Price was “Star Wars” hero Chewbacca for the day, and his young son, Luke, had a costume of his favorite character from the movies: Kylo Ren.

“We live here, but this is our first time coming,” Price said.

With high temperatures in the 70s, families enjoyed the pop-culture displays that filled the area outside the library.

“Just coming out and enjoying the weather and being out here, participating in the community,” Price said. “We definitely want to be here and check out all the vendors and see what’s going on.”

“We just won the scavenger hunt,” Luke added. “Fun!” “

Skype in the Classroom: Connect with Authors & Storytellers

Skype-for-BusinessYou may already be using Skype in the Classroom – and if not, please try it!! I’ve seen such fun programs using this tool, you will find some very cool things to try for your school.

You may not yet be using the tool allowing you to connect with authors!

“Invite an author in your classroom via Skype!

Literacy is the backbone of success and one of the most important educational initiatives. Every year, Skype in the Classroom celebrates literacy globally in honor of World Read Aloud Day (February 1st this year) and World Book Day (March 1st this year), working with hundreds of guest speakers, including authors, illustrators, and literacy partners. The goal is to inspire students to grow up as readers and become engaged citizens of the global world.

Watch how connecting your classroom with authors via Skype can help broaden students’ minds and imaginations and then browse the hundreds of authors available below.


If you want to give this a try, CMLE can give you a mini-grant up to $300 to try out exciting new projects like this one!

Spotlight Program: Beginning Street Art

Banksy 28 October installment from "Better Out Than In" New York City residency

I love to see art and art programs in the library – and this one looked really interesting! Check out this report by By Lisa Fipps, Director of Marketing and Community Engagement, Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, Ind.

“Beginning Street Art was an active companion program to Banksy Booked @KHPCL, the theme for a number of active and passive programs to coincide with a six-week exhibit of Banksy’s “Haight Street Rat” street art.

YA author Shannon Lee Alexander’s work-in-progress is about a character from an abusive home in a stagnant, some would even say dying, Appalachian town. She’s done a lot of research about street art for the novel, and it’s now become one of her passions. I asked her if she would lead teens in a workshop to explain graffiti and give participants an opportunity to try the various types of street art.

I assumed only teens would be interested, but quickly realized that adults wanted to know more and try it, too. So I opened up the program to both audiences. The program was informational and skill-building. It also brought generations together. I worked with Shannon to make it a two-fer by asking her to talk about her two published books, and sell and sign them at the event as well….

Just having a Banksy piece helped draw a lot of attention to KHCPL and, therefore, I received a lot of word-of-mouth marketing for Beginning Street Art and all the programs associated with the exhibit.

I emailed the flier to all the art teachers at the five high schools in the county. I met with the Visitor’s Bureau to market Banksy Booked @KHCPL and the passive and active programs associated with it to cities in Indiana and beyond. That marketing led to a listing in the Visit Indiana’s August Festivals & Events newsletter and, with an audience of at least 50,000. The Visitor’s Bureau also paid for social marketing ads.

I also created paid social media ads. I pay for monthly radio advertising and included information about Beginning Street Art in the month leading up to Banksy Booked @KHCPL. I sent out press releases to all three local newspapers, which published stories about it. Since the Banksy Booked @KHCPL story was picked up by the Associated Press, it further marketed Beginning Street Art.

I worked with graphics to get a sign up near the Banksy that provided the history of the “Haight Street Rat” and explained the various companion active and passive programs, including Beginning Street Art. I included information about Beginning Street Art in our newsletter that is mailed to 40,000 homes in our taxing district. I wrote about it in our enewsletter, which goes out to about 5,000 subscribers. I asked the graphic artist to create fliers for all three locations and our two bookmobiles. ”