1,000 Books Before Kindergarten @ NPL


A couple of months ago, we began our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, and it has been very successful so far! We have over 25 kids signed up through the library, and two classes at Head Start participating in the program as large groups!

The kids are really enjoying the praise for all of their work, and they are super proud when they come in with a full sheet that they colored in. I’m so glad that I decided to try this out!

Here’s our flyer, which is full of general information about the program:


Here’s our reading log, which I created using Canva. This was super easy and much more affordable than purchasing them from a vendor.

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Reading Log.jpg

Storytime Theme: Giraffes! 

We had A LOT of fun learning and reading about giraffes during my Head Start visits last week!

I like to include an engaging non-fiction book in my storytimes whenever they fit well, so we read Giraffes by Amelie von Zumbusch and we learned some fun facts about giraffes before reading our fiction books. Did you know that a giraffe calf is already 6 feet tall when it is born?!

The next two books that we read were Giraffes Ruin Everything by Heidi Schulz and The Short Giraffe by Neil Flory. The first of the two follows a young boy who has trouble with a giraffe getting in the way of his fun.. but *spoiler alert* the story has a happy ending because giraffe ends up saving the day! The second book was very silly and got a lot of laughs from the kids and their teachers. Geri is the shortest giraffe who ever lived, and the giraffes try rigging up all kinds of contraptions to make him fit into a photo with the average-height giraffes. This story *spoiler alert* also has a happy ending… but I won’t say how they solved their dilemma. You’ll have to read it yourself!

Book Club Meeting- Wonder

At this month’s 5th Grade Book Club meeting at Kelley School, we talked about Wonder by RJ Palacio. We actually ended up reading about how Palacio was inspired to write the book (by a girl she saw at an ice cream shop, and then by listening to the song Wonder by Natalie Merchant), and then we watched the Wonder music video and talked about it in relation to the book. We ended the meeting by talking about kindness, discussed ways that we can be more kind in our everyday lives, and cut out little compliment cards to hand out as random acts of kindness. It was a great afternoon!

Students Choose @NPL

We had a heck of a time here on Friday afternoon with about 35 kids from Newark Middle School’s Students Choose program! Every 5 weeks, we have the opportunity to spend an afternoon with 30-60 kids who are a part of the Students Choose program, and it is super busy and super fun.

In the picture above, a few of our friends are trying out Ozobots (tiny robots that you can program just by drawing on paper!) for the first time.  They had a blast!

During these programs we offer a variety of activities for students to wander around and enjoy. The other activities we offered were:

Coding (code.org/learn)

MaKey MaKey

3D Printing

Board Games

LEGO Challenge


The kids seemed to have the most fun with our technology-based programs, which is exactly what we wanted. We’ve been focusing a lot on STEM-related activities here at the library for the past couple of years, and this program is just one of the ways that we try to promote STEM literacy in our community. The Students Choose program will be back next month. Stay tuned!

Perkins and Lincoln School Visits! 

I’ve been very busy these past few weeks visiting the schools! I’ve finished Kelley School, which feels like a huge accomplishment, and now I’m onto Perkins and Lincoln (PreK-2). For these younger kids, we are focusing on community helpers!

First, we talk about Summer Reading at the library and read a couple of stories together, then we move on to these super fun (AND EASY) stations!

Station 1: Matching Puzzle Game

At this station, the kids simply have to match the community helper to a tool or object they use. For example, the librarian and her books, or the road worker and his “SLOW” sign. Hoarding puzzle pieces has been an issue with some kids, but there has also been a lot of good teamwork going on. 

Station 2: Dress Up!

Another simple station- dressing up! We have smocks and hats, and the kids get to take turns dressing as different community helpers. Super easy for the grownups in this situation– just let ’em loose!

Station 3: Community Helper Action Figures

I just love these little action figures, and so do the kids! As you can see in the picture below, we set out a table with the helpers and some books that go with them. The kids can match the figure to its corresponding book, or just play freely with them!

…and that’s it! Nowhere near as complicated as the stations at Kelley, but still very engaging and possibly even more fun!

Kelley School Visits! 

My school visits have started! Woo hoo! Last year I worked out a schedule with the awesome librarian at the three elementary schools to take over her classes at each school, and it was great, so I’m doing it again this year. I get each class for 40 minutes at a time– talk about a captive audience!

I’m doing different activities for the primary (PreK-2) and intermediate (3-5) schools, but I’m started with Kelley (intermediate), so here’s what we’re doing:

I start out with talking about the Summer Reading Program and show the kids our calendars and game boards and telling them about how AMAZING the library is. Because the SRP theme is Every Hero Has a Story, I chose to focus on crime solving detectives, so I read them one of the cases from Two-Minute Mysteries by Donald J. Sobol, and we work through the case until someone comes up with the answer and wins a prize! After this, we move onto…


Activity Station 1: Dusting for Prints

Supplies needed for this station were dishes to put our prints on, baby powder, cheap makeup brushes, washcloths, and small plastic bins to contain the stray powder.

The procedure for this station is as follows:

1. Use the washcloth to make sure the surface is clean

2. Press a finger (or fingers) onto the clean surface

3. Dip your brush into a bit of baby powder and apply to the surface

4. Brush gently until all excess powder is removed and you can clearly see your prints

My thoughts: This was the station that the kids were the most impressed with. Most of them were just mystified when they successfully dusted for their own fingerprint just like the detectives in the movies. During the first class, I let the kids use the actual baby powder containers, but after they used way too much, I decided to let the following classes use the powder that was already in the container, and it worked out beautifully.

Activity Station 2: Play-Doh Fingerprints


Supplies needed for this station were just Play Doh and magnifying glasses.

The procedure for this station is very simple: Just press your fingers into the dough and take a look at the imprints through the magnifying glass.

My thoughts: The kids had A LOT of fun with this station. They were thrilled to be able to use Play Doh at school, and although they didn’t spend the entire time doing fingerprints, I was just as happy to let them play with the dough and be creative. As you can see above, someone even made a pet snake!

Activity Station 1: Ink Fingerprints


Supplies needed for this station were big pieces of paper, washable ink pads, magnifying glasses, and baby wipes

The procedure for this station is just to press your finger into the ink pads, then press onto the big pieces of paper and check out your prints through the magnifying glass.

My thoughts: This one was definitely the messiest, but the baby wipes were great for getting the ink off of the tables. The first class to use the stations had some different ink that didn’t come off of their hands (oops!) but I swapped those out before the next class got to them. This station also turned into a sort of art station, with kids using their fingerprints to make designs and write their names. Kids even asked to bring them home at the end of each class, which was fine with me!

These activities are so simple to put together and fun to do! The kept the kids engaged, and the mess factor of the baby powder and ink wasn’t as big of an issue as I had anticipated. It was important to me to have a hands-on activity, and that the activities are (for the most part) reusable, so I didn’t have to spend millions of dollars on supplies, and these definitely fit the bill.

Day of Play

Wayne County Day of Play in Newark was held this past Saturday at Perkins School. In the gym, we had scooters, hula hoops, scarf juggling, LEGOs, basketball, and even a dance teacher! Outside, we had the playground, bubbles, and sidewalk chalk, so there was something fun for everybody to do. We had over 75 people come to the school on a beautiful Saturday, so I’d call that a huge success!

On top of the fun activities, we also offered snacks for the kids, free books, HOT OFF THE PRESS Summer Reading calendars, and 25 cent raffles for bags full of books and other goodies.

Below is a picture of our book, calendar, and raffle table. There were many more books than you see here; we had to keep replenishing the stock! It’s such a great feeling to put a book into the hands of a child, especailly a book they can keep.

Lego Fun!

Anyone who has been to the Newark Public Library knows that WE LOVE LEGOS! We have monthly Lego Nights where we make creations and display them all month in the Children’s Room, we have had special Lego Parties, and our Lego books can’t stay on the shelves! As a part of last year’s renovation, we created these super awesome Lego Walls in the Children’s Room, and they are a hit!

legowall          legowall2

Because we always need something Lego-related going on, this week I added a Lego Poetry station in the Children’s Room! We’re lucky enough to have lots of extra Legos, so I just grabbed a few and wrote words on the sides with permanent marker. Simple! I’m curious to see how well this goes over with the kids of Newark. Stay tuned!

This week, I’m also bringing part of our Lego collection to Lincoln School, where I will have a LEGO station at an event they are hosting. I just can’t get enough of Legos!

Perkins School Healthy Kids/Our Community Reads

Last night, Miss Caitlin and I had the opportunity to bring the Our Community Reads program to Perkins School’s Healthy Kids event! In addition to the healthy snacks and Brain Gym provided by the school, we read some fun veggie and fruit stories, gave out a free book to each kid, and promoted the upcoming Day of Play event, which will take place right at Perkins School! Here’s the flyer for that:

day of play

We didn’t get an overwhelmingly huge turnout, but it was definitely worthwhile and the kids sure had a good time! I love getting to go places with my giant library bag full of books to give away, and Miss Caitlin always makes storytimes fun!