Research update: more support for summer book giveaways

Photo of graphic novel being held open
Photo by Van Dos Santos from Pexels

I’m always excited to see new research that can guide library staff in how to design summer reading programs. Bell et al. (2019) have published a study that reinforces what library workers know; getting books into kids’ hands is important! Read on for a summary of this welcome addition to research establishing the impact of book giveaways.


  • We continue to gain evidence that summer book giveaways support kids’ reading abilities.
  • In this study, kids in the books-only condition picked 12 books of their choice and gained reading fluency over a summer.
  • These promising results should be followed up with studies using random assignment and a control condition and that explicitly consider race and racism.
  • Research in practice: libraries should prioritize getting books into the hands of kids at the start of the summer to support reading fluency.
Continue reading “Research update: more support for summer book giveaways”

Bilingual and Spanish board books for virtual storytime

Livestreaming, it’s possible to pull off a whole storytime made up of small-format books.

Board books are typically too small for storytime in person. But, online – where you can hold them close to the camera and give your arms the gift of a nice, lightweight book to hold – they’re a great option. Below, I recommend six books, WorldCat and publisher read-aloud policy links included.

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Five bilingual picture books for 2021 StoryWalk® programs

Post updated 12/17/20 after reviewing an ARC for We Laugh Alike, 1/26/21 to add

I collaborated on three StoryWalk® programs in 2020 and look forward to getting an earlier start (and sturdier signposts!) in 2021.

See my recommendations below for 2021 StoryWalk® books. All have bilingual Spanish/English text.

Cover of We Laugh Alike Juntos nos reímos by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand Illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez

We Laugh Alike / Juntos nos reímos by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand and illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez. April 13, 2021. 9781623540968.

Outdoors, play, and friendship. This #OwnVoices title celebrates making friends across languages and the joy of play, music, and dance. Rather than featuring all text in English and Spanish, Bernier-Grand has each group of kids express similar thoughts in their own language, offering extra richness for dual language speakers. (I reviewed a digital ARC for this title.)

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A children’s librarian’s guide to producing Spanish storytime videos

Updated 5/6/20 to include additional info about YouTube and playlist link.

As of writing I’ve been working from home for four weeks! There’s been a lot of discussion among library staff about how to effectively produce children’s storytime content for the web. Since I provide storytime content in Spanish, I’ve pulled together resources that allow that to be done more effectively.

Finding Spanish stories and songs without copyright concerns

While the American Library Association is supportive of fair use claims in this moment, many libraries, and their cities/lawyers/risk departments, are going to err on the side of caution. Greta Bergquist, Youth Services Consultant for the State Library of Oregon, encourages libraries to record rhymes and other content that you can leave up for the long term. Consider the following:

  • Record a public domain rhyme
    • endeavors to only accept songs outside copyright and has a page worth of Spanish content
  • Invent your own rhyme
  • Create a draw and tell story in Spanish
  • Share a storytime craft or activity that ties in with a book

Continue reading “A children’s librarian’s guide to producing Spanish storytime videos”

Annotated summer reading program research on participation, impact

As I confessed in my author blurb on the Oregon Library Association Children’s Services Division blog, I wrote four term papers on summer reading programs (SRP). During that time I amassed a hoard of research papers on summer reading! My dream is to help produce more, since 95% of public libraries offer summer reading, but there’s only been one true experimental study to my knowledge.

Here are the pieces I’ve found most useful in my literature reviews and papers on  participation in, and the effectiveness of, summer reading programs.

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Paper stars make for a relaxed family craft

Summer Reading 2019 is almost over, and before it ends, I want to share my favorite program of the summer: Paper Star Decor. The program drew a lively mix of 31 kids, young teens, and their family members.

Last winter I saw a video of how to make paper stars out of paper bags. I knew the craft could anchor a summer program, especially since we had the luck of celebrating “A Universe of Stories” for summer reading 2019. It fit right in with our space theme.

Craft Overview

I offered three crafts to keep the program interesting for the whole family. Giant paper bag stars were the statement craft. I also included origami stars, which are much quicker, and precut stars for younger kids to decorate.

Tissue paper star, three origami stars, and one large paper bag star.

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My first year after library school

A version of this article first appeared in the June 2019 issue of Voice of Youth Advocates.

I stumbled across a wax-sealed letter while cleaning up my childhood bedroom. It was addressed “To: Adult Lindsay From: 9 year old Lindsay.”

I had no idea what it contained, but I had just graduated with a Master’s degree and moved back to Oregon to start my first librarian job, so I figured I was adult enough to open it. Inside I had written to myself, “I at this age am hoping to do something with a library when I grow up. But you of course know if I have done so because you are a grownup me…”

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Weeding and buying nonfiction with circulation statistics

I’ve learned most of what I know about collection development from hands on observation of selectors at work.

From those observations, I’ve learned collection development styles can vary a lot. As one data-driven selector told me, “Some people have a gut. I don’t.” Fortunately, circulation data and spreadsheets have allowed me to roughly approximate a gut.

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Spanish storytime: Lizards and Supercharged Storytimes

Not every book I choose for storytime is a winner. Sometimes they’re too long. Sometimes they don’t have enough excitement. My storytime crew tends to be little – ones and twos – so toddler friendly picks are a must. (I save my favorite preschool titles for outreach!) Every book that meets the bar for repeating gets marked with a ‘y’ in my handy dandy Spanish storytime planning spreadsheet.

Two recent ganadores just happen to make the perfect “lizard” storytime! I’ll run with a theme when I can, but it’s more important to me that the books are great choices. (Jbrary has a great post on how to develop storytime flow over storytime themes. )

Photo of two book covers
These two lizard books have made it on the keep list for Spanish story time

Continue reading “Spanish storytime: Lizards and Supercharged Storytimes”