Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer Reading 2014: Mission Complete!

We had such an amazing time planning for the 2014 summer reading program theme, "Fizz! Boom! Read!" which focused on science in all of it's facets. We were elated to see so many friends and families from the Midview community venture to visit us at the library, attend our special programs and participate in our reading program! This summer we had a record breaking 466 children participate in our summer reading program. You all did an absolutely amazing job!

To celebrate the end of another successful summer reading program, we held a "Summer Science Fair" to provide an opportunity for our young patrons to show off their science skills! Children of all ages were invited to bring in a science experiment of any sort and any level of difficulty to exhibit at the library for the afternoon. The community was invited to stop in and check out the cool experiments while enjoying fun science themed refreshments created by myself and Miss Katie (brain cupcakes and petri dish Jell-o anyone?).

Scroll through our photos below to see some of the impressive experiments our little scientists brought in and some of the treats we created in the science lab otherwise known as the kitchen.


Again, thank you so much to everyone who participated!If you haven't done so already, please stop in the library to complete one of our summer reading surveys. We would love to hear what your favorite programs were this summer and any suggestions that you might have for next summer! Miss Katie and I are already brainstorming fun ideas for next summer. Can you guess what the theme of summer 2015 will be? (It has something to do with capes. *wink wink*). Grand prize winners will be notified Monday, July 21st. We will post the winners on our Facebook page in addition to calling winners.

Keep your eyes peeled for the awesome programs we have coming up this fall! September through December library newsletters should be arriving in Midview district mailboxes hopefully sometime in August.  See you soon!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Squishy Circuits : Learning About Electricity Through Play

Hey readers! Miss Nicole here to update you on the rad happenings at the library! Today I held a "Squishy Circuits" program for 3rd-6th grade students as part of our Creation Station series of programs. Our Creation Stations focus on making and learning, and are funded through grant money we have received from The Stocker Foundation. I recruited a special volunteer helper for the afternoon, Mr. John. He is a personal friend who is an electrical engineer and I couldn't pass up having a real life electrical engineer come help the kids learn about electricity! If you think making play dough creatures is a good time, imagine the fun you can have when you add lights and motors.

Squishy Circuits is a project from the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas. The goal of the project is to design tools and activities which allow kids of all ages to create circuits and explore electronics using play dough. Engineering students at the University of St. Thomas came up with easy to make recipes for conductive and insulating dough that make it fun to create sculptural pieces that you can than make into electric circuits. This allows you to adorn the dough with LED lights and moving parts. You can watch the founder of Squishy Circuits, AnnMarie Thomas, give a TED talk about the project on the website by clicking here. You can also find the dough recipes and various helpful videos for playing with Squishy Circuits at home on the site.

For the hour long library program, I ordered one kit from the Squishy Circuits store and also purchased some materials from Radio Shack. We began the program by asking the children some basic questions about electricity and went over some terms such as "circuit" and "conductivity". I also covered safety precautions and demonstrated a basic circuit. John demonstrated a light-up dough smiley face!

After our demonstrations, I let the kids loose to work at tables together creating basic circuits. After they successfully tested their basic circuit, I allowed them the remainder of the time to let their imaginations lead. Check out some of our Squishy Circuits! It was fun to watch the kids experiment and learn what worked and what would short circuit.

I sent the participants home with recipes to make their own conductive and insulative dough at home. Everyone said they had fun and some were even asking if I'd be doing another Squishy Circuits program in the future!

For more Squishy Circuits resources check out these websites: Squishy Circuits Project
Image from
The Tinkering Studio Squishy Circuits

UCLA Beam Squishy Circuits Lesson Plan  (I used this PDF to help put together my own lesson plan and had the kids complete the included worksheet in the program.)

Sylvia's Super Awesome Maker Show- Squishy Circuits Squishy Circuits

What are you waiting for? Hurry up and get to making your own Squishy Circuits! And of course, don't forget there are plenty of interesting books to check out here at the library if you would like to learn more about how electricity works and explore the science behind your Squishy Circuits. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Get Green with Your Family

Everywhere you look nowadays, you see and hear people talking about going green.  Politicians debate about it, newspaper and magazine articles discuss it, and even your teachers may talk about it.  But what does it all mean to you and what can you do to help?  Going green is all about conserving our natural resources and protecting our environment.  And it might be easier than you think to make a difference.  You and your family can start by making a few simple changes in your daily lifestyles.  Recycling and reusing items around your house is a great way to start. 

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences provides a wealth of information to help kids learn more about the three R's: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

The Kids Be Green site offers even more ideas for getting green around the house and features many fun and interactive pages.

Finding ways to go green are also available in books:

47 Things You Can Do for the Environment by Lexi Petronis.
This book includes helpful tips on getting green at home as well as at school, on road trips, and throughout the community. You can even learn how to have a Green Christmas and how to throw a Green-style party with your friends.  A helpful glossary and extensive list of Green resources will help to expand your knowledge of the subject even further.

Going Green by Patricia and David Armentrout
Learn more about the larger issues facing our environment and natural resources as the authors explore renewable and nonrenewable energy, fossil fuels and pollution, greenhouse gases, and alternative energy sources.   Each chapter includes a "Fuel for Thought" section with interesting tidbits and striking images to bring these issues to life.

Some authors take a more lighthearted approach to the green movement:

Michael Reycle by Ellie Bethel
The author introduces readers to the Green-Caped Crusader known as Michael Recycle.  In the story, Michael inspires the people of Abberdoo-Rimey to launch a "Be Greener Campaign" to save their town from the threat of pollution.  "The noises your hear - that clunk and that thunk - it's just our friend Michael, recycling old junk!"

Leave it to PET!
by Kenji Sonishi

Manga fans, do not despair.  You are not left out of the green movement.   Sonishi's Leave it to PET! series tells the story of Noboru, a young boy who transforms a regular old bottle into a recycled super robot named PET.  Don't miss out on any of these adventures as PET and his band of recycled super hero friends confront countless threats to the environment.  Soda cans and plastic labels take on a whole new form in these action-packed and bizarre stories.  

Go Green today and start making a difference in your life, your local community, and the world around you.  Tweens and Teens can get green this week at GMPL by learning how to make reusable shopping bags from old t-shirts.  The program begins on Thursday at 11:00 am.  Register here.

And don't forget about summer reading at GMPL.  Only two weeks remain in the program.  Perhaps you'll try something Green this week!