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Public Library Field Study
Transcript of Public Library Field Study
Oct. 2012 Preschoolers have a perfect spot with puppets, a puppet theatre, blocks, magnetic letters, transportation toys, puzzles and books. These are all great manipulative tools for encouraging social interaction, oral language development and reading. It is in an open area so that children can easily grab a picture book from the nearby shelves. This area can help prepare a preschooler to excel in Kindergarten because they can learn letter recognition and other skills. This is an excellent opportunity for preschoolers because it gives them hands-on activities that are fun and educational. It's a perfect spot because it is near the multitude of book shelves, yet it's private enough that they can act their age and not be too loud for the library. There is also easy access to the nearby computers, audio books and other media, which makes digital literacy available as well. The children's department is also for school age children. There are rows and rows of books! Kindergartners and beyond, in particular, would appreciate the variety and volume of books offered because this age group likes to read books in a series or like to be up on the latest heroes and fad of kid culture. There are all kinds, including picture books, non fiction, fiction, holiday and more. Some of these books show diversity, such as a non fiction book with a black girl from Cuba. This is wonderful because sometimes the only way young children are exposed to other cultures is by way of books. This helps them to accept people that are different than they are. There are also several computers available. The librarian said that they do not display books on top of the shelves because they don't want it to look cluttered. A decorative tree, comfy seating, aquarium and wide windows are inviting and add to the warm feeling in the children's area. Third through Fifth Graders This age group has it's own cozy corner, complete with computers and a reading area. Books include graphic novels and comic books. Many of the displayed books relate to school, including "Mo's Mischief Teacher's Pet", by Hongying Yang. Also, there are video games and audio books on nearby shelves. I liked the decorative stuffed animals on top of the shelves because it adds a warmth to the area. Even though the display didn't have a lot of books at this time, the rows of fiction books are close by. This age group has its own separate room with computers, DVD feature films, young adult graphic novels, magazines, fiction and nonfiction, biographies, and a whole side of manga books. The bulletin board has flyers about college. The ceiling was covered with collages of various interesting characters like King Kong and Harry Potter and other fun pictures. The New Books section has a few romance and science fiction books. Award Winners Digital "Happy Like Soccer", byMaribeth Boelts, is about a hispanic girl named Sierra who plays soccer. She lives with her aunt, who works at a restaurant on the same days as Sierra's soccer games. Sierra lives far from the location of the games. I love how the illustrations show a bus next to a big city so that the reader actually can sense the distance. Sierra is sad because her aunt can't come to her games and she decides to ask her coach for help. This story is a wonderful depiction of cultural differences, in a subtle way. It is sweet and the main character is different from your usual main character because she's hispanic; however, readers can still relate to her because she has a universal problem. Overall, this was a great read because the main character was different. The library is divided into several departments, including ones for toddlers, children, tweens and teens. On any given month, the library has a lot to offer by way of programs for children, from toddlers to grade school and all the way to high school. For example, at the time of this analysis, the library offered a morning and afternoon family storytime, ABC activity time and homework help -- all on the same day. These types of programs are offered several times a week! Additionally, the library will host a traveling exhibit for Harry Potter fans as well as a Manga Club meeting and many more activities. Recently, they held a Lego Masterpiece contest, in order to "get the imagination flowing". Not only do these programs bring children into the library, where they are exposed to everything the library has to offer, but these programs are interactive and children do not just sit and listen. Rather, they participate in the activities, which helps them with fine motor skills as well as language development. The library's programs are great opportunities for families to have access to print and digital literacy. Anyone is welcome and there are no fees for checking out all the wonderful materials, such as books, books on CD or DVD's. Here are five book critiques of children's books that were published this year. "Chloe", by Peter McCarty, is a story about a huge bunny family. Chloe loves to spend family time with her 20 younger and 20 older siblings. Things change when the parents purchase a TV. Chloe makes a stand against the TV because she missed spending family time, as her siblings are glued to watching TV instead of spending family time. Her siblings join her, instead of continuing to watch TV. This would have been a great place to end the story, on a positive note. However, Chloe's parents send everyone to bed because they are too loud and interrupting their TV viewing. I didn't like that message -- that TV was more important to the parents and the kids were punished for playing. It would have been a better book if the end showed a message that TV was okay, but family fun was more important. "Petunia Goes Wild", by Paul Schmid is about a little girl who doesn't like every day mundane things like cleaning up and being careful. She acts like an animal by eating on the floor, roaring, etc.; however, her parents tell her to stop and that "nice little girls" don't act like animals. I didn't like this message; however, Petunia does recall how her mom sings and tickles her at bedtime. I do like the ending, where Petunia finds a place she can go whenever she doesn't like being "humanish". "I'm Not Tired Yet!" by Marianne Richmond is about six year old Ralphie, who uses pretty much every excuse not to go to sleep. Most times, his mom responds with an endearment like a "fishy goldfish kiss" or a "gorilla hug" or a "polar bear cuddle." At first, I didn't think I'd like the book because the cover depicts an angry looking boy. However, I liked the book because it had a sweet relationship between the boy and his mother. "Oh No! Not Again! (Or How I Built a Time Machine to Save History) (Or at Least My History Grade)" by Mac Barnett is about a girl who doesn't like her history grade and decides to change it by changing history. It is funny, colorful and interesting because it's fast paced and you never know what will happen next. I can see how kids would like this book; however, it was a bit "busy" for my taste. I liked that the main character was a girl scientist and is portrayed as brainy, yet fun. The library has a wide variety of digital items to check out. It has DVD's, books on CD, music CDs and video games. These are available to any of its patrons, free of charge. The books on CD are particulary useful in promoting literacy. Also, the educational DVDs can help someone enrich their vocabulary and expand knowledge of a subject. The feature films may not be educational in the academic sense, but a parent can select appropriate movies and use them as learning tools. For example, the Harry Potter DVD's may encourage a child to read the Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling. The library promotes diversity in things like this display about dance in different cultures, such as those from India and Asia. When children see displays like this, it opens up the idea of other cultures and helps them to accept people who are different than they are. Also, children who may come from different backgrounds can feel good that their country is represented here. I liked that the books were on display and provide easy access for anyone who wanted to learn about these different cultures. These displays are near the entrance of the library, which makes it quite visual for all patrons who first enter. Also, the mural in the Teen's area is another example of how the library promotes diversity because it depicts flags from different countries. Diversity The children's library has a small section dedicated to award winner books. The two types of awards are the Caldecott and the Newberry. The librarian said there are many more award winners, but those are on the book shelves by the author's name. I was surprised by this because these books are right next to reference books and I wouldn't think a child would even think to go to these books. Other than the nearby bear, there's nothing really that draws them to these books. Conclusion The Canton Public Library promotes books, reading, digital literacy and family literacy. It promotes books by providing a huge selection of books, including picture books, nonfiction books, graphic novels, and many others. It encourages reading by having story times, clubs and activities where children have the opportunity to interact with others about books. There are several forms of media, such as books on CDs and DVDs, which inspire reading because children can make connections between what they see and hear with the books. Family literacy is also encouraged because children can enter contests which they would work on at home with their families. These contests may inspire researching the topic, which involves reading.
Overall, this library is a wonderful resource for all ages, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds because it is available to anyone who enters its fabulous doors. Personally, it's always been a favorite in my family and still is, even now that my children are teenagers.