Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What's In Your Wallet? National Library Card Month

Capital One at one point had a wonderful slogan, which simply asked "What's In your wallet?" The suggestion here was that if a person didn't have a personalized credit card from Capital One, their wallet would be missing something pertinent. Borrowing that idea for National Library Card Sign Up Month, libraries should be asking their patrons the same question: What's in your wallet? If a library card is not among the cards that they hold, now is a good time as any to get one. The recognition of the importance of holding a library card is not only a wonderful marketing tool but also advocacy. Looking for easy ways to promote library cards to your community? Read on, there's a few here to borrow or that might spark the imagination to try something totally new and creative at your library.

* The Suburban Library Cooperative in Michigan has gone to neighboring businesses asking them to support the local libraries by offering customers coupons, discounts or special offers just for showing their library card. In return, libraries will promote these businesses in their libraries as participants and encourage patrons to support these businesses. It's a win win situation which promotes building relationships within the community. This can only lead to good things.

* Orange County Library in North Carolina is celebrating NLCM by accepting one non-perishable food item, in return they will waive $1.00 in overdue charges. Patrons of the library will have the opportunity to receive free replacement Library Cards between September 16th through 30th. Another great idea to inspire communities to help others in need and support the library at the same time.

* Richmond County Libraries are offering children in grades 6-8 an opportunity to win an iPod Shuffle if they register for a library card during the month of September. New registrations will be entered into a drawing to win an iPod Shuffle. How's that for motiving young library users?

* Carlsbad City Library is celebrating with a Library Card Sign-up Festival on September 21. Children and teens come to sign up for their first card and receive a small prize. Children who already have their own card can show it off and receive a prize as well. Who doesn't love free gifts?

* Invite young patrons to create bookmarks that uses catchy slogans to encourage patrons to get a library card. For example: Don't leave home without it: Your Library Card. The most creative bookmark can be published and passed out to patrons and local schools.

Reminding schools, parents and public officials that the library is an important asset to the community is as simple as reminding them what they get from their library cards. Internet services, books, ebooks, cds, movies and much more. It is a better value than a Capital One credit card in many ways. A patron will not get a bill at the end of the month (provided they return the items), the "education" and "entertainment" gained belongs to the patrons, and it can be used again and again without penalty. In other words it's "priceless" Sorry MasterCard, it's better than your plastic!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Are Teens Really That Difficult To Please?

Teens just might be the most demanding patrons a librarian may encounter during there day to day activities on a reference desk. Ranking slightly higher than the little old ladies who are in book discussion clubs that have decided on the latest James Patterson novel is the title of choice this month. Of course, the hold list for the title is a mile long. Satisfying this patron is no mean feat. Come to think of it, serving teens really isn't that difficult and it can be rewarding. Very rewarding.

When planning programs, selecting books or developing services to teens there are certain golden rules to remember. These rules can go a long way in maintaining a vibrant and engaging teen department at any library, big or small. First and foremost, remember teens are at a time in their life where t hey are testing boundaries and still figuring out where or how they "fit" in their world. They want to be accepted, and invited to groups because that is where they feel most comfortable. In groups, they will "hunt" for the right place to hang out. The library can offer that place if they have a space that teens can call their own. Remember, if there are obvious obstacles that discourage teens meeting together, or programs that seem structured like school, the teens response will likely be that the librarian is ignoring them just like every other "adult" institution. This is definitely not the message any library wants to send out, to any patron of any age.

Secondly, teens can be demanding in wanting quick and easy results. This is true when it comes to completing homework assignments or locating the right book, music or movie that is purely for enjoyment Librarians often make the mistake of assuming that when teens "surf" the internet they are not necessarily looking for credible information. Teens often make the mistake of thinking that finding the right information is easy because EVERYONE knows how to use the Internet. Here's how to bring these two false assumption together to make a perfect match between librarians providing a service and teens receiving help from a helpful adult. Librarians can invite the teens to work on the reference search together. By asking direct questions, allowing teens time to articulate what they really need, and demonstrating that you are working as a team to solve their problems. In essence the librarian is letting the teen patron know that their question is worthy of attention.

Lastly, never ever shut a teen down. There have been too many horror stories of librarians who admonishes a teen patron for wasting their time and to come back when they have a real question. In all honesty, teens are not looking for trouble or to pull pranks. If they are bored, and every adult can tell the glaring signs of "Bored Syndrome", find a way to connect with them quickly and in a fashion that invites them to keep coming to the library. For example, if a teen just wants to chat because they are waiting for friends to show up or for a ride home, let them know that you would love to chat with them but can not do so at this time. Take the opportunity to share with them a website that has games, or trivia that might help pass the time. Better yet, ask what genre they like to read. If a new book has arrived at the library that fits their taste, ask them to look it over. They may end up checking it out. (If they do, let them know you're interested in their opinion of the book. Teens love that)

Pleasing teens really isn't difficult when it comes to providing library service. It may take time and patience to gain trust of the teens, but it in the long run it will reap benefits for the library. Remember they are our future lawmakers, taxpayers and parents who will one day be a library advocate if their experiences in the library were positive. On a more personal note, a teen librarian's job may not be glamorous or be paid like Donald Trump (or Donald Duck for that matter) it is one of the most rewarding occupations in the library world.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

September 11 and Patriot Week

It really doesn't seem that long ago that the Twin Towers fell, the Pentagon was struck and sadly a lone plane in Pennsylvania crashed with true American heroes on board. The images of September 11, 2001 has been etched into the collective memory of Americans. Or has it? In a recent issue of School Library Journal, (7/26/11) resources on September 11th were discussed in the context that most students today do not have a connection to the events of that infamous day. To most students today it is just another history date on the calendars. The remedy to correct this problem the authors suggest is to connect students to primary sources. That is a wonderful idea, however there is an additional step that schools, libraries and parents can take in bringing home not only the events of 9/11 but also Patriotism. Just recall how everyone in the days, months after the tragedy how many Americans not only mourned with the families who suffered deep losses but waving the American flag was considered another form of expressing unity.

Patriot Week in Michigan will be celebrated September 11-17, 2011. (At this time, if other states are celebrating a form of Patriot Week is unknown) This week is dedicated to celebrating the First Principles and the men and women who have proven to the world that a democratic republic could not only be formed but actually be the best form of governing since it has latest for over 200 years. To participate in the week's event there is only one prerequisite: a yearning to learn more about America and her history. No need to be card toting Republican, Democrat or Independent. This is for every American, young and old alike. Judge Michael Warren and his daughter Leah were inspired to find a way to renew the Spirit of America. In order to accomplish this they set out to inform fellow citizens about the Founding Fathers, First principals, Equality and the Constitution. These concepts, which are the bedrock of the American government, should be well known to adults and children of all ages. This event is the perfect occasion for a refresher course on American history, at the same time making certain that students today will have a connection not to the date September 11, 2001 but to other dates such as July 4, 1776.

For libraries big and small, this is the perfect time to showcase the wonderful resources that are available that will further bring home the ideas of Patriot Week. Highlighting such books as Cheney's We The People or Longfellow's Paul Revere's Ride. Providing an annotated bibliography for patrons to use during the week would be the simplest way to participate. (If libraries do not have time to put together a bibliography, contact to find out how to get a copies of "Patriotic Books for Patriotic Families") Even simpler, place a link on the library's webpage to

Libraries are the "institutions" of self-education. Directing students and patrons to primary and historical resources on 9/11 and Patriot Week can ensure that pride in being American will be passed on for generations to come. In addition, young patrons will learn that educating oneself on any topic is as easy as going to the learning institutions called the "library"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Need Ideas For Back To School Programs?

All schools, public, private and homeschool, are getting back into the day to day schedule of classes. While children might be dreading the routine of classes, reading and homework, parents are welcoming the fall and going back to the grind. For the summer, libraries have been the fun reading places with programs that kept children busy. The Fall, should be no different. The purpose of summer reading programs is to help children maintain their reading skills during the summer so that they are ready to return to school in the fall. If librarians stop with just summer reading program and offer no assistance for the children's trek back to school, then its just as if the library posted a sign saying "Thanks for the memories. See You Next Summer!" That would be a crying shame! What can a librarian do to get involved in the Back to School Activities? Plenty and it doesn't have to take much planning or money.

School supplies are a huge concern for parents, especially in hard economic times. Notebooks, pencils, rulers, calculators and backpacks quickly add up to big bucks. With this in mind, why not host a "School Supply day" where families can come in to pick up needed supplies at the library for free. The funds needed to provide these supplies can come from friends group, donations from local businesses, and donations from patrons. It's a terrific community outreach opportunity because it reminds the community that helping neighbors not only does the heart good but builds stronger ties to the city.

Mothers are always worried about if their children are eating properly. It can be a struggle to keep their children from choosing the right food to not trading their apples for their friends cookies. Bringing in a nutritionist for a program on helping parents and children eat wisely is a terrific way to help solve this problem. Local hospitals or healthcare centers will often offer these programs without costs to the library as a way to promote healthier community. If there isn't the time or room to hold a program. Why not offer a drop in recipe exchange for patrons? Put out the call for unique lunch box recipes to all patrons. Choose an area in the library where patrons can drop off twenty copies of their child's favorite lunches. Place all recipes on the table for people to pick up one or two that they want to try. To tie it all in, place some of the library's cookbooks on display to provide even more ideas for great lunches.

Children should be encouraged to read for pleasure throughout the year. A library card is a wonderful "free" back to school gift for children of all ages. Once a child has a library card, another great way to encourage reading for pleasure (also, a great way to clean out bedrooms) is to host an old fashioned book swap. The books donated at this event should be clean and in good condition. Every level of reading should be covered, from beginners to adult, because EVERYONE in the family should be reading. Invite patrons to donate a book and pick out a another book or themselves. It is great fun and the conversations about the books will be endless.

Tweens and teens like to explore their individuality and a wonderful way to give them an outlet for that creativity is with a Back To School Craft Night. Provide a variety of crafts for the tweens/teens choose from like beaded pins that they can put on their backpacks. Mirror magnets are perfect for lockers and with craft foam, fake gems, a hot glue gun, an evening of fun is ready to begin. For guys' lockers, let them create their own magnets with their favorite quote or picture.

One thing that is universal about all kids is that they want to look "cool" and not stick out like a sore thumb. Host a what's hot and what's not night in fashion where fashion experts (you can find them at the mall in major department stores) and even hair stylist to give advice on how to look great on the first day of school. After the program remind your patrons that the latest beauty/teen magazine is available as well as other books on beauty tips.

These are just a few ideas of how to engage the community in unique yet affordable ways as the students make the trek back to school. The old tried and true annotated book list about returning to school is great but those lists will not keep the patrons coming back for more. These programs are geared to not only lure them back but to build a positive relationship with the community. What library would want to put up the sign: 'Thanks for Coming! See you next summer"? The better sign that every library would love to put up is "Come Again, and again and again!"

Monday, August 22, 2011

Reader's Advisory: A different kind of game!

Just for fun, as the summer dwindles away and the mind is playing with ideas that it normally wouldn't entertain, think of what books to recommend to famous literary characters. Granted this may be a game that only librarians may find amusing, but truly it isn't. Anyone who is an avid reader can easily jump into the game. The premiss is simple; imagine that one of your favorite literary characters came to your library and asked for help in their reading selection. What book would you suggest for them to read? For example, it can be argued that Pinocchio would have loved school better if his school had a library. There he would have found hours of entertainment in reading fables from Aesop, The Boy who Cried Wolf. it certainly would have at the very least kept him out of the whale's mouth. Holden Caufield of Catcher in the Rye could have had a better teen experience if he would have had a teen advisory group to join at the local library. There he could have been directed towards Young adult novels that dealt with teen angst. Who knows, he might have found a book he related to like The Outsiders. Along those lines, it can easily be said that Elizabeth Bennett of Pride and Prejudice would have made a terrific book discussion group leader at her local library. Perhaps, she could have started out with Bridget Jones' Diary.

The characters listed above are just the beginning of the possibilities. Why not go a step further with the next set of famous literary figures.

King Richard III, could have probably used How to Win Friends and Influence people. It is the essential book on how to work with people to get the results you desire. Who knows how the fate of England would have fared if he could get more people on his side then against.

The unforgettable Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is a good candidate for the a career change. It was quite obvious that she loathed the patients and presumably loathed her job. The best book for her would definitely be What Color Is Your Parachute?

The jilted Miss. Havisham in Dickens' classic Great Expectations was in dire need of help. Seriously, any woman who stays in a wedding dress, changes all the clocks in her house to reflect the exact moment her lover leaves her and then adopts a child in order to love someone is disturbed or at the very least needs to move on with her life. The best book for her might be Getting Past Your Breakup or any self-help relationship book.

Speaking of great Dickens' classic, The Christmas Story would have been a perfect title suggestion for the Grinch. After all, he did try to steal Christmas and could have used a lesson or two from Mr. Scrooge. If he had read the book first, he would have realized how silly his plan was from the start.

One of the most obsessive character ever to grace the pages of literature was Captain Ahab. If he had only known more about whales and their habits his quest to capture the "one" might have been easier. The book best suited for him is The Grandest of Lives: Eye To Ey with Whales.

Who can ever forget the lovable Scarecrow of the Wizard of Oz. His only wish was to have a brain. An expert librarian could have directed him to the entire library catalog where he could pursue any interest his little heart desired. After all the best place to use a brain, and realize you have one is at a library. However, since this is the game of Reader's advisory, a title should be suggested. Well, how about the Dummies Series? It's a good place to start!

For the literary hero who couldn't tell a monster from a windmill, there could only be one suggestion for him. Don Quixote should have picked up Windmills (Great Architecture Series). It would have saved him from very embarrassing moments. Then again, he was a dreamer so perhaps it all ended well anyways.

The Art of Raising A Puppy many not seem like a good choice for Cruella D'ville of 101 Dalmatians. However, it can be argued that if she had to care for cute and adorable puppies, she may have had second thoughts about skinning them for coats. After all, how can you cause harm to trusting little pups who are man's best friend? Then again, she may be a lost cause.

Medusa has her own set of problems that may be beyond he scope of help. How many women do you know can pull off having a head full of snakes? Not many! Winning friends is a whole lot harder too. A brave librarian may suggest to her Great hair : Elegant Styles for Every Occasion

A classic among SciFi fans is The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and in that book there are many characters that could use a qualified librarian to help them find the right book. One character in particular stands out as needing the most help. Yes, it's Marvin the Paranoid Android. When someone is so depressed that he causes others to commit suicide just because they shared a conversation, something is wrong. A librarian could definitely direct Marvin away from the self-help area to a book like Jokelopeidia: The Biggest, Best Silliest Dumbest Joke Book Ever

The list of characters and reader's advisory suggestion could go on forever. Perhaps this would be a worthwhile topic to return to again. For now, it's time to for a relaxing summer afternoon visit with a favorite literary friend.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

American Libraries Winning Streak! .

in recent months, good news about libraries have graced the pages of newspapers across the country. It gives hope for that their is a bright future for libraries. For the doubters, who have long since decided that libraries are archaic institutions, this should be proof that libraries are a valuable asset in the community. For those who have been fighting to save libraries, small and large, welcome the victory but have known all along a community without a library is a community on life support. This is hardly a time to retreat, pack up and go home. Instead there are many more battles that lie ahead. This is a good opportunity to look at some of the bigger "wins" and take note of what it took to win the battle.

Los Angeles' libraries were facing dire times. Not only were libraries closing, but popular TV night time hosts were making jokes about the lack of need for for the libraries. Jay Leno, had stuck his foot in his mouth that night and promptly received the ire of many library advocates, (among them American Library Association). This lead to his apology the next night. In reality, the Los Angeles libraries were severing their citizens quite well on a day to day basis, but like other libraries, city budget battles were placing them on the chopping blocks. In March of 2011 the citizens of Los Angeles voted YES to Measure L, which would keep the libraries funded and open. How did this measure pass when everyone is aware of LA's financial status, not to mention California's financial mess? Key groups coming together for a common goal. The combination of a $200.000 financial donation from the the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and a coalition of library advocates, teachers, and librarians who campaigned for the passage of Measure L, gave strength to the failing libraries. Make no mistake, this was and is a big win for libraries all across the United States.

On the other coast, New York City to be precise, the same battles facing Los Angeles' libraries were in play here as well. On the iconic steps of the New York City library, library supports gave the library a "hug" to show their support for the library budget restoration. Days later, Mayor Bloomberg must have gotten the message for the "311" calls that were made by library advocates demanding that the Big Apple did not lose it's core service,namely the library. In New York City's case the the Save NYC Libraries Postcard Campaign sent the message loud and clear to city council members about citizen's needs for the library. Over 4,000 postcards were written, collected and handed to Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer on June 17, 2011. If the 4,000 postcards didn't bring home the message the 200,000 signatures on a corresponding petition drove the point home. Budget battles never die, they live to fight for another day. Rest assured NYC library advocates will be calling on their supporters when libraries are on the chopping blocks.

Last but not least, Troy Public Library, in southeastern Michigan, won a huge battle on August 2 to save the library. The history of the mileages that were put on the ballot over the past year is so convoluted that it could read like a children's book "The Library That Could". The first mileage failed miserably due to the propaganda that tax payers didn't want or need more taxes. The second milage attempt failed because city council decided that confusing voters with four different library proposals would be the ideal way of "informing" the public. Not! The thidr attempt was a straight yes or no vote to continue funding the library for five years with the residents seeing a $68 increase in property taxes to cover the expense of the library. The staff of Troy Public Library should be commended for informing their patrons in clear terms what losing a library would mean to their daily lives. The win on August 2, was the "third" charm and all of Southeastern Michigan let go of a collective sigh of relief. Losing the library would have meant that Troy citizens would not have access to local libraries borrowing privileges. The city of Troy and many like them around Michigan have already lost too much in the recession. key services such as children's programming, internet , and job search resources would have been another slam on residents.

Libraries are beginning to win the fight to remain open. The only way to continue the winning streak is to gather as much "team" support for libraries as possible. Not to mention a marketing campaign that not only informs the public about the value of libraries but also invites them to see what the library has to offer. Voters who oppose library funding most likely have not been in a library for years. It's time to bring them back in order to show that libraries are not archaic, but thriving with old and new resources that bring information to them by traditional and digital means. For those voters who love libraries and consistently vote YES to library mileages, invite them also to be the voice of the library that the community needs to hear. They are and will always be our best cheerleaders!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Storytimes Are Not Just For Children

What is the first image that comes to mind when someone says "storytime?" A librarian with book in hand and little ones gathered around at her feet listening patiently to a story. That is a nice nostalgic image. Yet, not a complete image. Reading stories aloud benefits all age group. It provides the "tool" to connect any audience to stories they may have never picked up on their own and strengthens listening skills as well as the imagination. To put in corny terms, something magical happens when a story is shared. It encourages conversations. It's sharing an emotion, whether it is sadness or happiness at the outcome of the story. Most importantly, it is the realization of the power of words.

For outreach librarians storytimes for older adults in nursing homes is an opportunity to connect to patrons who can not come through the library doors. Older patrons need social activities to stimulate their memories and listening skills. Contact the nursing homes within the library's area can be as simple as an introductory phone call or email asking to speak to the administrator of the nursing home. Once the contact has been made, describe what the library can do for the residents at the nursing home. Most nursing home administrator's will welcome the library programs. If on the off chance they don't, by all means don't give up on the idea. Try again. The relationship between nursing home and library will be well worth the time and effort of the library staff.

Planning for adult storytimes is not as difficult as it sounds. Unlike storytimes for young children, there is no need for a flannel board. All that's needed here are books, an audience and of course the reader. Three simple ingredients for an afternoon of fun and friendship. The other aspect of storytime for older adults is that it can be done with an audience of one or ten. Book selection for this program is different in that more than likely picture books will not be used. Instead short stories selections such as James Herriot's Dog Stories, is an excellent choice. If your audience is not in mood for those stories try classic children literature books that will remind them of their youth. Like a good movie, many older adults like to revisit their past with books that they cherished as a child. Of course, reading a title from the bestsellers list can also be an option. As with any group, remember that the key to a successful program is to keep the audience interested. Older adults can usually endure twenty to thirty minutes at maximum of interested listening. Follow the clues that the audience provides, and finding the right time limit should be easy to spot.

Libraries should take advantage of every opportunity to be seen in their community. Programs that run weekly, such as storytimes, are prefect to keep the library and its services in front of every citizen. Don't let the excuse of "short staffed" or not enough money in the budget prevent such an affordable program slip away. If allowing a librarian to be out of the building on a weekly basis proves to be too daunting, seek a creative solution. Every other week invite the nursing home to bring the patients to the library. This program could be a wise investment of staff and money that can pay off big in the long run.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Libraries As Lifelines!

A world without libraries would be similar to a world without words. Too dramatic you say? A little over the top? Perhaps, but consider this, the best place preserve, exchange and enjoy the written word, is the library. Every civilization that has ever existed on this earth has had in one form or another a library. A special place designated to store the ideas, artifacts and words of the culture. In a symbolic way, it has acted as the collective "memory" bank for the society. When the libraries burned down, in many cases the civilization that built it died along with the people. It is with joy and hope to report that in recent months, many libraries across the country have been given a "new" life due to citizens demanding that their libraries stay open. Which brings even better news that the demise of libraries has been greatly exaggerated. Its time to put things into perspective in order to continue the fight to keep all libraries open and accessible to all.

libraries are the bedrock of democracy. One of America's founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, established the first "public" library in Philadelphia. Granted the use of the library was limited to those who could pay "fees" but it still paved the way for the idea that anyone who wanted to educate themselves on any topic could do so with access to a community resource of books. What can be more American than having the desire to learn, grow and make a difference in life? It's in the American gene to have the Do-It-Yourself attitude as the main ingredient to the pursuit of happiness.Libraries will always stand firm to protect the rights of all to free access to information.

The theory has been noted that librarians, libraries and books are antique ideals of a by gone era. There are plenty of holes in that theory. Those who spew this line of reasoning, either don't have a library card or haven't been to other antique places such as baseball parks, banks, or shopping malls. In a bygone eras, baseball parks were simple, outdoors fields where people sat on wood bleachers to watch the game. Bank tellers were suppose to have been phased out due to the birth of the ATM. Shopping malls were suppose to disappear when the internet provided a time saving solution called online purchasing. All of these "antique" ideas have stood the test of time, with a few modifications here and there. Sure there are still ball parks but now there are retractable domes, comfort seating, and electronic scoreboards. Bank tellers are still employed, and the ATM has made some transactions easier, there is still something to be said for face to face customer service. Lastly, malls are still around because there are times that buying online is not as convenient as having the product in hand the very same day of purchase. Libraries follow the same pattern. Long ago the only items to line the walls of the building were shelves and books. Today, computers, books, dvds, and other items fill the space to meet the needs of savvy library patrons. Their needs have changed and the library has changed to meet the challenge.

The need for libraries is growing not shrinking. When troubled economic times hit, it is the library that many people turn to use the internet, take advantage of free programming for children, or to save money on purchasing personal copies of books. Keeping this in mind, why would anyone suggest that the library is a unnecessary luxury in the city's budget? To add further insult to injury, why would political officials ask the libraries to do more with less? It is time that library advocates repeat the mantra; "Libraries are not a luxury for the community, libraries are the lifeline for the community." As a lifeline to the community, libraries deserve full budgets, which includes funding for professional staff, to meet the demanding needs of their citizens.

Frankly, imagining a world without libraries is too depressing of a possibility. It is not just a selfish desire to continue working in the field. Simply put, it is the thought of many children, adults, students and life long learners who will lose access that feeds their desire to explore their world. In other words, libraries keep a community from dying. It is the lifeline to the past, present and future. It is a worthwhile fight to keep the lifeline open.

Monday, August 1, 2011

SRP 2011 A Final Wish For This Summer

For many libraries, August is the month where summer reading programs ends. All the reading records are done, prizes have been distributed and programs have had their final bows. This provides for a little quiet time before the Fall brings new storytime and back to school programs. Across the United States, there have been several wonderful programs and ideas this summer. However, if time will permit just one more idea before children librarians close the books on One World, Many Stories, here's one that will do nicely. Every culture has a special way to "capture" luck. Each technique is accompanied with a story, which provides a glimpse of the country's culture. With this in mind, host a program entitled "Make A Wish@Your Library. The idea comes from the book Wish: Wishing Tradition Around the World by Roseanne Thong. It's fun, crafty and carries a wonderful message.

Wish begins with a wonderful question: How in the world do you make a wish? Thus setting the stage for traveling around the world to discover the different traditions, from Brazil to Italy to South Africa and finally to United States. It's a fascinating trip with tons of craft projects for children to make. Thong tells her readers that in Guatemala, children make colorful round kites made of strips of paper attached to a bamboo frame. The kites carry the wishes of the children up to the gods. This is a perfect opportunity for a family craft day featuring circular kites. Once the kites have been made, invite youngsters and their families to fly their kites outside the library. Remind them to make a wish before setting the kite into flight.

If kites are not a practical idea, try making a version of Thailand's krathongs, which are little boats folded to look like lotus flowers. The boats are filled with candles, coins flowers and incense and set afloat at a river edge. (For an idea on how to make this go to The boats are said to carry bad luck way in order to allow the good wishes to come true.

Just one last idea for the perfect ending to summer reading programs. At the very last program create your own little version of the Trevi Fountain. It can be as simple as a kiddie pool with a little bit of water in it with a picture of the famous Italian fountain posted on the wall behind the pool. Legend says that if a visitor of Rome tosses three coins over their shoulders, they will get married. Two coins signifies that they will find love. If only one coin is tossed, it means that they will return to Rome. With a little bit of inspiration, tell patrons if they toss three coins over their left shoulders, they will find their favorite book of all times, two coins signifies that they will discover they love a new genre and one coin means they will return to the library many, many times. Of course, fake coins could be used, but why not try making this a fund raiser for the library? (Just a thought)

There are plenty more ideas that can be found in Thong's book. All one has to do is flip through the pages to be inspired. On a final note, when making the wishes at your library, it might be a good idea to remind patrons that wishes do come true at the library when given the opportunity to explore their world with the many resources that the library has to offer. As wishes fill the air around your library this summer, there is one wish that should come true for every library in every community. The best wish is simply this: that library doors will always be open to children of every age, in every community and in every culture.