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CSLP needs your program ideas for children, teens, and adults! Our annual collaborative programming manual is made up of submissions from public librarians like you. Submit an idea today!
The 2022 Products go live September 1st! Check them out today!
The 2022 CSLP Committee Drive is under way, and runs through October 8th! Join a committee today!

Introducing the 2022 Program!: Oceans of Possibilities!

Making Music with RiverJack Z!

This June the Wead Library in Malone NY hosted "Making Music with RiverJack Z." It was a free songwriting workshop for children & families. The project was made possible with the funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts.

Participants recorded a pretty great tales themed song, and the library posted the our recording on Youtube. Enjoy!

Flying High Dogs!

Mike Piazza, world record holder in the sport of K-9 frisbee, made a special appearance at the Ashland Public Library, Ashland, MA. 170 people attended the program, which featured lots of audience participation. Many kids and adults got a chance to throw a frisbee for one of the dogs. The program was held at the Farmers' Market field, which is located just across the street from the Library. This program was sponsored by The Friends of the Ashland Public Library and was part of the "Tails & Tales" Ashland Summer Reading Program.
What "Tales" does your library have to tell for 2021? Please send your photos, ideas, and any informative details to Luke Kralik at: I would love to share them in our newsletter.

Looking for some ideas for 2021 to use or share?
Public libraries feed hungry bodies as well as hungry minds during the summer – and throughout the year. The CSLP’s Child and Community Well-Being committee encourages library involvement in activities that support wellness, from summer and afterschool meals, to well-being programming, to support for basic needs, all to help children, teens, and communities stay nourished, active, and healthy when school is out. Resources include the Libraries and Summer Food page on the CSLP website; a Facebook group for news, support, and resource-sharing; and an ongoing series of stories showcasing the experiences of libraries around the country.

Learning Tree Program Is a Great Partnership Both In-Person and Virtually

By Rachel Enrich, Portsmouth Public Library, Portsmouth, Virginia
Several years ago, the Portsmouth City Manager asked the Library to provide outdoor programs that promoted reading and early literacy. The result is Learning Tree, a collaboration with public preschool centers and city departments, offered each May at three preschool centers.

For the program, the library erects tents on school grounds for reading stations and a movement station.  The first year we offered the program, the school library staff went old-school for the movement station, running an extension cord through a window for a record player to share their Ella Jenkins and Hap Palmer records with the children.

Groups of children rotate through the stations, listening to several volunteer readers and participating in the movement station.  They change stations after all the readers finish their books.  Readers share a rhyme and have a conversation with the kids if they finish reading before everyone else.  Without rushing anyone, we can complete the program within an hour and a half or less at each school.

Learning Tree was suspended in 2020, but we went virtual this year, offering 8 videos of community helpers reading books for the preschool teachers to share with their students during Children’s Book Week.  Some police officers who read were gracious enough to participate last-minute; we talked them into reading while they were waiting for their partners to share their books.  The videos were shared only with the three schools and taken down after a week to prevent violation of copyright rules.

The success of the program stems from the amazing collaboration with the schools and other city departments.  Volunteer readers come from the Fire Department, Police Department, Waste Management, Finance Department, Sheriff’s Office, and the Children’s Museum of Virginia.  The kids love the idea of hearing a book from their favorite community helpers, and the adults enjoy sharing books and getting silly with their audience.  Law enforcement officers and firefighters reading titles like Chicken Little by Rebecca Emberley and Groovy Joe and Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin are definitely crowd pleasers.  A highlight at the live program is always our Waste Management supervisor reading Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman with the help of a recycling truck.  The kids also see some of the readers at other school events, such as career days and Coloring with a Cop, so they get to interact with adults they already know.

And finally, the Learning Tree program has led to other partnerships with schools and city departments, including a drive-thru Operation Warm program last October where we gave coats and books to 150 children with the help of the Fire and Police Departments, who volunteered to provide traffic control and distribute coats to the families.

Kindness Project (and more) at West Hartford Public Library
Simple Acts - It’s The Little Things That Count

By Carol Waxman, Interim Library Director & Children’s Services

In late fall 2020, the West Hartford Public Library celebrated the fourth year of the Kindness Project. Inspired by the book and movie Wonder, about a boy navigating life with the challenges of facial deformities caused by Treacher Collins syndrome and the subsequent bullying and other unkind acts he endures, my colleague Bailey Berardino and I designed the Kindness Project to offer the West Hartford, Connecticut community an opportunity to participate in acts of kindness. We collect new hygiene items donated by the community and distribute these to local programs including the West Hartford Food Pantry, local churches offering food drives, and a weekend food backpack program for students. Collection bins are provided at our three library buildings. To celebrate this project, we curate and publish lists of books about kindness, create book displays, and invite children to storytimes with kindness as a theme.

This year, the Kindness Project took place during the pandemic. We placed bins at the curbside pickup locations outside of our buildings and were astounded to receive enough products to fill over 80 large cartons - more than any other year of the project! We delivered these to the West Hartford Food Pantry.  As we all know, the pandemic brought the challenges of food insecurity, unemployment, and many other hardships to a level not previously known.  Food pantries were faced with unprecedented demands. Families who came to pick up food were overjoyed to receive much-needed hygiene and cleaning products.

Side stories to share! We have learned from the Kindness Project that there are so many other ways to perpetuate acts of kindness.  A town employee whose elderly mother enjoys knitting scarves was searching for a place to donate these. She heard about the Kindness Project. We offered to include the scarves with the Kindness Project deliveries to the food pantry.  Imagine the delight of shoppers upon learning they could choose a new beautifully knit colorful scarf to take home.  For next year we have identified a donor to purchase the wool for our knitter, as well as a new group of knitters waiting to knit scarves for winter 2022.

During the summer when school buildings are closed, the West Hartford Libraries serve as connection points for families who usually get weekend backpacks of food at their schools.  A local church facilitates this project. Why not add hygiene products from the Kindness Project to the backpacks? A tube of toothpaste, a toothbrush and shampoo are always welcome. And to add some fun, a community partner agreed to purchase small games (balls, jacks, UNO, cards) and children’s books in include in the backpacks.

Hygiene products, wool scarves, backpack games – it’s the little things that count.

Enjoy a 9-minute video presentation about the Kindness Project!

CSLP Artwork Supports Member Libraries

By Christina Jane Stuck, Director Youth Services, Charlotte (MI) Community Library & Rebecca Hardin, Volunteer Coordinator, Lewiston City Library, Lewiston, Idaho
Every summer, CSLP provides member libraries with a thematic package filled with resources as well as artwork created by well-renowned artists. These artists, including David Shannon, Dan Santat, Brian Pinkney and last summer’s LeUyen Pham, lend their deft artistry to flesh out CSLP’s annual slogans. Salina Yoon’s art is currently gracing many libraries’ summer reading pamphlets and logs, websites and marketing flyers.
How meaningful and useful are these artists’ works for libraries?  CSLP asked libraries last summer about the art for “Imagine Your Story.” Of the 970 member libraries who responded to the 2020 survey, 117 did not use any part of the “Imagine Your Story” package. 852 libraries used some part of it and gave feedback in regards to their use of the package materials, particularly about the artwork.
In 2020, the artwork was highly successful for those using the “Early Literacy” and “Children” sections. Some responses included the terms “whimsy,” “valuable,” “modern but with classic elements” and “appealing” when describing it. While 66% and 72% of libraries Agree or Strongly Agree that the “Early Literacy” and “Children” artwork supported their program respectively, the “Teen” and “Adult” sections were lukewarmly received. “Teen” had 52% while “Adult” had a staggering 38% who remarked Agree or Strongly Agree. 26% of members found the “Adult” section Not Applicable with 23% being Neutral.
Supportive  CSLP Package Early Literacy Children Teen Adult
Strongly Disagree 0% 2% 2% 2% 2%
Disagree 3% 3% 5% 5% 5%
Neutral 20% 15% 15% 21%                               23%
Agree 46% 45% 50% 38% 27%
Strongly Agree 19% 22% 22% 14% 11%
Not Applicable 0% 9% 4% 16% 26%
No answer 12% 4% 2% 4% 6%
Many libraries felt the “Teen” and “Adult” art had room to improve. A few libraries stated the artwork for the teens was too juvenile, i.e. not edgy enough, and used the adult art instead. Many libraries called for modified content for these sections and brighter graphics.
A few libraries took the time to share with CSLP the need for better accessibility to the actual artwork. It appears that some libraries would like to still receive the CD or USB with all the images. There was also a recurrent plea for more clip art. This need probably stems from the choice to use artwork from different age groups. As one respondent said, “We used additional clipart provided in the manual for the adult materials.”
With 30 plus years of slogans and themes, most libraries continue to find the art that brings these phrases and ideas to life “the most valuable part of the package.” Even though many felt the “Teen” and “Adult” artwork was dull and unsupportive in 2020, the survey results testify that there is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the package materials. There was much use of the materials overall and it did meet the individual needs of member libraries.


Take-Home STEM Bags: Tails and Tales Edition

By Renee Stokes, Youth Services Librarian II, Manatee Libraries: Central Library, Bradenton, FL

Like many libraries, we were scrambling in April 2020 to adapt our in-house programming to something for our patrons to do at home. Our Central branch began offering take-home STEM bags. The bags contained all the materials needed to complete the experiment, such as instructions and the science behind the activity. These bags (placed in a bin for social distancing) were a huge success. From January to April 2021, we produced over three hundred and ninety-nine bags, so we decided to continue them when we fully opened in May 2021. We added another four hundred and seventy during the summer.

The theme Tails and Tales offered an opportunity to create a wide range of STEM activities based on Fairy Tales and Animals. I produced over 20 science-based bags based (sometimes loosely) on the theme.  One of my favorite themes was Fairy Tale Science. In one of the bags, patrons had straws, gingerbread people, lollipops, and craft sticks to achieve the goal of building a raft to cross the river. The Three Billy Goats Gruff and Three Little Pigs' bags had similar building materials to make bridges and houses. These bags were a big hit because kids recognize these familiar tales.

At the beginning of the pandemic, when our local Headstart and daycare programs were closed, we began offering Fine Motor bags for our younger patrons. Like the STEM bags, these too were very popular. The motor skills Tales and Tails bags concentrated on scissors and gripping skills.  Two of the bags offered were a shout-out to two of my favorite authors and illustrators: Eric Carle and Lois Ehlert.

As the summer winds down, our Take and Make bags continue to roll out of the bin. It’s hard to believe what started as a way to fulfill our programming during COVID has turned into one of our most popular and inexpensive programs. My only costs are Ziploc bags and printer paper. The vast majority of my supplies are things I use every day in our maker space, such as rubber bands, paperclips, pipe cleaners, pom-poms, crayons, magnets, copper wire, string, and craft sticks.
For information, contact Renee Stokes at or visit our website at or our Facebook page at

What is on the horizon for CSLP?

2022: Theme/Oceanography; Slogan/"Oceans of Possibilities" Artist/Sophie Blackall

2023: Theme/Kindness and Friendship; Slogan/"All Together Now"; Artist/Frank Morrison

2024: Theme/Adventure; Slogan/TBD; Artist/Juana Martinez-Neal
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