Author Archive | Shannen O'Brien

FREE Upcoming Webinars in December

As the year begins to wind down, the New York State Library is sponsoring some excellent free webinars throughout the month of December to promote ideas for programming for children and teens alike. Please be sure to click on the links under each webinar listed for additional details about the webinar and how to register:

December 13, 2017 (2 PM EST)

Ready to Read at New York Libraries is hosting a webinar on “21 Minutes for 21st Century Libraries: Early Literacy” for any library staff and administration interested in learning more about early literacy. Participants will learn about the latest research on programming, services, and best practices in libraries, along with the benefits of providing early literacy services in their own libraries. Registration is required, and the webinar will be archived for future viewing. For more information, please visit

Thursday, December 14, 2017  (3 PM EST / 12 PM PST)

WebJunction is hosting an hour-long webinar on “From Tots to Teens: STE(A)M-powered Ideas for Programming.” Whether you’re already full steam ahead with STE(A)M programming in your library or not sure how to get started or somewhere in between, there’s something for you in this webinar. Our presenters are passionate about creating engaging and skill-building STE(A)M programs for kids from preschool age to teenage. Find out what to look for in a good program and hear their top picks for programs for each age range. Learn some tips, tricks and useful resources. Get inspired—you don’t need to be a scientist or engineer to have fun exploring and learning with the kids in your library. To register, please visit

Friday, December 15, 2017 (3-4 PM EST)

NOVELNY is hosting a webinar on “Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: Explore Past Events with Firsthand Accounts” to introduce research and non-fiction through Britannica School to the young adults and teen patrons that visit your library. Included in the webinar is information on how to uncover content, engage reluctant readers, and provide support for ALL users. Participants will also learn how to incorporate classroom curriculum resources in areas like World Studies, Chemistry, Math, and Language Arts, video and media content, and using “My Britannica” to save information of interest. Please register at

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 (2 PM EST / 11 AM PST)

WebJunction is hosting a 90 minute webinar on “Going Deeper with Social Media.” Learn how to take the next steps toward amplifying your library’s social media program. During this third webinar in our social media series, we’ll discuss best practices in growing your library’s social media program and managing user engagement. You’ll learn tips on assessing your library’s audience based on their preferred platforms and ideas for converting your in-person library community into an online community. For more information, please visit


National Friends of Libraries Week 2017

Yesterday marked the beginning of the National Friends of Libraries Week! Until Saturday 10/21, the American Library Association will be promoting the Friends of Libraries membership and raising awareness about what the Friends of Public Libraries do to keep their libraries in operation. ALA has additional information on their website at, but here are some suggestions in participating:

  • ALA recorded a webinar on how to promote your Friends of the Library group and your public library. The webinar is free for viewing and can be accessed from
  • Visit your local library or check out your local library’s website for more information about your local Friends of the Library group and how you can get involved!

Teen Read Week 2017

October 8-14th is Teen Read Week and the theme this year is “Unleash Your Story!” Teen Read Week is YALSA’s adolescent literacy initiative to encourage teens to become regular readers and library users.  From YALSA: “Library staff, afterschool providers, and educators are encouraged to leverage this theme to encourage teens to tell their own stories as well as find stories, biographies, autobiographies, folktales, and more in their local library.”  You can also join the conversation on Twitter with #TRW17 and see more at

YALSA and other sites are hosting activities and informational toolkits for Teen Read Week programming worthy of checking out below:

  • The nominees of YALSA’s “Teens’ Top Ten” list have been announced. Teens can vote for up to three of their favorite books until the end of Teen Read Week, and the winning titles will be announced on October 18:
  • YALSA has a new toolkit that offers ideas and strategies for building literacy skills with teens. Using the “fake news” phenomenon and framework, this toolkit offers libraries ways to help teens explore multiple literacies, including text-based literacy, visual literacy, and media literacy. Learn more and download the free toolkit here:
  • YALSA is giving out $1,000 grants courtesy of Dollar General and the deadline to apply is January 1. Two types of grants are available: one is for initiatives to prevent the summer slide in underserved teens, and the other is for hiring teen interns over the summer. Twenty of each grant type will be awarded. To learn more or apply, visit this site:

Be sure to visit your local library to find out about Teen Read Week events near you!

Banned Books Week 2017

Next week begins the annual Banned Books Week sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA). Banned Books Week recognizes the censored books from educators and librarians all across the country and encourages all readers to use their right to read free information. The ALA is hosting several events, which are listed below with links to obtain more information:

Free Ready to Read webinar on September 19

The New York State Library’s Division of Library Development is pleased to offer the following free webinar as part of Ready to Read at New York Libraries:

Topic: Using the Every Student Present Website: Helping Parents and Educators Utilize Strategies and Data Tools

Date/Time: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19th, 1-2 PM ET

Speaker: Cate Teuten Bohn and Mary De Masi, Council on Children and Families

Suggested Participants: Any interested library staff member (or partner organization), especially those working with families and youth

Cost: FREE of charge

Description: Every Student Present is a public awareness campaign about school attendance in the younger grades developed by the Council on Children and Families (CCF). Chronic absence is defined as a child missing more than 10% of enrolled days. This absence from school can lead to delays in reading skills and can impact a child’s overall learning experience.

Registration link and additional information about Ready to Read at New York Libraries and Every Student Present can be found at:

Library Card Sign Up Month Begins!

Aside from being the first day of September, today also kickstarts Library Card Sign Up Month! The American Library Association (ALA) has released promotional materials that feature Teen Titans as the faces of Library Card Sign Up Month. Materials in English and Spanish are available on the ALA website, as well as ideas for hosting Library Card programs and a forum for sharing your events with ALA. To view the promotional materials and check out some Library Card programming suggestions, please visit

Free Upcoming Webinar & Registration for a Library Toy Conference

The Thorndike Press of the Library Journal and School Library Journal is hosting a free webinar on Engaging Reluctant Readers in Your Library next Wednesday, August 30, from 3-4 PM EST. If you are unable to attend the webinar, you can still register to receive the archive URL upon completion of the webinar. For more information, please visit the link down below:


The Monroe County Library System and the Rochester Public Library are co-sponsoring the USA Toy Library Association Conference: “Learn to Play, Play to Learn” on September 23, 2017. There is still time to register for the one day conference- please visit for more information about the conference, and you can download a registration brochure by visiting The early bird pricing ends on September 1, so be sure to fill out your registration soon!

Total Solar Eclipse Today!

It’s finally here: wherever you are in the United States, you will be able to see a total solar eclipse travel across the country.

The Audio Description Project will be providing a radio broadcast of the total solar eclipse for the visually impaired and blind.

Go to and select “Click Here to Play.” Then be sure to select the link that opens the player that you use to listen to music or stream internet radio stations. You can also listen on any telephone by dialing (605) 475-8130 and select option 4. If you are using an iOS device such as an iPad or iPhone, install “ACB Link”; open the app, select the radio tab and then tap on the menu button. Select “live streams” and “ACB Radio Interactive,” select the play button and the stream will launch.

Additional information about ACB’s Audio Description Project is available at:

If you plan on viewing the eclipse or want to track the eclipse in real time, Google is sponsoring an Eclipse Megamovie project that will create a time lapse of the eclipse as it traverses the United States. If you have a Google account, you can sign in and upload your eclipse pictures there:

NASA will be hosting live streams from multiple cities across the country, and will be continuing to post pictures and updates on their many social media accounts. For more information about the live streams and the account information, please visit

NBC and other major broadcasting companies will be hosting their own streams of the information. Check your local TV Guide for air times.

For additional information and resources, we have two posts that share websites and maps that you can use to access information about local programming and total solar eclipse viewing glasses:

Share your pictures with the New York State Library! Add the hashtag #NYSLTotalSolarEclipse to your pictures on social media. Happy star gazing!

In the Final Stretch for the Total Solar Eclipse

As the total solar eclipse approaches next week, there are some great resources for you to check out and participate in the activities:

Time and Date lets you enter your city on their website and they will tell you what the solar eclipse will look like in your city:

CNN and The Today Show recently covered stories on purchasing viewing glasses for the total solar eclipse, and how to determine if your glasses are safe for looking at the sun:


Today Show:

Please visit our post on the total solar eclipse from earlier this summer to see other valuable resources:

The New York Times covers nationwide Summer Eating

When school is out for the summer, many children may lack access to regular nutritious meals.  An increasing number of libraries in New York State are working to help ensure that kids and teens are able to find healthy meals and snacks as part of the Summer Reading at New York Libraries program.  This year, 118 libraries across the state have been approved to serve summer meals through the federally funded Summer Food Service Program.  The New York State Library works closely with our partners at Hunger Solutions NY and the New York State Education Department to make libraries aware of the Summer Food Service Program, and encourage them to become involved and participate by signing up to serve healthy meals or snacks to accompany library programs.

Watch for an article on the Summer Food Service Program and library participation appearing in the New York Times online on Sunday, July 30, and in print on Monday, July 31.  There will also be a Facebook Live segment broadcast from Roosevelt Library on Long Island on Monday, July 31 at 12:05 PM EST. To watch the Facebook livestream, search “WellNYT” on Facebook, like the page, and turn on notifications.

To find out more about Summer Reading and how your library can participate in the Summer Food Service Program, go to

New York State Library

Summer Reading at New York Libraries is funded in part through the Federal Library Services and Technology Act, with funds awarded to the New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. The New York State Library is a program of the Office of Cultural Education in the New York State Education Department.