Author Archive | Shannen O'Brien

Total Solar Eclipse: One Month Away!

In just over a month and a half on August 21,  a full solar eclipse will sweep across the United States for the first time in almost 100 years! Certain cities in the United States will be able to witness the complete solar eclipse. Libraries and community organizations in the Continental US are hosting programs, live streams, and viewing parties that can be accessed from anywhere in the country. And over 5,000 libraries across the country are hosting Eclipse Viewing Parties and eclipse-related programs and events.  Find out about eclipse events in your own community by accessing the STARnet map which lists what local libraries have planned for this awesome and rare event. Continue Reading →

Book Bingo

On top of the great flexibility of programming in libraries for Summer Reading, a great way to attract young readers is to make a book bingo card! It’s a combination of a book challenge and a bingo card, which is a win-win for your patrons and your library! To learn how to make your own book bingo cards, check out what a bookseller did to promote her bookstore!

Endangered bees

While there is a significant amount of events changing our future, perhaps one of the most alarming pieces of news is that bees have been put on the endangered species list. The contribution of bees to our everyday lives is essential: they assist in pollination of flowers and produce honey. The elimination of bees will deal humanity a major blow if preventative measures are not taken. For this year’s Summer Reading theme of “Build a Better World,” here are some books about bees to help you learn what you can do to save them.

2017 Children’s and Teen Choice Award Winners

On May 31, the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader announced the winners of the 2017 Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards. Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp (Peachtree Publishers) won the K-2nd Book of the Year. Books are awarded in K-2nd, 3rd-4th, 5th-6th, and Teen Book of the Year. To view all of the 2017 recipients, please visit To see winners from previous years, please visit Congratulations to all of the authors and books that won this year!

Summer Food Programs and Libraries

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service has recently released a Summer Meals Finder on their new blog, where you can enter a location and find the closest Summer Meal program in your area. Since schools finish at different times across the state and the country, the information is constantly being updated, and can also be accessed by telephone. 22.1 million children are eligible for free and reduced meals, but only 1 in 6 participate in the Summer Meals Program. Together, libraries and the Summer Meal programs can eliminate the summer nutrition gap: for more information about the USDA blog, please visit To use the Summer Meal Finder, please visit

2017 CSLP Updates

The Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) recently released a newsletter with updates about the organization, information about the 2017 Summer Reading Champion Kwame Alexander, notes on the annual conference this past April, and details about themes and slogans for upcoming Summer Reading in the years to come. You can read this newsletter online by following this link: Spring 2017 CSLP Newsletter

Earth Day Activities 2017

April is a big month for celebrating our planet. Aside from being National Keep America Beautiful Month and National Garden Month, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd every year. With this year’s Summer Reading Program theme being “Build a Better World,” there are so many opportunities for your library and your patrons to participate in the festivities!

For teens interested in being on the Youth Advisory Council for Keep America Beautiful, please visit:

The website for Keep America Beautiful also has guides for students and leaders in project-based learning that our country benefits from:

The Earth Day Network organization is planning a March for Science down in Washington, D.C. and has several campaigns to make our society a healthy place for all creatures:

NASA is promoting the hashtag #NoPlaceLikeHome on Earth Day to tag pictures of your favorite places on the planet:

Snapchat partnered with BBC to produce Discovery Stories that were featurettes of the first six episodes from Planet Earth II. Planet Earth II is available for viewing on the BBC America website:

2017 3 Apples Award Voting

The New York Library Association Youth Sections, YSS and SSL, have announced that voting is open for the annual 3 Apples Book Award. The 3 Apples award is given to three children’s books that are nominated for and voted on by children from all across the state. In order to place a vote, a child must have read or listened to at least three of the entries in these age brackets: 4-7, 8-12, and 13-18. The Summer Reading at New York Libraries website has a link to the voting on their home page at Voting ends on April 30, so be sure to visit and place your vote!

Get a head start on Earth Day activity planning:

The slogan for this year’s Summer Reading Program is “Build a Better World.” To celebrate Earth Day and help with planning for summer reading activities, Star_Net (Science-Technology Activities & Resources for Libraries) and the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) is hosting two free professional development webinars about fun science activities.

Both webinars will be held on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. The first webinar begins at 3:00 PM EST, which will model and discuss activities related to your local environment. The second webinar will begin at 3:45 PM EST, and will share activities related to water environments and climate change.

To register for one or both of these free professional development webinars, please visit this website  to register and to see a detailed overview of the programming.

Women’s History Month in New York State

The New York State Library celebrates Women’s History Month and the centennial of full suffrage for women in the State of New York.  Check out this exhibit examining how journals’ coverage of the suffrage movement changed in relation to major events such as World War I, the push for a woman suffrage amendment to the US Constitution, and the passage of the 19th Amendment, as well as the fight for woman suffrage in New York State. The exhibit also looks at the anti-suffrage movement and how suffrage journals reacted to that group.

For more information, see or stop by the exhibit on the seventh floor of the New York State Cultural Education Center in Albany.

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.