Here’s a round-up of Arrowhead Library System Mini Grants that were completed in 2021 at St. Joseph’s Catholic School Library, Vermilion Community College Library, Hibbing Public Library, Two Harbors Public Library, Iron Range Historical Society, Aurora Public Library, Cloquet Public Library, Hoyt Lakes Public Library, and Baudette Public Library.

Project: STEM Magna-Tiles Kit
Feedback from Barb Hughes, St. Joseph’s Catholic School Library (Grand Rapids)

Magna-Tiles has been a STEM favorite in our school. In the past we have borrowed the set from Arrowhead Library System. Students were so disappointed when they had to be returned. The permanent Stem Kit of Magna-Tiles is in constant use; K-6 plus our STEM days and our after school care program. An additional benefit is the tiles are easy to clean. During this COVID adjusted learning time, the STEM center in the library had to close. To continue to reach students, STEM learning has entered the classroom. STEM kits that can be sanitized are rotating through the classrooms. As the school librarian/media teacher, I present a weekly challenge or guide to each classroom that includes whole class instruction. The kit is used by individuals and small cooperative groups to promote spatial sense, visualization, patterning, exploration, and motor skills. This is a much requested addition to our young STEM education program.

Project: Poetry/Art Grid Display
Feedback from Debbie Erzar, Vermilion Community College Library (Ely)

Our Grid Panel Display has given us an opportunity to educate our students/patrons during Black History Month and Women’s History Month about people who have influence these areas of history.  In the future, with our Poetry Month Displays we will expose students/patrons to different types of poetry and give them an opportunity to try it for themselves. Who knows, we might just inspire the next great poet laureate! We also hope to be able to display student/patron art work before the end of the academic year. Students deserve to have their hard work displayed for others to see and appreciate.  The overall success of this Grid Panel Display is seeing our students/patrons absorbing some new information and perhaps being inspired to try something new & different!

Project: Cricut Supplies for Programing
Feedback from April Fountain, Hibbing Public Library
We purchased Cricut supplies for program use for adults, teens, and kids.  This generous grant helped us purchase Cricut supplies to help us make DIY take and make programming for adults, teens, and kids – a fun filled craft for all.  This grant will help us do more creative outreach in our community.  Also it helps us accomplish our mission that the Hibbing Library introduces children to a lifetime of reading and learning, and bringing enjoyment into people’s lives.

Project: Take-and-Make Crafts for Kids 
Feedback from Katie Sundstrom, Two Harbors Public Library
Since the pandemic began, libraries have had to shift their programming. One of the most popular changes we’ve made is offering take-and-make crafts. Basically, instead of providing crafts for patrons to complete in the library, we now compile kits for patrons to take home and complete.  We requested an ALS mini-grant to stock up on craft supplies for a series of take-and-make crafts throughout the summer, and we hope to continue the program into the autumn. Our patrons, especially those with young children in their lives, really enjoy picking-up take-and-make craft kits from the library. They are hands-on activities that they can do at home as a family, and parents appreciate that it gets their children away from electronics for awhile. It also assists with developing fine motor skills and reading comprehension, as participants needs to read and understand the instructions to know what to do, and they work on fine motor control when completing the crafts.

Project: Newspaper Bound Books
Feedback from Michele Lammi, Iron Range Historical Society

      

The Iron Range Historical Society bound over 50 special sections from the Mesabi Daily News into 8 books. The issues date from 1976 to 2020. A few of the sections bound are: Our Communities, Education, A Century on the Range, Rural Lifelines, Iron Range Progress, Iron Range History, Business & Industry, Tourism, and a complete set of the Mine editions.  Binding these newspapers will benefit patrons and volunteers of the IRHS by making it much easier to look through these newspaper sections when they are completing research or simply curious about special events or subjects located within these newspapers. We had the papers organized and bound in date order. An index of subject matter for each of the issues will be created by IRHS to ease locating specific topics. On average we have 45 visitors to IRHS monthly. Additionally, volunteers do research for online requests on average 3 times a month. Having bound books on the shelf will allow patrons and volunteers to see exactly what IRHS has without having to dig through drawers and issues they are not interested in. Preserving these papers by binding into a book helps us achieve IRHS’ mission of collecting, preserving, and sharing the Iron Range history with all who seek us out.

Project: Sensory Kit for Use in the Library
Feedback from Paula Chapman, Aurora Public Library
The Aurora Public Library assembled a sensory kit with elements that people of varying ages may use to improve their comfort and experience in the library.  Kit elements included the following: Weighted Lap Blanket (puppy), Twiddle Sensory Toy (Cat), Abilitations Yuck-E Balls, Sensory Ball for Babies and Toddlers, Kids Ear Protection (2-pack), Ear Defenders Adult, Textured Beanbag Squares, Heatable Lavender Scented Bunny, Push Pop Bubble Fidget Toy and a Bundle of Sensory Fidget Toys.  Quite a few patrons have commented favorably on seeing that this is available for patrons; a few patrons have used some of the fidgets at this point, commenting that they use them at home or school and like that they are at the library. We are hopeful that this will be even more useful when more patrons return to the library.

Project: Santa’s Home for the Holidays 
Feedback from Keiko Satomi, Cloquet Public Library
At Santa’s Home for the Holidays event, we enjoyed the Storytime with Santa and Chris Monroe, holiday crafts, cookie decoration and book signing with Chris Monroe. The event was a part of the community-wide holiday events, and to provide a place and time to celebrate the holiday season with friends and family in the welcoming environment. It brought in about 140 community members. We have received many compliments as they left, and it was great to see our patrons’ smiles and them having a nice time with their family and friends.

Project: Cricut Easy Press Kit 
Feedback from Sue Sowers, Hoyt Lakes Public Library
The Cricut Easy Press with heat transfer vinyl will be a great additional tool we can use with our Cricut machine. We will be able to create fun projects for Take and Makes and prizes for different activities. The public will be able to use this system in the library for free to create personalized items for themselves or to give as gifts. We chose the larger Easy Press to cover more area on shirts and pillows. A Cricut system is a wonderful tool for creating, but isn’t something most people can afford to have at home. We will have this set up in our Adventure Annex so anyone can walk in and start creating. We will offer basic instructions and then direct people to Cricut’s set of video tutorials. We will also be able to create more complex projects that we can share with the public.

Project: Small Laminator for Library 
Feedback from Kelli Pelland, Baudette Public Library
We purchased a small laminator for the library to provide laminating services for our community.  Patrons can now come into the library and have small items laminated.  This service was not available in town before and we now are able to offer services that people have been asking for in the past.