Here’s a round-up of Arrowhead Library System Mini Grants that have been completed in 2019 at Vermilion Community College Library (Ely), Aurora Public Library, Floodwood School Library, Cloquet Public Library, Deer River High School Library, and Nashwauk-Keewatin High School Library:

Project: Group Study Table w/Dry Erase Top

Feedback from Debbie Erzar, Vermilion Community College Library 

We purchased a 48″ Round Table w/Dry Erase Top for use as a group study project table. This allows students to do brainstorming, jotting down ideas for evaluation. We are also able to use it to post special message to our students when they visit the library.  Student Study Groups were able to meet and succeed at getting everyone’s input as ideas flow faster than one person can record. Then they are able to discuss and move forward to a finished project/paper, etc.  We measured overall success by the students using this new table. It came at a good time as students were busy working on a group project for Biology! There have been an average of 3 groups of 3-6 students using the table on a daily basis since we received it!

Project: 1000 Days of Reading Before Kindergarten

Feedback from Paula Chapman, Aurora Public Library 

The Aurora Public Library has started offering a Reading-Ready “1000 Days of Reading Before Kindergarten” program. In the long term, our vision is that local children will enter kindergarten ready to read, and our goal is that local parents and caregivers of pre-school-age children will develop a habit of reading at least 15 minutes a day to the children in their care. The Aurora Public Library will encourage this by offering the incentive-based reading ready program. Our goal for phase one was that parents or caregivers would sign up at least 25 children would sign up for the program by October 15, and that at least they would have reported reading to at least 12 of those children for at least 15 minutes a day for at least 100 days by the end of September.  In the long term, the Aurora Public Library wishes to offer incentives every 100 days of reading for every 1000 days of reading to children before they enter kindergarten.

The grant allowed the Aurora Public Library to fund the first few hundred days of a longer-term project. This project gave us another platform for emphasizing the value of early literacy and the importance of reading with pre-reading children to give them building blocks to prepare them to be ready to learn to read when they are older. It funding allowed us to provide families with some incentives to encourage the habit of daily reading aloud to young children.  Sign-ups were slower than we had hoped; our goal was 25 children signed up by October 15; 17 children signed up by 10/30. Our goal was that at least 12 children would complete 100 days of reading by the end of September; only 6 children have reported 100 days of reading by the end of October. The grant allowed us to start this program; we plan to continue on with it and are discussing internally and with participants how the library can better encourage and support parents’ reading to their children and how we can improve communication with participants. Several parents have reported that they are reading before bed time and their children love and look forward to this time. One parent said that her daughter loves putting on the daily sticker; others have reported that they don’t use the stickers.

Project: 2019 ITEM Conference Registration

Feedback from Geraldine Davidson, Floodwood School Library 

This grant was very beneficial as I was able to acquire new books and books that are advanced reader copies. I was able to gather new information and resources that I am using in my classroom. I bought some of the Google Cardboard VR headsets, that I learned about in one of my sessions, to use with my students. I learned about the ISTE resources that help me to incorporate them into my classroom better and I am intrigued with the 360 Photography session presentation ideas. I thought it was very successful as I attended about 5 sessions and enjoyed listening to the keynote speakers. I was able to update my library with posters displaying all the Caldecott & Newberry winners, as well as, my hallway bulletin board with a great reading calendar idea, MN Book Awards, and Coretta Scott King Award. I enjoyed meeting all the librarians in the area and learning about volunteer opportunities for the 2020 ITEM conference in Duluth.

Project: Kajeet Hot-Spots for Students

Feedback from Beth Sorenson, Cloquet Public Library 

Kajeet helps students succeed by providing safe and affordable Internet outside of school to close the homework gap. As educators increase technology in the classroom for learning, Education Broadband™ keeps students connected either at home or on the bus with CIPA-compliant filters and provides administrators with analytics, reporting, and a convenient dashboard to monitor checkouts and misplaced devices. We used the grant to offset the initial cost of purchasing the hotspots. The remaining cost for one year of service would be paid through a combination of funding from the Library Foundation and from a collaborative Cloquet Community Education Foundation grant in partnership with the Cloquet Alternative Area Education Program.  So far we have taken the Kajeets to the school open house. Our initial response was from teachers who thought they would be very useful and they would encourage their students to check them out from the library. We thought that since the students get homework assignments requiring internet use, these would be a great way for the library to provide safe internet to get their homework completed.  So far, we have not had a lot of success getting them into the hands of our students. It is going to take a lot more push for students to realize the access that is available to them. We are hoping to get into the classrooms this spring and do demos with them.

Project: 2019 ITEM Conference Registration

Feedback from Renee Henderson, Deer River High School Library 

The ITEM conference gave me some great ideas to incorporate better signage in my media center to increase engagement. MakerSpace ideas were shared from middle school students on ideas they like to see in a MakerSpace. I am excited to advertise what I am reading and set visible goals so that student know that I am reading as well. This conference gave me some great take-aways in regards to reading engagement and presentation. It will be neat to see how changing things up brings a new level of engagement with my students.  I have a document full of new ideas to try. Connecting with other media specialists is a great way to find out what’s working and what’s not. Borrowing ideas from other professionals helps me to do my job better, which helps kids engage more in reading.

Project: Patron Sitting Area

Feedback from Julie Stolp, Nashwauk-Keewatin High School Library 

We wanted to provide a small sitting area for our patrons, and students of all ages. With the $250.00 grant we were able to purchase a small futon couch, a small chair, and a side table.  Right after I got done setting everything up, I had some young students come in. They went directly to the area, and pulled out games instead of going to the computers! This was so nice to see. After a while, I noticed a few more children had joined in. I just got things set up, but very soon I hope to see our high school students using the area to study also.  I think that this is going to be a big success. Based on the immediate use already, I think that our little seating area will be a nice addition to our small library! I am measuring the success by the immediate interest and use of the area. Thank you ALS!!!!!