2021 Arrowhead Library System Mini Grant Round-Up Part 1

Here’s a round-up of Arrowhead Library System Mini Grants that were completed in 2021 at Baudette Public Library, North Woods School Library, Grand Marais Public Library, Congdon Park Elementary School Library, Hoyt Lakes Public Library, Nashwauk-Keewatin High School Library, Virginia Public Library, International Falls Public Library, Cook Public Library, and Mountain Iron Public Library.

Project: A Homier Book Nook Room
Feedback from Kelli Pelland, Baudette Public Library
The Baudette Public Library purchased an 8′ oval navy rug to warm up the Book Nook that is a room used for a variety of purposes.  The Book Nook has been used for tests, meetings, a quiet place, etc., and kids and patrons feel right at home!

Project: Reversible Mobile Markerboard Easel
Feedback from Chris Gabrielson, North Woods School Library (Cook)

Meetings held in the library use the markerboard for presentations. The library uses the markerboard for activities that are going on in the library.  All community members, staff and students benefit from the use of the the markerboard. We will use it for upcoming events, activities and after school programs.

Project: Circulating C-Pen
Feedback from Melissa Wickwire, Grand Marais Public Library
Grand Marais Public Library was able to add a C-Pen to our circulating collection. A C-Pen is an assistive technology device that enhances library services at the local level by supporting readers, especially readers with dyslexia, in our community. This project improves accessibility to library print materials for our patrons.

Project: Read Out Loud!  Building Student’s Literacy and Love of Reading Through Read Alouds Course
Feedback from Cindy Miller, Congdon Park Elementary School Library (Duluth)
Advancement Courses offers many courses for teachers, including School Library Media Specialists. This course is one I’ve been waiting to take and I felt this was the perfect year to do it. I’m new, kind of, to the library. I have been teaching in a regular classroom (grades one, two, three/four split, and grade 5) for the last nine years. Before that, I was a media specialist at Lincoln Park K-8 School for sixteen years. Being that I’ve been away from the library, and having to teach remotely and in person, sometimes at the same time, I discovered that this project was perfectly timed. Our school doesn’t have much funding for professional development, so I was happy to have them pitch in!  I found myself going back to some old favorites for my read alouds – Piggies and King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood, The Snowy Day and Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats – and new and old Caldecott books were my first recorded titles. I’ve used these stories with K-5 students every week since November, in distance learning, hybrid learning, and full in-person and a combination of those models simultaneously. Students get to see me reading, without a mask and muffled voice. I think that helps to build a relationship with texts and students. I use SeeSaw to post these stories for distance learners and I use them in the media center with kids in front of me. I can put the story up on the SMARTBoard and pause to teach reading skills. My K-2 students voted for their favorite Caldecott book after watching three Caldecott book videos (Beekle won!). It’s been fun using my new skills to help kids love reading.

Project: Metal Art Sculpture
Feedback from Sue Sowers, Hoyt Lakes Public Library
This grant was used to supplement the ALS Legacy Public Library Art Project called “Our Hometown” created by Pat and Ken Larson Clayworks.  The metal artwork was created by cutting and welding Cor-ten steel, which is an architectural steel designed to rust to a point and then develop a stable layer of oxidation. This art project draws attention to our library building, bringing in new people and starting conversations about our community. We have received over 20 positive comments in person and through social media after only 4 days.

Project: Fill Your Tummy While You Fill Your Mind
Feedback from Julie Stolp, Nashwauk-Keewatin High School Library
We replaced our old popcorn machine that broke with these grant dollars. We used our old popcorn machine fairly frequently.  It was used for things like events, programs, meetings, etc. This allows us to offer a healthy snack for our patrons when they are here.  We do see children throughout the year that are hungry, and I enjoy being able to offer them a healthy snack.  The joy that the children express when they see that we are offering popcorn on a day they are here is wonderful!

Project: Adventure Backpacks
Feedback from Samuel Pogorels, Virginia Public Library

The Virginia Public Library decided to use the grant money on three Adventures Backpacks that could be checked out at the library. We have already had great feedback from the disc golf kits that have been checked out. Families have tried them out and thoroughly enjoyed learning something new, while our own staff members some of whom have played before were allowed to catch up and practice a skill they already had. This shows how wonderful it is for the library to have an item like disc golf backpacks to be able to be checked out for free. Sometimes sporting equipment can be expensive and some people might not know where to start with a new activity, so by having these at the library it makes it so anyone can be able to use it. On top of that it allows people to go out into the community and see what this area has to offer in terms of activities to enjoy outdoors, all while getting some exercise (walking the different courses we included maps for). We have also had many people ask if we will be having any more backpacks come in the future, which we tell them about the Bug Catching Backpack that we were able to put together with this grant. Lots of excitement has been seen when these backpacks are checked out along with curiosity about what they are all about as we have all the Adventure Backpacks displayed behind the front desk.  All three of the kits will be able to be checked out like a regular book or movie from the library. 

Project: Story Strolls
Feedback from Diane Adams, International Falls Public Library
IFPL created five new story strolls for use in and around the library this summer and going forward. Story Strolls allow our community to share stories together. We used them this summer during Big Play (our early childhood family activities for young children to encourage physical learning and playing). Story strolls have been particularly important during the past year when gathering has been difficult. We counted the number of participants at each story stroll (ranged from 18 – 42 participants) and talked to families as they finished reading the stories together. One family said they had great fun, a mom said it was a great way to get everyone outside. Our favorite story was the family that made arrangements to meet another family here and let the kids gather together safely which has been hard this past year.

Project: Outdoor Games & Story Mats
Feedback from Crystal Phillips, Cook Public Library
The Cook Public Library purchased 10 Kid Yoga Mats, 2 Tall Cotton Rope Baskets, 1 Jumbo Checkers/Tic Tac Toe Game, 1 Giant Dice Game, 1 Outdoor Ring Toss Game and 1 Collapsible Bean Bag Game. We publicized the new games in our September e-newsletter but unfortunately our library closed shortly after due to COVID. I have no doubt the items purchased for this project will be heavily used next summer when patrons can be outside. Some games could be used inside the library as well. The Teen Advisory Board plan to use the games as part of their programming next year. We did not get to use the yoga mats but they will help our story time kids and families by providing their own colorful space and allowing us to social distance when necessary. Currently, the yoga mats and outdoors games are stored in the rope baskets. This provides storage and an easy way to transport items.  A young patron was able to test out the wooden dice and checkers game inside the library with his mom. Both enjoyed the opportunity to play with the games as they waited for repairs on their car. We have an inventory and tally sheet at the desk where we can track usage in the future. We will also publicize the games with signs outside the library and in the park.

Project: 5th/6th Grade Reading Collaborative
Feedback from Anna Amundson, Mountain Iron Public Library
We are serving 45 students in Grade 5 and 49 students in Grade 6, reading together weekly through 2 titles – “A Dog’s Journey” by W. Bruce Cameron and “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson. The students are reading with Library staff, their teachers, in small groups and independently. After completion of the book, the classes will watch the movie and complete AR (Accelerated Reading) tests. These dates are scheduled for the end of December 2021. The overall goal was to increase literacy, a love of reading, and enhance reading comprehension and grammar lessons in the classroom. We are accomplishing this together! In-person attendance numbers and student evaluations of the project were used to determine the success of this collaborative effort. This effort is on-going.

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