2022 Arrowhead Library System Mini Grant Round-Up Part 1

Here’s a round-up of Arrowhead Library System Mini Grants that were completed in 2022 at Hibbing High School Library Media Center, Nashwauk-Keewatin High School Library, St. Joseph’s Catholic School Library, Silver Bay Public Library, Greenhaven Elementary School Library, Duluth Public School Libraries, Gilbert Public Library, and Iron Range Historical Society:

Project: K-2 STEM Projects
Feedback from Kelly Belleville, Greenhaven Elementary School Library
I purchased supplies for STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) projects for students in grades K-2.  The following STEM projects were created:

  • Kindergarten: Dr. Seuss- The Cat in the Hat. Students had to use supplies to create a hat for the Cat in the Hat. He needed an update for his hat. The hat also had to fit on their own head. Fairy Tale- The Three Little Pigs. Students had to build a house that the Big Bad Wolf (a blow-dryer) couldn’t blow over using only jellybeans and toothpicks.
  • 1st Grade: Dr. Seuss – The Cat in the Hat. Students had to use supplies to create a trap for Thing 1 & Thing 2. Fairy Tale – Goldilocks & the Three Bears: Students had to build a chair for Goldilocks to sit on that would not break and she would not fall off using only jellybeans and toothpicks. Goldilocks was a small doll.
  • 2nd Grade: Dr. Seuss- The Lorax- Students had to use the supplies to a device that would help the Lorax plant more Truffala trees for the forest. Fairy Tale: Three Billy Goats Gruff. Students had to build a raft, using only jellybeans and toothpicks, that the goat could stand on to float across the river (a tub of water). 

Students learned about teamwork and the engineering process: Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve, and Present. They learned that original ideas don’t always work, and they might need to go back and rethink through the process and find a new way to solve the problem. They were very good at helping each other through each step.  I have 4 Second Grade classes, 4 First Grade classes, and 4 Kindergarten classes I see 2-3 times a week. Each grade level used the same available materials, but each grade had different projects. Students seemed to enjoy the projects and some were extremely creative. This process and these projects really push students to become more independent thinkers and use what resources they have to solve a problem. 

Project: Inclusive Library Area
Feedback from Lorri Shalley, Hibbing High School Library Media Center
Students with disabilities need to be an integral part of our school community. The Hibbing High School Library Media Center did not have an area to accommodate these students, and I have wanted to find a way to provide enrichment for them. This project created a space that can be used by our students with disabilities as well as our whole student body. Currently, students with disabilities spend most of their time in the special education classrooms. This new area provides a space where they can come to have story time, read books on their own, check out books at their level and mingle with regular education students.  New items in the space include: Bookshelves at an appropriate height for students with wheel chairs, books at a variety of levels lower than we typically carry in the rest of the collection, alternative seating, and fidget toys for those who need something in their hands while they are listening to a story.  The special education staff and pupil support assistance are all excited about the space and have plans to bring students here for checking out books and having story time.

Two pupil support assistants (PSA) and their students came to me and asked if they could spend time in the library. We pulled together some art “curriculum” from the MakerSpace and they have been coming to the Inclusion Area of the Library Media Center (LMC) daily. They have learned to knit on a loom, which was very challenging at first, but they have become quite good at it and will complete their scarves soon. When I asked one student what she thought about coming here, she said it was “Good!” and that she liked it because it was quiet and she learned something new.
Another special needs student has been coming to the Inclusion Area and he alternates between working on science curriculum provided by his special education teacher and using the MakerSpace materials. He was the first student to successfully complete my February MakerSpace challenge!  

Project: Button Making is Fun for All!
Feedback from Julie Stolp, Nashwauk-Keewatin High School Library
This grant allowed us to be able to purchase the needed supplies to have our own button maker for the children to use. We had borrowed the ALS button making kit in the past and it has always been a big hit with the kids. Having our own kit allows us to have it available for the children to enjoy. This is a great way for them to practice patience and sharing. They get to use their individuality in designing their own unique buttons that they get to keep and enjoy.  Just seeing their enjoyment of this activity is a great way to see the success!

Project: World Globe with Floor Stand
Feedback from Barb Hughes, St. Joseph’s Catholic School Library
Students have been hovering around the globe since the moment it was unpacked. I find them looking at where they live and comparing it to where their grandparents live or where they’ve taken vacations. Last week a group of 5th graders found Ukraine on the globe and were having a discussion of the current situation there. Third graders were connecting the longitude and latitude lines to what they know about GPS use. Another third grader was explaining the axis or why the world is “tipped” to another student. This globe is being used by students for real world learning, connecting what they know and applying it to new learning. Classroom teachers are requesting to borrow it for classroom activities. This globe has created excitement throughout the school!  Since the globe arrived in our library, it has been used daily by students and teachers. Teachers have “checked it out” for classroom instruction and discussions. Use is both curriculum related and during independent student inquiry. Students are using it as a resource to connect themselves to the world. Key to this learning is that it is self-driven. The globe is also being accessed by a scout group meeting in the library and various church groups using the library.

Project: Disc Cleaner Machine
Feedback from Shannon Walz, Silver Bay Public Library
The Silver Bay Public Library has a large DVD collection so we purchased a JFJ Easy Pro disc cleaner to keep our DVD and audiobook collections in top notch shape. This machine can do any media disc which covers all of our digital collections. This machine was recommended by other libraries in the Arrowhead Library system and it has not disappointed. Our machine is keeping our digital materials in circulation. We are able to fix disc quickly before a patron even takes it home if they notice a scratch. We are saving money by not having to buy replacement items once DVDs or CDs are scratched. So far we have cleaned 73 disks since we have gotten the machine. From patron reporting we know we have had a 100% success rate in disc repair.

Project: ITEM Conference Registration
Feedback from Brian Schilling, Duluth Public School Libraries
The grant was used to attend the Minnesota School Library Conference (ITEM) in Rochester, MN. The conference was wonderful for getting ideas about diversifying the collection for our students of color, ways to advocate with building administrators for the needs of LMS programs, Digital Citizenship curriculum for instruction and evaluating students skills, and networking with LMS for ideas to help students.  I measured the success by the resources that were applicable to my school library. There were new websites that I will use for teaching Digital Citizenship including Social Media Test Drive that gives students an actual test area for social media skills. The keynote speaker Julia E Torres was inspirational and exceptional. She had many thought provoking ideas about helping students become creators and curators of their own learning.

Project: Scratch No More!
Feedback from Su Dabbas, Gilbert Public Library
We will use the JFJ easy Pro Universal CD/DVD/Blu-Ray/Audio Book Repair machine to buff out the problems to prolong the life of the disks instead of purchasing new material. The machine with supplies should repair up to 250 disks.  We are able to repair most disks and get them back out on the shelves to be borrowed by our patrons instead of making them wait while we try to find new replacement material. We can use the monetary savings elsewhere.  The JFJ kit is easy to use and repairs quickly. 

Project: IRHS Informational Brochures
Feedback from Michele Lammi, Iron Range Historical Society
IRHS had 500 brochures printed in color on 24-pound white paper using Range Print Shop in Eveleth. Patrons will benefit from this project as many times when they visit IRHS, either in person or online, they have questions regarding operations, what resources are available, and how to join IRHS. If we can give or mail a brochure the potential for new members and users of our library is unlimited. Our current patrons will have a better understanding of all the primary and secondary sources they have access to for their research project. In addition, making prospective patrons aware of our organization’s information and resources will make IRHS a stronger and more viable entity for all patrons. We have placed the new brochures at the libraries in the vicinity of McKinley and will have them available when we have booths at community functions such as the IRHS Saturday at the Society & Laskiainen.

Project: ITEM Conference Registration
Feedback from Cindy Miller, Duluth Public School Libraries
The outcomes that we have seen from having these grant dollars are felt by all students who attend Congdon Park School and Lakewood Elementary and by district media specialists. As a leader and curriculum specialist in the district, I have encouraged my colleagues to use what I learned in their own practice through our Professional Learning Community meetings and they now adhere to policies and procedures that I’ve put in place since the conference.  At this conference, I learned about heavy weeding projects that others have undertaken and I have since secured funding for all of our district libraries to do a deep weeding and inventory. Most libraries haven’t been inventoried in twelve years. I had a Selection/Deselection Policy and Regulation adopted by district administration after learning how the process works at this conference. I’ve started the conversation of job descriptions and media center staff allocations with district admin as well.

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