Engaging children in language rich learning opportunities is an integral part of what YCL’s youth services team does daily. They host a variety of programs, activities, and story times to ignite a love of reading and learning. And while outstanding work is happening at all locations, three youth services coordinators and a library manager – Katie Forster, Jenny Hansen, Diane Stewart, and Amber Locke – recently garnered statewide recognition for their SummerQuest Programs.
Here’s a look at their outstanding programs!
Kids Loved Following the Adventure Trail
Katie Forster created an activity that children asked to do every time they came to Paul Smith Library of Southern York County, an adventure trail. Located in front of the library, the combined obstacle course and sensory path was a favorite attraction for both kids and adults. The course challenged library members to complete over 15 movement activities related to the SummerQuest theme. And while making their way through the course, participants read fun facts to grow their knowledge.
Katie designed the trail with the goal of making the library a fun place to visit and to show families that the library is more than just a building with books. As an outcome, all summer long, kids were so excited to “do the trail just one more time” before leaving the library.
Not only did children and their families think the adventure trail was a great idea, but the Pennsylvania Library Association agreed, too. During their annual conference, they recognized Katie with a Best Practices Award for Design/Display.
How do you Party – Barbie Style?
Inspired by the summer release of The Barbie Movie, Dover Area Community Library’s Jenny Hansen announced her plans to host a Barbie Party on social media. Journalist Alyson Krueger discovered the party on social media and contacted Jenny to ask for an interview. The rest is history. Jenny was quoted in the New York Times’ story How do you Party – Barbie Style? and the picture of Charley, one of the young participants, was featured, too.
Library members donated gently used dolls and clothes for the event. During the party, children and families went from station to station trying various Barbie-themed activities. They built structures like Architect Barbie, exercised like Made to Move Barbie, and selected new outfits for their dolls from Barbie’s Wardrobe. An aspiring hairdresser styled children’s hair while her mother styled their dolls’ hair. The most requested style of the day was space buns!
Jenny’s program caught the attention of the Office of Commonwealth Libraries (OCL) who asked to feature the Barbie Party as an exemplary program for the Pennsylvania Summer Library Program 2024 Showcase.
Story Time on Wheels
However, OCL didn’t just find one outstanding summer program to feature in the 2024 Showcase, they discovered another that literally hits the trail. Arthur Hufnagel Public Library of Glen Rock Manager Amber Locke and Youth Services Program Coordinator Diane Stewart put their popular Baby Story Time on wheels.
Called Stories and Strollers, the program starts at the front steps of the library where everyone sings the welcome song, and the first book is read to babies in their strollers. Next, the group strolls along the York County Heritage Rail Trail to the canal bridge, where the children say hello to the resident ducks.
From there, it is a stop at the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church Courtyard, where Diane spreads out a blanket for the families to gather for songs, books, scarf play and shaky eggs. The fun moves back to the library where newcomers get their library cards, families socialize, and they borrow books to enjoy at home.