src-2014

Once again, the Niles Public Library is asking patrons (especially our youngest ones) to make visiting the Library part of their summer routine. And it’s working!

KidSpace patrons are racing the calendar in this, the eighth of nine weeks of the 2014 Summer Reading Program, to read (or be read to) and get prizes, prizes, prizes… Readers (who read independently, usually chapter-book fiction) are plowing through books, as are pre-readers (whose families count how many books are read to them). Readers win tokens (“wooden money” redeemable for prizes), while pre-readers who’ve had lots of Picture Books read to them (four books earn one game play) are winning bushel baskets of prizes.

At any given time, dozens of kids are crisscrossing KidSpace reading, redeeming tokens, and playing their games, (Readers roll huge dice and move characters they choose, while pre-readers choose from several games which involve “a pup tent,” “Guess Which Animal,” and digging through sand for buried treasures.). It’s a busy place, tied together under the theme “Paws to Read” (pun intended, and in which various woodland and other cuddly animals feature prominently).

And, for those readers who earn the right to play their game at least nine times, there is a prize package that includes fun coupons and a free book in a cool tote bag. All kids who visit 9 times by August 8 can enter the drawing for a grand prize.

GRAND PRIZES ARE HOT: a scooter, a bicycle, and a Family Pack of 4 passes to Six Flags Great America

Okay, to summarize, let’s do this by the numbers:
∙ Way over 1,000 kids signed up
∙ Thousands of fiction chapter books, pre-reader Picture Books, and other reading experiences generated
∙ Hundreds of books featured in readers’ “Share a Book” sheets (think of these as very simple, user-friendly book reports)
∙ Thousands of tokens won in the readers’ game or earned (from readers’ turning in completed “Share a Book” and “Reading Challenge” sheets)
∙ Thousands of prizes and toys purchased with tokens (by readers) or won outright (by pre-readers)
Impossible to calculate: improvements to kids’ literacy as a result of summertime reading
∙ Tons (number impossible to know) of fun had by participants, staff, and the teen volunteers without whom the Summer Reading Program could not take place

For more photos of our Summer Reading Club for kids, click here!

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Like many people, I struggled with math throughout most of my education. I say “most” because I got very lucky in seventh grade when my mother found an awesome tutor for me. His name was Ken. He was math professor who took a three year sabbatical to write the “great American novel.”

Ken was a fantastic storyteller, and he used stories to explain math concepts to me. In the context of a good story, the concepts came alive. Under his engaging tutelage, my grade in algebra went from a D+ to an A in the course of several months. More importantly, for one glorious year, I loved math. I realized math is a language I could apply to problems in the real world. He showed me fractals, and encouraged me to doodle them in the margins of my homework when I got bored. He is the one and only person who ever said that I had a great mind for math.

Recently, however, with the push for better STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) a number of math teachers and mathematicians have been urging their colleagues to find new ways to explore this critical subject in the classroom.

Conrad Wolfram is a mathematician and founder of computerbasedmath.org. In his 2010 TedTalk, Conrad Wolfram, discussed why it’s important to rethink math education and how adapting it to computers is the future. If you think math is all about terrifying tests and endless calculation give this dynamic video a chance to show you that math is for everyone.

Here is a list of library materials that will get you and your family excited about math: Let’s Be Math-People!

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Summer Reading at the Niles Library is a big deal! We work for months and months to get ready for kids to come in and play our giant-sized games. Now it is up and ready to play! Here’s how it works.

Here’s what you need to do:

Step One: Come to KidSpace and sign up. You will get a reading folder.

Step Two: Take a free turn on the game! You will already have earned your first Glummy token to spend at the store.

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Younger kids play our Read-to-Me game, where they can play animal games with our volunteers. They win a prize every time!

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You might be thinking, That sounds like fun, but there’s a lot of other fun stuff to do over the summer. But kids work hard through the school year to improve their reading and pre-reading skills, and if they stop reading over the summer, they will lose what they learned. Studies show that kids who participate in summer reading programs do better in school. So take some time to read this summer, and come to the library and play.

For more information about our “Paws To Read” Summer Reading Clubs for adults and teens, click here!

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Are you constantly picking up after your kids? Do you trip over toys when you walk down the hall? Do your kids’ bedrooms often look like the Tazmanian Devil just snuck in the door and out the window? Do they whine or freak out when you ask them to clean their rooms? If so, you are not alone. Learning to keep a place neat and tidy is a lifelong struggle for many families. That’s why it is important to get kids accustomed to participating in the day-to-day tasks that keep your household running smoothly.

More importantly, chores teach children the importance of community and responsibility. Kids who have a “job to do” feel a sense of purpose and competency. When kids do their “jobs” they are, in a very real sense, becoming productive members of the family. This sense of self-worth bleeds into other aspects of their lives.

That said, kids will be kids. And getting kids to do their chores without protest is all but impossible.

Here are a few tips to help you win the chore war:

1) Choose age-appropriate chores. Here is a Montessori chart of “Age Appropriate Chores for Children” that offers a few ideas of what kids can handle at various developmental stages:

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Kids-Best-Books

2013 was a year of brilliant books for kids.

From picture books to novels, KidSpace librarians read all year long.

Along the way, we noted our favorites in five categories: Picture Books and Readers; Chapter Books for 3rd and 4th Graders, Chapter Books for 5th Grade and Up; Illustrated Fiction (picture books for older kids), Graphic Novels, Poetry and Folklore; and Non-Fiction. To create a list of 100 or so books, we combined our favorites with the top picks of the children’s literature journals we follow.

Below are links to the Niles Public Library KidSpace Best of 2013 choices.

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The cover image for this 2009 boo was shot by Jaems Karales during the 1963 march from Selma to Montgomery.

During the past few years we’ve seen a boom in books on the Civil Rights Movement.

Here are just a few of our recent favorites (plus one DVD). Click on the link to place a hold on the title.

Controversy and Hope: The Civil Rights Photographs of James Karales (2013)
by James Karales

Photojournalist James Karales (1930–2002) documented the 54-mile Selma to Montgomery March for Voting Rights in 1965. This beautiful new book presents many of his images from the era, including some published for the first time ever.

Controversy and Hope can be found with our New Nonfiction Materials in the Commons area on the Main Floor of the Library.

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penguin-colony

Are you planning a road trip this year?

If so, there is a good chance you will find yourself stuck in a not-so festive traffic jam. Here’s a mind-hack to help you keep the gas-break-honk blues at bay: imagine the sea of cars is a huddle of penguins.

According to a study published in the New Journal of Physics, emperor penguins use stop-and-go movements similar to dense highway traffic to protect themselves from the harsh Antarctic winter.

Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute filmed penguin huddles from above, and studied the time-lapse footage looking for patterns. Every minute or so a single penguin waddled about 2 cm causing all the surrounding penguins to waddle 2 cm in response. These small movements sent waves of corresponding waddles through the entire huddle. This pattern is similar to that of cars making their way through dense traffic.

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The “wrong man” (or “wronged”) man has always been a running theme in Alfred Hitchcock’s films. From 1935’s classic The 39 Steps right up to Frenzy in 1972, Hitchcock had been thrilling audiences as they follow along a story about a man accused of something he didn’t do. In 1956, Hitchcock made the ultimate “wronged man” movie…giving it a very appropriate title and look. The look was that of a documentary…black and white (but that was still pretty common in the mid-50s), dark, humorless (which none of Hitchcock’s prior films had been), cameo-less (no Hitchcock peeking around a corner in this one), and lacking the fast-pacing of most of Hitchcock’s films up to that point. The director chooses everyman Henry Fonda to play his hero—the “wrong man—this time around. Fonda is perfect in this role since he’s adapt at morphing into any type of persona. Cary Grant, a Hitchcock regular, would have been way to sleek for this role. Jimmy Stewart, even, would have lacked the ability to enter the character with his tall, imposing stance. Fonda has the right look and build to play someone that just might look like the other guy…someone who is the ideal husband and father but could also look slightly sinister in the right light. The film starts off by showing Fonda’s routine…work as a musician in a nightclub until early morning then home where wife (also perfectly played by Vera Miles) is already sleeping…discussion with wife about money problems in morning…etc. Once Fonda finds himself in a mistaken identity mess when he is spotted in an insurance office as a former robber and arrested, Hitchcock mixes the plot with quite a bit of police procedures which offer insight into not only what criminals go through but also how law enforcement officers handle the daily grind. If you want to watch the quintessential Hitchcock film, rent North by Northwest, another “wronged” man film and much more typical of The Master of Suspense’s technique. If you want to watch a good film where Hitchcock experimented with the art of cinema and his own style, watch this one!

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