Welcome to the Brainstormer

Welcome to the Programming Librarian Brainstormer, the best place for librarians to get started planning cultural and community programs. The ALA Public Programs has cultivated some valuable resources from past ALA grant initiatives and from partnering organizations to make them freely available, with more resources, ideas, and planning tips added regularly.

To get started, check out some of the popular tags and content categories, or search by keyword to find something specific. Recent entries are displayed below.


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Webinar: Ten Tips for Books Programs for Babies

In those few moments when a baby relaxes and cuddles in your lap as you read them a book, a wonderful thing is happening—babies learn that books contain words, pictures, and stories that interest them. You can start teaching early literacy skills to babies without them or their grownups even knowing that that’s what you are doing!

Webinar: NCompass Live: Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library

Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library® (ECRR) is a parent education initiative. It stresses that early literacy begins with the primary adults in a child's life. The 2nd Edition of Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library®, released in 2011, builds on the 1st Edition, first introduced in 2004. The 2nd Edition incorporates recommendations that evolved out of an in-depth evaluation of the original initiative and an extensive literature review.

Webinar: Picturing America and the Art of Perception

Amy Herman, Director of Educational Development at Thirteen/WNET, will demonstrate her methodology of improving observation, perception, and communication skills by learning to analyze works of art using the Picturing America images. In this highly participatory session for librarians, Amy will engage participants in a dialogue about looking at art and how to make Picturing America images accessible to audiences who do not have formal art historical training.

Webinar: Visual Thinking Strategies: An Introduction

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is a structured, widely respected, research-based method of looking at art that enables participants to develop esthetic and language literacy and critical thinking skills. It provides a simple yet powerful technique that librarians can utilize not just in conducting Picturing America discussion programs, but throughout their careers. Join Oren Slozberg, Executive Director of Visual Thinking Strategies, for an introductory overview of VTS using Picturing America images as a basis for discussion.

Webinar: Picturing America Programs for Children

Join Wendy Lukehart, Youth Collections Coordinator at the District of Columbia Public Library and fellow recipients of the Picturing America collection, to learn more about how the DCPL staff has conducted successful Picturing America programs for children. Wendy will share her experiences using Visual Thinking Strategies and the Whole Book Approach to bring the Picturing America collection to life for young audiences.

Webinar: Programs with Ken Burns’ The Civil War

Join Lisa Sheffield, Adult Services Librarian at the Transylvania County Library in Brevard, North Carolina, to learn more about hosting a viewing and discussion series for adult audiences. Lisa will share her experiences presenting film-based programs, offering attendees a simple program model, and discussing best practices for scheduling the series, finding and working with a scholar/speaker, setting program and audience goals, promoting the series, facilitating each session, and conducting evaluation.

Webinar: Museum/Library Partnerships That Work!

As informal education institutions, museums and libraries share similar missions and values and can benefit from forging partnerships. Benefits include resource sharing, outreach to new audiences, access to expertise and the potential for increasing goodwill and support between the organizations and the broader community. Participants will learn about a number of successful museum/library partnerships that are generating innovative programming, exhibits and creating new opportunities for outreach and how to identify potential partners and successfully manage joint projects.

Webinar: Successful We the People Bookshelf Library Programs

Join NEH, the ALA Public Programs Office and fellow Bookshelf grantees for an online learning session that will get you started in putting together fantastic public programming featuring the We the People Bookshelf on “A More Perfect Union.” Librarians serving K–8 and high school audiences will give a sneak preview of their programs plans, and representatives from NEH’s EDSITEment will present some of the valuable lesson and program planning resources available for several of the Bookshelf titles.

Webinar: Harmony with Voice (winner of the 2011 Sara Jaffarian Award)

A free, archived webinar hosted by the ALA Public Programs Office featuring Ronda Hassig, school librarian of Harmony Middle School, Overland Park, Kansas, and winner of the 2011 Sara Jaffarian Award. Hassig will present her winning model for humanities programming in the school library titled “Harmony With Voice,” which built on humanities themes through poetry, collaboration and civic engagement. Hassig will also discuss elements of her award application that lead to her selection, and give tips to prospective applicants to help get their applications started.

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