#librarymade: Happy National Library Week!

When I was a girl, I loved making things I read about in books. I read all of the Borrowers books by Mary Norton. The Borrowers were tiny people that lived inside the walls of regular size people that they called “human beans.”  Borrowers “borrowed” items from  regular sized people–a pocket watch became a wall clock, fibers from a doormat for a scrubbing brush. I had a bookcase that I used as a doll’s house, and I made beds out of Kleenex boxes, and water cisterns out of plastic containers used for baby wipes. I wish I’d taken photographs, since I can only remember those two things; I had a lot more–almost all of my doll furniture was up-cycled from something or other.



standard book

standard book

Graphic Novel based on The Borrowers

Graphic Novel based on The Borrowers

Some of the ways you can read about the Borrowers: ebook, standard book, or a Graphic Novel! There are also movies of both the books and the graphic novels, but there’s only so much space here…

So, why am I telling you about making things from books? Well, today is the second day of National Library Week, which is sponsored by the American Library Association. This year’s theme is “Unlimited possibilities @ your library®.” There is a contest, and anyone can participate! Did you or your child make something at a library program or something you read about in a book? Take a picture and post it on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook with the hashtag #librarymade, and you could win a prize! See official rules here. You have until noon on Friday April, 17. The prize is a $100 gift certificate to Maker Shed or Amazon.

But wait, you haven’t made anything yet? Well, you have four days! Here are some library resources that may be able to help you:

makeitmake it! by Jane Bull. This book is full of bright photographs featuring things you can make out of things you might otherwise throw away. The book gives a short primer on recycling, and then is separated into sections by the types of materials: paper, plastic, metal, or fabric. At the beginning of each section, you are asked to imagine a world without paper/plastic/metal/fabric and you get some history on how that material was created. Did you know that plastic was invented in 1862 by a chemist named Alexander Parkes?

kidsmodernKid Made Modern by Todd Oldham. Where to start? This book gives information about color blending, colors, and describes the Modern movement of design. WAIT!! Don’t walk away, this is NOT a boring book. The colorful pages have projects based on different designers, and feature pictures of kids doing all sorts of fun projects. I’m kind of in love with the “World Weaver” on page 180 which involves weaving shredded paint chips and then gluing them to the cover of a spiral bound notebook.

createMFor the very young craft enthusiast, I’d recommend Create with Maisy, which features Lucy Cousin’s fun-loving mouse, Maisy. While an adult will need to read the instructions and help with the crafting, illustrations of Maisy and her friends are mixed in with colorful photographs of the craft projects, with fun notes like “Maisy makes flowers for Ella.” On the opposite page, the photograph of “Tissue Flowers” is embellished with drawings of bees and a ladybug, things an adult could point out to a small child while talking about which craft project to start.

Here are some pictures of some things made at library programs at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.


Ice cream cone! #librarymade

In August, we made ice cream cones using paper towel rolls and stickers for the cone and colored tissue paper for the ice cream at CLP — Downtown & Business!

parachutes! #librarymade

The Kids Club at CLP — Carrick made parachutes last week!

Legos! #librarymade

Malayah, a Lego Architect, displays her latest design at CLP — Carrick!

So have fun this National Library Week. Make something, and don’t forget to enter the #librarymade contest!

By Suzi, CLP–Downtown & Business

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Author Will Hillenbrand Visits Pittsburgh

Each spring, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh participates in Pennsylvania’s One Book, Every Young Child initiative, which highlights the importance of early literacy with fun activities inspired by one special book. Check out all the One Book, Every Young Child storytimes and events to join in the fun!

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of this initiative, authors of books selected during previous years will visit a variety of locations across the state of Pennsylvania throughout the month of April.

What a Treasure

What a Treasure by Will Hillenbrand

In 2010, Jane and Will Hillenbrand’s book What a Treasure! was the official selection for One Book, Every Young Child. In the story, we meet Mole, who digs a hole and uncovers treasures for his friends and a very special treasure for himself.

Will Hillenbrand recently visited the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh where he was keynote speaker for a Pennsylvania One Book Professional Development Day.  At this special event, Will addressed an audience of librarians and early childhood educators about his playful illustrations and enjoyable stories.

After his address, Will shared a few books with a group of children at the Museum.  Kids (and even some of the adults!) snored along with Bear as Mole tried to wake him up during Will’s reading of Spring is Here.

Spring is Here by Will Hillenbrand

Will’s next stop was at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind.  The School happily welcomed Will, who did an amazing job providing descriptive readings of his books. The children were so engaged by his dynamic presentation.

Will had a great time sharing his work in Pittsburgh.  We hope to see him back soon. Be sure to celebrate this year’s One Book, Every Young Child selection by finding a special event at a library near you!

By Mary Beth – Children’s Services Coordinator

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Gardening Thyme at your Library!

Spring is in the air and little bits of green are popping up everywhere!  As we welcome the warmer weather we also look forward to Gardening Thyme at the Library.  Thanks to a grant sponsored by the Mary Jane Berger Memorial Foundation, many of the Carnegie Library locations offer garden spaces and programs for patrons to enjoy.

At the Squirrel Hill branch, the Children’s staff dedicate the month of April to garden-themed programming.  Children in grades K-5 and their families can explore wiggly worms, create a moss terrarium, build a garden fairy house, and much more!

Do you have a green thumb or just like digging in the dirt?  Then consider becoming a garden volunteer!  With your help the Library garden will continue to grow.

Growing a Grass Head Buddy, CLP-Squirrel Hill  April 2015

Growing a Grass Head Buddy at the Squirrel Hill branch, April 2015

Harvesting scallions at the Squirrel Hill branch, August 2014

Harvesting scallions at the Squirrel Hill branch, August 2014

Looking for garden inspiration and information?  Check out these new books!

Garden to Table by Katherine Hengel

How Does My Garden Grow? by Gerda Muller


By Jessica-CLP, Squirrel Hill

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Take Cover! Extreme Weather!

Close your eyes and imagine…wait, WAIT! If you close your eyes, you can’t read this. Just imagine: you are on a road trip under the big sky of Oklahoma when suddenly that sky turns dark with an eerie greenish tinge. As small bits of hail begin to bounce off the hood of the car, you spot a funnel cloud in the distance. What should you do?!

Disasters by David Burnie

Disasters by David Burnie

Can extreme weather and natural disasters be scary? Yes. But are they fascinating to learn about? Also yes, especially for the 8- to 12-year-old crowd. Luckily, the Library has no shortage of engaging books on the topic, which I discovered while planning our most recent BLAST programs for 3rd-5th grade. I’ve included some of my favorites in this post and you can find the complete list of books we used on our Extreme Weather program page.

Extreme Weather by Thomas M. Kostigen

Extreme Weather by Thomas M. Kostigen

Every place on the planet experiences some form of natural threat, from tornadoes, tsunamis, and  earthquakes, to extreme cold, volcanoes, and lightning. Exploring the science behind these events with kids opens a window to understanding their local environment and connects them to the rest of the world. Plus, there are tons of cool facts like this one:

“Teenager Matt Suter holds the record for the longest distance a person has been blown along by a tornado. He was carried 1,307 feet (398 m) – and he survived!”–taken from Disasters, by David Burnie

Weather by Penelope Arlon

Weather by Penelope Arlon

Reading and discussing these books as a family can provide a wonderful opportunity to talk about your own personal experiences. You know you love to tell those “I remember when…” stories.

With larger groups of kids in a more structured education environment, try out this strategy for exploring informational books:

  • Gather a range of books on the topic
  • Break the kids into smaller groups of 3 or 4
  • Give each group a book or two
  • Their task: try to find the most interesting/best fact in the book!
  • After about 10 minutes (or once they start to get antsy) give each group a chance to share their favorite fact
Scholastic Atlas of Weather

Scholastic Atlas of Weather

This type of informal book exploration capitalizes on kids’ natural curiosity by allowing them to focus on the sections of the books that most interest them. It also shows kids that, with informational books, it is OK to flip through and read sections out of order.

But wait, there’s more! Kids can put their new knowledge to the test using this Extreme Weather True or False Game. Some people call these origami fortune tellers. Others call them cootie catchers. I prefer neither, but you can use those names to search for other fun games like this.

To prep, print the document double-sided then cut along the dotted line. The left-over rectangle is a book mark! This video gives directions for how to fold the game. Be sure to start with the written side face-down on the table.

**Quick note about printing: be sure to select the “Fit”  or “Fit to page” option. This makes sure that none of the words on the far edges of the page get cut off by the printer.**

Now you’re ready to play! Here’s how:

by Bonny – CLP, BLAST

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One Book, Every Young Child 2015

2015 Pennsylvania's One book selection, Number One Sam by Greg Pizzoli

2015 Pennsylvania’s One book selection, Number One Sam by Greg Pizzoli

Now in its tenth year, Pennsylvania’s statewide initiative One Book, Every Young Child raises awareness of the importance of early literacy development in preschoolers. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of One Book, Every Young Child with special storytimes and events during the month of April.

Put on your racing goggles and start your engines, because the 2015 selection is Number One Sam by Greg Pizzoli. In this exciting, brightly illustrated picture book, Sam, a competitive race-car driving dog who loves to be #1, learns that some things are more important than winning. From the author/illustrator of one of my favorite picture books, The Watermelon Seed, Greg Pizzoli brings another engaging story for young children to life.

Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli

Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli

All Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations will host a special storytime to share this book with families. Check the website to find a One Book, Every Young Child program near you!

If you want to get to know Sam a little better, come meet author and illustrator Greg Pizzoli at CLP – Hazelwood for a special celebration of reading that includes activities, stories and crafts on Thursday, April 23rd at 10 am.

By Caitie – CLP, Allegheny

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Steel City Codefest

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Steel City Codefest! Children of all ages (and teens, too) were able to learn basic coding skills and experiment with robots right here in the Children’s Department.

IMG_3325 Building circuits with littleBits

IMG_3328  Programming a sequence of commands on Pro-Bots


IMG_3323  Bee-Bots are all about sequencing, estimation, and problem solving


Check out our Calendar of Events to see what is happening next!

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ALA 2015 Newbery, Caldecott and Other Awards

Caldecott and Newbery Medal and Honor,  and other Youth Media Awards for outstanding books of 2014 were announced by ALSC, the children’s division of The American Library Association. Here are some of the awards:

Newbery Medal: “The Crossover,” written by Kwame Alexander, is a novel-in-poetry about 14-year-old twin basketball phenoms. Jealousy, forgiveness, love and death are explored with delicacy and power.


Honors: Also in poetry, “Brown Girl Dreaming,” by Jacqueline Woodson shares how growing up black in 1960s and 1970s in the North and in the South lead her to writing. It’s magnificent.

“El Deafo,” is a graphic novel biography, written and illustrated by Cece Bell. Cece loses her hearing and adventures forth into grade school with a hearing aid that’s ungainly and difficult to control. When she can even hear teachers in their lounge, she declares it her “superpower.” Funny and touching in equal measure.

Caldecott Medal: “The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend,” written and illustrated by Dan Santat, is the 2015 Caldecott Medal winner. Imaginary characters can exist in the real world only if a child imagines them. But Beeker sets off on his own to find a child.


Honors: There are six, all wonderful in their own colorful or whimsical way:

“Nana in the City,” illustrated by Lauren Castillo. “The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art,” illustrated by Mary GrandPré. “Sam & Dave Dig a Hole,” illustrated by Jon Klassen. “Viva Frida,” written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales “The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus,” illustrated by Melissa Sweet. “This One Summer,” illustrated by Jillian Tamaki.


Coretta Scott King Awards recognize outstanding books for young adults and children by African American authors and illustrators.  Further, the Awards encourage the artistic expression of the black experience…in biographical, social, and historical treatments.

For Author: “Brown Girl Dreaming” (See description earlier.)

For Illustrator: “Firebird: Ballerina Misty Copeland Shows a Young Girl How to Dance like the Firebird” illustrated by Christopher Myers.

Pura Belpré Awards honor  Latino writerss and illustrator for children’s books that best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience:



Illustrator: “Viva Frida,” illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Author: “I Lived on Butterfly Hill” by Marjorie Agosín

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for most distinguished beginning reader books went to “You Are (Not) Small” by Anna Kan.

Honors: “Mr. Putter & Tabby Turn the Pageby Cynthia Rylant; and “Waiting Is Not Easy!” by Mo Willems

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children: “The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus,” written by Jen Bryant.

Schneider Family Book Award goes to outstanding books that depict a disability.

“A Boy and a Jaguar” written by Alan Rabinowitz wins the award for children ages 0 to 10. “Rain Rein” written by Ann M. Martin is the winner for the middle-school (ages 11-13).
For additional honor books and categories, please see:



Tina Zubak, Librarian a.k.a. Glorious Read

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Alternative Souper Bowl!

lego club

Make Lego Club and Sensory Storytime a part of your afternoon during WYEP’s Alternative Souper Bowl at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh on Sunday, February 1, 2015!

Join the fun as the library kicks off a free celebratory afternoon of live music at the Carnegie Library in Oakland! Guests are asked to bring non-perishable donation items (listed here) to help stock HEARTH’s food pantries and transitional housing units offered to women in need and their children.

Visit the Children’s Department for Sensory Discoveries, a storytime for children with special needs, their friends and families at 2 PM. Lego Club follows at 3 PM with all kinds of creative building fun. What could be better than storytime, legos, and music on a Sunday afternoon at the library?

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Steel City Codefest

Let your children take part in Steel City Codefest by exploring technology initiatives being utilized in Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Children’s Services.

Even the youngest children can get started with the elements of basic coding using Beebots, Probots and intuitive iPad apps!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

Children’s Department – Main

All families are invited to visit the Children’s Department at the Main Library to see what can be created!

For more information contact us at 412.622.3122 or children@carnegielibrary.org

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Counting, It’s for the Birds

You may be counting down the days left in 2014, but did you know the sky is the limit when it comes to counting birds, especially this time of year?  For 115 years now, the Audubon Society has been conducting the Christmas Bird Count Report. In fact, it is the world’s longest-standing citizen science project….which means, YOU can help to count birds, too! And we have the resources to help you:

young birders guide           backyard birds of winter           first field guide

The Christmas Bird Count lasts from December 14, 2014 – January 5, 2015

Continue reading

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