Thursday, February 8, 2018

January Program Spotlight: Adopt Me Portraits for ARF with Theresa Maritato

In the spirit of doing something new in the new year, I am going to be highlighting one children's program a month that I thought was extra special; it was either new, crazy fun, different, the most popular or a combination of these four! We offer many programs for all ages throughout the month and year, so it's impossible to cover them all, but I want to share with everyone some of the programs that were the most special to myself, the children and the Montauk community!

In January, the program I'd like to highlight is the Adopt Me Portraits for ARF.  This program combined art with community service and allowed children to help animals in need.  It was a new and different program than what we normally offer, and children and parents really loved it! 

Library programmer Theresa Maritato visited the library for the first time to conduct this feel-good event.  The concept of the Adopt Me Portraits program is for children to paint portraits of different shelter animals that are in need of a forever home.  Children are greeted with pictures of different shelter animals upon arrival and are given a little summary about the animal and how they came to be at the shelter.  From there, children choose an animal to paint and then create a portrait based upon the picture provided.  The portraits are sketched on paper first and then painted onto canvas.  The finished products are given to the animal shelter to help them promote the adoption of the animal.  Upon adoption, the animal's new mom or dad will get the canvas to take home! 

For our version of this program, Theresa and I chose to work with ARF (Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons) as it is the closest animal shelter to our library.  We had 17 children and parents attend this program and create portraits for the shelter!  The children did a wonderful job creating likenesses of the animals and were very interested in learning more about the potential pets. 

I loved this program because it not only had the children exercise their creativity, but it also allowed them to give back to a worthy cause.  Their artwork is going to help a wonderful animal find their forever home, and it also taught the children in attendance about the importance of helping others in their community.  The children and parents really enjoyed the event and I got great feedback about it.  If you missed out on this event, I am inviting Theresa back to do a similar program in June, so keep an eye out for that!  For a listing of our upcoming events, click here and to support ARF or check out their adoptable animals, click here!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

2017 Summer Reading Club Wrap Up!

I cannot believe that summer 2017 is drawing to a close this weekend and that our summer reading club is over! This year was bigger and better than last year, with more prizes and incentives for the children and teens of Montauk to keep up with their reading all summer long!

This year's theme was "build a better world," which encouraged summer readers to explore how they can make the world a better place for everyone to live in.  A lot of the summer reading programs centered on the theme of building a better world in the literal sense; I held two Lego Builders Club events, as well as an awesome program on Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture for kids and 3D building and design for kids and teens.  I also had programs where children learned to build a better world through art, recycling, care for our environment and local animals and reading.  Some fun programs included our Beach Buoy Painting program where children painted reclaimed beach buoys, Summer Shell Mobiles, Creatures of the Night and Birds of Prey with Quogue Wildlife Refuge and the Long Island Native Reptiles and Amphibians program with the South Fork Natural History Museum.  I loved seeing so many children and teens attend our programs this summer while learning different ways to "build a better world."

Summer Reading Club 2017 was very successful this year! There were a total of 150 children and teens who signed up for the reading club, which was more participants than last year! Children who read books and reported them would get a raffle ticket for every two books they completed themselves, or for every 5 books that were read to them by a parent or caregiver.  Raffle tickets were used to be entered to win all different prize bundles that were on display in the children's department.  This year we had 11 prizes that were being raffled off, which included Kindle Fires, an iPod Shuffle, a trip to the Montauk Lighthouse,  an aquarium bundle, a Star Wars bundle, a Lego bundle, a Frozen bundle, a Paw Patrol bundle, a Thomas the Train bundle, a day out in Montauk bundle, and a day at the movies bundle.  These prize bundles were an extra incentive for kids to read more and everyone was really excited to try to win one of the larger prizes!

Not only were there more people signed up for the Summer Reading Club, but the participants read a combined total of 2,784 books over the course of the summer!!!!! I am SO proud, shocked and blown away by the amount of books that were read this summer!!!! Children and teens read over 1,000 more books than last summer, which is absolutely amazing! I did the drawing for the prizes on August 22nd and the winners were as follows:
  • Kindle Fire Winners: Devon R., Andy W., Nina R. and Jake D.
  • iPod Shuffle Winner: Jaya L.
  • Trip to the Montauk Lighthouse Winner: Elle R.
  • Aquarium Bundle Winner: Miles W.
  • Star Wars Bundle Winner: Ellington T.
  • Lego Bundle Winner: Faith M.
  • Frozen Bundle Winner: Riley O.
  • Paw Patrol Bundle Winner: Michaela M.
  • Thomas the Train Bundle Winner: Althea B.
  • Day Out in Montauk Winner: Sara S.
  • Day at the Movies Winner: Carli S.

Congrats to the raffle winners and to all of the children and teens who participated in the 2017 Summer Reading Club!

Also, a big thank you to the local businesses in town and patrons that donated prizes for the reading club, including Gringo's Burrito Grill, Corey's Wave, Captain Kid Toys and the Montauk Lighthouse. I truly appreciate your generosity and thank you for supporting summer reading and the children of Montauk! Until next summer, keep reading!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Downward Mule Author Reading & Yoga Adventure!

On Tuesday, August 15, we had a very special event for little yogis at the library! Author and children's yoga instructor Jenna Hammond visited the library and read her new picture book Downward Mule. She also went through a fun yoga class with those in attendance!

When the children arrived, they sat in a circle to get ready for their story and yoga adventure! Ms. Hammond had the children go around in a circle passing a beach ball, saying their name and favorite activity to get everyone warmed up and comfortable with the group.  She also led the group in a yoga song, introducing them to "ohm" and deep breathing. 

Then, the fun began when Jenna read aloud from her picture book, Downward Mule. Sam is a mule who is teased by the animals on the farm, however, these other animals don't really know him.  Sam has a secret; he is a yogi! This funny and adorable mule, along with his sidekick Lila, took the children on a yoga journey, teaching them different yoga poses and how to believe in oneself and find value in oneself.  Children enjoyed the funny characters and making the animal noises with the author and loved the interactive reading experience.

The enthusiastic young yogis then warmed up and went on a yoga adventure with Ms. Hammond.  She led them through all different animal-inspired yoga poses, such as downward dog (mule), starfish, butterfly, cat, cow and much more.  The children really got into the yoga and made the animal noises along with the poses.  She ended with a song introducing "namaste" and its meaning. 

After the event, Ms. Hammond stayed to interact with the young readers and signed copies of her book.  Everyone really enjoyed the program and we are so happy that Ms. Hammond was able to share her book with us! We can't wait for her next book to come out!

If you missed the event, we recommend you check out Downward Mule today! Borrow it from the Montauk Library here or purchase it from Amazon here! Thanks again to Jenna Hammond for visiting us!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Summer Reading Club 2017 Kickoff: Build A Better World!

The Montauk Library's Summer Reading Club kickoff weekend was great and our summer reading club is ongoing! This year there are even more raffles, prize bundles, events and fun! I hope that you will join us for upcoming events and for the summer reading club!

This year's reading club theme is "Build a Better World," and for the two summer reading kickoff events, I challenged children to "build a better cupcake" and taught them about animals and animal conservation with the Quogue Wildlife Refuge! I also hope to promote building a better world for everyone, through reading.  

Our first kickoff event was held on June 23 and it was sweet - literally! Children got to decorate two summer-themed cupcakes with me.  For the second half of the program, I held a cupcake decorating contest, where children used their imaginations and the available ingredients, to design and build their own cupcake creation.  I then chose several winners from each of the two sessions and they won a chance to spin our prize wheel and win a prize or more raffle tickets for our summer reading club.  Everyone received certificates of participation as well!  The kids did an awesome job decorating and really exceeded my expectations! Everyone had a great time and we got lots of sign ups for the summer reading club!

Our second event of our Summer Reading Kickoff weekend was the Birds of Prey program with the Quogue Wildlife Refuge.  Cara from the refuge brought her owl friends to the library, including Hooter the horned owl, and spoke about different kinds of birds of prey, native Long Island birds of prey and also spoke specifically about her feathered guests.  She brought two screech owls, a horned owl and a beautiful barn owl with her.  She explained that the refuge helps animals that are injured or that can no longer live on their own in the wild, such as the barn owl, who had lost a wing in a car accident, or the horned owl, who had been kept as a domestic pet.  Cara also talked about the habitats, eating habits and special characteristics of each bird that she brought with her.  We had not only children, but quite a few adults (without children) that were interested and attended as well! It was a wonderful program, and we encourage you to visit the Quogue Animal Refuge if you can! Check out their website here.

The Montauk Library's Summer Reading Club is now officially in full swing! If you missed our summer reading kickoff, don't worry! We still have lots of awesome programs happening in July and August, and the Quogue Wildlife Refuge is coming back in August for their Creatures of the Night program!  Check out our upcoming children's and teen programs hereYou can also still join our Summer Reading Club! This year we have even more raffles, prize bundles, events and fun! We hope you will join us and read to win!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Celebrating Mother's Day at the Montauk Library!

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and here at the library we had not one but TWO special programs to celebrate moms and grandmothers and all that they do! We appreciate all the moms and grandmothers out there and wanted to honor and celebrate them in our own way!

On Saturday, May 6th, we held a Mother's Day tea program with a twist - we had iced tea and lemonade for moms, grandmothers and their children and everyone got to decorate different cookies and desserts to enjoy with their beverages.  First we made mini strawberry shortcakes using Cool Whip, fresh strawberries and dessert shells.  Children and their mothers and grandmothers filled the dessert shells with cool whip and cut up fresh strawberries to top off the dessert.  Next, we made decorated sugar cookies with a flower design.  To start, we frosted a sugar cookie lightly with either pink or chocolate frosting.  We then started making the flower design using marshmallows cut in half on a diagonal.  Children then dipped the sticky side of the marshmallow in pink sprinkles and arranged them in a circle on top of the cookie, creating the "petals" of the flower.  Finally, everyone placed a gum drop in the middle of the flower, creating the flower's center which connected all the petals.  Finally, children were able to make a cookie design of their own creation using the ingredients we had.  Everyone did an awesome job and had a lot of fun decorating (and eating) their cookies! Check out the pictures below!

The second event we held for children in celebration of moms was our Krafty Kids: Mother's Day Crafts.  Children made cards and gifts for their mothers and grandmothers that they could give to them on Mother's Day.  First, children designed and painted terra cotta flowerpots which we later planted flowers in.  Then, kids painted rocks for their mom's gardens or as keepsakes.  Finally, children made their own greeting cards for their moms and grandmas using colored paper, jewels, feathers and glitter glue.  Everyone made some really beautiful cards and gifts to give to their moms and grandmas on Mother's Day!  See what they made below!

To see a list of our upcoming programs, click here! Happy Mother's Day to all of the Montauk moms and grandmas and to all of the moms and grandmas out there! We love and appreciate you! Thank you for always taking your children to the library and for all that you do!