Book Search

Search for books and ebooks using title, author or keyword

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia
U.S. Territories:
U.S. Virgin Islands

Florida library program looks to encourage young authors

by Public Libraries on October 27, 2014


Remember the days of free library programs? Once upon a time, not too long ago, children especially could find a variety of programs at their local libraries ranging from help with school studies, to story times, to workshops, to crafting tutorials. These types of programs represented the heyday of the library as a treasured local fixture… and they’re making a comeback.

Nowhere is this more true than in Florida, at the Suntree/Viera Library. Here, a new program called “Young Author’s Group” is giving young writers a chance and a place to actively nurture their talents. Scott Hauge, who created the program, said that he wanted it to function as a sort of safe place for experimentation and sharing of work – as well as a place for children and teens to hone their skills. Sometimes, he says, writers with a lot of potential may not even know it, or they may not feel brave enough to ever share their work with others, regardless of the quality.

The meetings are held once per month throughout the school year, except for December when children are away from school and most people become busy during the holiday season. Anyone from age 9 to 16 can participate. Hauge himself holds a master’s degree in Library Information & Science, and is the established head of services for youths at the library branch; he’s been in the position for over two years now.

In order to participate, children and teens need only to bring a notebook and some sort of writing utensil, other than that, Hauge says, it’s all about imagination and creativity.

The classes themselves focus on the basics of writing and helping young people become familiar with grammatical structure, storytelling principles, and more. There are no hard and fast/set in stone assignments, and instead students are encouraged to simply take the principles they’ve learned and apply them to whatever they choose or are inspired to write about. Hauge says some of the natural talent he’s seen in participants is impressive, though he doesn’t take credit for what these learners are bringing to the table.

In addition to the current classes, Hauge says that there’s a program for even younger aspiring writers in the works as well (five, six, and seven year olds, apparently). The program could even serve as a pilot for a number of other exciting classes and opportunities to come to the library and flourish in the future.

During the last couple of decades, libraries have been on the decline following a sharp rise in the availability of digital information and a change in community and consumer needs. Even so, they are seeing a resurgence these days, and communities look for a way to establish some of the traditional education roots that may have been lost or eroded in recent times. Libraries are consistently winning their battles for higher state and county budget allocation, even in hard economic times. With these funds, library systems are able to put together more and more opportunities for their communities, just like Hauge’s Young Author’s Group.


Computer Class

If you don’t have a computer, you can’t do your homework. That’s the dilemma many kids are running into in Miami, Florida – and across the country these days. It’s a big reason the South Dade Library computer laboratory has been crowded to capacity on most school nights.

Christina Morua is a mother of two young children who do not have the luxury of the internet in their home. Many of her shouldering assignments must be performed online and that means in some cases waiting over an hour to use one of the library’s computers. Parents can no longer count on homework being done at home which makes libraries even more important for communities.

The South Dade Library is having problems of its own with poor funding, reduced hours, and dated equipment. Patricia Readon, a librarian at South Dade branch in Cutler Bay, said the laptops offered to patrons are not ideal. After 30 minutes of use, the batteries no longer work, making it quite difficult for kids to do their homework.

There has been a debate for years on how to best invest in the Miami-Dade libraries. Many are looking at ways to attract those that currently have no interest in libraries. Discussions revolve around creating workspace for entrepreneurs, adding popular coffee shops to each branch, and adding 3D printers.

For parents that lack internet access at home, it isn’t much of a debate. They want libraries to invest in more computers for its labs. The library system has an additional $4 million it is able to spend this year because of an increase to a special property tax that helps fund the library system.

Even with the increased budget, the system remains strapped for cash because of labor costs, longer hours, and bigger budgets for educational products. The library system said it doesn’t have the money to put into more computer labs.

Gia Arbogast, interim library director said there should be enough room in the budget to purchase new tablets in place of the old laptop computers. Arbogast added the system is trying to keep up with the current demand and this should help many families.

Sylvia Diaz, Assistant School Superintendent for Innovation of the Miami-Dade school system, said teachers are discouraged from assigning daily online homework if all students don’t have internet access in the class.

There is no denying the position of Miami-Dade County schools when it comes to technology; all high school freshmen have been given tablets so they can start utilizing digital textbooks. Local elementary schools allow children to play a game called Reflex Math 24 hours a day. Reflex Math is an online learning program that resembles a video game.

Zach Leverenz, CEO of EveryoneOn, which provides subsidized online access for students, praised schools systems for moving to e-learning. He warned it must be at a pace that doesn’t put low-income families at a disadvantage. He said it shouldn’t be assumed that everyone has access to the internet or can make it to the library.

A library branch manager, Michele Stiles, said the system is working hard on providing more computers to each branch. In the meantime, if a student can’t complete his or her homework at the library because of long wait times, librarians are handing out excuse slips that can be given to teachers.


Ohio library system gets more visitors by offering more than books

October 14, 2014
Thumbnail image for Ohio library system gets more visitors by offering more than books

Across the United States, libraries have had to become more than just a place to check out books. It’s no different for the Licking County Library in Newark, Ohio. Patrons are now coming to the library to go online and view information on the internet, watch movies, and even participate in a yoga session. Director of the Licking County Library, Babette Wofter said it is the job of the library […]

Read the full article →

Robots are coming to a library near you

October 6, 2014
Thumbnail image for Robots are coming to a library near you

Libraries are becoming more and more high tech with ebooks, tablets, and virtual visits. But one feature at the Wesport Library in Connecticut is straight out of science fiction. The library will introduce a pair of toddler-sized robots named Vincent and Nancy. With flashing lights for eyes, an ability to sing, dance, and speak 19 different languages, the newest additions are expected to create a lot of excitement. Library officials […]

Read the full article →

How much space should libraries dedicate to physical books?

September 29, 2014
Thumbnail image for How much space should libraries dedicate to physical books?

When Bob Jewett goes to the Georgetown library, he usually picks up a handful of books, a few magazines, and his daily newspaper. The one thing you won’t see him picking up is an ebook or, more correctly, an ebook reader. At 78-years-old Jewett prefers large print paperbacks, not computer, tablet, or phone screens. Delaware libraries are quickly changing, however, with full computer labs, ebooks, and digital classes, it’s actually […]

Read the full article →

New York City libraries want 10 year funding plan

September 22, 2014
Thumbnail image for New York City libraries want 10 year funding plan

Whenever it rains in New York City, workers at the Sheepshead Bay library rush to move computers and valuables into another room to avoid a leaky roof. The leaks have been so bad in the past, in fact, that patrons have had to walk through knee deep puddles of rain. Library branch manager Svetlana Negrimovskaya said the city’s libraries are in maintenance crisis mode. It comes at an inopportune time […]

Read the full article →

Texas library creates amnesty program for late fees

September 15, 2014
Thumbnail image for Texas library creates amnesty program for late fees

The Houston Public Library is in a forgiving mood. Patrons that have a balance on their accounts due to a lost or misplaced item such as a book or DVD can have their fines erased from the system under an amnesty program the library is currently offering. The program is only available to those that sign up for the “My Link” library card by Sept. 26 and have less than $25 […]

Read the full article →

Floating library makes a stop in New York City

September 9, 2014
Thumbnail image for Floating library makes a stop in New York City

More and more libraries are becoming creative and pulling out all of the stops to try and bring new patrons through their doors. Many libraries are starting to offer ebooks, while others are completely digital and don’t offer traditional paper books at all. New York City is offering something a little different for a month when the Floating Library comes to the Hudson River from September 6 through October 3. […]

Read the full article →

Florida Polytechnic University features a bookless library

August 29, 2014
Thumbnail image for Florida Polytechnic University features a bookless library

The newest public university in Florida is trying something a little different with its 11,000 square-foot structure – going totally green. Florida Polytechnic University, located in Lakeland is taking a bold step by offering a digital catalog of 135,000 ebooks. Paper books will not be offered at the fully digital library. FPU, which is not yet an accredited school, has an enrollment of 550 students in its inaugural class. Students […]

Read the full article →

Taneyhills Community Library joins consortium so they can offer ebooks

August 25, 2014
Thumbnail image for Taneyhills Community Library joins consortium so they can offer ebooks

The Taneyhills Community Library in Branson, Missouri now officially offering ebooks. Kent Olson, Board President of the Taneyhills Community Library said the service became available to its patrons a week ago. Olson said charging for library cards and other services at the library has helped make it possible to loan out ebooks. Without these small fees, he surmises, it would not have been possible to install an ebook system at […]

Read the full article →