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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Good news on young readers

     Today there is a lot written about how the younger generation is digitally connected and that reading books has diminished.  A new survey by Pew Research shows just the opposite.    What the researchers reported was that,

  " More than eight in ten Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 read a book in the past year, and six in ten used their local public library. At the youngest end of the spectrum, high schoolers in their late teens (ages 16-17) and college-aged young adults (ages 18-24) are especially likely to have read a book or used the library in the past 12 months. And although their library usage patterns may often be influenced by the requirements of school assignments, their interest in the possibilities of mobile technology may also point the way toward opportunities of further engagement with libraries later in life."

   As to the preference for e-readers and libraries the researchers reported,

"We found that [younger people are] very interested in the idea of preloaded e-readers — being able to check out an e-reader at a library that already has some popular titles on it. And a lot of libraries are really looking at how they can engage with this younger age group, especially with Americans in their teens and early 20s. And so a lot of libraries are looking at ways to sort of give them their own space in the libraries, have activities just for them. Some libraries even have diner-style booths for the teens where they can just socialize and hang out, and so that they can think of the library as a space of their own."

    You have to go no further than the new Miller Library to see how the HoCo Library has designed spaces for young people.

     I know I sound like a broken record sometimes on some programs in our area and have blogged before on the Library's A+ Partners in Education program.  Tonight at 5 pm at the Miller Library is the celebration of the success of the programs this year.  The program is a partnership is a comprehensive partnership between and among the Library, HoCo Schools, and HoCo Community College.  This once again shows that the HoCo Library is much more than just a place to browse for books.  The Library's website gives the following descriptions of the Partnership programs:

1) Battle of the Books gets fifth grade students excited about reading. A lively academic competition, Battle of the Books improves reading comprehension, builds vocabulary, and teaches teamwork and good sportsmanship.

Teams of five students and one adult coach each read the same 16 pre-determined books. Selected by HCLS instructors and HCPSS media specialists, titles include a wide range of reading levels and subjects. Thanks to generous sponsors, all teams receive a set of books. In addition, copies of each year's titles are available for borrowing at Howard County Library System.

2) Howard County Spelling Bee is a countywide bee for students in grades four through eight. The HCLS Spelling Bee is registered with Scripps National as an official regional bee. The winners of individual school bees held in the fall and winter compete in the HCLS Spelling Bee in March. The champion advances to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC.

The HCLS Spelling Bee is sponsored by BB&T and the Friends of Howard County Library, and organized under the rules of the
Scripps National Spelling Bee.

3) The Rube Goldberg Challenge. Named after the Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, sculptor, and author, the contest is offered to school teams comprised of fourth and fifth grade Howard County students. The students transform everyday materials into a wacky innovative machine that accomplishes the given task. However, instead of just "solving" the problem, students are charged with making the solution as complicated and convoluted as possible. By designing and building the machine, students incorporate science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts into their creations. Simple machine classes will be taught at HCLS branches during the school year.

4) Sherlock Holmes contest in partnership with Watson’s Tin Box of Ellicott City and Howard County Public Schools, conducts an annual Sherlock Holmes Essay Contest for all Howard County public, private, and home-schooled seventh grade students.

Students are asked to read the Sherlock Holmes short story, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, and write a five-paragraph analytical essay according to the rules and guidelines of the contest. Students may
download a booklet that includes the story, pre-reading activities, a glossary of British terms, specific essay questions, the rubric which will be used in judging the essays and a contest entry form.

5) The Summer Reading Club is a program to encourage summer reading for children and adults of all ages.  Interesting books for each age are selected for fun and prizes.

6) Teen Time  runs Monday – Thursday from 2:30-5:30 pm during the school year. The daily schedule includes a transition period, which allows students to unwind from school and talk about their day. HCLS instructors next assist students with their homework, which is followed by enrichment activities. While centering on academic enrichment, Teen Time focuses on a variety of additional components, which involves guest speakers, art contests, and poetry slams. 

From the Columbia Association:

"CA is continuing its efforts from the Aquatics Master Plan process to look into what changes should be made to CA's aquatics facilities and programming in order to best serve area residents into the future. The Oct. 24 meeting  covers two active feasibility studies, one looking at SplashDown, which is reaching the end of its useful life, and the other looking at the sizable demand from swimmers for more indoor pool space, which could be constructed on a current outdoor pool site.

The Oct. 24 meeting will include a presentation, discussion and explanatory displays that will focus on current conditions and an analysis of the findings. Public feedback is welcome via comment cards and in person with consultants and CA staff.

Wednesday, October 24, 7-9pm
Owen Brown Community Center, 6800 Cradlerock Way

A follow up meeting with more specific options and alternatives for both projects, based on feedback from the public at this meeting and from members of CA's steering committee,will be held on Nov. 27.

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