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As an intellectually curious professional librarian, I am constantly striving to learn new ways of presenting programs and serving the population of the town in which I work.

Like most youth services librarians, the pandemic has forced me to pivot and totally change how I do my job. Here are my current areas of focus:

  • I have been presenting live virtual storytimes via Zoom since the end of March 2020, and am constantly tweaking technology (upgrading to a camcorder and lavalier mic) and presentation (finding ways to directly engage children so the program is not passive) to make my virtual storytimes better and more relevant for my patrons
  • On March 31, 2020, I created an HPL Children's Room YouTube channel in order to provide on-demand library programming
  • Since my library is currently only open for curbside pickup services, I have developed and streamlined online request forms to better provide curbside services for my patrons
  • As part of our curbside service provision, I have created and assembled Quick Pick Book Bundles on a variety of rotating topics
  • I have changed all my book groups to a virtual format, and have added two new groups: one for 1st & 2nd graders, and the other for adults who like to read and discuss children's literature
Abby Kingsbury sitting at her desk in front of sign that says Children's Librarian

Children's Room Social Media Links

Please follow my Children's Room at the Harvard Public Library social media pages:

Children's Room YouTube channel

Children's Room Instagram page

Children's Room Facebook page

Children's Room Twitter page

Children's Room Tumblr page

Children's Room Blog

group of four stuffed animals - two monkeys, a dog, and a parrot

Collection Development, Book Groups, and Storytimes

As a children’s librarian, I am most proud of the high-quality children’s and middle school collection that I have curated over fifteen years. I am constantly maintaining the collection, from regular weeding of damaged and outdated books to reading multiple professional review journals in order to find the newest children’s literature. In addition, I am constantly reading children’s books of all types (picturebooks, easy readers, chapter books, middle grade books, and young adult literature) in order to best help the library’s patrons as they search for their next great read.

Going hand in hand with this emphasis on collection development are the two main categories of programming that I run at the library: storytimes and book groups. Storytimes encourage literacy, phonemic awareness, book awareness, and social skills like sharing. I run storytimes in three age categories in order to best serve all the young children who come to storytime. See more about the different storytimes I offer here:

Storytimes at the Harvard Public Library

Book groups promote a life-long love of reading, and encourage children to learn how to discuss books with their peers. Recently I was told by one of my book group graduates (now a senior in highschool) that my book groups were where she and her friends learned how to love reading, which is the highest compliment I can imagine. I run once-monthly book groups for children in grades 1 & 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, and we discuss both new and classic books. In addition, I run a once-monthly book group for adults who love to read and discuss children's literature; we focus on newer books in that group, but have also discussed some classic books and considered their relevancy to today's children.

Stuffed Animal Sleepovers

I have hosted multiple stuffed animal sleepovers at the library. In this popular program, children drop off their beloved stuffies to have a “sleepover” at the library. For each sleepover, I spend many hours posing the stuffies for photos, and then assembling a photo album that gets posted on social media. I try to make each sleepover unique, while incorporating information and history about the library and also equally featuring all the stuffies (children fill out an information form for their stuffie so that I can customize the sleepover).

Please follow the links below to access the photo albums for my Stuffed Animal Sleepovers:

Summer 2019 Stuffed Animal Sleepover

January 2018 Stuffed Animal Sleepover

Summer 2015 Stuffed Animal Sleepover

November 2013 Stuffed Animal Sleepover

three stuffed animals sitting on a yellow table and coloring a piece of paper with crayons

LEGO Expo

Drawing from my days as the store manager at the oldest specialty toy store in the country, The Toy Shop of Concord, I instituted an annual LEGO Expo at the library in 2008. Each year since then I have hosted a LEGO Expo; the format has evolved over the years to suit the needs and interests of the town. Initially a competitive, judged event, the Expo has become a true “expo” in which children of all ages bring in and display a LEGO model that they have constructed at home. Visitors write comments in each child’s guest book; children get to take home their guest books and also an official Certificate of Participation.

Follow the link below to access the photo album from the 2019 LEGO Expo:

March 2019 LEGO Expo

a child's lego model

Edible Books Contest

In late 2018 I discovered that there is a nationally known programming idea known as “edible books contests” in which participants create something out of food to represent a book. I immediately loved the idea, and knew that it was a perfect fit for the town in which I work. I have since hosted three Edible Books Contests at the library, and have been amazed by the creativity shown by the adult, teen, and child participants. Even better, these contests are directly related to literature, and are a unique way for patrons for show off their culinary and creative skills while featuring a book that they love.

Follow this link to view photos from the April 2019 Edible Books Contest:

April 2019 Edible Books Contest

a cake made to look like a rock in the style of the book Sylvester and the Magic Pebble