Tompkins County Public Library

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Library to Host STEAM Book Club

Middle-graders are invited to explore science, technology, engineering, art and math through lively book discussions and hands-on activities during Tompkins County Public Library’s monthly STEAM Book Club.

Continuing Wednesday, June 22 with a discussion of “The Birchbark House” by Louise Erdrich, the STEAM Book Club will encourage area students to improve their understanding of current core competencies through critical thinking and book-related activities.

“The Birchbark House” follows Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, as she lives through the joys of summer and the perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847.

The STEAM Book Club is free and open to all third, fourth and fifth graders. June’s program will be held from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. in the Library’s Thaler/Howell Programming Room.

Free copies of “The Birchbark House” can be picked up at the Youth Services Reference Desk.

For more information or to register, contact Kate DeVoe at (607) 272-4557 extension 277 or

Funding for STEAM programming is provided by the Ujeni Grants for Advancing Public Education Fund of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County and the Erin Aljoe Schlather Dedicated Memorial Fund of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Library to Offer Family Science Program

Tompkins County Public Library and Cornell University’s Center for Materials Research will host “Catapults,” Saturday, June 11 from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Library’s BorgWarner Community Room.

Families will learn about simple machines by looking at the three different classes of levers. They will then build a basic catapult that hurls marshmallows at a target.

Families Learning Science Together is a free program designed to help children develop an early love of science through hands-on participation. These programs are offered at the Library on the second Saturday of each month.

Families Learning Science Together programs are free and open to the public, but space is limited. To register, email Please include the name and age of all children in the email. 

More information about Families Learning Science Together workshops can be found at

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Library to Host Stories in the Park

Tompkins County Public Library has announced the Tuesday, June 14 return of its popular “Stories in the Park” program. 

Stories in the Park will be held each Tuesday through August 30 from 11:30 a.m. to noon at the Dewitt Park Farmers Market.

Children and families are invited to join library staff for lively stories, music and family fun, and stay for lunch and shopping at the Market.

While children of all ages are welcome, books and activities will be most appropriate for toddlers and pre-schoolers. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

In the event of wet conditions or excessive heat, the program will be held in the library’s Thaler/Howell Programming Room.

For more information, contact the library’s Youth Services Department at (607) 272-4557 extension 275.

Stories in the Park has been made possible by the Tompkins County Public Library Foundation through a grant from the Elmira Savings Bank and with support from the Michael Kammen Children’s Fund.

Library Staff Win National Award for Service to Patrons With Disabilities

In recognition of their efforts to promote accessibility and inclusion for children and families with sensory integration challenges, two members of the Tompkins County Public Library staff have been recognized with the 2016 Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies/Keystone Library Automation System and National Organization on Disability Award.

Youth Services Librarian Kate DeVoe and Library Assistant Kelly Doolittle were selected from a distinguished pool of nominees from throughout the United States for their innovative efforts to create programs and services for patrons with sensory processing disorders and sensory integration challenges. 

“Kate and Kelly recognized a community need and responded with programs and resources that have made our library a more accessible and welcoming place for children and families with sensory challenges,” Library Director Susan Currie said.  “We are tremendously proud of their efforts and honored that our library has been selected for this prestigious award.

The ASCLA/KLAS/NOD Award recognizes an innovative and well-organized project which successfully developed or expanded services for people with disabilities and will be formally announced during the American Library Association’s annual conference in Orlando next month.

TCPL’s “Adapt and Include” initiative includes sensory storytimes, sensory-friendly film screenings and a sensory station, which offers a selection of tools, such as weighted lap pads, noise-canceling headphones and Fidget toys, to ease the anxieties often associated with group programs and activities.

DeVoe and Doolittle created a wealth of resources for children and families, including a video tour of the library and visual program schedules to help caregivers prepare their children for library visits.  They have also established a culture of individual expression and acceptance with programs like sensory-friendly film screenings, where the lights are left on and children are encouraged to move around, make noise and otherwise make themselves comfortable.

“One of the most rewarding experiences for a youth services librarian is to feel like you are helping a child develop a lifelong love and appreciation for books and learning,” DeVoe said.  “Our ‘Adapt and Include’ programs have helped us do that for dozens of children in our community, which is a tremendous reward in and of itself.  Being recognized with this award is truly an unexpected and gratifying honor.”

DeVoe plans to attend the ALA award ceremony to accept the award, which comes with a $1,000 prize.  She and Doolittle will use the money to develop additional programmatic offerings for children with sensory challenges, including a Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics (STEAM)-based program providing hands-on learning activities.

For more information about the ASCLA/KLAS/NOD award or to view a list of past winners, visit

For more information about sensory programming at TCPL, contact Carrie Wheeler-Carmenatty at (607) 275-1548 or

Monday, May 23, 2016

Library to Host Firefighter Storytime

Tompkins County Public Library will host City of Ithaca Firefighter Thomas Basher, Jr. for a special storytime, Monday, June 6 at 11 a.m. in the Thaler/Howell Programming Room.

This early literacy-based storytime will include stories, fire safety tips and post-storytime crafts and snacks.

For more information, contact the Library’s Youth Services Department at (607) 272-4557 extension 275.