summer reading

From the Director August 2015

During this summer’s American Library Association annual conference in San Francisco, I attended a session by a generational expert about so-called “Millennials” (those born beginning in 1980).  She reported that the Millennial generation is becoming a growing part of the workforce.  In fact, according to this Pew Research Center chart, Millennials became the largest generational cohort in the U.S. workforce just this year:


Currently, about a third of American workers were born since 1980, and by the year 2020, that number will increase to 50%.  Even more surprisingly, by the year 2025, 75% of the world’s workforce will be made up of Millennials!  Because of higher birthrates elsewhere, some countries like India and China already have more Millennials than the entire U.S. population!  Many are very well educated and skilled, some of them making their way to America to fill key positions than have gone unfilled domestically.

With all the talk about Millennials, people are forgetting about the latest population cohort—Generation Z.  Those in this group are sometimes called the “Homeland” Generation because they are not old enough to remember the events of September 11, 2001 even though they have grown up in an era that is very much concerned about terrorism.

Like Millennials, members of Generation Z have lived in a world that is full of technology and can be considered “digital natives” because they have not known life without the Internet, cell phones, and tablets.  With that in mind, Shaker Heights Public Library became the first library in Cuyahoga County, and the first among 45 CLEVNET member libraries in 12 counties across northern Ohio to offer the new Playaway “Launchpads” for checkout.

These easy-to-use tablets are pre-loaded with a variety of interactive learning apps for children from preschool age to grade 5 and up. They are grouped as learning packs under subjects such as reading, math, science, creativity, and critical thinking; or themed learning packs, with topics like princesses, animals, transportation, dinosaurs, space, fantasy, etc.  Shaker Library has Launchpads for ages 3 to 5 (Pre-K to Kindergarten) and ages 5 to 7 (Kindergarten to 2nd Grade)—see the illustration below.  Depending upon demand, ages 8 to 10 (3rd Grade to 5th Grade) and ages 10+ (5th Grade and up) may be added.

The tablets do not have cameras or wifi capability, which means kids cannot be accidentally exposed to undesirable content.  Housed in Youth Services, they are available at both Main Library and Bertram Woods. Only two devices may be checked out to a parent at one time.  The length of checkout is seven days.

launchpad-heroShaker Library hosted a Launchpad kickoff party July 7 with representatives from Playaway, a Solon-based business.  Of the original 30 purchased, all but 3 of the devices had checked out within the first few hours.

madison dogThe joint countywide “Make Your Summer Count—Read!” Summer Reading Program ends August 7 and has certainly been a success thanks to our many library and institutional partners.  Of note is our PR partner, WKYC-TV3, which has televised regular features during the course of the summer that have helped promote registration.  A big thank you also goes out to our countywide summer reading “spokeschild” Madison Reid.  This precocious 8-year-old has charmed everyone and she absolutely loved her “Read to a Dog” experience at Shaker Library last month.

Luren E. Dickinson, Director

Chalk the Walk: 7 PM Monday, July 13 at the Colonnade

a collection of colorful sidewalk chalk is piled up on a rainbow drawing, outside on the pavement.

Make your summer count! Join families and friends and help to decorate the sidewalks at the Shaker Colonnade with chalk and special sidewalk paint! We’ll have a cool treat, too! Sorry, if it rains we’ll be all washed out and will have to cancel.

No registration required.


From the Director May 2015

LOGO WITHOUT CIRCLEWhile it seems we are barely into spring, it’s time to begin thinking about summer. At the Library when we think about summer, we think about summer reading. This year, Shaker Library will collaborate with six other library systems within the county including Cleveland, Cleveland Heights-University Heights, Cuyahoga County, East Cleveland, Euclid, and Westlake.

This summer’s program, “Make Your Summer Count,” will go beyond promoting reading, it will also encourage children to participate in a variety of math and volunteer activities. Joining our seven library systems are some of the area’s finest cultural institutions including, the Children’s Museum of ClevelandCleveland Metroparks Zoo, Cleveland Museum of Natural HistoryGreat Lakes Science Center, Greater Cleveland Aquarium, NASA, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Be sure to watch the library for details about the program, which begins June 8 and continues through August 7, and make your summer count!

Luren E. Dickinson, Director



From the Director 6/2014

The problem with the weather, as the saying goes, is that everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it! The same could be said about the so-called “achievement gap” in the schools. Politicians want to pour more money into “education” to “level the playing field” for certain groups of students defined by socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity and gender. In Ohio, we now have the “Third Grade Reading Guarantee.”

What is it that causes some to do better in school than others? Almost everyone agrees that the key is to start early—very early! Children need to be talked and read to from the very beginning. Give them plastic books they can chew on and then board books with pages they can turn—and take them to the Shaker Library!

The Library and Family Connections operate the “Play and Learn Station,” for preschool children, their parents and caregivers, where children learn by playing in a variety of interactive settings with other children. We offer regular story times including, “Nestlings” for babies from birth to 15 months, “Fledglings” for 15 to 24 month-old toddlers, “Terrific Twos” for two-year-olds, and “Stories for 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds.” From June 16 through July 22, we offer a “Baby Summer Sampler” for babies from birth through 23 months.

Once children reach school age, there are many more opportunities for educational enrichment. We host a variety of book parties for different grade levels and other book-related activities, such as the American Girl Doll series (for grades 1 to 5) and a Writer’s Club (for grades 2 to 4). In addition, we have provided free Homework Help after school through MyCOM grants (for grades 2 to 8) for a number of years during the school year. Our popular “Read to a Dog” events provide school-age children the opportunity to practice their reading skills with a furry, friendly certified Therapy Dog that loves listening to stories!

One of the most important things a child can do to improve educational achievement is to participate in the Summer Reading Program. Educators agree that to be successful, children must be exposed early to language and reading. Just as important, however, is that they must not fall behind during the summer when they are out of school. The sure cure for “Summer Reading Loss” is our “Summer Reading Program,” which is designed to encourage young readers by offering prizes as reading incentives. This year’s summer reading theme is “Get Creative—Read!” Beginning June 11 through August 6, children can earn prizes by listening to someone read to them and by reading or listening to books themselves. Prizes include colorful stickers, modeling dough, watercolor paint sets, design-your-own paint smocks, books, and medals thanks to our Friends of the Library which underwrites the programs and prizes.

Teens have their own summer reading program with weekly prize drawings for $10 gift cards and a grand prize drawing at the end of the summer for a Kindle Fire HDX! The number of hours read or listened to must be logged each week by 9 pm Wednesdays to qualify for the weekly drawings and reading for each ten hours earns a teen a ticket for the grand prize drawing.

Adults can model good reading behavior by participating in the Adult Summer Reading Program. Register at the Reference desks at either library or online at and log your reading time to be eligible to win a Kindle Fire.

We can help close the “achievement gap” and help children meet the “Third Grade Reading Guarantee” by getting them involved early in reading and other learning at the Library, and by helping them maintain and improve their skills through the Summer Reading Program! Get Creative—READ!