Adrian and friends are taking a little break. We’ll be back soon. We promise.
Adrian and friends are taking a little break. We’ll be back soon. We promise.
We had a great day at the Front Porch Library–we were rife with volunteers. Tiffany, Heather and Hanna brought small percussion instruments and we made a great boisterous noise that sometimes sounded almost organized. Tiffany even explained quarter notes and measures.
It was (for me) the last gathering with our four-year volunteer Jorge–and yet he still had a trick up his sleeve. After the music we needed another activity so I pulled out the bocce set, prepared to invent the rules, but Jorge knew them and took charge.He and Talese refereed and threw out the palla (that word may or may not be correct). Bocce was followed by four-square in the road–between the banging and throwing it was a physical day at the library. School begins tomorrow so letting off steam seemed to be a good plan
We saw many back-to-school haircuts. Johnny’s was most spectacular. It was very tall and shaped like a fez. We all agreed that Harper and Danny, the twins were harder to tell apart thanks to their recent haircuts. Mr. John calls them either Darper or Hanny, figuring he will always be 50% right.
We did a school supply give-away and plan to maintain a school supply box this year.
It was, however, a sad day in the cake department. I put it in the library oven and went home. When I went over to take it out the house was full of smoke. I had somehow put the oven on broil. Let me tell you, cake (at least marble cake) does not take kindly to being broiled. My husband sliced the top off and we had a pathetically short cake–so we broke out every bit of leftover cake from weeks past plus ice cream left over from the library’s birthday party. It was a smorgasbord of cakes–a little bit like a Christmas Carol, only the ghosts were the ghosts of Sundays past.
I got teary when Jorge left but he promises to visit on school breaks, and I believe him. He has been an integral part of the library for so long.
A big thanks to my librarian buddy, Debby Hull for her generous donation to the FPL. We have the best supporters ever.
The Front Porch Library thanks the anonymous donor who sent us a check for $75. We are very grateful. It is time to buy school supplies–and it is always time to provide snacks and weekly program materials. Whoever you are, thanks from all of us.
Today at the Front Porch Library we did “stations.” Yup, there was the Bone Station, the Weird Kitchen Gadget Station, the Story Station, the Word Station, the Guess Station and the Smell Station. This is probably not detailed enough for you to imagine.
The bone station (for example) had skulls: raccoon, possum, heron, sea turtle, horse, and one whale vertebra (all found, no animals died for this experiment).We checked out things like how big the brain might be given the size of the cranium, the position of eyes and shapes of teeth (predator or prey), we guessed whose skulls they were.
The Guess Station had things like a pillow case with objects that had to be identified by feel. Smell station? Scents to be identified by sniff.
We followed up with a scavenger hunt for things like objects beginning with the letter W and three kinds of seeds. Kids raced around the yard, or knelt in the grass trying to figure out if that little jot on the underside of the leaves might be a seed–if not today, then someday.
Also on the lawn, Olivia and CJ 1 demonstrated, once again, their gymnastic prowess.
Next week is the last before schools starts again so we are planning a big finale: Tiffany leading a rhythm workshop, an end of summer party including water balloons (of course), distribution of school supplies and a preliminary farewell to Jorge, our volunteer of four years who insists on going to college in Chicago–had we known those letters of recommendation were going to be used to actually LEAVE the FPL, we would never have written them.
Another fine week at the FPL.
There is bad news and good from the Front Porch Library, and even the bad news has a silver lining. We did not get the award from the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program, which means that hugging Michelle Obama and putting $10,000 into our kids and our library is not happening. The silver lining is that we will receive a document saying we are one of the top fifty youth arts and humanities organizations in the US–oh, if only they could join us on a Sunday when we are trying to organize that youth.
But the really good news is that our Leon High Key Club volunteers came through for us, staging a fundraiser at Pug Mahone’s. Four bands all played for free: Coma Kids, Attack on Tortuga, Cutting Teeth, and States Avenue. It was a great gathering–Kary and I went, representing the library and the older generation. When Michael Harrison, the Key Club member who did most of the organizing came over to deliver the proceeds we ended up with $711.30. We will be operational for a long time thanks to these great volunteers.
Today at the library we made a poster for each of the bands as a thank you. So what if they featured things like princesses (Vivienne is very good at princesses) and Jorge’s all purpose dinosaur drawing. We spelled the band names correctly and discovered that many of our markers are too dry do be worth spit (always good to know).
After, Kwili borrowed a shovel and a pan and panned for gold in the driveway–he was undeterred by the general opinion there was no gold hidden in the gravel.
We all ate cake with maple-bacon icing thanks to Mr. John and a supermarket sale table.
We also had a spectacular gymnastic show on the lawn. CJ 1 demonstrated his famous backflips, (To see CJ 1 in action go to our website:http://thefrontporchlibrary.com/
Olivia did first class cartwheels and Vivienne got the hang of a forward roll.
Thanks to everyone who keeps this effort going. We are often a hot mess, but somehow books get read, Lego castles built, bacon icing experienced and from time to time someone flies through the air upside-down.
The fundraiser for the Front Porch Library put on by our Leon High Key Club volunteers was a huge success! Kary and I were so impressed with the job they did of organizing, finding bands willing to play for a good cause, and for turning out a huge crowd. The future is going to be in good hands when these guys take over.
These kids are great. They have an exciting evening of music planned. And guess who gets to benefit from their verve and mellifluous vigor? We do!
Friends of the FPL, some of our wonderful Leon High volunteers are doing a fundraiser for the library. We’d be hard-pressed to keep our doors open and our kids engaged without these young volunteers (who are also great mentors). Check out the poster for details.
Today was fake and real fact day at the library. I read the kids real (if strange) facts like, Leonardo Da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other–at the same time, and even better, a blue whale’s fart bubble is big enough to enclose a horse–I bet that’s the one that sticks with them.
Then everybody buddied up and began making lists of a dozen facts, only eleven of which were true. The unfactual fact was made up to fool the other teams. Kyleigh, Hope and Kaydence worked on animals. Their facts were so obscure it was hard to doubt any of them.
Klark, Augie and Nick ranged around a bit, hitting a lot of subjects. Olivia and I did too. We went in for igneous rocks, global weather, botany–you know, facts. Our bad fact was that the human body replaces all its cells every three days. Clearly no one considered teeth or bones because everyone was fooled.
The twins roared in, late but in time for Ms Kary’s masterpiece project. She had two beautiful picture frames and had each kid hold a frame up as if they were the work of art and then talk about what they wanted to do in the future.
CJ1 returned after a couple of week’s absence–I was so happy to see him. He’s moved away from the neighborhood, but he biked back.
The kids come and go and I never get used to it. A couple of days ago Zion and DeeDee showed up at my door to announce that Zion was moving. DeeDee could tell I was sad. He put an arm around me. “Don’t feel bad Miss Adrian…and can we have a Popsicle?” I felt so bad they each got one, plus a cookie.
Today the library served one of its unadvertised functions, providing a place for some of the kids to get out of a domestic fight. Mr. John was the hero, driving the group to a safer place. Some library we have!
Kary has put up a very nice post of pickle art on our site, Check it out.
We had a fine day at the Front Porch Library–just five kids and six volunteers–boy did those kids get attention. We looked at some mythological creatures like the Minotaur and Pegasus, then each kid created their own imaginary beast. They did murals, wrote and illustrated stories, even built new creatures using Legos. By the time they were done they could explain the natural history of the beast, how it would interact with any human it met, what its legend was.
Corrin had one of the most interesting. Her creature only aged if it got injured. An injury would bump it along as if it had had a birthday. She said that if it was careful it could live forever.
Vivienne had a stuffed snake that wore a very fancy Lego necklace–Vivienne is our resident princess so the necklace made sense–she just felt that a pink plush snake needed one, there was no connection to the project. When she got down to business, the drawing of her creature had a stately Pegasus look about it.
The kids who did murals went home with their work rolled up like a scroll and tied with gold ribbon. We are a real class act at the FPL.
Meg brought sandwich materials so our healthy snack was more like a healthy meal, no one minded an extra meal. Who would? We also had watermelon that was delivered to our door by an unknown woman who told my husband it was for us or the kids at the library.
Mr. John and I shelved newly cataloged books. We had a torrential downpour–then remembered we had some crates of books on the steps outside. It was a typical summer day at the FPL. And a good time was had by all.
It was insect day at the library. We began with the serious stuff. Me. Talking. It is always in this portion of library that I wish I had taken that education class “classroom management.” The kids were LOUD today. Miss Kary took a shot at it. She did better. After discussing the attributes of insects we settled in for our 15 minutes of reading.
After that we cranked up the BUG FACTORY. We made bugs out of everything from colored paper to marshmallows and spaghetti noodles. We also hunted for insects in the yard with our trusty plastic bug-collecting box.
Corrin and Chloe returned from a road trip with their mom that took them up to New York. I spoke to them on Skype while they were away and told them they could choose the cake for their return to the FPL. The request was red velvet with chocolate icing–and sprinkles, so that is what we had.
I went back to double-check things at the library at dusk and as I crossed the street to go home a car pulled up. In it was one of the families that was there on day one–and whose daughter, Kelsey, was the reason we started the library in the first place.
As she so famously said when I asked her if she liked to read, “Oh no Miss Adrian, I don’t like to read. I love to read.” Children who love to read are rare, but we keep trying to cultivate them.
PRESS RELEASE | July 7, 2015
The Front Porch Library Named Among National Finalists
The Front Porch Library is a finalist for a 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. The award – given by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and its partner agencies — recognizes top arts and humanities-based programs which operate afterschool and out-of-school.
The Front Porch Library is one of 50 programs to achieve Certificate of Excellence status from hundreds of nominations from across the country. If chosen in the top ten, the library will receive $10,000 and an invitation to Washington, DC for the award conference in August. The announcement is expected next week.
Today the Front Porch Library continues to thrive as a book-and-project gathering spot for the children of Seminole Manor Neighborhood. Co-founded by neighbors Adrian Fogelin and Dr. Kary Kublin, the initial vision was to give ready access to books and educational materials to youth in this low income neighborhood.
“The library began with my father’s house, and kids who needed books,” says Adrian Fogelin. Not wanting to give up his house when her father died, she decided to establish a library on the porch—a library which quickly took over the whole house.
The collection now numbers over 3,000 cataloged books, all donated. But the library is more than just books. Every Sunday, a volunteer staff gathers to run programs that bring the wider world to kids who arrive on foot and by bicycle. Library volunteers come from the neighborhood and the community. Many are students from SAIL High School and Leon High’s Key Club. These high-achieving teen volunteers act as mentors and role models.
The library just celebrated its sixth birthday, and there were many past programs and shared memories to draw on: building a Rube Goldberg machine, jousting on the lawn with the Society for Creative Anachronism, quilting, cooking, studying Greek mythology, learning about modern China, conducting explosive science experiments and funding summer camp experiences from one generous donation.
“We’ve seen a lot of kids come to the library, growing up right before our eyes Sunday to Sunday,” says Co-Director Kary Kublin. “If we want kids to read, we’ve got to read with them. If we want them to ask questions and solve problems, we have to make sure the opportunities are there and that they are accessible.”
The Front Porch Library is proof that it takes a village. With this national recognition, the village continues to grow.
More information about The Front Porch Library as well as weekly updates and photographs can be found at http://thefrontporchlibrary.com. Monetary donations are vital and can be made online by using the “MAKE A DONATION” link.
National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Awards is an initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The President’s Committee partners with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to administer the program.
Even though the national birthday celebration was yesterday we held it over for another day and discussed the American flag in its many forms at the FPL–we covered flags made from soldiers shirts and ladies’ petticoats to the flag we now salute designed by a 17 year old student who got a B- on the project. (I sure hope that story was not apocryphal).
We considered the original 13 colonies. It was a little disconcerting to have Russia and Canada among the suggestions when we were trying to nail those original 13 down. We did our 15 minutes of independent reading from US history-themed book including one about the Mayflower and a book about Ellis Island. I showed off the immigration papers from my dad’s family. They came from Sweden and were processed through Ellis Island. We looked at their names, one of which had been conveniently Americanized.
Then everyone made a flag in answer to the question, if you had your own country, what would the flag look like. They all got into the symbolism of choosing colors. Tyler chose yellow for sunlight and blue for calm. Many of the flags bore an uncanny resemblance to the Stars and Stripes–although our flags had great captions (what can I say, we had letter stencils so we had to use them).
Maggie went birthday shopping in our back room (it is her mother’s birthday). She found a stuffed animal, a little notebook and a gift box shaped like a house. Heather and Hanna and Kary sorted and cataloged books. Mr. John controlled the chaos that is what we call cake decoration.
A very fine day at the library.
Maggie showed up first for Library so she and I made the blueberry muffins–sometimes I just get tired of cake. We had the muffins in the oven even before the official start of library, and plenty of other kids and volunteers as well. If the early bird getting the worm were true worms would be in trouble.
I ambitiously decided that today we would focus on HISTORY in our reading time. To that end I read (or approximately read–given the roving attention in the room) a book about the schoolchildren’s blizzard of 1888. First Tyler did the math on how long ago that was–I have rarely seen such magnificent borrowing. Then we divided into teams and as I read the story the teams wrote down the things they saw in the story that didn’t square with today, things like carrying lunch to school in a bucket and wearing long dresses. Team Jorge won with…I want to say eighteen differences.
Then everyone read for fifteen minutes from a book that was connected to history. Around the room kids were reading about everything from Matthew Henson, the black explorer who reached the pole with Admiral Peary to how to embalm a mummy to Franklin Rosevelt’s dog, Fala.
Meg–who makes the most gourmet healthy snacks imaginable made us falafel which was eaten while painting in the driveway. We rigged up three easels and everyone tried their hand at painting a flower or a dinosaur or an insane chipmunk-like creature that probably inhabits a game on the days it is not at the library. I got a chance to draw a color wheel and teach painters how to make grey and brown–anyone can make green.
We picked up a new jump rope at Goodwill. It saw some double-dutch action. We met Olivia and Klark’s new dog, Story and gave away tomatoes from the community garden. Another fine day at the library.