Welcome to the third edition of The People Behind the Passion, our periodic column that shares the personal stories of people who promote reading and literacy. It is a way to celebrate their unique contributions to creating the next generation of readers, and gives you a little bit of insight into what sparked (or powers) their passion for promoting reading.
This is the first time we’re featuring passionistas who have a tangible product. When Kris contacted me several months ago, it was her inspiration for the product that caught my attention, and I hope you’re inspired, too. So without further ado …
Who are the Little Librarians?
Meet Kris and Amanda “Mandy” Miller. This mother daughter team has created Little Librarian, a children’s librarian kit to transform a “book lover’s collection into a child’s library.”
What sparked their passion?
Once upon a time, a librarian shared some supplies with a grade school girl. This little girl used her creativity and imagination to turn the supplies into hours of fun. At her library, she organized her book collection. Family, friends, and dolls were frequent borrowers. Just like a real librarian, she kept records, issued awards, and passed out overdue notices. As she grew up, she and her mother knew they wanted to share their idea with you.
Who is Their Audience?
Kris and Mandy want to reach children in grade school who like to read, use their imagination, and play pretend. Little Librarian gives these children the supplies needed for creative play with books they own. It is also used to share favorite books with friends, while keeping track of who has checked them out. Interaction between adults and children is encouraged by young librarians looking for customers for their library.
Amanda brought many of the creative ideas to the design of the kit. Her inspiration came from her time as a lifeguard, swim instructor, camp counselor, babysitter, and now a volunteer in the pediatrics department of a hospital
How Can Little Librarian Promote Reading?
With Little Librarian, kids are encouraged to “play with books” and have that all-important time without television or electronics. Kris suggests that parents pick a creative idea such as lets make the family room into a library, the bedroom into a school, or the driveway into a car wash. Provide a few props, and watch their imagination at play.
Little Librarian provides everything a young reader needs to transform a collection of books into a library. Favorite books can be stored in the reading journal and shared with friends. Kids can also practice the important skills of organizing, sharing, borrowing, and returning. There are book pockets, check out cards, library cards, and bookmarks – just like the ones from the real library.
Little Librarians will issue overdue notices and awards. Mandy did not think of having overdue slips or fines in her childhood library. She wishes she had collected some money since she owes her cousins a million dollars in fines at their home library. She has disputed the charges, and insists she returned the books on time.
What Do They Recommend?
Social Media and Contact Information
To learn more, visit the Little Librarian website www.littlelibrarian.net. You can also email Kris at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the midst of working on this post, Kris learned that Little Librarian is a Disney Family Fun magazine Toy of the Year Finalist for 2010 (ages 4 to 10).
All images used with permission of Kris Miller.