Friday, November 22, 2019

Kid Kits for Big Topics

The act of browsing is a wonderful thing. You can take your time to pick the entirely right story that will work with your mood. This is particularly wonderful in the children's room - giving a child their choice of book will help ensure that they enjoy the reading of it, because it is their book. Of course, there are times when browsing just isn't possible, and there are times when you need a book on a specific topic. Enter the Kid Kit - these kits are curated collections of titles on various topics, from potty training to the death of a pet, which are ready when you need them.

At my library, we have a large selection of kits, which are shelved all together. The topics can be divided, for the most part, into three major categories. (Why the division? For collection development purposes, I find it easier to mentally separate them so that they aren't overwhelming.) I'm going to list our topics here, to show you the broad range of things you can make kits for, but please don't take this as a call to make every single one of these. It's just to give you ideas.

Major Life Events

If you're a parent and you're already dealing with a major life event, you want to be able to grab a few books to explain it to your children and hit the road. Of course, some of these events (death of a loved one, for example) are more major than others (going to the dentist), but they are all new experiences for children. We have book kits about:
  • Adoption
  • Aging (as in, dementia)
  • Dealing with Cancer
  • Death of a Loved One
  • Death of a Pet
  • Divorce
  • Going to the Hospital
  • Going on a Plane
  • Going to the Dentist
  • Going to the Doctor
  • Military Families
  • Moving
  • New Sibling
  • Potty Training (boys)
  • Potty Training (girls)
  • Starting Kindergarten
  • Starting School
  • Tooth Fairy

Help With Behavior

Behavioral problems aren't because a child is bad, of course. They may just need some help and reminders about things (spoiler: we don't bite our friends), or some help with confidence. Our topics include:
  • Afraid of Dogs
  • Bad Behavior
  • Being Patient
  • Feeling Afraid
  • Manners
  • Needing Attention
  • Self Esteem and Confidence

Learning New Things

It's always wonderful to learn a new skill! Whether it's tying your shoes or using the potty, or reading folktales from around the world, we have you covered. Our kits are: 
  • Adding and Subtracting
  • Colors and Shapes
  • Cinderella Stories
  • Fire Safety
  • Folktales from Around the World
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Four Seasons
  • Multiplying and Dividing
  • On the Farm
  • Potty Training (boys)
  • Potty Training (girls)
  • Safety
  • Tying Your Shoes
  • Weather


Of course, there are a few kits that don't strictly fall into these guidelines, but are important enough to have kits about. 
  • All Kinds of Families (LGBTQIA+, single parents, etc.)
  • Autism (both for children who have it, or who know someone that does)
  • Differing Abilities (includes books about Deafness, blindness, Down Syndrome, etc.)
  • Extended Families (cousins, grandparents, etc.)
  • Gender Roles and Equality (including transgender children)

What They Look Like

Of course, your kits may look absolutely different from mine, but at my library, we have them in blue canvas bags, which hang next to the green canvas bags (books with CDs). Each bag has a barcode and a clear label of the topic, as well as a label listing the contents of the kit (top right).

There are actually two stickers that have the call number - in this case, J KIT GOING TO THE DOCTOR. We have one in the top left corner, and another on the left edge, so when you are flipping through the hanging kits, it's easily visible.

We also have a label that clearly and cheerfully says "KID KITS," so you know exactly what you're getting. 

The sticker on the bottom right has the library's name and address. 

Each book in the kit also has a label on it, clearly marking this book as part of the kit, so if it is returned separate from the rest of it, we know right away.

This kit has 5 books in it, which is about average. Some kits have more, and some have less, depending on the topic. They were recently updated to include newer titles, and some have familiar characters (in this case, Pete the Kitty and Daniel Tiger). 

What Do You Think?

We know every library has their own way of doing things, and we hope you share your tips and tricks with us here in the comments, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter

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