Arlington, VA

Arlington Public Library has opened its new pop-up library in the Ballston Quarter mall.

The library partnered with the Ballston Business Improvement District to create the mini lending library, which opened earlier this month on the mall’s first floor, above the Quarter Market food hall. Located at 4238 Wilson Blvd, the mall is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and on Fridays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., until Friday, August 2.

The Ballston pop-up features a reading nook called “Alterspace” where users can control lighting, sound effects and color. The technology behind it was developed by Harvard University’s metaLAB and is being shared outside Massachusetts for the first time.

Ballston Quarter’s website says the Alterspace reading nook is “the ideal environment for meditating, reading, collaborating, playing, or whatever activity brings you here!” The space also includes a mobile charging station for phones and tablets.

This is the library system’s second pop-up, following a successful experimental pop-up in Crystal City.

“Although the Ballston Quarter Pop-up Library is only a short walk from Central Library, we are encountering so many people who aren’t aware of the library and its resources,” said library spokesman Henrik Sundqvist.

“Meeting our community where they are — in the mall during their lunch breaks, after school, or during their evening commute — gives us an opportunity to connect new users with library materials, services, and resources, which they may not know are available to them,” he said.

At least one librarian will be on-site in the space during operating hours to help patrons with check outs and new library cards.

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If you get to work on Arlington Library’s Summer Reading Challenge, you could earn tickets to a Nationals game and other prizes.

The summer reading program challenges children, teens and adults to read for 25 days between June 1 and Sept. 1. Readers can keep track of their progress either on a printed calendar, a library app, or online.

Once they’ve read for 25 days, readers can come into the library and show staff how much they’ve read. They’ll receive a prize and an entry into a grand prize that varies based on their age group.

According to the library website:

Adults, teens and kids in kindergarten and above who complete [the Summer Reading Challenge] will each receive a voucher for two tickets to see the Washington Nationals play at Nationals Stadium.

Seating is in the scoreboard pavilion, upper gallery or right field terrace.

The grand prize for adults is a chance to enjoy a Washington Nationals game from a private suite.

A press release noted that books, newspapers, magazines and audiobooks all qualify.

Several events are planned along with the Summer Reading Challenge, including a visit from Nationals pitcher Aníbal Sánchez to Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) on Saturday, June 15 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. The event description notes that there will be opportunities to take photos and get memorabilia signed.

For each person that completes the Summer Reading Challenge, the press release also notes that the Friends of the Arlington Public Library will donate $1 to provide books for the Arlington County Child Advocacy Center.

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Arlington Public Library is struggling to keep up with demand for “Fire and Fury,” Michael Wolff’s exposé on President Donald Trump’s White House.

With a three-week checkout policy for books, it could take weeks — even months — for patrons to get their hands on a copy.

The #1 Amazon bestseller has 458 holds on 28 copies across the library system as of this afternoon. Nearly 150 people are on the waitlist for 15 audiobook copies and 252 are on the waitlist for 25 eBooks.

But some relief could be on the way. The library has ordered 61 new copies of the book, according to the library catalog website.

By comparison, demand for the #1 New York Times bestseller in fiction, “The Woman in the Window,” is lower. There are 215 holds on 35 copies. The book by A.J. Finn follows the story of heavy drinker who witnesses a crime near her Harlem townhouse.

Wolff’s book — which generated lines at local bookstores upon its Jan. 5 release — has drawn sharp rebuke from White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and other Trump administration officials.

“It’s disgraceful and laughable,” she said at a recent press conference.

File photo

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Patrick Henry Elementary School principal Annie Turner kissed a pig Tuesday to mark the end of a successful Read-A-Thon at the school.

Turner had promised the students at the school at 701 S. Highland Street that if 300 or more of them turned in reading logs and had read for 500 minutes or more, she would kiss the pig at their final assembly before Thanksgiving.

And the students far exceeded that goal. Patrick Henry parent Christine Brittle, who coordinated the Read-A-Thon, said 360 students turned in reading logs and they exceeded their goal of 500 minutes reading each.

The school’s PTA sponsors the annual Read-A-Thon, which kicked off just over a month ago. Students are challenged to read at least 500 minutes, about 40 minutes a day, and earn prizes for fundraising.

The students read for 263,211 minutes altogether, the equivalent of about 4,388 hours or 182 days.

“I set a really ambitious goal, because we had a really awesome prize and I thought you all could do it,” Brittle told the students.

And so Turner puckered up with Roscoe, a pig that lives in nearby Penrose, to whoops and cheers from the more-than 400 students who assembled in the school’s gymnasium.

The Read-A-Thon also raised more than $22,000 for the school, to be spent on field trips among other things.

“I am so proud of you all for reading so much,” Turner told the students after her encounter with Roscoe. “I hope you continue to read all year and the rest of your lives.”

https://twitter.com/clasedivertida/status/933074210259423233

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A local nonprofit that helps encourage at-risk children and their families to develop a love of reading will close next week after 28 years.

The Reading Connection, which has offices at 1501 Lee Highway near Rosslyn, will close its doors on Friday, August 11. It will hold its last “Read-Aloud,” where volunteers read to children at shelters and community centers, on Wednesday, August 9.

The nonprofit is dedicated to providing low-income children and their families with opportunities to read and be read to, as well as giving them free books when they might otherwise not have any.

Its volunteers held Read-Alouds at over a dozen locations — mostly apartment complexes — across the D.C. metropolitan area, including at Columbia Grove, New Hope Housing, The Shelton, The Springs, Sullivan House, Virginia Gardens and Woodbury Park in Arlington. Other locations are in Alexandria, Annandale, Bethesda and D.C.

The nonprofit’s director of program operations Stephanie Berman Hopkins announced the closure earlier today in an email to volunteers, which was obtained by ARLnow.com.

“I am so proud of the work we have done together and all of the children we have inspired to love reading,” Berman Hopkins wrote. “The impact our programs have had will continue to live on. Thank you for your dedication to this organization, the Read-Aloud program and the kids and families we serve. It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with you all. Our programs would not have been as strong as they have been without all of your efforts.”

In the email, Berman Hopkins said The Reading Connection’s board of directors reviewed the organization and determined it is not financially viable. TRC’s annual budget was $600,000, according to its website.

Berman Hopkins and The Reading Connection’s executive director, Catherine Keightley, declined to comment on the review, citing privacy considerations for those involved, but Keightley said finding continued funding would have been too difficult.

“What lots of reports are telling us is that funding is going to become more challenging, I think locally and regionally,” she said in a brief interview. “There may be a shift in funding priorities given some of the actions with the new [presidential] administration.”

Prior to its closing The Reading Connection will hold a book and supply sale from Monday, August 7 until Wednesday, August 9.

The email to The Reading Connection volunteers is below, after the jump.

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Arlington Central Library

At Arlington Public Library the library isn’t just for reading and summer reading events are not just for kids.

The library is holding two outdoor movie screenings (Aug. 6 and Aug. 13) as part of its Summer Reading 2015 for Adults event. Movies start roughly at 8:45 p.m. on the field next to Arlington Central Library (1515 N. Quincy Street).

Attendees are encourage to “bring a picnic and blanket and watch a movie under the stars.” Both movie showings are free. In the case of bad weather, the event will be canceled.

The first screening is “Empire Records” on Aug. 6. The movie, rated PG-13, is about a group of record store employees attempting to save the store from selling out, which just like the movie is a very Gen X concern.

“A flashback to a time when there were record stores and people paid to work in them,” the library notes on its event page. “It’s a day in the life of a staff of hip, quirky youngsters who are fighting a store buyout from a big greedy record store chain. Those once existed too.”

The second screening is “The Great Gatsby” on Aug. 13. The 2013 movie version of the classic book by F. Scott Fitzgerald stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, a mysterious rich man pining after an old love. The movie is also rated PG-13.

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Authors Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Jesmyn Ward (images courtesy Arlington Public LIbrary(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) It was the rallying cry on social media for activism after nationwide protest surrounding several police shootings and now it’s Arlington Public Library’s theme for Arlington Reads 2015: the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.

The community-wide reading initiative focuses on race, according to a library press release, in two books: “Men We Reaped,” a memoir surrounding the deaths of five young black men close to author Jesmyn Ward, and “Americanah,” a novel about African emigrants struggling with race in Western civilization by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Arlington Reads is the library’s annual attempt to bring the community together around a single topic, to encourage reading and educated discussion. This year’s theme was selected because the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag was chosen as the American Dialect Society’s Word of the Year in 2014 after police-related shooting deaths in Ferguson, Mo., Cleveland, Ohio and elsewhere in the country.

The two authors will discuss their books — both published in 2013 to broad critical acclaim — in separate events at Arlington Central Library.

Ward, a professor at Tulane University, will speak at Central Library on Wednesday, April 8, at 7:00 p.m. Adichie — known also for her TED Talk “We Should All Be Feminists” and her speaking part on Beyoncé’s song, Flawless — will speak at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 7. Admission to the events are free.

Images via Arlington Public Library

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Morning Notes

Morning traffic on I-395

Arlington Two-Year-Old Has ‘Read’ 1,000+ Books — A two-year-old Arlington girl has read — or, at least, had her parents read — 1,000 books so far. The girl is the poster child for Arlington Public Library’s new “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program, which encourages parents to help children build language skills by reading what amounts to about one book a day. [Washington Post]

Jose Andres Products Coming to Whole Foods — A new line of Spanish oils, vinegars, olives and “easy-to-make paella kits” from Chef Jose Andres, of Jaleo fame, will be coming to Whole Foods stores around the Washington area next month. [Washington Business Journal]

Road Closures for 9/11 Heroes Race — A number of roads in the Crystal City and Arlington Ridge areas will be closed Saturday morning for the 9/11 Heroes 5K Race. Parking restrictions will also be in place. [Arlington County]

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Summer reading at Arlington Public Library

(Updated on 8/1/13)

The Arlington Public Library summer reading program has already broken its all-time participation record with more than three weeks remaining until registration ends.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the library had 7,529 kids from preschool to high school signed up for its summer reading program, breaking last year’s record of 7,415. Registration ends for middle- and high-schoolers Aug. 20 and for elementary- and pre-schoolers Aug. 24.

“Summer reading gets more popular every year,” said library spokesman Peter Golkin. “I think it’s a snowball effect. Every year, the kids tell more friends about the program. Thanks to Harry Potter, I think kids are more interested in reading these days.”

Among the most popular titles young readers are borrowing from the library this summer are the Nancy Clancy: Super Sleuth series among second- to fourth-graders, the Big Nate series with those in grades 4-6, and, among the older students, The 5th Wave and Catching Fire, the second installment of The Hunger Games series that will come out in movie form this fall.

Kids who complete the summer reading program at the library earn prizes based on their age group, including a drawstring library bag for the younger children and a notebook and pen set for the middle- and high-schoolers.

Photo via Arlington Public Library

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Morning Notes

Library May Set Summer Reading Record — Arlington Public Library is tantalizingly close to setting a new record for participation in its summer reading program. Last year a record 7,371 students participated in the program. This year the library is “just a handful away” from reaching that number. [Sun Gazette]

Road Closures for Buckingham Festival — The Arlington County Police Department will be assisting with traffic control for the Buckingham Festival this weekend. From about 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 19, N. Pershing Drive will be closed between N. Glebe Road and N. Thomas Street. [Arlington County Police]

Arlington Mag Taking ‘Best Of’ Votes — Arlington Magazine has started taking votes for its inaugural ‘Best of Arlington’ poll. Among the dozens of individual categories are Best Restaurant, Best Realtor, Best Dog Park and Best Cosmetic Surgeon. [Arlington Magazine]

Photo courtesy Peter Roof

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(Updated at 9:10 a.m.) Teachers and administrators at Abingdon Elementary School are declaring the first year of their summer “book bus” a success.

The book bus was launched this summer with the goal of providing enhanced reading opportunities for students at Abingdon, where nearly 53 percent of students qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch. Once a week for five weeks, the bus would make stops in the community around Arlington, giving students the chance to check out books right in their neighborhood.

The bus was staffed by Abingdon teachers and the school’s principal, all of whom volunteered their time. Inside the bus were about 2,000 books donated by local businesses, nonprofit organization, a local author, and several publishers. Much of the equipment used to check out books — including barcode scanners — were also donated.

“It was almost completely subsidized, which is fabulous,”  said Abingdon principal Joanne Uyeda.

Over the course of four weeks, about 200 students checked out more than 700 books, according to Abingdon literary coach Erin Watson. For the bus’ fifth week , students returned their checked-out books, picked out a free donated book to keep, and entered to win one of four Barnes & Noble Nooks. The Nooks will be given out during a school reading assembly during the first week of school.

Uyeda said the ultimate goal of the book bus is to help close the “achievement gap” between Abingdon students and students in more well-to-do neighborhoods. By bringing elementary-reading-level books to the neighborhoods, and by making the book bus stops into a fun event, Uyeda said the bus was able to encourage more Abingdon students to read over the summer.

“You can trace about 80 percent of the achievement gap to summer reading loss, because middle class kids gain a month over the summer and disenfranchised kids lose three months,” Uyeda said. “By the time they leave elementary school they’re roughly two years behind, and they don’t make that up in middle school.”

Julie Bato, a parent of an Abingdon student and a teacher at Long Branch Elementary, said the book bus brings the community together and allows students to see their teachers during the summer.

“It’s great,” she said. “I love seeing all the neighborhood kids come out. The appreciation the staff has for these kids, some of whom might not get to the library over the summer… I just think that’s priceless. They’re the reason the kids want to come. They want to see their teachers, they want to see their principal.”

One young student was so grateful to the book bus volunteers that he brought them pudding cups and spoons on the last week.

Teachers and administrators both said they hope to bring the book bus back next summer.

“We want to keep doing it every summer, if we can,” said Susanna Smith, a reading teacher at Abingdon. “It’s a lot of fun seeing the students smile when they see their teachers during the summer.”

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