Backpack Historian – Lincoln County Public Library (NC)

The Lincoln County Public Library will be launching a new genealogy program/service this fall called the Backpack Historian. Participants can check out either an oral history backpack or join in a digitization program in order to preserve Lincoln County family histories. In each oral history backpack participants will find tips and questions for conducting family interviews, metadata collection forms and consent forms for sharing collected data with the library. During library hosted digitization programs attendees will receive a thumb drive with all scanned images and staff will be collecting data about each item. Participants will be asked for consent to share those materials in the Lincoln County Public Library’s catalog. This program will provide under represented communities the ability to add their voice to the history of Lincoln County. Even though Lincoln County is home to a diverse community the Lincoln County Public Library intends to focus on the citizens of the African American community during kick-off of the Backpack Historian program. By participating in the Backpack Historian program patrons will have access to materials, resources and staff that will help them in the collection and preservation of this culture’s history. Participating in this program gives Lincoln County a more inclusive narrative of the history of the county as well as resolves to fill any gaps in the county’s story.

Inquiry-Based Science Program – Pender County Library (NC)

Pender County Library will evaluate an inquiry-based science program for children ages six to twelve. Inquiry-based learning is a teaching methodology where participants are asked a question and must use prior knowledge and problem-solving skills to find a solution. Participants are encouraged to discuss what is or is not working throughout the learning process and evaluate their solutions.

We currently have a weekly program series for this age group called Explorers, with individual programs that include crafts, STEM, and/or literacy activities. We have not previously provided intentional inquiry-based learning during this program time slot but would like to evaluate if this type of activity would be both engaging and educational for our participants. To do this, two to four of our weekly Explorers programs in November and December will employ the inquiry-based learning approach. The exact number will be determined by the data collection methodology we choose to use. This program currently has between 15 and 20 participants on a regular basis, including parents. There is a healthy mix of children between the ages of six and twelve. The program runs on Wednesdays from 4:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Summer Learning Challenge Revisioning – Richland Library (SC)

As the pandemic slows, normalcy resumes and summer approaches, the question that has been persistent at Richland Library is how can our team help encourage parents to bring children and themselves back into library spaces. Typically, libraries contribute to this issue annually with their summer learning programming—a feature of EVERY library system. Yet, following the pandemic, less children have been coming into library spaces and library interactions are directly associated with literacy. To address this concern, the Summer Learning challenge has been re-envisioned with a more strategic focus on the importance of educating parents in child literacy to encourage parents to bring children to the library for summer programs and services. We would like to evaluate this new approach.

The program: The Summer Learning Challenge Revisioning will include a literacy campaign that involves marketing strategies that target parents of young children; the goal is to emphasize the importance of literacy for young children. This project will evaluate the effect of this marketing campaign on increasing summer learning participation during the summer of 2022.

The target audience: Parents of school-aged children. The main goal of the summer learning revisioning is for parents of school-aged children to learn and to understand the importance of literacy and reading, particularly to combat the summer slide.  The main output is that more families will come into library spaces during the summer.  The main outcome is that families will report an increased understanding of the importance of child literacy as well as the library’s role in supporting it.  Also, an outcome is that more parents will bring children in the library as a result of this understanding.


Gönen, M. & Temiz, N. & Akbaş, S.C. (2015). The role and importance of children’s libraries in early childhood: A library program sample. 1. 76-89.

Merga, M. K. (2021). What is the literacy supportive role of the school librarian in the United Kingdom? Journal of Librarianship and Information Science53(4), 601–614.