Be a Citizen Scientist with Project Feederwatch


Love birds? Want to help scientists better understand their migrations? Be a citizen scientist with Project Feederwatch! Project Feederwatch will begin November 13 at the Anderson Main and Pendleton libraries.

To participate, visit the children’s area at either library any time Fridays and Saturdays November 13 through April 30. If you see any birds at the bird feeders, identify them with our aids or the Merlin app, then write down your findings.

At the end of each week, library staff will report your sightings to Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology. That data tell scientists about changes in bird abundance and distribution across the United States and Canada, like where birds are and where they are not. This crucial information enables scientists to piece together accurate population maps and identify species that might be at risk.

A mother and son identify birds

This will be the second year the Library System participates in Project Feederwatch. For the 2020-21 season, only the Anderson Main Library was an observation site. During that time, library patrons and visitors observed 231 individual birds and identified 22 different species. This year, the Library System is expanding to have two observation sites: at the Pendleton Library and again at the Anderson Main Library.

Patrons can also explore great collections of picture books or nonfiction books for children and adults about birds, nature, backyard gardens, ornithology and more. For those who want even more educational activities to do at home, Cornell Lab provides free K-12 resources online.

Storywalk: The Magic Snowflake


The book The Magic Snowflake held in front of a Christmas tree

Explore downtown magic with the storefront storywalk in Anderson! Visit downtown Anderson this December for a special, self-paced walking tour of the book The Magic Snowflake by local artist and author Scott Foster. The illustrations and text of each page in the book will be featured in store windows along Main Street. Start with page 1 at Belle Beauty, then follow the map on the sidewalk and read the magical story, or have the book come to life in a dramatic reading podcast produced by Market Theatre!

Read, listen and walk. A map of downtown Anderson with the storywalk stops listed.

Storywalks are a great way for families to share the magic of reading, and the downtown storefront storywalk is the perfect opportunity to bring a love of reading and practice literacy skills while supporting downtown Anderson. After you finish the story, visit Carolina Wren Park for Holiday Ice, take pictures by the Christmas tree, or visit one of the local businesses that have copies of The Magic Snowflake available for purchase.

Visit the Anderson Main Library for a special scavenger hunt based on the book, then check out The Magic Snowflake or explore additional books perfect for the holidays. Complete the scavenger hunt and be entered in a drawing for a copy of the book and other fun prizes. Children can also pick up a Take ‘n Make snowflake ornament kit, and adults can pick up a Take ‘n Make craft kit to make a winter evening scene.                

This unique event is presented by the City of Anderson in partnership with the Anderson County Library System, with a dramatic podcast by Market Theatre.

Libraries Support At-Home Learning


@ Home Learning written on a chalkboard next to a keyboard and headphones

Recently, a Facebook group of which I am a member changed its name from “Librarians Serving Homeschool Families” to “Librarians Serving At-Home Learners and Homeschoolers.” Parents are more involved than ever in their children’s education, and it’s imperative that they know all the resources that are available to them, especially the ones that cost little to nothing.  Enter the public library.

The Anderson County Library is part of a consortium of twenty county library systems in South Carolina that share resources.  If we don’t have a book in Anderson County, but Beaufort County has it, you can put it on hold from wherever you are and have it brought to your nearest branch library, and it usually takes less than a week. The following chart shows how to save almost $300.00 on just a few items by using the library instead of purchasing literature for your class.

Savings From Using the Library

TitleCost
Charlotte’s Web6.40
Wind in the Willows, The18.94
Where the Sidewalk Ends10.99
Aesop’s Fables9.89
Pilgrim’s Progress22.99
Velveteen Rabbit, The8.39
Grimm’s Fairy Tales36.49
Magic Treehouse set (Books 1-28)100.86
Boxcar Children set (Books 1-12)48.95
Jane Eyre11.94
Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry20.11
Total savings$295.95
*prices retrieved from Amazon September 14, 2020

But what if you need an item right away? Digital resources make that entirely possible. The Hoopla and Libby apps allow you to download e-books, audiobooks, music, and videos straight to your device. Want to take a free online course? The library offers the popular Universal Class on our website if you have a library card.  From Accounting to Web Development, Universal Class has dozens of topics for you, including more than 40 online courses under the “Homeschooling” category alone. Do you have a teen learning to drive? Look under the “Research” tab of our website and you’ll find current SC DMV practice tests. Do you need a tutor for your child? No problem. Tutor.com offers one-to-one tutoring anytime, anywhere at no cost to you, thanks to DISCUS.

Learning at home presents many challenges. The library’s new resource CreativeBug offers innovative ideas for making science fun.  Are you studying polymers? Let CreativeBug show you how to make Galaxy Slime. (Full disclosure: I did this with my middle school age niece and nephew and it was a hit!) Are you studying the states of matter? Ponder the soap bubble: is it a solid, a liquid, or a gas? CreativeBug shows you a great recipe for bubble solution that produces bubbles far sturdier than any solution you’ll find in the stores. (Another hit with my niece and nephew.) It’s science. It’s fun. It’s all available through the library.

Libraries all over the country have valuable resources online to help at-home learners and their families succeed. September is National Library Card Sign up month.  Stop by your nearest branch to get yours today.

Helpful websites for at-home learning from the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library

Finally, I encourage each family to download the Flipster app, which allows access to leading digital magazines on your mobile device. This can be limited to Family & Children’s resources, and includes the popular National Geographic for Kids, as well as Muse, which encourages reading for fun as well as learning.