Category Archives: Summer of Learning

Summer Learning Inspiration: Minecraft & Reading

Welcome guest blogger, Betsy B, and her two boys Sean and Matthew.

Last summer, Sean had a goal to read 100 hours for our library’s Summer Reading program. He took a little too long and missed out on getting a t-shirt, so this year he is challenging himself to get his hours in early.

Matthew’s goal of 10 hours is a little more modest, and he is equally excited to reach his goal and earn a free book.

School is officially out now and both the boys are making great progress on their reading goals. Matthew is able to read pretty well for a 6 year old, but still likes to be read to. When I’m not available, he is happy to look at books for a long time.

Sean read this book in a day. I am learning that I need to have plenty of options on hand for him.

Part of the Summer Reading program includes some pretty great activities. We live between two branches and I like to scope out what they each offer. There are so many to choose from! We have been to one already. It was a Minecraft party where 8 computers were hooked up for kids to play together. The boys have played Minecraft with their cousins before, but this was a different experience for them since it was on computers instead of devices (iPads, phones, etc.)

They had a great time and are looking forward to the next Minecraft afternoon in July. If you want to try something fun at your library this summer, check out the calendar of events at KRL!

This post is part of our Summer Learning Inspiration series.  Folks in our community have agreed to share inspiration and talk about some of the amazing things that they’ve been #LibraryInspired to learn!

Inspired by Fiction

Summer is for dreaming, learning, and doing, not just in real life but also in the world of fiction!

Here are a few books in which the characters set out to achieve a specific goal.  If you check them out, not only will you be able to fill in some time to count towards your ten (or one hundred!) hours of reading, you may even be inspired to set a goal of your own for the Dream. Learn. Do. Be side of the tracker.

Juvenile Fiction:

spud murphy

Legend of Spud Murphy by Eoin Colfer

When their mother starts dropping them off at the library several afternoons a week, nine-year-old William and his brother dread boredom and the overbearing librarian, but they are surprised at how things turn out.

alvin ho

Alvin Ho:  Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters by Lenore Look

Alvin, a second grader who’s afraid of everything, is back, and his worst fear has come true:he has to go camping. What will he do exposed in the wilderness with bears and darkness and . . . pit toilets?

Young Adult Fiction:

swim the fly

Swim the Fly by Don Calame

Fifteen-year-old Matt Gratton and his two best friends, Coop and Sean, always set themselves a summertime goal. This year’s? To see a real-live naked girl for the first time–quite a challenge, given that none of the guys has the nerve to even ask a girl out on a date. But catching a girl in the buff starts to look easy compared to Matt’s other summertime aspiration: to swim the 100-yard butterfly (the hardest stroke known to God or man) as a way to impress Kelly West, the sizzling new star of the swim team.


Will and Whit by  Laura Lee Gulledge

Wilhelmina “Will” Huxstep crafts whimsical lamps, in part to deal with her fear of the dark. She longs for unplugged adventures with her fellow creative friends.  Little does she know that she will get her wish in the form of an arts carnival and a blackout, which forces Will to face her fear of darkness.


Orchards by Holly Thompson

Sent to Japan for the summer after an eighth-grade, half-Jewish Kana Goldberg tries to fit in with relatives she barely knows while “reflecting in the presence of her ancestors” on the guilt she feels over a tragedy back home.

Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction: 

rosie project

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

A socially awkward genetics professor who has never been on a second date sets out to find the perfect wife, but instead finds Rosie Jarman, a fiercely independent barmaid who is on a quest to find her biological father.

spare parts

Spare Parts:  Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream by Joshua Davis

With the help of two inspiring science teachers, four undocumented Mexican immigrants in Arizona put together an underwater robot from scavenged parts and went on to win the National Underwater Robotics Competition at UC Santa Barbara.

Humans of Kitsap

Who are the Humans of Kitsap? This summer the Library has been inspired by the popular Humans of New York blog by Brandon Stanton. He honors the people who live and work in New York City. The Library wants to honor the people who live and work in our community of Kitsap County. We are asking you to help us out by sharing stories of the humans in your life: your friends, family, coworkers and neighbors.

HumansofKitsapWant to participate? It’s easy! Everyone has a story. Everyone has something of value that they can share with our community. Start a conversation with someone you know. Ask them questions about what inspires them, their dreams, their regrets, their likes or their dislikes. Then simply post a picture of them along with a quote to your favorite social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and tag it with #humansofkitsap. The Library will be collecting the pictures and sharing them on our Humans of Kitsap Pinterest board.

Are you not confident in your photography or conversation skills? Then join us at one of our Humans of Kitsap programs. We are offering basic photography, photo editing and conversational interview workshops. We are also planning an end of the summer celebration to honor the people, photographers and subjects, who participated. All of the details are available in our summer issue of Inspire or on this webpage.

So keep an eye on Humans of Kitsap! You never know when you’ll see someone you know…or someone you would like to!

Teen Tech Week

On March 8-14, Kitsap Regional Library joins many other public libraries around the country in celebrating Teen Tech Week. Teen Tech Week gives libraries the chance to show teens all of the new technology features found in their libraries. This enables teens to become more technologically savvy and confident. This is something that is crucial for young people as they develop into 21st century career professionals in an increasingly tech-driven world. Here at the Kitsap Regional Library, we see this initiative as something we proudly offer every week of the year. Through our STEM and BiblioTEC programming, digital databases and e-resources, we share with teens the digital tools and equipment that will help them succeed in school and beyond.

We ask every teen in our community to visit their local library and learn about all of the useful digital resources we have to offer. Our librarians and staff are happy to share this knowledge.

With our downloadable resources, you can download books and audio books, free music and magazines.

With our databases, you can get homework help and learn a new language, just to name a few.

With our STEM and BiblioTEC programming, we offer teens a chance to learn about all sorts of technology topics including 3D printing and game design. Check out weekly events here.

Please stop by  your local library and ask our staff about all of the digital resources and programming we offer.



STEM Learning

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. When I was in school, we learned these subjects separately. Rarely did my math class discuss science or technology concepts. Yet all these subjects go hand in hand when they are applied to any project.

With the STEM learning approach, educators combine science, technology, engineering and math concepts into every cohesive lesson. Participants learn that when these subjects are used together, each enhances the other. By applying these topics towards projects that are tailored to the participant’s learning styles and passions, this interest-driven learning is helping to inspire children and prepare them for important 21st century career paths. As the STEM-related job world grows, employees possessing computing, engineering, physical, life sciences and mathematics skills will be increasingly sought after.

In a real-world job, an engineer would rely on scientific findings, advancements in technology and mathematic equations to determine how to approach a project. The same idea is being introduced in educational institutions and after school programs. This is often being done in a connected learning environment, where participants are both learning these important subjects and also teaching them to each other. Their skill sets are strengthened as they work in teams to complete a project. Problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration are all key parts of the connective learning STEM approach.

Along with many other after school programs in the community, STEM learning has become an important part of library programming, particularly in our Summer of Learning programming, which begins on the first week of June. Check out the KRL events calendar for upcoming STEM and other fun programming.

Learning happens everywhere.

Interested in learning more about local and national STEM learning?Check out:

West Sound STEM

Next Generation Science Standards


Summer of Learning Design Challenge #12: Code Academy

Check in here every Friday for a new Design Challenge. We will provide you with ideas for a full summer of fun things to make and do. It is all part of summer fun for kids and teens at the Kitsap Regional Library.

We all surf the web, play video games and use apps. But how are these things built? How are they maintained?

The answer is, by learning how to code! And the cool thing is, everyone can code. Especially, with help from a website like Code Academy.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:


Code Academy offers you a fun and easy way to learn a variety of computer languages. Build a website or blog with HTML/CSS, make games with JavaScript and see how Facebook is powered with PHP.


Photo Credit: Seth Ciotti
Photo Credit: Seth Ciotti


Using interactive lessons, Code Academy walks you through each step of learning a language as you apply it to completing a project.


Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:


Once you complete a language lesson, you’ve developed programming skills! Code Academy has all sorts of fun projects you can work on with your new programming language skills. Build games or apps with ease.

Now you can show off your knowledge with a detailed profile. Share your computer programming skills, earn digital badges and join groups to find others interested in coding.

Photo Credit: Seth Ciotti
Photo Credit: Seth Ciotti


So go to the site, make a FREE account and start coding.  Create the next great phone app, video game or website.

We’d love to see what you come up with. Email your photos to Digital Branch Manager, Jean Charters, at for possible inclusion in a future blog post (under 1 MB file size please) or stop by your library to show off your creativity.

Summer of Learning Design Challenge #12: Recycle Newspaper Into a Papier Mache Mask

What do you do with the newspaper when you’re finished reading it?  Try recycling it into a papier mache mask.  All you  need is newspaper, flour, water, and a balloon.

Blow up a balloon, but don’t pop it.  The size of the balloon will be the size of your mask.

Source: KirstinM
Photo Credit: KirstinM

This project will be messy, so lay down a plastic garbage bag or something similar to protect your work space.  Then, tear the newspaper into strips (these can be long or short—it depends on the size of your balloon).  Make enough strips to put 3-4 layers on top your balloon.

Photo credit: KirstinM
Photo credit: KirstinM

Mix together 1 cup of flour and 2 cups of water very well and pour the mixture into a shallow container.  Lay each strip of paper in the mixture to soak up paste.  Lift it up and run it between your thumb and fingers to get rid of excess paste before laying it on the balloon.  Gently run your finger over the strip to press it securely on the balloon.

Alternate laying strips on the balloon vertically and horizontally—this allows you to see which layer you’re working on.

Photo Credit: KirstinM
Photo Credit: KirstinM

After two layers, allow the paste to dry completely, then, add the third and fourth layers.  Put your balloon on top of something that allows air to circulate around it.   Allow several hours for your project to dry fully.

Carefully pop the balloon with a pin or needle.

Design Challenge - Papier-Mache Masks4 010

Use scissors to cut the balloon in half.  You should have two separate mask blanks to work with.   Design Challenge - Papier-Mache Masks5 011

Cut a bit off of the top or bottom or sides, if you wish!

Design Challenge - Papier-Mache Masks6 012Design Challenge - Papier-Mache Masks7 013

Mark on the mask where you want eye or nose or mouth holes to go and carefully cut them out.  Remember:  if you are going to wear your mask, make sure that your eyes and the eye holes in the mask line up.  Paint your mask or decorate it in other ways—add feathers, ribbon, glitter, pompons, yarn—whatever you have on hand.

Design Challenge #12 - Papier-Mache Mask2

What else can you make out of newspaper?  Bowls, hats, pinatas, puppets, noisemakers, rainsticks—the list goes on!  Take a look inside these books to find other fun things to create using papier mache.

papier mache monsters  creating papier mache  papier mache