Disaster Preparedness

Hurricane season started June 1 and runs through November 30. 
Are you and your family prepared? 

There are many things you can do to protect your loved ones and property in the event of an emergency and the library has a wealth of resources on the subject of disaster preparedness.  While some of the information below is specific to hurricanes, much of it can be applied to a variety of disaster and recovery situations and is therefore good information to keep in mind.

Books available in our catalog:
The Homeowner’s Hurricane Handbook, by Bob Stearns.
A how-to guide for dealing with hurricanes before, during, and after. This resource will help you to better understand how, where and when these powerful storms form, how to protect yourself and your property, and how to deal with the repercussions of the storm.


Natural Disasters, by Claire Watts
Describes a wide range of natural disasters including earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, volcanoes, landslides, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and epidemics.


Survival Mom : How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst-Case Scenarios, by Lisa Bedford.
Written by a mom for moms, this go-to manual includes charts, checklists, and even recipes.  Author Lisa Bedford provides information about food storage, water and sanitation, fuel and energy, medical preparedness, communication protocols and more.  Written with a “you can do it” attitude to promote being proactive in the face of uncertainty.

Disaster Preparedness Handbook : A Guide for Families, by Arthur T. Bradley.
This guide is written by an army veteran and NASA engineer to help you establish a practical disaster plan for your entire family.  Additional information is also presented for those with special needs, including the elderly and disabled, children, pregnant women, and even pets.


In addition to the books listed above, you can find information specific to your geographical area from both local and federal government agencies:

The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council‘s website includes county hurricane guides, evacuation maps and shelter lists.  Use this information to determine your zone, best escape routes and closest shelters.


Hillsborough County has a special Alert Center where you can sign up to receive important email or text alerts from the county about weather or emergency situations.  There are also options for receiving information from other county departments if you are interested (including the library)!

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hosts a preparedness site called Ready.gov.  This site has a special section dedicated to hurricanes and includes specific information for before, during and after a hurricane.  There are excellent resources for parents and educators as well, including an preparedness activity book for kids.

For more information about these and other FREE resources available @ your library®, call (813) 273-3652 or visit http://www.hcplc.org/.


June 21, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Children’s Gardening Books

School’s out for summer and that means kids have more time to play in the dirt.  Get them involved in some planting this summer with gardening resources for children found in our catalog (some of which are higlighted below).

Mother Earth News’ “What To Plant Now” feature is a great online resource to help you plan your garden.  They list the following as the top ten crops to plant in the Gulf Coast region in June:

 1. Sweet pepper          6. Lettuce
2. Cherry tomato          7. Spinach
3. Bulb onion                8. Potato
4. Slicing tomato          9. Cucumber
5. Garlic                         10. Summer squash

Here are some of the gardening books in our collection, be sure to check out our catalog for many more:
Gardening with Kids, by Catherine Woram & Martyn Cox
35 gardening projects for kids from toddlers and up.  Includes garden game and activity ideas.


Kids Container Gardening; Year-Round Projects for Inside and Out, by Cindy Krezel
Organized by season, this book shows how to make simple and fun planting containers, talks about the planting process and includes a glossary of plants and terms used in the book.


A Backyard Flower Garden for Kids, by Amie Jane Leavitt
Presents information and advice on choosing flowers, preparing a place for them to grow, and then planting and caring for them.


For more information about these and other FREE resources available @ your library®, call (813) 273-3652 or visit http://www.hcplc.org/.

June 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Creative Arts Theater Presents: Sinabouda Lily

Let Creative Arts Theatre transport you to the south sea island of Papua New Guinea this summer with their latest puppet show, Sinabouda Lily.  Sinabouda Lily is a girl who loves to swing and eat bananas, but what will happen when she forgets to heed her father’s warning and puts herself in danger of becoming lunch for the wicked Sinawakelakela?   

Colorful life-size puppets, rhythmic island music and dance will entertain you at this free puppet show being offered at several library locations throughout the county.  Check our events calendar to see when this show is coming to a library near you.

For more information about this and other FREE programs happening @ your library®, call (813) 273-3652 or visit http://www.hcplc.org/.

June 12, 2012 at 12:00 am

Wonders of Nature at the John F. Germany Public Library

Summer Reading for the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System kicks off this week!  Our summer events calendar for children is jam-packed with fun events happening at libraries throughout the county and this week you can join us at the John F. Germany Public Library for a wildlife encounter!

On Thursday, June 14, trainer, Matt Edmonds will be bringing his traveling Wonders of Nature show to the main library downtown.  Watch in amazement as a raptor gracefully flies inches above your head or laugh out loud at a parrot comedy routine!  

While working at the Lowry Park Zoo, Matt became increasingly interested in the animal training method of operant conditioning (positive reinforcement).  In 2002, he founded Wonders of Nature and began performing wildlife education shows.  Through his guidance, audience members will have many opportunities to participate and will come away from the show with a better understanding of wildlife conservation.  Matt and his crew believe that “learning is taught, but caring is caught,” and by introducing audiences to these amazing animals, he hopes to increase appreciation for nature and promote lifelong environmental responsibility.

This program will start at 10:30 a.m. in the auditorium and is recommended for ages 5-12 (though we suspect accompanying adults will enjoy it too)!  Can’t make it downtown?  A number of our other libraries will be hosting this program as well, so be sure to check the events calendar for showtimes at a location near you.  Check out this video sneak peek of Matt working with one of his coworkers, a yellow-naped Amazon parrot named Moby.

You can watch additional videos and learn more about Matt and his fantastic animal crew on his website

For more information about this and other FREE programs available @ your library®, call (813) 273-3652 or visit http://www.hcplc.org/.

June 11, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Explore Local Wildlife @ Your Library

School’s almost out in Hillsborough County and children are already looking for things to do this summer.  Why not take this time to explore our local wildlife?  The library has many resources to help your budding naturalist:

Though most bird guides are geared toward adults, even the youngest bird-watcher will find a photo-filled guide a helpful tool in their quest to identify their surrounding feathered friends.  A number of bird field guides can be found in our catalog.  Children might also be interested in building a birdhouse to observe these animals.  There are many kid-friendly designs online;  some examples of which can be found on CraftyBirds.com.

The Complete Birdhouse Book : the Easy Guide to Attracting Nesting Birds, by Donald and Lillian Stokes is a great resource for learning about which birds nest in birdhouses, the best location to place your birdhouse and what to do to attract birds to your yard.  Florida is host to a variety of interesting birds including the White Ibis, the Roseate Spoonbill and the Pelican, so get out your binoculars and give bird-watching a try!

Everyone knows Florida has alligators and snakes, but how much do you really know about these creatures that are living in or near your backyard?  Click on the images at left to find some scaly resources.

In addition to the snake resources at left, the Florida Museum of Natural History also has a great online Florida Snake Identification Guide.  Our collection also contains resources about Anole lizards,  Gopher Tortoises, and more!

In the Water
Have a child who loves the underwater world?  Manatees and Dolphins, both common visitors to the Tampa Bay area, always make for popular study subjects.  Search our collection for resources on more water animals including saltwater and freshwater fish, the Horseshoe crab, or how about one of the fifty species of sharks that can be found along the coasts of Florida!

Land Mammals

Otters, opossums, raccoons, key deer and armadillos are among the more commonly seen mammals in Florida.  Have you spotted any of these where you live?

This post just barely scratches the surface of wildlife existing in Florida.  If you don’t see your favorite creature, try plugging it into our catalog to find resources tailored to your interests.

For more information about these and other FREE resources available @ your library®, call (813) 273-3652 or visit http://www.hcplc.org/.

June 5, 2012 at 6:53 pm

myON And Other Digital Reading Resources for Kids

Every Hillsborough County Public School student now has access to myON, an online digital book platform created by Capstone Publishing containing books for students in grades K-8.  Like Tumblebooks, these books can be read directly online rather than having to be downloaded or checked out.

If your student has forgotten how to login to myON, please help them to follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the myON website.  You can find a link to myON on our website using the following path:  Just For Kids > Reading & Books > Books & Stories Online > myON Reader.
  2. Click “Login Now” at the bottom of the screen
  3. Type in the child’s School Name
  4. Type in the child’s Username: (their seven digit student number/lunch number)
  5. Type in the child’s Password: birth date month and year (Example: July 2005 = 072005)

When visiting the library, this site can be reached from all Just for Kids computers in addtion to any regular internet-access computers. If you have any trouble logging in, please see a librarian for assistance, we are happy to help.

If you are looking for more online reading opportunities for kids, try some of the other resources we link to from our website:

International Children’s Digital Library: A collection of books that represents outstanding historical and contemporary books from throughout the world.  Includes stories in over fifteen languages!

Children’s Books Forever: Free, scanned children’s books that can be used on SmartBoard, PowerPoint or overhead projectors.

American Folklore: Retellings of folktales, myths, legends, fairy tales, superstitions, weatherlore, and ghost stories from all over the Americas.

StoryPlace: The Children’s Digital Library: This site, voted a Great Website for Kids by the American Library Association, is hosted by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and includes stories and activities for children young and old.

Starfall: Scientific, research-based reading materials and activities modeled on the “Big Five” focus areas recommended by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.

For more information about these and other FREE resources available @ your library®, call (813) 273-3652 or visit http://www.hcplc.org/.

Happy Reading!

May 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Caldecott Medal Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Caldecott 75th Anniversary Logo

The Caldecott Medal is celebrating it’s 75th Anniversary!

Each year the Association of Library Services to Children (ALSC) bestows this popular award upon the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. 

Randolph Caldecott, for whom the award is named, was an influential children’s illustrator working in England during the Victorian era.  His artwork was renowned for its ability to depict movement, which is evident in one of his illustrations depicted on the Caldecott Medal and Caldecott honor seal.  In a previous post, we highlighted this year’s award recipient, Chris Raschka, for his book, A Ball for Daisy.

Brian Selznick, author and illustrator of the 2008 Caldecott award-winning book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret has created the special Caldecott 75th Anniversary design you see above.  Do the figures in the illustration look familiar?  He has incorporated characters from previous Caldecott award-winning books spanning all the way back to the award’s beginning in 1938.  Each month, ALSC will be discussing each of the ten characters in their Caldecott Clue Countdown, so check their website often to learn more.

Want to get a better feel for what books merit this notable award?  Check out our annotated list of Caldecott award winners back to the year 2000 with links to the actual items available for checkout in our catalog.  Alternatively, from the ALSC website, you can view the list of all Caldecott medal and honor books all the way back to 1938!

For more information about award-winning books and FREE programs for children @ your library®, call (813) 273-3652 or visit http://www.hcplc.org/

The Caldecott Award is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). The 75th Anniversary illustration and logo copyright © 2012 by Brian Selznick. Used with permission of ALSC/ALA.

May 29, 2012 at 11:23 am

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