Category : Kids

Gwinnett Libraries bring Learning alive!

Thanks to a generous donation from the Atlanta Retailers Association (ARA) that was matched by the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia, Alive Studios is equipping all 15 Gwinnett County Public Library branches with its evidence-based Learning alive™ kits.

Alive Studios is a Gwinnett-based software developer that creates mind-boggling learning experiences to increase student engagement and improve early literacy. Students are motivated and inspired as they interact with 26 virtual zoo animals while learning the essential fundamentals of reading and math. Alive Studios’ programs use a technology called augmented reality (3D without glasses) to bring lessons to life. The learning kits are currently being used in more than 3,500 classrooms around the country.

“We’re very excited to be the first public library in the country to roll out this program,” said Shelly Schwerzler, the development manager at Gwinnett County Public Library. The library system plans to make this highly engaging learning experience available to children all around Gwinnett. “Our youth services team will be incorporating this new way to learn about letters, words, and sentences into our existing early literacy programs,” Schwerzler added.   

The Learning alive Plus kit that will be donated to each library branch includes 26 letter cards, 97 sight-word cards, and 84 word-family cards. Each card is interactive and triggers multiple 3D animations depending on the word or sentence that is created. While learning to identify and sound out each letter, children are able to hear, see, touch, build, and speak throughout the lesson. This multimodal approach appeals to a broad range of learning styles and abilities, increases long-term retention, and is especially effective with at-risk students  and English language learners. Also included are three Interactive Stories and a full, supplemental math program aligned to state standards for kindergarten.

“We are so thrilled to partner with Gwinnett County Public Library and have Learning alive available to so many children around Gwinnett,” said Cynthia Kaye, Alive Studios’ CEO and Chief Zoo Keeper. “What a generous gift from the ARA and Community Foundation!”

Library staff will be installing the learning kits this summer and will receive training on how best to use the reading and math supplemental curricula within their programs. “Our plan is to introduce Learning alive in a couple of our summer programs and then do a full rollout this fall for back-to-school,” said Schwerzler. “We will be using an online assessment tool to monitor the program’s effectiveness and to help us provide the best service for our community.”

8 Amazing Products Made With a 3D Printer

Submitted by Alexandria Ducksworth

Did you know you can print a house? What about a car? It can be printed and purchased for only $10,000!

Since Chuck Hull made the 3D printer, innovators all over the world have created incredible items.

Here are eight amazing products made with a 3D printer:

1. Prosthetic Beak

Tieta the Toucan has been rescued from an animal fair with a broken upper beak. Designers have printed a 3D prosthetic beak for Tieta so she can properly eat again.

2. Prosthetic Arm

Ben Ryan has 3D printed an arm for his son after his original arm was amputated. Since then, Ryan has established Ambionics, a company helping disabled children in similar situations.

3. High Heels

Former fashion student Pauline van Dongen created 3D printed heels for her fashion show project Morphogenesis.

4. Cast

Don’t want to deal with the itchy issues wearing a traditional cast? Patients now have the option to wear the 3D printed Cortex Cast. Price ranges from $200 to $500.

5. Bikini

The 3D printed N12 waterproof bikinis are made from waterproof nylon. You can find them at the Consortium store.

6. House

Startup company Agis Cor has completed a 400 square 3D printed house in 24 hours. Price: $10,134.

7. Apartment

China has taken 3D printing to the next level creating a five-story apartment. WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co. printed the building from recyclable material and leftover industry material.

8. Pizza

NASA has given the 3D printing company BeeHex a grant to design a 3D printing machine for hungry astronauts, especially those headed to Mars. Beehex made Chef 3D to make pizzas. There are talks for an app for customers to select their pizza toppings and design.

Inspired to create the next 3D product? Look out for these 3D printing events coming to a branch near you:

-3D Design with TinkerCad
-3D Printing 101 & 102
-3D Printing Fashion Accessories
-Teen Hydraulic 3D Food Printer

Solve Tricky Math Problems With These Sites

Submitted by Alexandria Ducksworth

Ready to get better at math? You’re in luck!

GCPL provides many sites for solving tricky math problems. The sites below are categorized in the Digital Resource page by Homework Help categories: Elementary School, Middle School, and High School.

Here are some sample topics you’ll find within a few of the websites:

1. Homework Help: Elementary School

Site: Study Jams
-Data Analysis

Site: Math Playground
-Geometry and graphs
-Telling time

2. Homework Help: Middle School

Site: Web Math
-Complex numbers
-The Metric System

3. Homework Help: High School

Site: Math Planet
-Algebra I and II
-SAT and ACT

Site: Khan Academy
-AP Statistics
-AP Calculus AB and BC

Check out more valuable math resources and books for extra help!

How to Find New Books in the GCPL Catalog

Submitted by Alexandria Ducksworth

Everything may seem overwhelming to you with all the changes on the GCPL website. All you want probably is the latest James Patterson or Diary of a Wimpy Kid book.

To make things easier for you, here are two methods how you can find new books on the GCPL catalog.

Method 1: “From the Catalog”
1. On GCPL’s main site, click on “catalog” located on the top right corner of your screen.
2. Click on the “What’s New” tab. The following selections will show up:
-Coming Attractions
-New Adult Books
-New Books on CD
-New Digital Titles
-New DVDs
-New Kids Books
-New Large Print
-New Teen Titles
-NY Times Bestsellers
3. Click on your desired selection.

Method 2: “Browse Menu
1. Find the “Filter your results by…” selection on the left side of your screen.
2. Click on the “New at the Library” tab. There you have a selection of the past days to choose from: 7, 30, 60, 90, 180, and over 180 days.
3. Choose your desired results.

Extra tip: Click on “Published Date” for books published on a specific year under the “Filter your results by…” area.

Need further assistance? Feel free to call us, stop by your closest GCPL location or contact us via the “Ask Box” chatbox on our website.

9 Tips for an Awesome Disney Trip

Submitted by Alexandria Ducksworth

There’s no better way to celebrate the beginning of summer than a magical Disney adventure. Before you throw your luggage in the car and hit the road, here are 9 tips for an awesome Disney trip.

1. Make sure to purchase Magic Bands for you and your family.

Use these wristbands to gain park access and FastPass access to any Disney ride.
Disney Magic Bands

2. Download the My Disney Experience app to check ride waiting times and purchase Disney merchandise.

Stuck in line craving a dole whip? You can use the app for its Mobile Order services. Select a meal from your chosen location and pick it up at the quick Mobile Order line.
My Disney Experience App

3. If you’re planning to visit Disney World more than once a year, research the Disney Annual Passes.

Passholders receive discount benefits on rides and hotel rooms.
Disney Parks Annual Passes

4. Are you an AAA member? Members receive Disney hotel room discounts too!

AAA Disney Discounts

5. Going grocery shopping while you’re at Disney? Make sure you rent a mini-fridge for your hotel room.

Grocery Delivery Services

6. Find the hottest Disney ticket discounts on Undercover Tourist.

Undercover Tourist Discounts

7. Arrived at your Disney resort early? No worries! Hotel services will hold your luggage hours before your official check-in time.

Moms Panel: Baggage Services

8. Toy Story Land will open this summer! Make sure your reserve your FastPass access to the latest Disney attraction.

Toy Story Land: Coming Summer 2018

9. Don’t forget to check out our library’s copy of Birnbaum’s 2018 Walt Disney World and our Disney Parks DVDs.

Birnbaum’s 2018 Walt Disney World and Walt Disney World Resort: Behind the Scenes


GCPL Gears Up for 2018 Summer Reading Program

Readers of all ages can begin signing up for Gwinnett County Public Library’s 2018 Summer Reading Program. This year’s theme is Libraries Rock!

Reading for fun builds literacy skills, expands vocabulary, and helps kids explore their growing interests and expand their horizons. Research shows that kids who participate in library Summer Reading Programs read more regularly and maintain or improve reading skills which means they are ready to learn in August.

Readers can collect prizes from sponsors including Aurora Children’s Playhouse, Kona Ice, Gwinnett Stripers, Laser Quest, Medieval Times, Stars and Strikes, and Zaxby’s. Prizes vary by age and are available while supplies last.

The library will also host special programs featuring STEAM, crafts, movies, storytimes, and guest performers all summer long.

Adults can sign up for the Adult Summer Reading Challenge, log time spent reading, and enter to win one of 15 BBQ-themed gift baskets valued at over $75, or one of 15 pairs of tickets to a performance at the Aurora Theatre.

“Summer reading isn’t just about reading anymore,” says Patty Reeber, GCPL’s youth services manager. “It’s also about providing fun ways to encourage different types of learning. We have programs that span virtual reality, knitting, coding and more. The library has so much to offer our community and summer is a great time to explore something new.”

To learn more and sign up for the Summer Reading Program, visit

10 Fun Things to Do at Zoo Atlanta

Submitted by Alexandria Ducksworth

Did you know you can visit the Zoo Atlanta free with your library card? Going to the zoo can be pricey especially if you have a big family and on a tight family outing budget. Here are 10 fun things to do at Zoo Atlanta you and your family can enjoy:

1. Meet friendly farm animals at the petting zoo.

2. Learn about owls, parrots, and birds of prey at the Fantastic Flights event.

3. Check out what animals do at night with special night goggles on the Twilight Trek.

4. Venture around the zoo aboard the zoo train.

5. Help Clue Spotter the Otter with Zoo Clues and win special prizes.

6. Learn more about your favorite zoo animals and zookeepers’ daily activities at the Keeper Talks.

7. Have Wild Encounters with Atlanta’s famous giant pandas, Aldabra tortoises, and more.

8. Swing around like a monkey on the Treetop Trail! This jungle gym adventure playground opened up just last year.

9. Can’t get enough birds? Register in advance for the zoo’s birdwatching program

10. Set up a sleepover at the zoo! Guests during this awesome event receive a night tour of the zoo, continental breakfast, and free zoo admission the day after.

Take note: some programs and events may cost extra and not be included with libraries zoo pass. Check Zoo Atlanta for further details.

Visit your local GCPL location to receive your pass.They’re our libraries hottest items. Make sure you get one before they’re gone! You can always check in advance the status of zoo passes available here before you leave home. Enjoy your trip!

Architects, Engineers, and Inventors for Kids

Architects, Engineers, and Inventors for Kids: Books about folks who build, make, think and plan.

Coding: The Newest Engaging Family Activity

Submitted by Ashley Melonson

Coding has become a powerful movement within schools and communities in today’s culture. Whether someone is working on building websites or apps, coding can open up a fun, intellectual world. GCPL is offering an inventive three day program, Coding with the fam, so you can find out about coding’s vast capabilities. This opportunity will have many benefits for those looking to delve into something new or get out with the family.

Teaches a Specialized Skill

Learning to code will teach you a creative tool that can turn into much more. Getting your children interested in coding early could lead to them discovering a love for the craft and an interest in technology-related careers. You can help them uncover a desire to learn and create by getting involved in coding events.

Expands Minds

Not only are you utilizing a unique trade, but by doing so, you’re expanding your computer competency and informational intellect. Mastering the practical applications of coding can help you and your family stretch both your technical abilities and imagination with the things you choose to design.

Brings People Together

Spending time coding with your family can also bring you together. Experiencing an educational adventure can excite new aspirations and increase a common connection. Bonding with your family can become both engaging and informative with celebrations like Coding with the fam.

Join us at the Mountain Park Branch from April 17-19 at 4-5 pm.

Celebrate National Library Week April 8-14

This week, Gwinnett County Public Library joins libraries nationwide in celebrating the many ways libraries lead their communities through the transformative services, programs and expertise they offer.

April 8-14 is National Library Week, an annual celebration of the life-changing work of libraries, librarians and library workers. Libraries aren’t just places to borrow books or study—they’re also creative and engaging community centers where people can collaborate using new technologies and develop their skills and passions.

Libraries of all types have long been evolving to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Diverse groups including elected officials, small business owners and students depend upon libraries and the resources they offer. Resources like e-books and technology classes, materials for English-language learners and programs for job seekers are just a few ways libraries and librarians are transforming to lead their communities. Community members can also develop their own leadership skills at the library, with endless opportunity to build skills and confidence through resources and programming.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April.