By Ann Miller

Just in time for National Library Week (April 9-15), Solano County Library announces five winners of staff innovation grant, which are designed to engage the community in new or enhanced ways. “The purpose of this project is to foster innovation by supporting staff willing to explore new ways to move forward with our future strategic directions,” said Bonnie Katz, Solano County’s director of library services. 

The projects run the gamut of newly imagined library services,  from a sensory garden to coding for kids.  Other projects include robotics with teens, board games for borrowing, and a “cruiser” cart to share the library in at festivals and events. The five winners will each receive $1000 to execute their project by the end of 2017. “We are looking forward to watching these ideas grow, from the pilot stage to fully-realized programs that we can offer at our libraries across the county,” said Katz.


The projects and their proposers are detailed below (full descriptions at


Board Games to Borrow is a collection of modern board games that can be checked out from the library.  These are cooperative games that bring families and friends together and require deduction, abstract thinking and storytelling to achieve victory.  Innovator Mike Perkins, Librarian.


The “Cruiser” is a mobile cart that will bring the library to the community at local festivals and events. It will also be an interactive hands-on tool for children’s programs and a tool for educating current and potential customers about the library. Innovator Delilah Wilson, Library Associate.


Rasberry Pi Computers and Programming is a simple, relatively portable computer lab using single board computers and a free computing language to teach children basic computer skills. Children get excited about controlling the technology they use every day and adopt a “maker” mindset which improves their skills for future engineering, math and science learning. Innovator Charles Hargrove, Librarian.


A Sensory Garden will be designed and installed near the Civic Center pond in Fairfield.  The garden includes textures, colors and fragrances that welcome adults and children reading individually or as part of library storytimes.  Innovators- Serena Enger, Librarian and Teresa Lavell, Literacy Program Assistant.


 S.T.E.A.M. Kits provides tweens an teens an opportunity to work with easy-to-use robotics to develop S.T.E.A.M.( Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) skills and knowledge.  The program gives participants a chance to satisfy their scientific and creative curiosities by working with equipment that requires no special technical abilities.  Innovator Andrea Klecki, Librarian.




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