Miss Rumphius Awards Ceremony – 2022

Published On: June 30th, 2022

The NJ Center for the Book presented its Miss Rumphius Award for 2022 to Kate Davis, Youth Services Librarian at the Jersey City Free Public Library for her program “Fun Fridays”. The award was presented at a reception during the NJ Library Association’s annual spring conference.

“Fun Fridays” focused on how the JCFP library could support student learning during the Covid pandemic when students were at home primarily.  Working with their colleagues on the Jersey City Office of Education Special Education’s Team, Davis created a zoom program that encompassed a variety of content, such as virtual field trips, story times, reading, art, exercising/dancing, etc.  The program was publicized broadly with posters, flyers, and on internet platforms, such as YouTube. The program was so popular and had such a wide reach that it required increased the zoom capacity for more than 3,000 attendees. About 1 in 8 Jersey City Public School children attend this program.  Especially noteworthy is that the collaborative outreach for programing on this project was broad and creative.  A collaboration with the Liberty Science Center resulted in a virtual field trip.  Twenty outside performers  were engaged and performed, such as Mario the Magician, and the children’s TV stars Carly Ciarrocci and Emily Borrameo.

Ms. Davis suggests that this program can be replicated by any librarian partnering with their local schools to create programming that meets their community needs, and then connecting them to fun, high energy and educational performers, interesting places, or interested individuals and groups. The program started in the 2020-2021 academic year (and the 2021 summer session). Once students returned to classrooms, the program was reduced to once a month.