Signs of Winter

Submitted by NYSL Staff on Wed, 11/23/2022 - 10:23

New York is no stranger to snow; this year alone Western New York has seen six feet of powder before winter has officially begun! How do you make the most of the longer nights and snow covered ground? Do you stay cozy indoors or embrace winter by sledding, skating, and skiing? Share with us what winter in New York means for you.

Share your story!

Comfort Foods

Submitted by NYSL Staff on Mon, 10/24/2022 - 13:19

As the weather in New York gets bitter, we gravitate toward foods that chase the chill from our bones like hot cups of coffee, hearty soups, and mom’s homemade stuffing. Do you have a favorite dish that has been passed down the generations, or a local specialty that makes you feel at home? Share your food stories and experiences that warm your heart.

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The Great Outdoors

Submitted by NYSL Staff on Tue, 09/20/2022 - 15:41

New York is known for its towering skyscrapers, but it is also home to one of the largest publicly protected wilderness areas in the United States. City dwellers can’t help but flock north to get a breath of the Adirondacks' fresh mountain air and gaze upon the dappled colors of its undulating landscape in autumn . What’s your favorite thing to do or place to go to get away from it all?

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Signs of Fall

Submitted by NYSL Staff on Mon, 08/22/2022 - 12:11

There’s nothing better than New York in the fall: corn mazes, pumpkin spice, and of course New York apples! Do you have a favorite pumpkin or apple recipe for this time of year, or a favorite memory of harvest season? Whether making a trip to pick from your favorite orchard or enjoying cider with apple cider donuts, fall is beautiful and full of tasty treats! What does fall mean to New Yorkers?

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Are you cooling off near some water?

Submitted by NYSL Staff on Thu, 07/28/2022 - 11:03

New York and much of the country have been facing record breaking heat this summer. NYC experienced a long 90-degree streak while parts of upstate New York either saw record-breaking temperatures or it was just plain hot. With this extreme heat, New Yorkers might cool off by taking a swim in a local pool or lake. What's your favorite body of water? Take a pic at your favorite lake, river, or pond!

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Look up! The monthly challenge for July is fireworks!

Submitted by NYSL Staff on Wed, 07/06/2022 - 09:19

Throughout the summer months, fireworks may be used to mark significant events. It’s a way for community to come together as they celebrate and watch fantastic displays. Where do you go to watch fireworks? Do you have an annual tradition with family or friends? Do you prefer to find a quiet place away from the noise? We’d love to hear from you!

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We're kicking off Summer and the NYS Personal History Initiative!

Submitted by NYSL Staff on Fri, 05/20/2022 - 08:22

This is our first official challenge of the NYS Personal History Initiative. We're kicking it off with Signs of Summer! What makes you excited about summer? What are you looking forward to? Do you do anything special for the Summer months? Keep cool with some ice cream? Look for fun air-conditioned activities? Or maybe you love the heat and sit out by the community pool? We'd love to hear from you and learn what Summer means to New Yorkers! 

Share your story!

Hobbies and Activities

Submitted by NYSL Staff on Fri, 07/31/2020 - 14:12

After the start of NY Pause, when we all realized that our immediate futures included a lot of time at home, a lot of us began to search for ways to keep ourselves busy and pass the time. Some of us started to bake and share our triumphs (and failures) on social media. Some of us tried our hands at a new craft like knitting or embroidery. Some may have even used the time spent home to finally get to those home improvement projects we may have let slide.

If you learned a new hobby or tried your hand at a new activity during NY Pause, you can detail your experiences in your journal. Consider the following when writing:

  • What new hobbies have you discovered?
  • What new activities have you tried?
  • Why did you choose that hobby or activity?
  • Did you have more time to devote to a hobby or activity you already enjoyed?

Art Journaling

Submitted by NYSL Staff on Fri, 07/24/2020 - 14:08

Art journaling is a way to creatively express yourself using a combination of art and words. It doesn’t need to be complicated or perfect. You don’t need to be an artist to art journal. Spending just fifteen minutes a day jotting down thoughts and drawing, doodling, painting, or however else you’d like to express yourself is a great way to ease into the creative process.

Some ideas to try with art journaling:

  • Create an introduction page and draw a self portrait.
  • Draw a map of any outdoor spaces you may have visited during NY PAUSE.
  • Glue in some headlines from the newspaper and add your thoughts about the stories.
  • Draw or include pictures of your pets and talk about how they handled having their owners home so much.
  • Write a quote or mantra that has inspired you this year and embellish the space around it.

Summer Reading and the Personal History Initiative

Submitted by NYSL Staff on Fri, 07/17/2020 - 14:04

A collaboration between the NYSL COVID-19 Personal History Initiative (PHI) and Summer Reading 2020 came together when State Library colleagues recognized the strong connection between young people documenting their personal history during the pandemic and the 2020 Summer Reading theme of folklore and fairy tales and telling your own story.

Librarians have put together some ideas for Summer Reading programs/activities, which can also be done independently by parents with teens and children. The page also links to a webinar featuring an introduction about both the Summer Reading program and the PHI. Though designed for librarians to use, the webinar may offer an interesting peek into the world of Summer Reading planning. 

Families can also reach out to their local libraries and see what might be on offer for Summer Reading. Virtual programs, curbside pick-up of materials, even grab and go activities are some of the services libraries across the state are providing. Check with yours locally to see what you can participate in.


Journaling for Kids

porch with homemade 518 Rainbow Hunt banner hanging on the railing

Children's voices are underrepresented in the historical record but children live through and experience the same events adults do. Hearing their voices will add to the future understanding of life in 2020.

If your child is old enough to write on their own you can encourage them to create their own journal. Adults can assist younger children by asking them questions and recording their answers. All children might want to create drawings or other artwork to add to their journals.

Some questions to help get children started on a journal:

  • How did you feel today?
  • What has been your favorite/least favorite thing about staying home?
  • What questions do you have?
  • What would you like to change? What would you like to stay the same?