The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
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March 2003

Special Collections & Indexes—Realia

Most of the Library’s collections of realia (objects used for teaching) have been amassed for programming use and community outreach. Although they can’t be borrowed, we thought our customers might like to know about these very special collections—some of them made by our own creative staff members.

Puppets and Realia

The Outreach Services Department has collected hundreds of puppets, storytelling kits, flannel board kits, and items of realia. Gathered from around the world (seashells and corals, for example) or crafted in-house (a suit of medieval chain mail made from soda can pop-tops), the collection is used to present monthly programs for children with special needs at schools and other facilities. It also features in annual puppet shows throughout the Library system during the Summer Reading Club months. Our Children’s Learning Center has another large collection of puppets, posters, and props, gathered over the years to add a visual frame of reference to the hundreds of programs and displays the department creates each year for children. Branch children’s librarians similarly collect and share puppets, dolls, and other storytelling aids for the many programs they present.
Outreach Services Department, Children’s Learning Center, many branches

Bi-folkal Multimedia Kits

The Outreach Services Department collects multimedia materials primarily for the use of activity directors doing senior programming at residential facilities. Popular items include Bi-folkal kits, which are collections of themed items (including videos, slides, puzzles, games, songs, and multi-sensory items) designed to promote reminiscing among older adults. Other items in the collection include visit kits to be used one-on-one by volunteers working with seniors, sing-along kits that include videos and songbooks, and nostalgic videos.
Outreach Services Department