Welcome to this latest attempt to connect librarians from west-central Wisconsin with each other! Please send in content (booklists, ideas, photos, etc.), and comment on posts so we can help each other. If you were using feedmyinbox to get new posts sent to you before, you'll need to switch to another service (blogtrottr works like feedmyinbox, googlereader is a good blog-reader to try).

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Super-Charged Storytimes

flash of bright white lightening in a  dark purple sky

Storytimes!  They are the bread-and-butter of what we do as youth services librarians.  They are an important tool for sharing early literacy information and skills with kids and parents, they are a ton of fun, and most libraries have one. 

Now, thanks to the Institute for Museum and Library Services and OCLC, there is a chance to take a course, completely self-paced, absolutely free, about ways to Super-Charge Storytimes.  Taking this course will allow you to examine ways to make your storytime more intentional and more exciting!

Saroj Ghoting, one of the lead instructors, came to IFLS-land a few years back to give a well-received and inspiring workshop.  Now's your chance to get more inspiration and information to help make your storytimes effective and amazing.

If you would love to have a group of people from the area to take this course together and get together now and then to talk about it, please let me know.  I'm considering trying to coordinate something like that.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

What Do the Doctors Order? MORE PLAY!

toddler playing with foam blocks, small ball, and scarves
A young child enjoying play in Bloomer 
I know I harp on about the importance of play for young children's development, including opportunities for play that is set up with some intention on the part of caregivers.  But it is SO IMPORTANT!  And so under-valued!

I came across this article in the Cap Times, written by pediatrician, librarian, and extraordinary Wisconsinite Dr. Dipesh Navsari.  It draws attention to the importance of play experiences for children, and how crucial it is for kids to have opportunities for play in childcare and school settings. And libraries are perfectly positioned to help with this, too.

Because it is play, many people don't understand the developmental tasks that can best be accomplished by it.  If you have to argue for the importance of early childhood play areas in your library, or if you are trying to figure out the best way to talk to funders, directors, board members, and families about play, take a look at Dr. Navsaria's article, or better yet, at the most recent article on the topic from the American Academy of Pediatrics!

Monday, September 24, 2018

National Book Award Long-List

Check your shelves and your order carts!  Are these books on them?  Several of them have holds on them, I'm guessing that people have seen the news and want to read them!

The Truth as Told by Mason ButtleThe Journey of Little CharlieHey, Kiddo
The Poet XThe Assassination of Brangwain SpurgeWe'll Fly Away
  What the Night Sings
Blood Water PaintA Very Large Expanse of Sea

Monday, September 17, 2018

Civic Labs for Kids and Teens

Civic Labs:  Think, Learn, Connect

Over the past year, after much gnashing of teeth on my part and the helpful advice of several IFLS-area librarians, I created a resource for libraries to use when hosting programs and displays that promote civic dialogue and engagement about pressing issues.  I am interested in figuring out ways to make that resource useful for people working with kids and teens, too. 

It seems to me that kids and teens get a few more opportunities (in school and maybe in other youth groups) than adults do to practice discussing challenging topics in a respectful way.  But it also seems like a natural fit to have displays and programs for all ages in this arena.  And probably some cool ways to incorporate STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) concepts and civic concepts together, like the Girls Who Code project that encourages kids to create coding projects that will address a community problem or concern.

So, look for more in this regard (after significant additional teeth gnashing by me), and if you are interested in helping me think about it, please let me know!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Every Child Ready for MATH!

child building with multi-colored blocks
Image:  Pixabay
There's been so much great work in libraries about early literacy skills, and empowering parents to talk, sing, read, write, and play with their kids to help develop them.  Many libraries are also doing some great work around early math skills (Fall Creek incorporated Bedtime Math into their summer programming this year!). 

Now, the Global Family Research Project has pulled together some great resources and ideas for libraries looking to support families as they develop math skills with their small children.  Take a peek here!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Venn Diagram Boost

Winding down the summer, maybe you need a little boost?

I was chatting with my daughter the other day about someone we both know--I know her because she's a librarian, Alice knows her because she works at another job with her.  We were discussing how much we like this person, and my daughter had a great quote:

In the Venn Diagram that includes Librarians and Super-Awesome People, there's a lot of overlap.

Could be she's biased, since half of her immediate family is currently working as a librarian.  But I think she's on the right track.  Thanks for being super-awesome.

Venn diagram showing lots of overlap between librarians and super-awesome people

Monday, August 20, 2018


chicken finger puppets
Image:  Pixabay
Things are frequently in flux in the IFLS-region, with new directors and new youth services people a regular part of the job.  It keeps things very exciting around here!  But at the end of this summer, we are saying goodbye to two youth services librarians who have been working with kids in IFLS-land for many years.  They were both here before I started my job nearly 14 years ago (by my rough scan of the IFLS map, there are only 4 libraries where the same youth services person is holding down the fort from those days).

Jo Hick from Phillips and Mary Davis from Hudson are both moving on to new adventures this fall.  Let's take a moment to celebrate ALL the story times and other programs; the learning; the playing; the costumes and puppets; the art and science projects; the connections with community members; hugs; relationships with kids, teens, parents, and caregivers; the generous sharing with colleagues; and all the other things that have gone into making remarkable careers for these lovely women.

Consider sending a card or email to cheer them on, or better yet, if you are available to attend open houses in their honor, I hope you will consider it!  Here are the details:

In honor of Mary Davis, join Mary and Baby Bear for cake and conversation at the Hudson Public Library on Tuesday, August 28 from 3-7 pm.

In honor of Jo Hick, come to an open house at the Phillips Public Library that runs from 9-3 on Friday, August 31.