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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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Teens' Top Ten Announced! Plus National Book Awards Nominees

This baby holding a trophy isn't so sure about awards, but they can be exciting!
Thanks to my great colleague Pam Gardow for drawing my attention, which was distracted, to the Teens' Top Ten list (voted on by teens), which was announced this week!  Here's the list.  Do you have all the titles?  How are you promoting them?  Displays, booktalks, booklists? Check out the YALSA site for trailers for each title.

  1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (Macmillan/St. Martin's Griffin)
  2. Splintered by A.G. Howard (ABRAMS/Amulet Books)
  3. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (Tor Teen)
  4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Penguin/Putnam Juvenile) 
  5. Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends)
  6. Earth Girl by Janet Edwards (Prometheus Books /Pyr)
  7. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  8. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (Random House/Delacorte Press)
  9. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (Macmillan/Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)
  10. The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (Random House/Delacorte Press)

And last week, they announced the National Book Award Finalists for Young People's Literature:

  • Eliot SchreferThreatened (Scholastic Press)
  • Steve SheinkinThe Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
    (Roaring Brook Press/ Macmillan Publishers)
  • John Corey WhaleyNoggin (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster)
  • Deborah WilesRevolution: The Sixties Trilogy, Book Two (Scholastic Press)
  • Jacqueline WoodsonBrown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen Books/ Penguin Group (USA))

Wow!  Books on this list will surely inspire fascinating discussions about Important Issues!  I am currently reading Revolution and it is an awe-inspiring mix of fiction and nonfiction.  The other titles have been on my to-read list for a while.  How about you?  Do you use these lists for promoting interest?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Draw-Bots in Prescott!

Draw-bot in action!
Thanks to Becky Arenivar for this post!

If I can help kids make robots, so can you!  Despite a total lack of mechanical aptitude or experience, Miss Becky hosted a second robot-making event on September 25 at the Prescott Public Library.  Our first event, during the Summer Library Program, was Brush Bots, made with a truly foolproof kit from Maker Shed.  I made a Brush Bot at WLA last year and felt comfortable using the kit and running this program.

The second time, I stepped well outside my comfort zone to find the instructions, assemble the supplies, make a prototype and conduct the program, and it paid off.  Our Draw Bots were awesome!  I can't wait to figure out what we'll do for our next maker program.

We set the age level of this event for 7-14 years old and encouraged (but did not require) parents to attend.  We had 9 kids and 5 parents attend.

We ordered motors, battery packs and batteries from Radio Shack. It was pricey ($120), but we got free delivery within 5 days. There are websites where these supplies are cheaper, but they charge a lot for quick delivery.  We bought the hex nuts and other supplies (cups, markers, electrical tape) from Walmart.

I made a prototype (with the help of someone more mechanically inclined than I, thank you dear hubby) to get the kinks out ahead of time. This also helped me figure out what STEM terms to talk about: kinetic energy, potential energy, completing the circuit, conservation of momentum, and eccentric weight.

For set-up, we covered tables with white paper and set up a separate table with all of the supplies.  Each attendee got a "shopping list," and a set of instructions, and I also wrote the instructions on huge pieces of paper and hung them on the wall in back of me.  I also taped a huge piece of white paper in the hallway, so the kids could really let their bots draw.


The motto of the day was "trial and error."  It took about 40 minutes to go through the assembly process, with some kids (and their very hands-on parents) getting done sooner.  We scheduled the event for an hour, but kids and parents were hanging around tweaking their bots and testing them for at least 30 minutes more.

Experimenting with flipping the bots

What about next time?  I'll get my shopping list done early, so I can take advantage of cheaper prices on-line.  I'll be less nervous about having it work perfectly.  When the eccentric weights fell off (actually, went flying off) the kids thought it was fun and got to work putting them back on.

If you're still nervous about doing a mechanical maker program by yourself, I'm sure there are people in your community who would love to help you.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pop-Up Programs

pop-up card photo courtesy of extremecards.blogspot.com 
I know that some libraries in IFLS-land have done some great experimenting with pop-up programs, or programs that don't take a ton of preparation and can be available at any time, whenever there are kids in the library.  The ASLC Blog recently had a great line-up of suggestions from Amy Koester for STEAM pop-up programs.  These look fun!  And it seems like many of them could be adapted for a wide variety of ages, including teens.

If you are looking for more ideas of "stealth" programs that aren't tied to getting kids and teens to the library at a specific time, be sure to look for the breakout session (with Jenna Gilles-Turner and Jessi Peterson) at this year's Summer Library Program workshop!  Register here by November 10.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

School Library Journal Leadership Summit: Fire It UpFire

Fire Circus performing in Cameron

The School Library Journal Leadership Summit , Fire It Up:  Sparking Creativity and Motivating Students is "focused on those taking leadership in creating strong and effective school libraries, including but not necessarily limited to: school librarians and other K-12 educators, public librarians in close collaboration, technology leads, teachers, and administrators."  It looks like 2 full days of panels by school librarians and authors, and this year it is being held in St. Paul, Minnesota on October 25 and 26.  And all for the very reasonable price of FREE.  

I have another commitment that weekend, but I hope some of you go, or share the information with a school librarian you admire.  And if you go? Consider submitting a blog post about it!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Heartland Fall Forum

Patti (background) and her pals Annis and Pam (from Eau Claire Memorial High School) enjoy listening to Judith Viorst
Patti Blount from Durand has been attending the Heartland Fall Forum (used to be Upper Midwest Booksellers Association) for 15 years!  It must be good to get her back every year, and this is waht she says about it: 

Heartland Fall Forum , a regional trade show that supports independent booksellers, is worth attending for librarians!  It was held this year in Minneapolis at the Depot Center on September 30-October 2.  As a veteran to the show, I have seen the changes throughout the 15 years that I have attended, but it continues to be an excellent value for me to go.

This year was very interesting and informative.   Each year, I always learn a lot of great tips and information at each of the educational sessions.   Also, I meet a lot of great authors.  It’s a great event for any librarian to enjoy.  Many years ago, the Amery Public Library recommended I attend this conference, and now I’m recommending it.

Unfortunately since it shares the event with the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, next year’s conference will be in the Chicago area.  It will be coming back to the Twin Cities every other year – so the next one will be: October 5-7, 2016 at the Depot in Minneapolis.

June Baker, also from Durand, attended for the first year this year, and here's what she had to say:

I was like a kid in a candy store! I met authors that I have read and met many that I will have to read through the adult buzz feed.  The Children's buzz feed showed me books that would be useful for storytimes.  The meals were wonderful and you never were hungry.  All in all it was very informative and entertaining.  Can't wait to go again.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Polk County Collaboration for the Win!

License-plate etching and awesome collaborative library outreach!
Thanks to Kelly McBride of Osceola for this blog post about some terrific collaborative efforts between the public libraries in Osceola, Dresser and St. Croix Falls.  Thanks to her library partners, Tiffany Meyer at Dresser and Cole Zrostlik at St. Croix Falls.  

Wheels& Wings: Osceola had an upwards of 12,000 people at the event this year. The director of the chamber asked the library to participate and come up with ideas for a Kid's Zone. I asked Cole and Tiff for help so we pooled our resources and came up with some fun ideas.  We had crafts- 1) planes made from clothes pins, 2) license plate etching, 3) Painting with cars. Kids dipped a car in paint and "drove" to the three libraries on a map Cole created. 
Giant Jenga!

We had games- giant Jenga and another where you flew airplanes through hoops. The Chamber donated hot wheels to give out for prizes.  We provided relaxation- perhaps most appreciated was a chill-out space we created for families to kick back on blankets with some books (car/plane related), play in a sensory box, or play at the train table. We received great feedback from parents who appreciated having a shady spot to get their kids out of the stroller and let them play.  

Taking a break at Wheels and Wings at the sensory box

Second Annual All Library Sports Night: We put on this collaborative party to celebrate the end of the summer reading program. This year we served hot dogs and accompaniments donated by Marketplace Foods and grilled by the Osceola Lion's Club. Soda was donated by Bernick's. We had a multiple things going on: lots of hula hooping, games,music and dancing, baseball instruction, and a visit from the Osceola pageant court.  The Dresser Town Hall is not only a great central location but also has volleyball nets, baseball courts, and a playground the kids get to use.  Makes for a great Sports Night! 

Coming up! The Big, Fun Playdate. We have one scheduled in October in Dresser, November in St. Croix Falls, and Jan. in Osceola.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lessons from Gramma Alice

Gramma Alice (on the right) showing off her sense of playfulness
I was chatting with my daughter last night, for some reason we were talking about toenails (you know how it is).  She suddenly got that far-off look in her eyes, like you do when you are remembering some long-forgotten detail.  She told me she remembered one time when she was very little and we were visiting my parents.  She was playing an epic game of pretending (it was sort of where she lived in those days), and I apparently felt some peculiar urgency about cutting her toenails.  She was resistant because she wanted to continue to play the fantasy game, and I was probably having one of those less-than-brilliant mom moments when I was pretty sure disaster was just around the corner if we didn't get those toenails cut right away.

Luckily,  my wise and sly mother stepped in, and suggested to Alice (my daughter) that we needed the toenail clippings to make a potion to save the kingdom from drought.  Alice immediately went along with it, and we cut the toenails and put them in a little cup.  She was pretty sure the clippings needed to be sprinkled around the living room floor in order to effectively combat the drought, but again my crafty mother stepped in and convinced her that the magic would be stronger if they stayed in the cup.  This story reminds me of a line of poetry my dad wrote in an ode to my mother many years ago, "You slant the truth so children can walk up it."

I'm sure there are millions of times a day that all of us need to think creatively, on our feet, and when we are lucky we are able to come up with solutions as good as the one my mom did on that day.  I like the sense of playfulness, the respect she had for my daughter's priorities, her willingness to be a part of the play, and the understanding she had for my frantic mom energy.  I wish you all the best as you try to find that kind of balance in your interactions with families today.