Welcome!

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, September 21, 2016

Stellar Services to School Age Kids Pre-Conference


The Youth Services Section of WLA and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction invite you to join library staff serving youth for an invigorating preconference. This small and large group event will offer scalable ideas related to programming, drop-in activities, technology, and outreach for children in grades 2-5. TED-style talks by Wisconsin library staff will address tried-and-true and shiny-and-new efforts for this age group. A passive programming gallery of ideas awaits you during the robust snack break. Best of all, network with library peers who are equally interested in reaching kids who are beyond early literacy but not yet a tween. Past participants in YSS + DPI preconferences have said that it’s the best part of WLA! Sign up soon—the preconference is filling up quickly.

Stellar Services to School-Age Kids Preconference
1:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M. Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Potawatomi Hotel & Casino – Clarity Room  (Milwaukee, WI)
Registration Fee: $25 WLA members/$50 non-members
Limited to 50 people 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Teen Top Ten Display in Menomonie

top ten nominees display with book covers
Check out this cool display that Abby made for the teens in Menomonie to promote voting in YALSA's Teens' Top Ten!  How cool is that?  Remember you can also encourage kids to participate in online discussion and rate the nominees on the ratearead.org site, too!
Tenn Top Ten nominees with books and comments

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Play and Learn Fun

alphabet letters with road lines

The Play and Learn area of the LE Phillips Memorial Public Library is big, beautiful, and super fun.  It might seem implausible that a small library could do any of the cool things they are doing in such a lovely big space, but many of their offerings would work really well in a small space with limited resources.
alphabet letters with road lines and tiny truck


Case in point?  Alisha sent me some great photos of their Alphabet Road Trip--letters that look like roads, complete with matchbox cars for driving on them.  She even said that if you want to contact her (alishagreen @ eauclaire.lib.wi.us) she is happy to share the PDF of the letters with you.  Cool beans!

suggestions for using the Roadtrip Alphabet

The same day, I got a message from Jill about a newscast the youth services staff did to promote their new play and learn activities.  Fun?  Definitely fun.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Author and Illustrator Inspiration

light bulb
Image from Pixabay
Sometimes I get downright inspired by hearing authors and illustrators speak about their craft--especially authors and illustrators working on books for children and teens.  What a passionate bunch!  In case you are looking for a few inspirations, with varying levels of time on your part:

Christian Robbins, the illustrator of Newbery winner Last Stop on Market Street, gave a Brief but Spectacular talk for PBS about making illustrations for children's materials.   Really, it is about 2 minutes long and it will make your day better.

Raina Telegmeier, the author/illustrator of graphic novels Smile, Drama, Sisters, and the brand new Ghosts, is going to be in Minneapolis at the University of Minnesota's Cowles Auditorium at 6:30 pm on September 19, giving a talk and a book signing.  More investment of time, but pretty exciting!  Free, but registration is requested.

The Chippewa Valley Book Festival is coming up, too. Lots of inspiring authors for adults and children!

Finally, don't miss your chance to see Bill Konigsburg, author of Openly Straight and The Porcupine of Truth.  He'll be at the YSS Luncheon at the WLA Conference on October 26.  And then we'll have a chance to discuss his books and his talk at an informal setting in the evening.  Our own Ashley Bieber (LEPMPL) was the brilliant person who coordinated this visit.  How cool is that?



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Happy Diaper Bag

little girl holding stinky baby
From Brandon on Flickr (creative commons)
I was up in Rice Lake the other day.  When I went into the bathroom, I was pleased to see a friendly sign saying that there is a Happy Diaper Bag at the children's desk.  For caregivers who find that their child has blown through a diaper and they forgot to reload the bag.  For people who were just going to be in the library for a MINUTE so they left their diaper bag in the car and then...well...then...  For kids who are potty trained except when they get really, really engrossed in stories or play.

Even though my kids are teenagers (and beyond!) and I am not even close to needing the happy diaper bag anymore, this sign made me feel calmer.  It was so friendly, and made me remember how anxious it can make you to be the caregiver of a young child.  Taking away this element of stress is such a terrific idea!  And makes it seem like a normal, not-so-shameful occurrence, if the library is prepared to help everyone with it.

When I talked to Janine at the children's desk about it, she says they pretty much stock the Happy Diaper Bag with donations--parents bring in the left-over diapers at the end of the pack when their kid graduates to the next size, or bring in a few outgrown pairs of pants.  An easy way to make the library more welcoming (and better smelling!).

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Gene Luen Yang

cave window
I'm a big fan of our current National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Gene Luen Yang.  I like his work, I like his speaking style (I got to hear him once when he was in Eau Claire), and I love his platform.  The Reading Without Walls Challenge encourages people to read books about a book or character that doesn't look or live like you; a book about something you don't know a lot about; and/or a book in a format you don't usually read in.

He recently published a short comic in the New York Times Book Review about his own childhood, and wondering what would have happened if he and his classmate had had more access to books that provided a window into other people's experiences.  In it, he refers to the classic essay by Rudine Simms Bishop called Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors.  For a quick and lovely introduction to the issue, or a nice reminder or tool for showing other people what you are talking about, take a look at this comic!


Friday, August 19, 2016

PLA and Harvard Family Research Center Team Up to Promote Family Engagement

The Public Library Association has teamed up with the Harvard Family Research Project to provide libraries with resources and tools to help improve family engagement in library programs.  The Harvard Family Research Project has a lot of terrific resources for people looking for information on brain and child development, and it is really great that they are working with libraries!

The report is available here.  It has lots of great information and ideas, including 5 succinct ways for libraries to improve the involvement of families in their children's learning, with examples from the field.  I have included the 5 Rs below, but look to the report for more information and inspiration!


  • Reach Out: Libraries reach out to families to promote the programs, collections, and services that are vital in a knowledge economy. 
  • Raise Up: Libraries elevate family views and voices in how library programs and services are developed and carried out. 
  • Reinforce: Libraries provide guidance on and modeling of the specific actions that family members can take to support learning, reaffirming families’ important roles and strengthening feelings of efficacy. 
  • Relate: Libraries offer opportunities for families to build peer-to-peer relationships, social networks, and parent-child relationships. 
  • Reimagine: Libraries are expanding their community partnerships; combining resources and extending their range; improving children and families’ well-being; and linking new learning opportunities.
I know many of you are doing a lot of great work in this area--send in your stories and we'll celebrate them on the blog!!