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).







Search This Blog

Thursday, August 17, 2017

2017 Teens' Top Ten Voting Open!


Teens' Top Ten, sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association, allows teens from across the country to vote for their top three favorite recent books from a list created by other teens.  This is a great way to encourage teens in your area to make their opinions heard!  YALSA has created some great resources, and this is just in:


Voting for the 2017 Teens' Top Ten is now open! Check out and share the video announcing the nominees here and encourage teens to vote for their top three titles now through Oct. 14.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Resources for Talking about Charlottesville with Kids

We have to keep talking, providing resources, shining a light where it is needed, and helping kids, teens, and families cope with some of the tough things in our world.  The recent events in Charlottesville and the increasing rise of white supremacy and other hate groups is one.  There are some good resources, pulled together by Teen Librarian Toolbox.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Barron's Rearrangement Pays Off!

If you get two creative people together who are interested in thinking outside the box about ways to meet community needs, you just never know where you'll end up.  Patti Becker and Sue Queiser at Barron have been looking at the way the community uses the space, programs, and collections of the children's area for the past few years.  Attendance at regular storytime programs was down, as was attendance at programs for the summer library program.  Throughout this time, Patti and Sue have been thinking about ways to accommodate the needs of the community better.

This included offering more passive programming (a new one each day the library was open during the summer of 2016!), one-on-one storytime, and more.  They noticed that kids and families really enjoyed hanging around together and working on projects.  As a result, they undertook a large transformation--weeding heavily, rearranging their collections, purchasing new furniture that encouraged lingering, and creating much more open space for creation and imagination.
kids do line art at a table
Line art at the table that fits nicely!


Last week, Patti sent me some photos, labeled, THIS IS WHY WE DID IT!  I thought you might like to see, too!
kids make things out of cardboard tubes
Kids make things out of cardboard tubes--look at all that floor space!



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Easy Interactive Teen Displays in Menomonie

I heard from a reliable source (my own teen) that the interactive teen displays in Menomonie are the bomb.  Abby Seymour, the teen librarian, shared some of her recent displays:


display that says First Impressions Matter
The first display takes the intriguing first line of a YA book was on the front, with a tab to lift to see what the book it came from is.  I recognized some, and found the others absolutely tantalizing!

first lines of books display

The next display allows people to vote on whether the book or movie cover is better:

book and movie covers display, with voting options

Paired with a display of book jackets that will soon be movies, this made for a simple and fun display:

book jackets of books being made into movies, "Because Hollywood is running out of ideas."


Monday, July 31, 2017

Many thanks to Julia Reid of LEPMPL for this guest post!

Inspiration, it is said, can come from the unlikeliest places. For the YS staff at LE Phillips Memorial Public Library, inspiration this summer came from the toilet. According to Weird but True! Gross: 200 slimy, sticky, and smelly facts, “95 percent of people don’t wash their hands long enough to kill infectious germs after using the toilet—and 10 percent don’t wash their hands at all” (145). Who wouldn’t want to drum up some programming from a fact like that?

So this summer, stirred by the National Geographic World of Weird but True books, we transformed the Youth Services area into a STEAM fest, with eight activities, experiments, or craft projects, each paired with fun facts from the series. For example, the “Build a Bridge” station was motivated by these three facts:
  • It is said that Vikings collapsed a bridge in medieval London and inspired the song “London Bridge is Falling Down” (Weird but True! 300 Outrageous Facts from History, page 87).
  • A rooster was one of the very first car passengers to cross New York’s Brooklyn Bridge (Weird but True! 300 Outrageous Facts from History, page 128).
  • The London Bridge that kept falling down is now in Arizona, in the United States (Weird but True! 2: 300 Outrageous Facts, page 18).

Participants were challenged to create a bridge that could 1) span two tables spaced one foot apart and 2) hold the weight of books. Each participant was given 100 popsicle sticks, Elmer’s glue, and binder clips for clamps, and tested how many books their bridges could hold before breaking.

For stations like the bridge station, we prepped our (super, amazing) high school volunteer team with questions that they could ask participants to deepen the experiment:
a.        What shapes are you using? What other shapes can you try? What shapes do you see most often on bridges that you cross over?
b.      Where is your bridge the strongest? Where is your bridge the weakest? Can one part hold a greater load than the other? If so, why?
c.       Are you using patterns in your bridge? Are the sides symmetrical? Why or why not?
d.      Do you have left-over sticks? Where will they help the most?

After coming up with a few activities, we assessed whether we were satisfactorily reaching all age ranges, interests, and abilities.

Some activities were easy (and budget-friendly) to put together, like the measuring station, which tested whether there was truth behind the claim that “the length of your arms stretched out is about equal to your height” (2, p32). This station just called for butcher paper, tape measures and yardsticks, and pencils.


Others were more complicated, like the germ station, where young scientists tested how many drops of plain and soapy water a penny could hold to learn about surface tension and the benefit of adding soap to wash away germs.



One of my favorite was inspired by chameleon and camouflage facts. Crafty participants chose a habit background and a white die-cut chameleon. Using markers, participants colored the chameleons so they blended into the scene.  Younger participants could instead learn about the benefits of camouflage with our bean table game. We filled a bean table with brown pinto beans and plastic toy animals; participants were challenged to see whether it was easier to find a camouflaged (brown) animal or non-camouflaged (colorful) animal. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Downloadable Posters and More from 15 Minutes a Day




Read Aloud banner and logo

Read Aloud 15 Minutes is devoted to encouraging parents and caregivers to read at least 15 minutes a day with children.  They have some fun infographics, posters, and other resources that are free to download, and in addition, they are sponsoring a challenge in October--encouraging people to read aloud for 15 minutes each day for 21 days in a row, making it part of the daily routine.

Thanks to Jenna from Chippewa Falls for passing this on to me!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Does Coding Seem Like the Scary Monster Under Your Bed?

monster illustration


Many thanks to Kathy Larson from Bloomer for this terrific guest post!

I’ve gone to many workshops over the past few years where I’ve heard librarians say, “Setting up a coding club is so easy” but they can’t really explain how they started it. I thought there was some trick to it, or some deep knowledge I was missing that would make me look like a complete idiot in front of the kids and their parents. I just wanted someone to tell me how to do it.

Now that I have a coding club at our library, I finally understand why it is so hard to explain. It’s so simple! Lucky for me there is an AMAZING resource for coding club! I have no idea where I heard about this website, but Prenda will walk you through all the steps. All you have to do is get some computers and some kids and promote your program. It is really that easy. Okay, there is a bit more, but not a whole lot.

Through their website, I was furnished with a packet that is essentially the curriculum for running your coding club. It outlines what to do week by week with websites and challenges for kids to complete. The first week we watched a video recommended by Prenda on some of the perks of being able to code. Then we went to code.org and had them play around on Hour of Code. The next week you set up coding accounts on code.org and have them pick a track for their coding adventure and they are off. That is it.

Even when they need help, you can guide them with questions so they can come up with the answers themselves, so you really don’t need to have any prior coding skills.
In hindsight, I would have set up accounts for the kids before they started because it tracks all of their progress and it has been amazing watching the speed at which some of these kids catch on. In five weeks the kids at our program, ranging from 6-11 years old, have written more than 2,000 lines of code! How do you do that? Prior to the first session, visit Code.org and set up a teacher account so that you can add students as they walk through the door. You definitely do not have to have ANY knowledge about coding, you just have to be able to log onto a computer, access websites and create some accounts.


So that monster that is coding is really just a simple teddy bear.
teddy bear