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, April 16, 2014

Diversity in Books for Youth

Unless it is about the latest blockbuster film, weighty information about literature for teens and children doesn't always make its way into popular media.  But CNN, Entertainment Weekly, and several other mainstream publications have been running articles about the lack of racial diversity in books for young people.  Thanks to stellar statistics kept by our own Cooperative Children's Book Center, folks are standing up and taking notice of the fact that children's books are looking...well, they are looking as white as ever.  For instance, out of 3,200 books published last year, only 61 had significant Asian/Pacific or Asian/Pacific American content.  Depressingly little change since Nancy Larrick's groundbreaking 1965 article in the Saturday Review, "The All-White World of Children's Books."

A couple of weeks ago, a school librarian colleague and I took a road trip to UW LaCrosse's Murphy Library to hear author Mitali Perkins talking about diversity in books for young people.  It was terrific to hear her, she had many astute things to say about her own life and writing, and the issues facing teachers, librarians, students and publishers.  She is smart, engaging and very accessible.  Here are 10 Tips for Writers and Readers that she discussed at the talk. 

Another relevant story I want to pass on to you, fabulous librarians is:

There are many ways that kids will find windows (into the wide, wide world) and mirrors (reflections of themselves) in books. Mitali Perkins described a letter she got from a girl in rural Iowa who really identified with the main character in her novel Rickshaw Girl, about a girl seeking a micro-credit loan in Bangladesh.  This  farm kid recognized her step mother's controlling nature in a character that the protagonist has to deal with.  Now this girl has the benefit of expanding her own worldview, while also seeing her own experience validated in print.  Perkins advocated for librarians and teachers to recommend stories to kids by emphasizing the mirrors they will find, no matter the setting or race of the protagonist.

One of the ways to improve the variety on the horizon is to increase demand.  And perhaps one way librarians can do this is by recommending existing titles for a broad range of reasons.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Libraries Doing Good Stuff

I'm in charge of content for the YSS Blog this month, which means I've been collecting great posts from some of the librarians in our system who are YSS members.  In case you don't follow that blog, I want to draw your attention to a few posts from this month so far:

Creative Learning Center Invites Play in Amery about Amery's new early literacy play area

All Aboard the Literacy Train about a literacy fun night in Chippewa Falls

Props for Cool Props Workshop about a storytelling prop workshop Eau Claire held for area daycare providers  (the link for this one isn't working right now, but it is April 11's post).

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Free Audiobook Downloads

Free Summer Listening: SYNC

A FREE summer program that gives away 2 audiobook downloads each week for the summer starting May 15 and ending August 14. SYNC audiobook titles are given away in pairs--a Young Adult title is paired with a related Classic or required Summer Reading title.
Check out the complete title list, including James Patterson's CONFESSIONS OF A MURDER SUSPECT and its pair partner, Agatha Christie's THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE.

How can Libraries & Educators
Promote SYNC?

  • Utilize the print and digital items available in the SYNC Tool Kit to introduce SYNC to your patrons, students, and other readers.
  • Encourage Young Adult readers to text syncya to 25827 to receive text alerts about all the featured titles.
  • Visit www.audiobooksync.com and sign up for title alerts by email.
  • Have your listeners download the delivery software OverDrive Media Console, in advance of the program.

SYNC Program Questions
For questions about the program, titles, and how to use the tool kit to connect with students, patrons, and other listeners, please contact the SYNC Manager, Michele Cobb, at sync@audiofilemagazine.com

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Get Up and Move Early Literacy Webinar tomorrow!

University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies is providing a FREE webinar tomorrow, and I'm excited to attend!

Get Up and Move! Why movement is part of early literacy skills development with Dr. Allison Kaplan will air on Wednesday, April 9 at noon - 1 p.m. CST. At that time, the webinar will be available using this link:


All the information you need to access the webinar is in the attached document (although it should be as simple as clicking on the link; the document will help you troubleshoot). The webinar will be live and you will be able to ask questions using text messages within the webinar software. To do so, click on the chat bubble on the bottom right of the screen.

The webinar will be archived at the same web address as the live version and we will also post the link on our web site: http://www.slis.wisc.edu/2014webinars.htm

Monday, April 7, 2014

Summer Library Program Idea Swap Report #3

Some cool ideas that came up for programs for younger kids:

Changing it up, taking the train set away for the summer, replacing with scientist dress-up station, with lab coats, goggles, beakers, lab supplies for creative play and exploration

Creating a hydroponic garden or any kind of garden with kids for summer experimentation and overall deliciousness

Gross stuff programs, including suggestions for making homemade edible earwax, poop cookies and more. 

Edible experiments in general (ideas can be found here and here

Fossil making (here's one method)

Borrow the Star Lab from your area CESA for a program

Friday, April 4, 2014

March Madness for Books!

Bulletin Board of the K-2 brackets
The folks at the Augusta Library had fun with a March Madness bracket for BOOKS this year.  The library staff chose their favorite books and set them up in brackets against each other, and then let the elementary school kids vote.  The final winners were:

Grades 3-5:  The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer (which won against the other finalist I Funny by James Patterson with more than 61 percent of the vote)

Grades K-2:  Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord (which won against the other finalist If You Give a Mouse a Cookie with a whopping 83 percent of the vote!)

What a fun way to drum up interest in books!  If you didn't follow School Library Journal's Battle of the Books (with famous authors judging the rounds), it is worth taking a peek at that, too.

Here's an example of the ballot that kids used to vote

Thursday, April 3, 2014

SLP Idea Swap Ideas!

I need a reminder that summer really is coming some day, so here is another installment in the SLP Idea Swap update.  At the SLP Idea Swap we talked some about the structure of the reading part of things.  Here are some ideas that folks shared:

  • In Fall Creek, they give kids a calendar for each month, which includes special events at the library.  The kids use the calendar to record the number of days they read for more than 10 minutes.  So they are promoting reading every day, and kids are finding ways to squeeze reading in to their schedules.
  • In Phillips, private donations allow them to give away a free book to each participant every single week of the summer!
  • Some libraries are experimenting with incentives.  In Park Falls, an invitation to the end-of-summer teen lock-in will be the ultimate prize.
  • In Cumberland, they are experimenting with getting a matching grant, of sorts, from area businesses.  The library will purchase a gift card for incentives, and then ask the business for a donation of the same value.