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, August 15, 2018

Bike Locks in Chippewa Falls

silver and orange bicycle locked to bike rack
Image from Pixabay
In case you missed this great press from the Chippewa Falls Public Library--a sad and frustrating situation (a kid's bike got stolen) turned into a terrific opportunity to do something cool (a bike lock collection).  I've seen the bike lock collection advertised at the library in Eau Claire, too.  Anyone else do this?  It is a good way to encourage biking, deter crime, and make the library more welcoming and easier to use for people who might not have other reliable forms of transportation!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Thanks to Patti Blount in Durand for sharing news about this upcoming webinar from Lee & Low Books and the Anti-Defamation League:

Back to School Webinar: Teaching Tough Topics with Children's Literature

Teaching Tough Topics with Children's Literature, along with logos for Anti Defamation League and Lee & Low Books

The start of the school year is a critical time to establish community and shared values of respect, honesty and trust.
With the one-year anniversary of the violence in Charlottesville coming up and other traumatic news constantly making headlines, many educators are left wondering how to discuss current events with their students and to navigate meaningful, age-appropriate discussions on topics like hate, racism, and prejudice.
Join Lee & Low Books in collaboration with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and special education teacher and Responsive Classroom teacher consultant, Ina Pannell-St. Surin, for the timely, hour-long webinar: “Teaching Tough Topics with Children’s Literature” that aims to help address these concerns through worthy books, activities, and resources on Wednesday, August 22 at 3PM EDT. Registration is free, but space is limited so register today!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Inspiring Play in Young Children

book cover for Loose Parts:  Inspiring Play in Young Children
I came across some books that some of you may already be familiar with:  Loose Parts:  Inspiring Play in Young Children and Loose Parts 2:  Inspiring Play with Infants and Toddlers, both written by Lisa Daly and Miriam Beloglovsky, with gorgeous photos by Jenna Daly.

The books are lovely reminders, beautiful to look at, of how fundamental play is for children, and full of simple and easy-to-obtain suggestions of materials that you can use to intentionally support their development by having them available for them to explore.  The books hone in on the importance of letting kids explore and problem-solve, and setting up an environment that allows for that.  They also give examples of things teachers/caregivers have done to support and challenge kids to try more things. 

I highly recommend taking a look at these books!  Whether you consider using loose parts in your play areas, or think about how to use them in play groups, story times, or other programs, there is a lot of potential for awesome exploration and fun.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Friday Inspiration from Jason Reynolds

a sparkler in a night-time background
Image:  Pixabay
Whew!  It's the end of the week, nearing the end of one of the busiest times for youth services librarians.  You are almost there!  Hopefully you have had some exciting adventures with kids this summer, and some time to regroup and enjoy the summer on your own, too. 

By Friday, maybe you need just a little spark of inspiration to help the fire in your belly.  Check out Jason Reynolds' commencement speech at Lesley University.  It's only about 10 minutes long, but it is remarkable, and it made me a little weepy (this could be due to sleep deprivation, but I think it was truly moving).

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

College Admissions Campaign

overhead view of Carleton College campus
My alma mater, Carleton College, busy looking picturesque  (photo credit:  Pixabay)
How much do librarians end up helping college students with the college admissions process?  Most libraries collect materials to help, many provide programs that are relevant.  There's a whole variety of needs out there, and what public libraries do depends on what their community needs.  The most recent issue of School Library  Journal had an article about what school librarians can do to help, with some mention of public libraries, as well.

At any rate, many teens are in the thick of thinking about this, stressing about it, working on it, being pressured about it, or possibly not pursuing it for lack of someone to tell them they could consider it.  In researching something else, I came across the Harvard College College Admissions Campaign.  They are working with other colleges and universities, high schools, and others to promote some pretty amazing goals:

1.  Developing greater concern for others and the common good among high school students

2.  Increasing equity and access for economically disadvantaged students
3.  Reducing excessive achievement pressure

It seems like public librarians might be able to do some things to help achieve these goals, even if it is being aware of resources to share with kids and parents who are freaking out!  Harvard has collected several of these, too.

What do you do about the college admissions process in your library?

Monday, July 30, 2018

Submit a Proposal!

lightning bolt in a darkened sky
Image source:  Pixabay
Just a last reminder:  it's not too late to consider submitting a proposal to the Power Up Conference, to be held in Madison March 28-29, 2019.  This will be the second time the iSchool-sponsored conference on youth services and leadership will be held.  The first time, the conference was terrific--lots of great content, terrific conversations, and unusually tasty food.  People from 20 states attended, it was a great chance to get to know and learn from people from around the country.

Chances are, you have something to share with this audience!  Time is getting short, but you have till August 3 to propose a session at this conference, and each presentation will receive one free registration (a $300 value!).


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Encouraging Conversation with the Yes/No Challenge in Pepin

the word yes in neon lights
Photo by Julian Lozano on Unsplash
the word NO in faded red and white paint
Photo by Julian Lozano on Unsplash

Christy from Pepin recently shared a fun idea for a challenge for kids in the library.  The goal:  have a 3 minute conversation with library staff without saying "yes," "no" (or yeah or nah).
She says:
The kids are having fun with it.  If they fail, they get a small prize - Star Wars collectible pictures, erasers, keychains - if they complete the three minutes they get a larger prize - flashlight, battery pack for cell phone.  Out of 12 tries, I've had 2 make it for the full three minutes.  One young lady (9 years old) practices at home and then comes in to try, but she hasn't made it yet.  I do limit them to one try per day.  
The trick is to get them comfortable and just talking to you and then you ask another question that they just automatically answer with a yes or no.  Then the look on their faces as they realize what they said.  They are really thinking hard for most of the time and understand that other answers "indeed", "affirmative" and such are acceptable.  We'll do it through the end of August.  I didn't have anyone try in June, but now that they've discovered it I think we'll have several continue to try.