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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Monday, June 18, 2018

Serving Teens with Disabilities Resource

7 or 8 clear light bulbs
Image credit:  Pixabay

Many of you know about Renee Grassi, either from her work nationally OR from her terrific workshop for IFLS last year, when she talked about making library programs, particularly the Summer Library Program, more accessible to and inclusive of kids and teens with disabilities.  She's a terrific resource to the library community!  The library system to the west of us (yes, that means in Minnesota), MELSA, recently hosted an in-person workshop with Renee Grassi, Joseph Houlihan and Gao Yang talking specifically about partnerships and services for teens with disabilities.  Here's the cool part:  they recorded it!  It is an hour and a half long, and you could break it up into bits to watch after an exhausting program when you need to accomplish something but don't have the energy to weed the entire picture book collection...

Here's the recording.  And here's the resource MELSA created for librarians about disability awareness.  Both are terrific resources!  Thanks, Minnesota!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Youth Risk Behavior Survey and Trends from the CDC

legs in jeans from lower thigh down, wearing pink shoes and in front of a rusty wall
Image credit:  Pixabay
The Center for Disease Control is out with statistics about youth and risk, based on a survey of 13-17-year olds.  Some interesting trends:

Sexual activity is down, but among teens having sex, condom use is also down.

In most other measures, the general trend for teens and risk is either about the same or going towards less risky, except in the areas of mental health.  The percentage of students who feel persistently sad and hopeless; those who have considered suicide attempts; and those who were injured in suicide attempts has all risen.

And similar to the study done a decade ago, teens who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual have significantly more difficulty.  They are:

  • More than twice as likely to experience electronic bullying
  • About twice as likely to be bullied on school grounds
  • Nearly three times as likely to have been forced to have sex
  • About 2.5 times more likely to be feeling persistently sad and hopeless
  • More than three times as likely to have attempted suicide, and more than four times as likely to have been seriously injured as a result of an attempt.
So, it looks like there is some work to do!  What can libraries do to help improve prospects for teen mental health?  How can we provide safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ kids (note that the study only discusses teens who identify as LGB)?  What can we do through our collections, displays, programs, outreach/engagement efforts, and, most importantly, relationships with individual teens?  I know many of you are doing awesome things already!  

Hopefully you will be reading in this blog in August or September about cool programs in Ladysmith and Balsam Lake about empowering programs for teens (the programs are happening, I am hoping to get a blog post about them!).  And also about a teen diversity club (specifically aimed at LGBTQIA+ teens) in Polk County.  Wow!  I can't wait to hear more.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Pop-Up Libraries: All of the Services, None of the Walls (Literally)

picnic table under a shelter in a park surrounded by green grass and trees

I got to attend the Lake Superior Library Symposium this year for the first time.  This small conference puts together librarians from academic and public (and a few special) libraries from 2-3 states, mixes, and creates an amazing blend of inspiration, networking, and ideas.  The timing is kind of rough for youth services librarians--early June is not usually an easy time to get away.  BUT, it is also rejuvenating and exciting and it is only one day.  I highly recommend it for next year (plus, Duluth is a pretty awesome place to visit in the summer).

One session I attended was by the people behind the amazing Ridgedale Branch of the Hennepin County Library.  Those of you who have been here a while probably have heard me ranting and raving about their beautiful Together campaign, inviting caregivers to interact and play with their kids. 

Their library was closing for a long stretch of time, starting last summer.  The librarians carefully researched some locations where they were expecting groups of kids and families to congregate during the summer (parks where the school lunch truck was dropping off lunch, farmer's markets, summer school sessions, Parks and Recreation day camps).  Then they made arrangements to bring a pop-up library to the site, where they were able to provide a place to look at and check out books, but also a place to interact with toys, puppets, and science materials--and with each other and the librarians and volunteers!

They saw many families they hadn't seen before, and learned a lot about how to create an inviting space in a variety of locations, along with how to actively invite people into the pop-up library.  Hopefully there are no big library closures in the future for any of you, but even without a closure, this is a great way to consider increasing the library's reach to families who, for a variety of reasons, may have a hard time making it into the library building.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Grants for Great Stories Clubs

Great Stories Club logo banner

The American Library Association is sponsoring grants for libraries to conduct book clubs with underserved teens:

"Working with small groups of teens, grantees will host reading and discussion programs for up to four thematically related books. The titles—selected in consultation with librarian advisors and humanities scholars—are chosen to resonate with reluctant readers struggling with complex issues like academic probation, detention, incarceration, violence and poverty."

Grantees will have a chance to attend an orientation in Chicago (expenses paid), 11 copies of four books, and additional training and resources.  

Several years ago, the Frederic Public Library received one of these grants to conduct a discussion group in collaboration with the Northwest Passage in-patient treatment facility in their area.  That discussion group, despite no longer being funded by the grant, is still going.  This is a terrific opportunity to reach out to teens in your area who might be falling through the cracks.

If you are interested in applying, but feeling nervous or want some help in thinking about how to do it, please let me know.  I'd love to brainstorm with you at the beginning and look at a draft of your application (due July 9), if you want.

I know summer is busy, but this is the kind of program that might make a difference in your career, and more importantly,  in the lives of some of the teens who need it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Public Library School Library Collaboration Toolkit

a lightbulb sitting on a blackboard with 6 chalk circles, like thought-bubbles, connected to it
Image from Pixabay
I have had many conversations with librarians over the years about amazing partnerships--or a discouraging lack thereof--between school and public libraries.  It can take time and patience to develop the relationships with your school that will best benefit the people we serve in common.  But it is worth it to try!  Many school libraries in our area are woefully understaffed, which can make it tricky to connect, but sometimes can make it even more essential that we do.

The American Association of School Librarians, the Association for Library Service to Children, and the Young Adult Library Services Association have teamed up to create a toolkit for public and school librarians to use when working together.  I know, I know, school is almost out and it is too late to do a lot of cooperating for THIS year, but this toolkit will be useful, complete with research to back you up, collaboration ideas that range from very simple to much more complex, and further resources to explore.  I hope you'll check it out at some point!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Charlotte Zolotow Symposium

Charlotte Zolotow Award Medal
The Charlotte Zolotow Award is given for the most distinguished text in a picture book

Where can you hear amazing book creators like Angie Thomas, Benjamin Alire Saenz, Candace Fleming, Crescent Dragonwagon, Eric Rohman, and Javaka Steptoe; talk with other librarians and teachers about using books with kids; and be inspired about the work you do?  Right here in Wisconsin!  Consider attending the Cooperative Children's Book Center's Charlotte Zolotow Symposium on Saturday October 13 in Madison.  Bonus:  go on Friday evening and you'll get to attend the free Charlotte Zolotow Award Ceremony (featuring winning author Bao Phi, who wrote  A Different Pond, one of my favorite picture books of the year) and the also-free Charlotte Zolotow Lecture with Benjamin Alire Saenz (author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, among many others).

I'm going to go!  Please let me know if you are interested and would like help finding carpool partners and roommates.  With a line-up like this, curated and put together by the thoughtful folks at the CCBC, this is bound to be a terrific and inspiring day (or days) of learning.  If you combine it with a chance to network with other IFLS librarians, it is bound to be unbeatable!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Goldilocks Sweet Spot for Kids' Brains

Arthur Rackham illustration from Goldilocks and the Three Bears, from Pixabay
A recent study from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital showed that reading aloud, combined with pictures, is the sweet spot for developing children's brains.  Three-to-five-year-old kids were exposed to a Robert Munsch story in three formats while going through an FMRI machine (which always makes me wonder how they get 3-5-year-olds to volunteer to be put in a tube to hold perfectly still--yikes!).

Children who saw an animated version of the story had lots of activity in the audio and visual perception networks, but not so much in the way of connections between the various brain networks.  Children's comprehension was the worst in this instance).  This is what the NPR article summarizing the study classified as too hot.

Children who listened to the story being read, with no pictures, had stimulation in the language networks, but not as much connectivity.  There was evidence that they were really straining to understand (classified as too cold).

Children who saw pictures and heard the story read were in the Goldilocks zone--"Most importantly, in the illustrated book condition, researchers saw increased connectivity between — and among — all the networks they were looking at: visual perception, imagery, default mode and language.  'For 3- to 5-year-olds, the imagery and default mode networks mature late, and take practice to integrate with the rest of the brain,' [study author Dr. John] Hutton explains. 'With animation you may be missing an opportunity to develop them.'" (NPR article)

And this doesn't even take into consideration the added benefit to a child of sitting on a caregiver's lap, reading together and having a chance to have some back-and-forth dialogic reading.  So if parents are trying to figure all this out, there is additional scientific evidence to support using picture books and e-content that allows for less animation and more traditional stories/illustrations.

Cool, huh?