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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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lessons from Gramma Alice

Gramma Alice (on the right) showing off her sense of playfulness
I was chatting with my daughter last night, for some reason we were talking about toenails (you know how it is).  She suddenly got that far-off look in her eyes, like you do when you are remembering some long-forgotten detail.  She told me she remembered one time when she was very little and we were visiting my parents.  She was playing an epic game of pretending (it was sort of where she lived in those days), and I apparently felt some peculiar urgency about cutting her toenails.  She was resistant because she wanted to continue to play the fantasy game, and I was probably having one of those less-than-brilliant mom moments when I was pretty sure disaster was just around the corner if we didn't get those toenails cut right away.

Luckily,  my wise and sly mother stepped in, and suggested to Alice (my daughter) that we needed the toenail clippings to make a potion to save the kingdom from drought.  Alice immediately went along with it, and we cut the toenails and put them in a little cup.  She was pretty sure the clippings needed to be sprinkled around the living room floor in order to effectively combat the drought, but again my crafty mother stepped in and convinced her that the magic would be stronger if they stayed in the cup.  This story reminds me of a line of poetry my dad wrote in an ode to my mother many years ago, "You slant the truth so children can walk up it."

I'm sure there are millions of times a day that all of us need to think creatively, on our feet, and when we are lucky we are able to come up with solutions as good as the one my mom did on that day.  I like the sense of playfulness, the respect she had for my daughter's priorities, her willingness to be a part of the play, and the understanding she had for my frantic mom energy.  I wish you all the best as you try to find that kind of balance in your interactions with families today.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Read Aloud 15 Minutes Campaign

A parent and child at Phillips' "Books Are Magic" Party
In 2012, Read Aloud began a decade-long campaign to make reading aloud for 15 minutes/day the new parenting standard--likening the campaign to those designed to make daily toothbrushing a part of the routine, and carseat and seatbelt use ubiquitous.

"Read aloud.  15 minutes.  Every Child.  Every Parent.  Every Day."

The campaign has some free downloadable posters and some great arguments for a nationwide effort in this direction.  Take a peek!


Friday, September 26, 2014

Early Childhood Classes in Ellsworth

Kids enjoy super hero storytime in Eau Claire
I just had a conversation with Julie from Ellsworth.  She was recovering from a particularly exciting and wild storytime.  Each fall, students taking an Early Childhood class at the high school come to her library to observe (and sometimes help with) storytime.  The teacher contacted her years ago to find out if students could come and observe--isn't that cool?  The teacher recognizes that her students have a lot to learn from a library program.

Do you have a class like this offered in your school?  It might be worth offering the students a chance to come and observe you, and if that isn't possible, I bet it would be worthwhile for you to offer to come over and do a little presentation about early literacy and libraries...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

We Love Books Storytime

Many thanks to Valerie Spooner, the new youth services librarian at the Rusk County Community Library in Ladysmith.  Valerie comes to libraries from a rich early childhood background, and she took the time to send us a blog post about her first storytime!

Today was my first storytime so  I wanted to do something simple and easy. We talked about book care and created a poster to hang in the children's area of the library. Here's an outline of what I did with links :)
It seems like a lot, but it filled our 30 minutes perfectly.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Getting Close to Authors and Illustrators

I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing I'm not the only book geek who runs in this circle.  I am fascinated to hear about the process that goes into book creation and I'm thrilled to have a chance to see authors and illustrators.  Though usually I'm too bashful and tongue-tied to say anything to them, I still love being in the same room with authors and illustrators and listening to what they have to say.

There are a few terrific opportunities either coming up, or already here, to get closer to book creators and learn more about their process.  If you have the opportunity to take advantage of them, I highly recommend it!

  • From Houdini to Hugo: The Art of Brian Selznick is just what it sounds like--a glorious exhibition of the original artwork that went into more than a dozen books that Brian Selznick illustrated.  It is marvelous to see the original work (including a few doodles in the margin of some of the pieces), and really interesting to read the statements about each book's creation.  Bonus:  a video of Brian Selznick sharing fascinating tidbits and background stories about the books, and individual illustrations.  This exhibit is at the UW-Eau Claire Haas Fine Arts Center's Foster Gallery until September 25.  Weekend hours:  1-4:30 both Saturday and Sunday.
  • The Chippewa Valley Book Festival is coming up in a few weeks.  Candace Fleming is one of the authors for young people who will be there, and one of the few to make a public appearance.  I'm excited to see this author of fascinating nonfiction and delightful picturebooks on October 18!  I'm also looking forward to seeing Josh Hanagarne, the author of The World's Strongest Librarian, who is speaking at the Schneider Disabilities Forum on September 16 (if you haven't read his book, you should--each chapter starts with a great little vignette that takes place in the Salt Lake City Public Library).
  • Two famous, charming, and enormously talented authors of books for young people will be at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference this year!  Avi, who was named Notable Wisconsin Author for Young People, will be the Thursday luncheon speaker.  Kevin Henkes, winner of the Wisconsin Children's Book Award for The Year of Billy Miller, will be presenting a session Thursday at 2:45.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Power of Listening

I read an interesting blurb in the Fred Rogers Company's Professional Development newsletter about the power of listening to young children.  A good reminder in busy times, that young children need us to give them time to talk, and to show them that we hear and understand what they say.  It talks about the importance of letting kids say things that you are a little uncomfortable about hearing, and also about how good it is to get down to their level, so they can talk to you while looking in your eyes (and not strain their necks).

Come to think of it, people of all ages crave a listening ear...as librarians well understand!  Cindy Beyer, a youth services librarian from Port Washington and a participant in last year's Youth Services Institute, put it this way:  children's librarians are like the bar-tenders for stay-at-home parents.

So, thanks for listening!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Libri Foundation Alternative

Picture books in a library
I just found out that the Libri Foundation, an organization that has provided many libraries in our system with grant funds to help them improve their collection of children's books, is no longer making grants in Wisconsin.  This is due to the fact that the auditing practice they use is no longer accepted by the state of Wisconsin.

That leaves a big hole, but luckily, another foundation has stepped in to fill that hole.  The folks at Libri recommend looking into the Pilcrow Foundation, which is set up to help libraries obtain high quality children's books with a 1/3 matching grant (from a Friends group or fundraiser).