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, January 27, 2015

Tapping In To Cosplayers!

Anna in all her glory
Eau Claire just had a low-key Frozen Sing-along program on a school’s out day. The really special thing was that we had special guest Princess Anna attend the event. Princess Anna is UWEC student Misty Price. She and her cosplay group have numerous Disney princess costumes as well as others (including superheroes!). If you are interested in her group email daikon.cosplay@gmail.com. Misty was great with the kids and I highly recommend her!
Anna dispensing hugs

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Winners Are...

It's fun to see the list servs alive with results of library's Mock Newbery, Caldecott, Printz (and other) Award Discussions.  It would be fun to do that sometime in our system, wouldn't it?  Maybe some day. In the meantime, someone posted a  Pinterest board with books that have been chosen for Mock Newbery Awards this year from around the country.  Has anyone tried this sort of activity with kids?  I'd love to hear about it, and I bet your colleagues would, too.The Real Awards will all be announced at 8 am on Monday, February 2 (one week from today).  If you are super-excited to find out, there is a live webcast of the press conference or follow I Love Libraries on Twitter and Facebook to be among the first to know the 2015 winners. The official hashtag for the 2015 Youth Media Awards is  #ALAyma.  

In the meantime, read up for the Reading Goals project!  January's category:  Picture Books!  I'm reading as many of the books from the Cooperative Children's Book Center's Charlotte Zolotow Award as possible in the next few days.  If you read a picture book (good or bad, new or old) by January 31, please take a minute to fill out this form so we can all benefit from your reading.  Book lists to follow in early February.

Here's the schedule for the whole year:

January:  Picture Books
February:  Realistic Fiction
March:  Humorous books
April:  Transitional chapter books (stand-alone)
May:  Fantasy
June:  Historical Fiction
July:  Readers' Choice
August:  Transitional chapter books (series)
September:  Diverse books
October:  Mystery/scary
November:  Science Fiction
December:  Nonfiction

Remember, you can read books for children or teens or both, graphic novels, nonfiction, diverse book--all fine to read for any of the months as long as they fit the theme!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Providence Talks

Sharon Grover from the Hedberg Public Library in Janesville passed on information about a fascinating article in the New Yorker magazine about Providence Talks, a project in Providence, Rhode Island that attempts to address the word gap (based on the Hart and Risley study that indicated that children from low income families hear 30 million fewer words by the time they turn three).  Parents can track how many interactions they are having with their children, and coaches come into the home to talk about ways to incorporate reading, talking and singing into everyday life.

The article brings up some interesting critiques of the program and of the underlying research itself, but it also gives a fairly optimistic look at a project that is attempting to address an important problem.  I recommend reading it if you are interested.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Small Rant

Silly protest sign
Today I was getting on my winter duds to take my morning dog walk, listening to Wisconsin Public Radio, when I heard something that made me jut my chin and Make Proclamations at my good-humored husband.  This happens fairly often when I listen to the news, granted. There are many things to make a person outraged and this is undoubtedly a small bone of contention in the scheme of things.  But STILL!  I think you will join me in my indignation, so I'm posting here about it.

They were doing a Wisconsin Life piece, and an author was talking about reading with his children.  So far, so good!  How cool is that?  But then he went on to smugly say that he prefers to read "real stories" with them.  I thought, oh, they prefer nonfiction.  But no.  He meant books that are written for adults.  In fact, he meant Illustrated Classics versions of books that are written for adults.

Okay, well. I'm truly glad that this dad is reading to his kids and expanding on the experience by doing interesting things related to the books.  It's great they've found something that works for them.  But to declare that a "real story" means a book for adults, and therefore insinuate that books written for kids are somehow less worthy?  That gets my goat.  Especially when he's holding up the Illustrated Classics version of a book as more real than the hundreds of high-quality, amazing children's books that are out there.  I mean, my daughter used to read the Illustrated Classics version of The Three Musketeers her grandparents gave her with pen in hand to correct all the grammar and punctuation errors.

I'm sure you all agree with me that the field of children's literature is rich and broad.  Let's keep doing what we can to promote those real stories to the public!

Monday, January 19, 2015

STEAM Inspiration

An eager participant in last year's Science Fair at the Menomonie Public Library
I came across a terrific post in the Show Me Librarian Blog about the Skokie Public Library's new Boom Box Room--an area with interactive STEAM activities that rotate, kind of like a museum.  Wow!  I wonder if any of you will try something like this on a smaller scale?  Maybe if you do you will find it helpful to check out this resource that Becky from Prescott shared with me--a product for making your cardboard creations work better.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Color Activity that Encouarges Creativity and Interaction

Crayon display

Thanks to Samantha Carpenter, the new youth services assistant at L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library for this cool and easy-to-replicate idea.

The "Name Our Crayons" wall in Youth Services at LEPMPL went up in December in conjunction with our new theme in Play and Learn, which is "The Arts." The wall is big and colorful and can be seen when you walk in the front door of the library. There is a station at our public desk where kids can pick a shape whose color corresponds to one of the crayons, write a name for that color on the shape, and ask a librarian to staple it to the wall. 

What we like about this passive program (other than the sweet and hilarious names kids come up with!) is that it asks kids to think about multiple things:  colors, shapes, and letters. It also gets folks talking to us at the desk. We have had 113 participants in a little less than a month. Enjoy!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Frozen Sing-Along Fun

Antler- and crown-making at the Fall Creek Library's Frozen Sing-Along Party

I've been hearing about libraries having a lot of fun with Frozen Sing-Along programs.  Then today I ran into a couple of Frozen-inspired activities in No Time for Flashcards for young kids that seem like they'd be a fun extension to the sing-along.

Winter Math Game Inspired by Frozen includes a gross-motor math game, just great for your PreK and Kindergarten crowd.

Freeze and Free is also inspired by Frozen--freeing Frozen characters and beads from giant ice cubes, using warm water. As Alison McDonald (the blog author) points out, this is a great way for kids to work on their fine motor skills!