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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Thursday, October 1, 2015

AAP Revision on Screen Time

The American Academy of Pediatrics has long provided patients with guidance about a variety of things, including screen time.  As the kinds of things kids can do with screens has shifted to be more interactive, there have been many discussions--and a growing body of research--about how this may change the effect of screens on children.

Last spring, the AAP held the Growing Up Digital:  Media Research Symposium, and today released the news that they are revising their guidelines to reflect the pervasiveness of screens, as well as their enhanced capabilities.

I'm sure we'll be talking more about this at next Tuesday's Media Mentor Training with Erin Walsh and Chip Donohue.  Watch here for a report on that!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bilingual Storytime in Amery

Many thanks to Tricia Wehrenberg for this inspiring guest post about going outside her comfort zone to provide excellent service.  Way to go!

Recently, the Amery Area Public Library was approached by the United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS) to do a storytime for the children that they care for. UMOS is a nonprofit organization that assists migrant workers with a number of different services. The organization has a presence in Amery in order to assist the migrant workers that come to work in the summer months. 

I excitedly agreed to do this storytime because of how great an opportunity it is for outreach, but quickly remembered that I do not speak conversational Spanish. I know some words and phrases, so I can pick up on what someone is saying, but as far as sentence structure, I’m lost. I was informed that the children who would be attending did not speak any English. So, I set to work doing research on how best to make this storytime enjoyable for the children despite our language barrier. I went through a number of different titles and settled on three: Head to Toe by Eric Carle, Round is a Tortilla by Roseanne Thong, and Bear at Home/Oso en Casa by Stella Blackstone. I also enlisted the help of one of my coworkers, Carmen Haakenson, because she speaks fluent Spanish. 

The children came in on the day of the program very excited to see the library. Every time we got to a new room, they all gave a collective, “oooh!” I was told after storytime that none of them had actually been inside a library before. Not surprisingly, the children most enjoyed Head to Toe by Eric Carle. I spoke the English text and demonstrated actions, and Carmen explained what I was doing in Spanish. They loved that I was being so silly! 

While the books were wonderful, the kids loved dancing and playing with our parachute the most. Because the teachers enjoyed the storytime, they asked me if I’d come speak to their parent group at their next meeting. This was another situation that was out of my comfort zone since I’d never spoken with an interpreter before. However, librarians always take opportunities when they arise! So, I happily agreed. The head of the program informed me that a number of the parents didn’t read aloud to their children because they didn’t realize the importance and were not often read to while growing up. I was excited to have the opportunity to speak with them about different ways they can bring a book to life with their child by asking questions and opening up a conversation. In collaboration with Carmen, we also created a handout of earlyliteracy tips in both English and Spanish for the parents. They seemed very receptive, and the organization has already expressed interest in coming back to the library next year. Hopefully we can expand our services to them now that we’re aware of what each can offer the other.

Not only did this experience bring me out of my comfort zone, it also made me realize that there are so many groups that are underserved because we don’t have the resources to offer specific programs for them. This has opened my eyes to new opportunities, and I can’t wait to offer more services like this in the future. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Mother Goose on the Loose Coming to New Richmond

Thanks to an LSTA grant, Georgia Jones planned a workshop with Dr. Betsey Diamont-Cohen, author of Mother Goose on the Loose, an award-winning early literacy program that libraries across the country use. The session is designed for childcare and early childhood providers, and librarians, too.  WITC is partnering to provide a beautiful venue. The cost is super low and the return will be super high!  Register online at WITC or by mail

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Autism Welcome Here Grants Available

Announcing a NEW library grant opportunity!
AUTISM WELCOME HERE: Library Programs, Services and More Grant

Applications are now being accepted online. Submission deadline is December 1, 2015.  For more information and details about this unique grant opportunity please see: www.librariesandautism.org/grant

Each year, a total of $5,000.00 will be awarded. Depending on the applications received, one grant for the full amount or multiple grants for smaller amounts may be awarded.  Any type of library can apply, and the proposal can fund projects and services for any age group. Applicants may propose to initiate a new, creative program or service, bring an already existing, successful program or service to their library for the first time, or enhance a program or service they already offer. All programs or services proposed must benefit people with autism or their families, directly or indirectly. Funds may be used to hire a trainer to present a workshop, to buy program materials, to pay for staff, etc.

Please direct any questions to Barbara Klipper: barbaraklipper.librarian@gmail.com.

Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected is honored and excited to be sponsoring this new grant opportunity that honors the groundbreaking work of Libraries and Autism co-founder Meg Kolaya for her contributions in promoting inclusion, connecting libraries and the autism community, and bringing awareness of the needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families to the library community.


This grant is an outcome of the Illinois State Library’s broad and ambitious project, Targeting Autism: A National Forum on Serving Library Patrons on the Spectrum. The grant is funded by Barbara Klipper, retired librarian, consultant and trainer, and the author of two important books, Programming for Children and Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ALA Editions, 2014) and The Secret Rules of Social Networking (AAPC Publishing, 2015).

Friday, August 21, 2015

Word Group Game in Pepin

Thanks to Christy in Pepin for this blog post!

What do you do with those flimsy DVD cases that we are not to circulate?  Do they just pile up in a store room or cabinet?  What about the discs from movies or books that are not salvageable or no longer needed?  Looking to re-use both of these items?  Here's one idea that Pepin is putting together to make available for the beginning readers. 

Take a word group, such as words that end in "ap".  Create a label or two with those letters on and place inside the DVD case.  Then place letters onto a label for the disc.  The disc can then be turned to create words from the letters on the disc and the case.  
CD with letters word game
Have available some paper that the reader can then write the words they create.  Place a pencil inside the case and a spiffy cover for the outside and viola!  A quick tool for readers to see and make words.  This activity will help readers to rhyme, spell, write and enrich their literacy skills.  We are putting together several of these cases with word groups and will make them available for use in the library.
place for writing words created

We are also thinking of creating "Scrabble" like tiles from these cases also. Younger readers can create their own words or just place the tiles in order. Older readers can make their own cross-stick puzzles and challenge each other to keep adding words.  The tiles can have capital letters on one side and lower case letters on the other side.  Just some paper and printer toner and a little time should give those old DVD cases new life.
snazzy cover

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Developing Self-Regulation in Children

toddler watching television
Photo credit:  Lou Bueno flickr
My public health colleague Karen sent me a link to this article about a recent study about significant media use and self-regulation issues for young children.  Being able to self-regulate is a crucial life skill that allows kids to be more resilient in the face of challenges and is a strong predictor of school success.  One thing the researchers were trying to determine was whether infants and toddlers who watch a lot of television and videos were doing so as a result of being fussy or more challenging (because watching a screen calmed them down and possibly gave stressed parents a break from crying), or whether the media consumption led to the self-regulation issues.  They found that media use of more than 2 hours per day did result in a small, but statistically significant, increase in self-regulation problems.

One of the recommendations of the study was helping parents come up with more developmentally supportive strategies for helping an infant or toddler who is irritable, fussy, or extremely demanding. The study, being from a medical establishment, recommends pediatricians communicate this information, but it seems like there is a role for librarians here, too.  How can we intentionally model and share scaffolding strategies for helping the youngest children learn to self-regulate?

What do you do?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Get the Mayor Involved in Summer Reading!

Thanks to Kim Hennings at New Richmond for this guest blog post about a great addition to their Summer Library Program:

This year, in addition to weekly reading goals for SLP participants, we added "Mayor Fred's Summer Reading Challenge."

We had a high school student draw a cartoon of the Mayor and we used that as artwork in our Summer Reading Program booklet.  The instructions stated:

"This year we are very excited that one of New Richmond's own heroes, Mayor Fred Horne, has a reading challenge for the children of New Richmond.  

Dear Reader,

I want to give you an extra challenge this summer.  Using the list below read the eight different types of books throughout the summer reading program.  If you complete all eight, you will be presented a special award at the city council meeting on August 10th.

I can't wait to see how many New Richmond kids are reading this summer!  All summer readers are superheroes in my book! - Mayor Fred"

The categories were
-A book where at least one character is an animal
-A funny or humorous book
-A non-fiction book (true story)
-A book that won a national award (caldecott or newberry)
-Re-read a favorite book
-A fairy or folktake
-Listen to a book, eaudio, book on CD or book & CD
-A graphic novel, comic, or wordless picture book

All the children who completed the challenge got a special invitation to the council meeting via email.  50 kids completed the challenge and 30 kids plus parents/siblings came to the meeting.  The council had to bring in extra seating to accommodate everyone.  During the meeting, I called the kids up one at a time and the Mayor shook their hand and presented them with a certificate. (certificates were filled out ahead of time and we checked kids in before the meeting. We also had blank certificates to fill out for last minute additions)  Afterwards we took a group photo and the kids were invited to the basement for cake and punch.  Although it certainly wasn't our highest attended program, several council members as well as parents expressed their enthusiasm and appreciation.  It's a great introduction to local politics and what the city council does. 

It's one thing for me to tell the council how many kids participated in summer reading (which I do), and it is another for them to see how proud those children were as they were accepting their awards.  I also made sure to tell all the children the City Council meetings are televised, which they were very excited about.

We're already brainstorming ways we can tweak the program to make it more successful next year.   The program took virtually no additional work besides filling out the certificates and ordering a cake and helped us build a better relationship with our Mayor and City Council.