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, December 27, 2010

It Gets Better Project

Thanks to Becky from Prescott for suggesting this excellent and important Youtube Channel:

"I just came across the It Gets Better project on Youtube last night. A must see for librarians who serve teens. Every community has gay teens, and with bullying and intimidation of gay teens on the rise, it is even more important that libraries remain safe places for all teens, regardless of sexual orientation. Dan Savage started the project in response to media coverage of several recent suicides by gay teens, and Youtube has received hundreds of videos from people all over the world reiterating the message - "it gets better." Positively inspirational!http://www.youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterproject"

Look here for more information about the It Gets Better Project.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wow! Rice Krispies! Teens! Sugar! Pretty amazing combinations, for some fabulous sculptures at the Rice Lake Public Library. Look at those STICKY fingers! And those HUGE grins! Yay!

Talk to Janine at Rice Lake if you want some ideas about how to make this work at your library.

I can't get this guy and his sticky fingers to go right-side-up. But he looks too happy to leave off, so here he is!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


She says: "I recently used it for my afterschool read aloud. I used the vocabulary option and put character names and other relevant words for the book we are reading. You get a print out of all the words you use and can just make up the question as you play. The bingo cards that print out are all different. When we play next week we'll use Xmas colored m&ms to cover the words. I'm think about making up a game for teens with popular YA titles."
According to Carol, "The possibilities are endless!" Be sure to explore the whole site. Have fun everyone!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Peek at the Professional Collection

Feinberg, Sandra, et. al. The Family-Centered Library Handbook. Neal-Schuman, 2007.

Imagine a library where all families with small children feel welcome, are excited to go to, and parents and children are learning skills that will help both children and families thrive.

Hmmm...sounds like a lot of your libraries! But there is something special about a youth services department, and a library as a whole, making a conscious decision to be family-centered. It is a matter of priorities, planning, staff training, partnering with other agencies. It involves examining your collections, your programming, your outreach, and your staff's attitudes towards parents and children. It means working to make sure families of every income, education, and background is able to learn about child development and parenting in a safe, respectful, and fun environment.

If this sounds like something you would like to pursue further, The Family-Centered Library Handbook is a great choice. It addresses planning, partnerships, training, collections, programs, and working with special populations. It also gives some great arguments for focusing your library in this direction.

IFLS librarians, if you'd like to borrow the book, you have 2 options:

  • Libraries on MORE can find the book on the staff side of the interface and put a hold on it.

  • Libraries not yet on MORE can send a note to me and I'll make sure it gets checked out and sent to you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Best Books Mashup

Do you still have some money to spend, or wondering how to start once the new year begins? You might want to check the Best Books of the Year Mashup created by Nora Rawlinson at the Early Word Blog. She has created a spreadsheet of books that have made various Best of the Year Lists (School Library Journal, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, New York Times, etc.). This way you can sort the spread sheet in a variety of ways (by age group, by number of lists it made, by type of book, for instance). Super cool!!

At the Core Collections website, there is a Starred Books Compilation that includes books (both children's and adults) that have received 4 or more stars. The list skews adult, because they consult more adult review sources, but it might give you a few ideas.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Local Scholarship Help

I read an interesting article in American Libraries a few weeks ago about a great niche for libraries to fill--researching and collecting information about local scholarships. Odds are much better for receiving a scholarship from the local Kiwanis club than with a national competition.

The author gives some great tips for finding those local resources. Maybe your school guidance counsellor already does this--if they don't, they will certainly be interested in what you find out. And non-traditional students (adults going back to college and homeschoolers) will love to have this information in an easy-to-access place.

What do you do to help people navigate local scholarships?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Resources Round-up

Here's a smattering of cool stuff people have sent me in the past month:

  • Marcia Dressel from the Osceola Public Schools sent a reminder about the Federal Trade Commission's website, which provides brochures on a variety of topics. Some youth-related ones include avoiding scams in scholarhips and student loans and internet safety for kids, tweens, teens, and parents. You can order the brochures in bulk for free.

  • Hollis Helmeci from the Rusk County Library found Wonderopolis to be a fun site: "Have you seen this site? It is bizarrely wonderful. There is a considerable focus on kids doing things—and teaching skills—so it might be a good thing for the blog."

  • For teens who are interested in reading and writing, there is a new social network site that allows them to share their work, find out about new authors, and connect with other people who are passionate about reading and writing. Thanks to Kim Durland here at IFLS for sending along the information about Figment.com: Write Yourself In.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Another Reason to Get to Know Your School Librarian

Thanks to Patti Blount from Durand for forwarding this information to me!

Two very popular free programs from the Cooperative Children's Book Center for teachers and librarians are scheduled to run again this year via the POLYCOM system (available at public schools). Talk to your contacts if you are interested in viewing them!

Outstanding and Award Winning Books for K-5 Librarians and Teachers
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
3:45 – 5:15 pm
Be among the first to find out about the American Library Association award winners announced January 10, 2011 at this session that will highlight outstanding books for children in grades K through 5 published in 2010.
Join librarians from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on this tour through selected 2011 ALA award winners and Notable Children’s Books , as well as some of the books in CCBC Choices 2011, the CCBC’s own best-of-the-year list.

Outstanding and Award Winning Books for Older Children and Teens Grades 6 - 12
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
3:45 – 5:15 pm
Find out about some of the outstanding books of the 2010 publishing year for older children and teens in grades 6-12 at this session that will highlight selected 2011 American Library Association award winners (announced January 10 , 2011) as well as selected ALA 2011 Best Books for Young Adults and Quick Picks, and titles from CCBC Choices 2011.
Librarians from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) will be your guides on this trip through some of the ALA and CCBC titles for Grade 6-12 classrooms and libraries.
All books will be shown via live video connection throughout the presentation. Target audiences are teachers and librarians for grades 6 and up.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Choose Civility Webinar

You are invited to attend a free webinar entitled, “The Road to CIVILITY: Implementing a Choose Civility Initiative”, on Friday, December 10, from 10 to 11 a.m. Central Time. Led by Howard County Library (MD), it is designed to enhance civility, respect, empathy, consideration, and tolerance. “Choose Civility” can be implemented for all age levels and may be used to address bullying and cyberbullying, so it is very timely.

“Choose Civility” evolved from an internal library campaign at the Howard County Library into a successful, ongoing, community-wide initiative. There are now nearly 100 partners and funders, including the public school system and community college. In this webinar, three key leaders will explore techniques to articulate a vision and mission, implement a “Choose Civility” Initiative, position the library as a lead partner, recruit and engage community partners, form a Board of Advisors, develop a public relations campaign, and create relevant curriculum for students of all ages.

Up to 1000 participants can register for this free webinar, which is hosted by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. For more information about the webinar and to register, please visit the Texas State Library’s Webinars page and click on the link for the webinar, or go directly to https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/195649898.

To learn more about the Howard County Library “Choose Civility” Initiative, see http://www.choosecivility.org/ for in-depth program information.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Guys Read in Bloomer

This in from Brendan, youth services librarian at Bloomer:

At the Bloomer Public Library, I’ve started up a little program called GUYS READ. It’s based on the “movement” of the same name started by popular kids’ author Jon Scieska. The idea behind the initiative is that boys lose interest in reading at a certain age, but if they’re actively encouraged to read, boys can become lifelong book lovers.

Based on my own observations, I agree. We usually have to pry our elementary and middle-school aged boys away from the computers or board games, but if I suggest a book they at least have a look at it. So far, the response to the club has been good, with 8 or so guys participating and reading 2 books so far.

Their excitement for the club is based mostly on whether or not they like the current book. I started with The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt (since he visited the area for the Chippewa Valley Book Festival) and got a lukewarm response. The Invention of Hugo Cabret was a much bigger hit. They loved reading it and had a lively discussion for almost 45 minutes.

We are taking a break for the holidays but will be starting back up in January. I hope my next selection is as popular as the last one! If anyone has any suggestions for a group of boys in 3rd-7th grade (quite a challenge, I know…) I’d be happy to take them!

Brendan gives the kids time for free-reading and they are experimenting with writing and drawing prompts. Both the boys and Brendan have big ideas for what's to come, so watch for more from Bloomer!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Policies are the Best Policy

Well, I'm not sure I completely agree with that, but library policies are extremely helpful in guiding staff and creating consistency. This came up several times last month at the Youth Services Idea Swap about working with parents and caregivers.

Several libraries sent me their internet and unattended children policies. I've posted them on our website, and you might want to take a look and see how yours stacks up.

If you want to share yours, too, send it along!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Saying Cheese with Style in Ellsworth

What a cool way to celebrate Say Cheese Day! Check out what they did in Ellsworth!

(the following is an excerpt from an article in the newspaper):

"What better way to highlight our library and Say Cheese in Ellsworth than by having kids create cheese sculptures using our very own Ellsworth cheese curds! As a start to our program, we introduced the book Oggie Cooder to the attendees -- a book about a unique young boy who “charves” cheese into the shapes of states. (Charving is cheese carving!) After reading an excerpt introducing the kids to Oggie’s creative talent, they were then challenged to create their own art. Our group was a very imaginative one, coming up with many different ways to use slices of cheese, cheese curds, and toothpicks. At the end of the event, each child received their very own copy of the book to take home."

To see what other libraries did, take a look at: http://www.flickr.com/groups/wisconsinlibraries/

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Book Discussion Guides

There are several libraries in our system that have teen book discussion groups. In Park Falls, youth services librarian Matthew White has an active discussion group. Last month, they read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. After looking high and low for discussion guides online, Matthew created his own questions. They generated some great discussion, so he very kindly shared them with us (see below).

How do you (yes, I mean you!) structure your book discussions? How do you come up with questions? Remember, a blog can be interactive!!

Here are Matthew's questions:

1. At the beginning of the book, Mary’s mother becomes one of the Unconsecrated in what appears to be a deliberate act. What are some of the reasons Mary believes that her mother makes that decision? How does this affect Mary’s family?

2. After Mary’s mother becomes Unconsecrated, Mary claims that she no longer believes in God. In what other things does Mary have faith? Does Mary’s faith ultimately lead to positive results for her? How is her faith challenged throughout the book?

3. Sister Tabitha takes Mary in to live with the Sisterhood after her mother dies. After Mary tells Tabitha she has no choice but to join the Sisterhood, Tabitha takes Mary to a hidden clearing in the Forest of Hands and Teeth where Mary is almost attacked by the Unconsecrated. As she does so, she says, “There is always a choice.” What does that mean, especially given the choice Mary’s mother makes? Discuss a situation in your life where you felt as though you didn’t have a choice about your actions. Looking back, did you have another choice?

4. Throughout the book, one of the major struggles Mary faces is in dealing with her desire for Travis. In what ways does this forbidden attraction complicate other problems in the book? Is Travis right when, near the end of the story, he tells Mary that she would not have been happy, even with him?

5. Mary’s brother Jed is at first angry with her for her failures to protect their mother from the Unconsecrated. At a certain point in the book, Jed must also make a difficult decision about someone he loves. How does this decision change his opinions about what Mary did? How does Mary respond to Jed’s choices in that situation?

6. Gabrielle, the Outsider, plays an important part in the story. Why do you believe she was allowed to become Unconsecrated? What does this reveal about the real motives of the Sisterhood? How does the choice made by the Sisterhood to cast out Gabrielle affect the safety of the village? Discuss, generally, how the structures of life in the village made it more difficult for them to survive the final attack by the Unconsecrated.

7. How do the characters of Jacob and Argos affect the escape of the main characters from the village? Was bringing them along the right choice? Was bringing them along avoidable?

8. As the story progresses, the Roman numerals used at the beginning of each chapter become important. For example, Mary finds a note Gabrielle has written with the Roman numeral XIV – fourteen – written on it. In Chapter XIV, Gabrielle, now Unconsecrated, leads the army of Unconsecrated in the final attack on Mary’s village. Discuss other places in the story where this meta-textual device is used to heighten tension or create anticipation or foreshadowing. Why do you think Carrie Ryan chose to use the chapter numbers in this way? Have you read another book that used a similar device (for example, Quentin’s gibberish in Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians)? How do devices like these keep you involved in the story?

Monday, November 22, 2010

More rave reviews!

Did you know that Santa makes his home for part of the year in Hudson? According to Mary Davis, she has found the twinkliest, gentlest, most real Santa right there in town. If you need a Santa for your programs, this fellow does travel (not sure if magic is involved).

You probably also didn't know that Santa's business name is Jim Bour... Here is his contact information: santajimclaus@gmail.com 715-381-7348

Friday, November 19, 2010

Rave Performer Review

More rave reviews about performers! Shelley at Ellsworth reported,

"On November 2nd, we hosted Robert and Lynn Halbrook’s “Wizard’s School”, a perfect complement to the November release of the new Harry Potter film. The backdrop for Wizard's School was just like a scene out of Hogwarts.

"Fantastic magicians, they kept the kids (and adults) completely entranced, and had a wonderful rapport with the audience. Robert promoted reading by telling the kids he learned his skills from the books he checked out from the library. We highly recommend them and will be having him return for our Summer Library Program."

Anyone else have great performer stories to share?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Holiday Gifts Displays

Do you get questions from parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other adults about good books to give as gifts? How can you harness this curiosity to spreading the word about some of your favorites?

Some libraries create lists and displays to distribute at the library (or the senior center or other locations). Here are some good resources for finding books to put on your lists:

What are your favorite books to recommend for book-buying? Favorite ways to get the information out?

Monday, November 15, 2010

American Girl Fun in Ellsworth

Shelly and Julie from Ellsworth have a very popular American Girl Book Club in Ellsworth, it brings in 40-plus girls grades K-5 every month:

We’re celebrating our 5th year of hosting our wildly popular American Girl Book Club. This year we are having adventures focusing on the “Girls of the Year” stories. In October we read “Lanie”, the book featuring the 2010 American Girl of the year. Since Lanie loves nature and promotes recycling, conservation, and good stewardship of our resources, we decided to include in our program a series of nature stations. The girls went on a nature walk, listened to and identified bird songs, and learned about Monarch butterflies and their life cycle. Each girl brought a photo of nature and we titled them to display in the library this month. Our community room was “fluttering” with excitement. With several different activities for the girls to participate in, we kept them involved and excited throughout the entire morning.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Parents and Caregivers

We had a lively discussion at today's youth services idea swap about parents and caregivers. Some things we discussed included:

  • Correcting children's behavior in front of parents--how to handle if it if parents are offended, what to do if parents continue to ignore the fact that their child is jumping from the bookshelves, etc. If a child's safety is concerned, this is easier ("I'm afraid you'll get hurt if you run down the hall like that")

  • Approaching caregivers whose children's behavior is disruptive or dangerous--how to explain what is expected of them as caregivers. Dealing with people who are working on the computers and aren't keeping an eye on their kids. (One small library staff talks to the kids, tries to redirect them, and then if parents still aren't supervising their children, staff encourages them to come back at a different time when they have someone else to supervise).

  • Many of these issues can be helped by a good Unattended Children Policy. I will be collecting policies to share. If you have one, please feel free to send it to me. If not, please watch for more on this issue or contact me for help. If you want to

  • How to encourage parents at storytimes to participate in the storytime instead of texting on their phones, using their laptops, or visiting with each other. We came up with a few things: 1. Say one or two sentences during your welcome each time to remind people that storytime is for connecting with their children. 2. Incorporate a "turn off your cell phones" verse into your hello song or fingerplay. 3. Hand out something at each storytime with the fingerplays and songs so parents have something to follow and keep them engaged.

  • How to handle varying expectations parents have for their children's behavior--how to respond to parents who are complaining about the behavior of other children. Great suggestion: remind people that there is a range of behavior that is acceptable in a library, and suggest other times they might come that are less busy.

  • How to keep kids safe from adults who might be, well, not-so-safe? First, don't be afraid to call the police if someone is in the library who shouldn't be there as a condition of their parole. Second, the consensus was that it is okay to approach people when you have concerns about how they are behaving around children.

Wow, lots to discuss! Anything you have to add?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gross Is the New Black

Two IFLS librarians are having fun with gross things, and so are the kids they serve!

Jenna Gilles, youth services librarian at the Fall Creek Public Library had a Grossology 101 program last month which was attended by 58 people. That's almost 5% of the entire population of Fall Creek, folks!

They made "snot soap" in small batches--Jenna had discovered in trials at home that small batches are the way to go. They also had smell challenges (items in film cannisters for kids to smell and guess what they were), taste challenges (fake blood and other disgusting-looking stuff), and touch challenges. Board games, a book display of gross and scary things, and Halloween Music with eerie sounds rounded out the mood.

Jenna used these books to prepare for the program:
The everything kids' gross puzzle & activity book : hours of disgusting fun! / Beth L. Blair & Jennifer A. Ericsson.
Gross me out! : 50 nasty projects to disgust your friends & repulse your family / [authors, Joe Rhatigan & Rain Newcomb] ; illustrated by Clay Meyer.
100% pure fake / Lyn Thomas ; with photographs by Cheryl Powers and illustrations by Boris Zaytsev.

On the other side of the system, Georgia Jones in New Richmond has had great luck with a Gross Book Club. Attended mainly by elementary age boys, many of whom are reluctant readers, this book club is showing them the treasures available in books at at the library! Last month, in honor of Halloween, they made fake blood.

This month, according to Georgia, they "explored the world of poop. The non-fiction books we shared had information on the history of toilets and sanitation as well as microscopic pictures of ......yup, poop. The craft of the day was decorating toiletpaper with stamps and ink. Rather festive, actually!"

Any gross stuff in your neck of the woods??

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Resources for Working with Teens

Teens at a 2008 special event at the New Richmond Public Library

New books in the IFLS collection--contact Leah if you want to borrow them (they aren't catalogued yet!):

Risky Business: Taking and Managing Risks in Library Services for Teens. By Linda W. Braun, Hillias J. Martin, and Connie Urquhart. ALA, 2010.
A collection of thoughtful essays about the various ways that being a teen librarian is inherently risky, and how embracing that risk can improve service to teens. Chapters on technology, collections, programs, and careers all have some philosophy and some concrete examples to help you think about things in new ways.

The Hipster Librarian's Guide to Teen Craft Projects. By Tina Coleman and Peggie Llanes. ALA, 2009.
A collection of craft projects that are low-cost and appealing to teens--particularly girls.

ALSO: Webjunction has a Young Adult Services area, with suggestions on programming, outreach, collection development, gaming, and more. There are links to articles, archived webinars, and much more. If you are looking for ideas about a particular topic, this is a good place to start.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mark Your Calendars--SLP Workshop

Clip art from this year's Collaborative Summer Library Program Manual

Mark your calendars, the Summer Library Program Workshop is coming on February 11 at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Menomonie. If time is going as freakishly fast for you as it is for me, you'll want to get this in your calendar now!

Terry Ehle, the youth services librarian from Two Rivers Public Library, will be our main presenter. If you attended the IFLS webinar about creating dynamic displays (find it here) you know that Terry is a fabulous presenter full of terrific ideas to make the summer sparkle for kids, teens and families. We'll have time for an idea swap and a little information on the hows and whys of evaluating your program, too.

Flyers are coming, but in the meantime, be sure to clear the date. It will be an inspiring, fun, and active day.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Prescott Duct Tape Program Sticks Out

From Becky Arenivar at Prescott, a how-to-do-it success story!Fifteen teens attend the Prescott Public Library's Duct Tape Unrolled event. Teens could choose 3 items from a possible six to make, starting with easy items like bookmarks and jewelry and moving to the most difficult, the duct tape wallet and cell phone caddy. We had tie-dye duct tape, neon duct tape and a black fleur-de-lis on white background duct tape, along with plain old gray and black.

A few teen helpers came early to learn how to make the things, then demonstrated for the teen attendees. We got instructions from books* and from instructables.com. Our teen shelver took charge of the wallet activity. We've found in previous craft activities, that written instructions often get ignored, so we didn't bother with any this time. It saved me lots of prep time and worked well. Most of the activities are pretty easy to figure out from a sample. The wallet, cell phone caddy and roses were the only ones that really needed to be taught. It also helps that our attendees didn't seem to be perfectionists about their duct tape creations. The highlight of the event were the number of boys who attended - 5! We've also noticed that some of them are using their wallets!!!

*Books: Stick It!: 99 DIY Duct Tape Projects by Teresa Bonaddio, Got Tape? by Ellie Schiedermayer, and Ductigami: the Art of the Tape by Joe Wilson.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Celebrating Trains in Rice Lake

In Rice Lake, Dawn and the rest of the children's staff had a fun day with trains!

Last month we celebrated everyone’s favorite mass transit—the train! We had a preschool train party that was advertised in the paper, on our website, and in our email that we send to area parents. When children first arrived they received a big ticket with their name on it. We gathered all 40 or so children in a big group and sang the Choo-Choo song (thanks, Georgia for sharing that one!) Then we read a train story together. Once everyone was settled we got back up on our feet to play musical train cars (using train car cut-outs on the floor.) Our last activity was craft stations. I had one table of making your own Twinkie Train, one of painting using train stamps, and another of Thomas coloring sheets. Our audience was mostly 2-6 year old boys, although we did have a few girls too. As they left, each child received a train whistle and engineer cap. It was a lot of fun and pretty easy, too!

Book Discussions for YOU!

Are you going to the WLA conference this year? Mark your calendars and start reading for a great program, you won't want to miss. The Youth Services Section Book Discussion will be held Thursday (November 4) at 4 p.m. This is your chance to participate in a book discussion led by librarians from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC).

Everyone attending should have read either Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper (Atheneum, 2010) or Bruiser by Neal Shusterman (HarperTeen, 2010) in preparation for this session. Participants will follow CCBC book discussion guidelines www.education.wisc.edu/ccbc/books/discguide.asp

Please go online to Survey Monkey to indicate your book choice at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3NNRPHB

Leaf Prints

Karen Wendt from Monona Public Library (WLA's Library of the Year) sent information on a great program that went over really well in her library:

We had a really fun Leaf Printing program with Deborah Proctor (The Recycle Bug) at the Monona Public Library. We had 12 children registered but we had 36 attend (a very full house for us). I started out by reading a couple of fall books and she very briefly explained why leaves turn colors and fall in the autumn. She then showed examples of how the leaf prints look and explained the process. However, kids were chomping at the bit to get started and explanation was more for parents than for children.

Participants were asked to bring a t-shirt or pillowcase. Just in case some didn't bring a shirt, Deborah had a few $3 shirts available for them to purchase. She also had bandana size pieces of a sheet and construction paper. Deborah brought along craft paints and leaves (she made them out of styrofoam pieces). Children had great fun painting the leaves and stamping leaf shapes onto their shirts. Parents were fully engaged and interacted fully with their children. It was great! Some children painted their names or used alphabet stamps that Deborah had available. We will do this program again next fall.

Performer Rave Reviews

Thanks to Lisa from Colfax, who immediately answered my call for content! Yay! If she can do it, so can you!

Here's what Lisa says:

We just had "Madame Lanita" (a.k.a. Kris Winter) come to our library last night for a family program. She entertained us with a gypsy story, a song and a gypsy dance. This is our third time booking Kris....we love her! She performed for 45 minutes and really interacted will with the children. What is unique about Kris, is that she walks through our door in her Lanita character, and stays in that character role until she walks out to go home. I think that is so professional and it says a lot about her love of storytelling and her acting abilities. Price was $320.00, which included her 40-50 mileage. I highly recommend Kris.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Send me content!

I am wallowing a little over here, and would love some content for the blog! I have some general things to put on later this week, but I'd love to feature some ideas you have.

If you had a great program this fall, what was it? How did you do it? Who came? What resources did you use? How did you get an audience?

Photos are great, but not necessary. Send your ideas to me at langby @ ifls.lib.wi.us.

Thanks, folks!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Teen Read Week Books with a Beat

I got a great question from Jenny in Colfax, looking for books related to Teen Read Week's theme: Books with a Beat. There wasn't much in terms of booklists on the YALSA website, so I made my own. I thought Jenny maybe isn't the only one looking for titles, so I am posting the list here:


Audrey, Wait! By Robin Benway
Audrey’s ex-boyfriend writes a hit-song about her after they break up.

The New Policeman and The Last of the High Kings by Kate Thompson
Irish music and dance, Tir na nOg—the land of the fairies, and much humor in these books.

Beige. By Cecil Castellucci.
Katy reluctantly leaves Montréal to spend time with her estranged father, an aging Los Angeles punk rock legend.

Good Enough. By Paula Yoo.
Patti Yoon, a Korean American girl, tries to please her parents by doing her best to get into YaleHarvardPrinceton, but she is distracted by a boy and by her passion for the violin.

Born to Rock. By Gordon Korman
High school senior Leo Caraway, a conservative Republican, learns that his biological father is a punk rock legend.

Yellow Flag. By Robert Lipsyte.
When Kyle reluctantly succumbs to family pressure and takes over driving the family racecar, he struggles to keep up with his trumpet playing.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. By Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.
Nick, member of a rock band, meets Norah and asks her to be his girlfriend for five minutes in order to avoid his ex-sweetheart.

Candor. By Pam Bachorz.
The teens in Candor are all model citizens, due to the subliminal messages played in the ever-present, piped-in music. Except the Mayor’s son, who uses his inside information for his own purposes.

Gilbert and Sullivan Set Me Free. By Kathleen Karr.
Inmates of a 1900s women’s prison stage a production of Pirates of Penzance. Based on a true story.


The Composer is Dead by Lemony Snicket, with music composed by Nathaniel Stookey, illustrated by Carson Ellis, performed by the San Francisco Symphony.
This is a hilarious introduction to the orchestra, with humor that will appeal to teens, great music, and useful information.

The Song Shoots Out of My Mouth. By Jaime Adoff
A collection of poems about music and musicians.

Punk Rock Etiquette: The Ultimate How-To Guide for DIY, Punk, Indie, and Underground Bands, by Travis Nichols
Graphic novel format, informative, and hilarious.

John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth. By Elizabeth Partridge.
Highly acclaimed biography of the Beatles legend.

This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie. By Elizabeth Partridge.
Fascinating reading, even for people who aren’t fans of this folk hero’s music.

Meet the Musicians: From Prodigy (or Not) to Pro. By Amy Nathan.
Profiles of members of the New York Philharmonic.

Rock and Roll Soldier: A Memoir. By Dean Ellis Kohler and Susan VanHecke.
During the Vietnam War, Kohler was asked by his captain to form a rock and roll band to keep up morale of his unit.

We Shall Overcome: A Song That Changed the World. By Stuart Stotts, with an introduction by Pete Seeger.
Slim book that introduces the backstory of this powerful song.

Collection Development Webinars

There are some great opportunities to help you keep up with the huge number of titles for children and youth--all without leaving your desk. Check out the following offers of webinars from other systems and from vendors:

The South Central Library System, together with the Cooperative Children's Book Center, has a monthly series of 1/2 hour webinars on recommended books, CCBC Shorts. They are archived on the CCBC website. Past themes have included: great new picture books, books and boys, read-alouds, book club ideas. The CCBC librarians have a lot of great insight about books, so take a listen at your convenience.

Booklist, in cooperation with Orca Publishers, is sponsoring a webinar called Reaching Reluctant Readers: Using High Interest Fiction to Engage and Inspire on Tuesday, October 19 from 1-2 pm. Even if you can't come at that time, if you register, they'll send you a link to the archived webinar.

Patti Blount from Durand send me a notice about a Librarian's Preview webinar from Scholastic about upcoming new titles. Editors and authors will be online to give plugs for their new books on Tuesday, October 19 at 12:00 noon.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

ALA offers Great Stories CLUB Grants

Deadline: November 19, 2010 (From the Library Grants blog)

The Great Stories CLUB (Connecting Libraries, Underserved teens, and Books) is a book club program designed to reach underserved, troubled teen populations through books that are relevant to their lives. All types of libraries (public, school, academic, and special) located within or working in partnership with facilities serving troubled teens in the United States and its territories are eligible to apply for a CLUB grant. 150 libraries will be selected to develop a book discussion program for troubled teens based on the three theme-related titles and will be given copies of the books to share with participants. Participating libraries will also receive access to an online toolkit to support the program. Small cash grants ($100 to $200) will be awarded to up to twenty-five sites for the support of program-related expenses.

For complete information on the Great Stories CLUB, including guidelines, book titles and descriptions, application instructions, and feedback from past participants, visit the ALA Web site.

If you'd like to talk to a librarian who has implemented Great Stories CLUB projects in the past, talk with Chris Byerly at Frederic and Elaine Meyer at Amery!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Happens When You Say Yes

Creative Costuming--and actors of all ages-- at work!

Sometimes it can be a challenge to work with teens. Some libraries have a hard time attracting them to their library, their programs, their teen advisory boards. Once they are there, it can be tricky to figure out the best way to harness their energy and ideas so you can create something really great together. It can be terrifying to run with one of their ideas--but it can also be amazing.

In a non-library example of this, teens and pre-teens from the Menomonie Area Homeschool Group were so excited about Shakespeare, they wanted to produce a play of their own. They begged a receptive adult (who did theater in high school) to help them produce Much Ado About Nothing.

Bad Guys

After rehearsing all summer, the play was produced for sold-out-crowds earlier this month. Cast members ranged in age from 6 years old to adult, and most of the major roles were played by teens. The costumes (in hilarious steampunk style) were created by a 16-year-old.

Sneaking up on a lovesick Benedick

Bare bones in terms of experience and facility, the production they pulled off was fabulous! The kids were excited to be there, very focused, very willing to prepare. Most of all, they were working hard because they were working on an idea they came up with themselves, with a director who was exactly the right combination of confident and humble.

How do you elicit this sort of involvement at the library?

Friday, September 17, 2010

SLP--2012?! Seeking Ideas by December 1

Remember those coolio manuals that everyone loves to use to plan the Summer Library Program? Well, guess how those manuals come about? Amazing, creative, smart librarians like you (yes, I mean you!) contribute ideas.

The manual editor, Patti Sinclair, is looking for your ideas on the themes Dream Big--Read (for the children's manual) and Own the Night (for the teen manual). Specifically, here are some things she's looking for:

Dream Big--Read Manual

  • School visits and other promotions (skits and puppet show scripts are especially welcome)
  • Decorations, bulletin boards, props, etc.
  • Family programs, especially emphasizing literacy
  • Original puppet shows for 1 or 2 people
  • Outreach ideas for underserved populations
  • Bilingual storytimes

Own the Night Manual

  • Setting the scene (displays, making an inviting teen area, what to display besides books)
  • Using teen volunteers (what sort of programs are good ones for teens to take charge of?)
  • Social networking to promote
  • Podcasting
  • Blogs
  • Program ideas

Send suggestions to: Patti Sinclair trishsinclair @ sbcglobal.net by December 1!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gaming for a Cause in Park Falls

Matthew White, the youth services librarian in Park Falls, has been doing some great work to establish connections with the teens in the area. He has a new teen area, and has been working with a group of kids on a Teen Advisory Board. His board, BookForce, is working on a 24-hour video game extravaganza through Extra Life to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network--specifically, St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Marshfield.

On October 16, they will head to the library for 24 hours of gaming. They are asking friends, family (and fellow librarians now) to sponsor them for $1/hour--if you are interested in finding out more, check out their donation page or contact Matthew at whitem @ ifls.lib.wi.us.

Anyone else have any great ideas? I was talking with my own teen today, and we thought it would be fun to have a gathering of teen advisory boards, so the kids could swap ideas about what kinds of things they are doing, and librarians could see how other boards work. Whatcha think of that??

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

SLP Exploits

Keep those SLP stories and photos coming, people really like to see what you are doing, and that is the whole purpose of this blog.

In Amery, a prize that kids really respond well to is having their picture in the paper! "Top Readers" in the SLP program get their photos in the paper every year, and kids are very excited to be in the elite group. This year, over one hundred made the cut. The library staff has honed their kid-organizing skills over the years, and the photo shoot goes very smoothly. We reproduced a small sampling of the photos.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Reading in the Doghouse Gets Menomonie Press!

Librarians at the Menomonie Public Library play host to a certified therapy dog every week, letting kids read to the dog to increase their confidence through reading to a non-judgemental, patient listener. Their program, Reading in the Doghouse, received some great press Sunday in the Dunn County News.

Great stuff! I love to see libraries' fabulous programs get the recognition they deserve!
There are a few librarians in IFLS-land that do a Read to the Dog program--I highly recommend contacting Debbie in Menomonie, Dawn in Rice Lake or Tricia in Balsam Lake if you are thinking about starting a program of your own.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The ALSC Quicklists Consulting Committee has created a booklist to assist members who may be receiving requests for book titles on Islam, Muslims and the Qur’an in response to a planned public burning of the Qur’an by Rev. Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida.

The list is a mixture of fiction and nonfiction; and is divided by preschoolers, elementary school students and teenagers. The Committee expects to refine the list in the weeks to come, so please check back for updates.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Robert Munsch and Fall Creek

I got this great note from Jenna Gilles at the Fall Creek Library this week, she suggested it would be a good blog post, and I agree!

"In November we are having a Bunch of Munsch storytime. So, I wrote Robert Munsch about it and to support him for his recent “coming-out” about emotional issues. I also asked him where I could get a copy of Put Me in a Book besides Scholastic Canada (Sue and I couldn’t find it available in accounts we have). So guess what??!?!?! He sent a copy of the book with his signature and a “Thanks for writing” message. (No letter was included.) HOW FREAKING SWEET IS THAT?!?!?!? During the storytime, I plan to read the book and then get a group photo with the book to send to Munsch as a thank you. How generous of him, right?!?

Okay, before I explode with joy, off I go!"

May you all have moments that make you want to explode with joy this week, too!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Christopher Paul Curtis in Minneapolis!

I'm a huge fan of Christopher Paul Curtis, author of The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963; Elijah of Buxton, and one of my all-time, top-favorite books in the whole world: Bud, Not Buddy.
I was excited to see the Christopher Paul Curtis is coming to Minneapolis to give a lecture, sponsored by the University of Minnesota and the Kerlan collection. He'll be at Memorial Hall in the McNamara Alumni Center on Thursday, October 21 at 6:30 pm (after a reception that costs $10). For more information about the visit, see www.cehd.umn.edu/BookWeek/.

If you'd like to join me at the lecture, let me know! I'm going to consider going--wouldn't it be a fun outing??

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Grassroots Survey

We've had lots of chances for people to share ideas about what is going well, what your concerns are, what you wish the system could provide in terms of youth services. But here is one more chance for IFLS librarians to respond (please only respond if you work for a public library in IFLS-land).

I need to take information from all of you to a state-wide meeting later this month. Here is a link to an anonymous survey so we can make sure your voice is heard: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CK89CXV . Please respond by September 14!

I think it will take you 5-10 minutes, depending on how much you want to write.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mockingjay Hits Menomonie

Colleen from Menomonie reported a crowd of 21 teens whose parents were willing to drop them off at the library for a Mockingjay release party (more were wishing they could come, and an on-duty police officer who stopped by to pick up a copy of the book for his kid).

  • Teens predicted the ending--the one who is closest will win a mockingjay pin t-shirt.

  • Peeta, Gale and Katniss teams created banners to display in the library

  • Two district teams answered trivia questions and the winning team got to make a trip to the cornucopia which was filled with a bunch of donated stuff. There was a tie and the breaker was one member from each team was chosen to shoot (with a disc shooter) the apple in the pigs mouth (obviously a picture).

  • Colleen read the last chapter of Catching Fire before midnight, when the local bookseller sold the books.

How is the Hunger Games trilogy going over in your neck of the woods? What kind of discussion is it encouraging? (Please comment).

My daughter and I broke down went halvsies on it last week--I was 249th on the list. She gobbled it up this weekend, but I'm being disciplined and coming to work instead of reading it...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Keeping Up--In General!

One of the biggest issues raised at a recent Youth Services Idea Swap was the perennial issue of TIME, and the lack thereof. We discussed the challenges of keeping up with newer media (blogs, facebook pages, flickr, websites), while still staying true to other key youth services (programs, reference, knowing your collection so you can put the right book into the right hands at the right time, creating face-to-face relationships).

It seems we keep adding things, but forget that our time isn't infinitely expandable. How do you manage to balance everything out?

Here are some strategies I've tried:
  • Prioritizing, with the help of feedback from the people I serve
  • Making a schedule for myself (which can get completely skewed by what comes in the door, I know, but somehow this helps me stay calm and sometimes keeps me from obsessively checking my email)
  • Looking at our long range plan to see if there are some guides there to help me decide what is most important

What do you do?? Please comment so everyone can learn from each other.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Spread the Word on MORE

Part of the IFLS Long Range Plan is to produce some MORE-related materials for youth. This sounds pretty vague, doesn't it? That's because we wanted to make sure to leave room for people working with youth to help us decide what format and contentyou would find most useful for this sort of thing, and what age you'd like to target.

So...what do you want kids to know about MORE? How can we help you convey that information? Do you need a Power Point? A bookmark? A podcast? A video? Or something so cool we can't imagine it ourselves yet?

What age is the priority for you? Should we tackle something for teens first? Fourth graders? Kindergarteners? Who do you want us to start with?

If you have ideas or suggestions, feel free to post them in the comments OR send an email to Lori Roholt, who is heading up this project: roholt@ifls.lib.wi.us

THANKS for your feedback! We can't work in a vaccuum here, so we love to hear what you want.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Teens Evaluating Books!

Two book-related announcements today:

The big day is here! Your teens have been reading the 2010 Teens' TopTen nominations since last April, and now they can tell us which books are their favorites. Voting for the 2010 Teens' Top Ten is available -and this year, it's even easier for your teens to vote. Just have them go to the Teens' Top Ten homepage at www.ala.org/teenstopten! (If you still want to use a separate link,that's available too at www.surveymonkey.com/s/teenstopten2010.)

Voting is open now through September 17. We'll announce the winners at www.ala.org/teenstopten during Teen Read Week, Oct. 17-23.

Calling all Middle Grade Teachers and Librarians! Little, Brown Books for Young Readers is looking for galley groups to read and review our middle grade titles. Do you serve Middle Grade readers? Do your readers like to share what's on their minds? Would they like to tell US what they think? Then send an email to LBYRGalleys@hbgusa.com and we'll send you more information. You’ll be glad you did!

Victoria Stapleton
Associate Director, School & Library Marketing
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Hachette Book Group USA
212.364.1542 P
212.364.0925 F

Friday, August 20, 2010

High Points, Low Points

Okay, so today was the Youth Services Idea Swap in Prescott. Wow, it is amazing when 10 committed and interesting people get together to talk about what works in their library, and what they are struggling with! Look for some detailed reports, coming up.

In the meantime, we collected information from people about favorite and hardest parts of the summer in a previous blog post and got some great answers.

On the favorites end, we got LOTS of happy comments about performers, programs, new teen programs, and increased participation. Oh, and some good gardens. And a new library that is making people's jaws drop. On the not-so-fun end, we heard about heat, humidity, unruly daycare groups, low participation rates at tween programs, and more about heat and humidity.

What did you like best this summer? What was hardest for you?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Super Summer Program Round-up: Pokemon!

In Chippewa Falls, they had an easy, fun program that librarians and kids alike would be happy to repeat. This just in from Colleen:

One our best programs this summer was our 'Pokemon Summer Academy' that we held for kids in 2nd -7th grades. Kids played an ice breaker game where they had to guess which legendary Pokemon character they had on their nametag. We served pizza and played some paper-based games based on their knowledge of Pokemon characters. Kids looked at each others' cards, and some even traded some cards. Other kids brought their DS machine to battle each other and show off their favorite games.

Often the program seemed to be running itself. It was just a happy bunch of kids speaking the same language and having fun.The biggest hit was was that we had the Wii game Pokemon Battle Revolution and kids connected their DS's to the Wii so they could battle each other. Those who didn't have a DS played on a team. While kids waited for their turn to play, some kids decorated 'Pokeball' cupcakes using a variety of colored frostings & decorations. Many kids asked when we would be doing this again. Definitely would do again!