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, December 29, 2011

A Little Help?

Okay, folks, it has been a while since we had much coming from you for the blog!

Help me keep this blog vibrant by sending in some things for me to post. You don't have to make it look pretty or even take time to make sure it is written well, I'll spiff it up for publication.

I'm looking for your little ideas, your new year's resolutions, your program ideas, your favorite book you used in storytime last year... It doesn't have to be something big and impressive to be useful to your fellow librarians. Photos are a bonus, but please send me content even if you are photo-less.

Thanks, and happy new year! I hope 2012 is healthy and full of things you love.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Best of the year Non-fiction! This is the last list. Notice that Heart and Soul (which showed up on every single best-of-the-year list I consulted, even the ones that are not included in the Wordle) is listed both in the Picture Book list and this Nonfiction list--that is because it is listed in both categories by various journals.

Click on this Wordle so you can see a full-size, readable link and print it. The larger the title, the more frequently it was listed in a Best of the Year list. Sources consulted include: School Library Journal, Hornbook, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and New York Times.

Wordle: Best of Year Juvenile Nonfiction

Monday, December 19, 2011

In about 1/8 the amount of time, I created a Wordle for the Best Juvenile Fiction Books of 2011. I guess once you use it once, you get the hang of it. Feel free to click on the link and print for teachers, people looking for gift ideas, and kids who are looking for a good book. It was created from Best of the Year lists in School Library Journal, Hornbook, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and New York Times.

 Wordle: Juvenile Fiction Best of 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Take Your Child to the Library Day

Adapted from a posting to PUBYAC:

A couple weeks ago, after hearing about Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, Nadine, a children's librarian from Connecticut, came up with the idea for a special Take Your Child to the Library Day, and chose the first Saturday in February as the annual day for her library. At least half the libraries in Connecticut have joined her, with activities and crafts, a performer, or just publicizing the day. This might be a fun thing for libraries in Wisconsin to try, too!

The first annual "Take Your Child to the Library Day will be held on Saturday, February 4, 2012. Who wants to join in the fun?

For more ideas and resources, check the Facebook Page or the blog.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I was inspired by the Best YA Books of 2011 Wordle I posted about a few days ago. It seems like a great Reader's Advisory Tool, and so I spent longer than I should have figuring out how to make Wordle work so I could create one for Picture Books. I used the lists of School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Hornbook, Kirkus and New York Times. Titles that appeared on more than one list are larger--the more times, the larger the text. Click on the Wordle to get a larger printable (and readable!) version.

Hand this to people who are looking for a good gift book! In the next few days, I'll try to make them for Juvenile Nonfiction and Fiction, too. Now that I have it figured out, it shouldn't take as long!

Wordle: Best Picture Books 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Child Poverty on the Rise

This probably not a big news bulletin to any of you, but it might be affecting the way people use the library and what sorts of things your community needs. According to the Census Bureau's Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, poverty rates for people 18 and under rose in every county in the IFLS area since 2008.

Percent of Children Under 18 Living in Poverty:

Some changes are fairly drastic--nearly 10 percentage points in Rusk County, and more than five percentage points in Barron, Eau Claire, Polk and Price Counties. That adds up to a lot of kids.

Are you seeing more kids in your library as a result? Fewer, as families struggle with transportation or worry about fines? Are you finding ways to help kids through tough times? I'd love to hear about what you are up to.

Have you considered working with the Department of Public Instruction to provide a free lunch site during the summer at your library? Informational webinars start this week to find out more.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Representing the Best of the Year

Here's an extremely cool and practical use of Wordle by school librarian Gina Beirne on http://shslibrary.tumblr.com/. These are YA book titles that have turned up on various best-of-the-year lists--the larger the title, the more times it has appeared. What an attractive way to help people make sense of the best-of-the-year lists! I like the idea, I want to try it out for a younger audience, too. Check back to see if I ever get around to it!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Play and Learn in Eau Claire

Terrific new early learning area in Eau Claire! Wow! This area has many small features that are reproducible for any library, and as a whole it is absolutely terrific!

From Shelly, Youth Services Manager:

"After many months of planning, we unveiled the Play and Learn area in November. It features the Play and Learn Market:

and a number of other fun spots that encourage parents to play with children and build those literacy skills they need before they enter school . Kids have been having a great time with the cash register, play food and scale. The "main play" will change every few months. Right now it is the market, but the Play and Learn Cafe is coming in January, complete with a 4-piece kitchen set that we are very excited about. We are slowly adding activity areas throughout the room and hope to move into the main library on a small scale. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Magnet board with picture magnets and letters related to the book Eating the Alphabet--they plan to change featured book and magnets each month.

Our favorite story so far was told by Amy. This was her email to tell us all about it:

We were pretty busy tonight and I think just about every single kid was drawn to the marketplace. The funniest story of the night was a dad and several kids playing store. A very loud three/four year old proclaimed that grandma was better and playing store and someone better call her because dad isn't very good at it. Dad did call Grandma, and she came over and started playing too! I captured a few pictures. Clean up was super easy-- Eileen and I didn't have to do anything at all! It got a lot of people super excited about the library!"

Here, children and parents are invited to find the letters in their own names, or in other favorite words. The librarians put this engaging display on the shiny purple column that draws children like magnets

Monday, December 5, 2011

Story Kit Facelifts

Thanks to a few gentle suggestions from librarians who use story kits, I've been working on evaluating, weeding, updating them. There's still a ways to go, but you'll find some fresh books in:
  • Birthdays
  • Cats and Mice
  • Feelings
  • Transportation
  • Vacations

I created new mix CDs with music from a variety of artists for several kits this year--some of these kits also got new books or activities:

  • Around the World
  • Bedtime
  • Circus
  • Clothing
  • Colors
  • Dogs
  • Farms
  • Music
  • Nature Trip
  • Nonsense
  • Oceans
  • Outer Space
  • Winter

Wowza! I tried to look at titles, activities, and music that will meet the needs of younger children, since the storytime demographic seems to be shifting downwards a bit. If you haven't used kits before and you want to give them a try, or if you'd given up on them because they are outdated, it might be worth taking a peek at them again! You can find a listing of story kit contents here. To reserve, send me an email at langby@ifls.lib.wi.us

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mark your calendars NOW for the SLP workshop. I still have room for librarians to present a super-cool idea for a program, promotion, decoration, or other fabulosity. Please contact me langby@ifls.lib.wi.us if you would like to help.

Dream Big/Own the Night: 2012 IFLS Summer Library Program Workshop

Thursday, February 2, 2012* 9:00 am – 3:30 pm
Menomonie Alliance Church, 502 21st Street North

Spend the morning with Marge Loch-Wouters and the afternoon with each other, getting inspired and Dreaming Big about the upcoming summer (and beyond!)

9:00-12:00: Marge Loch-Wouters

12:00-12:45: Lunch (bring your own or purchase lunch for $5)

12:45-2:15: Ideas for Dream Big/Own the Night from IFLS librarians

2:15-2:30: Break

2:30-3:30: Idea Swap! Bring along an idea you're thinking about or have used in the past

Looking for ways to put the fun back in your summer and a spring into your programming step for the rest of the year? Join Marge Loch-Wouters, as she takes you on an eye-opening journey into ways to

· Make the most of scarce time, money and staffing to create summer wonder and fun for kids, teens - and you - at your library

  • · Examine ways to transform and evolve your summer library program
  • · Explore fun ways to enhance your program mojo year-round.
  • · Set priorities
  • · Engage in stealth programming
  • · Be a strategic programmer

*Snow date: February 9.

Register by January 26:

Marge Loch-Wouters is a storyteller, children’s librarian, blogger (http://tinytipsforlibraryfun.blogspot.com/), and the Wisconsin Library Association’s 2010 Librarian of the Year!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Useful Resource in the Making

You can help make a terrific resource for librarians, teachers, and others who work with children and books around the world! The International Federation of Library Associations' IBBY committee sent out the following plea:

We ask you to take a few minutes to share the top five (5) children’s picture book titles that you enjoy sharing with children, and that also represent books created and published in the United States by answering this survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RRF23LP

After all titles have been submitted, we will rank order the nominations and submit the United States’ top ten list to the IFLA Libraries for Children and Young Adults Committee.


• be excellent for reading aloud to and with children

• be suitable for any age between 0 – 11 years

• be books that have or will last the test of time and are seen as

representing the best in picture books of the United States

• have been published first in the United States

• have been written originally in English

• be of good quality and a high standard of publishing

• have text and illustrations that work well together

• reflect a positive message

• be in print (and therefore available for purchase)

Aim of the Project:

To create a list of picture books from around the world that have been selected and recommended by librarians. These can then be used:

• As a way of celebrating and promoting the language, cultures and quality of children’s book publishing from each country

• By countries wishing to purchase books from other countries and are looking for ‘favorite’ titles to help build and develop their collections

• By “Sister Libraries” as a way of exploring the children’s literature of their ”Sister Library” country http://www.ifla.org/en/news/videos-by-sister-libraries

• As an opportunity to encourage interaction and growth within IFLA

• To develop the list into an exhibition with supporting catalogue that can be exhibited at the IBBY http://www.ibby.org/ and IFLA conferences in 2012 http://conference.ifla.org/



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wishing Stars

Have you ever had kids who really are sad to leave the library? They start to wail and dig their heels in, leaving parents frazzled, kids sad and upset, and the librarians wondering what to do. In New Richmond, Georgia and Cynthia followed up on a terrific idea they found on a blog.

Cynthia, who is good at this sort of thing, made a beautiful jar full of wishing stars to give to kids who are having a tough time leaving...the wishing star is a good distraction, a special token to hold on to and remember that they can come back.

Georgia has found other uses for the stars as well. At a Wakanheza Project training last month, she mentioned using them to help redirect a pair of little boys who tend to jump on furniture, yell, and throw books around when they come in. Fighting against the sinking feeling that sometimes overwhelms the best of us when a family that has previously displayed challenging behavior walks in the door, and setting aside her judgement of the mother who seemed too overwhelmed to address the behavior, Georgia approached the boys. She told them she had something for them, if they wanted it.

They were fascinated. What did she have? Did she have something for each of them? Yes, she did! She handed the first one a star: "This is my wish for you, to have walking feet in the library." The second boy was eager to know what his gift would be. "This is my wish for you, to have a quiet voice in the library."

The boys were charmed, excited to have a special present, and their behavior was very different for the rest of the day. The stars were a tangible reminder of Georgia's wishes. The mother was relieved to have a positive interaction between the librarian and her sons, and happy to have a solution to the behavior problems, at least for the day.

Wow! What a great idea!

To make your own wishing stars, there are several tutorials:

Monday, October 31, 2011

Teen Ideas

Teens at the Normal Public Library learn how to cook Southwest staples, from flickr

Last week I attended the webinar Teaming Up with Teens @ Your Library, presented by Diane Tuccillo and Kelly Johnson. The webinar was sponsored by Web Junction and YALSA, and Diane and Kelly presented some terrific ideas!

You can view the archived webinar and see resource lists yourself at your convenience. Definitely worth an hour. The chat logs themselves are full of amazing ideas and sharing between librarians.

One of the great things they talked about was the need to make sure that if you have a Teen Advisory Board (or whatever you want to call it), you need to make sure your meetings are fun, expect teens to be teens, and build community within the group. One way of doing that (aside from serving food, which every single teen librarian I've ever heard speak insists is crucial) is to pick a few ice breaker games to play at your meetings before getting down to business. Diane Tuccillo listed a few great sources for these games on her resource list:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Gaming for Good

Teens in Park Falls raised $375 for St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Marshfield by doing what they love best. On October 15, they played video games for 24 hours in the library, and raised pledges for the Children's Miracle Network as part of Extra Life 2011.

The intrepid youth services librarian Matthew White his teen team Book Force survived on junk food and video games for 24 hours and were able to make a real contribution to the community at the same time. Matthew is very excited about this project, and would love to see it initiated in other libraries. He'd be happy to talk with you about it if you contact him at white @ parkfallslibrary.org.

Gamers take a quick break for a photo shoot--2 other participants were missing for part of the day. "The people pictured are, from left to right: William Sanden, Andrew Mancl, Tyler Bushman, Liz Pritzl, and Daniel Johnson. Also participating, but not pictured, were foreign exchange students Gent Gjuta and Hamza Khan - they had another commitment for part of the evening and weren't there when I took the pictures."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Andrea Cremer with Prescott teens

The Prescott Public Library hosted a teen author event with Andrea Cremer, of Minneapolis, a rising star in the world of teen lit. Andrea is the author of the Nightshade series, which includes Nightshade, Wolfsbane, and Bloodrose (Jan. 2012). Her werewolf adventure/romance series features very strong female characters. The "pack" behaviors exhibited by Cremer's characters are particularly engaging for teens, and was one of 2011's Teen's Top Ten (voted on by teens during Teen Read Week).

The library worked with Joan Simon, Media Specialist at the Prescott High School, to organize and promote the author event. Joan runs a student book club at the high school and chose Nightshade as the club's October selection. This not only created a ready-made audience for the author event, but assured that the teens came with lots of questions.

Andrea spoke about her writing for 15 minutes, then answered teens' questions for the next 45 minutes. She is young and cool and loves interacting with teens. The teens were so excited to meet the author of a popular book and were full of questions about the book and about her writing process. One teen even brought cupcakes, a sign of real devotion!

We also ran a book poster/book cover design contest during Teen Read Week and promoted it simultaneously with the author event. Contest entries were hung in our meeting room during the event for everyone to see.

Although our audience was small, the energy level was high and the teens were very comfortable asking questions.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Wakanheza Project

Well, fresh on the heels of 3 staff inservice presentations about The Wakanheza Project, and I think the IFLS Wakanheza Project Team is ready for anything!

If you have been seeing the notices from around the state about The Wakanheza Project training and felt jealous, feel jealous no longer! In IFLS-land, we decided to do Wakanheza Project training in the form of staff inservices, so that everyone in the library could participate. Since The Wakanheza Project is very much about making a little shift in the culture of the library, it works best if everyone is on board--or at least everyone has the same information to start with.
Be sure to contact me if you are interested in having a 2-person team come to your library to present this information. It seems like 1.5 hours to 2 hours is the best amount of time to allot--so we can easily fit this in before the library opens.

If you are at a very small library, maybe there is a way we could team up and have a few neighboring small libraries work together.

If you have never had a staff inservice and need some ideas about how to make this work, let me know that, too!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

4-H, Pumpkin Carving, Collaboration

All three go together! In Durand, the Pepin County 4-H held a pumpkin-decorating program at the library. The library provided the venue, and 4-H provided everything else. The event was open to the public, free for the library, promoted 4-H to the community, and allowed kids a chance to spread their creative wings. Win-win-win! Not only that, but now the library has some terrific October decorations they didn't even have to make.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Short and Sweet Bulletin Board Report

In Menomonie, Jodi Bird is bragging up her co-worker Debbie Nelson, and for good reason! Check out this charming bulletin board Debbie created with picture book jackets and some creativity:
'Nuff said.

Friday, October 14, 2011


*Image from the Field Museum Library: http://www.flickr.com/photos/field_museum_library/3405449824/
Just want to draw your attention to a new feature to our website--a list of costumes that librarians in the IFLS area are willing to lend to each other for use for LIBRARY EVENTS. Everything from a big bad wolf to a hot dog! If you have a need for a costume, consult the list. If you have a costume you'd be willing to have listed on the site, let me know!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Who wouldn't want a circulation desk that is this much fun?? Ridgedale Branch in Minnetonka

As many of you know, there is nothing quite like a visit to another library to get your thinking cap activated! I participated in the field trip sponsored by the Youth Services Section of the Wisconsin Library Association last week. Yippee for Shelly Collins Fuerbringer who bravely drove through city traffic and suburban rush hour to get us everywhere!

Some of my favorite things about the tour were very interesting ways of incorporating early learning opportunities into the library visit.

In Hopkins, the library worked with the Minnesota Children's Museum in an Institute for Museums and Library Services grant. They have created some fabulous play-and-learn opportunities in the library. The librarian told us that kids know exactly what to do with the toys (though sometimes parents freak out if they are trying to grow cheeseburgers in the garden, the kids are exploring with language and hands-on interaction), fathers spend much more time visiting the library with their kids, and people are pretty good about cleaning up after themselves.

In Ridgedale, the Hennepin County Library branch in Minnetonka, Dana Bjerke and her staff have really thought out everything. Every season, they switch out the early learning activities, displays and posters. They start when you are coming up the stairs (with laminated numerals on each step), continue at the circulation desk (with numbers on the floor and a kids-eye-view poster encouraging kids to find their phone numbers), include a pathway into the library, displays at the entrance, and many amazing activities within. Wow! This library was so exciting, I wish I could send all of you there. The activities are enticing, and the posters and decorations are engaging and beautiful! To see some excellent examples, take a look at the Ridgedale flickr account.

In St. Paul, we found out about a pilot project that they plan to implement at the Riverview Branch. Librarian Kim Faurot told us about a holistic approach to early learning environments. Since families come into the library for many reasons--including job searching, car repair, Facebook updates as well as supporting children's early learning--it is a great idea to recognize this in the way the library is set up. What can you put near the Internet stations that will provide early learning opportunities for children, but still be palatable for all of the adults using the area? This fits in well with The Wakanheza Project idea of creating welcoming environments for all!

I will probably post more ideas as time goes on, but if you want to see a terrific accounting of many of our visits (we weren't allowed to take pictures at the gorgeous Minneapolis Central library), take a peek at the flickr account that Shelly created (her camera worked better than mine did). Thanks to Shelly for the photos in this blog.
Science Cart in Ridgedale got heavy use while we were there--in the winter it will become an Art Cart.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Keeping Up with New Richmond!

If you know Georgia and Cynthia, you know that Keeping Up with New Richmond can be tricky--they are a busy, creative bunch over there. So busy and creative, that sometimes they have a hard time keeping up with themselves! (The happy teen hanging out in the library at the left would probably agree)

In order to keep track of their own projects: what worked, what didn't work, what they want to try again, and what the heck they did 10 programs ago, they have created 2 blogs--which is super, since all of us can keep track of what they are up to, also!

There is one blog for teens: Library CPR for Teens (Creative Programs Recollected)

And another blog about storytime:
Storytime Plans: The Good...The Bad...And What Doesn't Work at All. (Storytime Plans by Georgia and Cynthia for Preschool and Toddler Storytimes)http://cynthiaandgeorgia.blogspot.com/

To give you a tease, here is one of their inspired creations, to help parents understand what is expected of them during storytime:

The "Ready for Storytime Song" (to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle")
Choose a spot where they can see,
Making eye contact with me.
Keep your child off the rug,
Pick them up and give a hug.
If they need a chance to chill,
Please come back, when they are still.
Sitting on your lap or floor,
They’ll enjoy the stories more.
Dance and Sing, Read and Rhyme,
Ready now for StoryTime .

by Georgia Jones & Cynthia Hanson 9.28.2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

Midwest Booksellers Association Trade Show

Patti Blount and Avonelle Lamphere are regulars at the Midwest Booksellers Association Trade Show every fall. Even though they aren't booksellers (they are librarians at the Durand Community Library), for thirteen years they have found enough reason to attend this event. (Here's Patti and some cohorts at a Jess Lourey book signing event in a photo taken by Publishers Weekly)

Patti says she got inspired to try out the trade show by Barb Sorenson, the late past director of the Amery Public Library. When she is there, she meets authors and vendors, attends sessions (including one about hosting book-related events even if you don't have an author), and loads up on freebies. Though it is expensive to attend ($200 for the library's membership to MBA and $50 for the show), it is also exciting, and the payoff is great, according to Patti. She came home with what she estimates as $2000 worth of books, plus great display items --a 6-foot dragon to celebrate the new book in the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini, for one thing! She promises to send photos once she receives it. Best of all is the chance that every librarian dreams of, rubbing elbows with long-admired authors for kids, teens and adults.

Eau Claire Memorial's reading specialist Annis Williams, who many of you know as a presenter at IFLS workshops, attends the trade show every year with a few teens--members of the Teen Literacy Initiative group. For the group, it is a great chance to do all of the above.

Next year, the show is in early October. If you want to talk to people who have direct experience with attending, contact Patti (PBlount@durand.k12.wi.us) or Annis (awilliams@ecasd.k12.wi.us)!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Impromptu Shows at Hudson

A puppet stage made out of a refrigerator box for the summer program is still engaging the imaginations of kids in Hudson--and entertaining their audiences, too!

The famous Hudson storytime mascot Baby Bear got his own garden this year, too. Storytime kids planted flowers and master gardeners tended it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Summer Library Program Event

I know, I know! You are still in recovery from this year's Summer Library Program! But if you have plans to attend the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Milwaukee in November, you have the chance to get energized about the theme (NIGHT TIME) and inspired by colleagues from the southern part of the state:

Summer reading program aficionados from around the state are invited to attend the 2012 Dream Big – Read! SRP workshop at the Milwaukee Public Museum Planetarium and IMAX Theatre on Tuesday, November 1! Six systems in southeastern Wisconsin (Eastern Shores, Lakeshores, Mid-Wisconsin, Milwaukee County, Waukesha County and Winnefox) have collaborated to bring this session to youth services librarians and anyone with an interest in next year’s summer reading program theme.The fun begins at 1:00 PM and will end at 4:00, just in time for those of you going to WLA to get there in time for the vendor reception! Registration fee is $10.00, which can be paid at the door or in advance (checks payable to Lakeshores Library System). Check here for more information. If you have any questions, please contact Rhonda Puntney at rpuntney@lakeshores.lib.wi.us.

For those of you staying closer to home, remember to mark your calendar for our own IFLS Summer Library Program workshop on February 2 (February 3 is our snow date)! More details coming later...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Laptops on the Loose in Rice Lake!

A wide variety of ages are drawn to work with Laptops on the Loose!

Many of you attended the workshop last week about using technology in programs for kids and teens and got to try using Scratch and some other fun technology projects. If you didn't go and want to see the handouts, take a peek!

Ashley Bieber, the youth services manager at Rice Lake, sent information about an even easier-to-replicate program she is doing called "Laptops on the Loose." This program "incorporates a lot of the activities and tools that we talked about with Scratch, but much more simplified. I found this great article in School Library Journal with a big list of free,web-based animation, comic and story creators...Last month we used a comic creator program and about 13 kids showed up to create their own comics. Since we can't connect the laptops to our printer, I had the kids email me their comic and I then printed them out so they could take it home. "

Ashley is using the laptop kits purchased through a broadband grant. Kits are housed in Rice Lake, River Falls, Eau Claire and St. Croix Falls. IFLS libraries: if you want to borrow a kit, your library director should know about how to reserve them. If not, contact Gus Falkenberg--falkenberg @ ifls.lib.wi.us (except without the space).

Let us know what you come up with!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wow! Flannel Boards!

*Image from Roving Fiddlehead Kidlit Blog

Everyone knows that a good, old-fashioned flannel board story, or aAdd Image story with some props, will never, ever, ever go out of style in the storytime circuit. Even if you aren't that comfortable with telling stories without their books, flannel stories are a terrific way to expand your offerings and keep your audience engaged.

So, how exciting to discover that there is a group called Flannel Friday, that allows youth services librarians to share their super-cool, creative, beautiful ideas for flannel boards. You might want to get right in there and share, or you might want to check it out for an extra burst of inspiration every Friday! Take a peek.

As I was tracing the path of Flannel Friday, I also came across a tool called Pinterest, a great way to organize the ideas you find online. Flannel Fridays has a page, and they are linked to one of our own--Jessi Peterson of the public library in Eau Claire. Jessi graciously filled me in a bit more about how Pinterest works. It's like a virtual pinboard, where you can pin photos that you find on the web and also upload your own photos. It's a great way to keep track of ideas you find. Cool tool!

She says:

It's nice because if I'm at home and see a flannel I think would be fun or something I think we ought to have at work I don't have to mess with an e-mail and a link, I just pin it to my board. Then I can find it again easily to show people at work...It's way nicer than bookmarking
something...often I get lost in the list because I can't quite remember what the bookmark was called, plus I can't get to them at work. I can troll through other people's pinboards for inspiration and sometimes a pin will lead back to a blog I want to follow or a website that has stuff I want. And some boards are collaborative where several people can post things to them...it might be a good tool for a department or a library system to share ideas visually amongst their members.

Oooh! Great idea! I'm not sure we should do this as a system, or if you should all just do this individually and share with each other informally, but it sure seems like it has some terrific potential. What do you think??

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bus Tour Road Trip

I've heard many people say that seeing what other libraries are doing can be the best way to get re-energized at your own library. Sometimes this is as complex as coming up with a whole new space. Sometimes it is seeing a cool new display idea, or even a flyer for a program you wouldn't have known about otherwise.

The Wisconsin Library Association's Youth Services Section will be hosting a bus tour of fancy new or newly renovated libraries in the Twin Cities area on Friday, October 7 (the day after our super cool, free workshop on time management and difficult conversations). Bus leaves from Eau Claire, and also from Wilson (west of Menomonie). You can see the central branches of both St. Paul and Minneapolis, then tour some suburban libraries, too. Cost is $25, lunch is on your own. How cool, not to have to deal with city driving and parking, but still get to see some urban libraries and glean ideas!

How fun is that? Sounds like a blast, but space is limited, so if you are interseted in participating, be sure to sign up fast! Questions? Contact Jill Lininger at 262-636-9255 jill.lininger@racinelibrary.info or Barb Huntington at 608-831-5418 barbhunting@gmail.com

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Teen services webinar

According to grassroots reports, a perennial issue for many librarians in our system is trying to keep teens involved at the library. And yet, did you know that IFLS has the third largest teen programming turnout statistics compared to other systems? Just thought you might like to know that.

More useful is the information that an upcoming FREE webinar from Webjunction and YALSA(ALA's Young Adult Library Services Association) is tailor-made to address these issues:

Teaming Up with Teens @ Your Library Webinar--Tuesday October 25, 1:00.
What is the absolute best avenue to getting teens involved and engaged at your school or public library? There is no better way than offering opportunities for active and involved teen library participation. In this webinar, you will explore ways teens can take part in your library, such as advisory groups, volunteering, short-term projects that use teen's special skills, and partnering with adults. You’ll also get tips on planning, organizing, conducting, and evaluating teen participation. When you team up with teens at your library, it's win-win!

To learn more and register, please visit www.webjunction.org/events/webinars/#oct25

The webinar will be presented by Kelly M Johnson, office manager & T.A.G. staff liaison, Ketchikan Public Library (AK); and Diane Tuccillo, teen services librarian, Poudre River Public Library District (CO), author of Library Teen Advisory Groups (Scarecrow, 2005) and Teen-Centered Library Service: Putting Youth Participation into Practice (Libraries Unlimited, 2010).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fall Offerings Reminder!

There are some pretty great things coming up on the IFLS calendar, and several of them are really well-suited to my youth services pals. All offerings are in Eau Claire due to some logistical challenges--hopefully you'll find something worth the travel-time. Take a minute to consider the following options:

Using Technology in Programs for Kids and Teens

September 22, 9:30-12:00, LEPMPL Eau Claire Public Library

Super-cool explanation of how to use Scratch and other free tech tools to jazz up your programs for kids and teens, and some ideas about how to overcome barriers to using technology in your programs. Flyer here. Registration here. Register by September 18.

Performer's Showcase

September 22, 1:00-3:30, LEPMPL Eau Claire Public Library

Wow! 10 performers in 2.5 hours! Come enjoy this group of all-new performers and make plans for this year's programming. Flyer here. Registration here. Register by September 18.

Time Management and Difficult Conversations

October 6, 9:00-3:30, Unity Church, 1808 Folsom, Eau Claire

Learn some new tips for managing your time and priorities in the morning, and then get some help with those difficult conversations (with patrons, colleagues, community members, family). Jeff Russell is a highly regarded presenter, and this workshop will leave you feeling more equipped for the challenging year ahead. Flyer here. Registration here. Register by October 1. Note: It's fine if you only want to come for one of the sessions, just register and then send me a note at langby@ifls.lib.wi.us.

Enriching the Early Literacy Environment: Storytimes and Spaces

October 20, 12:30-4:30 pm at LEPMPL Eau Claire Public Library

Georgene Kunz will help us think about storytimes, spaces, and every day interactions with children and families and how we can foster the development of skills that will help kids once it is time to learn to read and do math! Co-sponsored by LEPMPL. Flyer here. Registration here. Register by October 14.

Wow! What a lineup! To see what else we are offering this fall, take a peek at the whole schedule. And look for more youth services idea swap meetings, coming in 2012.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Chippewa Valley Reads

Joseph Bruchac is coming to Eau Claire! Storyteller, musician, and prolific author of books for young people and adults, Bruchac will be the guest this year for Chippewa Valley Reads, with 3 presentations at area schools and a free public performance on Saturday, October 22 at the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library.

One of the goals of Chippewa Valley Reads is to encourage the whole community to read titles by a well-regarded author. Joseph Bruchac is an Abenaki Indian, and he works hard to preserve traditional culture. He writes for a wide age range--from authentic re-tellings of traditional Native American tales to novels about confronting scary monsters, from short stories and poems to high fantasy to resource guides for teachers and parents to biography and memoir. There is something for everyone in his repertoire, and in his public presentation.

Help promote this fabulous opportunity to see an accomplished, entertaining, and well-known author LIVE. Promote some of the many titles he has written--there are multiple titles in the MORE system. Check here for a set of bookmarks to help you with that promotion. This would be a great way to introduce yourself to the school librarian in your community--pass on the bookmarks. There's also some great information on Bruchac, including reading guides, a terrific video interview, and more on TeachingBooks.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

LMNOPlaying in Fall Creek

What do you do when folks don't come to evening storytime? Give up? Not if you are Jenna Gilles from Fall Creek. She has decided to put a little spin on the name--families are invited to LMNOPlaying twice a month--an evening of stories, focusing on a letter, bedtime snacks, and a cool activity pack to take home. This sounds like fun, it would be hard to keep me away from something called LMNOPlaying if I was a kid or parent in Fall Creek!

Fall Creek also recently rolled out their BLOG. Take a peek for more cool ideas as the fall progresses.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), invites all teens to get out the vote for the Teens’ Top Ten. Teens can vote for their favorite books from the last year in the annual poll at http://www.blogger.com/. Voting is open through September 16.

The 25 nominees for this year’s Teens’ Top Ten are available at http://www.blogger.com/, along with a toolkit for librarians to promote the Teens’ Top Ten to the young adults visiting their libraries. The final 2011 Teens’ Top Ten list will be announced during Teen Read Week, October 16-22, 2011.

If you love reading literature for teens, check out the Readers' Choice nominations. Teen's Top Ten is for teen voters only. But if you have read a fabulous book this year and want to nominate it for a YALSA Reader's Choice Award, this is a great idea.

What have you read this year that you especially loved?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sweet-talking Teachers

Jo Hick from Phillips is trying a new tactic this year to get teachers to pay attention to the resources available at the library. She created a flyer talking about the advantages of the MORE system, inviting teachers to bring their class to the library, or to have her come in and give book talks, and opening up discussions of partnerships. Then she sent copies over to the school to be distributed to teachers, along with a MORE brochure. And to encourage teachers to open up her message, she included a chocolate (I know they are tasty because she sent me a sample). Fun idea!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Science Kits Grant

The Insitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)--Chicago Section is offering grants of $2000 to public libraries in the Midwest to create science kits that provide experiments for use by students and educators. The Mount Prospect Public Library in Illinois did a pilot project of creating these kits--you can check here for a news video about their project.

For more information about the project, application requirements, etc., you can check the IEEE's website, or send an email to Amy Killebrew at sciencekits@ieeechicago.org. Applications will be accepted between October 1 and November 15.

I am considering applying for a grant to create kits here to lend out to libraries to use with homeschool groups, after school programs, and the like. Do you think this is a good idea?? We'd do some training on how to use the kits as part of the project.

Let me know what you think! I won't go to the trouble of applying for the grant if I don't hear from you that this is a good idea.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Winning Read-Aloud Books

Each year, Minnesota State University at Moorhead works with regional teachers, librarians, and daycare providers to get the input of children on the best books to read aloud. They award the Wanda Gag Award and the Comstock Award to the titles committee members, along with 18,000 regional children, think is the best read-aloud picture book published in the preceeding year. Try them out for storytimes and school visits and see if you--and the kids you serve--agree!

This year's Wanda Gag winner and honor books for Preschool to eight year olds:


Memoirs of a Goldfish written by Devin Scillian, illustrated by Tim Bowers, published by Sleeping Bear Press.

Honor Books:

The Cow Loves Cookies written by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Marcellus Hall, and published by Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.
Interrupting Chicken written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein and published by Candlewick Press.
That Cat Can’t Stay written by Thad Krasnesky, illustrated by David Parkins, and published by Flashlight Press.

The winner and honor books for 9-12 year olds:

Winner: Stand Straight, Ella Kate: The True Story of a Real Giant written by Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise, and published by Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Young Readers Group

Honor Books:

Gunner, Football Hero written and illustrated by James E. Ransome and published by Holiday House.
My Brother Charlie written by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete with Denene Millner, illustrated by Shane W. Evans, and published by Scholastic Press.

What do you think of these choices? What have kids responded to especially well at your library?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hans Solo Sighting in Prescott!

This in from Becky at Prescott:

We called our Grand Finale "Other Worlds," and took it beyond the One World, Many Stories theme. The biggest hit was an appearance by Han Solo, Princess Leia, an Imperial Commander and an Imperial soldier. Kids (and some grown-ups) were bug-eyed to see heroes and villains from Star Wars up close and in person. The Imperial soldier had an awesome helmet with lights, and when he walked up to kids and said "check out a book," they did!

We also had 2 crafts to make - light sabers and rockets. The light sabers were easier to make and much more popular than the rockets. So popular, in fact, that Princess Leia and the Imperial Commander each made one and took them with out into the galaxy. I had to remind the Imperial Commander more than once that light saber dueling was not allowed in the library.

The Star Wars characters are members of an international organization, whose members make and wear authentic Star Wars costumes, and portray Star Wars characters at fundraisers, libraries, hospitals, etc. They were wonderful to work with, very professional, even though they are all volunteers. They stayed in costume for 1-1/2 hours and brought temporary tattoos. Princess Leia brought trading cards and signed them. And the cool factor? Out of this world - even my volunteens were thrilled!

If you are interested in having Star Wars characters at your library, here are the websites of the 2 groups:

The Good Guys are at http://www.rebellegion.com/.

If you walk on the dark side, the 501st Legion is for you: http://www.501st.com/

I got our light saber craft from http://www.jedibroadsquad.net/FoamSaber.html and with pool noodles on sale at Wal-Mart, it was a pretty cheap craft.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ellsworth Librarians Know How to Have Fun

It sure seems like the folks in Ellsworth had a great time this summer! The librarians had so much fun with summer reading, they took kids, teens, and the whole community along with them. I would love to emulate this kind of enthusiasm and great ideas. Hopefully we'll prevail on them to share more at our SLP workshop (now set for Feb. 2, Feb. 3 is the snowdate, so mark your calendars!), but in the meantime here is a sneak preview:

All summer long, each week the librarians posted a silly photo of themselves at some fabulous and iconic landmark--they featured sites from around the world. They didn't reveal where they were until the end of the summer. Folks of all ages had a fun time looking at the pictures, giggling, and guessing where they might be. This wasn't a contest, just a fun, interactive display.

The end of the summer program is always a great time for a party, and the pizza party for teens in Ellsworth sounds like the party of the year! Anytime the librarians have a blast hanging out with teens and being silly, there are bound to be some great memories made. According to Julie,

The teens earned a library buck for every half hour of reading. At the party, the teens used their library bucks to bid on items that were hidden behind three doors (like Let's Make a Deal). We had great stuff and funny stuff. The highlight was a pig dog toy that oinked when you squeezed it - oh, the laughter! We also did Minute to
Win It
challenges in between rounds of bidding. To conclude the evening, everyone had a "library buck" in a drawing so everyone who participated even though they couldn't make the party had a chance for gift cards from Target and local businesses. Julie and Shelley had as much fun as the teens!