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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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!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ramping Up Reading Excitement

Two libraries of very different sizes and approaches have developed fun projects to help preschoolers and their families get excited about reading together--not just during the summer!

In our very own Colfax, Jenny is encouraging families with preschoolers to be Smart Cookies and read together. They are keeping track of books read together, and are aiming for 100 books--not for each family, but for the group. Each child takes home a sheet (decorated with cookies) to write down titles read to them. When they return the sheets, Jenny adds the titles and the names of the children to a giant cookie jar on the wall of the kid's area. When they reach 100 books they have a party! Other reading promotions have included I Scream for Books(with a trip to the local ice cream parlour after the collective goal was reached), Pop Open a Good Book (with a popcorn party at the end).

In LaCrosse, the inimitable Marge Loch Wouters and her fabulous crew are working on a project to encourage families to read 1,000 books to each child before kindergarten! Every 100 books read, they come to the library to receive incentives, including adding stickers to a mural. Six months into the program, 400 families are participating so far, and circulation statistics for picture books have gone through the roof--20% increase!

Different communities, different scales. What are you doing to encourage reading at home?