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, 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