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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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

On Taking Breaks

animals,arctic foxes,mammals,nature,snows,cold,furry,endangered
During this week where my email inbox is extremely quiet, it seems a fitting time to advocate for a storytime practice that I think is important:  BREAKS.

Most of us love planning and presenting storytimes...it's one of the things I miss most in my current job.  Certainly the families and kids that come to storytime love it.  And like most really terrific things, it is good to take a break from it!  Some librarians argue that it confuses families to have a storytime break, or that they don't want to disappoint families, or that they are afraid they'll lose momentum if they take a break.  I disagree!  I think breaks from storytime are essential, and I will tell you why.

Here are my top five reasons for taking a break.
1.  Prevent burn-out!  This is the most important reason.  It takes a lot of energy to plan and present storytimes.  If you keep going and going with no time to refuel your creative gasses, you will run out of them!  Resting seems to be highly under-rated...and sometimes it is restful to just do something different.

2.  Have time to prepare new stuff!  Storytime is always enhanced by new material...new flannel boards, new songs, new activities, new stories.  If you never take a break, it can be hard to keep things fresh because you simply don't have time.  If you end up relying on the same stories, songs, flannel stories, activities--even if they are terrific, things will start to feel a little stale.

3.  Have time to work on other projects!  Clean out your storage cupboard.  Start an outreach project.  Weed your picture books.  Brainstorm book party ideas.  Create a puppet show.  Make some phone calls.  Plan a way to thank all your volunteers.  Organize your craft supplies so you don't have to spend time digging through them.  Figure out a terrific publicity plan for your next storytime series.

4.  Learn new things!  Maybe it's time to learn a little more about child development or "classroom management".  Or early literacy techniques.  Or which blogs have the best storytime ideas to steal/borrow.  Or what are changing in the demographics of your community, and how you can better meet their needs.  Sometimes it is hard to make time for this learning in the middle of the daily grind of storytime preparation.

5.  Absence can make the heart grow fonder!  Don't forget that sometimes having a break from something makes it extra exciting when it is time to go back and do it again.  Think:  breakfast, vacations, family reunions...It really makes folks appreciate you when they have a chance to miss you.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Unexpected Journeys

hobbitfeet From Exploring Tolkien’s Symbolic Language to Making Furry Feet, Teachers and Librarians Gear up for ‘The Hobbit’
Hobbit feet in Prescott

Becky Arenivar of the Prescott Public Library and Jessi Peterson at the public library in Eau Claire were on the same wavelength last week, planning events to celebrate the Hobbit.  They are so organized that their parties coincided with the hype about the opening of the movie version of this classic book.  But, as Jessi points out, there'll be two more movie installments--plus September 22nd is Hobbit Day, Bilbo and Frodo's birthday, so that would be a fun time for other libraries to do something similar.
Shooting Mirkwood Spiders (with marshmallows) in Eau Claire

Becky was actually interviewed by School Library Journal about her Middle Earth Faire for an article on Hobbit events.  
Photo: Had so much fun at the Middle Earth Faire last Saturday, but it's time to move on.  The next new thing at the library is our Giving Tree fundraiser.  We're taking donations (in any amount!) towards renewing our subscription to USA Today.  The Giving Tree fundraiser allows us to provide resources (e.g., a national newspaper) that our budget just doesn't have room for.  Donation details are on our website and at the library.  When you donate, you get a snowflake to add to our Snowy Day display.  Let's make a real snowstorm with donor's snowflakes!
Pin the beard on Gandolf in Prescott       
The program in Eau Claire unfortunately coincided with a giant snowstorm, but the people who attended had a great time, and played for a long time.  They had stations where folks could write their name in Elvish, a hobbit name generator, a rune translating activity, One Ring origami, Zentangle Smaug scale decorating, 13 Dwarves Ninepins, and a "smoke-ring"  bubble blowing challenge. The biggest hit was the Mirkwood Spider Shot,where they used marshmallow shooters to try hitting spiders dangling from the ceiling.  

Rune translation in Eau Claire  


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Round-Up of IFLS-Related Cool Stuff

Time for a round-up of the awesome IFLS-related posts I've been putting in the Youth Services Section Shout-Out Blog.  Remember, you can always send me your ideas for posting in the YSS blog, or this one, too!  Here's the round-up:

Playing Games in the Library:  Alisha Green from LEPMPL contributed to this post, along with McFarland librarian (and past IFLS SLP workshop presenter) Geri Cupery, about super-fun game days at the library.

What Comes After Preschool Storytime:  Jodi Bird from Menomonie tells us about After School Adventures (for 5-8 year olds) and Book Stew (for 8-11 year olds), their answer to kids who are graduating from preschool storytime, but still wanting a regular program at the library.
Balloon volley-ball in Menomonie's After School Adventures Club

Collaboration Pep-Talk:  Becky Arenivar from Prescott came up with the idea and did most of the work on a "collaborative" post about easy collaboration tips.

Supporting Early Literacy on the Cheap:  Jodi Bird shows some cool, cheap, easy, space-conserving ways they have carved out a place for early literacy play in Menomonie.
Flannel board for every day use in Menomonie

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

28 New Websites Added to Great Websites for Kids

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, has a Great Websites page, a terrific starting point for looking for good resources and things to feature.  The 2012 Great Web Sites Committee added 28 new selections, which can be found at http://gws.ala.org.

"Great Web Sites for Kids are those considered the best web sites for children ages birth to 14, outstanding in both content and conception. As applied to web sites for young people, “great” should be thought to include sites of especially commendable quality, sites that reflect and encourage young people’s interests in exemplary ways. Our selection criteria can be found at:  http://www.ala.org/alsc/greatwebsites/greatwebsitesforkids/greatwebsites."
If you happen across a site that you think we shouldn’t miss in 2013, you can make suggestions at http://gws.ala.org/suggest-site.
at signs,communications,computers,computing,emails,Internet,men,persons,symbols,technology,URLs,web sites,World Wide Web,WWW

Monday, December 17, 2012

Resources for Dealing with Tragedies

All of us are reeling after the tragedy last Friday.  You might have some parents or kids looking for help in dealing with the stress, grief, fear, and other feelings that are roused by such a horrific event.  Here are a few tip sheets and bibliographies that might be useful to you as you try to sensitively answer those questions. A display might be a good way to get the information out there to people who don't want to ask.

Do you have other books that you would recommend?


Bibliography from the Cooperative Children's Book Center, dealing with grief and loss

South Central Library System set up a resource about helping kids deal with tragedy

Center for Children's Books Bibliography about coping with death

Boston Public Library Bibliography: Times of Grief and Sadness

Tip Sheets:

 Child Mind Institute:  Helping Your Child Deal with Frightening News

Child Mind Institute:  Going Back to School After a Tragedy

National Association of School Psychologists tip sheet

National Association of School Principals tip sheet (also in Spanish)
Love and Logic tip sheet for dealing with tragedy



Friday, December 14, 2012

Early Literacy Outreach

I know that early literacy outreach is important to many of you.  I'm working on finding some concrete ways to support these efforts (I am still spinning my wheels a little bit, but look for information soon).  Our state consultant, Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, is also thinking a lot about early literacy.  She's working hard on building partnerships at the state level and creating resources for us all--keep your eye peeled for this. 

The Colorado State Library is doing an admirable job of getting early literacy information out there to families that need it most with their Supporting Parents in Early Literacy Through Libraries (SPELL) Project.  I attended a webinar yesterday, archived here, that had some great information and ideas.  Here are some highlights, but I highly recommend taking some time to check it out for yourself!
  • Working with WIC Clinics--some of which hold mandatory classes for mothers to get food coupons.  The library is in the line-up of approved classes.  Their presentation (30 minutes long) emphasizes family strengths, and the goals of developing language and vocabulary and background knowledge with young children.  They give out a booklet with nursery rhymes, a magnet, library and storytime promotion, and a paperback or board book.  Adult services librarians and youth services librarians alike are presenting these classes!
  • In Columbus, OH, they put together early literacy bins (supported by grant funds) to distribute in targeted neighborhoods where it is needed most.  They have partnered with a variety of agencies to go along on home visits to share the bins and share a little information about early literacy and child development.  They've had terrific results.

I hope you take some time to check out the website for the SPELL Project, it has some excellent ideas and resources!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Child-friendly Tablets

Thanks to John Thompson for forwarding the review of child-friendly devices, all compatible with OverDrive titles, from the OverDrive Digital Library Blog.

Nabi Pad, courtesy of the OverDrive Digital Library Blog
Do you see kids using devices?  Owning them?  Interested in them?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Docked iPad

Ashley from Rice Lake sent in this photo and explanation a few weeks ago--if you are considering using an iPad this way, Ashley is a good person to talk to!

Our docked iPad, above, has about 40 free educational apps on it so far.  At first we had a lot of kids just using the camera, but now they are trying other apps.  It's amazing how even when the parent says they have little "screen time" or touch screens at all at home, kids seem to intuitively figure out how to make it work.  We have the Internet locked down since we require kids under 18 to have an Internet permission slip signed.