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, February 10, 2012

Dream catchers? Or not.

With a summer library program theme about night time and dreaming, some libraries might be considering making dream catchers as a craft project, or using them as a decoration in the library.

Many thanks to Julie from Cumberland for pointing out some of the problems with this idea. Dream catchers originated with the Ojibwe people, and are a traditional craft with spiritual meaning. In recent years, dream catchers have become very popular and can be found everywhere from convenience stores to tattoos to Ellison die cuts to jewelry.

Even though they seem ubiquitous, they are not really intended to be a cute craft project or decoration. Julie mentioned that an Ojibwe acquaintance of hers was very troubled by the idea of this. When we appropriate others' culture without really thinking about what it means to them, it can be offensive--and can send kids the message that it's not important to take the traditions and sacred parts of another culture seriously. Native American people run into this, and into multiple stereotypical images of themselves, nearly everywhere they turn. Maybe this year, the library won't be one of those places.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Summer Library Program Follow-up

If you were unlucky enough to miss the Summer Library Program workshop last week, you might be interested in taking a gander at the handouts from Marge Loch Wouters and from others who gave presentations.

There's a booklist there that I compiled mostly from issues of Starred Reviews published in 2011 that have something to do with nighttime or dreaming. Fun titles for a few different ages (mostly picture books).

From the idea swap:
Cathy from Sand Creek suggested having kids make Van Gogh-inspired Starry Night paintings. She's planning to use blue poster board, make pin pricks and then do finger paintings (with acrylic paints) in swirls. I hope she sends some photos!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Summer Library Program Teen Ideas

Good sports attempt Minute-to-Win-It Challenges from Ellsworth at the SLP Workshop
(thanks to Georgia Jones for this photo)

At the 2012 Summer Library Program Workshop, we got some great ideas from each other about programs, decorations, books, and more!

Here are a few of the teen ideas I enjoyed:

Have teens submit a theme song for characters from popular books, then have a dance party using those songs. (Ashley from Rice Lake)

In Menomonie, they have a Lame Prize of the Week for the teens. They do a drawing for some odd thing library staff found in their garage. It's really popular!

Ellsworth shared their great idea for a teen party at the end of the summer.
  • Kids earn fake money during the year for reading, volunteering, and other tasks
  • At an end-of-year party, they have an auction for prizes hidden behind mystery doors (some are really great, some are just plain goofy)
  • At the same party, they play challenge games, many of which are taken from Minute to Win It's website. They have physical challenges, trivia questions, and gross challenges (last year they had to move a chunk of Spam from one glass of water to another, using straws).

Monday, February 6, 2012

NASA Science Space Workshop

Lots of cool stuff to share from the Summer Library Program Workshop, but first, some time-sensitive information about a super-cool opportunity!

NASA Space Science Worskhop
Explore: Life on Mars?

What: A workshop for 30 public librarians from Wisconsin where participants will:
  • Learn about Mars and the possibility of life beyond earth with UW Madison Scientists
  • Try out hands-on activities and learn about resources to use with 8-13 year olds
  • Discuss reaching girls with science information
  • Talk about ways to engage and excite kids about science
When: 9-5 on Tuesday April 3 and Wednesday April 4

Where: UW Geology Museum, University of Wisconsin-Madison

How: Apply by February 22--space is limited!

Other stuff: breakfast, lunch and chocolate included. Lodging, mileage and dinners are not included. The first 25 applicants accepted will be eligible for a $150 stipend to defray costs.

I think someone from IFLS-land should attend this workshop! If you are thinking of applying, let me know by February 15. If no one is applying, I will apply myself and if I am selected I'll bring ideas back to share.

For more information about the project:

To learn more about the science of astrobiology, visit