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, April 12, 2012

Meet a Librarian

I'm starting a new series, called Meet a Librarian. I think it could be a fun way to get to know some things about each other that might help us connect and help each other out more.

Charis Collins is the youth services librarian at the Colfax Public Library. Colfax has 1153 residents at last count, and Charis has only 15 hours a week at the library to work her magic with preschoolers through teenagers. She just started 6 months ago or so--if you see her at a workshop, be sure to welcome her!

What made you decide to apply for a job as youth services librarian?

Well, besides being a huge book nerd, I love the Colfax Public Library for so many reasons. It's such a friendly place, and really serves as a hub in the community. Upon moving here several years ago I was thrilled to be able to bring my young son to storytime when I was stuck in the house and going out of my mind - Wednesday mornings were like an oasis in a long, dry week. I think I can partially credit my son's voracious appetite for books to our many trips to the library back in the day, and in fact I'm pretty sure his first crush was on our Director, Lisa Ludwig. I'd never worked in a library before, but my degree was in English, and I've done some freelance writing over the years, so it seemed like a good fit. And being with kids, reading to kids - it's such a privilege to be a part of the process of watching them grow and learn, and support literacy and the love for the written word. Plus, my husband (who teaches 8th grade) got me hooked on YA novels a while ago when I was stuck on the couch with a back injury. He brought home this huge stack of books and I just burned right through them. I'm so impressed with what's out there now. I feel like I didn't have nearly as many options when I was in school.

What has been your biggest learning curve so far?

Well, I'm still trying to get my mind around how to be a more effective resource for teens. I only work 15 hours a week, and only have so much time to devote, so that's been challenging. The children's program is very established and well-attended, but when I got here in October, the teen board had sort of died a natural death. So now it's up to me to figure out how to resurrect that in the best possible way. We have a pretty strong school district in Colfax, and I'm hoping to make some good in-roads with teachers and librarians there.My goal is to have some sort of teen program running by next fall.

What are your favorite parts of librarianship so far?

Getting to know the moms and kids from storytime and becoming a more engaged member in the Colfax community in general. I also love the people I work with. And being surrounded by books!

Something really great you have read in the past year?

I was pretty enamored with The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. It made me want to possess magical powers in a way that no other book has, if only to create delicate frosty flowers, freshly plucked from the Ice Garden. Or perhaps a Wishing Tree of my very own. That gal knows how to spin a yarn.

Favorite book or activity to use in storytime?

I think my favorite books are (naturally) the ones the kids love, but that also encourage the moms to put down their magazines and enjoy the story alongside their children. The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash is probably the best example of this to date. I love it when books are able to transcend generations that way. Funny stuff is funny stuff, and you don't have to be five to appreciate the visual gag that is a granny knitting a snake-length sweater in front of the fireplace.

As far as activities go, I'm realizing that you don't always have to have an example, and in fact sometimes it goes better when I make it a point not to have one. The kids always find cooler ways to do it anyhow.

How does the rest of your life (mom, writer, movie producer, co-op board member, community farmer, whatever else) inform your work in the library? How does your work in the library inform the other parts of your life?

Wow, great question. The more I think about this, the more it feels like a trifold knot: parts of my life just sort of bleed into each other. I will say this - that I'm happy when I have my fingers in many different pies, but happiEST when all of those elements feel like they fit together in some weird way. When I get to this point, it's like I've reached some sort of cosmic balance. In order to be a stellar mom to my boy, I must be able to effectively support him while also indulging in that which makes my self whole. The ingredients are the same when I talk about being an engaged member of my community. It's sort of synergystic, and I can see it's really a cycle: feeding my own passions (working on the film, yoga, reading, horse training) as a way of making myself available to the world and people around me in the best possible way (the library, board work, motherhood, etc.). I've always resisted work I didn't or couldn't support, ethically speaking. The library feels like it belongs in my world in a very natural way. I mean, really - books! Ripe on the shelf and free for the taking! What's not to love about that?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Music for Storytime, Part 1

Photo credit: Happy Instruments by mtsofan
I'm on an Association for Library Service to Children listserv. Rick Samuelson asked for favorite recorded music to use for storytimes, and then was kind enough to compile the list of favorites. So helpful! I'm going to put all that work Rick went to and all the expertise shared to good use by passing it on here in a series of installments. Here's the first one:

Artist Album Song Used

Barenaked Ladies Snacktime Popcorn
Bob McGrath Sing Along with Bob 1 My Dog Rags
Brent Holmes Twenty Eight Scoops of Ice Cream
Carol Hammet Toddlers on Parade Roll Your Hands
Carole Peterson Sticky Bubblegum My Grandfather's Clock/Horsey Rides
Carole Peterson Tiny Tunes Say Goodbye
Casper Babypants Here I Am
Cedarmont Kids Toddler Tunes Wheels on the Bus
Charlie Hope I'm Me
Charlie Hope Songs, Stories & Friends
Dan Zanes Family Dance The Hokey Pokey
Dodie Stevens Pink Shoelaces
Dr. Jean My Mother is a Baker
Dr. Jean Monkeys and Alligators
Elizabeth Mitchell You Are My Little Bird Little Bird
Eric Herman & The Invisible Band Monkey Business
Erik Litwin
Georgiana Stewart Baby Face Baby's Hokey Pokey
Georgiana Stewart Bean Bag Coordination Bean Bag Rock
Skills and Activities
Georgiana Stewart Musical Scarves & Activities--Let's Go Fly a Kite