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, May 17, 2012

Idea Swap School-Jewels

One of the excellent sessions I attended at this year's WAPL Conference was an idea swap about programming for elementary school kids.  Not surprisingly, my pen was going a mile a minute, copying down ideas to share with those of you who were too busy providing programs for elementary school kids to attend this conference!

Today, I'm going to share a few ideas I gleaned about working with schools.

In one community (I didn't get the location), the Gifted and Talented program was gutted by budget cuts.  The school asked the library to help fill the void by having a book discussion group for 3-5 graders--many of whom were needing some extra enrichment.  This year, they met every week because that's what the kids wanted.  Next year they are scaling back to twice a month--not to accommodate the voraciously reading kids, but to let the librarians catch their breath between sessions.  Definitely worth checking with your GT program at your school to see if there has been a void created by budget cuts.

In Manawa, the librarian goes into the school during lunch break and spends time in the cafeteria.  The first few times, this was a flop--none of the kids noticed her at her out-of-the-way table.  Now, she mingles among the eating students, asking them if they know various weird facts contained in a book she is suggesting.  Swarms of kids came to the library table before going outside for recess to look at books on display, chat with the librarian, and place holds on books (the librarian went back to the library to do the data entry on this, and she said she chooses back-list titles that still have plenty of kid appeal).

In our very own Frederic, they are working with the school to identify struggling readers and pair them up with members of their teen book group (the library will train them) for a one-on-one reading partnership.Win-win!  I'm excited to hear how this turns out.

 In Rice Lake, every Thursday, kids can ride the school bus to the library for a program called After School Adventures (a rotating schedule of art projects, computer programming, lego club, gaming, and book discussions).

I bet most of you are working with schools in your area to promote your Summer Library Program.  What else do you do?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Check Out Those Acting Chops!

The staff at the Ellsworth Public Library pull together to do some terrific things...

Julie Belz sent me a note about school visits:  "We are in the midst of school visits and we are having a great time along with the kids.  We are presenting the play Falling for Rapunzel from the book by Leah Wilcox.  We talk about comparing our play to Tangled and how Rapunzel "Dreamed Big" by painting the walls of her tower and dreaming of knowing what is on the outside.  The area schools come to the library to see the play and hear about our summer programs.  We will have presented our program 22 times for the 4YK-4th graders by the time we are done! Whew!"

Too bad these folks don't hire out as an acting troupe!  They look fabulous!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New Perspectives

I have been a little lax on posting for the past few weeks because of a surfeit of adventures that have left me scrambling to catch up on other work.  Last week I attended the best Wisconsin Association of Public Librarian conference ever (in my experience).  More on that in a later post.

In early May (which was, shockingly, a few weeks ago already), I attended the Wisconsin Autism Society's Annual Conference in Green Bay.  Jenna Gilles (Fall Creek), Georgia Jones (New Richmond) and Cole Zrostlik (St. Croix Falls and Milltown) joined me for this eye-opening look at autism.  People on the spectrum, parents, and service providers all presented amazing sessions.

Don't worry--we'll be sharing some of the inspiration and information that came from this experience in a series of blog posts and a webinar--watch for more information coming down the pike.  What I want to mention right away is the value of getting out of the library world and fully immersing yourself in another one.  Don't get me wrong--I love the library world and I adore librarians.  But going to a conference or meeting outside library-land always opens my brain.  It helps me come closer to a true understanding of some of the issues another discipline is facing, changes my perspective, and leaves me inspired to take that information back to my library work.

So if you have a chance to attend a meeting of the social services agencies in town, or get invited to the Autism Parent Support Group, or a workshop put on for early childcare providers, snatch it up!  Many times these opportunities are free or low-cost, they almost always provide important chances to network, and they will certainly broaden your perspective and give you some new ideas about how the library might make its services more relevant.

Photo credit:  New Perspectives by shannonrachel on flickr.