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, July 11, 2012

Meet a Librarian--Cathy Lefevre

Cathy Lefevre is the library director at Sand Creek.  The transformation she has managed to bring about in Sand Creek in the past 5 years, with the support and help of her community and her talented husband, has been astonishing!  Read on, and get inspired.

What do you think are some of the most important steps in the winding path that has led you to become the library director at Sand Creek?
I was a voracious reader as a child, especially biographies and horse books. When I had pneumonia and had to stay in bed for 2 weeks--all I did was read. My mom got me a hard copy of Black Beauty and Little Women--it was heaven. Reading is still my favorite hobby. My mother was the librarian at my high school and my sister-in-law and niece are both children's librarians. I still read 5-7 books per week.

What do you love most about your job?
 The autonomy:  I really was able to make the space into a fully functioning library which was a great accomplishment. However I could not have done it without the support of my husband and the community.

What’s a great book you’ve read recently? Why do you think you liked it so much?
 I like reading all kinds of books. My husband laughs about my “lowbrow reading." I also enjoy reading YA books so that I can recommend them to our younger readers. I just listened to The Minister's Daughter (which was listed as a junior audiobook but was definitely YA). It was a totally fun coming-of-age historical novel that had sex and princes and witch hunts and fairies in it. I just finished Anna Quindlen’s Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake.  Anna and I are the same age and her book was a wonderful memoir of a woman coming-of-age in the 60’s and 70’s, but alas there no fairies in it.

What is something you are excited about—NOT at the library?
I volunteer at Sand Creek Arts and we have renovated the whole building where the library is housed. It is a great place now for the entire community. I also enjoy color pencil drawing, I have more than 100 different colors and it makes me happy to just look at them and even happier to put down to paper a drawing of a flower or bird (my favorites to draw.)

What is something you are proud of doing—AT the library? 


The renovation made such a difference in the total feeling of the library—it is a joy to work in and visit. The fact that we did it all with donations of time and money meant that no one complained.  I was so fortunate that my husband Bob donated his time with the cabinets and workstations. 

Tell us about a favorite book or activity you have used with a group of kids.
 I think the best loved program that the library has ever had was the “Pirate School”, my clerk at the time was totally into pirates and made a wonderful display with a real parrot and pirate booty.  We read the book Talk Like a Pirate and the kids walked the plank…we had relay races with mops and globe beach balls.  We made a pirate ship out of cardboard boxes that lasted about 20 minutes before it fell apart.  Everyone really had a great time—but considering there were about 10 boys age 7-13 the noise level and the activity level was off the charts!

Can you tell us about something big you learned in the past few years? (about the library, about your community, about yourself, about something else you like to do—anything!)
Being a director is about advocacy, which in other words means getting money.  The last 4 years I have asked for more money from the town and the county for the library and have been successful because I have shown that I am fiscally conservative, I can think “outside the box” and most importantly that I am excited about the library.  I feel that we have only one last hurdle and that is getting competitive wages.  Being an outsider has been very difficult.  It can be very frustrating, but the fact that our funding has gone up by 60% and the circulation by 200% is something that supports our library’s existence.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Winners Announced!

YA Novel Bluefish by Pat Schmatz Wins 2012 Burr/Worzalla Award

Young Adult novel, Bluefish, written by Wisconsin native Pat Schmatz and published by Candlewick Press, has won the 2012 Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award. The Children’s Book Award Committee of the Wisconsin Library Association’s Youth Services Section annually awards the Burr/Worzalla to the most distinguished work in literature for children written and/or illustrated by a Wisconsin book creator.

In Bluefish we meet Travis, a middle school student dealing with relocating to a new town, his alcoholic grandfather at home, and being an outsider at school. Travis befriends Velveeta, an outsider herself who has her own secrets. Travis finds guidance and direction through his friendship with Velveeta and through the kindness of his teacher Mr. McQueen, who teaches Travis how to read. Pat Schmatz weaves a wonderfully written story, full of charming characters and a strong theme of friendship.

The Children’s Book Award Committee also named Tom Lichtenheld Notable Wisconsin Author/Illustrator for his contribution to the world of children’s literature. 

Seven noteworthy titles have also been selected for Outstanding Achievement in Children’s Literature, written and/or illustrated by Wisconsin book creators:
Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
Ten Little Caterpillars illustrated by Lois Ehlert
Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Big Turtle by David McLimans
The Adventures of Sir Gawain the True by Gerald Morris
The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families by Susan L. Roth

The Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award is made possible by the Worzalla Publishing Company, Stevens Point, through a grant to the WLA Foundation.

The 2011 Children’s Book Award Committee members consist of Ruhama Kordatzky Bahr, Chair; Barbara Huntington, retired, DPI-DLTCL; Jennifer McNaughton, Greendale Public Library; Jeni Schomber, Beloit Public Library; Elizabeth Timmins, Muehl Public Library; Dawn Wacek, Rice Lake Public Library; Arin Wilken, Mondovi Public Library. 

Leah's note:  BOOK DISPLAY!!  Feature these terrific books by some of our very own book creators!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Money Smart Week Storytime

Kris Farley had barely taken the reigns as youth services librarian in Ladysmith before her first big program--a special family storytime during Money Smart Week.  The library received free copies of The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Commercials from the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institution's Office of Financial Literacy.  They read the story and distributed it, along with a coloring booklet about Olivia (the Pig) and her wants and needs.  They used math and money games from the IFLS Mathmania kit to keep the older kids entertained.

What a great debut!