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, October 24, 2012

Meet a Librarian--Colleen Zertler

 Colleen Zertler is the teen librarian at the Menomonie Public Library.  She doesn't brag enough, but she has a terrific teen advisory board, a host of excellent and well-attended programs for teens, and some wonderful, smart ideas about connecting with them and developing meaningful relationships.  Get some great tips about working with teens by reading her responses!

What is your best source for coming up with programs for teens?

Teens! They are my number 1 go-to. I will also look into Pinterest or check out other libraries' web sites to see what they are doing. I also love to bring people in from the community so when I'm talking to someone and find out they have a cool hobby I ask if they are willing to share. My latest find came from a young 6th grade boy who is into graffiti art; when I mentioned I have been looking for someone for quite a while to do a program for me he told me all about "Dan the bartender" a graffiti artist that he met at a wedding reception. I contacted the center where the reception was held and now have contact info. for "Dan the bartender"!

Do you have any tips for developing a rapport with teens?

Have fun with them. Don't be afraid to jump into the programs with them even if you know you will look like a fool. Yes, I've belly danced with the teens.

What are some of the most successful books you have read with your mother/daughter book club?

The one book that generated the most insightful conversation was Letters to a Bullied Girl by Olivia Gardner, Emily Buder and Sarah Buder. We heard about a lot things that we didn't know were going on in the schools, on the bus, etc. One of the most fun was The Card Turner by Louis Sachar. We had someone from a bridge club come in and teach us the game.

As a self-professed non-technology person, you have done a lot of great stuff with technology and teens. Tell us about an especially successful tech program, and tell us: How do you pull it off when you don’t already have the tech skills yourself? 

Probably the favorite was Geek Out! A program where we had multiple geeky things going on: Scratch animation, SAM animation, Light photogray, and duct tape wallets. As far as pulling it off I never let myself believe that I will become some techie guru, it's just not in the genes. I firmly believe that you only need to know the basics of any techie program, let the kids learn for themselves. We are too quick to just give them the answer, this way I can honestly tell them that "I don't know" and they should play around until they figure it out.

When you aren’t at work, what do you love to do?

Read, walk my dog, and run my kids to all corners of the earth!

If you had an unlimited budget, what’s the first thing you would do at the library?

Have a teen room with sound proof walls, they love to be noisy.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My First Book Club in Eau Claire

Thanks to Jill Patchin for this great post about an early reader book club!

We had our first “My First Book Club” meeting recently, and it was a blast!  The group is intended for children transitioning into reading their first chapter books along with a parent or other adult.  We took registration for this event, and got a great response.  The day of the program we had 12 kids and 9 adults attend.

The book for our first month was Mercy Watson to the Rescue.  Each parent and child checked the book out on their own and read it before attending the program.  I made up activity books for each child.  Inside were word finds, a maze, and other activity sheets I found online along with some sheets that said things like “Who was your favorite character? Draw their picture below.”  For each question that I asked verbally in the program I gave the kids an opportunity to voice their answer or opinion aloud, write it down in their activity book, or draw a picture of it in their activity book.  This way I hoped that kids of all ability levels would be comfortable.
We also did a craft – making pig snouts (both kids and grown ups!), and played a game – shoot the “butter” (yellow pom-pom) onto the “toast” (cardboard cut out).  This pom-pom popper activity was an idea I found on Pinterest.  We feasted on cupcakes decorated to look like pigs.

I have had a wonderful response and the parents commented that they really liked reading the book together and attending the program.

Our next “My First Book Club” will be in November and our book is Down Girl and Sit: Home on the Range.

As an ice-breaker, each pair put together a simple animal puzzle, then had to make the noise of their animal.  They found the other pair in the room with the same animal that way, and introduced themselves.

If you have questions about this program, contact Jill--jillp @ eauclaire.lib.wi.us.  Bonus:  She has 4 activity books left, for the fastest responder!