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, December 20, 2013

Wisconsin Author Comes Back Home!

Series opener!
Many of you know that I tend to get a little star-struck when I'm around authors I admire.  I think authors are amazing, and it is thrilling to have some real live authors in our midst.  One of those authors, Michael Norman, is an IFLS trustee and library advocate extraordinaire.  He passed on information about a former student of his who has moved back to our area of the state:  S.A. Bodeen, author of such wide-ranging works as The Compound (a novel for teens about an unbalanced father who moves his family into a fall-out shelter and has some ethically questionable scientific projects going on there) to A Small Brown Dog with a Wet, Pink Nose (a picture book). 

Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen is living in the IFLS-area and is interested in doing author appearances.  She is an award-winning author whose titles have plenty of kid-appeal.  She has a new series that is being billed as a combination between Swiss Family Robinson and Lost.  She'd be a draw!  Check out her blog for contact information and more.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Resources for Youth about Nelson Mandela

The African Studies Center at the Boston University has put together a set of resources aimed at young people who want to learn more about Nelson Mandela, South Africa, and the struggle against apartheid.  The list has a variety of resources:  books, video, music, youtube videos, and more.  If you have kids, families or teachers who want to commemorate Mandela after his death, or are looking for information about this amazing man and his work, please take a look.

In fact, the African Studies Center has a whole website for people who are teaching about Africa, with book lists and other great resources.  Take a look!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Expanding the Hour of Code

Many thanks to Cole Z. from St. Croix Falls for the nudge, here.  She says:

I watched a teacher at the local school do an "Hour of Code" with her after-school students! Code.org is SOOOO awesome! Short, really fun coding GAMES for kids and LIBRARIANS and very excellent, totally irrelevant celebrity endorsements! The site even has instructions for teachers and great video tutorials. A SUPER easy program idea-- have kids, adults, teens do an hour of code! 

I checked it out, and Cole is right!  There are so many resources available on the Hour of Code website, from short self-guided tutorials to ideas for a 20-session series of workshops.  There are videos, posters, how-to resources and more on this well-organized and easy-to-use site.  There is definitely a role for librarians, here!  For more coding resources, check this this list on TeachThought

Monday, December 16, 2013

High Energy Holidays in Rice Lake

Thanks to Katherine Elchert, the youth services manager at the Rice Lake Public Library for this guest post!

The Rice Lake Public Library hosts our annual holiday extravaganza on the first Saturday of December. Instead of our regular family storytime + crafts, the library goes all out with a fun performer, a visit from Santa, milk and cookies, and a free book to every child from our Friends of the Library group. 

This year we invited a Minneapolis-based band - Koo Koo Kanga Roo - to kick off the celebration. They were amazing.... Bryan and Neil put on a hilarious, hour-long show and then stayed to chat with their adoring fans. Koo Koo Kanga Roo has developed a bit of a cult following here in Rice Lake as many of the elementary schools use their lively music videos as dance breaks. When I was buying my prize books, I went through a Rice Lake elementary school teacher's Scholastic account. We were chatting when I mentioned the holiday party and how I hoped to book Koo Koo Kanga Roo..... she (enthusiastically!) explained how they all use Koo Koo dance videos in their classroom!  Even with that knowledge in mind, the RLPL staff was blown away to see over 400 patrons turn out for this event!
Everyone's excited to dance with Koo Koo Kangaroo

We were lucky because the Rice Lake Holiday Parade was the Thursday night before the event. The library stayed open late, gave out hot chocolate & cookies and handed out flyers (with candy canes) promoting the event. Several staff members walked in the parade, collected letters to Santa and handed out even more flyers! It was an easy and fun way to invite new patrons to a RLPL event.

There were craft projects and photo opportunities while kids waited to see Santa
After the Koo Koo Kanga Roo show, everyone was excited to share their Christmas wishes with Santa! Crowd control was a challenge, but patrons kept busy at different craft stations, snacking on milk & cookies and entering a Holiday Family Photo contest. Overall, it was a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays at the Rice Lake Public Library!

This wonderful event was sponsored by the Friends of the Rice Lake Public Library and the Rice Lake Area Mens Club. We can't thank them enough! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Scheduling Programs

I no longer do programs at a library, but I do schedule workshops and other gatherings that I really hope people will be able to attend, so I have some understanding of the challenge it is to find the day and time of day and year that will work for the most people.

I read a thoughtful blog post about scheduling storytimes on the ALSC blog today that made me start wondering about this.  How do you decide when to hold your programs?  Do you have storytime on Wednesday mornings because you always have?  That can work really well, people get used to it and can work around it.  But what happens when attendance starts dropping off?  How do you figure out if a different time would make a difference in attendance?  What else is going on in town?

Lots of libraries in IFLS-land have changed storytimes to accommodate the 4-year-old kindergarten schedule.  Some have put more energy into outreach storytimes at daycare centers, some have tried evening storytimes with varying levels of success.  The most important take-home message here is don't be afraid to change the time if it isn't working, but be sure to do some research (informal polls at the circulation desk, finding out when the YMCA has open gym) to inform your decision!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Tween Booklist

Looking for a ready-made booklist of books to recommend to 8-12 year olds?  Look no further!  The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has created an attractive booklist, complete with annotations, to help kids find the right book.  All books were published in 2012 or 2013.

Just another benefit provided to us all by ALSC--if you can afford to join this great group, I highly recommend it.
Read Kid Read:  flickr photo credit:  quinn.anya

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Fun Way to Deepen Your Professional Network

I read a great blog post from my friend and admired colleague, Linda Jerome, the teen librarian at the LaCrosse Public Library yesterday, and it spurred me to immediate action!  Linda has been running a book discussion group for adults reading teen books, and has specifically invited other librarians, school personnel and others with a professional interest in the topic--including adult services librarians.  The book club isn't on the clock, it's a fun, extra thing to do that has added benefits of deepening connections with others in the field, nurturing collaborative opportunities, and giving you more chances to talk about books for teens with others who work with that age group.

I put the word out to a few likely folks in this area, and have received several enthusiastic responses.  Still working on the logistics, but it is great to know there are others who are interested.  And if you are in the Eau Claire area and wish you could join us--you can!  Just let me know and I'll add you to the list.  If this sounds cool to you, it seems pretty easy to replicate.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Growing Wisconsin Readers with Frogs

Tiffany Meyer from Dresser Village Library received one of the Growing Wisconsin Readers grants this year 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program that is a collaboration between Dresser and the St. Croix Falls library.  The program started on November 1, and they already have 31 signed up, with more outreach planned starting in January.

Participants receive a Blinky book & DVD [donated by local author/naturalist and Frog Guy Randy Korb] when they've read 25 books, a froggy finger puppet at 100 books, a froggy squirt toy at 500 books, as well as a froggy sticker at every 100 books along the way. When they reach 1000 books, they can choose a picture book to add to the library's collection with a bookplate in their name.

Great story:  "A 3 1/2-year-old brought his sheet in this afternoon, having surpassed the 25-book mark. He was pretty excited about his frog book. While checking more books out, his mom said, "Tell Miss Tiffany what you did with the rest of your stickers." Silence. I said, "I won't be upset. I'm just interested." I thought for sure he would say he stuck them on the wall or dropped them in the bathtub - something along those lines. "I ate them." This led to a nice conversation about what they tasted like and what else he had eaten lately. Totally made my day! When I asked him if he'd like more stickers or if he'd prefer to color in the rest of the circles, he opted to use markers ;)"

Monday, November 25, 2013

Insect Camp at the Library

Playing SLUG (like SPUD, but with hoops and frisbees

Jenna at Fall Creek held an after school Insect Camp this fall, with art and science, games and exploring for school age kids.  There's a complete blog post about it on her blog, but I'm including a few photos here to whet your appetite. 

Says Jenna  "It was SO much fun. The parents were very impressed and mentioned a number of times how the kids couldn't stop talking about what they had done they day before. The Hissing Cockroaches was by far the favorite activity. We had mostly second graders and younger, but one older sister in 6th grade did attend Tuesday-Thursday. I am glad I had pre-registration because we offered snack each day. The presenters also appreciated knowing how many children to expect. We will have another Library Camp week this month and already have quite a few kiddos signed up for each day!"
Thumbprint insects
Drawing/writing about what is in the small circle he created with string
A visit from the hissing cockroaches, who came with a local teacher