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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Morale Boost

File This Under The Value of Storytime, from Becky Arenivar, Programming Specialist at the Prescott Public Library:

Last week a local mom stopped into the library just to tell us that her 3rd grade son had won the elementary school Spelling Bee (beating 4th and 5th graders).  He loves reading, reads a lot, and she knows that this has helped him become an excellent speller.  

If this were the end of the story, it would be great.  But it gets even better.  She went on to thank the library for helping her son learn to love reading through Storytime--for helping him see how reading and books can be fun and exciting.  She sees the value of the library and Storytime every time she sees her son reading; every time he learns something new from a book, every time he brings home a good grade.  Not only does she get it about the value of the library, but this was important enough for her to come in person to thank us on the very day of the Spelling Bee!  

I enjoy every day I spend as a librarian, but then there are the days, those amazingly wonderful days, when I get the best gift of all from a library user, the chance to see how what we do has an impact on an individual, on a family, on our community. 

Yay Becky!  And for all of the rest of you out there presenting excellent storytimes and helping kids learn to love reading.  If you are looking for a little inspiration for that, don't forget to sign up for the Storytime Bonanza workshop, coming up next month, Thursday April 25 at the Menomonie Public Library.  For a flyer, click here.  To register, click here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fun Stuff in Rice Lake

Thanks to Ashley for sending in a few cool program ideas!

In January we had a "Pete the Cat Party" were we read 2 Pete stories, watched a short Pete the Cat "Wheels on the Bus" video, made our own Pete the Cat with construction paper and snacked on blueberries, strawberries, pudding and water (like he steps through with his shoes). Big hit!  Tons of kids here were very excited for the program.  We kept it simple but I think there are probably about a million ideas out there for Pete activities.

Then on Valentines Day we had a sock hop.  First we read Duck Sock Hop (our inspiration for the program).  Then kids got to decorate  a pair of socks with fabric markers and we danced like crazy to old 50's and 60's tunes.  I'm pretty sure I had the most fun at this program, but I was so surprised at how much the kids enjoyed those old songs!  I love it when you can sneak a little history into things.

Monday, March 18, 2013

SLP Incentives

Every year, there are discussions and ideas thrown around about incentives for the Summer Library Program.  I've heard compelling arguments against having any incentives, and just as compelling arguments for having a variety of incentives (including cheap, plastic items).  What works for you?

One idea I came across recently (from the Twinsburg, OH library) is looking for more prizes that are about the experience.  Several libraries I know of give coupons for a free pass at the zoo or the YMCA or a baseball game, or use the terrific statewide incentives like passes to the state park or, this year, a local cave.  These are great, but they also count on the participation of an adult.  In Twinsburg, they focus on experiences that are a little easier for kids to do on their own, like:
  • Popsicles (eating a popsicle is certainly an experience, and these are a big hit in Twinsburg!)
  • face painting (they are training teen volunteers to do this) 
  • a small art project they can do in the library 
  • decorating a cupcake or cookie

Personally, I'm a big fan of getting away from plastic trinkets that get thrown in the trash or stepped on and broken right away.  Books are a great option, many libraries cull from the donations they receive, or shop at deep discount stores or the Scholastic literacy partnerships.  Another small, fun, non-plastic prize that fits with this year's theme is cool rocks!   If there is someone in your community who has a rock tumbler, this would be a great collaboration!  Tumble up some rocks to give as prizes--most kids I know are pretty interested in pretty rocks...

What are you going to do this year??