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, July 18, 2013

Play Play Play!

We are getting more and more information about the importance of creating opportunities and spaces for children to explore, create and imagine during free play.  It is crucial for social, emotional, physical and language development, to name just a few areas.  Librarians in our area and around the country are developing environments in their libraries that encourage play for young children, which is really exciting!  I'd love to hear stories about your areas and how they are being used.

The June issue of School Library Journal has an article by Rachel Payne about some marvelous programs that the Brooklyn Public Library is doing to help families learn about using low-cost toys, made from things found around most houses (boxes, shredded paper, board books used as blocks).  Sometimes parents or caregivers have forgotten how to playfully engage with young children, and having simple, inexpensive toys, along with enthusiastic librarians modeling playful interactions.

This fall, the Youth Services Section and the Public Library Development Team are co-sponsoring a 1/2 day preconference at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference (in Green Bay) sponsored by , focusing on early literacy, with some special emphasis on PLAY.  Jim Gill, terrific children's musician and play advocate (as well as child development expert) will be on hand, and our own Shelly Collins Fuerbringer and Ashley Bieber will be there talking about early literacy play areas.

There is increasing interest in tapping into technology to satisfy some of the needs for interactive play, and these are worth exploring.  But in my opinion, there is absolutely no substitute for an empty cardboard box and an engaged playmate!
The play literacy area in Rice Lake gets good use!

Check out the Alliance for Childhood's 12 Types of Play for more ideas about the importance of play.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sculpture, Creativity, Stories, and Collaboration in St. Croix Falls

Thanks to Cole Zrostlik for contributing this post!  Written by Carissa Samaniego, Education & Program Coordinator at Franconia Sculpture Park, edited for web by Cole Zrostlik

Photos courtesy Rachele Krivichi, Cole Zrostlik, and Carissa Samaniego

During a residency at Franconia Sculpture Park in Franconia, Minnesota in 2007, artist Peter Morales spent the summer carving a large block of limestone quarried from Mankato, Minnesota into a curvy, swirly, biomorphic sculpture. Now, on loan from the artist, Amble, a sculptural bench, fills a previously empty triangle of earth along the sidewalk at the St. Croix Falls Public Library!

Over the past year, Carissa (Franconia’s education director) and I have eagerly discussed opportunities for the library and the sculpture park to collaborate on creative programming for youth.  A dimensional story building project, a storytelling sculpture walk, and a community designed-bench were among the ideas.  Ultimately, the collaboration developed into a combination of those ideas. 

On June 21st, Morales and crew installed Amble in front of the library with help from the city crew: 

 Morales and sculpture park artists spent the rest of the day ‘in-residence’ at the library. Peter, a native of Guatemala, recalled a folktale about art and the colors from his native country during a special storytime:

 And in the afternoon, Franconia facilitated an awesome puppet-making workshop where kids were shown how to alter old books to create book monsters! Their creations are on display in the library’s windows until they take to the streets during the Wannigan Days parade this weekend:  

The collaboration was a rewarding experience for everyone. It was an opportunity to support an artist and his artwork, to champion the Franconia Sculpture Park, to add interest to the library building, and a chance to provide some out-of-this-world creative community programming for kids. This is hopefully just the beginning of a strong partnership between Franconia Sculpture Park and St. Croix Falls Public Library! 

For more information about youth programming at the library or the sculpture park, visit our websites! 

For more information about the artist check him out online: www.petermoralesart.com.

St. Croix Falls Public Library: www.stcroixfallslibrary.org.

Franconia Sculpture Park: www.franconia.org.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Digging Dinosaurs in Phillips

Thanks to Jo Hick for sending in photos from this program.  It looks pretty simple, but also really fun!  Still scrambling for ideas?  Here are a few crowd-pleasers.

Digging up dinos (I am itching to do this myself!):
Making dinosaur fossils with playdoh:

Dino tracks with ink pads and plastic dinos: