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Thursday, August 22, 2013

You Can't Beat Fun for a Good Time

If you are looking for a great way to add zip to your storytimes and other programs, learning to tell a few stories is a number one way to do so.  If you are looking for an entertaining and super-fun way to spend an evening or two, listening to fabulous storytellers is hard to beat...and, as a good friend of mine used to say, "You can't beat fun for a good time."
Kevin McMullin performing in Colfax

So, we are extremely lucky that Rob Reid and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has pulled together a terrific line-up of performers to do storytelling concerts and workshops for their Storytelling Festival, September 13 and 14.  The inimitable Marge Loch-Wouters will be there (you've seen her do a professional workshop--now watch her really cut loose at a storytelling event!).  Kevin McMullin, Tracy Chipman, and Sadarri &  Company will also be there, telling stories and leading workshops.

There is something for everyone at this festival--adults, teens, and younger kids, too, so bring your family.  And the price is affordable, even on a librarian salary.   I am so excited!  I hope to see some of you there.  For the details:  http://www.uwec.edu/COEHS/alumni/StorytellingFestival.htm

Sadarri & Company

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fall Creek's Art Cart

arts,coloring,crayons,drawings,household,school supplies,colorful,materials

I kept seeing notices on Facebook about the Fall Creek Public Library Art Cart, making special appearances at the library this summer.  I had to get the whole scoop from Jenna, the youth services librarian, and here it is.  Thanks Jenna!

The Art Cart is only available when I am in the Library and I tell every child who comes in about and make sure they know the rules 1. Use whatever you want in the cart. 2. Be creative. 3. Have fun. 4. Clean up after yourself. These rules are taped on the top and sides of The Art Cart, as well as being posted on our bulletin board advertising The Art Cart.

I have not had any major messes and the kids really seem to enjoy it. Often they just goof around and make random "stuff" out of the "stuff" provided. Sometimes it gets thrown away, sometimes the kids take it home. I hear lots of great cooperative and positive conversations as the kids use it. 

I have the "basics" available at all times: paper scraps of various sizes and colors and textures, a glue bottle, glue sticks, scissors, a roll of tape, something to color/write with, rulers, and stencils each in their own little containers inside the cart. Almost always these items return to the right containers. Every two weeks I switch out the "extras" which have included yarn, large pieces of paper, felt, string, stapler, egg cartons, paint brushes (no paint, which confuses some and excites others), stampers, squirt bottles, discarded holiday cards and wrapping paper, bubble wrap, paper towel rolls, pipe cleaners, feathers, pom poms, books we have taken out of the system due to rips or coloring in them, packaging tape, duct tape.... 

The Art Cart hangs out in the back on our linoleum floor (near our children's and juvenile DVDs that EVERYONE goes to)--there are a couple of small tables nearby.  I have noticed that it is bringing adults and children together more in the Children's Area. We have had a few "problem parents" that spend all their time on the computer while their children tear up the children's area and run around. These parents are spending more time back there, creating with their children and/or supervising. (I think the idea of scissors and glues scares a few parents into supervision - hahaha) I have also noticed a few families that rarely came in when I am here have started coming more often on days that I am here, just to use The Art Cart, which has slowly led to more and closer relationships with these families. They see me more often and are more comfortable asking for help, or giving suggestions, or just talking. The Art Cart has also been nice in keeping adult laptop users away from the children's area... you know the ones... they set themselves up the Children's Area and then complain about the noise. Yeah, now they regulate themselves to the "adult area." Don't get me wrong: I'm all about adults exploring the children's area, but only if they respect the rules of childhood: sometimes life gets loud, messy, and disorganized ;)

It is a super simple thing, this Art Cart, but boy has it been wonderful!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Expert on Finding Community Experts

If you are a teen and hang out at the Menomonie Public Library, you're lucky!  Teens have had a chance to do a bunch of cool stuff, from learning to decorate cakes from a pro, to learning zumba, yoga, and tai chi moves from instructors.  They had a frozen custard maker judge their ice cream sundae contest, and this summer they had a professor of nuclear physics come work with them to BLOW STUFF UP!

Colleen Zertler is really good at getting community members to help her teach kids to do things kids want to learn how to do, and most of them are willing to come in and share their time and talents for free.  Colleen's best tip?  People who have teenagers themselves are less likely to be afraid of them, and are more willing to volunteer to do cool stuff with them.  

Colleen's latest project is working with Stout to come up with some great programs for the Wisconsin Science Festival. Stay tuned to hear how that goes!