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, September 20, 2013

Cool STEAM Idea

Wisconsin's own Library As Incubator blog has a new regular feature:  Science Meets Crafts program kits, with information, how-tos, detailed instructions, lists, costs, and imbedded instructional videos.  The kits come from a teen librarian and crafter Heidi Gustad, who writes her own blog, Hands Occupied.

Even if you don't think you'll use it right away, file this one away for next year's science-themed Fizz, Boom, Read Summer Library Program!

Check out the first kit about making rainbow illusion yo-yos with late elementary-up kids.  Very cool!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Grant Project Ripples

Thanks to Norma Scott, director of the Somerset Public Library, for this post about the lasting effects of the 2012 Autism grant project in her library and her life!

When our library decided to participate in a grant about autism offered through IFLS in 2012,  I knew next to nothing about Autism or Asperger’s and didn’t have a clue about any ‘spectrums’.  Fast forward a year. 

I’m now part of a community Autism Awareness group (AAW), soon to have its name changed to Disabilities Awareness, that’s comprised of parents of children on the spectrum as well as educators.  The function of the group is to raise funds and awareness and to find ways to help the people on the spectrum and their families lead more fulfilling lives. 

In early April, AAW held a community information evening, and three days later we followed up with a community Family Fun Night at the elementary school with attendance of over 1,000.  An Eagle Scout gathered items for Sensory Backpacks that he donated to the school district, which are used on a daily basis.  Just this past month AAW brought in Dr. John Garcia, sleep specialist from Gillette Children’s Specialty Clinics & Hospitals to discuss children’s sleep issues.

Our library has been directly affected by the grant, as well.  Not only do all of us on the staff have a heightened awareness of autism, but we’ve also increased the content of our collection by adding materials for people on the spectrum as well as their families. We’ve added a quiet-area tent structure when a child can go to collect himself as he feels the need.  We’ve decluttered.  We’ve incorporated more sensory items into our story hours.  In March we held a Dr. Seuss birthday party for special needs children.  This summer we held a reading session for a special needs class whose teacher is also in AAW.

I’ve been affected by this grant through the door it opened for me into the lives of people on the spectrum and their caregivers. It also opened me to the subject of Autism at a time when a fledgling group, now called AAW, was just beginning to form.  Had this grant not been in the works I’m sure I wouldn’t have made that first phone call.   My life has been enriched by getting to know some amazingly compassionate, dedicated parents and educators and some darn good kids who need help.  We network daily.  It’s rewarding to get suggestions for programs or collection materials that we know will benefit someone directly and many others indirectly.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Read for the Record

Since I started this blog more than three years ago, I've never lost track of posting for so long--more than 2 weeks!   I kept putting this on my list of things to do and it kept falling off the end as I frantically tried to keep up with grant-writing, consulting, preparing for the Wisconsin Youth Services Institute (read about that amazing adventure here), and several other big projects.

At any rate, I'm back!  And I want to make sure you know about Read for the Record, a national project from the early literacy group Jumpstart, trying to get as many people as possible to read the same picture book on the same day--October 3.  This year's book is Otis, by Loren Long.  Jumpstart has pulled together activity guides and planning materials (including help with publicity). 

If you decide to do this, I'd love to hear about how it goes!

And now that I'm back to posting, please send along ideas and photos, or requests for topics to cover.