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).

Search This Blog

Friday, July 10, 2015

Presenter Rave--Survival!

Learning to signal for help by catching light on a reflective surface
Thanks to Alisha from LEPMPL in Eau Claire for this guest post:

When planning for my summer demonstration programs I wanted to find something new and different than what I’ve ever had before.  I had thought about someone coming in to talk about hiking or camping safety or something along those lines.  I ended up finding a survival class taught by Kyle Beach who works at the Chippewa Falls YMCA and is starting up a business called Prepared Solutions Group.  He was really great to work with and put on a very nice program.  I had approximately 110 in attendance.  This would work for a children’s (elementary school-age and up) or adult program. 

Insulation for protection against the elements

He usually puts on longer classes – like a minimum  of 4 hours or a full weekend of survival training in the middle of the woods – but I told him our programs are about 45 minutes.  He was extremely flexible and was excited to find a way to make it work. 

The program started with a full group presentation giving basic survival tips whether you’re lost in the woods or lost in the mall.  Then he broke the program attendees into groups to rotate through three stations for more hands-on experience for survival (based more on survival in the woods than in the mall!). 
Building a shelter

The three stations were: 
1.  Staying hydrated; how to safely transport water using only paper; and signaling for help
2.  Starting a fire without matches (outside)
3.  Insulating yourself and building shelters

He was great with the kids and presented important information in a fun way.  He also does adult programs on topics such as home and vehicle emergency preparedness, self-defense, CPR, etc.  He has a lot of experience in search and rescue missions in Wisconsin, California, Alaska and throughout the Midwest for victims lost in the wilderness, which makes for a lot of interesting stories as well.

More shelter-building

His info is:
Kyle Beach

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Our Kids

Jacket cover--Our Kids
During my travels last week, I whiled away quite a few hours in airports and airplanes reading Our Kids:  The American Dream in Crisis by Robert Putnam.  In it, he talks about the growing opportunity gap between economic classes.  Kids who have economic privilege have access to more extra-curricular opportunities, more informal mentors, more social safety nets and support than ever before.  Kids who grow up in poverty are increasingly isolated from these opportunities, as fees for extra-curricular activities increase and segregation based on economic class grows.  According to Putnam, there used to be more of an attitude that all kids were the community's responsibility--Our Kids.  Now, he says, families in the upper income brackets are not even aware of the kids living in poverty in their community because their circles never intersect.  I think he paints too rosy a picture of the past, particularly with regard to race, but the statistics he cites about opportunities, graduation rates, and college matriculation are stark.  I found a lot to think about in this book, and I recommend it for librarians who are thinking about what needs to happen to even the playing field for all the kids in their community.

Monday, July 6, 2015

ALA High Points

Tree of inspiration
This year, I was extremely fortunate to be able to attend the American Library Association Annual Conference in San Francisco.  It was the first time in 10 years I'd been to this extravaganza of librarianship.  Apart from a few brief cases of paralysis due to a severe case of FMS (Fear of Missing Something), I found a lot to love at this conference.  Some highlights:

  • Seeing and hearing authors I deeply admire (Jandy Nelson, Tim Federle, Edwidge Danticat, Chris Meyers, and Kwame Alexander to name a few) and having all of them express appreciation for librarians and the work we do.
  • Learning more about the Libraries Transforming Communities project, and getting great ideas about community engagement and making some useful connections with people working on a regional level like I do 
  • Learning about what some libraries are doing to serve people experiencing homelessness, and getting some ideas that are transferable to the smaller cities and libraries in our region
  • Hearing ideas about sharing 5 Early Literacy Practices (Talk, Sing, Read, Write, Play) with teen parents
  • Just being around 25,000 librarians and others who are doing interesting things, talking about important topics, and eagerly connecting with each other was humbling and gratifying
Who knows when I will get to go again, but attending a conference of this scale, while overwhelming, is also eye-opening and stimulating!  Next up--the Wisconsin Library Association Annual Conference, which is less huge and less expensive, but still tremendous for getting inspiration!  Check it out, November 3-6.