Monday, May 22, 2017
"Think about this: Decades of emotional punishment, physical violence, and other abuses. And then some guy (who just happens to be in a position with more social clout than most disabled people will ever attain) writes an article about how having a fidget toy helps him concentrate during meetings, and all of a sudden, every neurotypical person in America is falling all over themselves to get a fidget toy of their own. "
See what I mean? Read the whole blog post to get more insight (the blog in general is worth looking at!)
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Family engagement is a shared responsibility to support children's learning and development, from birth through young adulthood. Families are the first and most important learning environment for children. Libraries are already doing many things to "encourage and inspire families to be engaged in their children's learning," and there is more to be done! Libraries have, as the Aspen Report states and this one reiterates, the People, the Place, and the Platform to support family engagement. Library leadership needs to embrace the importance of these efforts, and we need to make them concerted and intentional, rather than simply a random assortment of programs.
The report asks libraries to continue to:
- Reach out to families who might not be using the library
- Raise up family voices and ideas in the development of services
- Reinforce already existing relationships and practices of families
- Relate, offering opportunities for families to develop relationships with each other
- Reimagine what kinds of community partnerships are possible
I highly recommend taking a look at this short, readable, and practical call to action, as well as the Ideabook that accompanies it. The Ideabook contains suggestions and examples from around the country, including small libraries.
Friday, May 12, 2017
|Lack of money can cause tunneling|
If we think about how scarcity might be affecting the families we serve, we might make some meaningful tweaks to help make our programs and services more helpful and accessible for the people we most want to reach.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
|The proverbial ticking clock!|
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
The basic premise of the book is that when we are facing scarcity--of time or money, for instance--we use up significant cognitive resources just dealing with the most pressing issues. We tunnel, which makes good sense and keeps us functioning in the present (it can even make us super-efficient and effective in the short-term). Anything outside the tunnel, however, is necessarily disregarded. In the long run, this can be problematic. In fact, people's decision-making about long-term things is impaired, along with their general cognitive functioning--some studies even have shown that IQ is affected by managing scarcity, and it certainly makes some of the programs designed to serve people living in poverty less helpful.
I'm going to do a blog series about this--breaking this into a couple of bite-sized pieces. Watch for more tomorrow and Friday!
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Visit http://audiobooksync.com each week to get your two free audiobooks. Titles change every Thursday at 7am ET so be sure to visit frequently so you don’t miss out on any books. All titles are in MP3 format and they play in the OverDrive app. While at the SYNC website you can sign up to receive weekly reminder alerts by text message or email newsletter. SYNC is dedicated to introducing the listening experience to the teen audience. The program demonstrates that required reading can be completed by listening but these titles can be enjoyed by literature lovers of any age.
|Flickr Creative Commons, Eli Christman|
I live in a bit of a popular culture bubble, and I'm often late to the game of hearing about what is hot. Last week, one month after the Netflix series based on the teen book by Jay Asher Thirteen Reasons Why was released, I heard about the series three times in as many days.
Just in case any of you aren't aware, I thought I would share some resources and information. Thirteen Reasons Why is about a teen who completes suicide, first creating cassette tapes to leave with thirteen people who she holds responsible for her desperate solution. In the Netflix series, each episode covers a tape.
There are conflicting opinions about whether this series is problematic in its depiction of suicide and suicidal thoughts. Some experts believe that it is getting people to talk about this crucial topic, and asking people to think about the way their interactions with each other might have a lasting and harmful affect. Others bring up several problems--suggesting that it presents suicide as a means to revenge, possible glorification of suicide, promoting the idea that "if someone is going to kill themselves, nothing one of us could say would change their minds," (as one counselor tells a survivor), and possible triggers with graphic violent depictions of sexual assault and suicide.
Some schools are sending letters to parents, alerting them to the series and urging parents to watch it with their teens and open a dialogue, and recommending that students who are vulnerable to suicidal ideation not watch the series at all. The JED Foundation has put together a guide about the show, as well as a set of 13 Talking Points about the series, pointing out some important issues in the series.
I'm pointing all of this out because I think we should know about it. It would be interesting to work with the school to provide a forum for families to talk about these issues when they are at the top of everyone's mind. Prevent Suicide Wisconsin has a list of QPR Trainers in the state. Question, Persuade, Refer is like CPR for people you think may be having a mental health crisis--the main take-away is not to ignore it if you are worried someone may be considering suicide. Ask them about it, persuade them not to do it right now, and help them find help. I am guessing librarians are in the position to deal with this now and then, and I highly recommend getting yourselves some resources and tools so you don't feel quite so freaked out and ill-prepared when it happens.
Let us know if you are planning to do anything related to this! We'd love to learn from your experience!
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Teen groups from across the country read galleys and discuss books all year to select the books they think should be nominated for YALSA's Teens' Top Ten list. Then, teens from across the country have a chance to vote for their favorites, and the top ten vote-getters are announced during Teen Read Week in October. How cool is that? A list created for teens by teens, and everyone can get involved!
Here's this year's list of nominees.
Here are some suggestions for promoting reading and voting.
Look on the Teens' Top Ten site for previous year's lists, tool kits, and more.
Monday, April 17, 2017
|Child and kittens socializing...or napping, as kittens tend to do.|
|10-day-old tiny nuggets. They'll be ready for their play date when they are 5-6 weeks old.|
|Materials needed: waterslide paper, small scissors, white nail polish, clear nail polish, tweezers, nail file, cotton balls, nail polish remover, small containers to hold water. And, of course, the book! Make Your Own Nail Decals by Janelle Estep|
Thursday, April 6, 2017
One of the speakers, Mark Sweet, is a trainer and consultant for Disability Rights Wisconsin. He spoke for hours, and I could have listened for several more! Look for more on THIS, too, but I thought I'd share just a few useful points he made:
- You will do no harm by assuming the possibility that everyone you meet may have experienced trauma.
- You don't have to understand the particulars of people's past experiences in order to notice that they are possibly feeling unsafe, and to make adjustments to your own behavior to accommodate them.
- How we think and talk about people has an immediate affect on the way we interact with them. This is relevant when we are talking about people with disabilities, but also when we are talking about anyone!
- If we teach children or people with disabilities to do everything they are told to do without question, we make them more vulnerable to abuse. Our culture has a bias toward compliance that can be problematic at times.
- All of this does not mean that anything goes--but it does mean that we need to look at how we do things, and consider things from the point of view of the people we are trying to support.
Monday, April 3, 2017
One smaller idea to share, I learned from someone in a small group discussion. I didn't catch her name (no excuse), but she talked about working in the Parks and Recreation Department of a small town 30+ years ago. At that time, the youth services librarian worked with Park and Rec staff so THEY could provide storytimes to kids during the summer, when it was time for the kids to stop running around for a few minutes so they wouldn't overheat. Sometimes we want to do it all ourselves, but with a tiny staff, this just isn't possible. This seems like a great way to find more team members in a small town--train the folks who are hanging out with kids all day so they can help! Provide them with books and other resources. Everyone wins!
|These kids will be ready for a reading break soon!|
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
If you think you are maybe in too small of a town to need to know about this this, think again. I have known two kids who identify as transgender, both from VERY small towns in rural Wisconsin. I hope you will consider taking the time to learn more about this complicated topic!
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
|The Milky Way (Pixabay)|
Monday, March 27, 2017
|Transformation's coming! (from Pixabay)|
The Institute is specifically designed for those who do not have a Masters Degree. It provides a chance to network and access professional development, and participants have described the experience as life-changing. Really! If you want to read a blog post by an eloquent past participant who you probably know (Jenna Gilles-Turner in Chippewa Falls), here it is! If you want to see what other past participants have said, look here.
This year's Institute will be held at the Heartwood Conference Center near Trego, WI (in our corner of the state!) August 27-30. It is free to participate (including lodging and food, but not including mileage), thanks to LSTA funding (remember LSTA funding? It's in danger, so don't forget to ask your representative to keep funding it!). According to an email from Tessa Michaelson Schmidt: "There is no fee for Institute participants; the costs are covered through an LSTA grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) administered by the Public Library Development Team at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). At this time, we anticipate full funding of this event; if funding changes, applicants would be notified immediately."
Applications are due April 28.
If you have any questions about this, please let me know! I would love to talk with you more about it, or put you in touch with a participant from a previous year.
Friday, March 24, 2017
As you've probably already heard, the IMLS is in danger of being eliminated. The simplest way to make a difference is to contact your representatives in Congress, but there are other things to do, too. Here are a couple of resources:
- YALSA's list includes writing letters to editors, meeting with Representatives when they are home on recess April 8-23, and encouraging friends and family to contact Representatives, among other things. Look there for sample letters and more!
- ALSC's list includes many of the same things, but also encourages sharing your library's story with the #SaveIMLS hashtag on social media and inviting your Representative to visit your library when they are back in the area for recess.
- And Hafuboti (blogger, librarian, and creative artist who made the Libraries Are for Everyone artwork to share with everyone) is encouraging folks to make #SaveIMLS short Book-Drop videos (like a mic-drop, but with a book).
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
|from Gene Yang's website|
So, are you reading outside your comfort zone? What have you been reading? I'm on a non-fiction kick lately, which is not my usual m.o. How about you?
Monday, March 20, 2017
|Puppies need heavy work, too!|
There's a nice blog post about using heavy work, with some good examples of the kinds of things to try for various age groups. This is another of those universal design things--it's great for kids with sensory processing issues, but good for everyone else, too!
Friday, March 17, 2017
- Growing Wisconsin Readers, an initiative that provided continuing education, partnership, and public awareness opportunities that have had long-ranging ripple effects.
- The Youth Services Institute, a transformative experience for rural librarians who have participated in the past. (For a great description of it, see this guest post)
- Providing subsidies to libraries to make MORE more affordable
- Education and resources to help libraries get a handle on new media for young children
- Education and resources to help libraries communicate with families about early literacy practices and skills
- Maker Kits (the extensive Maker Kits created by WVLS were LSTA-funded)
- Storytime Kits
- Education and resources to help libraries serve preschoolers, teens, and adults on the autism spectrum
- Education and resources to help libraries serve job-seekers
- The Coding Initiative in Wisconsin
- Outstanding leadership from staff members at DPI, many of whose positions are funded all or in-part by LSTA.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Monday, March 6, 2017
Explicit and Implicit Biases in Early Childhood Education: Becoming Aware of Microagressions with Miryam Daha. Wednesday, April 5, 1-2:30 pm
Using real life examples, examine different types of microagressions and offer suggestions for addressing them, along with practical strategies for more effective and respectful communication. REGISTER.
Trauma-Informed Early Education Classroom Design: Designing Child and Family Friendly Spaces for Recovery from Trauma with Ileen Henderson, Wednesday, April 19, 1-2:30 pm.
Learn about the impact of trauma on children, and its effect on learning and child development. Discover the importance of creating a space within your classroom, organization, office, or lobby that supports children who have been impacted by trauma. Wow! I just posted about my desire to learn more about this! REGISTER.
Becoming an Ally for Children Facing Adversity by Bridging the Relationship Gap with Sara Langworthy. May 24, 1-2:30 pm.
Will address approaches for working one-on-one with children who have endured stressful experiences to build resilience and self-regulation skills. REGISTER.
Using Storytime to Grow Executive Function and Self-Regulation with Mary Kuehner and Laurie Anne Armstrong. June 21, 1-2:30 pm.
In this interactive webinar, participants will learn what Executive Function is, why it's important to learning and life success, and how it can be developed through shared storytime experiences. REGISTER.
Social Skills and Autism: Using Books in Creative Ways to Reach and Teach in Early Education with Mary Jane Weiss and Cheri Meiners. October 4, 1-2:30.
How do we prepare young learners with autism for the diversity of situations they are likely to encounter? Using books and stories can engage children and help them prepare for unexpected social encounters. REGISTER.
Friday, March 3, 2017
|(image from Pixabay)|
Yesterday I watched a patient dad with his toddler redirecting him again and again from gazing fondly and starting to grab the candy on display at the check-out line. I remember telling my own preschool kids about how the grocery store was trying to trick them into begging for sugar cereal by putting the colorful boxes filled with cartoon characters right at their eye level--same with the candy display at the checkout counter. The kids actually responded very well to this tactic, and felt like they were pulling one over on the grocery store by resisting the trickery.
I found some good resources for thinking about media literacy for kids. Maybe worth showing to families, or to kids themselves! A friend of mine taught a class to a bunch of middle-grade homeschoolers last month called The Liars Club, where the kids learned to manipulate data, twist the truth, and create their own fake news as a way to appraise media more critically. I love the idea, and I bet it could work at some library settings!
Here are a few resources I found that might be of interest:
Common Sense Media--Media Literacy 101
Canada's Centre for Digital and Media Literacy--MediaSmarts
Thursday, February 23, 2017
|It's hard to find a photo to go with this topic. Snuggling cats just make me feel better.|
Many of us have learned about ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and how the toxic stress encountered in childhood can affect people mentally and physically for the rest of their lives. There are definitely roles for librarians as part of communities to help build resilience. And there are some great evidence-based resources about how to work with people who have experienced trauma. Check out this article about a school that inspired a whole community in Washington to shift the way they work with teens who have experienced trauma. It made me want to learn more! Watch for more information as I learn more and feel compelled to share.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
|From the Loveland Public Library|
So how can we help make sure teens (and others) can find the things in our collection that they are looking for, that might act as a life-raft in a sea of confusion or anxiety? I found some way-finder examples on Tough Topics for Teens. One from the Loveland Public Library, one from the One for the Books blog. Both have generously made theirs available to libraries to download and use. You might need to adapt to fit your collection a bit. Let me know if you need help!
Friday, February 17, 2017
For years, the Cooperative Children's Book Center (a resource that Wisconsin is proud to claim) has been keeping track of the numbers of books published by or about people of color and American Indian/First Nations people. In the past few years, when increasing attention has been paid to the lack of diversity in publishing, the CCBC information is often cited. The data for 2016 has been released. There's been a significant increase in books by and about Asian Pacifics/Asian Pacific Americans and Latinos, but the numbers are still small.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
|image of someone climbing a wall from Pixabay|
Sometimes I end up spending more time on Facebook than I intend to, and often it leaves me feeling yuckier than before I started. BUT. Sometimes I find an article that sort of rocks my world, and today I found one that really gave me pause. Sparrow Jones posted in The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism blog, an article titled Autism and the Burden of Social Reciprocity.
The author wove her own personal experiences of social isolation and connection as someone with autism with information from a meta-study conducted recently that analyzed the differences in the first impressions people have of autistic and non-autistic people, and the role this plays in inclusion. She makes a brilliant point that it is not only people with autism and their difficulty with social skills that are causing the isolation. It is also neurotypical people who do not have the social skills to adapt to include people who present differently.
In her words, "Autistic people can’t take all the blame for underdeveloped social skills because non-autistic people actually are actively avoiding us, limiting our access to opportunities to practice being social in real-world situations. The study authors found that ...our ability to socialize is limited every bit as much by social ostracization from others as it is by our own neurology and the challenges to socialization it can present for us."
I've been thinking a lot about inclusion lately, and what it means to make my own life, my communities, and the libraries I work with more inclusive. This article was a perfect example of what that looks like. How can I work against my first-impressions to be inclusive and welcoming to people, no matter how they present themselves socially? I am reminded something my daughter Alice told me recently that really rocked my world: "People who have a lot of social skills sometimes seem like they are nicer than people who are more socially awkward. But they aren't. They just seem that way because they know how to make people comfortable." I never really thought about how I tend to assume the opposite, but thank goodness for people like Sparrow and Alice, keeping me on my toes.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
|A preschooler develops fine-motor skills and self-expression at the same time in Menomonie!|
Monday, February 13, 2017
|Laughing Evolution. Flickr, Petras Gagilas|
Many librarians in IFLS-Land participated in a whole series of workshops and other projects in 2015 about Media Mentorship--helping families evaluate media and make sense of the whole complicated landscape. We developed some resources related to the topic, available here (updated recently!). At the same time, the state was offering some excellent resources, including the free Digital Storytime e-course.
Now, UW-Madison has put together a course called Media Mentorship and Family Engagement in the Digital Age with instructor Claudia Haines, a respected voice on media mentorship and libraries since the early days of this discussion, and an author of a book on the topic.
If you are new to this discussion, or even if you participated in the 2015 projects but haven't availed yourself of any new learning on this topic, I highly encourage you to take a look at any or all of these resources. They are important!
Friday, February 10, 2017
Check out the blog Everyday Diversity, which highlights books that are easy to incorporate into storytimes with many different kinds of themes, and which prominently feature people of color. Remember, you don't have to have a program specifically about diversity in order to include books that include it! They should just be part of the mix!
Thursday, February 9, 2017
|Cardboard. Cats optional.|
If you are still looking for a low-cost, engaging, imaginative and fun program that riffs off the Build a Better World theme, take a peek at these resources!
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Friday, January 20, 2017
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Monday, January 9, 2017
Wednesday 1/25, 9 am:
Staying Well @ Your Library (Staff Empowerment)
Maurice Coleman, Technical Trainer
Harford County Public Library, MD
Do you feel pressure to be perfect at work? Do you think about your work at midnight or have stressful dreams about a work situation? Do you feel like you are doing three different jobs each day and that the work will never stop? You're not alone.
This webinar will give you tips and stories about how you can help keep co-workers and yourself refreshed and engaged throughout good times and bad times at your library. Practical tips will help your co-workers and you prevent stressful situations and counteract burnout while continuing to be engaged with your customers and co-workers.
Wednesday 1/25, 10:30 am:
Teaching Patrons to be Successful in the Library (Staff Empowerment)
Melissa Munn, Community Conduct Coordinator
King County Library System; Issaquah, WA
Libraries reflect the communities we serve and like those communities we sometimes need to navigate disruptive and unsafe patron behaviors. Join the KCLS Community Conduct Coordinator as she shares how policies, procedures, and guidelines can empower staff and support a safe and welcoming environment for all. Participants will learn techniques for engaging staff in solutions, review facilities considerations, explore community and police partnership opportunities, and take away ideas for training and resources.
Dream Big, Learn Code (Tech Trends)
Holly Storck-Post, Youth Services Librarian, Madison Public Library
Joshua Cowles, Library Tech. Coordinator, Fond du Lac Public Library
Teaching our communities how to code is essential for their future. Learning to code allows individuals to interact and compete in a highly digital society. This webinar will help you learn about the importance of code literacy and the valuable skills it teaches, as well as how to talk about the value of coding to your boss, your stakeholders, and your community! We will also show you many ways to bring coding programs into your libraries and communities with the resources that WisCode Literati offers.
Talking to Teens About Books (Youth Services)
Jessica Moyer, Assistant Professor of Librarian Administration
University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign; Champaign, IL
Ever wonder how to talk to teen readers? Readers' advisory expert Jessica Moyer will guide you through the basics of readers’ advisory for teens and introduce attendees to suggested titles in a variety of genres. This session will give great tips for teen and adult librarians, or anyone that wants to know more about working with teens.
The Idea Studio: More Than Just a Makerspace (Tech Trends)
Jon-Mark Bolthouse, Director
Fond du Lac Public Library; Fond du Lac, WI
In May of 2016, the Fond du Lac Public Library opened The Idea Studio, a multi-function creative community space that combines art, technology, music-making and much more.
Come hear Jon-Mark Bolthouse, full-time library director and part-time McGyver Librarian, talk about the journey to bring the Idea Studio to life. He will highlight the process and the necessary community involvement, and give an overview of all the equipment and programs available. Jon-Mark will also talk about what has worked and what hasn't over the past six months.
Planning & Evaluating Programs & Services for Youth (Youth Services)
Amy Koester, Youth & Family Program Supervisor
Skokie Public Library; Skokie, IL
Do you find yourself scrambling to get events on the calendar every time the program cycle deadline rolls around? Do you wish you could capture the success and impact of your programs beyond occasional patron comments and presenter anecdotes? Programs and other major services for youth are cornerstones of libraries serving the public. Yet our high attendance and packed schedules can leave little time for dedicated planning and evaluation--both of which are integral to offering the most responsive, transformative programs for your community. This webinar will explore strategies and methods for making meaningful planning and thoughtful evaluation a seamless part of current and future programs and services for the youth in your library community.
Laura Koenig, Team Leader for Central Library Children's Services
Boston Public Library; Boston, MA
Library renovations aren’t just about the physical transformation of a space, they can also be an opportunity to renew and refresh programming and services. Learn how the Boston Public Library shaped the final design features of its new Children’s Library to not only provide a whimsical and welcoming environment for children and families, but also to foster greater public engagement through programming, interactive features, and spatial details.