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, February 17, 2017

New Data on Multicultural Publishing from the CCBC

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.

You can read their blog post about it and you can find the charts that show numbers from across the years, along with an explanation of what they document, here.

What can we do to improve these numbers as librarians?  Purchase and promote the best of these books in our libraries!  If you are looking for some suggestions for how to incorporate books the reflect the diversity around us into storytime, check out the blog Everyday Diversity from across the river in Minnesota.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tips for Helping Kids Develop Language

Another Facebook goodie, this time from an IFLS librarian with an extensive and impressive early childhood background, Jenna Gilles-Turner.  I found this article about how to support and develop kids' vocabularies and abilities to express themselves in one of her posts, and I'm so glad I read it!  Though it is written for early childhood teachers, it has some terrific tips for the talk part of Talk, Read, Sing, Write, Play!  I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Scaling the Walls of Social Isolation

Image of someone climbing a wall
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

Talk, Sing, Read, Write, Play Never Looked So Good!

A preschooler develops fine-motor skills and self-expression at the same time in Menomonie!
Hennepin County (MN) Library produced a 13-minute, beautiful video for parents to help them understand ways to support early literacy as they talk, sing, read, write, and play with their children, noting specifically the connections to early literacy and later reading. The first eleven minutes of the video relate to early literacy and libraries in general, which makes it useful for all libraries!  Please credit the Hennepin County Library if you use it!  A DVD is also available, and they are working on a resource guide as a companion to the video.  

Monday, February 13, 2017

Media Mentor Course

Laughing Evolution.  Flickr, Petras Gagilas
You've probably read about it from another source, but sometimes I have to see things many times before I follow up, so I'm just making sure!

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!