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, March 2, 2018

Navigating Parent Behavior in Storytime

children playing with a parachute and balls
Parachute play in Bloomer
It is super cool to have parents and caregivers attend storytime with their kids--it gives us a chance to model excellent early literacy practices, draws their attention to lots of amazing books and activities to share with their children, emphasizes the importance of their role as their child's most important teacher, and allows for extra hands to make the parachute work or keep the paint from spilling on the floor.

Sometimes, however, parents and caregivers can bring their own set of behavior challenges to the storytime room.  When I asked for blog content last week, I got some great guest posts, and one really excellent question:  how do you handle it when parent/caregiver behavior is a little out of control?  Many of us have experienced parents chatting with each other loudly while we are trying to engage everyone's attention in the amazing picture book we are sharing.  I've heard even more tales of parents who are present in body only, and are heads down watching their phone all through storytime.  And the question I got was about how to handle it when a parent uses "colorful" language in storytime, or when another parent is so excited that they blurt out all the answers to questions asked to the kids in a dialogic reading situation.

How do you handle these situations?

I think the key is respectful communication.  I am as terrified of conflict or hurting someone's feelings as the next person is, but I do think there is a way to have a conversation about expectations that will result in a better outcome!  Having a quick orientation at the beginning of every storytime to explain that this half-hour is a great time to engage with children (and maybe setting up a time for afterwards that allows caregivers a chance to engage with each other, which is also important) can make a difference.  If you have one caregiver who is going off the rails as far as participation (language, over-eager answering of questions), a brief, to-the-point, respectful, empathetic and private conversation can make a big difference.  Not everyone knows the unwritten rules, and it is okay to take a minute to let them know what they are!  

Any other tips related to caregivers in storytime?

Teen Tech Week Resources

Anne Hamland, the youth services consultant for Wisconsin Valley Library Service, now works in the same office as me.  I can't tell you how exciting it is for me to work in the same building with someone else who is thinking about services to youth!  Especially someone as creative and committed as Anne is.  She put together this terrific blog post for her library system, and gave me permission to re-print here.

Teen Tech Week March 4-10 graphic

Teen Tech Week is coming up. Let’s talk about how to get the word out and create interactive passive programs, and how to get the word out to teens.

YALSA’s Teen Tech Week
The Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA) Teen Tech Week is when libraries make the time to showcase all of the great digital resources and services that are available to help teens succeed in school and prepare for college and 21st century careers.

Celebrate the next Teen Tech Week with the theme, “Libraries are for Creating,” March 4-10,
2018. This year’s theme encourages teens to take advantage of all the great digital tools offered through the library to become content creators, and to leverage library resources to share out their creations, whether they be podcasts, videos, apps, games, wearable tech, or some other fabulous invention or creation!

Get the word out about Teen Tech Week
  • ·         Send information to your school librarians and teachers to pass along to students.
  • ·         Make announcements at all programs leading up to Teen Tech Week.
  • ·         Reach out to your local newspaper, radio stations, and closest Chamber of Commerce.
  • ·         Post it all over your website and social media with the hashtags #TeenTechWeek and #WisconsinLibrary. Ask library users to share your events and post photos.
  • ·         Use word of mouth at the circulation and reference desks.
  • ·         Reach out to regular library users through email lists and conversations.
  • ·         What else could you try?

Passive Activities
Teens would prefer not to talk to adults and librarians, right? Try programs that work with this
communication preference and empower them through discovery!
·         YALSA’s 25 Easy Tips for Teens: Looking for easy ways to get teens to celebrate Teen
Tech Week? Share the following 25 ideas! HOW: Print out the 25 ideas individually and
post them around your library and on your social media!
·         Makerspace kits or crafts: Set out WVLS/IFLS makerspace kits with basic instructions for
a passive program! Teens might not want to talk to a librarian, that’s okay! Set out a kit
and watch them explore!
·         Google Cardboard Virtual Reality Glasses and free app: are an easy way to provide
passive programming for Virtual Reality. Buy a pair or two at $10 or less, set them out
with, tell the teens to download the free Cardboard app and let them play!
·         Pokemon GO! App promotion: Promote your library as a location in the Pokemon GO!
app craze with social media posts, flyers around your library, and communications to
your school librarians. Is your library a PokeStop or Gym? Download the free app to
check it out.
·         What other programs would you like to try?

Thursday, March 1, 2018

See People You Admire Saying Compelling Things!

microphone with a rainbow background
Image courtesy of Pixabay
Wow!  CBS News did a short segment on African American storytelling with various artists of great renown, and 3 of the people they interviewed are authors of award-winning books for youth!  Check it out and see Jason Reynolds, Representative John Lewis, and National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Jacqueline Woodson saying smart and beautiful things.

And if you have time for more awesomeness to celebrate Read Across America day, watch the Facebook Live event with Kwame Alexander, Gene Luen Yang, and Jesse Holland today at noon!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Grab Bag of Ideas from Ellsworth

Thanks so much to the new youth services/programming librarian at Ellsworth, Elise Gregory, for this guest post filled with easy-to-replicate and fun ideas.
I've been making little grab bags with any of my left-over materials from Preschool Storytime. I also include songs, rhymes, coloring pages, and/or extension activities that kids and parents can work on at home. They're easy to make and it also uses up my leftovers: I use a brown lunch bag and staple a little image or description of what the bag contains.
grab bags sign and samples

Jeanne just finished a Teen Maker Meet Up: Maps that our teens loved. She collected all sorts of old road atlases and world maps that kids cut up for necklaces, buttons (we have a button maker), envelopes, and small cardboard boxes. We used modge podge for paper items and a stronger glue for necklaces. I believe she purchased necklace parts on Amazon, although I've also seen maps adhered to the inside of bottle caps too (as a less expensive option).  
maps and map-related art projects

We've had fairly good attendance with our open-ended Make & Take programs as well. Kids have made yarn painting inspired by Huichol yarn paintings:
pictures--bird and circle--made with pieces of yarn

 origami birds inspired by Sadako (using their designed paper rather than origami paper):
paper cranes with Sadako book

and in March kids will be designing friendly monsters with chalk pastels on dark construction paper, using Where the Wild Things Are for inspiration.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Outreach to Amish School in Frederic

snow person
Image from Pixabay

Thanks to Maria Potvin from Frederic for this guest post!

In our area, we have a small, one-room school which serves our Amish community. Every couple weeks I bring a new bin of books. Recently, when I pulled up to the school, I interrupted a snowball fight. One of the little boys went running into the school to tell the teacher I was there, another held the door for me as I carried the bin. 

I swapped out the books, and on my way back to my car, I visited with the boys and I congratulated them on a beautiful day for a snowball fight. (The weather was just perfect for packing snowballs.) 
They agreed and one of the boys called out "Thank you for the books!" I told them it was my pleasure to bring them books, and if there were any that they really enjoyed, they should let me know so I could bring them more.

The same boy responded "I really like The Hardy Boys."

I thought is was such a perfect nostalgic picture of childhood, having a snowball fight with your friends and reading The Hardy Boys!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Imagination Library and Reach Out and Read: A New Community Partnership

Reach out and REad Logo
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Logo
Add caption

Many thanks to Claire Parrish of the Rice Lake Public Library for writing this guest blog post!

Last fall, RLPL was approached by the Rice Lake School District about starting the Imagination Library program here in Rice Lake. The representative from the district had the idea that since the district, RLPL, and Lakeview Medical Center were already working on Reach Out and Read, now would be a great time to get off the ground with Imagination Library.  We thought, why not?!  Combining our efforts for both projects has created a strong community partnership between three staples in our community and has put more books into the hands of young kiddos, so it’s really been a win-win for everyone involved.
If you’re unfamiliar with the two programs, Reach Out and Read is a national nonprofit where medical providers give out books at wellness visits from infancy to when the child starts school. The trained doctors also encourage families to read aloud every day and provide additional early literacy tips to caregivers.  In Rice Lake, we are going a step further by providing any siblings who are older than five free books at those wellness visits and setting up a little free library in the waiting room at the clinic.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that sends books every MONTH to a child from birth to five, no matter the family’s financial background. Family’s simply need to register their child, if the program is available in their area, and books will start arriving in about 8 weeks. The financial side of things is covered by a local agency and parents never have to worry about cost. The books are selected by Imagination Library staff, and are age appropriate and high quality books. Dolly Parton is my hero!