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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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Maintaining Equilibrium During Summer

image from Pixabay
I read a really great blog post on Teen Librarian Toolbox about the Summer Library Program this morning--I highly recommend checking it out.  In it, she talks about how important summer programming is, how good it is to capitalize on students with free time, try to help address the summer slide, and provide a safe and stimulating place for kids and teens to spend time.  All true!  The Summer Library Program takes a lot of our time and energy because it is important!

She also talks about the toll the Summer Library Program can take on staff.  Is it fair to set things up so that youth services librarians (in particular) can never, ever take a summer vacation?  Should library staff have to miss, or feel guilty for attending, family reunions and weddings, which inevitably occur during the summer?  Is it sustainable to create a 3-month period when the level of activity and programming leave staff exhausted and program budgets depleted for the rest of the year? 

How can we meet the needs and expectations of the families in our communities for excellent, engaging, amazing summer programs and still pay attention to the needs of staff?  And the need for excellent, engaging, amazing programs year-round?  This is something I've been talking about for a few years, and I know some of you have some strategies to share. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What a Fun Summer Promo Video from Eau Claire!

clapper for filming
If you haven't seen it yet, please take a few minutes to watch this fun video, created by the staff at the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library!  Truly a joyful group effort that involved staff from all over the library, this is my favorite summer library promo video they've ever made (and they've made some fun ones).

How long did it take to put something like that together?  According to Alisha and Jill, the masterminds behind the project, it took about 2 hours to film, and a "few" hours to edit, using Power Director.  Alisha re-wrote the lyrics to YMCA to match the SLP activities, and a storytime dad sang it for them.  All of the staff helped decide what dance moves to do, and Alisha says it was easy to get everyone to come over and help spell out the letters in LIBRARY and READ on the floor--she told them they'd be able to lie down on the job, plus she fed them cookies!

Jill says:  "This video is an important part of our SLP promotions. We visit as many of the 18 elementary schools in Eau Claire as we can in person. However, sometimes a school may not be able to have us visit in person. So we provide a link to the video to the school and rely on this video to get the kids excited about SLP. We also have many schools that tell us that they will show the video even after we visit in person. It allows them to remind the kids about the SLP even closer to the end of school, and most classrooms have the capability to show videos to the whole class and 5 minutes when the teacher would normally show some sort of video anyway.

"We also use the video as part of our social media (mostly Face Book) SLP promo. This particular video has had the biggest response yet with almost 6,000 views on FB.  We also put it on our library’s YouTube channel and link from there to our kids website and Twitter.

"We really rely on our amazing staff to be up for anything and make this work. This is the second year in a row that we have had a brand new staff member start the same morning of the video and get pulled into the craziness and be awesome! We also had an adult reference staff member and a custodian wander by and get pulled into it.

"Mostly if you have fun on camera and let your audience see that, you have won. Our #1 goal is to make the audience think that the Summer Library Program is going to be fun. That’s it."

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Make & Take Table in Rice Lake

Many thanks to Erin Hunter from the Rice Lake Public Library for this guest post!

three teens and a younger child sit at a table decorating paper superhero masks, the youngest child is wearing the mask
Teens, tweens, and young kids all enjoyed making a superhero mask
Recently, the Rice Lake Public Library turned a small table in its Youth Services department into a fun space for kids, tweens, and families. Like many other libraries, the RLPL already offers various things for families to do during their library visits: there are activity spaces (a Duplo table, puzzles/lacing cards, an iPad/AWE stations, a dress-up area/play store, train/car tables, a reading nook made from giant Lego bricks, and Xbox/WiiU stations); and oftentimes, there’s a passive program taking place in the department (anything from an I Spy wall to a scavenger hunt).

While these areas and passive activities are well loved, it’s no secret that kids of all ages love crafts—and what was missing among all these activity stations was a space for simple crafts to be assembled. Enter the Make & Take Table. Projects on this table usually come from the surplus craft supplies following a special event or one of the library’s Crafty Family Storytimes on Saturday mornings. A tray on the table holds all the supply pieces needed including glue, scissors, and markers, and a sign displays an image of the finished product.

So far, kids, tweens, and families have made many different crafts including doily lambs, standing birds with feathers and clothespin legs, paper plate umbrellas, and superhero masks.
In the few months since its creation, this craft station has quickly become a well-loved space in Youth Services at RLPL. So if you find your families are looking for more to do during their library visits—and if you have leftover craft supplies and a space to leave them out for kids to enjoy—consider setting up a Make & Take Table in your own youth services space. Your local families (and cramped supply closet) will thank you!