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 31, 2018

The Goldilocks Sweet Spot for Kids' Brains

Arthur Rackham illustration from Goldilocks and the Three Bears, from Pixabay
A recent study from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital showed that reading aloud, combined with pictures, is the sweet spot for developing children's brains.  Three-to-five-year-old kids were exposed to a Robert Munsch story in three formats while going through an FMRI machine (which always makes me wonder how they get 3-5-year-olds to volunteer to be put in a tube to hold perfectly still--yikes!).

Children who saw an animated version of the story had lots of activity in the audio and visual perception networks, but not so much in the way of connections between the various brain networks.  Children's comprehension was the worst in this instance).  This is what the NPR article summarizing the study classified as too hot.

Children who listened to the story being read, with no pictures, had stimulation in the language networks, but not as much connectivity.  There was evidence that they were really straining to understand (classified as too cold).

Children who saw pictures and heard the story read were in the Goldilocks zone--"Most importantly, in the illustrated book condition, researchers saw increased connectivity between — and among — all the networks they were looking at: visual perception, imagery, default mode and language.  'For 3- to 5-year-olds, the imagery and default mode networks mature late, and take practice to integrate with the rest of the brain,' [study author Dr. John] Hutton explains. 'With animation you may be missing an opportunity to develop them.'" (NPR article)

And this doesn't even take into consideration the added benefit to a child of sitting on a caregiver's lap, reading together and having a chance to have some back-and-forth dialogic reading.  So if parents are trying to figure all this out, there is additional scientific evidence to support using picture books and e-content that allows for less animation and more traditional stories/illustrations.

Cool, huh?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Free Is Key TEDx Talk

Many people from IFLS-land will remember Dawn Wacek as the library director (and before that, the youth services manager) at the Rice Lake Public Library.  She left our system, but thankfully didn't leave the state, she is currently the youth services manager at the LaCrosse Public Library.  And this winter, she delivered a powerful and compelling TEDx Talk!

In it, Dawn makes a strong argument for getting rid of fines at libraries, and explains that fines run against the public library's mission of free access to information, promoting reading, leveling the playing field, etc.  I know there is a divergence of opinions and realities about fines in the library world, and I think that a library can provide thoughtful, responsive, inclusive service whether they have fines or not.  Still, I think it is crucial to consider the way fines can have a disproportionate effect on people who have less disposable income, and Dawn does a tremendous job of bringing this to light.  If you are on the fence about fines, or if you are convinced but looking for good ways to explain your position to other people, I recommend taking a look at her talk.  She comes at it from a youth services perspective, which is a great perspective, in my book!  And we know her!  How cool is that?!