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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Power Up Conference Testimonials!

a lightbulb with arms and legs, plugging itself in to a power source
Image source:  Pixabay
Power Up:  A Leadership Conference for Youth Services Managers and Staff will be held in Madison March 28-29, 2019.  This is a great conference, and several of your IFLS-land colleagues participated last time it was offered.  A few of them loved it so much, they agreed to write short testimonials about it.  Once you read them, you'll probably want to register, or at least apply for a scholarship to attend.  Here's where to get more information on the upcoming conference.

Here are some words from your colleagues:

I attended the first Power Up conference nearly two years ago and I thought it was tremendously worthwhile.  I feel that way because it was specifically for Youth Services staff and there just are not many opportunities to get that focused during most conferences I’ve attended.  The topics were relevant to what is happening on a daily basis in my world and it is always helpful to hear others who are experiencing the same good and bad that you are.  There were staff who were new to YS or new to libraries but there were also seasoned YS librarians so the mix was fantastic – a lot of great topics but also a lot of wonderful conversations between sessions getting to know people from all over the country.   I especially appreciated the really positive energy from both presenters and attendees.  Some of that positive energy COULD have come from the stellar treats they had out on breaks and the GOOD coffee.  So in summary, let me say this:  Relevant topics, good coffee, fun treats, positive energy, YS staff and Madison.  Who could ask for more? --Shelly Collins Fuerbringer, LEPMPL 

I highly recommend attending the Power Up conference!  It was awesome to be at a conference that was totally focused on youth issues and the empowerment of youth services staff. The conference was very balanced between programming ideas you could take back to your own library and thoughtful conversations and reflection on where you want to go with your own career. I haven't found that at any other conference I've been to, I usually feel overwhelmed or frustrated that there isn't anything happening in a time slot that I actually want to go to - not at Power Up.  I was often torn between multiple sessions, so I also recommend finding a buddy and reporting back to each other on different sessions. It's also rewarding to be able to speak with librarians from across the country, not just Wisconsin about all the library things.  The price tag is a little overwhelming, but I'd say that the experience is definitely worth it, and APPLY for a scholarship!  I was a lucky recipient of one last year, and I encourage everyone to apply, it can't be more than 300 words! --Claire Parrish, Rice Lake Public Library 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Giant Games in Eau Claire

Many thanks to Alisha Green from LEPMPL for sharing this guest post!
a collage of photos, giant tick tack toe, cards, guess who?, jenga
A collage of super-big games created by LEPMPL staff!

The good folks in Eau Claire got to celebrate International Games Week with Giant Games!  We’ve supersized everything including a giant game of cards, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Connect 4, Tic-Tac-Toe, Memory, Jenga, Chinese Checkers, Yahtzee, Banagrams, and Guess Who? featuring some silly characters our customers might recognize, or hopefully get to know better (not book characters, but silly LEPMPL Youth Services characters). 

Julia Reid and I partnered in planning this program and other than the giant game of Jenga and playing cards (which we borrowed from co-workers) everything was made with cheap materials including boxes, construction paper, tagboard, plastic cups in place of marbles for Chinese Checkers, and plastic plates for the Connect 4 pieces.  We printed off a few more parts and pieces…and voila!  Giant Games Week is ready for play!  (photo collage attached).

Monday, December 10, 2018

Developing Resilience

pine tree growing out of a rock cliff face
Image from Pixabay
Many of you have heard of (or even attended workshops about) Adverse Childhood Experiences and the effects of toxic stress on the long-term physical and mental health of people who experience it as children.  If you don't know what this is, check out this TED talk by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris for an excellent 15-minute introduction.

Last week, at an ACEs training at the library in Eau Claire, we spent a whole hour learning about resilience, and how resilience factors can act as protection against some of the more devastating effects of ACEs.  There are quite a few, and I am POSITIVE that in every single library in our system there are things happening that will help build resilience in all kids.  Maybe learning more about the factors will give you the inspiration to think even more, and from another perspective, about your services.  Here they are:

Caring Relationships:  Youth have a relationship with someone who conveys compassion, respect, empathy, interest, encouragement, and connecting with others.
That time you spend connecting with kids is NOT wasted!

Meaningful Participation:  Allowing young people to have a voice and speak up for what they need.  Don't do for do with them.
This can come into play in everything from art projects where kids get to make the choices and do it the way they want to, to having teens really take charge of events or displays.

High Expectations:  Messages of high expectations convey a belief in the youth's abilities, especially with support.  Look for strengths.  Provide clear limits and consequences.
Limits and consequences are not bad (especially if kids/teens have a chance to help develop them!).

Mastery Experiences:  Tap into the strengths of youth and care about what they are good at.
If you learn a kid likes a type of book, or has a great collection, or has a skill--express an interest in that and maybe even let them create (or help create) a program or display about it.  Remember to look for opportunities to do this with kids who might not immediately strike you as being "good" at stuff.

"Real Talk":  Take your conversation to a deeper level.  Talk about what interests them.
Listening and expressing interest is really worthwhile!  Asking questions about what they are excited about, and letting them tell you all about it is really good for them!

Creative Expression: Provide opportunities to make art, music, theater, building things, science  and technology exploration
Maker projects, puppet shows, art projects (especially process art), chances to explore science and technology without needing to worry about outcomes and grades all help build a growth mindset!

Service to Others:  Provide opportunities to help others.  Kids love to give back.
Like the programs you offer to allow kids to provide something for others (making toys for the Humane Society, blankets for shelters, cards for people who can't leave home without assistance)

Culture Identity:  Provide opportunities to learn about their own culture.  Allow students to be seen, heard, and empowered.
Think about your collection!  And your displays!  And your programs and what you feature!  Libraries can be a natural for this!