Thursday, December 18, 2014

Reindeer Visit the Library

Donner at Verona Public Library
From Stacy Burkart at Verona Public Library:

On a foggy Saturday in December, three real reindeer and their "elf" handlers visited the Verona Library (from Reindeer Games, Hartford, WI) to the delight of 1200+ people of all ages. Many people chose to wait in line to sit in a real sleigh and have their photo taken next to a reindeer, while others just cozied right up to the corral for an up-close look at the striking animals and to ask questions from their knowledgeable caretakers. Meanwhile, inside the library a local musician entertained the crowd with holiday songs and the library staff provided free hot chocolate. In our large meeting room and story room, families kept busy making paper snowflakes and other seasonal crafts. The cost of the reindeer rental was paid for by the Friends of the Library, who also used the occasion to showcase their silent auction. It was an afternoon/evening filled with good cheer.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Community New Year's Party

For three years, Oregon Library, Senior Center, Community Ed and Rec, and Pool have hosted a New Year's Party on December 31 from 5-8 pm. Each organization runs its free events and activities at its location. We work together to promote the event, to find volunteers, to solicit sponsors, and to find programs.

Each location usually focuses on one age group. The Library and Senior Center are right next to each other. We plan activities for children PreK to 2. Between the two buildings, we have carnival games, crafts, performers, and usually a special appearance by Oregon's own police dog Vendi. This year the Library booked a local high school band to play hits acceptable for the whole family. Community Ed does more active stuff for school-age children in one of the elementary gyms. The Pool has open swim for grades 5-8.

The event is very popular with an overall attendance of 500. Oregon is close to Madison which has loads of great NYE events. Families love that they don't have to leave town to have a nice night out, especially during the terrible winter months. The event keeps it local and helps build partnerships between four vital community resources.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Lend-a-Friend


Like many of you, I'm looking for programs that don't take too much staff time and help circulation. My assistant found a cool passive program from Lisa at the blog Thrive After Three called Lend a Friend. Families check-out a binder with a laminated picture of a popular book character like Curious George. Children draw a picture, take a picture, or write a story about what they did with the character at home and put it in the binder. When the next family checks-out the binder, they can read the previous adventures and add their own one.

Lisa provides her templates for the binders on the blog! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Three Cheers for YSS!

A ringing endorsement of YSS Early Literacy Calendar from educators. Also, a great way to share it with local childcare centers and classrooms.

Sue Abrahamson of Waupaca Library wrote:
I had a Yippee moment this week.  I sit on the Waupaca School District 4K Advisory Board and at Monday's meeting the 4K teachers all voted to scrap their curriculum activity calendar for the YSS Early Literacy Calendar.  They said we had more realistic, easy and fun ideas for family engagement!  I make a copy of the monthly calendar and add local library information on the other side (no wasted real estate!) and deliver it to all the 4K sites each month.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Librarian Gifts 2014

The season of gift giving is upon us! What do you get your favorite librarian? What have you put on your wishlist for Santa?

Here are a few suggestions:
Now get shopping!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

2015 YSS Early Literacy Calendar



The 2015 Early Literacy Calendar is now available! This project is brought to you by YSS and awesome librarians from all over WI contributed to it. The calendar offers caregivers 365 days of tips on how to raise a reader. A wonderful resource to provide to patrons at your Library and to offer as a handout at outreach visits.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

LEGO, Simplified

I've hosted a LEGO Club at my library for a few years. For a long time I was fussy about set up. The bricks and other basic pieces were separated out by color and stored in gallon ice cream buckets. All the random pieces were stored in a big bin. Every session I would set out tables for kids to work on. Each session would have a theme to challenge the kids. Over time all the LEGO pieces were ending up in the big bin. The kids ignored the tables and worked on the floor. There were fights over mini-figures. Kids ignored the theme.

After talking to a couple of colleagues, I simplified. All the LEGO pieces went into one big bin and the mini-figures into a small container. No more tables. I lay two sheets on the floor and dump the pieces onto them. Kids work on the floor around the sheets. Once we are done, I pick up the sheets and dump the pieces back into the big bin. Also, I pass out two mini-figures to each child when they arrive. They can switch with me or each other. No more fights about that. I don't worry about a theme but do put out books that appeal to the attendees.

The simplest tips sometimes have the biggest impact!


Monday, November 24, 2014

Music and Movement

The Association for Library Service to Children had a guest post about Music and Movement at the Library by Stephanie Prato of the Fayetteville Free Library in New York. It spelled out a few good reasons to keep including music and movement in our storytimes, as well as programming around music even if we aren't specifically music educators.


What types of music and movement programs or unprograms are you doing at your library?

Stephanie's suggested these resources for Music and Movement Education:


  1. Pica, R., & Pica, R. (2010). Experiences in movement & music: Birth to age 8. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
  2. Early Childhood Music and Movement Association
  3. LetsMove.gov
  4. National Association for Music Education

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Zero to Three Releases Screen Sense: Setting the Record Straight

Screen time for young children is a hot button topic. Research shows that what and how a screen is used is as important as when and what age. Zero to Three has just released  "Screen Sense:  Setting the Record Straight—Research-based Guidelines for Screen Use for Children Under 3 Years Old. This new free resource, written in partnership with leading researchers in the field of media and young children, is an authoritative review of what is known about the effect of screen media on young children’s learning and development.  It is designed to serve as a tool for guiding parents and professionals in making informed decisions about screen media use."

There are several additional resources, including a five myths infographic and the full version of the white paper available on the Zero to Three website.


Get Smart!



If you are like me, learning new ways and being inspired by my peers is what I love best in my library practice.

The Spring 2015 (well in WI, spring also includes a healthy dose of winter) schedule of UW-Madison's Continuing Education courses is out and it is filled with youth services folks from WI (and many YSS members!) presenting online courses with content of value to everyone working with kids-  whether you work in Wisconsin or not!

Here, for your edification, in calendar order are some great learning choices! Registration is open now; costs are reasonable and learning potential is unlimited!

Power Children's Programming - on a Budget
January 26-March 5
Strategic thinking and savvy tips combine with crowd-sourced ideas from students to make programming ideas and planning a snap. Everyone wins. Disclosure - taught be me!

Connecting Teens with the Best in New Teen Lit
February 10-March 21
Ruhama Kordatzky-Bahr returns with her powerful and friendly window into the world of recent teen books. Always a worthwhile course - with the bonus of gaining chops in booktalking!

Exploring South Asia through Children's and YA
February 23-March 20
Wisconsin's own Svetha Hetzler and the dynamic Rachel Weiss (THE founder and tireless advocate of the new South Asia Book Award) open up a world of books that feature children from a part of our world that we all need to discover. Global power!

Child Development, Library Space and Behavior: Set Up Your Library for Success
You've read her blog, you've heard her present at workshops and conferences, now get some direct peer-to-peer learning from our colleague Sara Bryce (aka S. Bryce Kozla; aka PLSanders). She breaks down spaces, behaviors and gives brilliant tips on making library use by kids a forever win-win.