Monday, August 18, 2014

Promoting Alphabet Knowledge

Last week I attended a statewide training for early childhood professionals about a training module developed by Collaborating Partners for Early Childhood, "Supporting Language and Early Literacy:  At Home and in Early Childhood and Community Settings."  Check out the training and associated resources, they look valuable!

I'll probably be sharing information and tidbits from this training on this blog and my own over the next several weeks, so here is the first little tidbit:

If you are using a "letter of the week" as a way to introduce alphabet knowledge in your storytimes, you might want to consider some other methods.  According to presenter Gaye Tylka, there is no evidence that shows that promoting a letter of the day or week is particularly effective for introducing letters.  However, finding ways to use the letters in kids' own names is a fun and effective way to promote letter awareness and knowledge.  Children's names make them feel special and generate a certain amount of excitement inherently.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Poetry Picnic

I found a fun post by YSS member Laura Damon-Moore on the Library as Incubator blog about a Poetry Picnic, held at the Eager Free Library this summer.  Some terrific ideas to try for a program any time of year, including

Block Poetry (made out of old duplo blocks)
Black-out Poetry
Typewriters (hard to go wrong with old typewriters)
A stop on the Type Rider II Poetry Tour

I wish I could go to an event like that!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Zero to Three Fellowship Program

Hey!  Let's get librarians at this table!

The Zero to Three Fellowship Program is designed to cultivate a "network of leaders spanning diverse professions who have the knowledge and will to support all infants and toddlers to reach their full potential."  

The Fellowship is a 1.5 year program that includes several chances to gather with a small group of other professionals from around the country who work with infants and toddlers for a series of retreats to connect with each other, develop leadership skills, and deepen knowledge and understanding of multidisciplinary collaboration and collective impact.

Wow!  I'd love to see a Wisconsin librarian participate in this, and come back and spread the love!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

All from a Dream

Thanks to YSS Member Esther Burns from the Marion Public Library for this guest post.  Here you'll see an example of a library doing something great that is not especially intended for teens, but that teens have really appreciated.

Last winter, a friend came up to me and said, “I had the funniest dream about you last night!  I dreamed I was at the library, and you had a coffee shop, and I was ordering a cup of coffee while I checked out my book!”  I told my director about my friend’s dream, and she thought that coffee shop wasn’t a bad idea!
Out of something as simple as a friend’s dream, a really fun area of our library was born.  AND—THE BEST PART—IT WAS INEXPENSIVE!  Here’s how we did it:

We looked around the library for furniture we had-and could already use for a Coffee Corner. We had a perfect love-seat and arm chair set that we moved out of our magazine area. (To replace that set, we moved a table and some chairs, added a power strip, and voila! A perfect place for patrons to use their computers.)

We purchased a Keurig machine, a K-Cup holder, and some K-Cups.

At an after-Christmas sale, we purchased 8 large coffee mugs. We also purchased powdered flavored creamers and packets of sugar.
 Posted at the Coffee Corner are signs giving directions how to use the Keurig, and also a sign that says “$1.00 Suggested Donation.” (Using the term “Suggested Donation” makes it so you don’t have to charge taxes, which is tricky.)

We also purchased some pictures for the area, to make it look more like a “coffee shop.”

Our Coffee Corner has been so popular- our patrons love it, and it’s a favorite spot for our two Book Clubs to meet every month. Our Young Adults, especially, like gathering with a book or their laptop and a big cup of cappuccino. It’s always nice to cuddle up in a soft chair for a warm cup of coffee!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Post SLP Thoughts

Many of us are getting to the end our our busy summer library program season. We hear the crickets at night and know that our own vacations and school are coming up.   It's a time when we think over the SLP - what worked, what didn't, what we might change or add in the next go-round a full year away.

YSS member Sue Abrahamson shared some of the changes they made this year.

As for life in Waupaca, we really slaughtered some sacred cows:

  • Little or no extra decorating for SLP
  • If we expect kids to read all summer, why did we only have SLP for 8 weeks?  We've extended their time to participate.
  • Nothing but books for prizes!  That's right.... no grand prize drawings, no trinkets!  When we solicited our community partners we specifically said it was all about providing books and we received $2375 to buy books for all ages.
  • Love this Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) theme! - We did an experiment a day, drop in style, you do it when you can get here!
  • 24 youth volunteers helped us with experiments
  • We started a MakerSpace event on the front lawn of the library once a month!  Fun!
  • Still had 647 kids and 102 teens participating!
And Portage Library had the Friends of the Library support donations to charity rather than using the money for prizes!

I have started a Pinterest Board of some of the great ways people are changing how they approach SLP.

What did you do to experiment and shake up the SLP status quo?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

WLA Conference

Thinking about whether you should go to the WLA conference in the Dells in November? Well of course you should!


A preconference focusing on teens (I know!!) on Tuesday.

Great programs on youth services, program ideas, tips to do our work better, Wednesday - Friday.

The return of Guerrilla Storytime - a storytime swap with sass (Thursday, 10-10:4 on the Engage Stage).

The release of the YSS member-developed Early Literacy Calendar for 2015.

Stay tuned to this space for more programs reveals as conference time creeps closer! 
You really don't want to miss the good stuff coming! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Lend Us Your Skills!

Hey folks, here's a great way to get involved in YSS!  The Youth Services Section (YSS) of the Wisconsin Library Association is looking for YSS members who are interested in volunteering to present hour-long webinars about youth services topics, especially those related to the Wisconsin Public Library Youth Services Guidelines.  Webinars will be co-sponsored by YSS and one or more of Wisconsin’s library systems.  Volunteers will be part of a youth services bureau of presenters, from which systems may select topics and arrange webinars based on their schedules.  

The YSS Board encourages all members who are interested to consider submitting a proposal.  Everyone has something interesting to contribute, and YSS board members are available to mentor you as you hone your presentation skills!

Interested parties should submit a proposal using this form by 9/5/14.  Proposals should include:
o   Topic/title and a general outline of presentation
o   A list of previous experience with presentations (live or virtual)
o   Application/proposal here:

Team proposals are welcome and encouraged. YSS board members will select a bureau of volunteer presenters to promote to library systems by October 1. All applicants, regardless of acceptance to bureau, will be notified by October 1.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Young Children, New Media and Libraries Survey

In order to examine how libraries incorporate different kinds of new media devices into their branches and programming; we ask for your participation in the Young Children, New Media and Libraries Survey prior to Monday, August 18, 2014.

Participation in this survey will help us better understand the scope, challenges, and next steps for libraries regarding new media use. We would like one librarian from your branch who is able to answer questions regarding your library’s use of new media to complete this survey.
The survey includes 9 questions and we anticipate it will take no longer than 10-15 minutes to complete. Additional information regarding this survey can be found online:
This survey was created in partnership with, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of ALA, and the University of Washington. If you have any questions about this survey, please contact us at the below emails.
Cen Campbell (
J. Elizabeth Mills (
Joanna Ison (

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Early Literacy Webinar Opportunities

A toddler explores with blocks, scarves and balls at a library program in Bloomer

Thanks to a Library Services and Technology grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the Indianhead Federated Library System is thrilled to sponsor these two webinars about evidence-based library early literacy programs!  Webinars will be recorded (you’ll automatically get a link to the recording if you register), please register for each session separately.

Read, Play, Grow. Friday, September 5, 10-11 am.  Rachel Payne of the Brooklyn Public Library will describe her library's efforts to enhance early literacy by encouraging play with infants and toddlers.  Look for some great ideas to apply to your own programs and services! Read, Play, Grow registration.

Ready, Set Kindergarten.  Friday, September 12, 10-11 am.  Rachel Payne from the Brooklyn Public Library will discuss her library's work to support caregivers in developing early literacy skills with their preschoolers, including resources and information about reading, writing, playing, singing, talking, and also math and science.  Ready, Set Kindergarten registration.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Books & Literature

In this week’s 20 minute BadgerBrunch, learn about book recommendation resources NoveList and NoveList K-8. Click to Join.

NoveList and NoveList K-8 are fiction databases, providing access to information on fiction titles as well as feature content including author read-alikes, book discussion guides, reading lists and more.
These sessions will be recorded and archived. The archive of previous sessions is found at

There is no registration but you can sign up for email reminders.

Kara Ripley
Reference and BadgerLink Training Librarian
Department of Public Instruction