Monday, May 25, 2015

52 Weeks: Week 12 Eye Bombing

Brought to you by the Wisconsin Library Association Youth Services Section52 Weeks of YA Programming is a collection of teen programs submitted by YSS members across the state.

Week 12: Eye Bombing Submitted by YSS Member Katherine Elchert

Friday, May 22, 2015

YS Development Institute

The Youth Services Development Institute is taking place September 13-16, and it could be an amazing opportunity for you or a colleague! The Institute is designed specifically for staff who work with youth and who have no graduate degree in librarianship and/or work in rural library communities. Attendees will improve their skills and knowledge base, foster a fantastic supportive network (in person and online), and develop stronger peer-to-peer and professional community connections within the Wisconsin public libraries infrastructure. Graduates from 2013's Institute literally described the experience as "life-changing." The application deadline is next Friday, May 29, 2015, and you can find more information and application info here:

Please consider applying, and help spread the word! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WAPL Roundup

A couple weeks ago the WAPL Annual Conference was held in Wisconsin Rapids, and it was full of amazing ideas and inspiration. There were lots of great sessions, and here are some highlights:

Using tech in youth programs intimidates many of us, but incorporating it isn't as difficult as you might think! Adding tech elements to a program that has other activities, rather than focusing only on a piece of technology, is a great way to start. There are also some easy, inexpensive items you can buy, like Makey Makey, that will provide lots of opportunities for programming fun. Take a look at this handout for more suggestions and resources.

Image from Makey Makey website
Early literacy is something we promote heavily in the library, but how do we help parents engage in early lit practices at home? The Oshkosh Public Library created a specific storytime to help parents learn and practice early literacy skills outside the library. Find more information here.

Aside from great sessions, guest author Tom Lichtenheld hosted a picture book roundtable where he shared some of his favorites, then kept everyone laughing during lunch as he talked about his career as an author and illustrator.

Image from Tom's website
There's more information and handouts from other programs on the conference's handouts website, so even if you didn't attend the conference, do a little exploring here.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Partying Star Wars Style

Today's post comes from Susie Menk, Youth Librarian at Manitowoc Public Library, where there was an amazing Star Wars party on May 4th. If you have a super-fun program you'd like to share on the blog, let us know! Email

Manitowoc Public Library Children’s Department recently hosted a May the 4th Be With You Star Wars party.  We had several games including an Asteroid Force Field where we put rings on the floor and then the children had to keep the balloons up without stepping out of the ring.  

Asteroid force field game
 We also had the kids crawl through a “wormhole”.  

Caught in a wormhole
The biggest hit however, was the appearance of people dressed as Star Wars characters.  

Even Stormtroopers know reading is awesome

These are the members of a group called the 501st Legion, Vader’s Fist.  Libraries can put in a request on their website,  501st.  They will contact you and get particulars.  The best part is that it’s free!  The group that came to our library were real troupers, letting their photos be taken, dueling with the children, and interacting throughout the library.  Our favorite was Chewbacca.  He was awesome! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

School Age Programming

Puffball Zingers from Come Together Kids blog

Did you miss last week's webinar, YSS Powerhouse Presents: School Age Programming? If you did, or if you were so blown away by the wonderful information you'd like to watch it again, fear not! You can view the archived webinar and download the handouts here.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015

Art For a Rainy Day

A colleague and I were recently introduced to Rainworks - works of sidewalk art that appear only when it gets wet!

Programming possibilities abound with this biodegradable substance, and I could especially see school-agers and teens loving creating their own sidewalk art, then returning to the library to see it when it rains. Find information about how to create your own rainworks, get ideas, and purchase supplies on the website.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Digital Content Access for Kids

Recently, the federal government announced two new initiatives aimed at improving access to digital content and public libraries for low-income kids and young adults. An official White House fact sheet details the way it will work with publishers and other organizations, including the New York Public Library and American Library Association, to give kids access to ebooks and library cards. As we think about access, especially for low-income kids, it's important to recognize the barriers young people and families face. Jessamyn West has a great article on her take, including some major questions, on this new initiative, and there's another good one on Bookriot. What do you think about these projects?

Monday, May 4, 2015