Friday, August 29, 2014

Star Wars Reads Free Stuff

I bet you are excited about free stuff as the next person, aren't you? And free stuff to help you promote reading?  Even better.  Star Wars Read Day is October 11, and publishers of Star Wars books are happy to help you promote it with an event kit, plus a bunch of other promotions, like free posters, stickers and buttons.  Orders are due September 19, so you even have some time to figure it out!  Check out the promo information here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Burr Worzalla Children's Award Winners and Honors!

Children’s beginning chapter book, The Year of Billy Miller, written by Wisconsin native Kevin Henkes and published by Greenwillow Books, has won the 2014 Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award. He will present at the WLA conference in the Dells on Thursday Nov 6 at 2:45 pm. The Children’s Book Award Committee of the Wisconsin Library Association’s Youth Services Section annually awards the Burr/Worzalla to the most distinguished work in literature for children written and/or illustrated by a Wisconsin book creator. 

In The Year of Billy Miller, Billy is entering second grade and he is a bit anxious about what that year may bring. His dad reassures Billy that this is his year. We follow Billy’s relationships from his teacher, to his father, sister and ending with his mother, and as we watch their interactions we see Billy’s character grow. Kevin Henkes does a fabulous job of portraying the life of a second grader, and all the concerns, thoughts and feelings that come with it. A funny and enjoyable read for beginning chapter book readers, reluctant readers and a great family read-aloud. 

The Children’s Book Award Committee also named Avi, Notable Wisconsin Author/Illustrator for his remarkable contribution to the world of children’s literature. Avi is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Avi will be a luncheon speaker at WLA in the Dells on November 6 at noon (yet another reason to be at the fall WLA conference!)

Six noteworthy titles have also been selected for Outstanding Achievement in Children’s Literature, written and/or illustrated by Wisconsin book creators:
The Sin-Eater’s Confession by Ilsa J. BickI’m With Stupid by Geoff HerbachExclamation Mark illustrated by Tom LichtenheldSophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow MillerOne Came Home by Amy TimberlakePoison by Bridget Zinn

The Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award is made possible by the Worzalla Publishing Company, Stevens Point, through a grant to the WLA Foundation.

The 2014 Children’s Book Award Committee members consist of Jeni Schomber, Chair, Beloit Public Library; Jennifer Bahnaman, McMillan Memorial Library (Wis. Rapids);  Jean Elvekrog, Waunakee Public Library; Karli Pederson, Milwaukee Public Library; Julie Harrison, Verona Public Library; Krissy Wick, Madison Public Library; Rachel Cornelius, Sparta Free Library.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Free Virtual Tours of the Roald Dahl Museum

Exterior of the Roald Dahl Museum and Storytelling Centre
This seems like a great idea to share with our school colleagues--or build a
homeschool program around it!

Believe it or not, this year marks the 50th Anniversary of Roald Dahl's beloved
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. This September, Penguin is celebrating with
a week long Skype Tour of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre!
On the Skype tour:
•       The Roald Dahl Museum's Education Manager will lead your group around
the Museum virtually
•       Kids will get a look inside Roald Dahl's real Writing Hut, featuring
his famous chair and the unusual objects he kept on his desk
•       Experience the world of Dahl and the inspiration behind his wonderful
•       Participate in a Q&A with the Education Manager
Skype opportunities are available the week of Monday, September 29 - Friday,
October 3, 2014 between 9:30am EST and 3:00pm EST/8:30am CST and 2:00pm
CST/7:30am MST and 1:00pm MST/6:30am PST and 12:00pm PST.
If you are interested in scheduling a FREE virtual visit, please email with your preferred date and time. You can also
find more information at

Friday, August 22, 2014

To Feed, or Not to Feed?

I've been following an interesting discussion on an ALSC list-serv about serving snacks in programs.  Nearly everyone writing in is advocating avoiding food at programs for young children.  Somewhere between one in twelve and one in sixteen kids have a serious food allergy, and this number seems to be on the rise, according to the CDC.  This becomes a safety concern, and also an issue about inclusion.  If parents have to prepare for a fight with their left-out children at every storytime where snacks are served or you do a food-related craft, how likely are they to return?

Tricky stuff, since it is fun to include food in programs, and we have heard for years that a great way to make teens feel welcome at library programs is to feed them!  How do you approach this issue?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Including Everyone

Sometimes it is easy to get overwhelmed when thinking of how to adequately accommodate and welcome everyone to use our library programs and services.  There are some terrific allies out there who are eager to help us figure out new territory.  Agencies that work with people with disabilities, family members/parents, and kids themselves are often thrilled to be asked for suggestions for adapting programs and services to make them more accessible and inclusive.  Don't forget to consult with public school special education teachers, CESA contacts, Birth to Three, support groups, and others when you are making plans for programs!

The ALSC Blog had a terrific post about this very topic, with a list of excellent and useful resources for librarians who are working to make their programs and services more inclusive.

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?