Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Storytime!


I know that some libraries have to toe the line about mentioning Christmas and other religious holidays, but that's not the case at my library's area, so we can go all out in decorating and programming:
Seuss tree!
Leonard is in the spirit!
Spike, our library dinosaur, decided to be a reindeer!
This past Tuesday, I did my Christmas themed storytime with my Baby Bookworms group (which is mostly toddlers) and it was a blast!
Lineup:
Songs:
Song in My Tummy (Laurie Berkner)
Hello Song (Dr Jean)
I Like You (Dr Jean)

Book: HOW DO DINOSAURS SAY MERRY CHRISTMAS? by Jane Yolen, illus. Mark Teague

Song: We are the Dinosaurs (my kids call this The Dinosaur song and we HAVE to sing it every week! It was a nice coincidence that it fell after a dino book this day!)

Song: The Elevator Song (Jbrary)

PETE THE CAT SAVES CHRISTMAS puppet show!!!


video

This one was HUGELY popular last year, so I pulled it out again. I adapted it directly from the book My FT specialist, D, made all the props (she's MAD creative), and we have SO much fun performing it, even though it gets a little crazy backstage!  Here's a props picture:




The kids (most of them didn't see it or didn't remember it from last year) went NUTS over it. So many giggles and laughter, especially when the list and the presents came flying out.

Songs:
Hippopotamus Song (Jbrary) This video shows it as a lap bounce but I get the kids who walk to slap their knees and hug themselves and they like it a ton!
Jump Jump (Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights) Special thanks to Angie who told me about this one at ALA! The kids LOOOOVE it!
The Goodbye Song (Dr Jean)

What has your library been doing for the holidays?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Doctor Who Party

As I'm sure a lot of you know, the 50th anniversary of the BBC show Doctor Who was just a few weeks ago.  I'm a Whovian and so are lots of my teens, so I decided that we needed to have a party.  We regularly have our hugely popular Dungeons and Dragons program from 3:00 to 5:00 on Saturdays, so that was when I decided to have the party.  It was complete with refreshments, activities, and crafts.  I got a lot of my ideas for this party from Teen Librarian Toolbox, so check out their Doctor Who posts if you need ideas. I also have a Pinterest board devoted to Doctor Who.

We also had a life size TARDIS made from an old refrigerator box.  We're unable to use housepaint due to a staff member's allergy to it, but we happened to have a massive bolt of blue felt lying around.  One of my co-workers stapled the felt on and it made signs and windows.  We had to wire the windows on.  The great news is that we were able to use the TARDIS a couple of weeks later in our town's lighted Christmas parade, which was an adventure that really requires it's own post.

Refreshments
We had some pretty basic options: soda for beverages, popcorn, cheetos, but I also made a few themed snacks.  I ordered cupcakes from our grocery store in advance with blue frosting.  I also made Adipose with marshmallows, which the teens loved. If you decide to make these, don't use toothpicks to attach the limbs.  Instead, use white frosting so you can eliminate a choking hazard. 
(Image found here)
 And what are you going to do with the rest of your white frosting?  Obviously, you are going to make sonic screwdrivers with pretzel rods and blue and white sprinkles, or whatever sprinkles you want. After all, it is your sonic screwdriver.
(Image found here)

Activities and Crafts
In order to show t.v. shows at your library, you need to have a particular license, and it's different from a movie license. Be sure to keep this in mind as you plan!  I brought Doctor Who Monopoly from home and had crafts laid out such as a foldable TARDIS and Dalek.  I also put out construction paper, pom poms, and recycled, rinsed out Vitamin water bottles in case anyone wanted to make a Dalek that way.
(Image found here)

 I really enjoyed putting on this program. The teens had a lot of fun discussing Doctor Who the entire time--what episodes were their favorite, if any counted as horror, etc.  A lot of them also got dressed up which made it all the more fun. While this program was a little time consuming to plan, the enthusiasm of the attendees made it worthwhile.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Great Jellicoe Road Reread

Ally's ridiculous amount of notes

Ally: I decided I wanted to reread Jellicoe Road. I've been building up to it for awhile, feeling that Jellicoe itch.  I know that this was at least my third read, maybe even my fourth.  I love this book, y'all.  It's...my favorite YA. Ever.  And now, I knew what was happening, and I understood the plot ver well and I just wanted to revel in Marchetta's artistry.  Liz agreed to come along for the ride this time!

Liz:  I read Jellicoe Road at the beginning of last year.  As soon as I finished it, I knew I liked it a lot.  However, I also Googled a plot summary.  I thought I knew what had happened, but still felt a little confused.  I wanted to read this book again with a better understanding of the story so I could let all of the emotions hit me.


So we decided to reread it together.  We read about three chapters a week for several weeks, and then Ally got impatient and Liz indulged her and we decided to finish the back half all in one evening last week, livetexting each other.  SO FUN. This won't be the last time we read things together.  Let's move on and discuss quotes from the book each of us loved


Ally:
"I stare at her and as usual I hate her for not working out what I need from her."

"I feel hunted, with no place to hide. No solace, no belonging.  Just an empty need to keep moving away from whatever or whoever it is that's after me."

"'What do you want from me?' What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More."

"You are very scary sometimes."


Liz :
“If you weren't driving, I'd kiss you senseless," I tell him.
He swerves to the side of the road and stops the car abruptly.
"Not driving any more.”

"Do you know what?" I ask both of them.  "If you don't build a bridge and get over it, I'll never forgive either of you."


Random texts from the livetexting event:
Ally:"I'm gonna take a lap around the house. So much emooooooootion."

Liz: "I feel like I'm watching Taylor learn to be human."

"I love Melina so so so so much, Liz." "I know. *pats*"

Liz: "Finnikin in January?" Ally: "YES"


Final Thoughts:

Liz: I loved the opportunity to enjoy this book without stressing about trying to figure out the plot.  What really struck me during this read is how desperately these characters needed the territory wars.  A lot of them have unconventional families or have experienced a lot of loss. Even if they don't admit it (like Taylor does), they want to be a part something.  For Taylor especially, the territory war forms bonds that helps gives her that as and after she searches for closure with her mother.  She thinks she has to pretend to be strong, but in reality she spends the book learning how to let people in, and I love that about her.  Taylor aside, the story and writing are still stunning.  Marchetta is a master when it comes to creating tension and knows how to wring me out emotionally.  Despite all that, I still feel ready to read this masterpiece all over again.

Ally: I feel like any opportunity to read Marchetta is lovely.  This time, I was really able to focus on the emotional impact.  This is a 400-page book, and she really runs Taylor through the wringer in a lot of ways.  But--and this one of my favorite things about Marchetta--it's never, never unrealistic.  Taylor was dealing with adult situations and responsibilities and some very adult emotions.  She is tired, she is haunted, she is angry, she is resigned, she is filled with longing, she despairs over her situation, she is frustrated, she is guarded.  She runs the emotional gamut!  These are things that your average 17-year-old isn't going to deal with--but it never rings untrue.  Taylor's story and Taylor's voice are entirely true.  Often painfully so.  She feels that she has been let down by everyone in her life, and learning to deal with that and move past it is stunning to watch.  The way the plot weaves together is obviously brilliant.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: if Melina Marchetta wrote ingredients lists on cereal boxes, I'd have them shipped over form Australia.  The woman's a genius.  I sobbed through the last 15 pages, just like I always do. Brilliant.

Source: YALSA

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Robot Program

After feeling inspired by Pinterest, I decided to hold a robot program at my library.  We actually have two Robotics Teams in our towns, but they are only open to middle school students.  While we couldn't make operational robots, I wanted a chance for kids to think about what a robot would look like and do if they got to design it completely by themselves.

Since kids love to talk about themselves and are sometimes meeting each other for the first time, I always have everyone go around the circle, say their name and grade, and share something fun.  On this particular day we happened to share our favorite Thanksgiving food, because it was my last program before Thanksgiving.  I work in a town of 11,000 and get a lot of repeat kids at my programs, so I like to form small, personal connections this way.

I started our robot conversation by asking the kids what they know about robots, and they had lots of great answers.  A few even told me about times when they had made operational robots.  I talked a little about what it is that robots do and why they exist.  I don't have a lot of non-fiction about robots that also make great read alouds, so I shared a few picture books with the kids. I read Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman and Robot Zombie Frankenstein by Annette Simon.  Both were huge hits with the kids.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12448586-boy-and-bot?from_search=true
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12654902-robot-zombie-frankenstein?from_search=true


And then it was time.  Time to make our robots.

I spent several months before this program collecting supplies--tubes from toilet paper and paper towels, yogurt cups, juice bttles, boxes from granola bars, boxes I'd gotten book orders or other stuff in (one little boy got to make a robot with a Sephora box--I doubt he knows what Sephora is), etc.  I collected materials by asking my staff to bring recyclables and other materials in. I didn't have a great place to put all of this, so it took over a corner of my office for a while.  It took me some time to lay it out and organize everything before the programs.

I also put out supplies we'd had left over from other programs.  Duct tape left over from Duct Tape Crafts, yarn left over from when we made yarn dolls.  I also had paint, glitter, glue, construction paper, pipe cleaners, etc.

When the kids started crafting, I told them to think about what their robot would do.  They spent the remainder of the hour building and decorating.  We wound up with Artsy, an Art Robot who will help you finish your art projects, Sparkle Bot, and Sparkle Party Bot, just to name a few.

This was a fantastic program that let kids be thoughtful and creative.  I don't think it had quite enough science elements to be a full-fledged STEAM program, but it definitely has some STEAM elements.  When parents come in to find their children and say "You can add one more thing to your robot and then it's time to go," you know it's a hit.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Quirky Craft Supplies

There are certain craft supplies most children's librarians have on hand: markers, construction paper, gluesticks, popsicle sticks, etc.  Lately I've had more obscure items come into my possession, and I'm pretty excited to use them in programs.
Okay, I know what you're thinking.  Beads are not quirky.  However, what I am showing you in the picture is merely the tip of the iceberg. I have a massive amount of beads.  One of my co-workers who is also an artist recently went through and sorted all of them, which took her about a week.  I'm hoping to use then in a program this spring.  I think my kids would enjoy making beaded animals--in fifth grade a made a lot of lizards just like the one pictured here.

Image found here

Drink umbrellas!  A co-worker had some of these leftover and gave me a handful. I can't decide if I want to craft with them or use them in a display at some point. What to do, what to do.

Imagine found here

And now, for our grand finale, my most bizarre but also my most awesome item: bowler hats that can fit into the palm of your hand!  As you can see from the above picture, these come with the gin that my father buys, and he decided to save them.  As soon as I saw them, I immediately knew I wanted to grab them and do something with them at the library.  I think I might use these in a snowman craft--some styrofoam balls, yarn, and these hats would make adorable snowmen.  Since I'm sure my father will keep accruing hats, I need to think of some other things I can use them for.  Also, I'm not really sure what to tell the kids if they ask where I got the hats.  I may just say they're from a craft store.  Other suggestions welcome.

So there you have it.  My weirdest craft supplies. Do you have anything particularly bizarre or awesome that you're hoping to use?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Attending Author Events

So, I am just extraordinary lucky to have an amazing bookstore in my town, Lemuria Books. They're Mississippi's oldest independent bookstore, and I've been going there since I was a child. Not only are they supportive of libraries (10% personal discount! 20% institutional discount! bringing authors to schools!), but they have relationships with so many awesome authors and publishing people that the events that they have are outstanding.  Here's a few recent ones:


David Wiesner!  Talking about his latest, Mr. Wuffles. He talked about his art process, and some of his other favorites.  He's so incredibly talented!


 I had a special surprise at this one: this is my childhood school libraian. She lives in the area and we run into each other at various events and library things. It's so special for me to be able to work with her now! Also you should ignore the fact that I look like a complete lunatic in this picture.

  This is Ashley Elston!  Her debut, The Rules for Disappearing, was out from Disney-Hyperion earlier this year.  She's from Louisiana, and OH MY GOSH, she's so sweet.  She's genuine, and she talks like me! The book is great and I can't wait to have her back next year (she's already agreed!) to talk to some of my students.


 Lauren Kate came through Mississippi and read an excerpt from her new book, Teardrop. Not pictured are the 10 or 12 teens that are spending their Saturday afternoon hanging on her every word.  Also pictured here is Emily, who runs the children/YA room at Lemuria.  She's kind of magic.

Other authors I've been lucky enough to meet through Lemuria include Shannon Hale, my beloved Myra McEntire*, Sarah Frances Hardy, Katie D. Anderson, Obert Skye, Robin Preiss Glasser, Marissa Meyer, Anna Dewdney, and more!

Are you lucky enough to have an independent bookstore in your area, please support them! And be sure to check for author events to the places that you're traveling over the holidays. You may get lucky enough to meet someone willing to stop by your library!

(*If you're really, really lucky, you may meet a kindred spirit. Who makes you banana bread. And becomes a friend.)

In conclusion: go to where the book people are, y'all.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Recent Things Ally Has Been Enthusiastic About (3)

Hey y'all!

I haven't been enthusiastic about anything in awhile, so here's some of the things that have excited me lately:

REREADING!

I've been on a rereading kick. Here's what I've reread lately:



When our sweet friend Sophie linked to this article about Terry Pratchett's daughter adapting the Wee Free Men for the big screen, I rushed to reread all of the Tiffany Aching books. Even if you haven't read any other Discworld books, you need to check these out.  They're wonderful.


Also right now Liz and I are both rereading my beloved Jellicoe Road. There aren't words to talk about how much I love this book. Rereading with Liz has been fun, and we may continue with other books.  Seriously, I could do a whole post about rereading. Maybe I will...


Do y'all read Stacked? Because if you don't, you're being dumb.  Kelly and Kimberly are hilarious, and right now they're running a contemporary YA week series (that will be extended through next week!). The booklists are extraordinarily helpful, all the guest posts have been wonderful and insightful, and this one about Australian YA was delightful. I have blogged elsewhere about my absolute obsession with ozya, and I think it's just about time for me to make another Fishpond order!


STORYTIME UNDERGROUND. People, this is the best resource ever. I'm adding additional storytimes and I went on ST Underground's facebook group to ask for advice and OH MY GOODNESS. These storytimers know everything, and are delighted to share it. My new storytimes are going to be awesome because of the wealth of knowledge at my disposal here. Thanks to Cory, Amy, and Kendra for helping organize it!

What are you enthusiastic about this week?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Liz Goes to ILA

Fall is apparently the season for state library association conferences!  Lots of people I know have been going to theirs lately.  A few weeks ago, my boss and I headed to ILA, which was held at the Mariott in Coralville, Iowa.  For those of you who don't know, Coralville is right outside Iowa City.  Today's post will not only serve as a summary of the event, but prove that I am bad about remembering to take photos at conferences.  We both decided to skip the pre-conference activities on Wednesday.  The conference was already going to be taking me out of the office for two days, and I missed one of my regular programs because of it.

While not available at the conference, nor something I wore at the conference, this t-shirt was a gift from my Uncle Mark last Christmas.  I thought we needed to work the state of Iowa in here somehow.

Of course, Thursday started with an opening session.  There was talk of fundraisers and upcoming officer elections, plus a brief tribute to the retiring state librarian.  A speaker also gave a talk called Your Congress In Action.  A lot of emphasis was placed on what a big difference talking to Congress can make for your libraries and communities.  The talk ended a note that implied that as our country becomes less educated, we will turn into a developing country. 

My first session of the day was targeted at Youth Services Librarians and was called Marketing Teen and Tween Programs and Services.  Three panelists led this session: a teen librarian in an urban, low income community, a youth librarian from a wealthy suburb of Des Moines, and a youth librarian who works in a small town.  This session was an overview of how to market programs for youth--the panelists talk about what they've done that has and hasn't worked.  What I really enjoyed about this session was the fact that each presenting librarian brought paper samples of their effective samples, so we could take them home and look into doing something similar ourselves.  My director and I collaborate on teen programming, so I grabbed a few things to show him.

I did not attend the official ILA lunch.  Instead, I wandered outside with the intention of driving somewhere.  While in the lobby, I was talking to a university reference librarian about parking options, because I hated the fact that the hotel was making us pay to park in their garage.  I wound up going to lunch with this librarian and several of her friends.

My after lunch session was geared towards storytellers and was called "Coming to Our Senses: Imagination, Reciprocity, and Shifting Bullyism."  This session was an important reminder about how storytime lets us feel empathy, which has its place when you work with the public.  We did exercises where we were split into pairs, told stories about places we loved to to our partner, and they'd tell our story back to us.  I actually feel that this session could have taken up two blocks of time and served its purpose better.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13260519-let-s-sing-a-lullaby-with-the-brave-cowboy?from_search=true
This book is one of the nominees for the award.  I love Jan Thomas!

I followed this up by attending a session about the New Bridge to Reading Picture Book Award.  This is a new award in Iowa that's designed to showcase books that make great read alouds.  A committee of librarians, teachers, and other early literacy leaders help nominate books, then kids as young as preschool and as old as fifth grade (I think) can vote on the award.  After talking about the award and answering questions, the presenters talked about some of the books that had been nominated.  This gave me some great ideas about books to purchase for my collection.  A book can still be storytime worthy, even if it doesn't win any awards or get lots of starred reviews.

I stopped by the Youth Services Subdivision Meeting which was very short.  There weren't a lot of big items on the agenda.  After the meeting two librarian friends and I decided to roam the exhibit hall and check out the alleged social that was happening.  We deemed the beverages available too expensive, but we did hang around the exhibit hall around six because a giant stuffed panda was being raffled off.  Sadly, the winner of the panda did not run up to receive it shrieking with enthusiasm, which I totally would have done.  My friends and I decided to have a drink while waiting for one friend's husband, at which point we all decided to stay at the hotel and eat, which was pretty good.

We began Friday afternoon with another opening session and a speech Healthiest State Initiative, which focused on how people are better off in life if they eat healthier and exercise more.  A lot of the information presented felt like stuff I kind of already knew.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/139404.Storytime_Yoga?from_search=true

The next session I went to was one of my favorites of the whole conference, namely Yoga for Storytime.  This session was led by a yoga instructor who showed us how we could use yoga poses to tell stories such as "Goldilocks and the Three Bears, "or how it could be incorporated into a picture book such as Duck On A Bike.  A lot of yoga poses are named after animals, which makes it easy to incorporate them into storytime.  The instructor recommended the book Storytime Yoga, which I've purcahsed for my collection.

Friday was only a half day, some my final program was Older Teens and Young Adult Programming.  This session focused on programming for people who are in their twenties and thirties.  The presenters were from a town of 26,000 and all of their ideas were awesome.  I'm not sure if their tips would work in my much smaller library, but ti's great to have their ideas for future reference.  Also, after their presentation, Samantha Helmick was kind enough to talk to me about her experience developing a video game collection at her library.  It's something my boss and I have discussed, but don't know how to tackle.

After that, that was it.  I ran errands in Iowa City for the rest of the day, which included a trip to the awesome independent bookstore Prairie Lights.  ILA was an awesome opportunity to network with other librarians and learn about things I could possibly do at my library.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Recent Things Liz Has Been Enthusiastic About (2)

Admittedly, I don't have as many books to list as Ally.  This would be because she reads about twice as much as I do per year. But I can be JUST AS ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT WHAT I HAVE READ!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11861815-winger
This is probably my very favorite book of 2013.  I initially picked it up because every person I know who's read it has raved about it, and with good reason.  Ryan Dean West is a brilliantly drawn character and is completely endearing.  Smith's writing is not only spectacular but made me laugh out loud, especially since some of my college friends are rugby players.  I expect to see this one getting some Printz love.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17214300-once-upon-a-northern-night?from_search=true
 One type of picture book that doesn't get much love in the library blogging world is the calm-down book.  Once Upon A Northern Night is the perfect book to curl up with if you're trying to lull a child to sleep.  Also?  This one has stunning illustrations.  I'm wondering if we might see it pop up during Caldecott season.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13623846-the-vengekeep-prophecies?from_search=true
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7638313-stork?from_search=true

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13455485-iron-hearted-violet?from_search=true
Believe it or not, I have a reason for posting about these three books together.  We are having an AUTHOR PANEL at my library!  As you all know, November is National Novel Writing Month.  My boss and I thought long and hard about authors we know of in the Iowa and Twin Cities area, since the Twin Cities are a 4.5 hour drive away from us.  We decided to focus on young adult and middle grade authors, so we have Brian Farrey, Wendy Delsol, and Kelly Barnhill coming.  If you're in the Iowa area and would like to attend, Tweet me and I'll give you further details.


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0238784/?ref_=nv_sr_1
I have decided to start rewatching all of Gilmore Girls!  I started watching this show my senior year of high school, when the first five seasons were out on DVD.  I remember one time my mother yelled at me for watching four episodes in a row (in my defense, it was Thanksgiving break).  It may seem odd that I'm mentioning this show on a library blog, but considering how witty this show is and how many books are mentioned, it's a great show for book lovers.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fall @ Your Library

So, the summer rush has faded, school is well underway (down here, kids have been in school for 3 months already), and the fall pickup in library activity has begun.  How do you respond?

Programming!

Here are a few of the programs we've been doing for the last couple of months:

Afterschool - My full-time employee, D, runs this one beautifully. It's designed for K-5th graders, but our average age is 2nd/3rd graders and we have a lot of fun. D reads a few longform picture books, and we're currently reading chapters from Caroline Carlson's glorious debut, MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT. Our school district's mascot is the Pirate, so a pirate book is a HUGE hit--we even decorated our storytime room to reflect it! (My staff is the best and most creative staff in all the land.)

This is Pete. 


Here are the awesome q-tip skeletons D had them make for their Halloween craft. Also Cheetos!


We had a local author/artist/radio personality/twitter celebrity, Marshall Ramsey, stop by last month.  He's the political cartoonist for the local paper and he has done a wonderful picture book called BANJO'S DREAM.  He gave us a sneak preview and even drew some pictures for the kids!  He's a great supporter of libraries and we always love having him.




Today he stopped by my office to leave me a copy of the finished book. He even drew me a little Banjo to go with it!


The Fall Reading Challenge is something my library has every year.  This is the Sixth Annual challenge, and I'm challenging K-5th graders to read 500 pages in October and November.  The kids that reach their goal get to come to a celebratory dinner at the library in December and get a free meal and a prize donated by our local bookstore. Our library-wide goal is 20,000 pages in two months and we're making serious progress!

Progress chart! We're about six rungs higher now than when this was taken last week. We're going to blow the top off of this thing!

But our biggest, most awesome fall program is our Fall Family Festival.

I rocked that Minnie Mouse costume, y'all.
The Fall Family festival is an annual event.  It attracts a large crowd, and this year didn't disappoint. I had 103 people come to the library for the progam! We always do food, a craft, and games! Everyone has a great time.  I was out of the branch for a huge portion of the month, so a LOT of the planning fell on D.  She did a wonderful job. The food was spooky and fun, the games were great, and everyone had a good time.

We absolutely could not have gotten it done without our teen volunteers! We had two girls who are homeschooled come at about 10 in the morning to help with setup, food prep. I HIGHLY recommend finding a wide variety of teen volunteers that are willing to help you out, but these homeschool kids (there's a large homeschool population in my town) have been a lifesaver for me for programs during the day.  The families I work with are grateful for the opportunity for their kids to get some volunteer experience at the library and I get an extra hand when the rest of my regular volunteers are at school!  I'll leave you with some super-fun pictures of our evening:

Holy cow this cake was good.
One of our regular kids came as a tornado!!

 This is Amelia, one of my beautiful preschool patrons.  She and her sisters brighten my day every time they walk in. The night of the festival was also her birthday, hence the crown.  It's a little blurry, mainly because Amelia is almost always in motion. She is dressed as Belle, who is my favorite Disney princess. Because she reads, obviously. Picture used with special permission from Amelia's sweet mom, Randi.

What has YOUR library been doing this fall?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fall Festival Outreach

Fall has proven to be a busier time than I expected at the library, which is great!  Pretty soon, Ally will be telling you about stuff she's done at her library this season.  Since she's talking about what happens inside the library, I wanted to talk about outreach.

Every October, my community has a fall festival.  The focus of the festival is always leading active, healthy lives.  Nearly every organization in town has a presence at the festival: the local health partnership, martial arts instructors, the YMCA, and many, many more.  There were stations where could could learn about food groups, practice doing exercises such as squats, etc.  I obviously represented the library.

I do not claim to be an expert on nutrition.  The library does not claim to be an institution that can give out accurate and sound advice on nutrition, diet, and exercise.  Sure, from my own knowledge I could probably share some basic information, and I can definitely help patrons find books about different foods, but our focus is literacy.  I also know that kids hear a lot of anti-obesity messages at school and perhaps even when they go to recreational activities. I only saw this article a few days ago, but Angie tweeted a link that explains the damage anti-obesity messages can cause.  Since the festival focused so heavily on nutrition, I wanted to pick focus on the seasonal aspect of the festival and selected a fun fall craft that would promote development and engage children's literacy skills.
I got this image and the idea for this craft here.

We made fall harvest crowns!  Ours looked a little different, though (I apparently forgot to take pictures--a theme you'll notice as I post more frequently).  I ordered roughly 2,000 adhesive glitter leaves from Oriental Trading Co. that the kids could put on their crowns.  Since the leaves were small, I also brought markers so they could draw.  Peeling the backs off the stickers uses fine motor skills, which is developmentally appropriate.  Secondly, using markers to draw uses important muscles the kids need to write and perform other tasks, such as using scissors.  If you ever ask any groups to help you with funding for outreach or other projects, it's important to include why you  select the activities you do and how they help the kids.

As for set up, we photocopied the crowns on construction paper and cut them out.  I taped pieces together before the festival, and we had kids tape them to fit their heads as they wrapped up their crafting.  I had a teen volunteer helping me, so this worked out fine.  I considered putting out scissors and letting the kids cut out the crowns themselves.  However, I knew I would have every age stopping by my booth and that we'd be very busy, so if someone didn't know how to use the scissors, I wouldn't have time to explain how to use them safely.  Ultimately, kids and parents really enjoyed this craft.  

This event was a great opportunity for me to see families I hadn't seen in a while, meet new families, and share information about our programs. I was able to put out extras of all of our flyers, which I hope will encourage families who haven't been to the library for a while to stop by more often.  I had tons of fun crafting and chatting with everyone I saw, and I'm eager to see what future festivals bring.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Recent Things Ally Has Been Enthusiastic About (2)

Apparently...Sad books?


Ok, so maybe the're not all technically *sad* but certainly emotional. I read all four of these in the past 4 days and oh my gosh, I'm a hot mess. I've been crying on and off for 48 hours.  They're all excellent, in totally different ways. Um, somebody wanna recommend me something cute and funny real quick?



The Mississippi Library Leadership Institute.  This is one of the places I've been this month. This was our third retreat, and y'all, these people are amazing.  People from all over the state in public, academic, school, special libraries, archives, you name it. It's been such an amazing experience and I feel like it's helping me be a better librarian.  The major reading initiative I mentioned in an earlier post is tied to this program.  I'm so excited about how excited it's making me.  I'm super lucky that my director is also in this program and she's letting me be creative and giving me room to grow.



When you've been out of the branch and you get an email about awesome books that are waiting on you. Yay Southern authors!



I always love the Teens' Top Ten because I love it when teens have their voices heard.  It doesn't hurt that the number one choice was my favorite read of 2012!! :)


I'm finally back to work tomorrow after three back to back conferences. Hope y'all have a good week!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

MLA 2013


I've been at the Mississippi Library Association annual conference this past week. The Mississippi library community is relatively small, and this yearly get-together is always great fun! I'm on several committees so it was a busy week, but a fun one.  But I'm still pretty fried, so here's a bunch of pictures about my awesome week:

This is Lindsey, my amazing co-chair of the Young People's Services Round Table. She has set up an unbelievably awesome Autism Resource Center at her library and she presented on it at the conference. I'm so stinking proud of her.

This is Selena. She is my library big sis, and she is involved in the Mississippi Children's Choice Award (also known as the Magnolia) like I am. She's on the K-2 committee so here she is talking about I WANT MY HAT BACK at our presentation.

Me and Lindsey right before the YPSRT lecture that we arranged. We're totally grown, y'all.  ADULTHOOD.

This is the program we arranged! By ourselves! (This was our first year being in charge of YPSRT so I'm proud of us to a degree that's nearly unseemly.)

Katie D. Anderson was our speaker. Her YA novel, KISS AND MAKE UP, came out last year.  It's set in Mississippi, and it is SUPER fun!

Katie's speech was fantastic! Her story was great and we were so thrilled to have her!
Middle Grade author F.T. Bradley did a presentation about the importance of reaching reluctant readers.  She's SO passionate about getting books into the hands of kids, and Mississippi is lucky to have her here!
Augusta Scattergood won the MLA Award for her MG novel, GLORY BE. She used to be a librarian and her stories were fun. Her novel is also a nominee for 2014 Magnolia Award!
Gratuitous friend photo This my friend Callie, who is a fantastic librarian and also works at the library school that's my alma mater. LOVED getting to spend some time with her!! As always, ignore the escape curls.

I'm so thrilled to be a part of this state that takes professional development and librarianship so seriously.  This was a fantastic conference, and I'm looking forward to 2014!