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!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Preschool Storytime: The Circus

One part of my job I love is preschool storytime, and it's part of my job that would be a lot harder to do without the Internet.  When I do preschool storytimes, I like to use themes because they spark a lot of great discussion among the kids.  I often use blogs like Storytime Katie to help me plan.  I didn't see a lot of posts on circus storytimes when I was planning this one, so I wanted to share what I did with you guys

The Books

All three of these books were big hits.  I was worried Olivia Saves the Circus might be a tiny bit long, but since all of the kids know and love Olivia, they were happy to read it.  I think it was also okay because Wolf Won't Bite is a pretty short book, and a good one at that.  If you haven't read Emily Gravett's books yet, I recommend them all.

Extension Activities
For this storytime, I had an assistant create this incredibly fun flannel activity.  Vivian the Librarian has this listed as a draw and tell activity on her blog, but my attendees all love flannels.  They were all so pleased with themselves when they figured out it was a clown.
I also decided to use the Fruit Salad song here, which I learned from Anna.  I told the kids, "Since clowns at the circus love to act silly, we're going to sing a silly song now!"  If you click on the words "Fruit Salad" the song is at 3:12.


 I found this image here.

The kids got to make their own clowns, and they had a blast with it!  I didn't put out a sample--I just laid out the pieces and let the kids have at it.  They did all kinds of things with the different shapes, and it gave us a chance to briefly review shapes while they worked.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Recent Things Liz Has Been Enthusiastic About (1)

Ally's not the only person on this blog who can be enthusiastic!  Here are some things that have caused me unusual amounts of flailing lately.
Oh, look!  It's Mr. Tiger Goes Wild Again!  The illustrations in this story are phenomenal.  In addition to being pretty, they do an awesome job of setting the tone of the story.  There are definitely some picture books where there's a disconnect between the illustrations and the story, which isn't the case here.  Is it too soon to say I'm hoping this gets same Caldecott love?

I'm always excited about the TARDIS, but right now at work, we're planning for the 50th anniversary of the show.  It's gonna be a party--no, really.  While we can't show the 50th anniversary episode at the library, we'll have crafts, a raffle, snacks, and lots of other awesome things.  I cannot wait.


Patrick Rothfuss has let it slip that The Doors of Stone might just be released in 2014.  I want to reread the books, but they are so freaking long.  Since my current lifestyle tends to involve at least an hour of driving each weekend, I decided to do the audiobook.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Southern Festival of Books 2013

So this weekend, I made the trek up to Nashville to go to the Southern Festival of Books.  I had never been to this festival before.  It's super fun. I am enthusiastic about it.  I went up with my friend Hannah, who is a bookseller. We both enjoyed totally different aspects of this festival--it's enormous! So many people and panels to see!

This sign was really pretty. Unfortunately, I'm kind of a terrible photographer.
So Saturday morning my friend Jessamyn (a fellow librarian!) and I got up early to hear Kevin Henkes.  Kevin Henkes is wonderful.  If you're not familiar with him, remedy that.  He's written and illustrated 47 books--picture books, early chapter books, and novels.  I just love him.  I think he understands the mind of children better than anyone writing books for preschoolers and young kids right now.

This is a really fuzzy picture of Kevin Henkes being hilarious.
Jessamyn and I decided to brave his signing line. It was really quite long.  While we were there, we were checking twitter obsessively (as you do) and we decided to stalk Sarah Dessen (as you do).  Not two minutes later, she walked by in a bright yellow dress!!  This was my second time to meet her, and she is delightful. What you see is absolutely what you get! She's gracious and sweet and was totally nice about my fangirling.  As soon as I walked away, she fangirled all over Meg Wolitzer! I love it.

That afternoon, I went to a middle grade panel with Jeramy Kraatz, Chris Krovatin, and Caroline Carlson.  It was great fun! They talked about their middle grade series, their characters, and their inspirations. It was awesome!

Caroline's book was one of my favorite reads of this year.  If you don't believe me, feel free to consult the completely ridiculous Goodreads review I wrote back in the spring when I read a galley.  We've enjoyed it so much at my library that we're reading it aloud by chapters to our afterschool group.  It's about pirates and I love it.

I made Caroline do this. And she had to pose twice because my phone flipped out. And then I didn't tell her I was putting this pic on the blog. Basically, I'm the worst. And she is the cutest.
SUNDAY I was determined to go to this panel, mainly because Myra McEntire is kind of my favorite human. She did a panel about her books with fellow Nashville resident Sharon Cameron, whose books I will now devour. The panel;s theme was awesome heroines, and they talked a lot about their MCs, but also about research, writing in general, and the writing community.  I also met Sonia Gensler after this panel, who is just a delight.

Myra's like YEP. I am, in fact, legit. I thnk this is where she was agreeing with the notion that writers don't shower.
Then awesome librarian Angela and I went to the Rick Riordan  (by way of a VERY STRANGE Chuck Palahniuk session) and Y'ALL. These kids were SCREAMING their brains out. It was like the Beatles in Shea Stadium! I mean...seeing HUNDREDS of kids that excited about books made my librarian heart so happy. I cried tears of this is why I do my job.

Angela recorded this during the presentation. Serious. Altamont Speedway, y'all.

A small portion of the line for signed Rick Riordan books. He wasn't even signing them! They were pre-signed!

ANYWAY. This Festival was not only SO SUPER FUN (and super Southern and chill--I got BBQ from a food truck!) and I got to see ALL THE PEOPLE, I also got to talk to some friends and authors about the year-long reading initiative that I'll be doing at my library in 2014 (oh, don't worry, you'll hear LOTS more about this), and people are willing to come and talk to my kids about books! I just want to talk to kids about books. Forever.  The end.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Concert with Miss Julie

Some of you guys are probably familiar with Julie Jurgens.  She's a children's librarian from the Chicago area who runs the blog Hi Miss Julie and is also a musician.  In August, Julie sent out a Tweet letting people know that her band would be touring in the midwest and that she'd be happy to do library shows.  I've only been in my position since January, and because I had to immediately start weeding my collections and planning for summer reading, we hadn't really done a special program just because until now.  I contacted her and we set up a concert for the toddlers and preschoolers at my library.

I decided to have Julie for two reasons.  The first is that she plays numerous instruments, including the guitar and trumpet.  I play a tiny bit of violin and used to play the sax, and while I've never tried, I don't see either being conducive to storytime--think of all the time you'd spend getting them out and putting them away.  I thought the kids would enjoy hearing live music that isn't just vocal.  The second reason was that since summer reading, preschool storytime attendance has dropped a bit.  This is natural, as a lot of kids have started preschool or parents who teach have had to go back to work.  However, I thought having a special concert would remind people that, except for a few breaks around holidays and summer reading, we have regular programming for todddlers and preschoolers.  To promote the program, I created a Facebook event and made a simple flyer, which I circulated everywhere I could think of--preschools, a local mom group, shoe store, bookstore, grocery stores, fast food chains, local clinic, etc.  I also handsold the program to a couple of regular parents and asked them to help spread the word.  My effort paid off as we had a total of 52 people at the event, which isn't too shabby for a town of 11,000.

We held the concert Monday morning in one of our upstairs meeting rooms.  My program room currently houses many, many tables and chairs as well as a large rack of puppets in hanging bags, so it doesn't accommodate large groups very well, especially groups of easily distracted little ones.  The event started a half hour after we opened, giving families with strollers time to get up to the third floor.

Julie's program was fantastic.  She started with "I'm So Glad That You Are Here Today" and continued with lots of storytime classics.  What I loved about Julie's music was that she took a lot of songs that children and parents know really well and added extra verses. For example, after singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" we all sang "The Huge Enormous Spider" and she had three extra verses to add to "I'm Bringing Home A Baby Bumblebee."  Nearly every song that we did together had some kind of action which worked wonderfully in terms of keeping the audience engaged.  Julie was also a great guitarist and taught the kids about the instrument when she had it out.  She ended her performance by singing "Dream A Little Dream" while her bandmate accompanied her on guitar.  This number included a solo on her pocket trumpet, which sounded fantastic and looked adorable.

I was so pleased with Julie's performance.  Sure, I benefited from it in several ways: I got to hang out with Julie the night before and I learned some things I can incorporate into my storytimes.  However, she also used music in a way that was developmentally appropriate and fostered early literacy skills.  If you're looking for a musician to host that your kids will love, I recommend getting in touch with Julie.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Recent Things Ally Has Been Enthusiastic About (1)

Hi! This is Ally (the Mississippi one). I get really, really excited about things. I'm enthusiastic about a lot. That's kind of my thing. I tend to use LOTS OF CAPS WHEN I TELL PEOPLE ABOUT THESE THINGS and I just HAVE to share.  So...introducing: Recent Things Ally Has Been Enthusiastic About!!

Really, anything Peter Brown, amirite? At some point, we'll talk about my love for his Lucy books (she's my spirit animal). This is a signed first of his delightful new book, because my local indie has a young readers first editions club WHICH IS AWESOME.

Photo: HarperCollins

I'm rereading The Series of Unfortunate Events. The first book published when I was 12, and they're bringing back a lot of memories. They're just delightful. And also kind of horrifying. But that's really their charm.

I've been using this song with my Baby Bookworms ever since Angie introduced me to it at ALA and they LOVE it and I LOVE IT TOO.

THE COVER FOR THIS BOOK! I got a chance to read a manuscript of this one, and y'all. It's exquisite. It's going to be your favorite MG book of 2014, I promise. I was THRILLED to see the cover reveal on Merrie's blog this week. I love this book and the cover is perfect!!

"All kinds of amazing youth services librarians feeling like they’re not doing “enough.” Enough innovating, enough NEW, enough shiny."
" You know what you’re doing. You choose every element with professional deliberation, because you’re great at your job. No seriously."
These quotes are from this blog post over at Storytime Underground (WHICH I AM ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT), and the whole post brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, Cory!

Photo: iTunes
Totally digging this album. Kind of makes me want to read some NZ YA...Karen Healey, anyone?

Last but not least:


This weekend, I'm going to a book festival, so I'm sure I'll have plenty more enthusiasm to share with you for the next time.  What are you enthusiastic about this week?! Let me know in the comments so I can be excited with you!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Welcome to Library Lore!
We're two youth services librarians, one in Iowa (Liz) and one in Mississippi (Ally).  We have both been helped so much by the professional community that we've found on twitter, listservs, and library blogs, so we wanted to join in on the discussion and the exchange of ideas.

We both plan and implement programs, order materials, and do outreach activities for our respective libraries.  We serve very different communities, and this is a space where we will highlight what has (and sometimes has not) worked for us.

We'll also talk some about books. Because we love them. We love books for all ages, we love book events, we love book news, and we will talk about those things here.

We're thrilled to be a part of the librarian community.  We look forward to talking with all of you!

This is Leonard, who lives in Ally's library. He would be proud to be your spirit animal, but is already Liz's BFF.