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!
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)


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.

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.

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' 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

"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.

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.