Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Like most of all of us, when I stepped into my current position, I inherited my programs. My predecessor and her predecessor were great, great children's librarians and they served the community fully at the time they were there.


There has been a ton of economic growth in this town in just the last year or so. And lots of new families are moving in. And I'm trying my best to offer fun programs that everyone has access to.

So. Recently I've added:

  • Toddler Time!!
I've talked about this some, but my storytime group has grown a lot. My "baby" storytime we've always done was birth-36 months. That's a HUGE developmental gap. It's not so huge when you only have 5 or 6 kids coming but in the fall I was averaging about 15-20 and it was chaos.  So I split my groups. My baby storytime is now birth-18 months. My Toddler Time is 18-36 months (AND SO MUCH FUN), and Preschool Story Time is 3-5 years. So far, it's working really, really well. My babies that were really intimidated by the big walkers have started to babble and thrive in their own storytime with a much larger play space! And the Toddlers just love life. It's been fun to watch. Also this group LOVES anything that comes from Jbrary. Anything. Jbrary, y'all rock.

  • Family Story Time
This town has more working parents than its two nearest sister cities (we're all suburbs of the capital city but our towns are SO SO DIFFERENT), so I have to have more programs in the evening. Sometimes it's a drag, BUT I'm trying to make them a lot of fun for all of us. So I've started a Family Story Time, once a month in the evenings. Thanks to everyone on twitter and also Sarah who sent me some emails with some excellent information. I'm not going to lie. It has not been well-attended. YET. I'm playing with the times, and I've opened it up to 0-5 years. I just have a huge percentage of my patron base that have never been able to attend a single daytime storytime. And that totally bums me out. Even though this hasn't been a big success yet, I really have high hopes for it in the future. And I will take any suggestions y'all have to make it better!!

  • Middle Grade Book Club
We don't have a lot of programming that hits this "tween" spot (or whatever we're calling 9-12 year olds now), so me and my FT specialist came up with this.  It's D's program, she plans and runs it. So far the books picked have been WHEN YOU REACH ME and DOLL BONES. It's in its infancy, but we're excited about being able to provide something specifically for our kids that have kind of outgrown our afterschool programming but aren't ready for our teen stuff yet. We're hoping this will be popular enough to launch more tween programming!

Any suggestions or concerns, as always, are appreciated. What new things are you doing for your library? Let us know in the comments! Link to your awesome posts!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Take Your Child to the Library Day!

As some of you guys might know, Saturday February 1st was Take Your Child to the Library Day.  This is something I learned exactly one week before the fact when I was browsing Amy Koester's blog.

We currently don't offer evening storytimes because when we did, no one came.  Saturday storytimes are also rare because I am a one person department, and have a lot of other responsibilities to take care of throughout the week.  Because I found out about Take Your Child to the Library Day so last minute, I decided to keep things simple with two family storytimes and a passive program.

I'm fortunate to have a great relationship with our local newspaper--the editor is always willing to talk about the library.  I asked him to share some basic information about our program.  We also put up posters in the library, and every day on Facebook, we shared one reason why parents, guardians, and caregivers should take children to the library.  A photo of the craft we'd be making at the program was even shared on Facebook!

When programming in winter, or really when trying to leave your house at all in winter, there are certain things that one cannot control.  Yes, I'm talking about it. That four letter word. Snow.  The stuff decided to come out of the sky some time between midnight and one a.m. Saturday before my program, meaning the plows were still trying to get the roads cleaned up when I held my 11:00 storytime.   Thankfully I still had a few attendees.

My library director was kind enough to come in and help with the program.  Obviously, we selected library themed stories to share during this particular storytime.

For extension activities, we obviously sang "If You're Happy And You Know It Read A Book."  Thank you Jbrary for this and all of your other awsome videos!
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We also have a set of cards (made by my director) that feature different numbers of the Dewey Decimal system and pictures of the items that the books are about.  The kids have to look at the picture to figure out what books in that area are about.  For example, 811.54 features a quill and an inkwell, and that's also the one the children always struggle with.

Our craft was really enjoyable.  I invited kids to recreate a favorite book cover or scene from a book and add googly eyes.  As an example I redid the cover of Let's Sing A Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy, but we set out several books on the tables in our program room to help inspire attendees.  The kids really enjoyed having fun with crayons and glue.  I invited them to either take their creations home or leave them with me to be hung in the library.

While I was in storytime, this was our passive program.  I set out paper, crayons, and a list of instructions on a table we have near our new books.  Because googly eyes are a choking hazard to little ones who are looking to stick everything in their mouths, I housed the eyes behind the circulation desk.  One of the first instructions was to go ask for eyes if you wanted to do the craft.  I also e-mailed my staff a copy of the instruction.

I had a lot of fun planning and implementing this program.  I'm really looking forward to next year when I can plan farther ahead and do more.  Did you guys celebrate Take Your Child to the Library Day?  What did you do?