Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Post for You, if You Need It

Shoutout to the #alaleftbehind. Long days on the reference desk, programs, and the library just seems a little more chaotic than it even was before you read your first "what to do in San Francisco" blogpost (which you still read, right? Or is that just me?) All this on the backdrop of widely shared articles asking you to kindly not tell people you're busy (edit: originally shared the wrong post, sorry) and social media updates from your Internet friends who are all hanging out together/talking about how refreshing it is to get away during the summer/eating beignets (oh wait that was 2011), and you begin to feel some real feelings. Some of them may not be the best feelings. And that's okay.

This isn't for those who are lucky enough to be at ALA right now. Please, continue your conversation. You deserve to be there. This is for the rest of us. And I need to write it now, because I might have the opportunity to got to Annual in the future, and writing a post like this from Annual would be disingenuous. 

Basically, I've been thinking a lot about this time last summer, and this is the blogpost I wish someone would have written then. So I'm writing it for you.

Monday, June 15, 2015

It's Happening! Guerrilla-Style School/Public Library Q&A at ALA Annual!

Last week I told you about the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Library Cooperation (SPLC)'s idea to hold a Guerilla-Style session alternative (based on Guerrilla Story time) at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. AND GUESS WHAT:

Join SPLC (we pronounce it "Splice") in the Uncommons at Annual for a conversation hosted by no other than the intrepid chair of our committee, Jenna Nemec-Loise!

Save the Date!
Guerrilla SPLC ("SPLC It Up"? Is that too cheesy?) 
Saturday, Jun 27, 2015
Networking Uncommons
11:00 AM- 12:00 PM

Bring your questions and tell your friends! We'd love to see a great mix from the many divisions we represent.

See you there! Well, not really. I won't be there. But attend and talk about it on Twitter so I can feel like I am!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Kid Lab: Superhero Writing Prompts

Last year we had a Stories in Action table; this year, kids can make their own pictures to hang up based on the Write/Draw component of the Summer Game Cards in our new elementary school literacy area called the Kid Lab. I was inspired to create this after years of talking about it because of Holly's Exploration Station.

While it'd be nice to have something fancier, for now all it entails is a table, some signage made in Canva, and an extra rolling cart we happened to have. Right now there are writing prompts that change weekly, but as a Lab there could be other activities going on in the future.

This year, the Write/Draw questions each week revolve around the kids considering themselves as heroes. The point was that by the end of them summer they'll have a fleshed out super hero persona!

Here are the questions, so you can put together a writing prompt station of your own:

Monday, June 08, 2015

School Library/Public Library Q&A at ALA

As a member of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Library Cooperation (SPLC), I've been thinking a lot about the partnerships we can foster between school and public librarians. There's been some great posts in the past year or so that have made me more deeply consider the ins and outs of community partnerships. Dana at Jbrary discussed the importance of being a community-led librarian, and Amy at Show Me Librarian shared her presentation on rethinking partnerships. Two points from these related posts are aspects of partnering that I have found particularly helpful: Dana's idea of "slowing your role" (ie, coming to the table with no immediate expectations for what your partnership would look like) and Amy's suggestion of asking questions.

In that spirit, it is my hope on behalf of SPLC to get the ball-rolling on an ALA Annual Networking Uncommons Q&A session in the style of Guerilla Storytime and YA Smackdown. As a committee we've talked about "What the School/Public Librarian Wishes the Other Would Know", but we'd love to see school and public librarians ask specific questions about the other's work and service. While this opportunity would take place live at Annual, you definitely don't have to be present to participate. Shoot, I'm working to plan this and I won't even be at the conference at all!

You game? Awesome! Here's how you can help the SPLC Committee pull this off:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tic-Tac-Toe/Simon Says Mashup Game

HEY EVERYONE. I need to share with you this thing that is super fun and so easy and you'll want to do it all the time.

So a few weeks ago I visited an afterschool club at one of our elementary schools. One week, I saw the K-1 kids; and the next week, I saw the second graders. Fresh from the Wisconsin Afterschool Association Conference, I felt ready to put some of the things I learned into practice while I geeked out about the library. So I used my The Book with No Pictures activity, read a few funny and interactive books, and made sure to include some silly songs and a game of Simon Says to promote self-regulation.

I noticed when I visited the K-1 kids that this particular afterschool group seemed mildly obsessed with Tic-Tac-Toe. They played each other, they played their teachers, they played in groups with rules I didn't exactly understand. So when I was planning the 2nd grade visit, I figured I might want to incorporate Tic-Tac-Toe in some way. I Googled around for a new version of it, or a new game they could play in that style, but nothing really stuck with me. A light bulb went off and I started Googling about kids using their full bodies to play tic-tac-toe. What if it was our self-regulation game? Then I found this.

I knew exercise would get their blood flowing but we had a small space inside a classroom to work with. SO, I went about creating a Tic-Tac-Toe/Simon Says Mashup! It was so much fun that I made it an addition to our Star Wars Party in May, using the moves described for Don't Drop Yoda at Lemon Squeezy.

Here's what you need:

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Ask Away #2: Field Trips are an Advocacy Tool

So I'm sure I'll talk about it more sometime (yeah, right, just like I'll catch up on my programming posts sometime, right? I'm The Worst), but for now I'll just say I couldn't ask for a better group of colleagues to come together, reflect on current practice, and tackle scenario-based questions for my inaugural go at Iron Fist: The Class. Nothing brings a group of people together like talking about when we've felt most vulnerable and/or empowered for six weeks in a row, I guess. I'm ecstatic to hear from them, because why don't we just all hang out forever now?

So I was happy to hear that Brittany Gitzlaff, youth services director at Waunakee Public Library in WI, agreed to my featuring a recent email conversation of ours! Here's her question:
"After the success of my first few 4K field trips, due in large part to yours and your coworker Brooke's blogs, I was wondering if you had any advice or tricks on writing field trips and tours... Basically, I just don't want them to come in and think that I or the library are completely boring. :)"

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Awesome New-to-Me Blogs

It's my 4 year blog-iversary! I've come a long way since my very first post in which I read Flat Stanley. Not many librarians were here for my first premise, which was to read and blog my way through our entire collection of early chapter books with snark and moxie. A valiant goal, to be sure, but at least it got me writing. Now I write about programming, research, and philosophy with a little less snark and a comparable amount of moxie. Maybe a little less. I was in my 20s when I started this blog, after all.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone who reads my little corner of the web, shares what works for them, and/or writes blogs of their own.

Since I know my blog wouldn't be as successful as it is without some linking from blogs who had already been blogging for awhile, like Marge and Anne (I still remember when Anne linked to my first Iron First post and I had 400 views in a day, on a weekend, when the day before I'd had like 30. Not that page counts actually matter or prove engagement, which is why you'll never find me talking about them. Except, like, right now, of course. Like you expect me to NOT contradict myself in two sentences. What are you, new here?), I figured there's no better way to celebrate my 4 year anniversary of my blog than with a few new/new-to-me/new-to-the-world blogs I've added to my RSS feed. Follow them all! Give them love! Three word phrases!

Anyway, here we go, in absolutely no order, except the one that has come about from linear organization of thought: