Friday, December 12, 2014

Kindergarten/1st grade Librarian Class Visit

In November, a K-1 split teacher at a local parochial school wanted a tour of the North community branch library, which is about a half-mile away and therefore walking distance for the small class.

Except, you know, when the high is 17 degrees.

After the class rescheduled twice and cancelled at basically the last minute once, we probably could have just said, "hey, we'll see you in the Spring." But truthfully, this wasn't one of our "regular field trip patron" classes and I really wanted to seize the momentum, not letting them forget about us. So, with the promise that they would in fact schedule a tour in the Spring, I went about concocting an engaging visit that would get a bunch of kindergarten and first graders sufficiently pumped about the library without them actually getting to go to the library, where many of them had never been before. They didn't even have a library at school!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

No One Cares How Prepared You Are: A Guest Post By Kelsey

The Aftermath: a Still Life
Today's guest post comes from my lovely new coworker, Kelsey Johnson-Kaiser, about the time when she had just started but I dragged her to help me with something I had never done before: Boy Scout Camp! It was... interesting. I still can't believe we pulled it off. Here's Kelsey with the details, and, of course, me with the GIFs:

Back in August, when I was just three weeks in at my new job with the library, Sara and I were tasked with leading an all day program at a nearby Boy Scout camp. It was a tall order – seven groups of twenty-five boys, forty minutes per group, and a bunch of science experiments using candy – but we were ready for the challenge. Or so we thought.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Shy Librarian's Guide to Presenting

My readership varies. There's friends, family, librarian colleagues that I know and that I don't know. If you'll indulge me this one, I'm gonna speak directly to one particular group this time: those of you who have thought about presenting, but thinking about actually doing it is just one big NOPE.

And everyone, I have a confession: I used to be really pretty shy. No, really.

Throughout my twenties I had a major learning curve. As an educator, I attended a lot of professional development. You would think, since educators, like, know how brains work and everything, professional development about engaging instruction would be, you know, engaging instruction.

It wasn't. Quite a few were more like this than I care to admit. If it makes you uncomfortable to watch that, imagine sitting through 2.5 hours of it.

I got sick of complaining. I wanted to do something. Be the change, and all that. But I just couldn't talk in front of groups of adults. I got super nervous and seized up. PROBABLY because I had been such an insufferably critical audience member; I understand that now. But also, because I was mostly just kinda shy.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hows and Whys of our Successful Field Trip Adventures

Alternate title: That One Time the LPL YS Department Went to a State Conference with a Slide Deck of Chuck Norris Memes.

Last week I went on a turn-and-burn tour of the Wisconsin Dells to present at the 2014 Wisconsin Library Association Conference, and I would most definitely do it all again because Brooke, Linda, and I had the best time ever. We finally got to talk about our field trip adventures in a systematic way, which I never would have been able to do without this collaborative opportunity.

Additionally, every slide had a Chuck Norris meme related to what we were talking about at the time. Because normal powerpoints are not my forte. I basically approach every presentation I do like the opposite of battledecks. 

And so, for your reading pleasure, here are some highlights from that presentation. And a link-dump so you can download basically everything we have on library field trips. Because this is your luckiest day.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Pete the Cat Field Trip for Second Graders: A Guest Post by Brytani Fraser

Brytani Fraser is a first-year librarian in western NC where she provides programs for all ages in two small branches and advocates for small-town and rural libraries.

 Bryce Don't Play is going as Brytani's blog, The Neighborhood Librarian, for Halloween but adding GIFs because, well.  Here's her guest post:

I've used Sara’s ideas for field trip scripts a few times now and I give them an enthusiastic thumbs up. Since my library is small and my visitors are often in the Prek-2nd grade range, the one that gets the most use is The Pete the Cat plan. Just today, I had 110 second graders visit the library and used the Pete the Cat adventure once again. Allow me to regale you with this real life instance of a scripted, themed tour saving my sanity.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Iron Fist Child Management: The Class

Oh my goodness, everyone. I've looked like Abed here since I found out my proposed class was accepted with UW SLIS Continuing Education, and am so happy that it's posted and people can register for it and please maybe register for it so it doesn't get canceled!

Iron Fist Child (and some parent) Management: The Class.

This is something I've wanted to do since I found out that this is a thing, Marge was nice enough to set me up with a contact at SLIS. I sent them a proposal, followed up with the exact description that you see on the website, and here we are!

Here's what I really want to say about this course for those on the fence:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Built-in Self-Regulation: A DOAWK Book Launch Story

*All GIFs are Diary of Wimpy Kid quotes by Jeff Kinney ran through the Madden Giferator. You're welcome.

I held a DOAWK "The Long Haul" party a few weeks ago,and I was originally going to write that up. I still will, here, with a free downloadable PPT so you can make one too; but it was what I added last-minute the night before (isn't that always the case?) that I really want to talk about.

SO. DOAWK at my library has a wide appeal, and a very small but incredibly fandom-like hoard who attend our DOAWK programs each and every year. This year, there were around 15 kids in attendance. I go back and forth about whether I want to keep doing these for 15 kids, but I'm glad I did this year.

Anyway, wanting to keep it fresh and also appropriately geeked-out, I went for something I hadn't tried before:

Friday, October 03, 2014

Top Five Takeaways: #ALSC14

I was so frickin' lucky to get to go to the ALSC Institute in Oakland, CA, everyone. And you're pretty lucky if you didn't get to go because I'm gonna lay out for you the top five things I learned at this conference (you I know both know that ten would be all TL;DR). Because if there's one thing I know, conferences are hella expensive (the thing about ALSC was that they actually fed you without you paying extra, so that was cool). Not just monetarily, but in your own time and the time of your library.

But that's all right. As my banner motto says, "it takes a village, but it's nice to have a blog." I've got you covered, as much as animated GIFs will allow.
So buckle up, throw out all your liquids over 3 ounces, put your phone on airplane mode, and keep your seat in an upright and locked position (you entitled jerk), because here we go to Oakland!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tween Scavenger Hunt in the Library!

We have been fortunate enough to partner with many groups in the library. One group, and adventure camp with 10-25 kids, visited the library each week to look around. They were planning a biking tour of scavenger hunts around town for one of their final projects, and wanted us in on the action.

I met with the group leaders a twice before hand, once with Brooke. They were undergraduate students trying so hard not to look like they were undergraduate students. They came in with ideas that were SO NOT doable, I left the first meeting with a bad taste in my mouth. I wonder how often this happens in libraries, that University students ("on behalf "of their universities, of course) come into the public library asking for a hell of a lot, and we take it as kind of an insult: What do they think we do all day? What kind of partnership IS this? But then I remembered: I was a 20-year-old education student once, too, and I remember what it was like to dream of all this stuff I could do with kids but it was like really, really, a lot, and dependent on lots of factors that I could not control, but I assumed I could do it all JUST AS SOON as I got that degree. THEN I would change the world. WITH KNOWLEDGE. And that's where these kids' heads were at. Needless to say, there were no rhyming verses, or archives work, or riddles they would need to ask multiple staff members for, or any other of their (very good, from an idealistic perspective) ideas. I asked for their input without promising anything. They actually had really good insight on how well their kids could read (pretty well, with one reluctant reader), what their favorite spots in the library were (00s and the graphic novels), where they were having trouble (finding good chapter books and the catalog). I ended up incorporating this into the hunt.

I wanted to make sure what we did was engaging for the kids as well as super-easy on the precarious sanity of a short-staffed summer (say that five time fast). And then, I remembered there are actually two episodes of Adventure Time that take place in a library. And with a GIF, an incredibly easy-to-make/engaging Tween Scavenger Hunt was born.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Summer Reading Game Cards!

The kids are safely back in school. We all need to give ourselves a big pat on the back, because for all the blood, sweat, tears, and hives (no joke I literally got hives this summer, and I'm on every allergy medication known to man)... it's done. The school year has started, and we're gearing up for yet another ridiculously crazy time (namely, the entire school year), but it's crazy in a different way. You know what I mean. But before I dive head first into fall programming (yes, and finishing my write-ups of summer stand-alone programs. It'll be fine and I won't leave you hanging too long), I want to give some insight into the creation of our Summer Reading Game Cards.

Marge wrote about going prizeless, which turned out fine and our participation stayed strong. I was over-the-top happy that we trusted ourselves and our kids enough to encourage reading as a positive expected behavior throughout the summer rather than rewarding it in little bits like a chore. It's important to remember that going prizeless means placing a higher value on your kid patrons' intrinsic motivation, AND on yourselves. Going prizeless means you've placed a high enough value on your well-developed collection, your awesome reader's advisory, your kick-ass programs, and your welcoming environment to know that those mean more to kids than a wooden boat. That's some heavy shizz right there, and I commend Marge and our library director for taking that leap (it's been years in the making. Seriously, please give them a round of applause in GIF form like NOW).

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Shark Week: I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1916!

When my dad got his BA back in the 70s,
he was probably imagining that one day
he'd have a daughter who'd have to
free-hand a large shark.
This Spring, Sara at YA Librarian Tales and me both had the same idea for a summer program: playing into the wild success of the I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis at our libraries! We had a discussion on Twitter about it that many librarians joined, including the kid-culture-programming maven Angie at Fat Girl Reading. The conundrum: Which book could I feature that meets this criteria: 1) is exciting, and  2) will not bum out everyone attending, especially the adults.

The three that were definitely out for me right away were The Attacks on September 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina, 2005, and The Battle of Gettysburg, 1863. After a pretty rousing discussion on Twitter, Sarah and I came to the same decision: to tackle The Shark Attacks of 1916. If anything, my decision was dependent on 2 factors here: 1) sharks are cool, and it is super-interesting that they were once thought to be as docile as a bunny rabbit; and 2) the death count was relatively low, so the chances that someone in attendance would say that a family member died in these incidents was slim, nationally.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

P.U.F.F.IN Library Lab: Light Painting!

The first PUFFIN Library Lab in July was the brainchild of my LPL colleague Lindsay. It was a cross-department program, and she rocked it!

You know what? I'll just let her tell it. I'll even let her call me by my legal name because what type of jerk changes their first name when they get married for Internet purposes and doesn't tell anyone IRL about it. I mean, honestly. I'm the worst. --Bryce

Hi, everybody! Lindsay the Technology Librarian, here. Last month, Sara and I ran a super fun light painting program for elementary school aged kids. I first learned about light painting at an ILEAD conference last year, where I saw a couple of librarians testing it out. The idea percolated in the back of my head until Sara invited me to join the Fizz Boom Read fun this summer. As a kid, what could be more fun than standing around in a dark room waving flashlights around while your picture is taken? Sara agreed, and the fun began.

This might be a good time to point out that I've really mostly worked with adults over the past 7 years. I teach adult computer classes and do adult Reference. Suffice it to say, I was pretty nervous about this program. Does anybody else out there get the jitters when challenged to work with an age group outside of your comfort zone? Here’s what worked for me: rehearsing the general flow of what I wanted to say, being prepared for different levels of learning, and just owning what makes me, me. (A potential fourth: making sure any tech equipment works!) The first two can take some time and thought. The 3rd one has taken me years and is still a work in progress. So what if I stumble over words sometimes or crack lame jokes about cats during classes? That’s me. I’m human. Adults seem to take it in stride, so I told myself kids would too. And if all else fails? I pretend I’m super-outgoing Lindsay and not binge-watch-Star-Trek-on-Friday-nights Lindsay. What do you all do to ease your nerves?

I shouldn’t have worried so much; the program was a blast! 

Monday, August 04, 2014

PUFFIN Library Lab: Sasquatch Escape!

Basically one of my favorite movies of all time.
This summer, we decided to work WITH at least one of the many groups that visit our library each week to help make the experience more positive and delay/prevent teacher burn-out. One local group was known for coming into the library for one hour, then bringing in a second group for another hour, sometimes with the same teachers. Needless to say, eventually during the summer the kids would run out of favorite books to read, and teachers would get sick of helping their students make good choices.

To fill a pretty big need the size of everyone's sanity, P.U.F.F.IN Library Lab (Pop Up Free Fun IN the Library) was born. One program done twice every Tuesday (one for each group that visited), the topic of which announced to the public day-of over Facebook. And damn, did it work out well!

Marge held two PUFFIN labs in June, while I took July. My first program was inspired by Ariel's Monster Party. My rendition of a monster party was based on the book Imaginary Veterinary #1: The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors.

As you might remember, I'm kinda into cryptozoology, so I'll basically talk about it whenever I get a chance.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Thrive Thursday July Round Up!

I'm happy to say that I'm hosting the Thrive Thursday School Age Round-up for July. Want to know more about Thrive Thursday created by Lisa Shaia? Check out past round ups at Thrive After Three. Make sure you don't miss a thing by following the Pinterest Board and Facebook group!

There are so many great things to share this week, so let's get started.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thrive Thursday School Age Blog Hop Placeholder for 7/3/14

I'm happy to say that I'm hosting the Thrive Thursday School Age Round-up for July. Want to know more about Thrive Thursday created by Lisa Shaia? Check out past round ups at Thrive After Three. Make sure you don't miss a thing by following the Pinterest Board and Facebook group!

Thrive Thursday is all about school age programming! I know you all are doing great stuff for summer time. Link to programs in the comments and I'll round them up!

Interested in doing a guest post? My blog is always open. Email me at brycedontplay at gmail dot com and I'll set you up!

The deadline for entries is July 3rd.  That gives you 2 whole weeks to come up with something--anything!-- you're doing. Remember, link to programs in the comments here and I'll make a round up.

(Also, since it's my round up, I'm also looking for your favorite GIFs to help us through Summer Reading.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

SLP Stories in Action Table

Late last year we lost our fish tables (tables that looked like fish; not made of fish or specifically for fish), which meant that my space for the Story Action Pods went away. As I was brainstorming a new place for it, I thought about covering one of the tables we already had with butcher paper so kids could draw directly on it,  like some family restaurants do (I don't know which ones those are now, but there was one in Tallahassee Mall that did that. a Ryan's?). Exactly two days later, Rebecca at Hafuboti posted her Table Top Time inspired by Mo Willems, which gave me the courage to try it out... eventually.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

PJ Puzzles PK-2 Storytime (with Bedtime Math)

oversized tangrams
Hey everybody: I did a program where the oldest kid participant was 8 years old. AND it was not pop-culture-based. AND the attendees LIKED it!

I feel like I have to start this off by saying: I wasn't the biggest fan of Bedtime Math when I first heard about it. This is because:
When they rhetorically ask, "We read bedtime stories right before bed! Why not do math?"
This is supposed to elicit the following response in the reader:
"Hmm, yes, why not?"
BUT: I really feel like the CLEAR ANSWER to this question is:
"...because listening to stories for fun employs cognitive skills that are far less demanding than math, even when done 'for fun' (you know, Webb's Depth of Knowledge and all that)."

Here's where that gets us into a pickle:
a. Children need a good night's rest to perform well in school.
b. Higher-demand cognitive processing delays sleep, not even starting with the fact that math anxiety is a real thing.
Check out these tips for a good night's sleep. Not one involved doing a word problem. Kids need wind-down time, too.

This is not at all to say that we shouldn't make a point to include mathematical themes in play and throughout the day as much as possible. I have strong opinions on this and how we're doing math all the time and we need to be deliberate about it so our kids realize that. This is why I really, really like Bedtime Math's new offering, Crazy 8's. Everything they do comes with scripts and everything! And I do appreciate that they emphasize on their website that it's about adding math to a daily routine whenever that happens!


Friday, June 06, 2014

School Carnival: A Library Outreach Report

Windblown, torn, and taped, we soldier on.
I wanted to report out to you all the changes I made to our elementary family night-style outreach as a result of my massively weird observations at a recent brewfest. I haven't yet figured out the first observation, but I did fairly well with the rest: Infiltrate the crowd; be ready to play; and keep your offerings small but important.

Before I tell you what DID work, here's the ugly part: it had just rained, but it was still outside (because Bouncy Houses, etc). Since it's Wisconsin, and rains works the way it's supposed to here, it was WINDY. AS HELL. I had intended to sign up kids for SLP, but after a few minutes it was so ridiculous, and I had chased down everything from my table so many times, I just gave up. As a result, I had absolutely no 8.5x11 anything to give out (this was an enormous step and I feel like I need validation/praise for simply sitting there without any full-page-fliers at the ready).

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bryce Don't Play Don't Change

This was taken at my library.
There's some IN THE BOAT, just you wait.
(by Fornear Photo)
Soooo this past weekend I went and got married. We crafted it, from beginning to end, to make sure everyone there enjoyed themselves but also were invited into our heads (for better or for worse).

I decided to change my name on all but the most legal sticky stuff (that shizz is so expensive and red-tapey in Wisconsin, y'all), taking my new husband's last name as an extension of my own. This is a deeply personal decision and one that has taken me a long, long, time to make. My final trepidation with the change was whether or not I'd be honoring my feminist views; or, more specifically, if other people thought I was a good feminist. But then I read this post on Offbeat Bride and I felt better about it. After a few days though, I feel like I really made the right decision for me.

As many of you know, however, my last name is the first word of this blog's title. After 3 years, I'm not about to re-brand, so I decided that I'll be keeping it.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Library Sponsored Public LEGO Track at the Pinewood Derby!

So last summer we were able to partner with the Boy Scouts to bring in a Pinewood Derby track for our LEGO Chima party. The next logically awesome step was to create a free track at the Pinewood Derby, JUST for LEGO cars!

The last time I attended a Pinewood Derby was sometime in grade school, so I knew nothing of the magnitude of today's races-- this was at the mall and there were computers to calculate exact times and everything! There were upwards of a hundred Boy Scouts and their families there from the surrounding counties (we're a city of 50,000 people, but we're the largest city for at least 2 hours on the freeway in any direction). The enthusiasm was contagious.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Making Connections: Family Nights and Brewfests

Special thanks to PSB for letting me creep so hard
As the school-age services librarian at my workplace, I do my fair share of outreach-- some in the form of classroom visits to various grade levels, and some in the form of family nights. The patron-return bang for my hourly buck, I'd venture to guess, is in the former. BUT that doesn't mean that I'm not constantly looking for ways to up the ante with my family night offerings.

One might say that I have high expectations for outreach, but I will admit that I don't think there's any reason that, at a non-profit evening where everyone's aim is equal, the public library's table can't be the go-to place that everyone wants to visit. The most happening kiosk on the block, I guess.

Is this too much to try for, or is the very nature of family nights too ingrained and out of our control? Are we doomed to scrounge and scatter for every visitor we can get?

Last weekend I found inspiration in an unexpected place: the Between the Bluffs Beer, Wine, and Cheese Fest.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spring Break at the Library: Stealth Programming For Days

So first off all, can we give a big round of applause to Chris from Criplold for her stellar  redesign of my blog? She's a graphic design artist, and had an awesome deal while she was distracting herself from other things. Chris is lovely to work with and hella creative. And I don't use the word "hella" lightly. Do you think I came up with any of this? Absolutely not. This is 100% Chris, and I'm kinda in love with it. Hit her up at her blog or on Twitter  to tell her how cool she makes me look, and to ask how you can be cool too.

OKAY, SO: Spring Break. The one week in the school year that tells you what a wuss you've become since last Summer Reading; the glimpse of what's to come that makes you rethink your day for maximum caffeine consumption. This Spring Break for our public schools also was National Library Week, and our library had a program where people could take selfies of themselves, tag them online with a hashtag, and be entered in a drawing for gift cards. I loved this idea, and was sure patrons would be into it; but in YS we looked for ways it could translate for kids.

Of course, there was only one answer:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Work With Me Here! (For Real)

We are looking for a new Youth Services Librarian!

So I basically was going to copy the post that got Brooke to apply, because I really just want to say all that again. So go read reasons.

The application period ends May 2, so get going and apply!

Here are some additional reasons:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"K-5 Programming": Differentiating in the Library

This week I had a program where I picked the incorrect book. It was a good book, and good for the topic, and a perfect read-aloud for 8-12 year-old kids.
...Problem was, the day of the program, 4-8 year-old kids showed up. I still "read" the book, skimming pages while following the story; but I left the program disappointed in myself. Why hadn't I prepared for this? Why didn't I just skip the book when I saw who was there? 

I'm kind of glad this came up, because another Iron Fist post has been rattling around in my head, this time about helping kids navigate your programming for success. Truly, the following post is probably step #1 in Traditional Programming Child Management: is your program developmentally appropriate? This is really important to think about now that we're all trying STE(a)M at our libraries. I'm not saying that toddlers can't love learning about the weather or that fifth graders can't love sensory activities; but: how are these ideas presented? Are you explaining clouds in a tangible way that toddlers can connect to their world? Are you talking to fifth graders about the weird things their senses do every day without their knowledge to screw with their heads so they're interested? If they're bored out of their skulls, kids will let you know by acting out. Chaos or disinterest in your program is not their fault, it's yours.

I don't say that to be harsh, I promise. I say that to empower us all: their interest in your program is under your control

As I thought about my book of choice, and how disappointed in myself I was, I realized that my programming is influenced by education in a way that I never realized before: differentiating instruction.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Achievement Unlocked: Guest Post at Letters to a Young Librarian

Today I'm over at Letters to a Young Librarian talking about the most valuable classes I took in regards to My Current Life as Librarian. I hope you'll head over there and talk about your favorite experiences, too!

New here? Here's some places you might want to start:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Field Trip Adventure Time! with Bryce and Erin


I'm so happy to have this [GIFs and commentary by me] guest post by Erin, a Twitter friend and a student of Marge's CE class. I snagged her when she mentioned me in a tweet about scripting library tours FIELD TRIP ADVENTURES! I was on vacation, and was completely stoked to see her write up in my inbox when I got home! 

And remember, if you'd like try your hand at blogging or if you want to share your version of something you found here (like Erin and Ariel and Julia), please email me at brycedontplay at gmail! I would love to have you create my content so I don't have to.

This guest post is by Erin Davison, Library Assistant II in the Youth Services Department in Holland MI, where she lives with her husband Peter and cat Charles SimicShe used the phrase "done borrowed" in reference to my script idea-- correctly, I might add-- so of course she grabbed the attention of this former Southerner.  Hit her up on Twitter: @erinisinire.

My name is Erin and I was a Lurker [Bryce Note: Hi, Erin.]. My feedly is chock full of smart, creative people's blogs. I joined Twitter almost 2 years ago primarily to follow smart, creative librarians. Last summer, I had the chance to attend ALA and Guerrilla Storytime where I first had the inkling these librarians "rock stars" were actually PEOPLE. I recently had the opportunity to attend MIKidLib14-an unconference planned by Lisa Mulvenna, Anne Clark and Andrea Vernola-and it was at that conference I realized I might be a smart, creative person who had ideas and could help other people. And when Amy Koester wrote the "There is Something Rotten in the State of YS Professional Development" post I felt like it was written for me. I just want to thank all of those blogging, tweeting, Tumblring, Facebookgroup librarians who've been of immeasurable help to me professionally. I WAS a Lurker. I won't be any longer.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cory Eckert: A GIF-filled Tribute (Band?)

Soooo something awesome happened today, and that is: Cory Eckert, founder of Guerrilla Storytime and co-creator of Storytime Underground, was named a 2014 Library Journal Mover & Shaker.I was one of the many librarians who nominated her,in good company with Angie, Kendra, and Amy (and I'm sure there's more). In the spirit of lifting each other up and the fact that the little blurb did not do her justice, Here's what I wrote about Cory-- this time, with GIFs.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Are Your Programs S.A.F.E.? A Librarian Look at the Afterschool Alliance Report

Last week, the Afterschool Alliance published a literature review/report called "Taking a Deeper Dive into Afterschool: Positive Outcomes and Positive Practices." First of all, if you didn't know the Afterschool Alliance was a Thing, I forgive you; but please immediately rectify this situation by adding their incredibly informative website to your radar and maybe even following them on Twitter.

Now, many of us librarians don't have the time, resources, or community interest for a daily/weekly afterschool program that this report focuses on; but we definitely can take some great suggestions from its Positive Practices to make our planning more deliberate to set our kid patrons up for success at our programs.

First, some awesome and empowering words about our role in these kids' lives:

  • A great feature of our programming is that we don't have to focus on standardized assessments and academic achievement. This allows us to focus on the meat of success in afterschool programs: personal development, such as social and emotional growth. (page 8 of PDF)
  • a meta-analysis by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (okay I want to read everything by them right away, don't you?) found that children who attend afterschool programs "saw a significant improvement in their perceptions of themselves, improved positive social behavior and a decrease in problem behaviors" (page 8 of PDF)
Note that due to increased pressure of testing and emphasis on assessment-driven instruction (which may take intervention into the afterschool realm, like Club Z as an afterschool offering at Title I schools), we public libraries are uniquely posited to offer personal-development-focused programming. How does our programming support social and emotional growth?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Spy School at the Library: A Program Do-Over

This is a program theme that is talked about a lot, including two other times on my blog alone. Inspired by Storytime Underground's Hack my Storytime series, I revisited my Spyology program after 2 years to see how I would approach it now!

(Also, of course I revisited Spyology, because programs based on the Ology books are always really fun. Meaning, I have the most fun planning them. And I guess the kids like them too).

At the beginning of the program, my coworkers Brooke and Linda were nice enough to write "Agent [first letter of kid's name]" on address labels so that the kids could get their code names. The girl pictured left asked for "Agent B" because she decided her name would be Brooke, too, and the entire Internet died from cuteness.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Library LEGO Check-Out Club

When I first came on to the La Crosse Public Library team, one of my very first ideas was a stealth program where the kids would add LEGOs to a pile/bin/whatever every time they check out. Then, at the end of the month or whenever, they would have a "Big Build" party and make something out of the LEGOs they had collected.

I am SO happy that idea didn't fly at the time, because what came of it nearly 3 years later is WAY better than that.

When it was time to debut our check-out club, Brooke and I racked our brains for an hour coming up with a cool, though straightforward name. We both liked alliteration, so we were looking for a word that started with the same letter as "LEGO" without distracting from what the club was about. We both have graduate degrees AND other degrees in language-related fields and I mean WHAT WORD COULD WE EVEN USE THAT BEGINS WITH L TO DESCRIBE A LIBRARY PROGRAM.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Summer Librarian Sanity: IFLS Workshop Recap!

The only advice you'll ever need.
Sooooooooo I've made it back alive from the Great White North(er), Menomonie, WI, where I actually got to speak to 60 awesome youth services librarians for an entire morning! I know. Me, the person whose philosophy is "if you can't say it in 3 minutes it's not worth saying." BUT it was not only really fun, but it also fulfilled this part of my professional life that I've been wanting to satiate for awhile.

See, one of my first jobs was as a reading coach. I gave professional development, but it was only to my district and sometimes only a few teachers at a time when it was really short. And the for the longer PD my colleague and I enlisted the grade level lead teachers in the school and set up stations, each with its own topic, that the rest of the teachers rotated to throughout the day. Ms Clary and I were at one of the tables, but they all came to us to discuss the DIBELS scores of their classes. The point was empowering the teachers to acknowledge themselves as experts, and it was really well-received.

Actually... I should revisit this type of PD sometime.

At my next job I began writing intervention and DIBELS analysis materials, and worked my way up (ahem, "laterally moved" according to my paycheck) to writing professional development for teachers statewide. Five-hour-long workshops, in fact; however, I never gave the workshops. That was up to consultants around the state. My belief in scripts is tied directly to this job.

So, for real, getting the chance to write and deliver a morning-long workshop on my own was kind of a dream come true, or one of those "at least I can say I can talk for that long!" types of things.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Robots vs. Aliens!: Second Grade Outreach

As I've mentioned before, this year we've piloted in Grade School Menu. While I'm currently immersed in Hella Busy No Sleep, I want to make sure I don't get behind on documenting my programming and giving you (and future me) School Tools 4 Days. Luckily enough I just recently wrote out the script for the Second Grade Outreach: Robots vs. Aliens!

Robots vs. Aliens works for 2 reasons: 1) everyone has an opinion on this debate and 2) the kids decide who wins. I patterned the idea after the Shark vs. Train Story Action Pod I made, but fleshed it out into a 30-45 min program

(I feel the need to stress that if you're going to try elementary outreach, in order to get teacher buy-in you're going to have to be able to promise 30 min door-to-door. That way you can be in and out in that magical time period between lunch and math, or during lunch and recess, or after Special Areas but before the bell, when the teacher actually has the time to do a fun activity. If you happen to be scheduled on a Friday with no spelling test, however, for instance, you may be able to stretch it out to 45. Have a craft or game ready if you get that extra time.)

Here's how Robots vs. Aliens! works:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

LEGO Movie Party at the Library

A few weeks ago I held a party to get everyone pumped up about the LEGO movie coming out in February. Promising nothing but watching the trailers and talking about the movie with other LEGO fans, and some playing with LEGO, we had nearly 40 attendees on a sub-zero no-school day (read: they had no other reason to leave their houses, but they came to our program)! I also had WAY more parents come and stay for this than any other program I've held (it was about 2/3 kids) so it made me think that just inviting people of any age to come to a public place and geek out together about their favorite things might be a good idea for a program.

(I might just have adult programming on the brain, too, thanks to Audrey Barbakoff's awesome webinar at the Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference. I collected all the tweets on Storify here. Check out all the great programs, including one about unprogramming by Marge and Amy!)

As an aside, I wonder how much I could charge to live-tweet the shizz out of someone's webinar. You can't multi-task while you live-Tweet. 

Live-Tweeter for Hire.
I'll be all like ...
...all over you webinar about whatever.
Pinky-swear promise. 
(GIFs extra.)

ANYWAY: Here's how the LEGO party program went:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Interview at Children's Book Review

Hi everyone! Today you'll find me over on the Children's Book Review talking about the importance of community partnerships and the awesomeness of Chewbacca.
(ps: tags are Children's Book Review's and not mine)

New here? Here's some places you might want to start:

Thursday, January 09, 2014

It's January, and You're Stellar.

We all know by now (or maybe we don't) that I am not a New Years Resolution maker. Yeah, I get it, I wrote a New Years Resolution thing for you to try-- but in my defense, you can try it at any time (in case that wasn't clear by the title that includes the words "new" and "year" and "resolution". Sorry about that).

Here's my thing with New Years Resolutions, and goals in general for that matter:
1. You make a resolution to be something other than you are.
1. You live your life always looking at the future, and disappointed in things you DIDN'T DO (part of that "starting in the negatives" I mentioned before when talking about being a new hire, but throughout your entire life).
2. Point #1 really sucks, seeing as though your life is CURRENTLY HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. Cue guilt for life "not lived in the moment".
3. To counteract this, you resolve to LIVE RIGHT NOW NO I MEAN NOW NO I MEAN NOW.
4. See #1.

This cycle feeds the Impostor Syndrome Beast really well.  And if that's how you feel when it comes to New Years Resolutions (I know I do), that Turkey Picture up there is just for you.