Thursday, December 06, 2012

Hard-To-Buy-For Kids: A Book-Giving Guide

It's Christmastime and you might still have a few kids to shop for, since Amazon Prime free 2-day shipping allows you to procrastinate even further than you would have. You might want to get a book for said kid, but are not sure what to get. THEN, you read something like this and not only do you bemoan your complete lack of creativity, you now have the distinct desire to buy books so you can give an inexpensive but sugary treat that you know won't be duplicated... at least, not with a book that isn't an unabridged version of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" for a struggling 8 year old.

RIGHT?


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Story Action Pod: BOT edition

C/O Mr Schu Reads
So after the overwhelming fun that emanated from our last Story Action Pod (which, by the way, was a landslide victory with a write-in candidate) I was energized to create another one. After all the sharks and trains, I decided that the Story Action Pod was severely lacking in the robot department.

I went with "Boy +Bot" by Ame Dyckman and Dan Yaccarino, which I snatched greedily from the fingers of an unsuspecting child while laughing maniacally and possibly pointing before tearing off on my Harley

Or from the new picture books display. I promise. It's another one of those, though, that we probably should have more copies of, because it is literally never available. So after I checked it out to myself, I smacked one of these bad boys on it to prevent it from walking away:

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Readability Measures and Libraries: An Unsolicited Rant

Yesterday I got an e-mail from a friend, for whom I had run long-distance reader's advisory. She was looking for a historical fiction book for her 4th grader to write a book report. Her fourth grader is an avid reader and so I knew I could have fun with it. I gave her about ten titles, from Gordon Korman's Titanic series to Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos.

She got back to me and said that based on their AR established book levels, and since he tested at a 6th grade level on his readability test, he actually is not allowed to choose any of the suggestions I gave for his book report. Including two Newbery award winning contemporary classics; one of which was Bud, Not Buddy, which should probably be read by all 4th grade boys everywhere. The aforementioned Gantos title even has a copy housed in the teen section of our library. But no matter; its book level comes in at a lowly 5.9.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Diary of a Wednesday Kid: Make a Comic Like...

All DOAWK images by Jeff Kinney (obv)
The first three Wednesdays in October (the fourth being during my conference committee duties) I ran a new program. It wasn't the most well attended program ever (6-10 kids each time), nor was it the most inspired program I ever did. But:
1) It attracted 3-5 graders
2) I got good feedback from those who attended
3) It took literally 15 minutes to develop and set up every week.

SO, here's what happened:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Story Action Pod: Election Edition!

C/O Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
I went back and forth a lot as to whether I should put something in the Story Action Pod about the election. I've heard of other libraries doing Vote-for-Characters, such as Best Bear in a book or something; I'm sure that works for them, but I just couldn't get excited about it. And as Joyce Sidman said in her luncheon address at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference last week (more on WLA later): "Kids know when you're really into something." And I just wasn't. (On a personal note, the first election I could legally vote in ever was the 2000 presidential election. Hopefully, you can see how that would be a total bummer).


More than that, though, I have a problem with any kind of program that doesn't have a far reach. If they have to come at just a certain time, or they have to come back to get anything out of it, or if they have to read widely to even know what they're talking about... okay, so I know I sound like a jerkface, like I don't want kids to read or something, but our regular patrons are just a small scope of who we serve.

BUT: the Story Action Pod allows for a small engagement in the library no matter when you're there, who you're with, what you read.

So I decided to create a Story Action Pod based on a book that kids could use to make an informed opinion in one sitting: Shark vs Train by Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wanted: Early Literacy Librarian!

If you haven't already seen, Marge posted an ad for an Early Literacy Librarian, which I obviously think is the opportunity of a lifetime for Some Lucky Librarian. I mean, you get to work with me, after all, and I have it on good authority that I'm pretty awesome. As a cross-country transplant and a recent hire, I want to tell you about the reasons that you should apply:

1. La Crosse, WI, is one of the greatest places to live. I've lived in a lot of places, and this is one of those where I might need to live here for 10 years and that thought doesn't depress me. The people of La Crosse are so nice it's ridiculous, and in a real, genuine way. It's also beautiful. And then, there's also this.
This is the actual view from my back deck, taken with a phone.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Angry Birds Live!


My first thought when I heard "Angry Birds Live"
"The video game you know and love is coming to your library. Birds, pigs-- larger than Life! Build a level, knock down a level, and earn achievements!  Spend your Friday out of school with this fun free program."

Does that sound like I've ever played Angry Birds before? I don't even know. But I haven't anyway. No smartphone+a particular aversion to the laws of physics=not interested.

BUT, That didn't stop me from putting on a quality program, loosely based on this post by Future Librarian Superhero, who I refer to by her Twitter name in everyday conversation.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Let's Go, Cybils Force!

It's that time of year again. The trees are changing, the festers are festing, and people let me officially judge things.

Yes folks, fall is in the air and so is the pungent scent (thesaurus.com tells me I could have also used, "whiffy") of the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literacy Awards (Cybils). I was grateful to my Past Self for pasting that image ahead of time, so I could correctly spell out the acronym.

Nominations are open now and run through Oct 15. They have a handy nomination page  that is even easily accessible on mobile devices. You can nominate your favorite title in the following categories:
Book Apps; Easy Readers/Short Chapter Books (never fear, these are two separate things. I too was worried); Fantasy & Science Fiction; Fiction Picture Books; Graphic Novels; Middle Grade Fiction; Non-Fiction Picture Books; Non-Fiction: Middle Grade & Young Adult; Poetry; Young Adult Fiction.

Judging is based on kid-friendliness, which is definitely key. And if there's anyone who knows kid friendliness, it's kids. BUT, if there's anyone who's a grown woman who watches Cartoon Network while drinking in her pajamas...

...for RESEARCH PURPOSES.

ANYWAY, I nominated some great things, and so should you. But they won't be as great as mine, because things can't be nominated twice, and I already stole the best ones. For instance:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Why 1000 Books Before Kindergarten?

Our library has a 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. It's awesome.

Here are the reasons that it's awesome:
1) The kids know that they're a part of something. Something big.  Whenever they finish 100 books, they come to turn in their sheet, waving it in the air and skipping. You can tell they're really proud.
2) Parents are cognizant about their role in school readiness. Reading before school is not only a fun way to bond as family, it actually does terrific stuff to the brain. Like map it to be smart.
3) It benefits us, it benefits them. Our circulation numbers increase. The families have a successful, productive visit to the library. The kids feel good coming to the library. Snag 'em early.

Here's not a reason why it's awesome.
1)Studies show that kids should read 1,000 books before Kindergarten. Despite that the idea has been passed around a lot for the last year, no one has ever scientifically concluded that kids should read 1,000 books before Kindergarten.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Return of the Iron Fist: Child Management Part 2

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Monday, August 06, 2012

This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things.

So maybe the title is a little over-dramatic. But I think I might be done with technology-based programming for K-5.

After the awesome book trailers that were made by three kids on a no-school day back in February, I decided to make 3 super-short Kid Vid Mondays during July. I thought, maybe they didn't come because it was beautiful in February. Maybe if I make it shorter, and in the summer, we'll create things like all those libraries I hear about with their fancy tech centers, wherever they are.

Attendance was... well:
Kid Vid #1: 4 kids
Kid Vid #2: 3 kids
Kid Vid #3: 4 kids

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer Field Trippin'

Have you written scripts for your tours field trip adventures yet? I sure hope so. And if not, here's an anecdote that happened to me today, which, to me, proves the usefulness of scripted tours.

So, it's summer, which means I get calls from day cares and day camps about library field trips.

I got a call last week from a local school ESL camp that had "at most 30 kids, but probably closer to ten" who are going into 4th grade in the fall. The teacher admitted that she wasn't sure what degree of English language learning each of them were at, but they were learning about space, and needed a very short introduction to the library. I said, "sure, yeah!"

And promptly forgot about it, because I could afford to. Because I knew I was giving this field trip.

Yesterday, I saw on my calendar I was working a split shift  (since the group was coming at 9am but I'm working until 8pm) and started thinking about the books I'd pull. In case you were wondering, the 2 and a half hours between shifts today were spent getting me hopelessly, embarassingly addicted to The Glee Project. I don't even like the show Glee (Ryan Murphy can't write past a first season, which is why reality television is perfect for him). So, there's that.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Librarianing in Hades: a how-to guide

C/O Hyperbole and a Half
There’s a lot of talk this week about how ever-loving hot it is outside. And people, Midwesterners especially, are finding out that those “in-style-summer” fashions, though expensive and bought this year, are not cut out for the current war in which the weather has ensnared us.

Luckily, I spent six years of my professional life in land-locked Tallahassee, FL. I come bearing gifts of fashion advice. Not that I’m fashionable (I actually don’t think I would have agreed to enter the working world if wide-leg trousers hadn’t started selling—RIP my favorite pair of JNCOS 1998-2003), but having lived through entire summers of unbearable heat I do know how to dress for work in an outfit that feels like you’re wearing nothing; which, of course, should be your objective when it’s, as my fiancĂ©e so eloquently puts it, “hot as balls outside.”
Here’s a few tips you can hopefully use, if not for your own sake but for mine, because I’m tired of looking at people and feeling sympathy itching. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Survival of the Fittest, and Astro-pigs

My second Warp Speed! Astro Adventure was based on Mars, taking inspiration from both Marge's SLP pinterest board and the workshop I went to in Madison.

I had 20 attendees total, a little low for the Main library but it WAS extremely hot outside and I probably would have only gotten better numbers if my program took place at the pool or the river.

Like my last program I started with a short read-aloud to set the scene. In fact, the garish drawing on that poster is supposed to be Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot. That sound you hear is my artist father cringing 10 hours away.
Here's a breakdown of what we did:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Alienology: an SLP-themed -ology Spectacular

Of course, being me, my first Summer Reading Program installment-- one of my contributions to our Warp-Speed Astro-Adventures series, a twice weekly program that pretty much is the entirety of my superviser's Pinterest board separated into various 30-45 minute nuggets of fun-- was Aliens. I started with the idea of Alienology due to the success of my mid-winter Wednesday-ology program, and ran from there. 29 kids showed up, and had a great time!

Here's what we did, for easy replicating purposes:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Story Action Pod: Dream Big Edition

 For the Summer Reading Program kick-off this year, I pretty much lucked the eff out by finding a book that not only has a rocket on the cover, it ALSO talks about dreaming "big": "I Could Be, You Could Be" by Karen Owen. Is it the greatest text in the world? No. But does it inspire the most no-brainer Story Action Pod in the world?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Field Trip Adventure Updates!

Adventure, Jamie! Adventure!
Well folks, I am flying high from the outpouring of support my library has gotten for our tours FIELD TRIP ADVENTURES! the past few weeks.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Do-It-Yourself Day


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Friday, March 30, 2012

Collaborating with Teachers

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Time & Bodies

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Writing a Successful Grant Proposal

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Elementary Book Trailer program

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Monsterology

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Avast! Pirateology

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Friday, February 03, 2012

A #Libday8 Tale of Espionage, Villiany, and Happy Feet


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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gaming for Elementary Kids: A Program, Full Stop

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Everything's better with dogs

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