Do Drop In?

ALSC Stock #12

Photo from ALSC Stock Photos

Baby, it’s cold outside (at least it is in Indiana), but we’ve got summer on our minds.

If you, too, are thinking about your Summer Reading Club, make sure that you hop on over to Marge Loch-Waters’s blog Tiny Tips for Library Fun and check out her series on shaking up your Summer Library Program.

The question that’s been on my mind as we’ve started planning our summer programs is whether we need to have registration for programs. I’ve been back and forth and back and forth.

When I first started at this library six years ago, I found that asking folks to register in advance really helped our attendance. We were able to do reminder calls and I think that really helped bring people in.

For the past two summers, our program registration has been a disaster. I’m not sure what switch has flipped, but what we’ve found for the past two summers is that our programs filled up really quickly. We were turning folks away for days or weeks before our programs and then on the day of the program (even with reminder calls AND emails), less than half of the registered attendees would show up. This left us with small groups, leftover supplies, and sometimes dozens of people we had turned away, believing the program would be full.

So this year, I challenged my staff to come up with programs that could be done as drop-in programs. Not only will this be easier on my staff (no program registration!), I’m hoping it will improve attendance and our relationship with our patrons (no having to turn people away!).

What does that mean for our programming?

  • We’re moving more towards “unprogramming” and focusing on creative and experiential programs instead of crafts with lots of prepared pieces. Please read Amy Koester’s and Marge Loch-Waters’s series on Unprogramming for a complete guide.
  • Instead of crafts, we might play a game or do an activity or do an open-ended art project.
  • We’re going easy on theme this summer. We always do. I’d rather have excellent, fun programs that staff are REALLY EXCITED about than “meh” programs that fit a certain theme.
  • We’re actually going easy on programming this summer, too. We’ll have all our regular weekly programs and we’ll have several large performers, but we’ve been so very active in our outreach to schools this year that I don’t want to overdo it over the summer. (Guess what? It’s going to be fine!)

I’m hoping that this is going to make a big difference this summer, for both our patrons and our staff.

What are you revamping or rethinking about your summer programs?

— Abby Johnson, Children’s Services Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN
http://www.abbythelibrarian.com

Posted in Blogger Abby Johnson, Programming Ideas | 4 Comments

Upcoming ALSC Online Learning

ALSC Online Education

ALSC Online Education (image courtesy of ALSC)

Online Courses

Explore new ideas and great library thinking with ALSC online courses! ALSC is offering four great options including three CEU-certified courses. All courses are offered asynchronously (self-directed) meaning you won’t need to logon at a specific time. Learn new youth library-specific skills at a pace that’s comfortable and convenient. Courses start Monday, April 6, 2015.

Webinars

Because life in a library moves fast, ALSC webinars are the perfect solution for someone who wants and needs educational information but doesn’t have a lot of time or resources.  These short (one to two hour) interactive sessions taking place in Adobe Connect give librarians and library support staff the opportunity to learn right at their desks.

March

Building STEAM with Día: The Whys and Hows to Getting Started
Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 12 pm Eastern/11 am Central

May

Celebrating with Poetry Snapshots
Thursday, May 7, 2015, 3 pm Eastern/2 pm Central

Archived Webinars

Missed a webinar you wanted to attend? Don’t worry! ALSC presents archived versions of webinars, which are offered at a discounted price. Archived webinars cost only $25. Please note that recorded versions are not available until all of the live sessions of that webinar have taken place.

Posted in ALSC Online Courses, Blogger Dan Bostrom, Professional Development, Programming Ideas, STEM/STEAM, Storytime, Uncategorized, Webinars | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Still Building!

We librarians are still building our Everyday Advocacy muscles, but we need to add one other thing to the mix, diversity. How can we as librarians connect advocacy and diversity? The talk of the day, the happening of our time, the attention grabber of our consciousness is the conversation taking place currently about diversity. The events in Ferguson, Missouri and similar events in other locations, the insensitive remarks spoken at a National Book Award event honoring Jacqueline Woodson and the on-going We Need Diverse Books campaign are stories which have captured our attention.

At breakout sessions during an ALA Midwinter meeting on diversity sponsored by the Children’s Book Council and ALSC, some takeaway ideas included the following:

  • Use parents and caregivers as resources.
  • Create virtual programs to reach untapped communities.
  • Develop partnerships which are crucial.
  • Create more diverse books.
  • Contact Barnes and Nobles to suggest a list of books that are not on its shelves, and then ask why.
  • Go to patrons wherever they are.
  • Be a change and a leader in your community

Issues raised during the meeting included: There should be more diverse staffing at publishing companies, there should be more characters with disabilities in literature for children. Jason Low of Lee and Low Publishing, suggested that a diversity problem is a cultural problem. Librarians asked these questions: How do you create a more diverse library? How do you reach out to diverse communities? ALSC and the CBC asked librarians in attendance,   what are some gaps you think we can fill? There were even more questions. One of the speakers asked the audience, what changes are you willing to make as librarians? When will you make a change, in one week, one month, one year?

There are many unanswered questions. There are even some final questions to ask ourselves: What are some of the challenges that your library is facing concerning diversity? What are the gifts you bring to the conversation? Gifts is a key word here.

We librarians bring our gifts every day to the jobs we do as librarians. It is part of the everyday advocacy that empowers us. Conversation is the thing that is being added to the mix, and the thing that will ultimately bring closure to the unanswered questions.

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Today’s blog post was written by Barbara Spears, a member of the ALSC  Advocacy and Legislation Committee.

Posted in Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee, Diversity | Leave a comment

Planning for Tweens

Like many of you, I’m feverishly planning for summer reading. My complete schedule is due at the end of this week and even here in the Deep South, everything has been thrown off by ice and snow and power outages and missed deadlines…as crazy as Summer Reading is in a public library, I’m definitely looking forward to summer.

My library isn’t large enough to have separate programming for tweens in the summer, so I encourage rising 6-12th graders to come to my teen programming. Which means I’ve had kids as young as 11 at teen programming. This can work. This is good for socialization and some of your kids will really enjoy it. Fun mentor-type relationships have sprung up among my group. You just have to remember a few things.

  • Adult Supervision. I’ve never had any issues at teen programming among the actual teens, but y’all, there is a big age gap between 11 and 18 and we have to be responsible around that. Make sure your programs are staffed properly. Safety first.
  • Participation, not humiliation. Try not to plan any programs that call anyone out specifically, but do encourage participation. Last year I talked about my photobooth program, which was well-attended and wildly popular. Kids were able to participate without feeling like I’m going to call on them at school.
  • Casual forever. My tween/teen programming is MUUUUCH less structured than my kids programming. Part of this is numbers: I’m never going to get 100 kids at a teen program. But part of that is that junior high and high school kids have their lives structured down to every single second and having a place where they can come make a craft or watch a movie without having to ask permission to use the restroom.
  • Have fun with them.  My main problem in the summer is that while I’m trying to do multiple programs a week, I forget to sit down and actually enjoy myself. The teen and tween programs are an ideal place to do this, as they ARE less structured and require less of me running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I try and take this hour every week during the summer to relax and have a chat with my kids. I love it.

Good luck on those summer plans, fellow public librarians! You can do it!

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Our cross-poster from YALSA today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a youth services librarian in Mississippi, and has worked with ages birth-18 for the last 6 years.

Posted in Tweens | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Professional Development Opportunities for Serving Special Populations

Earlier this week ALSC held an online forum to continue the Day of Diversity conversation from Midwinter. I chair the committee, Library Services to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers, so I thought about the conversation in terms of special populations served by our libraries. “Special populations” is rather weird terminology (“underrepresented” may be a better term). What is considered a special population really depends on each library’s community. A special population in Richmond, CA may not be a special population in Nashville, TN. Even within a city, special populations may vary from branch to branch.

Forum attendees generated lots of suggestions about how to make our libraries more diverse, welcoming places for everyone in the community. This is a huge task – one that requires ongoing assessment to learn who is underrepresented in your community and at your library, one that requires ongoing training of library employees. To this end, I searched library-related continuing education websites for upcoming professional development opportunities focused on services or resources for diverse or underrepresented populations.

Here are some upcoming professional development opportunities:

Library Juice Academy
Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca
March 2-27, 2015 $175
“Participants will discover new books, rhymes, songs, plans and resources that they can immediately put to use in their bilingual storytime programs.”

Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Technology Planning for Patrons with Disabilities – Where Do I Start?
March 12, 2015 FREE
“Learn about resources…including low-cost or free basic assistive equipment [to] download immediately.”

University of Wisconsin – Madison
Library Services for the Hmong Community
March 10, 2015 FREE
This webinar will discuss “barriers that prevent Hmong from using libraries and share the Appleton Public Library’s successful outreach strategies for reaching out to Hmong patrons.”

ASCLA
Improving Library Services for People with Disabilities
March 2-29, 2015 Registration fee varies
Attendees “will review the current level of service to people with disabilities then explore materials and sources that provide additional support or new ideas.”

RUSA
Spice it Up with Pura Belpre!
April 30, 2015 Registration fee varies
In this session attendees will learn about these award-winning titles and “discover how they enhance multicultural collections as well as contribute to instructional strategies.”

These are but a few online opportunities for you to learn more about diverse populations that may seek library services in your community. Another way to learn is to get out of the library and into your community. Attend cultural meetings, local chapter meetings of the (insert special population here) association, and special events. Think about who you don’t see in your library and find a way to learn more about that population. Then make a plan for proactively invite them in.

Africa Hands is chair of the Library Services to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers committee and author of Successfully Serving the College Bound (ALA Editions). She’s @africahands on Twitter.

Posted in Blogger Library Service to Special Population Children and their Caregivers, Community Forum, Diversity, Professional Development, Webinars | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Music, Movement and Stories

A new highly interactive early literacy storytime featuring instrument exploration, songs, fingerplays, dance and books for ages 3 and up.

Chandra and Sheila playing the drums. photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

Chandra and Sheila playing the drums.
photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

Created by Community Librarians Sheila Grier and Chandra vanEijinsbergen, Music, Movement, and Stories (MnMS for short) is one of my favorite new children’s programs for ages 3-5 at Deschutes Public Library.  The music cd’s, books, and musical instruments circulate between all six branches.  The program includes two stories and lots of dancing, singing and playing musical instruments.

I joined Sheila and Chandra in our Early Learning Space at the Downtown Bend Library and we made some noise!   We talked about the most asked about questions and shared favorite books and ideas.

How did MnMS start?

“Music Movement and Stories started when I began to read about doing a music program at our library and wondered why most music programs at libraries do not include the great books we have about music, dancing or sing-along books.  We can feature these books along with our cd collection,” says Sheila.

Do you use a different theme each week?  (scarves flying around…)

Chandra vanEijinsbergen, Community Librarian photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

Chandra vanEijinsbergen, Community Librarian
photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

Chandra VanEijinsbergen says, “Some of the librarians do.  Like with regular story time, I like the idea of using themes in MnMS.   Some themes came together naturally, for example farms.  Easy to find both books and songs about farms and farm animals.   Food was more difficult- books were easy and songs to use with shakers or musical instruments, were sort of easy.”

When do you offer MnMS?

“We do MnMS on a different day than our regular story times, Baby Steps, Toddlin Tales and Preschool Parade,” says Sheila

 What is your story time structure?

  • Welcoming/Hello song
  • Listening song
  • Two movement songs
  • Story (book or felt board)
  • Two musical prop songs – ribbons, scarves, bean bags, hoops, etc.
  • Story (book or felt board)
  • Two musical instrument songs
  • Goodbye song

Ideas for handing out and getting materials back?

“Sing a song”, says Sheila.  For example, Kathy Reid-Naiman’s “I’m Passing Out the Sticks” & “Time to Put Away”.  “Talk about the instrument or prop as you are handing them out.  Put a container in the middle of the room, they will happily return items.”

Any great tips to share?

Sheila Grier, Community Librarian photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

Sheila Grier, Community Librarian
photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

Sheila’s tip:  Telling the parents that it’s ok to look silly and dance it’s a must, their child, grandchild will think they are wonderful and mimic what the adult is doing.  I love seeing the dads and grandpas dancing.

Chandra’s tip:  Remove chairs from the story time space.  This encourages caregivers to sit and participate with their childIf you have a smaller group, sitting in a circle is nice.

Paige’s tip:  Take over the whole story time room.  Wiggle, shake, shimmy, jump and march across the room backwards.

Thank you Sheila and Chandra!  Check out their recommended books and music below!

 Traditional Song Picture Books

  • Down by the Station by Will Hillenbrand
  • Hush Little Baby by Sylvia Long
  • Old MacDonald by Jessica Souihami
  • On Top of Spaghetti by Paul Johnson
  • Over in the Meadow by Jill McDonald
  • Pete the Cat Wheels on the Bus by James Dean
  • Ten in the Den by John Butler
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by Sylvia Long

By Jane Cabrera

  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  • Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
  • Row Row Row Your Boat
  • If You’re Happy and You Know It
  • Ten in the Bed
  • Wheels on the Bus

by Iza Trapani

  • Baa Baa Black Sheep
  • The Bear Went over the Mountain
  • Here we Go Round the Mulberry Bush
  • How Much is that Doggy in the Window
  • Itsy Bitsy Spider  *
  • I’m a Little Tea Pot
  • Row Row Row Your Boat
  • Shoo Fly
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
MnMns Photo by Tina D.

MnMns
Photo by Tina D.

Scarves or Ribbons

  • Wiggle Song by Dragon Tales from Dragon Tales-
  • Freeze by Michael Plunkett from Shakin the Chute
  • Fast Slow by Laura Berkner from the Best of
  • Parachute (or ribbons)
  • Got the Wiggles by Michael Plunkett from Ribbons and Rhythms
  • Long Ribbons by Michael Plunkett from Ribbons and Rhythms
  • Shake Your Reader Ribbons by Pam Schiller  from Leaping Literacy
  • Ribbon Dance by Michael Plunkett from Rhyme and Rhyme movement

Bean Bags

  • Beanie Bag Dance by Greg and Steve  from Kids in Action
  • Bean Bag Boogie by Learning Station from Me and My Bean Bag
  • Bean Bag Rock by Georgiana Stewart from Action Songs for Preschoolers
  • The Bean Bag by Hap Palmer from Can a Jumbo Jet Sing the Alphabet

Dancing/Movement Stories

  • Baby Danced the Polka by Karen Beaumont
  • Croaky Pokey by Ethan Long
  • Dance with me by Charles Smith Jr.
  • Dancing Feet or Farmyard Beat by Linda Craig
  • Dancing in my Bones by Sylvia Andrews
  • Down by the Cool of the Pool by Tony Mitton
  • Hilda Must be Dancing by Karma Wilson

Listening and Free Dance Songs 

  • Wiggle Walk by Georgiana Stewart from Toddlerific
  • Jump Jump by Lolly Hollywood from Go! Go! Go!
  • March Around by Lolly Hollywood from Go! Go! Go!
  • Put Your Little Foot by Carole Peterson from Dancing Feet
  • My Energy by Laura Berkner from Under a Shady Tree
  • Jump Up by from Imagination Movers
  • The Wiggle Song by Carole Peterson from Sticky Bubblegum
  • Rock and Roll Freeze Dance by Hap Palmer from So Big
  • Clap Your Hands by Singalong Kidz from Singalong Kidz
  • Parachute (or ribbons)
  • Clap Your Hands by Kathy Reid Naiman from Preschool Songs 1
  • Walking Walking by Ann Marie Akin from Songs for Wiggleworms
  • Put Your Finger On by Parachute Express from Feel the Music
  • Stretch!  by Dragon Tales  from Dragon Tales
  • Clap Clap Clap Your Hands by Carole Peterson from Sticky Bubble Gum
  • Statues by Georgiana Stewart from Action Songs for Preschoolers
  • Hands are for Clapping by Jim Gill from Jim Gill Sings the Sneezing Song and other contagious tunes
  • Twist Stop Hop by Ronno from Jump Start Action Songs
  • I Can Do It by Patty Shukla from I Can Do It
  • Say & Rhyme by Pam Schiller from Leaping Literacy
  • I Can Dance by Ronno from Jump Start Action Songs
  • Spaghetti Legs by Jim Gill  from Jim Gill Sings the Sneezing Song and other contagious tunes
  • Warm Up Time by Georgiana Stewart from Action Songs for Preschools
  • The Freeze by Steve and Greg from We All Live Together
  • The Airplane Song by Laura Berkner from Whaddya Think of That
  • I have a little scarf by Eine Kleine NachtMusick from Moving with Mozart
  • Dancing Scarf Blues by Carole Peterson from Dancing Feet      

   Bells

  • Bell Horses by Kathy Reid Naiman from I Love to Hear the Sounds
  • Tideo By Kathy Reid Naiman from More Tickle Tunes
  • Oh children ring your bells by Kathy Reid Naiman from I love to hear the Sounds
  • Ring them on the Floor by Kathy Reid Naiman from I love to hear the Sounds     

Rhythm Sticks

  •  Nursery Rhyme Tap  by Pam Schiller from Leaping Literacy
  • Tap your Sticks By Hap Palmer from Rhymes on Parade
  • When the Saints Come Marching in by Georgiana Stewart from Rhythm Sticks Rock
  • Sticks on the Move by Georgiana Stewart from Rhythm Sticks Rock
  • Rhythm Stick March  by Michael Plunkett from Rhythm Stick Rap and Tap
  • Chim, Chimmy Chimpanze By Pam Schiller from  Leaping Literacy

 Shakers

  • Milkshake by Anne– Marie Akin from Songs for Wiggleworms
  • We’re going to the Market by Kathy Reid-Naiman from I Love to Hear the Sounds
  • Shaker Hop by Carole Peterson from Dancing feet        

For more great MnMS recommendations, please email Sheila Grier at sheilag@deschuteslibrary.org

Paige Bentley-Flannery is a Community Librarian at Deschutes Public Library. For over fifteen years–from Seattle Art Museum to the New York Public Library to the Deschutes Public Library-Paige’s passion and creative style for art, poetry and literature have been combined with instructing, planning, and providing information. Paige is currently serving on the ALSC Notable Children’s Book Committee, 2015 – 2017. She is a former Chair of the ALSC Digital Content Task Force and member of the ALSC Great Websites Committee.  

    

Posted in Blogger Paige Bentley-Flannery, Programming Ideas, Storytime | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Funny Read Alouds for the Elementary School Crowd

I’ve been invited to a local elementary school’s Family Reading Night. I missed last year’s event due to scheduling conflicts, so I’m super excited that I’m able to participate. One of the activities in the Family Reading Night program is rotating throughout classrooms in which guest readers read a variety of picture books.

The books I chose for this program have to meet certain criteria (my own criteria; the school allows you to choose your own material). If it’s a funny read aloud, it usually goes into my stack of books. I need to be able to read it several times in succession without getting bored with it. Although the audience in mind are elementary school students (and their families), I want them to entertain any younger or older siblings. Quite a tall order!

Throughout my experiences with this program, I’ve kept a list of tried and true sure-fire, attention-grabbing read aloud favorites:

chicks

(Image taken from Scholastic)

When it’s football season, I usually choose Aaron Reynolds’s Buffalo Wings. Football season is over, so Chicks and Salsa it is. If you had nothing to eat but chicken feed, you might also look for ways to spice it up. These intrepid barnyard animals make a delicious spread, although no one is quite sure how the ingredients are procured.

 

grubb

(image taken from Scholastic)

John and Ann Hassett’s take on The Three Billy Goats Gruff is a hilarious read aloud about a school-avoidant boy who has a taste for jelly doughnuts.  If you love to employ lots of voices in your read alouds, check this one out. It’s just as much fun to read as it is to hear.

granny

(image taken from Scholastic)

When I discovered this book, I loved it so much that I immediately had to share it with my toddler story time. While it was such a failure with that particular group that I haven’t tried it again, I have read What! Cried Granny to enough preschool and elementary school classes that I know its humor comes across loud and clear for older students. Patrick and Granny are all set for his first sleepover….or, so they think! Seems that Granny’s house is lacking in several key items, but her impressive resourcefulness carries them through. Unfortunately, it’s at the expense of a restful night! If you need a not-so-sleepy bedtime story for a pajama story time, you need to include this book.

I’m also planning to read The Book With No Pictures for the first time; very excited about that one as well!

Do you have any favorite funny read aloud titles for elementary school classes? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

Posted in Blogger Jennifer Schultz, Children's Literature (all forms) | 9 Comments

Researching and Writing

I am alone. It is quiet, but I am happy because this is when I do my best writing. I compose my rough drafts for non-fiction science books and articles (and now, blogs) the old-fashioned way. My words meet a pad of paper and a pen before any keyboard or computer. I also write at my local public library where I can be by myself and it definitely is quiet. Although I conduct much of my research on-line, I do a great deal of exploring in the presence of books at the library. Reviewing what already has been published is essential for gathering inspiration and information.

Just as researching what information exists is necessary to my writing process, so is going out into the field. My favorite part of this job is field research for my writing. I have been fortunate to travel to different parts of the world–Europe, Africa, Central and South America, and soon Asia–with my mind open to material for children.

Even as a school child, I loved to research in the library. I remember well the days of Dewey Decimal drawers in card catalogs. I always enjoyed writing research papers and learning new things. Sometimes when I could not locate a reference, my high school librarian proved to be a magician. She made books and articles appear from nowhere. I wish I could remember her name.

When researching my first book, The Lucy Man: The Scientist Who Found The Most Famous Fossil Ever!, I discovered picture books for elementary-age children on human evolution and more complicated texts for high school students. But few books existed for middle school children. I found a similar deficiency when researching astronomy for my next book, Explore The Cosmos Like Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Space Science Journey. My books fill the gap for this age group.

I chose to use the life stories of famous living scientists to bring science alive for students. I hope children become more excited about being scientists when they learn about the important work real scientists are doing and the science work that can be done by those very children in the future. So far, I have written about finding fossils on land and searching for stars and planets in space. Where am I going in my writing next? Last year I snorkeled off the coast of Belize to research ocean science. Now, I am in the library reading books about the ocean and focusing on women marine biologists and oceanographers to interview. Then I will sit down with my beloved pen and a pad of paper to begin another book.

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Our guest blogger today is CAP Saucier, a former pediatric nurse who writes science-related materials for children. She has published two books and two articles in children’s magazines. CAP serves on the board of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

Posted in Author Spotlight, Guest Blogger | Leave a comment