Blogger Katie Salo

State Reading Lists & the Early Literacy Librarian

One of my favorite tools in my librarian toolbox are our state reading lists. Before I get into the reasons that the state reading lists are awesome, I’ll give you a quick overview. A Quick Overview In Illinois, a committee made up of teachers, librarians, and educators chooses a list of twenty nominees. From those twenty nominees, kids and teens can read and then vote in February/March for the reader’s choice award. The book with the most votes then wins the Award for the year the voting took place. Illinois has four lists: Monarch Award for K-3rd graders Bluestem Award for 3rd-5th graders Rebecca Caudill Award for 4th-8th graders Abraham Lincoln Award for 9th-12th graders Many other states have their own lists. Some are by grade and some are by subject. (Check out Texas Maverick Graphic Novel Lists!) Why I Love State Reading Lists First of all, most of our…

Blogger Katie Salo

Helping Patrons Navigate Beginning Readers

As the librarian responsible for the beginning readers section at my library, I’ve been working on ways to help my patrons navigate beginning readers. And there was a ton of room for improvement! So…before I got started, this section looked like this: It’s a functioning section, of course. Patrons could reach the books and browse. But it wasn’t the experience that our picture book bins provided. Comparing the two sections (that are right next to each other), I could see that the readers were being left behind. I knew I needed a plan. Weed. The kind of deep weed where you not only check circulation and condition but also content. Is this book a good beginning reader? Has it been surpassed by a newer book? Tidy. Those half-haphazardly placed displays were not working and looked awful when empty. And the shelves were a nightmare! Nothing held up the books in…

Blogger Katie Salo

Five Quick Tips for Book Displays

For the past few months at the library, it’s all about the book displays! I’ve been working on our new centralized display area, as well as some other face-out displays on acrylic holders. It’s been wonderful getting to work on displays again and I love promoting our materials this way! And now…I give you my five quick tips for book displays: Keep your sign short and sweet. I love being creative and creating display pieces, but I have recently adopted the idea of “less is more”. Since I manage so much more at this library than I did in times past, I love taking advantage of signs that are already pre-made or tweaking signs to serve my purpose. My library uses LibraryAware and I love it, but there are other sources such as Canva. Diversify your displays. Make sure that you’re reflecting your community in your book displays. I make…

Blogger Katie Salo

My Year with the 2018 Caldecott Committee

Hi, ALSC blog friends! I can’t believe it’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve “seen” you/written a post. I’ve been very busy this past year, working with the rest of the 2018 Caldecott committee, but I’m eager to be back here on the blog. So, let me tell you ALL the secrets of my year with the Caldecott committee. (No, not any discussion secrets. Those will remain in the Governors Square 15 ballroom in Denver.) I will tell you the secrets to what I think made an incredibly successful year and committee: Make friends with your mailpersons. I let my regular mailperson know that I would be receiving a lot of packages this year, for the Caldecott committee. Since they knew it was important, they left a plastic US Postal Service bin over the packages on rainy days to protect them. Post-it notes. I should have invested…

Blogger Katie Salo

Summer’s Over: Time for Rest and Dreaming

After eight weeks of programming, and five months of planning and promoting: my library’s summer reading program is over. We’ve entered that period of time where the humidity hovers around 90% keeping patrons at home in their air conditioning. That time when staff members are rotating out to take some hard earned vacation time and desk shifts get longer. That time where the summer days seem to slow down instead of fly by. That time that is absolutely perfect for rest and dreaming.

Blogger Katie Salo

Community Storytimes and Programs

Storytime shouldn’t just exist in the library. There are often a lot of barriers for families to use the library. They might have scheduling conflicts during morning storytimes or not have reliable transportation to the building. Registering for a storytime may not be possible or they have other children that need to attend. For these reasons (and more), my library makes it a point to do community storytimes and programs out of the library.

Blogger Katie Salo

Tips for a Successful Music & Movement Program

2016 marks my third year of running the incredibly popular Music & Movement program “Shake, Shimmy, & Dance” during summer reading. This crowd-pleasing, high-energy program packs in 70-120 multi-generational participants each week. I’ve thought a lot this past week about what has made the program so successful and about some tips to pass on to other youth librarians looking to replicate this program. Top Ten Tips for a Successful Music & Movement Program Know your music collection. If you’ve got a particular artist that your community knows and loves, pop them into your playlist. For my kiddos, it’s Jim Gill and Laurie Berkner. If they hear the beginning of The Goldfish Song anywhere, they squeal with joy. Empower your grown-ups to get involved. Don’t let them sit down on the sideline and help lead them by providing instructions or dance tips. I include a ton of dance tips on the…

Blogger Katie Salo

Lessons Learned from Storytime

Storytime is a learning environment and we all have lessons learned — including librarians. While I am a better storytime librarian than when I started, I am still far from perfect. And I’ve learned a lot about what kinds of books and materials work best for me in storytime. But in order to do that, I had to make some mistakes. Five Storytime Lessons Learned Never Repeating Themes At my first library, I never repeated storytime themes. I figured I had to get five years worth of themes since I was primarily doing an all-ages storytime and my youngest patrons would age out in five years. That led to some great creative themes, but it also meant shelving dinosaurs storytime for FIVE YEARS. And besides, repetition is great for kids. Lack of Inclusive Books Whoa, have I made this mistake more than once! I used to do holiday storytimes because…