Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

The Power of Active Listening

I am still reeling from the excitement & energy of the ALA Youth Media Awards this week. As part of this year’s Caldecott Committee, I spent the majority of my Midwinter Conference in book discussions with fourteen other committee members participating in the book discussion of a lifetime. It was an incredible thing and I absolutely adore my fellow committee members-I learned so much from them and I felt we all created an incredible bond that can only happen with such an experience. As I reflect on my committee experience, I feel as though I am not only a better librarian and feel more equipped to understand the awards process, but I also feel as though I am coming away from this experience as a better librarian. During our discussions, the power of active listening really demonstrated itself. Listening fully to what others had to say without interrupting or coming…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Back to Basics

My branch manager has challenged us over the next few months to get back to basics. Things like picking up messes, straightening books, push in  chairs, roving the department. So often when we get caught up in programs and other things, we forget these basic tasks. I’ve been thinking a lot about how this can work in Youth Services as far as programming. I always struggle with providing programming for everyone and having options during the day as well as evening and weekends. Yet no matter what we try, we don’t get an audience for evening and weekend programs unless it’s something really big (Star Wars Reads Day, Meet Pete the Cat). I’ve tried Saturday morning storytimes out in the department for the past year and while it’s nice to offer, the crowds are small and the people that come aren’t at the Library for storytime,  but stop by because…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Dance Parties are Fun-and Important!

Yesterday I hosted a Bibliobop Dance Party at my library. I started Bibliobop (our baby/toddler/preschooler dance party) about four years ago. The program includes lots of music and movement, reading books about dancing and music and lots of fun. We use shaker eggs, instruments, parachutes, and scarves. Biblibop is hosted on Saturday mornings once every few months. This Fall, I also started a program called Preschool Wiggleworms, which is another music and movement program. The weekly programs are a bit more themed (we talk about certain types of dance or themes each week) but the general idea is similar to Biblibop. We dance, move, and have fun. My mom is a music teacher, so I grew up surrounded by the arts. Singing and dancing were regular parts of my life. But the more I do these creative movement programs, the more I realize this is an aspect of early literacy that…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Branding the Library

My staff and I love doing programming around geeky fandoms and pop culture. Whatever our kids and teens are talking about, we love to program around it. We have so much fun with our fandom programs and they are always well attended. But it makes me wonder what we can do to make sure all library programs have the same draw. When we put a character name or popular brand to something, people come. Pete the Cat costume character event? 600 people. Star Wars Reads Day? 200 people. Harry Potter Trivia Event? 75 people. Doc McStuffins Stuffie Clinic? 120 people. Halloween Storytime and Trick-or-Treat Parade in the Library-366 people. My average program attendance this summer? 31. Yes, 31 is still a great number and attendance. Yes these big name programs are fun and bring people into the library. But looking at what we plan for these programs compared to what we plan for…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Messy Art and Creative Movement

This Fall, my staff and I got very excited about offering something new in addition to our regular weekly storytimes. We wanted to shake things up a bit in our schedule. Luckily I have staff members who are especially excited and inspired by change and trying new things. I wanted to offer a regular music and movement program ( more than my once a quarter dance party) and I had a staff member who wants to do an art program. So after brainstorming and scheduling we created Toddler Art (ages 18 months-36 months) and Preschool Wiggleworms (ages 3-6) to host on Friday mornings. I was a bit worried about how changing our schedule and taking out Friday storytimes for something else would effect the rest of our programs. Would our other storytimes have a huge jump in attendance? Would we just end up with repeats from earlier in the week?…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Fantastic Family Film Festival

Last year I needed a last minute program to fill in our last week of Summer Reading. We have weekly performers at my branch every Thursday afternoon and we didn’t get one for the final week of July. So my staff and I threw together a Frozen-Sing-Along and had over 150 kids show up! This program was so easy to put together and had such a huge draw that I wanted to repeat our success again this year. We cut back on the number of performers, so I had three open Thursday afternoons to fill with staff led programming. So our Fantastic Family Film Festival was born. Our first one happened yesterday afternoon with a Big Hero 6 Robot Build-Along.   Movies tend to be hit or miss at our branch and we have more success with recent popular films with kids and families. The hero theme of Big Hero…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Fandom Jr. Update

Back in April, I wrote about how we are shaking up our Summer Storytime schedule and adding in a new program called Fandom Jr. The idea is to offer a drop in program on Friday mornings based on popular preschool topics and themes. I promised an update! I hosted my first Fandom Jr. last week and it was a huge success! For our first program, I wanted to focus on community heroes, so we chose the popular Nick Jr. show, Paw Patrol. The program combined a little bit of a playtime, a little bit of a storytime, and lots of fun. I had lots of various activities and stations set up around the room including: Pin the badge on the pup (made by one of my amazing staff using materials from the Nick Jr website) Community Helper dolls (from our circulating toy collection-we have three sets of  community helper action figures and…

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Summer Stress Relief

Our Summer Reading Program starts tomorrow and goes through August 8. We have programs happening every day of the week and most weekends from June to the end of Summer Reading. My branch alone has around 5,000+ kids and teens participate in the Summer Reading Program, not to mention all the patrons that come through our doors and don’t turn in Summer Reading Program information. It’s going to be a long, busy Summer! That’s why my staff and I came up with our Summer Stress Relief Basket this year. We cleared off a space in our workroom and created a space for us to take a break and relax. I added some Kinetic Sand-which is perfect for a quick relaxing brain break! I also included a copy of Secret Garden, the very popular and intricate adult coloring book. My staff have added chocolate and other treats and we’ll keep adding…