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…

Blogger Katie Salo

Circulating Kits for Early Literacy

In the past few years, I feel like I’ve become an expert in circulating kits for early literacy. Since I started at my library two years ago, I’ve created thirty-nine circulating kits and have collaboratively helped seventeen more get on the shelves for our patrons. I thought I’d take some time today to highlight some of the kits. LeapFrog Kits I have four different kinds of LeapFrog kits on the shelf with a total of sixteen kits: LeapPad 2.0 (4 copies) LeapPad Ultra Tablets (4 copies) LeapFrog Junior Tag Reader (4 copies) LeapFrog Tag Reader (4 copies) Each LeapPad tablet comes with cartridges in the kit and each LeapFrog reader comes with preloaded books. I do basic maintenance of these kits. As each one comes into the library, I check to make sure it’s charged or that the batteries are still in good condition. I also wipe the tablets clean…

Blogger Katie Salo

Parent Teacher Collection Re-Organization

Earlier this year, I took over the responsibility of the Parent Teacher Collection at my library. It was a natural fit since I had to keep bringing picture books to my boss and spending time together to figure out what collection a picture book like Todd Parr’s The Goodbye Book really belonged in. I was also asked to re-organize the collection by de-Deweying and creating browseable subjects. Instead of writing through every step, I made a quick infographic detailing my process: Collection Facts: Collection has ten shelves; roughly 650 books. Books are a mixture of adult books and children’s materials. We decided on seven main subjects: Development, Health, Relationships, Safety, School, Special Needs, and Travel. There are sub-subjects under every main subject except Travel. While the collection is mostly comprised of books, it does have some DVDs and software. At the bottom (in the red polka dot totes) are our…

ALA Midwinter 2016

How the Morris Seminar Changed My View on Awards

It began immediately after the Youth Media Awards were announced on Monday. Quiet whispers to friends and colleagues: “I was surprised by this committee’s choice” and “Why wasn’t this title selected?” and “How could that title have won?” and “My pick didn’t win and it should have!” While I’ve often heard this kind of discussion after the announcement, I haven’t always had the words to articulate a response. But this year’s announcements for me were colored by a very new and different experience — on Friday, I had the great privilege of attending ALSC’s 2016 Morris Seminar. Here are some of the things I learned: Every book has faults. It’s about what book rises to the top of the pile. Only discuss the books on the table. You can’t talk about books from previous years. When you read independently, you read in a vacuum. The committee as a whole is…

Blogger Katie Salo

Storytime Schedules

I’ve written some thoughts on storytime schedules before. While I didn’t have any answers, ultimately I ended the blog with how I was willing to change my storytime schedules to benefit my patrons. This month, I made a list of the decisions the library has made after considering our patrons needs/requests. There are more than listed (especially when the library shares its two programming rooms with a variety of inside and outside groups), but these are the things that patrons frequently thank us for: Having a combination of both registration storytimes and drop-in storytimes. All of the events with the small circle “R” are registration. The others are drop-ins. Providing each age group with at least two day choices during the week. We do our best to alternate this between M/W/F and T/R because of preschool options. Scheduling our “on our own” preschool storytime (Junior Genius) at the same time…