Trivia Night at #alsc14

Trivia Night at NI14

Dewey Lewis and the News at Trivia Night (image courtesy ALSC)

Last night was the Trivia Night at the 2014 ALSC National Institute. A big thank you to our hosts, the Pacific Coast Brewing Company. Nearly 100 librarians packed the place to battle for bragging rights (and some swag).

The questions were tough, but everyone had a great time. Perhaps the best part of the night were the team names. I’m going to share a few of them for you here (the ones I remember anyway):

  • The Original Pickle (you had to be there)
  • Dewey Lewis and the News
  • The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Trivia Team
  • Win!
  • Undercover Geniuses

Congratulations to the winners and everyone who participated. It was a blast!

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Gene Luen Yang at Breakfast for Bill #alsc14

This morning’s Breakfast for Bill program was such a treat. I absolutely love hearing authors speak about their work, personal writing journeys and library experiences. The wonderful panel today consisted of four special authors, but I was most excited to hear Gene Luen Yang speak. I loved American Born Chinese and was equally impressed with his recent Boxers & Saints titles.

Yang shared his difficulty finding reading at the local library once he reached 5th grade which led him to discover the local comic book store. He hilariously told how his friend would join him in sneaking comic books home in large library books out of his parents sight. As an elementary school student I also snuck my Spider-Man comics home in library books and was pleased to hear that other kids used this tactic!

It was an overall great panel full of funny stories and touching recollections. What a great way to start day two of the institute!

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STEAM Power Your Library at #ALSC14

The marvelous Amy Koester shared a brimful hour of ideas and information about doing STEAM eight kids in the library. (For those unfamiliar, “STEAM” = Science, Tech, Engineering, Arts, & Math)
The first thing Amy said was: everyone can STEAM; no special content expertise is required! After all, all of us have science and art competency greater than or equal to a preschooler.

Next Amy posed and answered the question: Why STEAM in the library? First of all, kids LOVE it, and interest is a powerful motivator for learning. But also, modern literacy is multifaceted- today’s learners don’t just need reading skills- they need the intellectual skills of a STEAM mindset.

Amy took us on a whirlwind tour of how she does each of the elements of STEAM first with preschoolers and then with school-age kids.

In a Preschool Science program: introduce a concept, read a book and talk about it, then offer hands-on activities. Always promote observation, and include relevant vocabulary.

When thinking about technology and preschoolers, remember that “technology = tool.” Tech doesn’t only mean new media and electronic devices! Scissors are developmentally appropriate tech for preschoolers. Amy says we should “use your tools to explore and create,” and always promote joint engagement with caregivers and children and technology. An iPad is a tool like scissors- would you hand your toddlers scissors & walk away?

In preschool engineering activities: Pose a challenge, then provide materials, space, & plenty of time for the children to test and try their ideas. Always encourage comparing & contrasting, & always encourage modifications.

There are endless ways to do Art with preschoolers, but Amy shared some examples of preschool art that incorporates a STEM concept: gravity painting, pattern necklaces, paper chain measuring, & dough sculptures.

For preschool math, it’s important to keep in mind what concepts are developmentally appropriate to the age of the children, and to share math through games and fun activities. It’s also so important to avoid giving kids the message “math is hard.” If they hear this from an important adult, they’ll absorb the idea. Model positive attitude and make math fun!
Work math in everywhere- measure, count, describe shapes.

For School-age science programs, focus on deepening kids’ concept learning with hands-on activities and lots of opportunities to test & observe. Always demonstrate concepts when possible, leave plenty of time for trial & error, and tie into books and other resources

In school-age tech programs: provide the equipment, a little instruction, & just give the kids time & space to create. Always into how the tech works, encourage peer learning, & set aside time for kids to show off their creations to their adults at the end.

For school-age engineering activities, much like for preschoolers: pose a challenge, then provide open-ended materials and let them go for it. Always provide access to resources, encourage testing & modification, & have the kids talk through their creations.

For school-age math, rather than a separate activity, make math an element of a larger activity. One great idea math Amy shared: start an art or engineering activity by giving all the children a set amount of “funny money,” and give all of the available supplies a price- the kids can create anything they want, but they have to add and subtract the costs, maximize their resources, and and stay within their budget.

Amy also shared ideas for STEAM services in the library beyond formal programs:
1. Activity stations- keep it simple, include signage do kids and parents know what it is (and that they’re allowed to play with it), & change them out regularly.
2. Displays- curate these intentionally, be liberal with formats & reading levels, & make it interesting.
3. Publicity- make it easier to find great resources, & be responsive to your community’s interests.
4. Readers’ Advisory- know your collection & your readers, make connections across formats, & encourage kids’ interests.

Amy Koester was so full of great ideas- we went right up to the last second of our time slot and she was talking fast! I can’t wait to get back to my library and try some of these out. I am definitely going to try the “supply budget” with funny money to bring more math into our next open-craft program.

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Oranges and Elefantes: ECRR2 en Espanol #alsc14

A highlight of yesterday was a group singalong of “Los Elefantes,” a tune that’s perfect for Spanish and bilingual storytimes. Abigail Morales was showing “Every Child Ready to Read en Espanol” attendees how to enrich “Los Elefantes” by clothespinning paper elephants to a string to visually reinforce the counting component of the song.

Abigail, Ana Elloa Pavon, and Saroj Ghoting provided many tips on how to implement ECRR into libraries serving Spanish-speaking communities. A handy kit helps librarians share reading, writing, playing, writing, and singing literacy tips and is available through the ALA Store.

Not sure if the kit meets your needs? Abigail shared how the San Diego Library personalized the kit, making it more culturally relevant to the families her staff serves. In addition to “Los Elefantes,” she demonstrated a cool interactive multi-sensory activity using oranges.

Ana shared a detailed bibliography of Spanish and bilingual books that can serve as a guide for collection development.

This was a very useful program that will help us serve our growing Spanish-speaking populations.

Posted in Books, Children's Literature (all forms), Collection Development, Diversity, Early Literacy, Institute 2014, Live Blogging, Programming Ideas, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2016 ALSC National Institute in Charlotte, NC #alsc14

NI16 in Charlotte

The 2016 ALSC National Institute will take place in Charlotte, NC (image courtesy ALSC)

Last night at the General Opening Session, ALSC President Ellen Riordan announced that the 2016 ALSC National Institute will take place in Charlotte, NC. It might be far away, but we’re excited about our trip to Charlotte. This event will take place September 15-17, 2016.

You may be wondering about the bee in our logo. Charlotte has been called the Hornet’s Nest City (hence the NBA team name). This name goes back all the way to the American Revolution.

Even though the 2014 Institute is still only in it’s second day, we hope that you’ll consider joining us in Charlotte in two years! Keep checking back on the Posted in Blogger Dan Rude, Institute 2014 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Spellcasting and Singing

#alsc14 Maxim of the Day: Sometimes you’ve gotta sing outside of the shower.

Take it from Gay Ducey, a speaker on the “Using Volunteers to Expand the Walls/Books for Wider Horizons” panel. She warmed up Thursday’s #alsc14 audience by asking us to stand up and sing the storytime smash hit “To Stop the Train”–several times in a row.

Singing not only works with kids, but is an effective tool when leading a storytime training for adult volunteers: people loosen up, get active, and have fun. After this clever icebreaker activity, their brains are primed to soak up the content rich presentation that follows.

She also emphasizes to volunteers that their storytime presentations will make a lasting  impression on kids.

“Storytimes are a kind of spell children need to have.”

By creating this special timeless moment in a child’s life, a storytime volunteer is helping the child associate reading with fun and good feelings.

Inspire your volunteers to be spellcasters and singers–the children they reach will not only be enchanted, but will likely become lifelong readers.

Posted in Early Literacy, Institute 2014, Live Blogging, Outreach, Storytime, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Inspired Youth Grant Writing at #alsc14 #oakland

Do you need money for awesome youth programming at your library? Of course you do! As part of my library’s grant writing team (a tag team comprised of myself and the awesome librarian/superhero Katie Holahan) I am always on the lookout for funding opportunities. Nancy Baumann and Lisa McClure presented a great session this afternoon that provided practical, helpful tips on writing successful grants for anyone in need of funding.

In addition to a wealth of suggestions for grant opportunities session attendees were also given an overview of McClure’s “inspiration to execution” tactics for grant writing. She suggests following the “6 Cs” when pursuing a funding opportunity.

1. Consider: Think about the funder’s mission compared to your library’s mission. Do they align? Be sure to know your youth trends and research. Consider yourself and what distinguishes you from other applicants.

2. Convince: It is important to demonstrate the need for this funding. Be sure to make clear that you are not serving the organization, but the people of your community.

3. Conceive: Collaborate on your idea and tie everything together clearly so the funder can understand how it meets the need. Don’t forget you can manipulate your idea to fit the grant.

4. Calculate: Have your budget together before you write the grant. You should include staffing, marketing and even conference costs in your budget if you plan on presenting this project to your peers.

5. Compose: Follow directions, outline key points and review, review, review!

6. Conquer: (!!!) Remember, it is about improving young lives and creating a thriving community.

Inspiring, right? I can’t wait to bring this knowledge to my library and hopefully snag some funding thanks to these great tips!

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Recruiting Supermodels #alsc14

I was a pint-sized model. In 4th grade, I read aloud storybooks to friends at an after school daycare center that I attended. At the time, I had no idea that this experience would prepare me for my career as a children’s librarian. And I certainly had no idea that I was imparting a love of reading to my listeners–my peers.

Speakers at today’s “Inspired Collaboration: Early Childhood Partnerships” made me recall this memory when they talked about how they recruit everyday library users to model experiences for potential library users. As a professional, you can tell patrons about a service and model it for them yourself. But sometimes people may feel most inspired to try something new when they see someone just like themselves doing an activity.

One of the presenters shared a story about how mothers in a housing community receive early literacy training. In turn, these mothers visit apartments within their building and train their neighbors.

Another presenter talked about how she invites a dedicated storytime mom and her two kids to attend outreach events for new library users. This experienced storytime family is on hand to help model how easy it is to share books with kids.

Not only is this a great way to spread the library’s message–but it’s a fantastic way to engage your knowledgeable patrons and make them feel like supermodels. Who knows? They may eventually make a career out of it!

Posted in Early Literacy, Institute 2014, Live Blogging, Outreach, Storytime, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment