ALA Midwinter 2015

An Evening Walk Through Chicago’s Downtown Parks

This afternoon I arrived in Chicago for #alamw15. After settling in at the hotel, my finance and I took a stroll through the surrounding parks. I hadn’t been to the park for a few years (since Annual 2013), and I was delighted by the new and old things that we stumbled upon while rambling. For instance, there’s the new Ice Ribbon in Maggie Daley Park. I love the curves and the sculptures dotted throughout. Also, the railing is nice for those of us who are less than graceful on the ice. Maggie Daley Park, which just opened last year, is also home to a new playground. I could have spent hours exploring the towers, pathways, bridges, and many other small surprises. We also walked past the Art Institute of Chicago, across bridges,  by fountains, and by beautifully lit outdoor venues. All of this in just an hour! Here’s hoping we…


Passive Programming in Practice

Earlier this year my colleagues and I decided to boldly step into the world of passive programming in order to serve our busy patrons. Passive programming encompasses a variety of types of programs that allow patrons to participate with minimal to no staff direction. Often they allow for varying amounts of patron involvement and/or time commitment. On the spectrum of passive programming you can have something as simple as a jigsaw left out on a table for communal puzzling or as complex as a forensic science program with clues, activity stations, and prizes for participants who figure out the culprit. We’ve found that passive programming not only increases participation, but also caregiver-child interaction and exploration. Thinking of trying passive programming? Here are some of the pros: Less staffing at the time of the program. Flexible length (a day/week/month) allows you to serve a large number of patrons Easy to save,…

Guest Blogger

Operation DIY Giant Flannel Board

Let’s Make an Early Literacy Play Space! This year at the Central Children’s Library of the Denver Public Library we began updating our toy area into an early literacy play space. We used the five ECRR2 practices (sing, talk, read, write, play) to guide our design. A while back we found a small flannel board in the back of a cluttered closet. It was too small for our big storytime crowds, so we die-cut some felt pieces and put it in our toy area. Our patrons loved it! Kids and caregivers retold favorite stories and made up a lot of their own. Even though the board fell apart after a few months of use, the caregiver-child interactions it fostered stayed in our memory. We knew we wanted to include a giant flannel board in the new space. We were also inspired by the floor-to-ceiling flannel board used in a temporary…

ALA Annual 2014

And Now for Something Completely Different…

I’m back home now and reflecting on my #alaac14 conference experience. It was amazing – full of inspiring ideas, friends (old and new), and thrilling moments (I can’t be the only one who got a little teary at the Newbery-Caldecott Banquet). Las Vegas was definitely a unique, if difficult city to navigate. But I won’t soon forget the over the top glitz and glitter. In fact, even the restrooms were luxurious! I thought it would be a fun adventure to take pictures of these sumptuously lavish (but oh-so-necessary) rooms as I traversed the city. Here are a few of my favorites:

ALA Annual 2014

The 3 C’s for Evaluating Early Literacy Apps

Yesterday I attended ECRR 2.0 Apps for Early Literacy session at #alaac14. A panel of 6 individuals passionate about early literacy discussed current research for best practices, as well as demonstrating a few of their favorite apps. Panelist Chip D. from TED Erickson encouraged us to think about the 3 C’s: Content – Is the content of the app developmentally appropriate? High quality? Intentional in its support of ECRR 2? Context – Is the app appropriate for the context? Will it be used one on one? In storytime? In another setting? Child – It is appropriate for the individual child? Each child is unique and their personality, interests, and preferences should be taken into account.  

ALA Annual 2014

Are You Making the Most of Your Storytime? – Being Intentional in Storytime

This morning I attended a wonderful session titled Every Child Ready To Read 2 – Does It Really Work? Evaluating the Program at #alaac14. This conversation stimulating session presented the results of an important research study on the impact of ECRR 2 on library storytimes. The research was done in Washington state in 40 libraries of differing sizes over two years. Two groups were created for comparison. One group was experimental in which librarians were provided with training focused around ECRR 2. The second was a control group that was observed, but never given any training. Storytimes were filmed and coded to analyze librarian actions and their on the behavior of children from birth through 60 months. They call their method of evaluation BCPAF/PET and they see it as a way to bridge ECRR 1 and 2 in an effective and intentional way that is easy to plan, identify, and…

ALA Annual 2014

Wait, Where are You?: Directional Challenges at #alaac14

I like to think I’m pretty good when it comes to maps and directions. I’ve traveled a fair bit and I can usually reason my way through a new airport, on public transit, and downtown grids with just a few U-turns. But I think I’ve met my match – Las Vegas. First of all, almost everything is hidden inside a ginormous casino! That really cool restaurant you read about on American Libraries Direct? Yeah, it’s smashed between a block of slot machines and the Rock of Ages Theatre. Second, the signage is bad. It’s like trying to figure out Library Congress (at least for this Dewey loving librarian) using signage translated from another language by a robot. The name of a restaurant won’t be on the sign, “Some restaurants are that way. Some restaurants are that way.” This is ploy to get you lost on the casino floor so you…

ALA Midwinter 2014

Youth Media Awards Announcements at #alamw14

This morning was the first time I attended the YMAs and I was completely wrapped up in the excitement and adrenaline of the crowd. I screamed. I gasped. I was shocked, surprised, and delighted. What an incredible hour! The electric atmosphere is so different from watching at home in your pajamas (I can’t be the only one who has done that) and so I wanted to share some of the fun moments you might not have seen or heard if you live streamed the event. ~The Andrew Carnegie Medal committee standing up to be recognized for selecting the excellent video of “Bink and Gollie: Two for One”, waving donuts in the air. ~The Siebert committee flapping their arms like wings to celebrate “Parrots Over Puerto Rico.” ~The Caldecott committee with train whistles. Whistles no one could hear because the noise from the crowd was deafening! ~The Printz committee sporting matching…