Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Art Appreciation at Storytime

During the weekly, all ages storytime I co-present on Fridays, we do art appreciation. This occurs after I finish reading the first book. At this time, everyone is instructed to “find your grown-up” and we pass out half sheets of paper that all have the same piece of art printed on them. While passing out the art, we instruct grown-ups to ask their child(ren) “What do you see?” If their children don’t talk yet, I encourage them to describe what they are seeing with as much detail as possible. Generally, this art relates to one of the two books we are reading that day. After about 20 seconds, Monet Manatee asks the entire group, “What do you see?” Children are encouraged to verbally share what they are seeing as I restate what they have shared for everyone to hear better. There are no hands being raised or protocols, just talking….

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Incarcerated Loved Ones: Picture Books 

We often think of divorce or military service as events that might contribute to families being apart, but family separation due to imprisonment is also a reality for some of the families we serve. According to recent data from the Prison Policy Initiative, almost half of the over 1 million individuals in our prisons are parents to minors and nearly 20% of those minors are under the age of 4. Although a higher proportion of parents in prison are fathers, the imprisonment of mothers has been steadily increasing. Vera, a prisoner advocacy organization, explains that (due to institutional racism and bias) the parents of children of color and children experiencing poverty are more likely to have their behavior criminalized, resulting in harsher charges, and longer sentences than their peers. We obviously don’t know our patron’s personal stories, but given these statistics we should assume that all of us at any…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Focusing on Consent @ Storytime

Consent is a topic I’ve been more intentional of integrating into all the storytimes I plan. This is often done in small ways but every now and then, it’s the theme! To become even more intentional, I was excited when the opportunity presented itself to begin collaborating with a local health organization, Canvas Health, once a month at storytime. One of their Prevention and Education Specialists, Jasmine Lee, attends storytime. Then, I have them do their own introduction after we’ve sung our last song. They never read or lead a song so that our routine stays the same. Jasmine keeps their intro brief and brings a handout about a health topic of interest such as setting boundaries or consent that grown-ups are welcome to take afterward from a table. This partnership is essential for local families so they have a familiar face should a problem arise or they simply have…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Keep It Simple

Children’s librarians are some of the most creative people I have ever met. Some of the programs and storytime crafts I have seen over the years have really been impressive. But, all these great ideas take time to flesh out and put into a program. And sometimes, many times, we just don’t have the time. That’s where the old phrase “keep it simple” came into play for me this past summer. During the school year, we peppered our program schedule with what we viewed as “anyone can run” programs. Bingo days, play dough drop-ins, and Game Club, to name a few. These programs garnered some big attendance numbers. For a one-hour play dough drop-in, we had 51 people attend and they stayed the entire time! As we began planning for summer programs, I realized my programmers were a bit burned out and the new ideas were just not flowing. That’s…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Focusing on Pronouns @ Baby Storytime

Hello! My name is Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez and I use she/her pronouns. I’m a children’s librarian for Washington County Library at the Park Grove Library in Cottage Grove, MN. This is my first ALSC blog post and I’m excited to share how I address pronouns at baby storytime! Baby storytimes are the ideal place to foster conversations with grown-ups so they are more likely to talk with their babies (or toddlers) about the same content at home. Pronouns are often an important part of someone’s identity. Therefore, I find it important to talk about pronouns at storytimes regularly and focus on them specifically a few times a year.  For baby storytime, I like to use The Pronoun Book and integrate the three most oftenly used pronouns in the songs and rhymes.  These pronouns include:  The main rhyme I like to pair with this text is Little Mousie Brown. I encourage grown-ups…

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Misnamed and Mispronounced: Picture Books

Along with a change of seasons, September also brings many other changes: a new school or new school year, new routines, new teachers, and new classmates, just to name a few.  Although often exciting and enjoyable, for some children the new school year can also be stressful and anxiety provoking if their names are challenging for their teachers and classmates to pronounce. Some questions that children in these situations might be grappling with are: Will my new teacher be able to say and spell my name? Will the other kids be able to remember my name? Can or should I change my name to make it easier for everyone else?  An article in the following NEA Today Newsletter, Why Pronouncing Students’ Names Correctly is So Important, discusses the emotional toll experienced by children when year after year they must contend with teachers and classmates who repeatedly misname them. For further…

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Stuck on Storytime: Tips to Plan for Fall

Summer Reading is officially over at my library and fall programming planning is well underway. Even after a month-long programming break, part of me dreaded returning to weekly storytimes. After 10+ years of children’s librarianship, keeping storytime fresh with new themes, stories, songs, etc. is tiring. I felt stuck. Fortunately, there is plenty of help in past ALSC blog posts. Read on for some articles I found helpful in becoming unstuck on storytime, plus a peek at my first storytime plan for September 2023.

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

Save Time and Alleviate Evaluation Stress with these 8 Questions

Emotions are high, and energy is low. Chocolate overflows on every youth services workroom counter. As soon as we hand out the last incentive, relief roars across the children’s floor. Summer was great. Summer is done. Now it is time to buckle down, plan for the slower pace of fall, and think about plans for next year. Yes. That’s right. We get to do this all again. How will you evaluate this summer’s learning program and plan for next year’s while you are still recuperating from the summer sprint?