Blogger Kirsten Caldwell

Should Libraries be Quiet?

For years, debates have raged over the appropriate volume levels in libraries. Should they maintain a serene quiet, with librarians ready to shush any loud disruptions? Perhaps there could be designated quiet zones for those seeking focused study, while allowing for a slightly livelier atmosphere in areas designated for children. The time of librarians expecting hushed whispers from children as they browse the stacks seems to have passed.

Blogger Kirsten Caldwell

Outdoor Programs for Summer

Do you want to do messy programming but dread the indoor cleanup? Do you want to include more nature elements in your summer program? Maybe the weather is nice where you live and you want to take advantage of it. All of the above are true for me and I am going to share some ideas for outdoor programs that you can use in the summer or other times of the year if you have good weather.

Blogger Kirsten Caldwell

Baby Storytime Songs

Baby storytime is my FAVORITE! Baby storytime songs have been on my mind lately because storytimes just started up again for the season. Generally, I stick to a few favorite songs because repetition is so important for the littles. Repetition also helps the adults learn the songs and they are more likely to join in if they know the songs well. Occasionally, I add a new song if there is a fun theme for the week. Songs can create a structure in storytime which helps them know what to expect. Having a starting song or two and a few songs in between books is a great place to start. Singing is also one of the five early literacy practices! It helps slow down language and often has different notes for each syllable. I think songs are just as important as books in storytime, especially for babies and toddlers.

Blogger Kirsten Caldwell

Interactive Flannel Boards

Interactive flannel boards have become uber popular at my library with kids of all ages. They love being able to manipulate the felt pieces and create their own stories. The projects are quick and budget-friendly. I mix them up with the seasons to keep them exciting and it’s fun to come up with new ideas. Benefits of Flannel Boards The ALSC blog by Tess Prendergast discussed the benefits of flannel boards for storytelling. Tess shares that they are visually appealing, engaging, and are an inexpensive early literacy tool that you can make yourself. Children love using them in storytime to retell the story they heard. She also says that watching their brains process the story in a different way is really fun. The National Child Development Council says that “Encouraging a child to re-tell a story or a number sequence or identify colors and shapes is a great independent activity…

Blogger Kirsten Caldwell

Reading More Children’s Books

So many books, so little time! As a youth librarian doing tons of reader advisory, I want to read more of the books in our collection. Librarians know what is popular with kids, but avid readers have already read all of those. I want to be able to recommend books to everyone who comes in and I feel like I need to read more children’s books to successfully do that. I started this journey by reading some physical copies and listening to some audiobooks. Peeking through the new books and reading their summaries and their professional reviews is a great place to start. Reading a few chapters and diving into the stories we purchase for our patrons is even more helpful. I don’t do all of the ordering for our library system and don’t always know what books are coming in. If a child asks for a book about magic,…