Blogger Tess Prendergast

Celebrating Board Books for Babies

Every year, I teach a survey of children’s literature class to MLIS students. After I have covered the history of children’s publishing, and children’s literacy development, I spend a whole class on books for babies. It’s one of my favourite classes because I get to bring an enormous stack of baby books to class and teach my students all about them.  Reading to babies I start out by reminding them that human babies are born totally helpless and frankly – they don’t care what anyone reads to them. That being said, babies do want and need to be held and touched and interacted with.  Books designed for babies do seem to offer parents and caregivers a nice way of doing just that: holding, touching, and interacting with their babies from their earliest days onwards.  When babies are born, their vision is not fully developed so high contrast books with very clear and spare black…

Blogger Liza Purdy

Essential Storytime Skills: Handling Grown-Ups

All children’s librarians have been there. You’re at the front of the room, trying to interest a group of preschoolers in a carefully curated selection of storytime books and songs, and rhymes. But there’s a current of conversation coming from a corner of the room. Is it a parent interacting with their child? No! It’s two adults carrying on a conversation with one another without regard to the disruption they are causing. Or how about this one? You’ve put on a song, and it is dance time! But wait! There are at least five caregivers who are glued to their phones. You try to make eye contact, but you’re not on their radar at all. It’s so frustrating!  We expect inattention from children. It is developmentally appropriate. But adults are a whole different matter. What are some tips and tricks to get adults engaged in storytime?

Blogger Early & Family Literacy committee

Play and Literacy Programming for Preschoolers

Turning Research into Practice – Connecting Play and Literacy There’s plenty of information available about the importance of play in child development. Unfortunately, the perception persists for a caregiver to see a child stacking a pile of blocks and say, “oh, they’re just playing”. Librarians have an important role in bridging the research/practice gap with programs which empower parents to recognize and engage with their children during these important learning moments connecting play and literacy.

Blogger Tess Prendergast

Hands-on Storytime: Felt Stories & Early Literacy 

In a 2004 School Library Journal article called “Children of the Cloth”, Renea Arnold and Nell Colburn say that flannel (or felt) stories “are a great tool to help kids learn early literacy skills.” (p.37) and I heartily agree with them.  They acknowledge that felt stories have been a storytime staple for years in schools and libraries. They explain these fabric-based stories invite participation as young listeners try to guess what will appear from behind the feltboard or call out the name of the animal, letter, or object being put on the board. I especially appreciate that Arnold and Colburn emphasize how this kind of storytelling helps young children learn – that stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. Because felt stories usually emphasize sequences in visual way,  as pieces of the story are put on the board one by one, or taken off one by one, children learn how stories work….

Blogger Amy Steinbauer

The show must go on? Emergency Program Plans.

Emergency Plans? Stack of books, two black music notes, two multi colored puppets

Before the pandemic, my system would require every information person to be trained in story time, including managers. The reasoning was that in an emergency, anyone could cover the program, and we wouldn’t have to cancel. We also have Emergency Story Time kits at every branch with books reserved for programming, so they don’t circulate; CDs of classic kids songs, song cards, and miscellaneous items like puppets or scarves. Our big emergency story time kit is in a big container with a lid and usually located in the back of the workroom. A few years ago, we updated them to include a laminated list of tips, tricks, songs that everyone knows, etc. Another ALSC blogger, Angela Reynolds covered this topic in 2011. In this new phase of pandemic, and working from the perspective of a manager, I no longer see the absolute necessity in emergency program coverings. Most libraries seems…

Blogger Tess Prendergast

COVID Babies in the Library

In a Disability Scoop article about so-called “COVID-babies”, author Adam Clark explores various ways that the pandemic has affected children’s development. Clark begins with a vignette about a two-year old named Charlie who is in speech therapy to help him learn to speak more than one-word utterances. Nancy Polow, one of the speech-pathologists interviewed in the article, is quoted as saying “I have never seen such an influx of infants and toddlers unable to communicate. We call these children COVID babies.” The good news is that lots of the kids like Charlie who are now turning up at speech therapy centers quickly make strides. After reading this, I found some emerging evidence that being gestated during the early part of the pandemic is associated with some developmental lags. Babies born to two groups of mothers (those who were and those who were not infected with COVID during their pregnancies) were…

Blogger Amy Steinbauer

The Art of Being a Trash-y Library Person

When I was a children’s librarian, I really loved trash. It was a vibe. Despite working for one of the wealthiest areas of my city, there was no funding for my programming. I did it all on my own, and I had to be frugal. I had to look at all my trash and find new purpose for it all, so that I didn’t have to spend too much of my hard-earned money on supplies. If you were to ask me now about it, I would insist that this was the wrong move. I shouldn’t have been spending my own money on this, but I had a zest for this and you couldn’t have stopped me.