Back to Basics Part IV: Keep on singing!

As a children’s librarian, one of the things I miss most about pre-Covid-19 public library life is the sound of children singing—singing with others at storytime or just singing out loud as they and their adults go about their business in the library. When children sing, their joy in this activity is contagious. And it makes me especially happy because I know, thanks to the research behind the Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) parent education initiative, that singing is not only a fun activity for children, it helps children develop important early literacy skills. Singing is one of the five practices ECRR encourages adults to use to build a child’s early literacy skills. Singing helps children: hear the sounds and syllables in words, practice the rhythms and rhymes of spoken language, learn new vocabulary words and their meaning, learn the names of the letters that make up words, discover…

Singing and Laughing at Guerrilla Storytime

Today at #alaac15 I attend a rousing Guerrilla Storytime! No matter what I try to make it to at least one per conference. I always come away with new ideas, songs, and rhymes. I also feel energized by the positivity of so many wonderful children’s librarians! (If you want to know more about Guerrilla Storytime, check out StorytimeUnderground.org.) Here are a few tips I picked up today: Looking to model using vocabulary for caregivers? Try swapping out synonyms in familiar songs and rhymes. For instance, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” could also be sung with “sparkle”, “flicker”, or “shine.” To encourage talking is ask adults how to say a word in another language. This is especially great for caregivers who speak multiple languages. To incorporate writing try having a brainstorming session at the beginning of storytime. This is a clever way to introduce a new topic or theme, especially one that…

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…

Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing & Playing with Technology

“We all have only one life to live on earth. And through television, we have the choice of encouraging others to demean this life or to cherish it in creative, imaginative ways.”                                                                                                   Fred Rogers When Mr. Rogers looked at the new medium of television in the 1950s, he saw nothing of value for children. But instead of writing it off, he saw the potential of the new medium to reach children and crafted an entirely new approach and way of using television. That is the model that I look to in using technology with children. Do you approach new media with fear or look for the potential, for “creative, imaginative ways” that enrich life? Many librarians are familiar with and emphasize the five practices of ECRR2 (Every Child Ready to Read 2) in library programs. Can we highlight these practices with intentional use of…

Singing in the Bathroom!

Of course we are all rock stars in our own bathrooms, but what about at the Library! I can’t think of a better place to encourage customers to sing than in the bathroom!  Just simply post the words to songs and nursery rhymes with a few eye catching photos on the back of stall doors, next to Changing Stations, on the bathroom mirrors and next to the sink. We use a hand washing song in the Children’s room bathroom to encourage children to wash their hands well and get them to sing! We also have Nursery Rhymes by all the changing stations to encourage parents to sing with their babies while in the bathroom. What songs can you think of to put in your libraries bathrooms?

#LookToLibraries: How ALSC Continue to Help Us Navigate in the New Year

The Membership Committee does a lot of interesting work for ALSC in the background – we make sure that we are recruiting new members through diverse channels, that we are supporting existing members with meaningful engagement opportunities like Virtual ALSC 101 or helping members volunteer for the committees that best align with their interests, and that we are retaining members even through times of hardship and uncertainty, by supporting initiatives like the Relief Renewals for BIPOC Members (funded by Friends of ALSC). To meet our goal of supporting members in their meaningful engagement, what I would like to do today is to highlight some other important work being done by member-volunteers of ALSC. Maybe this will inspire you, our reader, to make Getting Involved with ALSC one of your New Year’s Resolutions!

Spanish-Speaking Toolkit Follow-up: Interview

This month, we are following up on our Toolkit for Spanish Speaking Populations with an interview with Amelia Martinez. She is both part of the Spanish-speaking community and serves the Spanish-speaking community and brings a wealth of insight to working with underserved populations.  What is your current position? How long have you worked in your library/community?  I am a Public Service Assistant (Cultural Focus) at the Whatcom County Library System. I started working for the library system 10 years ago. Prior to the library, I worked at a Migrant Head Start as a teacher aid. Before that, I worked for 5 years as a Community Health Worker for Sea Mar Community Clinic. I learned how challenging it is to access services for a lot of Hispanic families. It’s hard when you come from a different country and you are dealing with a language barrier. You are learning everything including the…