Welcome to this latest attempt to connect librarians from west-central Wisconsin with each other! Please send in content (booklists, ideas, photos, etc.), and comment on posts so we can help each other. If you were using feedmyinbox to get new posts sent to you before, you'll need to switch to another service (blogtrottr works like feedmyinbox, googlereader is a good blog-reader to try).

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Big Fun Play Date

Exploring the box-blocks
Back in September, Tiffany Meyer, then the director of the Dresser Public Library (now at Ellsworth) attended our LSTA-funded webinar by Rachel Payne about the Brooklyn Public Library's Read Play Grow program.
Amazing sensory input with bubble wrap and other textures taped to the floor

She was inspired to create something similar in Polk County.  She worked with library partners (Osceola and St. Croix Falls), her Friends group, a local family practice physician, early Headstart, the Northern Waters Literacy Council, and others to create a fabulous Big Fun Play Date.
Shredded paper was popular with a variety of ages

The emphasis at the playdate was encouraging young children and their caregivers to interact with each other and play with common household materials.  It was fun to see how kids of different ages interacted differently with the stations.
An older child building with board books

There were lots of great ideas for caregivers to try at home, and many folks talking about what they were going to do at home.  Families got a board book to take home, along with some other materials.  Roving experts talked some with parents about developmental things and, more often, modeled playful behavior.
Osceola Library Director Kelly McBride is a baby magnet--who knew??

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Early Literacy Posters

As part of a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, our super-star graphic design champion Kathy O'Leary created some gorgeous posters promoting 3 of the early literacy practices (talk, read, and play).  These posters are so beautiful, and are partially inspired by the Ridgedale/Hennepin County Library's Together project.  They look really nice in Pepin's children's section, and she's gotten some great comments already.

Don't you wish you had some?  Well, you are in luck!  The posters are available on our website to print yourself (be sure to download to your computer before printing).  If you are an IFLS librarian and you want copies of the 6 posters, please let me know and I will be glad to send you some!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Teens' Top Ten Announced! Plus National Book Awards Nominees

This baby holding a trophy isn't so sure about awards, but they can be exciting!
Thanks to my great colleague Pam Gardow for drawing my attention, which was distracted, to the Teens' Top Ten list (voted on by teens), which was announced this week!  Here's the list.  Do you have all the titles?  How are you promoting them?  Displays, booktalks, booklists? Check out the YALSA site for trailers for each title.

  1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (Macmillan/St. Martin's Griffin)
  2. Splintered by A.G. Howard (ABRAMS/Amulet Books)
  3. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (Tor Teen)
  4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Penguin/Putnam Juvenile) 
  5. Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends)
  6. Earth Girl by Janet Edwards (Prometheus Books /Pyr)
  7. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  8. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (Random House/Delacorte Press)
  9. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (Macmillan/Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)
  10. The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (Random House/Delacorte Press)

And last week, they announced the National Book Award Finalists for Young People's Literature:

  • Eliot SchreferThreatened (Scholastic Press)
  • Steve SheinkinThe Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
    (Roaring Brook Press/ Macmillan Publishers)
  • John Corey WhaleyNoggin (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster)
  • Deborah WilesRevolution: The Sixties Trilogy, Book Two (Scholastic Press)
  • Jacqueline WoodsonBrown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen Books/ Penguin Group (USA))

Wow!  Books on this list will surely inspire fascinating discussions about Important Issues!  I am currently reading Revolution and it is an awe-inspiring mix of fiction and nonfiction.  The other titles have been on my to-read list for a while.  How about you?  Do you use these lists for promoting interest?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Draw-Bots in Prescott!

Draw-bot in action!
Thanks to Becky Arenivar for this post!

If I can help kids make robots, so can you!  Despite a total lack of mechanical aptitude or experience, Miss Becky hosted a second robot-making event on September 25 at the Prescott Public Library.  Our first event, during the Summer Library Program, was Brush Bots, made with a truly foolproof kit from Maker Shed.  I made a Brush Bot at WLA last year and felt comfortable using the kit and running this program.

The second time, I stepped well outside my comfort zone to find the instructions, assemble the supplies, make a prototype and conduct the program, and it paid off.  Our Draw Bots were awesome!  I can't wait to figure out what we'll do for our next maker program.

We set the age level of this event for 7-14 years old and encouraged (but did not require) parents to attend.  We had 9 kids and 5 parents attend.

We ordered motors, battery packs and batteries from Radio Shack. It was pricey ($120), but we got free delivery within 5 days. There are websites where these supplies are cheaper, but they charge a lot for quick delivery.  We bought the hex nuts and other supplies (cups, markers, electrical tape) from Walmart.

I made a prototype (with the help of someone more mechanically inclined than I, thank you dear hubby) to get the kinks out ahead of time. This also helped me figure out what STEM terms to talk about: kinetic energy, potential energy, completing the circuit, conservation of momentum, and eccentric weight.

For set-up, we covered tables with white paper and set up a separate table with all of the supplies.  Each attendee got a "shopping list," and a set of instructions, and I also wrote the instructions on huge pieces of paper and hung them on the wall in back of me.  I also taped a huge piece of white paper in the hallway, so the kids could really let their bots draw.


The motto of the day was "trial and error."  It took about 40 minutes to go through the assembly process, with some kids (and their very hands-on parents) getting done sooner.  We scheduled the event for an hour, but kids and parents were hanging around tweaking their bots and testing them for at least 30 minutes more.

Experimenting with flipping the bots

What about next time?  I'll get my shopping list done early, so I can take advantage of cheaper prices on-line.  I'll be less nervous about having it work perfectly.  When the eccentric weights fell off (actually, went flying off) the kids thought it was fun and got to work putting them back on.

If you're still nervous about doing a mechanical maker program by yourself, I'm sure there are people in your community who would love to help you.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pop-Up Programs

pop-up card photo courtesy of extremecards.blogspot.com 
I know that some libraries in IFLS-land have done some great experimenting with pop-up programs, or programs that don't take a ton of preparation and can be available at any time, whenever there are kids in the library.  The ASLC Blog recently had a great line-up of suggestions from Amy Koester for STEAM pop-up programs.  These look fun!  And it seems like many of them could be adapted for a wide variety of ages, including teens.

If you are looking for more ideas of "stealth" programs that aren't tied to getting kids and teens to the library at a specific time, be sure to look for the breakout session (with Jenna Gilles-Turner and Jessi Peterson) at this year's Summer Library Program workshop!  Register here by November 10.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

School Library Journal Leadership Summit: Fire It UpFire

Fire Circus performing in Cameron

The School Library Journal Leadership Summit , Fire It Up:  Sparking Creativity and Motivating Students is "focused on those taking leadership in creating strong and effective school libraries, including but not necessarily limited to: school librarians and other K-12 educators, public librarians in close collaboration, technology leads, teachers, and administrators."  It looks like 2 full days of panels by school librarians and authors, and this year it is being held in St. Paul, Minnesota on October 25 and 26.  And all for the very reasonable price of FREE.  

I have another commitment that weekend, but I hope some of you go, or share the information with a school librarian you admire.  And if you go? Consider submitting a blog post about it!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Heartland Fall Forum

Patti (background) and her pals Annis and Pam (from Eau Claire Memorial High School) enjoy listening to Judith Viorst
Patti Blount from Durand has been attending the Heartland Fall Forum (used to be Upper Midwest Booksellers Association) for 15 years!  It must be good to get her back every year, and this is waht she says about it: 

Heartland Fall Forum , a regional trade show that supports independent booksellers, is worth attending for librarians!  It was held this year in Minneapolis at the Depot Center on September 30-October 2.  As a veteran to the show, I have seen the changes throughout the 15 years that I have attended, but it continues to be an excellent value for me to go.

This year was very interesting and informative.   Each year, I always learn a lot of great tips and information at each of the educational sessions.   Also, I meet a lot of great authors.  It’s a great event for any librarian to enjoy.  Many years ago, the Amery Public Library recommended I attend this conference, and now I’m recommending it.

Unfortunately since it shares the event with the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, next year’s conference will be in the Chicago area.  It will be coming back to the Twin Cities every other year – so the next one will be: October 5-7, 2016 at the Depot in Minneapolis.

June Baker, also from Durand, attended for the first year this year, and here's what she had to say:

I was like a kid in a candy store! I met authors that I have read and met many that I will have to read through the adult buzz feed.  The Children's buzz feed showed me books that would be useful for storytimes.  The meals were wonderful and you never were hungry.  All in all it was very informative and entertaining.  Can't wait to go again.