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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Friday, April 24, 2015

Embrace Imperfection and Know Your Audience

imperfect flower

Yesterday at the Technology workshop, Cole Zrostlik and Colleen Zertler talked about STEAM programs, particularly ones that use technology.  They both had excellent ideas, and two points really stuck out for me for being helpful when thinking about working with older kids and teens:

Embrace Imperfection:  Colleen talked about going against the Perfect Pinterest Project grain: not having a perfect project to demonstrate, not being worried when things don't work like you expected, and emphasizing the PROCESS over the PRODUCT (sound familiar?  we talk about this with younger kids all the time).  We have to give kids the chance to experiment and mess around.

Cole also talked about the importance of addressing the digital divide partly by allowing kids the time and space just mess around with technology (after first talking with them about how to be a good Digital Citizen).  She pointed out that kids who have access to technology at home probably have opportunities to mess around and try stuff out, and that kids who don't really need time to do that.

Know Your Audience:  Colleen again talked about trying to reach a serious tech-minded audience with her programs when she started by offering a Scratch program to allow kids to make their own video games.  But the kids who were really into that sort of thing didn't come to the program, because they were way beyond it, already having taught themselves C++ programming.  Scratch was way to elementary for them--but her tech programs do reach kids who might not think they are smart enough to do electronic circuitry, etc., but are attracted by the idea of the project itself.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ALSC Summer Reading Lists

The Association for Library Service to Children (of the American Library Association) has produced recommended reading lists for kids to enjoy over the summer.  They come as part of 3 brochures--divided by age group, which they invite libraries to print (including their own library logo and information) and distribute.  How neat is that?  Pretty neat.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Librarians and Resilience

I attended a conference put on by the Eau Claire Brain Team yesterday, and one of the sessions was about ACEs--Adverse Childhood Experiences--and the long-term health effects ACEs can have.  But also about ways to help mitigate their effects by helping children and teens develop resiliency.  Powerful stuff, and I believe that libraries--and librarians--have a role to play in this.  I think most of us would agree about the positive difference a relationship with a caring librarian can make, or having a safe place like the library to go --we've all heard stories that attest to that.

I was super-excited when the presenter suggested a list of people and organizations that are excellent partners for informing people about ACEs, preventing them, and helping children develop resiliency once they have occurred.  Guess what organization TOPPED THE LIST?  Libraries.  How cool is that?!  It was heartening to have libraries recognized and advocated-for as partners in this important work.  We have a place at the table for discussions about this, and they are important topics for our communities.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

On Winging It

Birds in flight
I was reminded again today of the grace of librarians.  In Eau Claire every April, there is a monumental effort on the part of schools and the library to have every first grade class from every school visit the library.  This is a tremendous project under any circumstances, an all-hands-on-deck sort of affair.  The tours started today, and last night Alisha found out that every other person in her department was going to be out (a perfect storm of illness, appointments, jury duty and vacation).

Rather than panic, she lined up the resources she had (staff from other departments came to help kids find materials at the end, and helped direct traffic during the storm of check-outs; a person whose day off it was came in to help; and I came, too).  She changed her plan for what would happen during the day.  And she rolled with it.  Pretty impressive, and I know it is something that all of you do regularly!  Plans B, C, and D are all in a day's work!

I had my own run-in with winging it.  I managed to mess up the machinery for showing a video about the back-end of the library, and while someone from the library valiantly tried to fix it, I pulled out a few tricks from my back pocket to keep the kids busy.  But I wished I had more up my sleeve!  I realize that 10 years away from direct service leaves me a little slower on the uptake with the snappy games and rhymes that will keep a group of kids focused and happy.  And I was a little wistful, but also grateful to have a chance to think on my feet in a way that nothing like a roomful of squirrelly first-graders will require.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Nominate a School Librarian!

This came across my email today and I thought it looked like a great way to recognize the fabulous elementary and middle school librarians in our midst.  It's super-fun to nominate amazing people for being amazing...Just saying...

Do you know a creative elementary or middle school librarian/library program? Nominations are due by April 30 for SLJ’s Build Something Bold award.

The criteria includes:
  • ·         Creativity in space and program design
  • ·         Effectively integrating curricular objectives toward enhancing literacy through hands-on activity
  • ·         Demonstrated student engagement and impact on learning
  • ·         Cost-effectiveness and ease of replication

Nominations can be made by applicants themselves or administrators, peers, or institutions. A winner and two finalists will receive cash awards and be profiled in an SLJ feature story. The winner will also receive a classroom pack from sponsor LEGO Education.

For full details, visit: http://www.slj.com/buildsomethingbold/.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easy Storytime Adaptation

Having fun with homemade ribbon wands in River Falls
I really liked this short and sweet explanation in the ALSC blog of how to make your storytimes more inclusive to kids with various physical challenges (some obvious and some invisible).  Check out Amanda Moss Struckmeyer (from here in Wisconsin!) and her post about simple adaptations to the way you introduce activities to make them easier for all kids to participate!

Friday, April 3, 2015

March Reading Goals

March reading goal summary is below.  Only 6 contributors, but we came up with a pretty good list!  Consider contributing next time--our goal is to read Stand-Alone books for kids graduating from easy-readers (fiction and nonfiction) in the month of April.

March Reading Goals List-Funny Books

Preschoolers/Primary Grades

Thomas, Jan.  Here Comes the Big Mean Dust Bunny.  2009.
Krissa  from Roberts enthusiastically recommends this book as a great one for storytime.  Few words on a page and fun illustrations make this a great choice for beginning readers and preschoolers.

Bailey, Linda.  If Kids Ruled the World.  Illus. by David Huyck.  2014.
Valerie from Ladysmith enthusiastically recommends this book for storytime that encourages lots of discussion and imagination.

Barnett, Mac.  Count the Monkeys.  Illus. by Kevin Cornell.  2013.
Leah from IFLS enthusiastically recommends this for storytime or one-on-one reading, it would be popular with primary grades, too.

Barnett, Mac.  Telephone.  Illus. by Jen Corace.  2014.
Leah from IFLS enthusiastically recommends this one, it might work better for one-on-one reading, and would be fun to share with primary grades, too.

Escoffier, Michael.  Take Away the A.  Illus. by Kris DiGiacomo.  2014.
Valerie from Ladysmith enthusiastically recommends this for preschool and primary grades.  She says “Kids don't necessarily need to be old enough to understand the concept, the illustrations help enormously... for example, "Without the L PLANTS wear PANTS" is accompanied by a drawing plants wearing - you guessed it! - pants.”

Joyce, William and Kenny Callicut.  A Bean, A Stalk, and a Boy Named Jack. 2014.
Valerie from Ladysmith enthusiastically recommends for preschool and primary grades—a humorous take on Jack and the Beanstalk.

McKay, Hilary.  Lulu and the Dog from the Sea.  2011.
Leah from IFLS recommends this book, one of a series of early chapter books by Hilary McKay.  Like most books by McKay, it is charming, funny, and has endearing characters.

 Myers, Christopher.  H.O.R.S.E.:  A Game of Basketball and Imagination.  2012.
Leah from IFLS enthusiastically recommends this one for preschool, primary and middle grades.  Funny, imaginatively exaggerated game of HORSE with a diverse cast.
Novak,B.J.  The Book with No Pictures.  2014.
Kayla from Plum City enthusiastically recommends this popular title for preschoolers, but also to all ages, including adults and families.

Middle Grade (3-5 grade)/Primary Grades

Holm, Jennifer, et. al.  Comics Squad:  Recess.  2014.
Nora from New Richmond recommends this book to comic-lovers.

John, Jory and Mac Barnett.  The Terrible Two. Illus. by Kevin Cornell.  2015.
Valerie from Ladysmith enthusiastically recommends this one about pranks, friendship and cow-wrangling.

Krosoczka, Jarrett.  Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians.  2009.
Leah from IFLS recommends this graphic novel, a very quick read.  The premise is the best part—a lunch lady superhero.
Lansky, Bruce.  Rolling in the Aisles:  A Collection of Laugh-Out-Loud Poems.  2011.
Mary from Ogema might recommend this to kids—she gave it a 6 out of 10 for humor, and got it so kids would have an alternative to Silverstein and Prelutsky.

Rex, Adam. Smek for President.  2014.
Leah from IFLS recommends this title for middle grade readers, but its predescessor, The True Meaning of Smekday is much funnier and works better as a novel, though you can look here for an interesting critique of it by Debbie Reese.

Santat, Dan.  Sidekicks.  2011.
Nora from New Richmond thinks this graphic novel would especially appeal to boys.

Silverstein, Shel.  Runny Babbit:  A Billy Sook.  2005.
Mary from Ogema recommends this book for all ages, and says:  “Spoonerisms are hilarious for all ages and a craft to read!  School Children Enjoy Silverstein and the challenge of reading these aloud during school visits.  I drew enlarged Runny Babbit  and the animals on the endpapers and helped the children create their spoonerism names.”

Middle School/High School

Butcher, Jim.  Storm Front. 2000.
Kayla from Plum City enthusiastically recommends this title to mature readers (including adults) who like dry humor with their fantasy.

Calame, Don.  Swim the Fly.  2009.
Colleen from Menomonie says this book is perfect for reluctant middle and high school readers, especially boys.  Laugh out loud book with lots of bodily noises and gross bathroom smells.

Pratchett, Terry.  The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents.  2001.
This book has been on Leah’s list for a while and this month inspired her to read it because no list of funny books is complete without at least one by Sir Terry Pratchett.  She highly recommends this clever twist on the Pied Piper of Hamelin tale.