Welcome!

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, July 24, 2015

STEAM with Black Lights

In case you aren't already following the Library As Incubator blog, there is a fun, practical post about a terrific STEAM program for teens (I think it would work for younger kids, too).  Black-light painting at the Eager Free Library in Evansville included experimenting to find the best ratios for maximum glow in the paint recipe.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Pepin Public Library Children's Room

Over the course of the past few years, Christy from Pepin has been participating in grant projects, attending workshops and webinars, and generally paying attention to early literacy information.  This year, the children's area underwent a bit of transformation to incorporate more room for play, more items to play with, and a more differentiated area.  Take a peek:

play kitchen and dress up items
 A play kitchen area and a dress-up bin that is painted with magnetic paint offer lots of opportunities to play.


children's room

 The children's area is now purple, which sets it off from the other areas of the library.  You can see a workbench next to the kitchen.  The library moved around some of the collection (hanging bags with books and CDs) to accommodate the new items.

circulation desk with pages from an alphabet book around it
The fun extends to the circulation desk! The pages of an alphabet book line the desk, giving kids and caregivers opportunities for conversation and plenty to look at during the potentially-boring check-out time.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Author award speeches online

baby holding trophy
If you are a fan of book creators, which most book people are, you might find it thrilling to read the inspiring and important words of authors and illustrators who have won important, national awards.  The Association for Library Service to Children has posted the Book and Media Award acceptance speeches.  Take a peek!  Though it isn't quite the same as being there and hearing and seeing the speakers live, it is still fun to see what they are saying--and to learn how much many of them appreciate libraries and librarians!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Media Mentor Learning Opportunities!

I urge you to take advantage of 4 opportunities for learning more about becoming Media Mentors to the families and caregivers in your community!

White Paper cover
The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC),  a division of the American Library Association has written an accessible, important White Paper on the issue:  Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth.  They have also compiled a list of strategies libraries across the continent are using to share information with families about new media.

ALSC is sponsoring a FREE webinar --not just free to members, free to everyone--on Tuesday July 21 at 11 am (Central time).  Blogger, Little-eLit Contributor, and smart librarian Amy Koester (Skokie, IL) will be discussing the ALSC White Paper, including both research and recommendations pertaining to children and media; and apply principles of supporting families in their unique needs from within traditional library services.




And thanks to an LSTA grant from the IMLS, we are holding 2 workshops this fall that will help you feel more confident in this role.  Watch for additional follow-up opportunities, too!

New Media, Early Literacy & Libraries with Carissa Christner, Madison Public Library and Little eLit Contributor.  Friday, September 18, 9-4 pm.  NWTC Conference Center, Rice Lake.  Flyer.  Register.

Media Mentors workshop with Erin Walsh (Mind Positive Parenting) and Chip Donohue (Erikson Institute) on Tuesday, October 6, 9:30-3:30 pm.  Florian Gardens, Eau Claire.  Flyer.  Register.  Please invite community partners to this workshop!


Friday, July 10, 2015

Presenter Rave--Survival!


Learning to signal for help by catching light on a reflective surface
Thanks to Alisha from LEPMPL in Eau Claire for this guest post:

When planning for my summer demonstration programs I wanted to find something new and different than what I’ve ever had before.  I had thought about someone coming in to talk about hiking or camping safety or something along those lines.  I ended up finding a survival class taught by Kyle Beach who works at the Chippewa Falls YMCA and is starting up a business called Prepared Solutions Group.  He was really great to work with and put on a very nice program.  I had approximately 110 in attendance.  This would work for a children’s (elementary school-age and up) or adult program. 

Insulation for protection against the elements

He usually puts on longer classes – like a minimum  of 4 hours or a full weekend of survival training in the middle of the woods – but I told him our programs are about 45 minutes.  He was extremely flexible and was excited to find a way to make it work. 

The program started with a full group presentation giving basic survival tips whether you’re lost in the woods or lost in the mall.  Then he broke the program attendees into groups to rotate through three stations for more hands-on experience for survival (based more on survival in the woods than in the mall!). 
Building a shelter

The three stations were: 
1.  Staying hydrated; how to safely transport water using only paper; and signaling for help
2.  Starting a fire without matches (outside)
3.  Insulating yourself and building shelters

He was great with the kids and presented important information in a fun way.  He also does adult programs on topics such as home and vehicle emergency preparedness, self-defense, CPR, etc.  He has a lot of experience in search and rescue missions in Wisconsin, California, Alaska and throughout the Midwest for victims lost in the wilderness, which makes for a lot of interesting stories as well.

More shelter-building


His info is:
Kyle Beach
715-797-0074

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Our Kids

Jacket cover--Our Kids
During my travels last week, I whiled away quite a few hours in airports and airplanes reading Our Kids:  The American Dream in Crisis by Robert Putnam.  In it, he talks about the growing opportunity gap between economic classes.  Kids who have economic privilege have access to more extra-curricular opportunities, more informal mentors, more social safety nets and support than ever before.  Kids who grow up in poverty are increasingly isolated from these opportunities, as fees for extra-curricular activities increase and segregation based on economic class grows.  According to Putnam, there used to be more of an attitude that all kids were the community's responsibility--Our Kids.  Now, he says, families in the upper income brackets are not even aware of the kids living in poverty in their community because their circles never intersect.  I think he paints too rosy a picture of the past, particularly with regard to race, but the statistics he cites about opportunities, graduation rates, and college matriculation are stark.  I found a lot to think about in this book, and I recommend it for librarians who are thinking about what needs to happen to even the playing field for all the kids in their community.

Monday, July 6, 2015

ALA High Points

Tree of inspiration
This year, I was extremely fortunate to be able to attend the American Library Association Annual Conference in San Francisco.  It was the first time in 10 years I'd been to this extravaganza of librarianship.  Apart from a few brief cases of paralysis due to a severe case of FMS (Fear of Missing Something), I found a lot to love at this conference.  Some highlights:

  • Seeing and hearing authors I deeply admire (Jandy Nelson, Tim Federle, Edwidge Danticat, Chris Meyers, and Kwame Alexander to name a few) and having all of them express appreciation for librarians and the work we do.
  • Learning more about the Libraries Transforming Communities project, and getting great ideas about community engagement and making some useful connections with people working on a regional level like I do 
  • Learning about what some libraries are doing to serve people experiencing homelessness, and getting some ideas that are transferable to the smaller cities and libraries in our region
  • Hearing ideas about sharing 5 Early Literacy Practices (Talk, Sing, Read, Write, Play) with teen parents
  • Just being around 25,000 librarians and others who are doing interesting things, talking about important topics, and eagerly connecting with each other was humbling and gratifying
Who knows when I will get to go again, but attending a conference of this scale, while overwhelming, is also eye-opening and stimulating!  Next up--the Wisconsin Library Association Annual Conference, which is less huge and less expensive, but still tremendous for getting inspiration!  Check it out, November 3-6.