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|Materials ready for one of our small branch libraries|
The time is nearly here. The supplies are laid in, the publicity out, the school promo visits just about complete, the database ready, contacts made with groups who come with kids-in-care to get them oriented and staff keen-eyed (or steely-eyed as the case may be). But as prepared as we are, I still like to see what's out there that you all are doing.
As I was reading my feeds (here we pause for the image and book
that inevitably pops into my head when I think about my RSS feeds), I came across a colleague's description of her summer reading programs
. While it was pretty darn nice to see that she had adapted two of the formats we have been using over the years there was a better bonus for me: she shared two other designs for programs (daycares and super readers) that were new to me and that I like quite a bit.
I really appreciate hearing and reading about what other librarians are doing to make summer fun for kids - and staff! Besides reading blog posts, I am lucky enough to travel widely when wearing my hat as an itinerate workshop presenter around my state and region*. And while I share ideas we have tried, I also pick up ideas others have used to make their summer reading or library programs better and more effective.
And how do we get at effectiveness - especially during summer when our days are filled with families, kids, daycares, slp and programs, programs, programs?
I look for posts or listen to people who tell me about how:
- a decision has resulted in more participation by the kids
- registration has been simplified or tossed out and the result
- how prizes have been considered and the results of any change
- strategies that have providing staffing relief really worked
- active programming has been de-emphasized in favor of a true stealth program: SLP
- they include transliteracy into their SLP format
- they innovate in any way and what happens
- new audiences have been reached
- value has been added to a program through a simple innovation
You, my friends, are my guides to change and making SLP more fun and less onerous. These 8-12 weeks should not over-run our thoughts, energies, and ability to create powerful children's and teen services magic year-round. When we share our stuff, we make it easier to keep summer in perspective and bring great joy to the process.
Here's hoping you summer is joy-filled, kid-filled and a time to rise above the chaos to see just what good work you are doing for your communities. Now let's dig in!*In the spirit of May's 30 Days of Awesome posts started by Sophie Brookover, Kelly Jensen and Liz Burns, I share that I present half and full day workshops and presentations for systems and at conferences that include Rethinking Summer Reading; Programming Mojo; The Big Link: Successful School Public Library Partnerships; Stealth Programming; Everyday Advocacy; Creating Amazing Youth Services; Undoing Dewey and anything else that helps me guide participants in the Marge-way of delving deep into why we do what we do and how to do it better.
By: Marge Loch-Wouters,
Blog: Tiny Tips for Library Fun
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This spring, the team decided it was high time to hold a party for our 1000 Books Before K Club kids. We thought: May, nice weather, a bus or historic trolley - PIGEON!!! Thus was the pigeon party born.
We offer one-two events per year for our 1000 Books families. We often hold them before or after hours so the tots and parents get exclusive use of our space and non-stop attention from staff. We might have a concert, or a cookie party with Laura Numeroff's Mouse, or mac and cheese and a chance to browse the room. We posted about last fall's Brown Bear event here
. Whatever we focus on we make sure to invite our 1000 Books families and let them know something special is about to happen for them.
As a fan of book-based parties, a Pigeon Party based on Mo Willems' books, didn't disappoint. We booked our historic trolley to do a 20 minute drive around our riverfront downtown. We left enough time to do three runs so we could accommodate any sized crowd. Two runs did nicely.
One team member, Sherri, welcomed the kids to the trolley with a pigeon stuffed toy and rode along with the families on the trolley. Another team member, Brooke, had mounted pigeon cards on craft sticks for the kids to hold; they received these before they got on the trolley. Kids used the card to wave and shout an emphatic "NO!!" when Sherri asked them if the pigeon should drive the bus.
Brooke also had stories, a small activity - decorate a bus that Pigeon might ride on - and even used the "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" app with kids one-on-one. We also invited our families to meet staff after the party at the local downtown ice cream parlor and a few families took us up on the idea to visit together outside the library.
A bus can work just as well as a trolley for a program like this. Parents and kids were excited and staff felt like the planning was just perfect to celebrate a much-loved book with our 1000 Book families!
You did it!! You've got it! Lotta hard work in back of you. Lotta hard work ahead. But really, it's all good. You are going to be stepping up and out and showing your stuff. Digging into a job - hopefully sooner rather than later. Digging further into learning and networking. And truly, I hope you'll be showing your stuff to us all.
I'm always inspired by the energy, new passions and thoughtfulness of new librarians. And I want to echo what R. David Lankes wrote to the Syracuse graduates in his recent post
: don't wait to break barriers, invent new ways of doing library work good, or pushing the envelope of fantastic. Leap for it, push for it, do it. Do it now.
We sometimes get lost in the minutiae of our masters work and easily believe that we aren't really learning anything..."I could teach myself this!" kind of attitude. You get out, get that first professional job and think, "Whoa, I really didn't learn what I needed to know to face this crazy person or this screaming dad!".
But you did learn exactly what you needed to be successful - research skills, problem solving, the big picture of librarianship and it's history, how to learn more on any subject and skill and a critical eye to determine which way is best to go to make libraries more..better...indispensible. And you did it in that atmosphere of higher learning that surrounded you with mentors, peers and discussions that formed your library worldview.
Now take that knowledge and keep building on it and push ahead and lead now. Don't wait until some old guy like me says, "Well, I think you're ready to be listened to." Go out and grab the brass ring now and shine, shine, shine.
Don't wait for permission - start that blog or tumblr. Leap into Facebook's ALA Think Tank group or Friend Feed's Library Society of the World or Flannel Friday. Start collaborating within Google groups or Twitter. Propose programs. Share thoughts. Pursue big ideas.
Fail. Learn. Try again. Succeed. Fail. Retrack. Tinker. Try again. Succeed. Listen, listen, listen. Learn, learn, learn. And lead and imagine and invent. And then share, share, share.
I am learning so much right now from current MLIS students and shiny new librarians of one, two, three, four and five years experience. After thirty seven years in the biz, you all are rocking my world and keeping me fresh and energized.
So give yourself permission to be that innovator, that mover and shaker and emerging leader. Don't be shy. Step right out, step right up and show your stuff. The library world is waiting for you.And so am I!
Image from Pixabay http://pixabay.com/
My new co-worker, Brooke Rasche from Reading with Red
blog and I both are on the Hiring Librarians blog
today talking about our experience from each side of the hiring process. See you there!
This week I'm joining the Start with a Book
blog tour organized by Amy over at Show Me Librarian.
It was an easy yes when Amy asked if I might be interested in participating. The Start with a Book
site is so rich I almost feel like a millionaire when I am using it. So.much.at.my.fingertips.
As busy librarians, we juggle so many balls in the air - desk work, programming, budgets, selection, displays, outreach, planning and more. So time is often precious no matter what size library we work at. With summer around the corner, the speed of the balls increases exponentially.
When I discovered this resource, a project of Reading Rockets
, my work got immeasurably easier. While the site supports parents and caregivers, it a treasure trove for librarians as well. I'd like to sprinkle some gold and jewels on one of my favorite parts of the website: the 24 Learning Summer Themes
.Once there we are greeted by lots of fresh-faced and diverse children ready to take us on incredibly rich adventures in math, science, social studies - all with strong literacy support.
Pick a theme, click, and scream with happiness! You find a list of excellent book titles for multiple ages that can be used as a selection tool to strengthen your collection or to pull for a display inhouse if you already own them at the library. You also discover a nifty downloadable pdf "Reading Adventure Pack" that supplies activities, questions and information on effectively using both fiction and non-fiction books for kids. These packs could easily be put together and made available to your families to check out.
Each theme also has a number of resources featuring more activities, videos, apps and exemplary websites for kids and families to browse to learn more information. One of the perks of this portion of the theme is it lays out rich content that can be easily used to build programs for kids at the library. Everything in the themes truly underscores literacy and adventure for kids.
It's almost a steal to have this kind of resource at our fingertips as librarians. If you haven't been here before, be sure to dig into this treasure chest of ideas not only for summer but also year round!
Read the rest of this post
Ok let's get totally awesome here!
Today, I’m participating in the blog series, “Show Me the Awesome!” that was started by Kelly
, and Sophie
. It's a chance to step up and talk about something special that you've done or want to promote, for instance. For more AWESOME, please check over at their sites for the official link-up. Also, don’t forget the tag #30awesome on Twitter, Tumblr, Vine and/or Instagram if you’re liking what you’re reading and want to talk about it!
One of the things I'm proudest of in my career is my success building partnerships and working with public schools in my communities. I didn't think too much about it until I started to tune into the fact that colleagues seemed to have far fewer happy collaboration stories than I did.
Not only far fewer happy stories but also far more horror stories. Did I just always luck out and get jobs in great communities with uber-responsive schools? Hmmm. I don't think so.
My secret has been confidence, dogged persistence and patience. Each time I move into a community, I make appointments to meet individually with all the principals for a chat. I also meet with school media colleagues. If I have a question about the reading curriculum, I meet with the reading teachers. If I am wondering about a policy or subject being taught with third graders I reach out to those teachers. I drive wherever in the school district I need to go to be there rather than asking the staff to come find me.
What is the subject of most of these meetings? I introduce myself. I ask, "What can I do for you?" and we chat about the library and their dreams, concerns, pressures and how we might work together. I don't bring ideas as much as let my colleagues know I am there to support them and make magic happen when they are ready.
Everybody is my potential partner and colleague - not just LMC colleagues - but everybody.
I work with and will put together or join in meetings with reading coordinators, LMC folks, curriculum folks, principals, grade level teachers to talk about mutual concerns and mull ideas. If I can't get my foot in the door, I enlist my director or a board member with strong school ties to help me open the door.
One director set up a meeting with the principals, curriculum director, LMC folks, superintendent that resulted in decades of positive collaborative work (mutual programs, schools presenting programs at the library, school vans delivering library materials to the schools, shared collections and more). The tenor was so positive that staffers took it for granted that we would be there for them and the partnerships were dynamic - kids won far more than we did in this situation.
I also chat with classroom teachers who come into the public library - listen to what they need and ask for suggestions for what we might do to help them in their work. I make sure that I have at least one school staff advocate for the public library in every school and we build from there. I make sure that I am there for them as much as they are there for me. Ideas have to be created equally and honored equally. Listening and creating together is key.
If the relationship works, I also meet with our school superintendent as a colleague - not as a lesser asking to speak with someone far above me - but as an equal. I make the case for our mutual work in literacy and how the public library is the school's best friend. And on we go from there.
Is it easy? No, it takes time, the ability to listen and understand needs far different than our public library needs. It takes commitment and the ability to keep knocking on doors until the first one opens. Once that starts, more doors open and then more. Partnership ideas sprout up and success builds on success.
Another key ingredient: I don't make demands or work on a proposal before I meet with school folks. First we just chat and look for mutual areas of benefit. From that point we start to explore ideas for action . It's a delicate dance to honor both of our needs and perspectives but once started, it just keeps rolling. I often hear people say "Well, I created this and brought it to the schools, and nobody liked it or wanted it." Creating on your own in a partnership isn't a collaboration- it's looking in the mirror. It may please you, but will it really answer a need that schools have?
When I moved to my present job almost five years ago, I had alot of trepidation. I left a hugely strong collaborative partnership of decades at my last job. There was a little collaboration happening at this new job with the schools. Could I start all over to strengthen the ties and encourage my team? The answer is a resounding yes. First with one principal who opened the door to others. Then with a couple of the LMC people who met and planned with us. Now with classroom teachers. Once more the partnerships and collaboration are growing and strengthening. My team is stepping up and out as partners and developing even stronger ties and initiatives.
I think my mantra on this is from the Galaxy Quest movie: "Never give up; never surrender". It's what has made the collaboration with schools an ever-present awesome in my work. To see more tips, stop by my recent series
on real-world, real-life suggestions for collaborative work. It can be done and we all can be awesome at it!
For me, one of the most challenging aspects of being a manager is working to reach beyond what is in front of us and visioning out towards the future. It is so deuced easy to start slipping into the quicksand of desk work, deadlines, tough patron interactions, cranky colleagues, and the day-to-day grind. As we slip further in, energy is expended in just trying to get through the hour, the day, the week, the month.
Vision? I got no time for that!
Yet, it is this big picture thinking that really informs and advances our services. Staff at all levels at libraries of all sizes that practice big picture thinking and visioning create innovative, reflective, responsive and deep library services.
I have been thinking alot about this over the past month since attending the School Library Journal Think Tank. The speakers, the library leaders I chatted with and worked with that day and the think tank itself were all helping us focus on that larger picture. Inspirational? Oh yes. Transformative? Uh-huh? Usable? Absolutely.
Our keynote speech was by Pan Sandian Smith of Colorado's Anythink Libraries. Her words
lit a fire for me. Joanna wrote a blog post at So-Cal Library Connections
on the day summarizing speakers and including reports from the Think Tank unconference as well. Other reports came from Amy at Show Me Librarian (here
) and Michelle at Lit Chat for Kids
. Those big picture thoughts surrounded us and enlivened us. They gave me more than food for thought. Linda Braun's recent post at YALSA
also underscored the importance of thinking big and deep and far beyond the day-to-day and into the future.
All these resources helped me focus and re-commit to the big picture at our library. We have now formed three "mini-teams" in our department. Each two person team focuses on an age group - preschool; school-age; teen/tween. We meet weekly and are discussing all aspects of service to each age group from programs, collections, outreach, reader's advisory, and stealth programs to PR, special initiatives, focus and dreams. We share the notes from the mini-meetings among us and have already begun the delightful work of visioning and big picture thinking. We'll plunge into summer with a much clearer picture of where we want to go and how we might do it.
In fall, we'll bring all the team together off-site for a half-day to reflect, brainstorm and bring these big picture views together and see where we want to go as a department. I am excited to help bring this focus further out.
While I am fond of my nose, it seldom brings me to a larger view of the youth librarianship world. Thank goodness my colleagues help inspire me so that I can help all of us look farther, longer, deeper and fresher!
I will be presenting a webinar on this cool literacy initiative - it's origins, examples of programs from around Wisconsin, how to create and budget for a program like this and plenty of time for input from webinar participants - whether bragging up your efforts or asking questions about how it all works in case you are thinking of starting this initiative at your library.
Tuesday, May 14
9:00 -10:00 am CST
Sponsored by South Central Library System (WI) CE gurus
Hope to see some of you there!
I had an odd moment yesterday when reading a couple of posts on a national listserv. Someone had originally asked for ideas on improving a library service. The poster finished the inquiry with the phrase "All ideas are welcome". However, when someone replied with an idea, the original poster stated that she very much disagreed with the idea. It was a jarring realization for me - perhaps all ideas were not
It struck me that this is the kind of reply that shuts down ideas, that says thanks for the input- but not really. If I had an idea to contribute, would my opinion be welcomed....or disrespected? I definitely felt a strong urge to keep my ideas to myself on this issue. Who needs to be put in their place after four months or forty years in the business?
This is by no means the first time I have seen this behavior. You name the issue in librarianship and you know a few people are going to wade in, say their piece (on any and all sides of an issue), lob a few bombs and shut down discussion. Others shy away from saying anything lest they be branded a less-than-true believer or flaming the fan of disagreement even further. The bomber has accomplished something that, in most cases, I hope they didn't mean to do - they have effectively shut down discourse.
The townhall of listservs, groups, online discussions and comments seems to be more and more a place where one gets to state their opinion and then re-state and re-state it and re-state it. Each time a particular topic comes up that someone disagrees with vehemently, he or she feels duty-bound to wade in and state for the record just how wrong-headed the idea, approach or opinion is. Reasoned discourse devolves into "This is my opinion and if you don't like it, bite it." or "I have the research, so shaddup." or "Lots of people feel/think/believe the same way I do, which proves me correct."
We all have strongly held opinions - both personal and professional. We would be less than human if we didn't. And what a boring world if we all believed exactly the same thing! It strikes me that innovation would simply stop if we didn't have the constant give-and-take of divergent opinions to push us to new solutions and heights.
How we express our opinions dictates whether we will brook no disagreement or are willing to evolve, change and learn from the discourse engendered by our expressions and inquiries. When I work with students, respect and reasoned discourse is the guide by which we agree to disagree. Once we hit the work world, spats and tantrums must be left behind. Learning to elevate opinion and conversation into a respectful space takes patience, wisdom and smarts.
While I certainly own to being less than perfect in expressing my opinions and honoring those of other people, perhaps there are a few ways we might all navigate better when asking for input and honoring what we receive. Let's think of it as bringing some civility to our professional-level discourse - welcoming, listening to and absorbing divergent viewpoints without disrespecting opinions or ideas that are diametrically opposed to our own.
Strangely or not so much so, I am guided by the best set of book discussion guidelines ever
. The CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center in Madison WI) developed these to help people speak and listen actively and intelligently. Book discussion committees that use these guidelines have an amazing experience when discussing books.
So let's look at these and see if there are ways we can use some of these suggestions to do a better job of respecting each other while expressing our firmly held beliefs. Try substituting the word "issue" for "book" in the Guidelines and see what we get:CCBC Book Discussion Guidelines
Ginny Moore Kruse and Kathleen T. Horning
© 1989 Cooperative Children's Book Center Look at each book (issue) for what it is, rather than what it is not.
All perspectives and vocabularies are correct. There is no "right" answer or single correct response.
- Make positive comments first. Try to express what you liked about the book (issue) and why. (e.g. "The illustrations are a perfect match for the story because....")
- After everyone has had the opportunity to say what they appreciated about the book, you may talk about difficulties you had with a particular aspect of the book (issue). Try to express difficulties as questions, rather than declarative judgments on the book (issue) as a whole. (e.g. "Would Max's dinner really have still been warm?" rather than "That would never happen.")
- Avoid recapping the story or booktalking the book (issue). There is not time for a summary.
- Refrain from relating personal anecdotes. The discussion must focus on the book (issue) at hand.
- Try to compare the book (issue) with others on the discussion list, rather than other books by the same author or other books in your experience.
- Listen openly to what is said, rather than who says it.
- Respond to the comments of others, rather than merely waiting for an opportunity to share your comments.
- Talk with each other, rather than to the discussion facilitator.
- Comment to the group as a whole, rather than to someone seated near you.
Sometimes, it's also ok to accept an idea or opinion without responding to state a disagreement. Our opinion isn't changed but no response also honors the fact that the other person has a right to theirs. Learning to express our views with an eye towards engendering discussion often involves phrases like, "While I appreciate what you are saying, I wonder whether..." or "I hear what you're saying, but my hesitation lies in....". It opens up communication and creates a safe space to express and share.
I wonder if we might commit to be more open, less combative and elevate our discussions with each other? Can we honor the ideas others share while tactfully expressing our own and even learning to moderate our opinions based on what we hear? Can we put down our arms and learn to disagree in a collegial way? As Eli Mina, the ALA Council parliamentarian, suggests in Council when tempers begin to flare and back-and-forthing detours councilors from the larger issues of working towards solutions: Let us return to the balcony in this discussion rather than staying on the floor. I wonder if we can do this more?
I don't know, you tell me.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
I am always amazed and humbled when I attend conferences. I go to meetings and programs...and then I attend what I consider to be the "real" conference. The part where I sit down or stand in the hall or share an appetizer or a drink or a laugh or a chat with a friend, or a colleague or new acquaintance. I might be talking to a young librarian or a coworker or a friend I've known since...I don't know ...forever. Or maybe someone I've only known online, now here, IRL.
Whomever I meet, whomever I reconnect with,
whomever I talk to, these are the people who enliven me, who sustain me, who challenge me, who humble me. Maybe they are new MLIS folks who, without a thought or maybe a realization, push the envelope beyond where it's been. It might be doc students who are fresh eyed but steely and battling forward in research and library awesomeness. It might be my old compadres - those who have have worked in the field and worked for the association and broken so many barriers we can barely remember them all. It might be those in mid-career who are stepping out and up as leaders in the association.
We talk smack. We talk libraries. We talk the future. We talk nurturance and support. We talk about our seasons and our power - when it waxes and when it wanes. We push and push and push and lift the veil of the possible and make it inevitable and probable and then, like magic, reality.
These are my colleagues. These are my friends. These are my companions on the road to excellence in library service. Whether we feel mighty or in need of rest, here we are. Together, focused. In a band. My tribe.
This rhythm is is the one that generates ideas statewide or nationally. This is the spark, the ignition and the push that generates new ideas and efforts. And I get to part of the gestalt and the celebration.
So if you ever wonder what is the use or the purpose of going to conferences or whether we can do it all online, I urge you to attend regional, state and/or national meetings. You'll grow a little or alot. And after all, isn't that why we are really in this?
The recent findings from the Pew Research Center funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates on libraries have been fascinating reading. And now, my youth services friends, it is our turn to have the research spotlight turned on our efforts.As reported May 1
, " the vast majority of parents of minor children — children younger than 18 — feel libraries are very important for their children. That attachment carries over into parents’ own higher-than-average use of a wide range of library services."
In this brief synopsis of findings from the full report parents view libraries as vital to their children's reading and information needs. And - no surprise to us frontliners -these same parents are far more likely to use other library services and to express interest in expanding services and adding tech-related services.
I have had conversations over the years with colleagues in which we express frustration over the lack of support for youth services from our administrations, boards and even our co-workers in other areas of the library. This is the strongest piece of research we've seen in a while that underscores what we know - parents who use the library are vitally interested in its services not just for kids but for themselves.
When we see and serve families we are also drawing in these parents for all other adult services as well. These twenty and thirty somethings are a sweet spot demographic that some libraries embrace and some puzzle over. But they are ready for us.
I'll be highlighting this study at my library and in my workshops and presentations and sharing with my colleagues where I work. I hope you will too.
Thanks to Digital Shift
for the heads up.
I was honored to serve on this award committee this year. Up to two awards are given in recognition of a recently published work of fiction, non-fiction, poetry or folklore, from early childhood to secondary reading levels, published in English (translations into English will also be accepted) which accurately and skillfully portrays South Asia or South Asians in the diasporas, that is the experience of individuals living in South Asia, or of South Asians living in other parts of the world. The culture, people, or heritage of South Asia are the primary focus of the story. The countries and islands that make up South Asia are: Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the region of Tibet. Stories that take place in the Caribbean Islands that focus on a South Asian subject are also considered. In determining the award, books are judged for: 1) quality of story; 2) cultural authenticity; and 3) potential for classroom use.
2013 Award Books The Rumor
by Anushka Ravishankar, illustrations by Kanyika Kini (Tundra Books, 2012). In the village of Baddbaddpur, the people like to tell tales. Pandurang is so dour that he can make milk turn sour. One day he coughs up a feather. As the story of Pandurang’s feather is passed from one person to another it grows and grows and grows until it can hardly be recognized. (Grades PreK-4).Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely Through a Never-Ending War
by Deborah Ellis (Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press, 2012). Deborah Ellis went to Kabul to find out what happened to Afghanistan’s children since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. She interviewed children who spoke about their lives. They are still living in a country torn apart by war, violence and oppression still exist, particularly affecting the lives of girls, but the kids are weathering their lives with courage and optimism. (Grades 5 – 12).
2013 Honor BooksChained
by Lynne Kelly (Farrar Straus Giroux, Margaret Ferguson Books, 2012). To work off a family debt, ten-year-old Hastin leaves his desert village in India to work as a circus elephant keeper but many challenges await him, including trying to keep Nadita, a sweet elephant, safe from the cruel circus owner. (Grades 4-7).The Elephant’s Friend and Other Tales from Ancient India
by Marcia Williams (Candlewick Press, 2012). Drawing from three books of best-loved Indian folktales — Hitopadesha Tales, Jataka Tales, and Panchantra Tales
— this graphic storybook collection, alive with kid-friendly illustrations, is infused with humor and warmth. (Grades K-4).The Wooden Sword
by Ann Redisch Stampler, illustrated by Carol Liddiment (Albert Whitman & Company, 2012). Disguised in servant’s clothes, an Afghani shah slips out of his palace to learn more about his people. When he encounters a poor Jewish shoemaker faithful that everything will turn out just as it should, the shah grows curious. Vowing that no harm will befall the poor man, he decides to test that faith. (Grades K-5).Same Sun Here
by Silas House and Neela Vaswani (Candlewick Press, 2012). A twelve-year-old Indian immigrant in New York City and a Kentucky coal miner’s son become pen pals, and eventually best friends, through a series of revealing letters exploring such topics as environmental activism, immigration, and racism. (Grades 4-7).
2013 Highly Commended BooksGanesha’s Sweet Tooth
by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes (Chronicle Books, 2012). The bold, bright colors of India leap right off the page in this fresh and funny picture book adaptation of how Ganesha came to write the epic poem of Hindu literature, the Mahabarata
. (Grades Prek-3)Shadow
by Michael Morpurgo (Feiwel and Friends Book, an imprint of Macmillan, 2012). 14 year old Aman and his mother flee the horrors of war in Afghanistan and escape to England. But just as they are getting settled in their new home, Aman and his mother find themselves in a detention center. Their only hope is Aman’s friend Matt, Matt’s grandfather, and the dream of finding Shadow, Aman’s trusted and loyal canine companion. (Grades 5-8).The Sweetest Mango
by Malavika Shetty, illustrations by Ajanta Guhathakurta (Tulika Publishers, 2012). The sweet, simple story and luscious pictures evoke delicious flavors of hot days, warm friendships and the smell of mango in the air. (Grades PreK-3)Tina’s Mouth: an Existential Comic Diary
by Keshni Kashyap, illustrations by Mari Araki (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012). Tina Malhotra, a sophomore at the Yarborough Academy in Southern California, creates an existential diary for an assignment in which she tries to determine who she is and where she fits in. (Grades 9-12).The Whole Story of Half a Girl
by Veera Hiranandani (Delacorte Press, 2012). When Sonia’s father loses his job, she must move from her small, supportive private school to a public middle school. The new school, her father’s diagnosis of clinical depression, and her half- Jewish and half- Indian heritage leave Sonia feeling more confused about herself, her friends, and her family. Grades 5-8).
Please join the South Asia Book Award committee and the South Asia National Outreach Consortium as they honor the 2013 Awards-winning authors:Anushka Ravishankar
, author & Kanyika Kini
, illustrator of The Rumor
(Tundra Books, a division of random House, Ltd., 2012)Deborah Ellis,
author of Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely Through a Never-Ending War
(Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press, 2012)
Saturday, October 19, 2013
6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
The Madison Concourse & Governor’s Club Hotel
1 W. Dayton Street, Madison, WI
The South Asia Book Award is given annually for up to two outstanding works of literature, from early childhood to secondary reading levels, which accurately and skillfully portrays South Asia or South Asians in the diasporas, that is the experience of individuals living in South Asia, or of South Asians living in other parts of the world. This year four Honor Books and five Highly Commended Books were recognized by the award committee for their contribution to this body of literature on the region.
Books will be sold at the ceremony and authors will sign copies at the close of the event.
If you would like to attend the award ceremony, please RSVP by October 10, 2013 by e-mailing your name, affiliation, and e-mail to email@example.com.This event is free and open to the public, and sponsored by the South Asia National Outreach Consortium (SANOC).
I grew up in those rare and wonderful old days of percolating coffee pots. Mom would put the makings in that pot, turn up the heat and I would watch as the coffee slowly started popping up inside the little glass bubble on top. It would perc furiously away until the kitchen was filled with a rich coffee smell and the coffee was done.
I feel like that's how programs happen lots of times. Put the makings in the pot - some ideas seen on blogs, Pinterest or ones just rolling around in your mind; some great books that support the program; some ideas of story extension ideas - let that perc around your brain for a few hours, days or weeks and soon you have a tasty program brew ready to serve up to the kids before you know it.
My favorite brews are always made up of a mix of beans. For storytimes and preschool events, I look for posts and ideas from my many storytime/Flannel Friday colleagues - many of which can be found on this resource page from Mel's Desk
For school age fun I stop by the Show Me Librarian
, Future Librarian Superhero
, Bryce Don't Play
, ALSC blog
, Beyond the Book Storytimes
, so tomorrow
, Come into Delight
, Keeping Up with Kids
, Abby the Librarian
, GreenBeanTeenQueen, library makers
and, new to me, Fat Girl Reading
With such a rich mix of ideas, my program brew is always in tasty shape. What blogs or boards do you follow to find your inspirational programming brew?
I attended the SLJ Think Tank in NYC
last week. It was a transformative day for me - not just because of the outstanding and thought-provoking speakers but also for the chance to be with colleagues I have met in a whole new way.
In the past, if I wanted to bounce ideas off people or get my collegial-jolt, attendance at state and national conferences was the main way I interacted to get my youth librarian-idea fix. The networks of colleagues who mentored me, friended me and supported me (and back at all of them with the same from me) especially at ALA was grounded in real time and in real places. The gabbing, blue-skying, laughing, eating and drinking that brought us together helped me become the children's librarian I am.
But something changed in the last year that broadened and opened my horizons so far I feel that I can almost see to the end of the universe. Although I've been communicating in new ways through this blog and Facebook, my time on Twitter and in Facebook groups brought a new immediacy and connectivity to my work. For those who find this journey of discovery ho-hum, bear with me.
I was a late Twitter adapter, partly because, as a yakker of legendary repute, how could I harness that into 140 characters? But once I jumped in, I realized that the immediacy of the conversations and links led me to deep connections with and respect for people I had never met IRL. Ideas hatched, work flowed, tempers flared, sympathy was extended and support and wicked humor was always there.
Professional Facebook and Google groups (ALA Think Tank, Code Named Awesome, Flannel Friday), all discovered through Twitter, added to the fun and gestalt. The overlap among them all in terms of interacting with colleagues across many social media platforms only increased the connectivity.
So when I came to New York (you knew
I'd get back here, right?), I got a chance to meet, IRL, so many people who are friends in social media: @amyeileenk, @mmlibrarian; @libraryvoice, @MissReneeDomain @melissaZD, @sophiebiblio. I realized that despite the fact we were meeting for the first time, I felt we had been friends forever.
And I felt free - and connected - in a way that is deeper than my professional association connections - perhaps because there are no expectations of work for me when I am involved with social media friends and colleagues (well, unless we hatch something!). These connections and chats sustain me and spark my imagination. It is really connecting with people's minds directly and I learn at the feet of these colleagues (take note Twitter and FB, lurkers, engage and show your stuff!!).
So a big shout-out to all my creative partners on social media whether I've met you IRL or not. Our connection is what fuels me!
My new tweep, Michelle is leaping out in front and hosting a children's librarian chat on Thursday night at 9pm ET.
As Michelle writes on her blog, Lit Chat for Kids
: "I don't know if this has been done on Twitter with this exact topic, but I will be hosting my first one tomorrow night at 9 PM ET, hashtag #jlib
. If you are a children's librarian or studying to be one, you are invited to this chat. We will be talking about a variety of Children's library related issues such as: collection development, programming, outreach and more. Feel free to submit your questions to me here or DM me on Twitter (mmlibrarian). Hope to see you then"
I don't think I can resist! Hope to chat with you all there!
Oh, and Michelle? You go girl!!!
Yesterday, a pleasant person stopped by our desk, introduced herself and handed us a slip of paper with an url for a blog called Every Library I Can
. Ellen works part-time at a branch of the Ramsey County MN libraries but it is her avocation to visit libraries everywhere and share her thoughts and observations about them. Yesterday, it was our turn.
As an inveterate library visitor myself, I loved getting a chance to meet and talk with Ellen. We chatted on our feelings about the behemothy boat
that is a signature piece as well as an anchor around the neck of the staff. Most visitors fall in love with this thing...understandable but it is a director's/architect's dream that in reality has been a nightmare in the library. Well, at least the outside.
We were able to show our guest the inside of the boat which is truly and nautically delightful and might be one of the most perfect program spaces I have worked in or observed. The walls are almost all bulletin board; the carpeting is wonderful; there is a small tiled area for messy crafty, goopy stuff; there is a sink and seeming miles of closets, cupboards, drawers and hidey-holes to contain our program materials and props. Ellen was justifiably delighted. As we've talked about re-purposing the boat over the years, we always assure the public that the true boat -the inside -will always be there for them.
And we have made some progress over the past few years in making the outside of the boat more reader-friendly: comfy chairs; books on display everywhere; signs that indicate it is a Reading Boat. Staffers have become masterful at keeping reading the prime focus and running and climbing slightly less prevalent.
So it meant alot to us when Ellen introduced herself and we had a chance to talk about the good and bad on the boat. And it was fun to read her post and see her thoughts about what is truly special about that piece of nautica. Her blog is on my feeds now - not because she stopped here; but because she has a bright and lively eye and a clear love for the way each library adapts; solves and does uniquely fun things to create a special space for the community.
I want to join her journey and talk with her all day. Since I can't, I will content myself with being an armchair observer of her adventures.
I love bloggers that sweetly share serious program how-to's on their blogs - from storytimes to school age successes. The best blogs also share tips on what to do differently and time-saving, staff-saving thoughts on future iterations of their programs.
Mollie Kay over at What Happens in Storytime...
helped me out by doing just that. She posts about her life-sized Candyland program with a wonderfully detailed post chock-full of helpful pictures. Although we tried this once, it wasn't quite what we'd hoped for. But after reading this post I am excited to go at it again using her tips and a great list of resources. Thanks Mollie!
During one of the recent dust-ups about the worth/importance/immediacy of youth librarian's work vis a vis the larger library world (sorry, but I refuse to link to posts where the troglodyte comments are too depressing to read), one comment in particular rocked my socks off. The writer sniffed that during the time she worked as a youth librarian she had never seen anything done in an innovative way.
Wow. Simply, wow. I am never at a loss in finding youth folks pushing the envelope of innovation. Check out my blog roll on the left for just a small selection of innovators. Colleagues working at small libraries; colleagues working with tots; colleagues working with teens..I mean, really, I see so much innovation, sometimes I think my eyes will bleed, my brain will pop and my heart will bust...all from happiness, of course!
I got thinking about this when Amy over at Show Me Librarian
blogged about how she pushed her thinking forward while doing a literacy night. She liked the positives happening with school partnerships but started visioning and problem solving while out at schools. She saw new paths and blocks to build on. It is leading her to innovate and do more effective work that is simply...more...and better...and wow!
That's how innovation happens, in my opinion. You chat, you listen, you read, you reflect and when you are in a situation, you start evolving your thinking and solving problems. R. Davis Lankes
recently wrote that being a rock star librarian is getting people to question. I would posit that all innovation grows from questioning. Questioning and thinking and re-thinking and puzzling until a way becomes clear.
In the national youth services community, we are celebrating Library Journal's selection of one of our own - Melissa Depper
, she of the marvelous Mel's Desk
and a founder of Flannel Friday - as a Mover & Shaker. Her work is consistently innovative as well as foundational. She pushes the envelope and enfolds people though her mentorship and support and sharing with those around her. I am so, so pleased that she is a "sung hero".
Everyday, I watch my co-workers innovate and solve - two share what they know and discover through social media and blogs. Sara over at Bryce Don't Play
and Brooke over at Reading with Red
explore their paths to discovery. Like Amy; like Mel, they turn a clear eye and an inquiring mind to bringing service to the kids and the community. With their co-workers, I watch them invent, solve, innovate and create. Through this process their ideas - and mine - grow and change and our service evolves and becomes even better.
Innovation isn't technology. Innovation is evolution. Innovation is clearly connectivity.
Youth librarians have been pushing that innovation envelope for so long that "rock star" isn't even in the vocabulary anymore. We are all, at the least, galactic stars!
Stop by our Wisconsin Library Association Youth Services Shout-out
blog and get a little more info on me and a picture that is less than a week old!
Ok, ok, so I feel a little guilty even bringing this up. As a blogger, I know I have a slightly bigger audience than I would without. But no guts, no glory. I join my colleagues in the blogosophere to invite you to read through the suggested Conversation Starters at ALA
and vote for ones you'd love to be involved in.
I hope you consider two I am lucky enough to be involved in with my fabulous colleagues: Amy over at Show Me Librarian
; Amy over at Catch the Possibilities
and Mel over at Mel's Desk
. After some chatting on twitter that moved over to a google doc (more than 144 characters...wow!), we decided to try the conversations even further out with more people jumping in and proposed two programs for ALA this summer. We are excited about the possibilities!Thinking Outside the Storytime Box: Building Your Preschool Programming
STEM for preschoolers! Dance parties for toddlers! When we stretch beyond storytime, our youngest patrons benefit from richer learning experiences, their parents and caregivers engage with the library in fresh ways, and staff become motivated by new, creative challenges. Jump out of the storytime box and explore active and passive early-childhood programs that are easy to plan and repeat, maximize your staff resources, and enable you to reach more young families. Our panel will share program ideas, planning resources, and early literacy connections to help you leave prepared to build on the core storytime experience. Presenters
: Amy Commers, Amy Koester, Melissa Depper, Marge Loch-WoutersUnprogramming: Recipes for School-Age Programming Success
Do you find yourself spending tons of time planning school-age programs that are over in the blink of an eye? Are you ready to challenge yourself to be more efficient with your staff time and department's resources? Discover how to streamline planning and preparation while offering worthwhile literacy-centered programs--where kids help shape the direction of the program! Panelists will share tips for "unprogramming" at your library as well as ideas for helping staff adapt to this new style. Prepare to leave with a myriad of program ideas and resources for unprogramming on your own.Presenters
: Marge Loch-Wouters, Amy Koester
If these topics are ones you would love to chat on and you are an ALA member, please do vote for these...and a host of other good ones proposed by ALA members. Read them and leap!
I ran across an extraordinary post....
How many times lately have I been tweeting or doing blog posts about some amazing thing I've read from Youth Services bloggers I follow? So much of what I read takes me to places of discovery that I have never been before. And it clearly inspires my blogging and TTFLF's content.
This post is completely happening because I was blown away by Amy Koester's Peer Sourcing post at Show Me Librarian
. In the post she acknowledges the power of collaboration and learning from others to build the scaffolding to new programming and thinking paradigms in her work. As I've said before, everything comes from somewhere - whether hatched in our brain or sparked by something we read or hear or collaborate on.
When I started blogging five years ago, there were mostly kidlit blogs - lots of reviews of and thoughts about children and teen books. Only a handful of bloggers shared programs, initiatives and opinions on youth services. And that was what I was really after.
As the years have gone on, more youth people have joined the conversation. From robust posts at ALSC, YALSA, and the Hub to individual bloggers inspired by Flannel Fridays or a desire to share their professional journeys in working with youth, I now have over 100 blogs that I follow. They are ripe with opinions, storytime ideas; teen program mojo; cool initiatives and more. Who knew?
I agree with Amy that we learn from others in a way that informs and improves our work. This is really a shout-out to all the youth services bloggers for putting it out there and sharing. I learn every day and in every way from you all. You all make me a better librarian. And you inform what I write about here.
Really, I am so lucky!
On this the first day of Women's History month, the issues of gender and power are much on my mind.Hi Miss Julie
just wrote one of the most powerful posts I have read on the issue of the politics of this power and how woman are pushed towards silence. She turns a burning light on this in particular in her own life and then in relation to the world of children's work within librarianship.
This post links directly with her earlier post on recognition and youth work.
For those in youth work who read this earlier post's comments section, it was stunning how utterly and completely some of the comments missed and blew past the point of her post. Dear Abby advice on how to "put yourself out there" wasn't where Julie's post was going. My read was she was calling out the larger world of librarianship for the disregard and disrespect for the marvelous and powerful work youth librarians are doing (although one commenter insisted that youth librarians don't really do anything innovative...oh, why yes, that *is* the sound of my teeth grinding).
There have been some ugly bullying of women bloggers, FBers and tweeters in the recent past - most swirl around the picayune-ness; the paltry-ness; the unimportance of our concerns - from Arcgate to our observations on how we appropriate cultural touchpoints. It's ok to provide book recommendations for another librarian's offspring but shut-up will you in the world of politics and opinion. Smile and be nice.
It is the subtle and not so subtle pushing women back and down - and in youth work, where our clientele is devalued because of their powerlessness in the larger society, we work under the burden of powerlessness by association in the eyes of some in our profession. Is it reflective of the larger society that so devalues women by insisting our little minds can't handle our own decisions on our lady parts? That continues to put roadblocks to upward mobility and insists that we need to be uber people that parent, work, achieve, clean, and look fetching and smile, smile , smile all the time? Um, yes.
The discussions on blogs and twitter have been painful and eye-opening. Here are some of the links that have particularly made me think deeply and know I - and many other women and youth library workers - are not entirely nuts in thinking "What the deuce is going on with our colleagues?" I thank Kelly Jensen and Sophie Brookover for some of these links.
Kelly over at Stacked
Kristin at Action Librarian
Ingrid at Magpie Librarian
Nicolas at information.games
Justin at Beerbrarian Me
(I know this is so self-regarding)
There are more posts out there on the issues of women and librarianship, power and gender. Please share and let's keep this conversation going. These are issues of long standing, my friends, and battles that have been going on since long before I was a SLIS student and young librarian decades ago (I'll share those stories another day). I am just discouraged that 40 years later, we see the same poor behaviors.
Gender matters. Being supportive matters. Making sure there is an interlocutor between brain and mouth or fingertips matters. Let's get started on supporting each other and celebrating the work we all do on behalf of varied clienteles. Nobody is better than anybody. We are all in this together. Like that.Image: 'The Hidden Beauty!' http://www.flickr.com/photos/44345361@N06/5929570738 Found on flickrcc.net
That's the way it feels to me lately. The issue of gender in librarianship, especially as it relates to those of us who work in youth librarianship, has been sleepily in the background for a long time.
A number of issues that have cropped up recently have brought the subject back to the forefront and women and men are standing up and saying, "Whoa! Wait! Stop!" "Let's back up here and get real again!". It feels as if powerful people who have long been sleeping are once again awakening and looking around - and want to claim -or reclaim -some power that has long been lost or trivialized.
Part of the discussion has been in the blogosophere; part on twitter and part on a librarian group on Facebook, Think Tank. What started in a somewhat rancorous way is building to something slightly different - an open and honest exploration of the roots of discourse on gender in librarianship. People are talking, exploring and sharing.
Kate Kosturski over at Librarian Kate
blog has written two posts in the last few days tracing the scholarly research on gender and librarianship (here
) and they are fascinating. Her part 3 will be on youth librarianship as it relates to gender issues. Please read the posts and consider sharing your experiences of gender bias in youth work with her at librariankate7578 at gmail dot com.
I think we need to read more.
I can imagine the research is might thin on this topic. Other than recent blog posts , some of which I cited in my last post
, I have seldom read of youth librarianship and bias issues in my almost 40 years in the business. What there is probably was probably published in small presses and gathered in the marvelous Alternative Library Literature
anthologies (edited by Jim Danky and Sandy Berman) of the '80s through early part of this century.
I, for one, am glad we're waking up to have this discussion.Image: 'Open wide.....' http://www.flickr.com/photos/66164549@N00/2884630721 Found on flickrcc.net
I'm doing a webinar along with three of my favorite BFF-brarians on Wednesday March 6, sponsored by our state library agency. My part is on unprogramming - freeing yourself to play with content, literacy and kids as leaders in programs. What's about the rest? Read on:
Your youth services might be a well-oiled machine of systematic displays and story times, but how often do you look at WHY you do what you do? Sometimes you need to reinvent the wheel and break the mold. Hear from three youth services experts in the state on ways think of yourself as an educator (versus entertainer), literacy enthusiast (versus craft expert), and life changer (versus summer library soldier).
Mark your March calendar for:
3:00-4:00pm Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Hosts: Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, DPI Library Consultant; Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System Youth Services and Outreach Coordinator; Sharon Grover, Hedberg Public Library (Janesville) Head of Youth Services; Marge Loch-Wouters, La Crosse Public Library Head of Youth Services
No need to register—just click the link on the scheduled meeting day and time. Sign in with your first name or library/school name. Webinars will be recorded and archived for later viewing.
Here are some links referenced on the webinar to leave you an easy trail (I've scribbled links at webinars - all incorrectly so I want to give attendees a break):
Barbara Scott's Children's Programming
blog - not too active recently except for Lego programs, but go back and find detailed plans for book parties. She is the inspiration for the way our programs have become unprogrammed!
is the mother of all youth listservs. While stumpers can dominate, the programs shared are dynamite.teachingbooks.net
is rich with content focusing on youth book creators: trailers, author interviews, discussion questions and more.Bryce Don't Play
- yes, Sara works with me. Her blog is truly a trip into a young librarian's journey to awesome - from programs described to the ways of thinking why she does what she does. In this post she explains how to stay au courant with kids' passions and obsessions.Pinterest.
It's how I program now; I can say nothing more.
Hope you join us for an interactive good time!Image: 'Eggs-tra Special for You, Happy Easter!' http://www.flickr.com/photos/66606673@N00/450373034 Found on flickrcc.net
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is fast approaching it's second anniversary. As the auspicious day approaches, participants in Flannel Friday are sharing what this movement has meant to them. Sharon over at her blog Rain Makes Applesauce
is gathering the posts of participants. All are worth reading.
I myself am not a flannelist anymore. Or a prop-meister. Or a storytime provider. I once was and enjoyed that part of my work more than I can say. But even as a manager, I love and appreciate the efforts in the field of storytime and early literacy and the great places people are taking them. So, though I am not an active participant and really just an observer, let me still share with you what these intrepid folks and their blogs have meant to me and my professional life.
The blogs that participants are encouraged to start have often blossomed well beyond sharing flannel stories and patterns. Many of these new bloggers have expanded their content with thoughts about their work, programs, children's services and issues swirling around youth librarianship. When I celebrated the linkiness
of my life a few weeks ago, it was also a homage to FF folks who have jumped into the blogosphere with both feet and enriched my thinking and work life so profoundly.
The FF community also led me fully into the world of Twitter. Many of these bloggers were the first tweeps I followed and chatted with. They have become a community of friends that I rely on and learn from.
I am in awe of the founders of (thank you, thank you) as well as the participants in this amazing grassroots effort. You have affected a sea change in youth librarianship and connectivity.
Big fireworks for you all!Image: 'Fireworks 04' http://www.flickr.com/photos/53139634@N00/472327992 Found on flickrcc.net