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1. Beyond Sensory Storytime at #ALSC14

Renee Grassi led this informative session on serving children (and adults) with special needs. She started off by sharing the rationale behind expanding services to this population: To provide a supportive and inclusive environment for a traditionally underserved group in your community.
She also shared some startling statistics:
Nearly 20% of the US population lives with a disability- about 13% with a severe disability. Only 56% of students w/ autism finish high school, even though there are more than 1 million people w/ autism in the USA.

For those wondering where to begin w/ developing services for people w/ special needs, Renee suggests starting with conversations- get to know people and talk to them about what they need and want. One way to do this is by offering family tour services at the library. This can be available for any family- special-needs or just new to the community or library. They simply make an appointment and have a customized personal library tour with a librarian, just for that family, adapted to their needs and interests. Other ways to find out about community needs include surveys and focus groups.

Renee talked about where to find partners to help your library reach and serve families with special needs: parks, museums, disability organizations, therapists, health centers & hospitals, support groups, special educators & schools, and other librarians who are already working in this area.

Renee described her major partnership w/ her area special-education district- the spedial-ed teachers & specialists provided training and expertise to the library staff, and used their connections to get a community needs survey distributed to the families they serve.

Top 3 library materials requested in that community needs survey were:

  • high interest/low reading level books & booklists
  • chapter books paired w/ audio books
  • more parenting books on special-needs topics

Top 4 services requested:

  • storytime designed for children w/ special needs
  • book discussion for teens & adults w/ special needs
  • eReader & downloading demos
  • social stories about the library- these are first-person stories used to introduce a person with special needs (especially autism) to a new concept or experience.

Next Renee discussed the concept of person-first language: Say “The child with autism” vs. “The autistic child” – or better yet, learn and use their name! It’s important to watch your language even when talking to fellow staff- you never know who hears you, and how disability has affected them.

We talked about ways to adapt existing programs to include children with special needs, and specially-designed programs just for this population. Libraries can offer integrated programs that are open to a mix of ‘”typically-developing” children and those with special needs, or programs that are just for those with special needs- there are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, and what’s best to do depends on the needs and priorities of the families being served.
One great idea that Renee shared, that I hope to try at my own library, is for when you have a great big noisy program for a large crowd, like a magician or puppet show: ask the performer if they can offer a second, much smaller session that’s adapted to be sensory-friendly. This would mean keeping the lights on, turning the volume on the sound system down, reducing sudden loud noises, and allowing the audience to move around, talk, and fidget with toys. Publicise this extra session as “autism and sensory-friendly” and require registration or tickets to keep the crowd small.

There are many ways to make sure that your library services are accessible and welcoming to everyone, and Renee’s great ideas make an excellent starting point for doing just that.

Handouts from this program:

PowerPoint Slides (available online only)
Presentation Resources
Handout: People First Chart
Handout: Universal Design Checklist

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2. Taking a moment to rest at #alsc14

llama

My new friend taking a moment to rest.

I have already learned so much at the ALSC Institute and my brain is buzzing with new ideas to take back to my library system.  Thanks to our fabulous presenters I’m thinking about ways to advocate for the importance of the work we do, ways to collaborate with community partners, ways we could better welcome children with special needs into our branches….and so much more!  I know this afternoon will bring even more great new ideas, but sometimes it’s important to take a step back and collect yourself for a moment.  How do you keep yourself feeling energized at conferences?  (Or during your work week?!)  Whether it’s catching up with a colleague over lunch, taking a little walk to explore your surroundings or taking a nap with the stuffed llama in your ALSC gift-bag, I would recommend fitting a little self-care into your conference experience.   It will help prepare your brain for all the new ideas coming at you!

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3. Friday Highlights @ #alsc14

Friday was a whirlwind of excitement, from start to finish–how can you top a day that begins with Breakfast for Bill and ends at Fairyland? It exceeded all expectations!

Highlights included:

-Gene Luen Yang’s revelation that as a pre-teen, he smuggled home comics in oversized Egyptology library books. He also had an amazing, hilarious–and pretty convincing–theory about how Superman is really Asian.

-Rita Williams-Garcia read aloud parts of her childhood diary, which included a prophetic letter to William Morrow (which later became her publisher).

-Tim Federle’s astute observation that kids don’t classify books and authors as “GLBT” or “Asian.” To them, “books are books.”

-Pam Munoz Ryan said that she personally didn’t become an avid reader until she was in 5th grade. She pointed out that sometimes it just takes some kids a little longer than others and that books enter a person’s life at the right time.

-Author Ginger Wadsworth (First Girl Scout: The Life of Juliette Gordon Low) sat with my group at breakfast; she was lovely to meet. Each table at Breakfast for Bill featured a special guest local author.

-Saroj Ghoting and Pamela Martin-Diaz’s program about integrating math and science into our existing preschool storytime repertoire was inspiring. They made it sound extremely easy, as Erin discussed in her blog post “STEM and Nursery Rhymes.” It’s something I’ll definitely try when I get back to the library.

-Oakland, Oakland, Oakland! The amazing Friday Farmer’s Market, steps from the conference center; markets and restaurants in Chinatown; the sunset over sparkling Lake Merritt; and the wonder that is Fairyland!

-Mingling with #alsc14 attendees, who are so energetic, smart, and fascinating. There was even a group of librarians dressed up like pirates, in observation of “Talk Like a Pirate Day.”

-Fairyland guests Mac Barnett, Daniel Handler, and Jenni Holm, who pulled questions out of a bag and provided spot-on, hilarious answers that kept the audience thoroughly entertained. There were even hot tub jokes. This definitely wasn’t the type of Q&A you’d get during a school visit!

What a delightful day. This is my first time attending an ALSC Institute, and I am having the best time ever!

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4. Aiming for Inclusion Breakout Session at #alsc14

At tonight’s Breakout Sessions I participated in Aiming for Inclusion in Public Library Early Literacy Programs.  Tess Prendergast and Kelly Clark, of Vancouver Public Library, discussed strategies that they initially used in special programs for children with disabilities, but then found to be very useful and appealing to a group of children with a wide range of abilities.  For example, children with special needs often benefit from getting to re-tell a story in several different ways.   Guess what? So do typically developing children!  They brought up some barriers that families with children who have disabilities may encounter with library programs, such as group size and program pacing, and discussed ways they’d tried to minimize these issues.

We got to meet Moe the Mouse and to sing the Pete the Cat song together.  It was really nice to be in a smaller group where everyone was able to participate in the conversation and the lovely Fairyland back-drop didn’t hurt either.  If you want to delve deeper into how to make your early literacy programs more inclusive take a look at Tess’s blog.

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5. Every Day You Do It! #alsc14

Andrea Davis Pinkney’s closing session talk was a great end to the ALSC Institute experience.  In addition to giving us a wonderful peek into her creative process, she clearly identified herself as a lover of libraries and librarians.  She called us “Fairy god-librarians!”  (Time to make new business cards?)

And, you know what?  We are.  That’s one thing that I will take home from the ALSC Institute: the pleasure of meeting colleagues from around the nation who are incredibly generous, dedicated and brilliant.  I hope this is something that you already know and that you hear on a regular basis, but regardless, please take a moment to recognize how amazing you are.  You work so hard and your work has a huge impact on the children and families in your community.  As Pickney said “Every day you do it!”

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6. If - a review

If... A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers by David J. Smith.


If you're familiar with If the World Were a Village (also from Kids Can Press), then you'll understand the context in which If introduces large concepts. Take "Your Life," for example.

On a two-page spread, a large Sicilian-style pizza is depicted on a table surrounded by several happy children and one salivating dog,

If your whole life could be shown as a jumbo pizza, divided into 12 slices ...
4 slices would be the time you spend in school or at work
1 slice would be spent shopping, caring for others and doing things around home
4 slices would be the time you spend getting ready to sleep and sleeping,

etc., until all twelve slices have been accounted for.

Other concepts featured are:

  •  "Inventions Through Time" - depicted on a 36" measuring tape
  •  "Our Galaxy" - presented on a dinner plate
  •  "Water" - represented by 100 water glasses
  •  and 12 others 

In each case, care is taken to equate the concept to something with which children will be familiar.   This is a great way to place an intangible concept into a simple object that a child can hold within her hand.

Suggested for grades 3 - 6.  See an interior preview of If at the publisher's website. 

Today is STEM Friday.  You can see other posts at the STEM Friday blog.

STEM Friday

It's STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

Site Meter Copyright © 2014 L Taylor All Rights Reserved.

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7. Inquiry-Based Centers in Grades 3-8

Inquiry-based centers introduce kids to mentor texts while helping them find their own mentor texts.

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8. Reread #38 The Hobbit

The Hobbit. J.R.R. Tolkien. 1937.  320 pages. [Source: Bought]

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. 

I love The Hobbit. I do. This is my fourth time to review it. I first read it in May 2008. I also reviewed it in 2012 and 2013. (The 2013 review being of The Annotated Hobbit!)

The Hobbit is an adventure story starring Bilbo Baggins (the hobbit) and thirteen dwarves (led by Thorin). Gandalf introduces the dwarfs to Bilbo, he introduces him as a great burglar. Is he a great burglar? Not really. He's never done anything of the sort before. He's never even thought of doing any such thing. Bilbo have an adventure? Bilbo go on a long journey? The idea that he, a comfort-loving hobbit would leave the safety of his shire to GO and steal from a dragon is ridiculous. Yet. Bilbo finds himself on such a journey. And Bilbo discovers that there is more to him. It's not that he suddenly becomes brave and strong and wise. He doesn't. But he's shaped by the experiences of the journey.

Quotes:
“Good Morning!” said Bilbo, and he meant it. The sun was shining, and the grass was very green. But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat. “What do you mean?” he said. “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?” “All of them at once,” said Bilbo.
“What a lot of things you do use Good morning for!” said Gandalf. “Now you mean that you want to get rid of me, and that it won’t be good till I move off.”
He liked visitors, but he liked to know them before they arrived, and he preferred to ask them himself. He had a horrible thought that the cakes might run short, and then he—as the host: he knew his duty and stuck to it however painful—he might have to go without.
“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!”
He was altogether alone. Soon he thought it was beginning to feel warm. “Is that a kind of a glow I seem to see coming right ahead down there?” he thought. It was. As he went forward it grew and grew, till there was no doubt about it. It was a red light steadily getting redder and redder. Also it was now undoubtedly hot in the tunnel. Wisps of vapour floated up and past him and he began to sweat. A sound, too, began to throb in his ears, a sort of bubbling like the noise of a large pot galloping on the fire, mixed with a rumble as of a gigantic tom-cat purring. This grew to the unmistakable gurgling noise of some vast animal snoring in its sleep down there in the red glow in front of him. It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterwards were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait.
“You have nice manners for a thief and a liar,” said the dragon. “You seem familiar with my name, but I don’t seem to remember smelling you before. Who are you and where do you come from, may I ask?” “You may indeed! I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led. And through the air. I am he that walks unseen.” “So I can well believe,” said Smaug, “but that is hardly your usual name.” “I am the clue-finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number.” “Lovely titles!” sneered the dragon. “But lucky numbers don’t always come off.” “I am he that buries his friends alive and drowns them and draws them alive again from the water. I came from the end of a bag, but no bag went over me.” “These don’t sound so creditable,” scoffed Smaug. “I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ringwinner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider,” went on Bilbo beginning to be pleased with his riddling. “That’s better!” said Smaug. “But don’t let your imagination run away with you!”
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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9. Book Review: Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach

Book: Nothing Special
Author: Geoff Herbach
Published: 2012
Source: Local Library

Things look pretty sweet for Felton Reinstein. He's big and strong and has football coaches from schools all over the country panting after him. He has a beautiful girlfriend, good friends, and a brother who idolizes him. But he has a secret, and here it is.

He's a mess.

He hates the scouts and the attention, even while he loves football (well, any kind of athletics). His girlfriend has mysteriously stopped talking to him, as has (less mysteriously) his best friend, and his little brother is just off the rails completely. He's paralyzed by fear, of the future, of the past, and of the present. He just wants to run away from it all.

But it's Andrew who runs away, and it will take a quixotic road trip with the best friend who's not anymore to find the grandfather and cousin he's never known before Felton can start to understand why.

God, how I love Felton Reinstein. Yes, he's fictional, yes, he's seventeen, and yes, he's a complete goober and a mess. That last is why I love him. Geoff Herbach has a particular gift for getting you into Felton's brain, with all its self-involvement and uncertainty, without turning you off completely. He structures this book as a long letter to Aleah and Felton opens a vein all over the page, because it's not something he would do from the outside. There's so much going on inside his head, but he's still developing the emotional tools to express them to others.

I really appreciated the through-line of his father's suicide. In the first book, Felton started coming to terms with who his father was, what he did, and what that means for himself as he lurches toward adulthood. In this book, it keeps messing him up, it keeps messing his family up, but in new ways. Or rather, in ways that are only uncovered in this book. I appreciated that because a parent's death, particularly  a parent's suicide, isn't something that you get over in 275 pages. It's a long, evolving process and one that may never end.

Lucky for me, there's one more Felton Reinstein book for me to enjoy.

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10. Fairest: Return of the Maharaja

Fairest Vol. 3: The Return of the Maharaja Sean E. Williams, Bill Willingham, Stephen Sadowski, Phil Jimenez

Check it out! Prince Charming is alive! And back!

And that’s the best thing I can say about this volume.

After dying in the battle against the adversary, Prince Charming comes back (which we all knew he would eventually, right? He’s much too powerful) but doesn’t want to go back to the mundy and instead becomes a ruler in an Indus fable world. There he meets a woman, Nalayani, who’s come to ask for help. Her village lost all its men to the adversary and is now constantly being attacked by roaming bands and they’re about to be wiped out. Charming is also facing issues as there are those who aren’t fond of having a white foreigner ruling them.*

I do like Nalayani because she’s awesome, but she’s also a new character and not having lived with her for years, I just didn’t care as much about her as I did about Charming or some of the other Fables characters.

Charming… has lost a lot of character growth. When we first met him, he was an arrogant ass, but over the series he had mellowed and matured, but he’s reverted back to all jack-ass charm and lost what made him a deeper, more likeable character.

But here’s my real problem-- the great romances of Fables have all been a slow burn building up through multiple story arcs. If Charming is *finally* going to meet someone for him, someone “better” than Snow or Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, we need the slow burn. We need to get to know Nalayani, we need to see them get to know each other and fall in love. The whole execution seemed rush and I never bought that Charming liked her more than he likes most awesome women, and Nalayani’s affections seem to turn on a dime. Overall, its was just really disappointing.


*this is problematic, as Charming is set up as the good guy, and those who aren’t into colonization are the bad guys. It's kinda worked out in the end, but ergh. But this whole issue is ergh, so...


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11. Wild Things! Review and a Giveaway

I enjoyed this book as a fan of children's literature, but it is also a valuable resource to teachers of literacy.

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12. Video Sunday: No. Seriously, Lisa. Hire me.

Howdy, folks.  I have news for you.  Did you have any idea that a children’s literature online show called KidLit TV was in the works?  Nor did I until I stopped by Roxie Munroe’s studio the other day.  She informed me that man-about-town Rocco Staino had been by with an honest-to-goodness film crew to talk to her about this new series. Calling itself, “The video resource for the greater kidlit community” it’s launching this fall.  Here’s the first video so far:

Okay. I admit it. I’m a sucker for cute kids.  Thank goodness they don’t do many lemonade stands in my neighborhood or I’d be without a dime in my pocket.  So when I saw this video about the Dr. Seuss Wants You! Indiegogo campaign, I was hooked.  These gals are trying to raise funds so that their school library can have its very own librarian.  Resist their cuteness if you can!

Thanks to AL Direct for the link.

You know what I love?  Shakespeare.  You know what I love even more than Shakespeare?  Graphic novels.  You know what I love even more than Shakespeare and graphic novels?  Book trailers.  Now all three of the things I love have combined in this trailer for The Stratford Zoo Presents MacBeth.  I have read and loved the book (Lady MacBeth as a spotted animal = brilliance).  Originally premiering on Watch. Connect. Read., do be so good as to enjoy it.

Many of you have probably seen this but the IKEA BookBook ad is rather charming.

Which, in turn, is not too dissimilar from this faux Amazon Prime Air Launch ad.

Thanks to Michael Stusser for the link.

Ooo.  Lisa Von Drasek!  Now that she’s moved to Minnesota (I am not even kidding when I say how envious I am) I don’t get to see her around and about anymore.  Fortunately somebody out there (U of M, presumably) did this kickin’ recording of her conversation with Kate DiCamillo.  For those of you more familiar with Kate, come for the DiCamillo, stay for the Von Drasek.

By the way, this is the first I’ve ever heard of IFLA.  Anyone else out there feel as out of it as me?

Good old Ed Spicer. Not only does he come out for every book signing I do in Michigan but he records my blabberings and puts them online.  This recent posting went up in conjunction with Wild Things but was filmed several years ago.  If you’re interested in me with the talkety talk, enjoy.

Thanks, Ed!

As for today’s Off-Topic Video, I am thoroughly indebted to Dan Santat.  It’s the final ceremony of Star Wars done without the soundtrack.  As my friend Dan McCoy said of it, “Over and above the comedy, this actually let me see Star Wars with new eyes, for the first time in decades, which is amazing.”

Many thanks to Dan Santat for the vid.

share save 171 16 Video Sunday: No. Seriously, Lisa. Hire me.

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13. Tech access in our libraries: making an impact on a limited budget -- #ALSC14

As a school librarian, I love helping kids and teachers discover the opportunities that technology offers for learning, creating and engaging with the world. Whether it's through the power of creating a multimedia presentation about a book they've loved, or the fun of competing with friends while kids play math games online, technology offers our children opportunities to learn in new ways.

Many schools are offering "one-to-one" programs where each child has their own personal computing device, whether it's a laptop, iPad or Chromebook. But in California, we operate on a very limited budget. So my question has been: how can I make an impact as a school librarian by looking for smaller funding opportunities? How can I increase access to technology in smaller, incremental ways?
With this in mind, I am presenting at this year's ALSC Institute a session called "Tech Access on a Budget". This conference is for children's librarians across the United States, through a division of the American Library Association called ALSC: Association for Library Services to Children. I wanted to share our presentation here.

I am presenting with three other dynamic, smart, passionate women and have learned so much creating this presentation. Talk about the power of technology -- we had never met in person before we showed up 30 minutes before our presentation! All of our connections had been through email, Google video chats and conference calls.
Cen Campbell is the founder of LittleeLit.com, "a crowd-sourced, grass-roots professional learning network that works to develop promising practices for the incorporation of new media into library collections, services and programs for families with young children." This is a terrific resource for librarians. I first reached out to Cen because of her work with young children in a public library setting, and I wanted to combine our school and public library perspectives. Cen was a member of ALSC's Children and Technology Committee and I'm a member of AASL's Best Apps Committee.

Suzanne Flint is a child development expert who works for the California State Library, helping administer the federal grants provided by the Library Services and Technology Act. She has provided an invaluable perspective both as a funder and as a child development expert. Suzanne and Cen have worked together developing the initiative: Early Learning with Families 2.0.

Claudia Haines is a children's librarian at Homer Public Library in Homer, Alaska, in rural south-central Alaska. Integrating interactive digital media into offerings like storytime is part of Claudia’s efforts to inspire kids to use a variety of tools to create and explore at the library. Definitely check out Claudia's blog, Never Shushed.
We had our first presentation yesterday and are presenting again today. We know that many librarians cannot travel to the ALSC Institute -- please share this with librarians you think would be interested. And I know we would all be happy to answer any questions you have about our experiences increasing children's access to technology in developmentally appropriate ways.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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14. Setting Program Attendance Limits?: She Said/ She Said

Does your library limit attendance to children’s programs, requiring some sort of advance registration? Or are all programs planned with an eye toward accommodating any size group?

In a nod to Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, children’s librarians Lori Faust and Kendra Jones debate the pros and cons:

LF: Well, Kendra, I will begin with a very obvious “pro” in favor of pre-registration to a set limit: if staff knows how many people to expect at a program, it is much easier to plan, prepare and purchase supplies without over-buying and wasting those limited budgets.

KJ: True, but limiting attendance can create more work for staff as they will have to take registration, follow up, pass out tickets, etc., plus there is the unpleasant task of informing interested patrons that a program is full.

If we allow walk-ins, we are more apt to have kids attend whose parents do not want to/cannot commit ahead of time and those who do not know the great things the library has to offer until they drop in one day. To then be unable to attend a program is not great customer service.

LF: That’s a good point, Kendra, and we always want to make sure we have some programs that are open to all. I’ve worked at libraries that run things both ways. One did not like us to limit attendance; we had fabulous turn-outs, but because we always had to expect 100+ kids (on a very small budget), we could only offer inexpensive programs that accommodated huge groups. And I found that kind of limiting creatively.

In response to your point that turning people away isn’t good customer service, I’d argue that for some libraries, with limited space perhaps, keeping the crowd to a manageable size can make the experience better for those in attendance. I’ve had complaints from patrons when programs have been very crowded, too!

KJ: I understand how that can be challenging, however, there are other options for programming for large crowds of people. Identical programs can be held back to back, for example. Only one program has to be planned and is then repeated. Not only does this offer patrons more choice in time but allows more patrons to partake in a library program.

LF: That would be a great option, IF…Well, there are several “ifs” depending on an individual library’s situation – can the youth services staff book the space for double the time? Is there enough staff to cover the department and run multiple programs? Is there enough money to cover twice the program? I want to mention, too, that requiring registration for programs doesn’t necessarily mean that patrons get turned away. Often, a program doesn’t “fill up,” but having a good idea of how many kids will attend helps the staff prepare for (and sometimes tweak) the program.

KJ: So true, Lori, that some libraries do not have the resources to do a double header. However, if a program is not getting filled up, perhaps registration is acting as a barrier to one of our most prized resources.

When I worked in a system where registration was required, even with reminder phone calls, patrons did not come for the program. And since they were under the impression that registration was required, there were no drop-in patrons to attend the program, meaning supplies went unused and the program was smaller than intended. Which may not bode well with statistics loving stakeholders who often provide funding for youth programs.

Now we have had our say, but we know there is so much more to this issue! It is your turn to make some arguments for, or against, program attendance limits. Add your thoughts in the comments.

*****************************************

Our guest bloggers today are Lori Faust and Kendra Jones, who wrote this piece as members of the Managing Children’s Services Committee

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

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15. Gene Luen Yang at Breakfast for Bill #alsc14

This morning’s Breakfast for Bill program was such a treat. I absolutely love hearing authors speak about their work, personal writing journeys and library experiences. The wonderful panel today consisted of four special authors, but I was most excited to hear Gene Luen Yang speak. I loved American Born Chinese and was equally impressed with his recent Boxers & Saints titles.

Yang shared his difficulty finding reading at the local library once he reached 5th grade which led him to discover the local comic book store. He hilariously told how his friend would join him in sneaking comic books home in large library books out of his parents sight. As an elementary school student I also snuck my Spider-Man comics home in library books and was pleased to hear that other kids used this tactic!

It was an overall great panel full of funny stories and touching recollections. What a great way to start day two of the institute!

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16. Using Volunteers to Expand the Walls of the Library

Laurie Willhalm started off this session by telling the history of Books for Wider Horizons, an outreach program of the Oakland Public Library that sends well-trained storytime readers into childcare centers and preschools in the city’s poorest neighborhoods. They started with about 3 volunteers and have grown over the past 20 years into a corps to 60 volunteers making 71 weekly storytime visits to 1300 kids at 31sites!

Celia Jackson explained the logistics of how the program works:
They are continually recruiting, in order to replace volunteers who drop out or retire. The m ajority of their volunteers are reached by word of mouth, and they also list themselves on a website called Volunteer Match. Careful screening is key to ensuring that the volunteers area good match for this program and understand the training and time commitments. There is a wirten application with references (which they carefully check), and a phone interview with 4 key questions:
-how did you hear about our program?
-what interests you about this opportunity?
-do you understand the training requirements and volunteer commitments?
-Do your have any questions?
Once recruited, volunteers recieve a binder stuffed with all the info, resources, and paperwork they’ll need, and go through an intensive training institute of 7 session over 3 weeks. All the sessions are required; not only is every element of the training important, but this also weeds out those who may want to vounteer but can’t really committ- if they can’t make all the training sessions, they probably can’t make all of their weekly storytime visits over the long term.

Gay Ducey described the training program- it indeed sounds excellent and intensive! She starts every training session by saying: “Thank your for conisidering your time and your energy spent in the service of the children of Oakland, who deserve the very best that we have.” They teach that the role of a story reader is not to teach- there are plenty of adults in their lives to do that. Their role is to bring joy in reading- to create a special, protected, magical time with books and stories that will make the children associate reading with joy and fun, so that they never stop reading.
Training sessions consist of a brief lesson, a demonstration by a librarian or active story reader, then the volunteers practice what they’ve seen in triads. They get homework to go home and practice. They progress from familiar concepts like reaading alout & singing to more unfamiliar skills like fingerplays. and feltboards. There is a survey of classic and contemporary children’s literature, and lessons on child development. The hardest thing to learn is how to hold the book- the volunteers need lots of practice! Gay says: “Our training is long, and it’s hard sometimes, but it’s fun and entertaining and it moves along at a good clip. Otherwise we might all come down a case of terminal earnestness.”

Randi Voorhies is a longtime Books for Wider Horizons volunteer, who shared her experience in the program. She echoed what Gay had already said: if any of us decide to start a similar program, don’t water down the training! Its length and depth are essential in the volunteers’ success and long-term commitment. talked about her experience.

Laurie Willhalm, in her conclusion, responded to a comment from an earlier session from a librarian who despaired of being able to build a materials collection and volunteer corps on the scale of BWH- “You are sufficient as you are.” Start with what you have and build from there as you’re able.

Laurie Willhalm’s contact info for more information: lwillhalm@oaklandlibrary.org, 510-238-2848

http://www.ala.org/alsc/sites/ala.org.alsc/files/content/NI14Handouts/Building%20Walls.pdf

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17. Science Literacy Moments #alsc14

“Pretend the window is a screen,” said poet Susan Blackaby at this morning’s #alsc14 session “The Poetry of Science.” People spend so much time with their eyes glued to their electronic devices that they’re liable to miss what’s going on in their environment. Imagine if people gave as much concentration to nature as they give to their computer screens. How many hawks would they see? What other wonders would they encounter?

Author Margarita Engle joined today’s panel, discussing how she uses both poetry and her science background to advocate for animal and environment conservation. As a child, Engle said, “No curiosity was too small for concentration.” She made the point that the phrase “the spirit of wonder” is applicable to both science and poetry. Because of this commonality, it’s possible to interest poetry loving kids in science phenomena and give science fans the chance to experiment with language.

Poet Janet Wong said that it’s easy–and vital–to create science literacy moments in the classroom and at the library. The key is to be bold. “Science and technology are accessible to people if they’re not afraid.” As gatekeepers of information, teachers and librarians should embrace the responsibility to expose kids to all subjects. Linking language and science may be a key way to make science more approachable. It doesn’t even have to be an elaborate lesson: just a few science literacy moments a week will have a lasting impact on children’s lives.

Check out these great resources:

Jill’s post about Thursday’s edition of “The Science of Poetry”

Presenter Sylvia Vardell’s Poetry for Children blog

Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong’s blog and book, The Poetry Friday Anthology.

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18. Seven is Heaven for Tiny Tips


Photo via

It's blog birthday time again! Whew, seven years old.

And this kid is growing. I am amazed and grateful to see over 320,000 pageviews over the life of the blog.

Thanks for coming along for the ride, even with posts fewer and farther between. It's great to think out loud on the blog when I can and share the journey with you all on the road of youth librarianship.

You can't know how much I appreciate you spending time reading and sharing your thoughts and friendship with me. Here's to seven more!




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19. No Name (1862)

No Name. Wilkie Collins. 1862/1998. Oxford University Press. 748 pages.

No Name is my third Wilkie Collins novel to read this year. I've also read A Rogue's Life and The Law and the Lady. I don't know if I'll have time to squeeze in another before the year is over or not. But it's looking like No Name will definitely be my favorite. This novel reminded me of why I enjoy reading Wilkie Collins! And sometimes I do need reminding. I have been disappointed before. But when he's good, he tends to be really, really good. No Name is definitely Collins at his best! I enjoyed No Name best when I stopped trying to categorize it.

Magdalen Vanstone is the heroine of No Name. After her parents die within weeks of each other, she learns some startling news that changes everything for herself and her sister. Her father was not legally married to her mother; that is he was not legally married to her until a few months ago. His honorable intentions, unfortunately, have ruined their lives. For his marriage discredits his previous will. If he had NOT gotten married, then the girls would have been in his will and they would have inherited everything. Now his everything goes to an estranged older brother that is mean and cruel. (Collins would like you to boo, hiss now)

Norah, the good sister, the good older sister, accepts this news with grace and courage. She will follow Miss Garth's advice closely. She will become a governess. She will be far from wealthy, but, she'll hold onto as much dignity as she can cling to under the circumstances.

Magdalen, the younger sister, refuses to accept it at all. And she's just as clever and crafty as she is stubborn. Magdalen teams up with a relation of a relation, a con man named Captain Wragge. Both are clever and willing to be a bit immoral in pursuit of what they want most, of what they feel they deserve. Captain Wragge may sound like a villain, but, there's just something about him that I can't help liking. He certainly makes NO NAME an interesting read!!!

Magdalen has a plan, a scheme, for recovering the money that is rightfully hers. She will stop at nothing to get it. What is her plan? Well, it involves her (mean) uncle, Michael Vanstone, and his heir, Noel.

The scheme does not go unnoticed, however. Mrs. Lecount is a servant in the Vanstone household, and she is very controlling and extremely observant. She is always on the lookout for people who might be tempted to take advantage of the family since they are old and/or weak and/or very stupid!

It is a plot-driven novel with plenty of twists and turns. I enjoyed every single one. The book may be over 700 pages, but it's a quick 700 pages!!! It's a surprisingly quick read. Once you become hooked on the story, on learning what happens next, once you start to CARE about the characters, you just have to read on and on!!!

Will Magdalen's scheme succeed?
Will she get her hands on the money?
Will she share the money with Captain Wragge?
Will he find a way of getting his share? Is he really on her side no matter what? Or will he turn traitor?
Will either sister get married? Will either sister live happily ever after?

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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20. YALSAblog Tweets of the Week – September 19, 2014

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between September 19 – September 15 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.

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21. Library Loot: Third Trip in September

New Loot:
  • Tumtum & Nutmeg Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall by Emily Bearn
  • Tumtum & Nutmeg The Rose Cottage Tales by Emily Bearn
  • The Quilt Walk by Sandra Dallas
  • The Vicar of Nibbleswicke by Roald Dahl
  • The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter
  • A Cat of A Different Color by Steven Bauer
  • The Carpet People by Terry Pratchett
  • Scaredy Squirredl Makes a Friedn by Melanie Watt
  • Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping by Melanie Watt
  • A Time To Dance by Padma Venkatraman
  • West of the Moon by Margi Preus
Leftover Loot:
  • The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory
  • The Boneshaker by Kate Milford
  •  A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
  • The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming
  • Half A World Away by Cynthia Kadohata
  • Revealed by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  •  The King's Speech by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi
  • Card Games for Children by Len Collis
  • Chambers Card Games by Peter Arnold
  • Mr. and Mrs. Bunny Detectives Extraordinaire by Polly Horvath 
  • The Edge of Terror by Scott Walker
  • Until Our Last Breath by Michael Bart and Laurel Corona
  • The War of Our Childhood reported by Wolfgang W.E. Samuel
  •  The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930s America by John F. Kasson 

   Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries. 
 

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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22. Beyond Sensory Storytime #alsc14

In Beyond Sensory Storytime: Expanding Library Services to Children with Special Needs, Renee Grassi shared some great inclusive customer service strategies. These strategies include:

– Person First Language

Person First Language is words or phrases that that puts the person before the disability. For examples of First Person Language, visit www.disabilityisnatural.com.

– Adjust Your Mindset

Programs for people with disabilities will not look exactly like your usual program, and that’s okay.

– Be Patient and Allow Processing Time

Children with disabilities may have a hard time expressing what they need. By being patient and allowing processing time, we are giving them time to find a way to express themselves.

– Simple Questions and Offer Choices

Offer a choice board that features both text and pictures at the service desk so that nonverbal children (and adults!) can communicate.

– Make Accommodations

Is the program room too cluttered or too bright? Make accommodations to the best of your ability so that everyone can feel welcome.

– Offer Visual Supports

Use both text and picture supports for your program. Have the program plan written down with pictures. Remove the pictures as you complete the task. For example, for a storytime, have a picture of a book, then remove it when you finish the book.

– Assistive Technology

There’s a lot of great assistive technology that can be used in programs. For example, a Big Mac Button is a large, easy to press button that can be preloaded with a certain phrase. So if you’re reading Bark, George in storytime, you can preload the button with the phrase, “Bark, George” so that non-verbal children can participate.

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23. ALSC Institute vs. ALA Conferences


We all only have so much continuing education/professional conference funding - whether it's from our institution or our own savings accounts. And of course there are many possible ways to use that money when thinking about national conferences - not just for ALA sponsored events but for groups like USBBY, Think Tanks, NAEYC, Computers in Libraries, STEM powered conferences, unconferences, and much more.  Choosing what works best and balancing our choices is definitely a challenge. Though we want to attend all the things, it just isn't possible.

Just off the end of the ALSC 2014 Institute in Oakland, I want to talk a bit about the differences in two of my favorite conferences.

ALSC Institute:
Held every other year at different venues around the country (next up Charlotte NC in fall 2016), this small intimate conference is focused, youth program heavy and -centric (16 unique sessions, plus at this year's Fairyland extravaganza, a choice of one of over a dozen other breakouts) and combines deep learning with great opportunities to hear from book creators/publishers.  This year, local and national authors in attendance and presenting or mingling numbered well over 40. That's quite an opportunity to speak personally with a book creator as well as hear their banter and thinking on panels!

It sounds bizarre to say that a conference with 350 youth librarians is intimate - but it is. You spend Wednesday night through Saturday noon with the same group of people - at meals, sessions and social events.  If you choose to take advantage of it, you meet and share with a ton of colleagues as well as run into people IRL that you only work with virtually. One of the true advantages of these "regional" national conferences is that you get a chance to meet many youth folks from the venue's surrounding areas. This year we saw lots of our CA, OR, ID and WA peeps who can't make it to annual. That was worth the price of admission alone.

Admission. Well, here is often where the rub comes. Even with sponsoring publishers and organizations, this remains an expensive conference when you combine registrations, transportation and housing. In terms of sheer opportunity to learn/network, these costs are more than made up for. This year, I paid the whole tab myself (PLA ate up the library CE funds this year) and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

ALA Conferences
Held twice a year these are the muscular conferences that move our association and profession forward. It's an opportunity for librarians to work on committees and task forces that hone leadership and problem solving skills by plunging hands, hearts and minds into the guts of improving service to our communities across types and sizes of libraries.

Vast, sprawling and often confusing, ALA conferences are also an extraordinary opportunity to work with librarians from all types of libraries on areas of passion (technology = LITA; Feminism = Feminist t\Task Force; Intellectual Freedom = Freedom to Read Foundation...and endless combos) outside of our primary focus. Amazing opportunities to see massive exhibits and get hands-on looks at new and upcoming youth titles are combined with opportunities to attend special events that publishers host (breakfasts, lunches, social hours) and let you rub elbows with book creators is definitely a perk.

In general ALA is far less programmatic. "What?!?!?!" you say, "There are a TON of programs to choose from!". Each division/unit is given a very small number of programs they can sponsor in the leaner paradigm adapted over the past few years. ALSC gets five, yes, I said FIVE program slots. Along with these there are independently pitched programs like Conversation Starters, Ignite sessions and Networking Commons opportunities that help attendees fill their dance cards.

I love the annual conferences for the committee work and networking opportunities across types of libraries. Its the way that I can give back to the profession by working on ALSC committees, task forces, the board and ALA Council. Working with my peers, we make a difference because together we are stronger.

Upshot?
If you can make it to both types of conferences, most excellent. If you need to choose, Institutes are more programmatic/intimate. ALA conferences are great for working hard towards a better profession and giving back to the profession by working on committees and learning leadership skills. Although, I guess I can say I never won a Pete the Cat doll at an ALA conference ;->




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24. Trivia Night at #alsc14

Trivia Night at NI14

Dewey Lewis and the News at Trivia Night (image courtesy ALSC)

Last night was the Trivia Night at the 2014 ALSC National Institute. A big thank you to our hosts, the Pacific Coast Brewing Company. Nearly 100 librarians packed the place to battle for bragging rights (and some swag).

The questions were tough, but everyone had a great time. Perhaps the best part of the night were the team names. I’m going to share a few of them for you here (the ones I remember anyway):

  • The Original Pickle (you had to be there)
  • Dewey Lewis and the News
  • The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Trivia Team
  • Win!
  • Undercover Geniuses

Congratulations to the winners and everyone who participated. It was a blast!

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25. Week in Review: September 13-20



The Hobbit. J.R.R. Tolkien. 1937.  320 pages. [Source: Bought]
My Cousin Rachel. Daphne du Maurier. 1951. 374 pages. [Source: Library]
Wednesdays in the Tower. Jessica Day George. 2013. Bloomsbury. 240 pages. [Source: Library]
Death of a Schoolgirl (Jane Eyre Chronicles #1) Joanna Campbell Slan. 2012. Berkley Trade. 340 pages. [Source: Library]
Mythmaker: The Life of J.R.R. Tolkien. Anne E. Neimark. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Northanger Abbey. Jane Austen. 1817/1992. Everyman's Library. 288 pages. [Source: Book I Own]
The Bible Study Handbook. Lindsay Olesberg. 2012. IVP. 240 pages. [Source: Bought]
Edwards on the Christian Life. Dane C. Ortlund. 2014. Crossway. 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Love's Fortune. Laura Frantz. 2014. Revell. 400 pages. [Source: Review copy]

This week's favorite:

How do I choose between The Hobbit and Northanger Abbey? They are completely satisfying reads, but in very different ways! I love Catherine and Henry. The story is funny and sweet and predictable and satisfying. I love Bilbo too. I love him more than Frodo. I love the world-building in The Hobbit. I love the writing too. Especially the dialogue. There are chapters of The Hobbit that I simply adore!!! But the same can also be said of Northanger Abbey. There are scenes--if not whole chapters--that I love so very much. It doesn't help that both books are so very quotable. (Usually, that helps me decide if I'm having a hard time.) Since I can only have one winner, I choose The Hobbit. I can't imagine this list without it.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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