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1. Picture Books

Author George Shannon blogs about all things picture book. 


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2. data-driven strategizing for tiny libraries

I really need to upgrade this version of WordPress but I only remember when I am making a post and so I am busy. I did take the time, with other VLA members (Heidi! Helen! Sarah!) of redesigning the Vermont Library Association website. It was a great project, still a little bit in process, but I learned a lot more about responsive design and working with a team of engaged and interested people. Last weekend I went to Lexington MA to speak at the Cary Public Library. Not my usual routine, I was a guest speaker at a brunch talking about blogs. No slides, just talking. I talked about the history of this blog–15 years old this month–and other things I’ve done as a blogger. It went well. You can read the talk here: Blogs, Blogging and Bloggers. Scroll to the end to read a list of good book/reading blogs I put together. Ah, blogs!

Cutler library stats

This past weekend I went to a strategic planning retreat for one of the local small public libraries. They are in the unenviable position of needing to make some changes without really having the cash or the staffing to do those changes. The head of the board asked if I’d come in and talk about… making tough decsions, what other libraries are doing, that sort of thing. I came in to talk a little bit about Libraries I Have Known and spent about 45 minutes with a combination of local library anecdotes (I got a million of ‘em) and some data-driven talk.

The Vermont Department of Libraries puts out a terrific Giant Spreadsheet every year with a lot of information about all of Vermont’s libraries. I’ve talked about it before. However, it’s more data than most people want to deal with, which is perfectly okay. I took the giant spreadsheet and used some Excel filtering and added some averages and summaries and was able to create a much more modest spreadsheet which basically said “Show us how we’re doing compared to other libraries our size” For this project, I took all the libraries that had within 400 people population-wise and found the most salient information about those libraries (budget, circ, per capita funding, programming &c.) and then highlighted where this library fell on the matrix for these values. It didn’t take long, but it was fiddly work. At the end of it I think I had a really useful one-sheet for the board (above) and a few smaller spreadsheets so they could see where the numbers came from. It was fun. I’d love to do it for more libraries. I work in-state for pizza and Fresca (and mileage if I have to schlep someplace). Look me up.

0 Comments on data-driven strategizing for tiny libraries as of 3/31/2014 11:13:00 PM
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3. Runner #CoreandCake Party! A core routine chased by loads of cake

Let the #CoreandCake Party get going, Runners! :) I’m going to start by showing you a quick core routine that you can do post-run. It’s short and sweet but effective at hitting those important core muscles, so there’s NO excuse for not doing it because you can whip it out fast.

I’ve got some picture demonstrations for a few of the ones that might be trickier to explain. Truth: I actually did a video but I think I’ve already grown tired of my chipmunk voice, so opted for the stills. ;)

Here’s how it works, there are group of exercises. Work up to doing three sets of each group, do all the sets for each group before moving onto the next group. Try doing this (or at least SOME core work) three days a week.

Group A

reverse crunch roll in core exercise
1) Reverse Crunch Roll-In’s — Set of 16

2) Ball Crunch — Set of 30
*Note: for the middle set, I like to mix it up and do the crunches alternating side to side.

Group B

alternating ball reach
1) Alternating Ball Reach — Set of 30
* Alternate reaching opposite hand to opposite foot; 30 total, so 15 each side

split crunch scissor
2) Split Crunch Scissors — Set of 16
* Start laying flat, as you reach up to center with the ball bring your left leg up towards the ball. Lower back down then bring your right foot up to the ball. Repeat.

hamstring ball pulls core exercise for runners
3) Hamstring Ball Pulls — Set of 8 for each leg
* This move works in three phases, and similar to the BRIDGE EXERCISE DEMO I did but up on the ball. Start with one foot on the ball and back flat on the ground, lift your butt up so you’re doing a bridge on the ball, then roll/pull the ball in towards you. Roll out, lower your back down to the ground out of bridge, then repeat. Then switch to other leg.

Group C

1) Push-up — Set of 10-15 (Modify on your knees if you have to.)

2) Chair Dips — Set of 10

BAM!! You can’t tell me you can’t bust that out in 10-15 minutes at most. But the benefits to your running are incredibly important:

* Strong Core = Efficiency. Build up your core and ‘weaker’ muscles so you’re able to hold better form as you run. Maintaing proper form, even as you tire, will keep you more efficient…read as faster.
* Strong Core = Less Injuries. You got it, most injuries are a result of an imbalance that result from a weak muscle. Fix those so you don’t wind up injured and not running at all.

Oh wait, we forgot the OTHER major benefit, you do your core and you get cake too! ;)

#CoreandCake Party Phase 2…

core and cake
run for cake

eating cake

Cake sees no speed. Runners of ALL levels working hard get their cake! ;)

eat cake sweats in the city
Nom….check it out, #coreandcake goes #SweatsintheCity style in my Ezzere Run Your Fortune Tee!!

Check out the AWESOME Lisa @ RunningOutofWine because she’s celebrating all the #coreandcake goodness over at her blog too!! :)

Thanks all your runnerchicks and runnerdudes for coming, now go get YOUR #coreandcake on too! Don’t forget you can tweet/insta/social media #coreandcake all day, seeing hardworking runners devouring their just desserts always makes me smile. ;)

1) How often do you incorporate core work into your routine?
2) What’s your favorite kind of cake, or any dessert?
3) Have you partied down with Lisa yet too?? If not…you best head on over NOW!! :)

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4. America’s Next Top Running Shirt Model

Get ready 2014…we’ve got some BIG things coming!!! #artyrunnerchick #runningshirts #bigplans #makeityouryear #runforyourdreams

arty runnerchick shirt

Stay tuned, Runner Friends, I’ve been busily working away on a few exciting projects…I can’t wait to share!!

Enjoy the last night of 2013…kiss that old year good-bye and kick it to the curb because a New Year is on the horizon and YOU CAN make it one heck of an awesome ride run! ;)

NEWEST Running shirt!!
Runner’s Strip Comic Movie Shorts!!

1) What was a high point of 2013 for you?
Moving closer to my sib’s and being with them for the holidays.
2) What is something you’re glad to kick to the curb with 2013?
Hopefully stupid leg injuries and being REALLY inflexible.
3) What are you looking forward to in 2014?
I’ll quote AM/PM…”too much good stuff”
4) What is a running goal for you this New Year?

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5. Children's Poetry Blog Hopping!

Happy Poetry Friday, all! The poem I'm sharing today isn't my best, but it's near and dear to my heart. See the end of this post for a link to today's Poetry Friday round-up.

In case you missed it, in her last post, April tagged me in the brand new Children's Poetry Blog Hop (CPBH). I'm writing this post in advance because of other commitments, so I haven't yet seen Janet Wong's CPBH post, also scheduled for today. I hope you'll hop on over to the PoetryFridayAnthology.blogspot.com and/or PoetryForChildren.blogspot.com to read it when you're done here.

In April's Sept. 6 post, she introduced Mortimer as the CPBH meme:

Mortimer, from morguefile.com
And she also explained how to participate in the CPBH:

1) Make up three questions you've always wanted to be asked in an interview about children's poetry and then answer them on your own blog;
2) Invite one, two or three other bloggers who write poetry (preferably children's poetry, but we're broad-minded) to answer any three questions that they make up on their own blogs (they can copy someone else's questions if they'd like)
3) In your post, let us know who your invitees are and when they're are going to be posting their own Poetry Blog Hop questions and answers...if you know the dates.
4) You do not have to use Mortimer, the CPBH meme.

Pretty simple.

I've tagged two fellow children's poets to participate in the Children's Poetry Blog HopLaura Shovan, a children's author and poet-in-the-schools who blogs at Author Amokand Tabatha Yeats, author of nonfiction children's books as well as poetry, who blogs at The Opposite of Indifference. (As you'll see below, Tabatha is hosting today's Poetry Friday round-up.) Be sure to hop on over to read their CBHP posts next week. Laura will share hers at Author Amok on Tuesday, Sept. 24, and you'll be able to read Tabatha's at The Opposite of Indifference on Friday, Sept. 27.

Now for my three (actually four) CPBH questions:
1) When was your first poem published? Would you share it with us?
2) Who was your first poetry teacher?
3) What poetry forms do you like best?

And here are the answers:
1) When was your first poem published? Would you share it with us?
I began writing poetry when I was in sixth or seventh grade, and my first poem was published when I was in high school (I won't tell you what year!), in Crystals in the Dark: An Anthology of Creative Writing from the Chicago Public Schools. I was immensely proud to have my writing in this collection (which you might guess, since I still have my copy of the book. J)

However, I had to resist the urge to edit the poem as I typed it up. Here it is, in original form:

My Sanctuary
If I could find a place far away from the world and its sounds,
Distant from the din and clatter of civilization;

Far away from pollution, politics, and people,
Away from worry, death, sorrow, and pain;
The only place that I could think of where I would be
       undisturbed, tranquil, and at peace,
                                                             is within myself.

© Carmela A Martino. All Rights Reserved.

image courtesy of morguefile

I went on to have several of my poems published in our high school yearbook,. After that, though, I pretty much gave up on writing poetry until many years later, when I began writing for children. Which leads into my second question:

2) Who was your first poetry teacher?
In high school and college, I studied poetry only as a reader, not a writer. While I did participate in some workshops on using poetry techniques in fiction at Vermont College, I didn't take my first poetry-writing class until 2002. That's when I attended a four-week workshop by poet and author Heidi Bee Roemer, "The ABC's of Children's Poetry." I learned so much from Heidi in that short time. The weekly assignments challenged us to write poetry in a variety of forms. And that leads into my third question:

3) What poetry forms do you like best?
The poems I wrote in junior high and high school were usually either free verse or rhyming couplets. It wasn't until I was in Heidi's class that I dared experiment with other forms, including triplets, quatrains, limericks, terse verse, and shape poems. Thanks to the confidence I gained in Heidi's class, I went on to have a terse verse poem published in Pocket's magazine, and a poem in two voices published in Chicken Soup for the Soup: Teens Talk High School. Since then, I've tried my hand at list poems, found poems, diamante poems, sonnets, and just about any form that strikes my fancy. Heidi's class, along with poetry-related posts by my fellow TeachingAuthors, and inspiring posts by members of the Poetry Friday community, have opened me to new poetry worlds.

That's it for today. Now hop on over to the Poetry Friday round-up at The Opposite of Indifference .

Happy Writing!

11 Comments on Children's Poetry Blog Hopping!, last added: 9/20/2013
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6. Meet the 2013-14 YALSAblog Advisory Board: Andrea Sowers

Andrea or Drea (either is fine!) Sowers, Joliet Public Library (IL) – Teen Services Librarian

Where you’ll find me…. Online: Twitter: YALibrarianDrea Blog: www.bookblather.net

When I’m not working, I… playing geeky board games, reading, writing, knitting, taking pictures, or just catching up on shows/snuggling with the puppy & kitty.

My favorite things to do online include… play games & chat

Last awesome YA book you’ve read… Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

What you want to bring to the YALSA blog? Information that can help our members’ job easier/better.

The YALSAblog Advisory Board’s function is to support the Member Manager to ensure that the blog is relevant, innovative and meeting member needs for information about YALSA and the young adult librarianship profession. The Advisory Board participates in the maintenance of the blog and works within the guidelines for the site as set by the YALSA Board of Directors. The Advisory Board also serves in an advisory capacity to the Member Manager of the blog and assists with the collection of content for the site; generates ideas for direction and content; helps obtain, analyze and use member and library community feedback about the site; assists with marketing as needed; and writes for the blog when requested by the manager.

Are YOU interested in writing for the YALSAblog? Check out the blog post guidelines and protocols, and drop us a line at yalsablogmanager@gmail.com with your post ideas!

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7. Happy Children's Poetry Blog Hop, Happy New Year, and Happy Poetry Friday!

Howdy, Campers! You have just a few more hours to enter our latest book giveaway (details below)!  AND today we celebrate not one, not two, but three things! Rosh Hashanah, the new Children's Poetry Blog Hop, and Poetry Friday (hosted today by Laura Shovan at Author Amok)!

My PF poem is below.

Thanks, Laura!
*   *   * 
1) Let's start with Rosh Hashanah.  Happy New Year (both the Jewish New Year and the New School Year) to all!  After I put the finishing touches on this post, I going to walk to the end of our pier and toss bits of bread to seagulls and fish as part of a Jewish New Year ritual called tashlich.

My picture book,
New Year at the Pier--a Rosh Hashanah Story
is beautifully illustrated by multi-award-winning illustrator,
Stéphane Jorisch.
We're both thrilled that our book won the
Sydney Taylor Gold Medal for Young Readers

(essentially the best Jewish picture book of the year)

2) And now on to the Children's Poetry Blog Hop.  Having heard of other blog hops, poet Janet Wong and other kidlitosphere poets have decided to start a Children's Poetry Blog Hop (CPBH) for...who else? Children's poets.

I nominate Mortimer as CPBH's meme:
Mortimer, from morguefile.com

To participate in the Poetry Blog Hop, simply:
1) Make up three questions you've always wanted to be asked in an interview about children's poetry and then answer them on your own blog;
2) Invite one, two or three other bloggers who write poetry (preferably children's poetry, but we're broad-minded) to answer any three questions that they make up on their own blogs (they can copy someone else's questions if they'd like)
3) In your post, let us know who your invitees are and when they're are going to be posting their own Poetry Blog Hop questions and answers...if you know the dates.
4) You do not have to use Mortimer, the CPBH meme. 

That's it!

I've invited author, poet, and web mistress extraordinaire Carmela Martino to the Children's Poetry Blog Hop (it sounds like a sock hop, doesn't it?) Carmela will be posting right here at TeachingAuthors.com on September 20th.

On the same day, the marvelously creative author, poet and poetry supporter Janet Wong promises a surprise twist on the blog hop theme.  Find her guest post at PoetryFridayAnthology.blogspot.com and PoetryForChildren.blogspot.com on September 20th!

Okay...here are my three questions:

1) What children's poem do you wish you had written?  Include the poem or link to it.
2) What's your process?  How do you begin writing a poem?
3) Please share one of your poems with us.

And here are my answers:

1) What children's poem do you wish you had written?  Include the poem or link to it.
There are so many!  The first that pops into my mind is Deborah Chandra's "Cotton Candy" from her book, Rich Lizard and Other Poems (FSG)

I met Deborah years ago in Myra Cohn Livingston's master class in writing poetry for children.  Deborah's a stunning craftswoman and looks at the world in madly original ways.  And, as you're about to read, her metaphors are spectacular.  

by Deborah Chandra

like a sweet
it spins itself
A storm
caught on a paper cone.
I hold it up,
the air grows
thick and
with the smell of it.
A pink wind
made of sugar
and smoke,
earth crust,
delicious dust!
poem © Deborah Chandra. All rights reserved

2) What's your process?  How do you begin writing a poem?
Sometimes my process is to start with a word and I spin out from there.  Sometimes I find a poem I admire and imitate its rhythm, meter and form.  Sometimes it's a feeling.  I ask myself, what are you feeling today?  What is true?  What is authentic? And sometimes it's just, you have ten minutes.  Write the damn poem.  (I don't actually use the word damn because, as I'm sure you know, children's authors and poets don't swear.)

3) Please share one of your poems with us.

Here's a Rosh Hashanah/tashlich poem
first published in Jeanette Larson's book,
El dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros: Building a Culture of Literacy in Your Community

by April Halprin Wayland

Shalom to slowly sinking sun
I sing in salty seagull tongue.

But who're these people on my pier?
I sail, I swoop and then fly near.

They're singing, marching up the pier
I think they did the same last year.

A father gives his girl some bread
she scans the waves then tosses crumbs.

I dive, I catch, I taste

I like this ritual at the pier.
I think I'll meet them every year.

I screech my thanks, and then I hear
"L’shanah Tovah!  Good New Year!"

note: Shalom can mean hello, good-bye and peace.
Copyright © 2013 April Halprin Wayland

 Walking up the pier for tashlich in my hometown.
photo by Rachel Gilman

Thanks for stopping by TeachingAuthors today--but wait! Before you head off,  be sure to enter for a chance to win a copy of Lisa Morlock's terrific rhyming picture book, Track that Scat! (Sleeping Bear Press). 

posted by April Halprin Wayland

14 Comments on Happy Children's Poetry Blog Hop, Happy New Year, and Happy Poetry Friday!, last added: 9/8/2013
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8. Meet the 2013-14 YALSAblog Advisory Board: Jennifer Rummel

voya photo

Jennifer Rummel, YA Librarian, Otis Library (Norwich, CT)

Where you’ll find me…. I’m on Pinterestmy Blog, and Twitter

When I’m not working, I… read a ton of books, across genres and ages, play with my puppy. I’m a die hard Celtics fan. I like to bake and do crafty things. I relax at night by watching TV – my top three favorite shows: Castle, Elementary, and Big Bang Theory

My favorite things to do online include… right now I’m addicted to Candy Crush. I love browsing Pinterest for things to bake or crafts to create. I love reading twitter and blogs to catch up on the latest book news.

Last awesome YA book you’ve read… Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas – It drew me in and refused to let me go. I devoured the book and I’m still thinking about it days later.

What you want to bring to the YALSA blog? My passion for reading and sharing ideas for great services to teens.

The YALSAblog Advisory Board’s function is to support the Member Manager to ensure that the blog is relevant, innovative and meeting member needs for information about YALSA and the young adult librarianship profession. The Advisory Board participates in the maintenance of the blog and works within the guidelines for the site as set by the YALSA Board of Directors. The Advisory Board also serves in an advisory capacity to the Member Manager of the blog and assists with the collection of content for the site; generates ideas for direction and content; helps obtain, analyze and use member and library community feedback about the site; assists with marketing as needed; and writes for the blog when requested by the manager.

Are YOU interested in writing for the YALSAblog? Check out the blog post guidelines and protocols, and drop us a line at yalsablogmanager@gmail.com with your post ideas!

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9. Meet the 2013-14 YALSAblog Advisory Board: mk Eagle

mk Eagle Holliston High School (Holliston, MA) Librarian

Where you’ll find me…. Cooking or eating something delicious

When I’m not working, I… am probably asleep. I may or may not have a hard time saying no.

My favorite things to do online include… playing Diablo III, reading feminist blogs and keeping up with television fan communities.

Last awesome YA book you’ve read… The Sleepwalkers, by Gabriel J. Gates.

What you want to bring to the YALSA blog? I’m always trying to bring something just a little off-kilter to the blog.

The YALSAblog Advisory Board’s function is to support the Member Manager to ensure that the blog is relevant, innovative and meeting member needs for information about YALSA and the young adult librarianship profession. The Advisory Board participates in the maintenance of the blog and works within the guidelines for the site as set by the YALSA Board of Directors. The Advisory Board also serves in an advisory capacity to the Member Manager of the blog and assists with the collection of content for the site; generates ideas for direction and content; helps obtain, analyze and use member and library community feedback about the site; assists with marketing as needed; and writes for the blog when requested by the manager.

Are YOU interested in writing for the YALSAblog? Check out the blog post guidelines and protocols, and drop us a line at yalsablogmanager@gmail.com with your post ideas!

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10. Blog Post Blunders

It's best if you avoid these blogging mistakes and mis-steps. 


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11. ALA - Let's Get Together Yeah Yeah Yeah

With ALA slamming up at breakneck speed, I feel the need to make sure I connect to each and every one of you who come to Chicago.  Logistics tell me I'm nuts. But then again, it's worth the try.

Although there are some great social events in the offing, I think another youth services blogger and readers of blogs and twitter -peeps gathering would be fun to do especially if you're thinking of being at the Newbery/Caldecott awards banquet on Sunday June 30 at the Sheraton or the speeches after! It struck me that lots of us would be hanging around this premier youth services celebration, so...

....if you plan attend the banquet or just drop by the speeches after the dinner (there are chairs set up and you can listen to the speeches free and gaze upon the glitterati in the audience!), we can do a meet-up!

Traditionally, at the conclusion of the banquet, a receiving line with the honorees takes place right after the speeches outside the hall. There is always a cash bar. It's a great spot to gather and chat late night (caffeinate early to be up late!).

So consider this for your schedule and say hi!

Post N/C Youth Blogger/Blog Reader/Tweep Meet-up
Sunday June 30
Sheraton Chicago banquet area
10:30-11pm-ish start (or whenever N/C speeches end)

8 Comments on ALA - Let's Get Together Yeah Yeah Yeah, last added: 6/20/2013
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12. Blogging Exhaustion

Are you running out of things to say? 


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13. Where I'm pondering: are blogs going the way of the dinosaur?

I've been a bit quiet here; working on the first draft of Linc's third adventure has me a little occupied (enjoyably so, I must add). I do still enjoy reading other blogs, and checking out funny cat pictures and other Facebook distractions....

Yesterday, Murderati announced it's wrapping up the blog. Blogs come and go, but this one has been around a while (7 years, I believe), and one I followed. So it'll be weird to watch it go. It did get me thinking--and this has been brought up elsewhere before... 

Are blogs a dying art? I use the term art loosely here, but you get my point. Are Facebook, Twitter, etc. taking over as places to have a conversation? Murderati cited this changing marketplace, because of course these writers started the blog to gain an audience to sell books to.

Do you read a lot of blogs anymore? You're here, so at least your reading this one, but have your habits changed with this changing web-o-sphere?

7 Comments on Where I'm pondering: are blogs going the way of the dinosaur?, last added: 4/4/2013
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14. Google Reader to be put out to pasture

Can you see this post? I’m hearing that some folks can’t get my site to load. Has been a problem all day; we’re looking into it. I’m bumping the Ballet Shoes post yet another day until I’m sure the problem (whatever it is) has been resolved.

Meanwhile, noooooo! Google informs us Reader’s days are numbered. Those of us who rely on a good RSS aggregator to make the web manageable are crushed—there’s no better feed reader than Google Reader.

Some alternatives, none of them quite perfect (but I’m confident someone will rise to fill the void):

Feedly—this is probably what I’ll wind up using. Not quite as streamlined as Reader, but it offers many options for customizing the look and function. In “Full Articles” mode, it’s a decent Reader substitute:

Feedly screenshot


(I subscribe to way more book blogs than are visible in that list. I think it only shows the top twelve.)

If you click on the gear icon, you can toggle to different layouts: mosaic, list, magazine-style, etc.

You can export your subscriptions at Google Reader and import them to Feedly, or simply connect Feedly to your Reader account, which is what I did. For now Feedly runs off Reader’s API but it is going to “seamlessly transition” to another source before Reader bites the dust in July.

A Feedly plus is that it has mobile apps as well, with syncing between your desktop, iOS, and Android devices. And if you connect it to your gReader account, it’ll sync with that, too, as long as gReader lasts.

You can share posts from Feedly directly to Facebook, Twitter, G+, Delicious, and other platforms. Diigo isn’t one of the preset share options and I really hope you can add it manually—haven’t figured out how yet but it’s early days—because Diigo is how I share links in my sidebar here. I suppose I could switch back to Delicious if I have to.

Here’s Feedly in “magazine” view:



Other options: Bloglines (what I used before Google Reader came along). NewsBlur (after a certain number of subscriptions, there’s a fee). NetNewsWire for Mac. The Old Reader. Pulp (a paid app for Mac). Flipboard for iOS devices (no good for me, as I need a desktop interface).

What’s your poison?

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15. Flannel Friday Fiesta! A Civilian's View

Flannel Friday 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

1 Comments on Flannel Friday Fiesta! A Civilian's View, last added: 4/7/2013
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16. Time Management Tuesday: Know What You're Just Not Going To Do, And Don't Do It

Once  upon a time, long, long, long ago, I worked in an office for three extension professors. I was their lackey, to be perfectly honest, and I always had way more lackey work to do than I had time.

We would have meetings in which one professor or another, or sometimes all three, would get all excited about this project or that, and one professor or another, or sometimes all three, would say things like, "Why don't you get started on that, Gail." We'd all go our separate ways, I'd "get started on that" and never hear about it again.

I've never made any claims to be brilliant, but I'm not stupid, either. Eventually, I learned to guess which projects they were asking me to work on that they would never follow through on, and I just didn't do them. Not because I was a layabout, but because I just couldn't. I had to do all the things that they were going to follow through on, and there was too much of that, as it was. I cannot recall ever running into any problems because I've my decision-making. In fact, I even told one of the professors I did it. What upset him was not that I was doing it, but that I could do it--that they were coming up with plans they weren't following through on and doing so in such a way that I could predict what they weren't going to do.

Predicting what we're not going to do is something we should be doing for ourselves.

A case in point: Last year I had this exciting plan to start an environmental blog to help market the Saving the Planet & Stuff eBook. It was going to be set-up as if it were the official blog of The Earth's Wife, the environmental  magazine in the book, and it was going to be written in the voice of Walt Marcello, one of the characters. He is not a stereotypical environmentalist, and he has a strong voice with a push-the-envelope sense of humor. I was going to have him comment on environmentally-related news stories and there would be a blog roll of environmental websites. It would be easy, I thought, because I wouldn't update more than once a week or so, and, because I would be using recent news stories for content, I wouldn't have to do much research. It was going to be marvelous. People would love it. I would have lots of readers, and, as a result, sell lots of eBooks.

Well, fortunately it took us longer than expected to publish STP&S, giving me time to become more rational about that plan. First off, the likelihood of any new blog getting much attention these days isn't very great, forget about it developing a big following. Just as there are more books being published than the market can bear, there are more blogs being published than blog readers can read. There's way, way too much competition now in almost every subject. So that would be a big strike against that project. In addition, I already spend a lot of time on this blog, more than most writers do. (I don't consider myself a writer who has a blog. I am a writer and a blogger.) Updating nearly every day with sometimes short essay-length material is a lot. In addition, I'm already maintaining a second blog at Goodreads. (I just discovered I can link to my individual blog posts there from outside, though you may have to belong to Goodreads to read them. Don't know about that.) That blog is only updated 2 or 3 times a month, but still, I am already maintaining two blogs.

A third blog would take up valuable time and energy without providing me with much benefit, since I couldn't seriously expect many more readers. This was definitely a case where I could predict that I either wasn't going to follow through with this project, or I was going to follow through in a poor manner. I decided not to do it.

However, some of what I wanted to do with that new blog I can do here, which is why you can now see an Environmental Sites & Author Blogs section on my blog roll. Once a week I'll be doing environmental posts that fit in in some way with writing and/or reading. We'll see if this has much impact on the marketing of Saving the Planet & Stuff.  At the very least, it will be far, far more time and energy efficient for me than starting and maintaining an entirely separate blog.

So maybe what this Time Management Tuesday post should have been called is Know What You're Just Not Going To Do, Don't Do It, And Do Something Else Instead.

1 Comments on Time Management Tuesday: Know What You're Just Not Going To Do, And Don't Do It, last added: 3/7/2013
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17. Niblings

Four children's literature blogs combine to form a superblog on Facebook.  


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18. Women and Youth Librarianship

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

8 Comments on Women and Youth Librarianship, last added: 3/1/2013
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19. Aaaargh! Five Years Old! Aaargh-some!

I'm celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day today - and the blog's fifth anniversary! 

What a fast year - hard to believe it's already time to celebrate such an argh-picious occasion!  When I looked back last year, it was with amazement and surprise at how the blog has grown.  Only a year later, and the pageviews for the blog have gone up over to 83,000 views (from 32,000 over the first four years!). That astounds me.

Thank mateys for sticking with the blog and being part of my library family online. It means the world. Now back to plank-walking!

Image: 'http://www.flickr.com/photos/95492938@N00/3519678477   Found on flickrcc.net

1 Comments on Aaaargh! Five Years Old! Aaargh-some!, last added: 9/20/2012
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20. Millicent Marie is NOT My Name by Karen Pokras Toz

GUEST POST by DOUGLAS “DOOGLE” HARRIS   5 Stars Millicent Marie is NOT My Name Karen Pokras Toz Grand Daisy Press No. Pages: 150  Ages: 8 to 12 .................. .................. ................. Back Cover:  Twelve-year-old Millicent Marie does not like her name. After all, she was named for a woman who died more than fifty years ago [...]

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21. 365 Days, 52 Weeks: A Look at Blogging in 2012

At the end of November, we gave shout-outs to bloggers and artists who participated in month-long projects like NaBloPoMo and NaNoDrawMo. As 2012 comes to a close, we also want to highlight writers and photographers who challenged themselves all year — who posted each day or each week, or have established an ongoing project on their sites.

These bloggers caught our attention:

Jump For Joy!

Jump For Joy!

JUMP FOR JOY! Photo Project

An inspiring international project focused on play, fun, and the positive in our lives, JUMP FOR JOY! presents Eyoälha Baker’s vision of a world united by our expression of joy. Eyoälha has taken nearly all the images on her blog — with the exception of the photos of her. Her jumping subjects are captured in locations around the world: at the beach in Kauaiat a park in Vancouver, or even between city skyscrapers . . . while holding a ninja sword! We love how she showcases the beauty of the human spirit — in mid-air.

A Year of Reading the World

In 2012, writer and editor Ann Morgan planned to read her way around as many of the globe’s 196 independent countries as she could, sampling one book from every nation. The result? Her thoughtful, sophisticated blog, A Year of Reading the WorldIn each post, she focuses on a particular book and digs into the country’s history and culture. Recent places included EthiopiaGuinea-Bissau, and the Maldives.

Hope Street

Hope Street

Hope Street

Kurt Blumenau’s grandfather kept month-to-month calendars — 15 years’ worth! — on which he recorded significant events that affected him, such as the flight of Apollo 17.

These calendars remain in Kurt’s family, and each Monday on his blog, Hope Street, Kurt picks an interesting calendar entry and writes something about it. ”It might be a reflection on my grandfather’s life,” writes Kurt, “or my family’s history and tradition . . . or American life of the 1960s and 1970s . . . or my own life today.”

The blog celebrates his grandfather and family and is a unique, thoughtful project of personal and American history.

Sketches From Memory

We admire the sketch-a-day regimen of comic artist Chuck Cottrell. Chuck posts simple sketches to mini comic strips, mostly in black and white (with some random yet effective bursts of color). We recommend you dive in, as he lets readers in to his personal world — including sharing stories of married life — in a fun, candid way.

Ian Spagnolo Photography

Outdoor landscapes. Dramatic long exposure shots of the sea. Light painting sessions. Follow photographer Ian Spagnolo‘s “365 Project” to sample his work, especially if you enjoy seeing a photographer play around with exposure, light, and other elements. Ian is from Coffs Harbour, a coastal city in New South Wales, Australia, which means he certainly won’t run out of stunning subject matter to shoot.

52 Brand New

52 Brand New

52 Brand New

For 2012, the personable blogger behind 52 Brand New promised to try 52 new experiences with her children, from tasting new cuisines to attending a family yoga class to collecting rocks. In each “new experience,” she includes playful Polaroid-style images and links to other experiences her family has undertaken, as well as external resources offering ideas for family activities. 52 Brand New is a fresh, creative take on a parenting blog.

Instamatic Gratification

A daily photoblog, Instamatic Gratification succeeds because of its simple and focused approach: one image per day. (We also love the daily quotes that accompany each photograph.) In January 2010, Caryn launched the blog and successfully posted 365 images in that first year. In 2011, she wasn’t quite as diligent, so this year, she decided to challenge herself once again. She writes: “I’ve come to realize that, for me anyway, quantity (or rather the consistency of daily practice) is the surest and most direct route to quality.” We totally agree!

Dar’s 52 Mondays Blog

Dar’s “52 Mondays” project compiles photographs as well as her thoughts on nature, art, education, creativity, and more — a space in which she can share her ideas in one place. We appreciate her weekly dedication to “make Mondays more marvelous,” and think her approach is inspiring.

Since the New Year is just around the corner, we encourage you to start your own 365-day or 52-week project in January. If you have big, exciting plans for your site in 2013, let us know in the comments.

Happy New Year!

11 Comments on 365 Days, 52 Weeks: A Look at Blogging in 2012, last added: 12/31/2012
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22. You Picked That Up From Where?!?!?

A recent post from a widely read blog, which will itself remain uncited, described a library's program for  kids. It looked fun and had a ton of good ideas. It is a program we have done too. All was well and good until I reached the point in the post where I read about an activity that I had created and originated and blogged widely - and more than once - about. Sadly, I didn't see a link back here. Sigh.

I definitely like to scatter idea seeds - both ones I've thought up and ones I've learned from others.  I let them fall where they may. I always hope for fertile soil;  for sprouts and gardens to grow that let kids experience something amazing that they couldn't if their youth librarian didn't try something new they heard from me - or discovered on a listserv, blog post, workshop or book .

But truly, as much as I have scattered, I have also gathered from others. I have learned and borrowed and recreated ideas that others have pioneered. Each time I do, I have said, "Hey, I found it here; or this library or librarian was the founding mother or here was the acorn that produced this oak." Everything comes from somewhere and I appreciate the person that hatched the first egg of the idea.

Every time I read a post that describes a program, I love to see where it came from (the writer's mind; another colleague; a chance conversation; an adaptation of an article; like that). It leads me to that first place and adds a colleague and their work to my blog roll, my reading pile or my bookmarks.

I have been mellow about seeing stuff I've created go viral ("Oh, there's my little baby," I coo proudly, "all grown up") even if my hand in it is long gone. I rarely pitch a fit.  But, somehow, this time, this missing link bothered me. I will totally get over it. I understand how in this world of Pinterest and links to links to links, things can easily fall between the cracks. But I send out a plea to my sister and brother pinners and bloggers and blog administrators - please remember to ask yourself and your writers to link to original content or at least lay a path that helps others find their way.

After all, everything starts somewhere.

Note: I composed this post last month and scheduled it for next week. But three incredible posts of the last 24 hours moved this up since they touch on aspects of support for each other in what I am writing: Hi Miss Julie's questions about who gets tapped for rock stardom vs. the librarians truly working in the trenches of youth librarianship; Kelly over at Stacked who thoughtfully and reflectively explores how we support each other in our work and blogging; and KM Librarian who thinks about networks and support that matter. All these posts are knock-your-socks-off thoughtful.

Image: '382e nestled in'  http://www.flickr.com/photos/25171569@N02/6298805160 Found on flickrcc.net

2 Comments on You Picked That Up From Where?!?!?, last added: 1/14/2013
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23. siteInspire

site inspire

If you’re looking for a fresh dose of web design inspiration, I highly recommend siteInspire. Recently redeveloped, the site features over 2700 examples of web and interactive design each hand picked by the guys at Howells-Studio.


Also worth viewing:
Typographische Monatsblätter Archive
Olle Eksell Shop
Paul Rand Tribute Site

Not signed up for the Grain Edit RSS Feed yet? Give it a try. Its free and yummy.

Featured Book: Matte Stephens: Selected Works.

A Huge thanks to Squarespace for sponsoring this week’s RSS Feed!

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24. Someone(s) You Should Know: Mrs. Duray's Fervent Learners

There I was, out and about at the 2013 Colorado Chapter IRA Heroes in Literacy Conference in Denver, sharing with teachers proven ways to seed and feed their Young Authors, when a workshop presenter shared a proven way with me I knew I’d quickly share with you.

Please meet Deanna Duray’s Little School Third Graders, digital citizens with the handle Fervent Learners!
Their classroom was one of seven (out of 127 applicants!) in Jefferson County, Colorado to receive on January 14th an iPad 1:1 Grant from the local  Karl Friedman Family Foundation.


I emailed Deanna Duray to ask what she loves best about her third graders blogging.
Having an authentic audience was on the top of her list. 
“It gives us the opportunity to reach outside of our classroom walls and show our families and others how we are growing as writers. Just this last week our class blogged about the upcoming state testing and what it takes to be a FERVENT test taker. I shared our blog link with one of our 6th grade teachers and her students replied back. I love how blogging gives students a wider audience!"

As for her fervent bloggers and what they love best?
“I love that you can comment on other people's blogs!” wrote Micaela.
“I love how I can blog from home!” commented Jovanni.
Kayla loved how “you can express your feelings to all the people that will be reading your blog.”
Kyle loved how “you can change font and write what you want to write.”

Click on Fervent Learners.
Explore the Blogroll.
Scroll the Blog Directory.
Choose a post and share your comments!

If you’re a classroom teacher, consider introducing this opportunity to your students.
If you’re a writer, especially of children’s books, consider each Fervent Learner post a mini-lesson on Voice.

And, thank you, Deanna Duray and Fervent Learners, for sharing your experience and expertise.

Esther Hershenhorn



3 Comments on Someone(s) You Should Know: Mrs. Duray's Fervent Learners, last added: 2/26/2013
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25. How Did I Get So Lucky?

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!

3 Comments on How Did I Get So Lucky?, last added: 2/28/2013
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