Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Conversation Starter 2013

Holy moly there are a lot of awesome conversation starter topics for ALA Chicago in June! I must admit that I'm feeling a little intimidated, but I have a topic on the table myself (with of my coworkers). If it's something you'd like to see, please make sure to vote for it waaaaay back on page 12 (see--so many great topics! I don't know how I'll ever decide which two I'm going to vote for).

Program on a Plate: Serving up Successful Visual Literacy Programming for Pre-Readers

by ALAConnect Helpdesk (staff) on Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 10:07 am Description: Besides storytime, what literacy programs is your library feeding hungry pre-readers? Visual literacy programming offers pre-readers and struggling readers a way to hone this crucial skill through collaboratively interpreting visual data and creating narrative. VizLit, like STEM, gives parents value-added programs with direct results.  Parents love it, kids love it; it’s a recipe for success! Join the conversation as we share our basic ingredients for visual literacy programming and help you develop strategies to implement these easy programs in your library.

Who else has an awesome proposal out there? Let me know in the comments so I can narrow down my choices!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Library Love--Get Outside your Bubble

My favorite Valentine was a letter from a Storytimer at my old library

I am feeling the library love today! It's so wonderful to visit other libraries and get ideas, insight and just experience something different. I highly recommend making the effort to get out of your bubble and visiting libraries outside your system.

Yesterday I took a trip to visit Marge (Tiny Tips for Library Fun) and Sara (Bryce Don't Play)* at their library a few hours away. It was awesome to get a behind-the-scenes look at all the cool things they're doing at their library. It's always so refreshing to talk to Marge--five minutes talking to her can literally change my whole outlook on something.

Sara and I are presenting together this April with Anne (So Tomorrow), so part of the purpose of my trip was to get some work done on our presentation,** but I also got to sit in on one of Sara's fantastic Elementary-age programs (I warned her I would be creepin' on her, so it wasn't like this***).

I totally admire Sara's talent for school-aged programming, and she's planning to blog about the program I attended, "Wild Record Wednesdays." It was another great, simple program idea that WORKS. But more than the program idea, I really appreciated the ability to see how she runs her programs. From when to call a no-show (which it looked like at first), to dealing with non-ideal behavior, to seeing her style of interacting with the kids and conducting the program, it made me feel really invigorated to actually *see* someone else doing what I do and how she does it.

Today I stopped by the library closest to my house, which is in a different system from the library where I work. I just spent about ten minutes strolling around and looking at how they do things. What kinds of displays do they have? How are they communicating with their patrons? What kinds of programs are they doing? In this case it was really interesting because I could see different ways this library was implementing the same programs that my library does since we're in the same consortium.

It's definitely worth the effort to get out and see and celebrate what others are doing.

Superfluous cute story:

My favorite moment was walking past an early literacy installation, which happened to be a bus complete with a steering wheel, the little girl 'driving' the bus invited me to, "Hop in!" Being a good children's librarian, I naturally complied. When I asked where we were going she said, "To college." There was an interactive magnetic map inside the bus, and a little boy came up and started arranging our route. He informed me very seriously that if we were good at the bank, hospital, church, and post office THEN we could go to the park. You're never off the clock if you work with kids!

*pro-tip: her blog title is a lie--she's totally fun

**After Anne read the work we did on the outline she tweeted this gem: "When you plan a conference presentation with and , the outline specifies where GIFs will go.

***or was it?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Art Crush

Please excuse the HIDEOUS sickly pink wall color
I wanted to share two things that hang in my office and make me very happy. For Christmas a couple of years ago, I got this lovely print by Garth Williams from my husband. It's an image from "The Little Fur Family," which is one of my all-time favorite of favorite picture books. I have no idea where or how he got it, but I love it dearly.

"Bless you, my little Fur Child, every time you sneeze"

The other piece is a print called "Circle Time" by Emily Martin. The good news is that I bought it from her Etsy shop, and you can too! Her shop is full of lovely curious magical things. I see from my research writing this post that she has a book out too. I may need to check that one out!

Don't you just wonder what they're reading?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Children's Area Makeover

Window seat area
My new library has this lovely window seat that houses a shelving unit. There are twelve compartments that with clear-bins that pull out. When I started here a few months ago the toys were pretty sad. Most of the bins were empty, and others had a sad hodgepodge of random toys rolling around in them. It wasn't inviting, and toys were often left all over the place. At first I felt like there were too many bins, and worried that if I filled them all with toys the mess would get worse in my tiny area.

Re-creation of the Sad Toy Area

I started the revamp by taking away about four of the bins. That made me feel like the project was a bit more manageable, and I didn't want more bins than toys. All of the toys here either came from S&S Worldwide or Lakeshore Learning. I was lucky to have some early literacy grant money to use. 

Ooh, shiny labels
Once I had new toys, I made labels for the bins, using both pictures and words. I wanted to promote literacy, and I also hoped it would encourage both parents *and children* to put things away in the proper place, since with the labels it is clear that everything has a proper place rather than a free-for-all.

Not pictured: Two still-empty bins to the right.
I am pleased to report that it works! The majority of the time, toys are picked up and put in the right bins, and I see a lot of awesome creative play happening. I've also been getting lots of appreciative comments from parents. What a difference some labeling can make.
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