Jul 9, 2014

Picture Book Reorganization One Year Later

It has been a little over a year since we reorganized our chidren's picture books into their own scheme.

It has been a year of learning and a few changes. . .

Added general sub-categories
I had previously left a general book on a topic without a sub-category line. It was confusing for shelvers and library patrons. So now if a book has different types of animals, the spine label looks like this:

rather than:

Dropped Multi-Cultural Section
I felt this was an important area to set aside as a resource to share stories outside of our "rural white-bread" Wisconsin experience, emphasis an "I". I thought it might get ignored, but was hopeful people would seek them out. It turned out that our patrons did not check books out from this section as much as they did from some of the other categories. So now, they are on the shelf with the categories that they naturally fit in and will be stumbled upon: friends, family, behavior, stories, etc. This seems really obvious to me now, I'm not sure what I was thinking.

Longer call "numbers"
I had previously used FAVES for my FAVORITES to save space, but it seemed to be counter-intuitive to the whole "do it yourself without codes system" I left the old spine labels as is so we didn't have to buy and print thousands of new labels, but all of our new book spine labels now say: COMMUNITY, FAVORITES, & TRADITIONS instead of COMM, FAVES, and TRADS. All of the call numbers in the catalogs say the entire word, and that is where the patrons look to find where the books are located, problem fixed.

Kid friendly shelf labels
I made picture labels for the subcategories, I am more than happy to forward these on. I did a Google image search of each topic and found the cutest pics I could to put on display! They are just small pictures attached to poster board and covered with Contact Paper, they've been on the shelves almost 9 months and are holding up well.

Other library's adaptations
A few other libraries in our consortium have moved to this scheme over the past year! One of them sent an email out about dropping the P before the main categories.They felt that the colored spines did the trick for them in singling out the books, and I agree they do stick out, I was just worried about finding books on the OPAC.

I had initially planned on genrefying the juvenile chapter books by using colors somehow, which is another reason why I used the P to designate picture books. This project has still not happened as I have been unable to pull together my final vision of how it should look, but it is going to happen some day!

Bottom Line & Final Thoughts:

I would definitely do this again in a heartbeat! It is so much easier for kids to find the types of books they want, and it saves the library staff a ton of reference time.

I REALLY need to add some more princess books and a princess section.  This will just require a commitment. Do princess stories belong in with the Traditional Tales? the Favorites? or the Stories?  Only time will tell....

Jun 26, 2014

Mad Scientists Take One

I had the room organized in a U shape with four tables around a center table. This was an hour program and I had about 25 kids and 4 parents attend. We used the whole hour and I got all of my supplies at the Dollar Store, some I had on hand so I can't give an estimated cost. Maybe around $25-30 because of the milk purchase.

 Experiment One:
I used a few different resources for this one. There were a few YouTube videos and a few blogs that I read and looked at to nail down how I was going to run this in a large group. You can Google "plastic milk experiment" and find tons of different ways it can go.

  • Warm whole milk (I set ours out in the sun all day and it got pretty warm). Some sites recommended a microwave, but that would be hard for a large group, maybe a crock-pot if you are in a pinch.
  • Vinegar
  • Strainer
  • Plastic Cups
  • Tool for stirring
  • Cookie cutters (my co-worker thought to use candy molds, which I think would totally make this project rock in large groups, but after the event)
  • Red solo cups with wooden craft sticks in them.
  • Stack of small paper plates with paper towels on them
  • Three large bowls with strainers over the top.
  • Table of cookie cutters laid out.
I started off by giving each kid a red solo cup (insert song in your head here) and a wooden craft stick. 

My lovely assistant and I went around the tables giving each kid a cup of warm whole milk. Then my parent volunteers who attended with their kiddos followed behind us pouring 1 tablespoon of vinegar into their cups.I had them stir for a loooong time. Probably five minutes, some elected to stir longer. After most had been stirring for a while I had them come to the table one at a time and dump their mixture into a strainer over a bowl. When the whey had gone through the strainer, I plopped the "caesin" or curds on their paper towel covered plate.

They had to dry out their caesin with the paper towels, the more dry they got it the better it worked in the molds. After they got "most" of the whey out of their caesin, they patted it flat then used a cookie cutter to make a shape. Picking up the stuff that fell outside the cookie cutter and putting it inside the cookie cutter and patting it down made their shapes more sturdy. I highly recommend using Meagan's idea of a candy mold for the shapes (brilliant!). They left them on the paper plates for later and we moved on to the next experiment. 

Experiment Two:
This experiment can be found all over the internet, just Google "milk soap experiment".

  • What was left of the whole milk (about a gallon)
  • 1/2 Gallon of 2%
  • 1/2 Gallon of 1%
  • Tall container of buttermilk
  • 2 short containers of half and half
  • dish soap
  • Qtips
  • Plastic Shot Glasses from the Dollar Store
  • Plastic trays with sections from the Dollar Store
  • Food Coloring or liquid watercolors (if you haven't discovered these guys yet, they are the bomb!)

  • Put about 1/2 inch of soap in the bottom of the shot glasses and stuff a bunch of Qtips in them (those are technical terms). Each kid will need several Qtips, I think I used about 10-12 shot glasses and refilled later as needed. 
  • Label one tray with what type of cow product goes where. Each type of milk should have a spot. 

I gave each kid a tray, then I had parent volunteers (pulled from the hallway) pour their liquid into the designated tray spots. After the milk was poured, I had the kids put drops of food coloring 2-3 per section. They had a hard time not mixing the colors and were sadly disappointed later if they had. After they all have their liquids and coloring, I did one demonstration in the middle on a thick paper plate to show the kids how to "use" their Qtips. After that it was a free for all! 

That was our last project, so the kids could just leave their milk trays on the table and leave, because there was going to be no crying over spilled milk on my watch (ha ha).

May 12, 2014

An a-MOO-zing Storytime

What a fun time was had by all. The books and music worked wonderfully together at two different storytimes!

The Cow who Clucked by Denise Fleming followed by the Laurie Berkner Band's I Know a Chicken with egg shakers.

Moo! by David LaRochelle followed by "the Cows on the Farm" to the tune of Wheels on the Bus with flannel animals.

Dooby Dooby Moo By Doreen Cronin followed by Stuart Stott's song There's a Dog in School. The dog sings the alphabet too: ruff, ruff, ruff, ruff. Followed by a cow and horse. Since the animals were singing in Cronin's book, this is the perfect song to do with the kids afterwards.

Duck on a Bike by David Shannon has a cow in it! and it is on a bike!

Followed by cow shapes and colored bingo dot painters for all.

I did this storytime twice, and it went over well twice. My favorite moment was the two little boys at different storytimes who got the humor of Moo! and were literally laughing out loud!

May 1, 2014

Edible Homeschool Fun

Our final Homeschool club was today and I've been seeing all of the fun Edible Books for National Library Week and decided to try it out with just my Homeschool groups. I told them to create something edible based on one of their favorite books. I was so impressed with the creativity!!

This book was checked out, but I found a YouTube clip of Eric Carle reading the book, and the kids were super excited about listening to him read his own book.
Turkish Delight

The grocery store was out of blueberries!
(I had the same problem)
The 11 year old boy came up with this one by himself. He recited the prophecy from memory when he realized the books were all checked out! It was super impressive, and I love this series.
My attempt at a healthy edible book! Strawberries, (frozen) blueberries, and chocolatey mud!
I set up two tables for the creations to go on. When they were all set up, I presented mine first and read Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes to the kids. I had the kids warm up to help me sing Pete's song using Jim Gill's Toe, Leg, Knee song. After I read my book, the next kids read their book, too. And the next and the next. I wasn't planning on having them all read their books, but it worked out great. I had just asked them to tell me about their display and talk about the book a little bit. Some of the chapter book kids had to do that, but it worked out for them as well. By the end of the presentation the kids had drifted from the tables to the floor in front of the readers!

This has been one of the most exciting series of programs I've done. Watching some of the kids go from crying at the beginning of the year when s/he presented their all about me posters to reading a book in front of a group of 20 kids was so rewarding. I can't wait to see what next year will bring.

Side note on the Pete the Cat Shoes "cupcakes" for anyone looking for preschool ideas for a 1000 Books Program or other Early Literacy Event idea: 1 1/2 twinkies, and white frosting and about 5 minutes of my time. This would make a great parent/ child activity for preschool aged chidlren. Fine motor for spreading the frosting and talking about what to decorate the shoe with to rehash the story. . . I'm re-using this idea in the future.

Apr 29, 2014

LEGO Sink or Float

This program served dual purposes!!!  

Add a little dish soap to some water, challenge the kids to build something out of LEGO that will float, and wallah! It was one of THE BEST LEGO programs I've ever had. Kids were engaged, they were talking between themselves and working together to build better floating structures. I was able to throw in words like density, and surface tension. The kids loved it and it was amazing to watch. 

Prep time for this program about 5 minutes! I had to kick them out after an hour and a half. 

Next time I will bring some of my old beach towels so we won't have to use so many paper towels.

LEGOs were cleaned in the process of creating floating structures.