Mar 27, 2013


Easter is almost here and I didn't do an Easter storytime, but I did do an eggcellent version of one!

Question of the day: Did you have eggs for breakfast? Verdict 5 no, 4 yes (2 came in late and didn't vote). One of them didn't eat chicken or candy eggs, she ate a food egg (I love them, I really do).
Roly-Poly Egg by Kali Stileman. Kids liked this one, they were surprised by the blue polka dotted bird. "Why isn't he red?" hmmm good question.

I Can Shake my Shaker Egg. Mr. Eric & Mr. Michael. Classical music and egg shakers, what's not to love? and it keeps speeding up until it gets out of control at the end and we are all running in place. My favorite moment was when one of the little boys wanted to know why there was a storm in the song: timpani's were booming!

Hedgie's Surprise by Jan Brett. I'm not quite sure why this storytime crew loves the Jan Brett, but they do and will sit for the whole book long.
I Know a Chicken. Laurie Berkner Band. More egg shakers. I probably over use this song, but I love it. It has different directions to follow- shake them fast, slow, up and down and around.

Fox and the Hen by Eric Battut. They helped identify each animal as it helped out the hen and the kids really appreciated the rock egg at the end of the story.

Our eggstra craft at the end was an egg shape with their name on it that they painted with egg yolk paint (egg yolks mixed with food color- liquid water color makes prettier colors than food coloring, but I didn't have any). The consensus was that Hedgie's Surprise was the favorite this week.
Also there was a little yellow Peep for each child after they finished their egg.

Mar 25, 2013

Still Chugging Away at My Newbery Marathon

Caddie Woodlawn (1936) I needed to keep reminding myself that this was written in the 30's and was probably considered ahead of its time. A very Little House feeling to it, Caddie was a fun character, but the whole book felt off somehow to me, probably because of when it was written.

Ginger Pye (1952) Finally (spoiler alert) a dog book with a happy ending. Someone mysteriously kidnaps a boy's dog and he and his sister set out to find him. The culprit seemed a little obvious but the feelings the siblings had were heartfelt.

Higher Power of Lucky (2007) What? Scrotum, scrotum, scrotum. Seriously? The guy probably would have said balls. I found this whole chapter weird and out of place. Is that why it was distinguished? I just don't get it. She still seemed like a brat at the end of the book.

Walk Two Moons (1995) Hope upon hope that this one would be good, and I wasn't disappointed. Fabulous book about interpersonal relationships and loss. Wow! Sal was a fabulous character. I felt a kinship with Sal that easily sucked me in. This was one of my favorites so far.

The Summer of the Swans (1971) Short and sweet, a very powerful story about the bond of siblings.

A Single Shard (2002) Another good read. I liked this one because Tree-ear was a pathetic little orphan who worked extremely hard for everything he had. Good hard working little guy who was just looking for a little love and acceptance and wanted to learn a craft to better himself. Not very action packed, but still some suspense.

Island of the Blue Dolphin (1961) I was not expecting this to be a Castaway type story. Very strong female character for a book set in the 60's. Survival combined with a little loneliness makes this a sad story.

That puts me at 20!

Some of these books are tedious to say the least, why am I still doing this I've asked myself. First, these were all decided by a number of people to be great books. Second, I'm getting a great feel for the history of what has been considered great in children's literature over the years.

Mar 22, 2013

Did I Say Finalized Categories?

Remember this post? Well, things are a changin'.

Here they are one more time:
Favorites, Tales, Traditions, Community, Ourselves, Transportation, Nature, Animals, Concepts and Stories. 
What's that you ask? What happened to Rhymes & Songs? I decided to kill it today and I felt WAY better after we made the decision.

On Wednesday my IFLS buddy, Leah, came out and helped me finish sorting the rest of my books! Thanks Leah!!! I was asking her about putting ballet into sports when she pulled out a book about an artist. "Fine Arts?" she asks. Wow and Duh! You think after spending four years of my life in a Fine Arts building on a college campus, I could have come up with that one, but I didn't and I loved it.

This brings me to today. My director, Kim, and I were talking about where to put the huge stack of Fine Arts books that I hadn't planned on having. Does it go in ourselves because it is something kids do? or does it go in Community because often times kids are going to dance classes or music lessons? I'm not sure how we came to the conclusion, but we came up with the idea of a Hobbies, or Fun & Games category. It will house Sports, Fine Arts and all of the Rhymes & Songs books. The poetry books will be sorted into the other categories where they will probably get checked out more anyway. There was only one shelf of Rhymes & Songs and this gets rid of my uneasiness about having Sports in Community and provides a home for my Fine Arts books. We put the question out to our cataloguer, Bridget, and will be finalizing the category heading tomorrow.

And the final category is. . . Fun & Games!

Mar 19, 2013

Where to Start?

I started with pretty close to 2000 picture books in the "Easy Fiction" section. I would just like to make it known that I do not like the term "easy books" for picture books because some of them are HARD!

First, I decided to get rid of a space hog, our audio-picture books shelf. There are about 70 of them housed in a four foot by two foot shelf; I say waste of space, especially when every square inch counts! I took those audio-picture books and will incorporate them in with the other picture books and add a fluorescent orange sticker to indicate presence of CD (this also got rid of both of our books on tape). I am also adding non-fiction picture books into the new collection, but am not sure how many titles that will be. I will have to reevaluate the numbers when all is said and done.

I started with the books with CD's and then started pulling non-fiction when I realized there was nowhere to put the books when they were re-labeled! I stopped pulling the non-fiction and  I started with Favorites instead because it was easy to make a list for our student worker to pull them from and it made a lot of room on the shelves for our new categories, especially in the B's (Arthur, Clifford, & Brett).

These were the easiest books to pull, and not a lot of hard choices for the FAVORITES! I browsed through the stacks looking for large chunks by specific authors, or popular characters and made a list. I sat down with the staff and had them think about what books they thought were "popular" with our patrons. When the list was finished, I had our library student pull them all. While she was pulling, I was stickering and labeling the books. Then I printed off a list of the Caldecott medal winning books and collected all of them as well. Right now we have five shelves of favorites, but they are crammed together until there is more room as books are moved for relabeling.

After the Favorites were pulled, I had a middle school volunteer pull all of the books with holiday stickers on them. These were also easy to identify and helped make a lot of extra room on our shelves. I was able to shift all of the remaining books down a shelf and leave the tops of the shelves open for the newly categorized books!

As a side note: we had a dog in to the library today for a Read to a Dog and some of the kids wanted dog books to read to the dog. EASY PEASY!!! I walked right over to animals, sub-category pets and there were all of the dog books! It took me less than ten seconds to pull ten dog books :) A few minutes later one of the kiddos who had been reading to the dog wanted more dog books. I was busy at the desk and couldn't help them, but she walked over to the general area and the lady with the dog pointed out the animal section to her (I was over-listening) and less than a minute later they walked away with two more dog books!

Mar 15, 2013

Reorganization Project Snare

This is how they stand today: We have sorted and re-catalogued over 1000 books, so we are at least one third of the way there! I'm still struggling with animals and farm. 

I have some un-recatalogued animal books sitting in piles of African Savannah, Australia, and Rain forest. What's my problem? I can't decide if they should be their own category and I'm way over thinking things, or if I should just throw them in with the zoo animals because the only place kids around here are going to find animals like that is at a zoo... does anyone have any comments or suggestions they would like to make about it?

Also I haven't committed to adding farm to my Community category yet; they are all hiding in the back office on a shelf without a label :( I decided I didn't want to break up the animals, the farmers, or the tractors. All of those things are on a farm and they would all three be put in different places in the library. We are a farming community . . . but when patrons come in do they want the tractor books with the cow books? or would they rather find tractors with all of the other transportation books and cows in the animal section . . . anyone can also feel free to weigh in on this as well!

Mar 14, 2013

Monstrous March Madness

I know that a March Madness Tournament at the library is not an original idea, but I don't know where I first heard of it, so I'm sorry I can't give the credit that is due. Nevertheless, I wanted to conduct my own March Madness Tournament this month, but didn't feel like NCAA tourney time was long enough for book voting (I have a TON of after school kids on Wednesdays which would boost my numbers a little if I ran the voting rounds weekly). I spent some time making the bracket and getting my hands on all of the books I wanted to use. I used books from Best of 2012 lists and the Caldecott winners.
I chose to use picture books so that all of the books could be available for the kids to read when they were voting and filling out brackets. This is the first time I've ever done a "hands off" display (and I don't like it). There are four rounds so it will take all of March to run. I had twenty kids fill out brackets (and one adult and two librarians). After one week of voting, I had 10 voters the first week and tomorrow will tally up the votes for round two. Their incentive is a $15 Walmart gift card that I've had sitting on my desk for months.

I wanted a fun Music History Month display and the idea of floating notes and rainbows wasn't tripping my trigger. I chose to use a popular misquoted quote to enhance my display. The original quote is "Musick has charms to sooth the savage breast." -William Congreve. I've always heard it as "Sooth the savage beast" so I made a ginormous beast to pop onto the top of the display. Guess what, I've had the books up on display for two weeks now with no takers and I had two different groups of after school kids looking at my display items today (on its first day up)!
I'm probably the only one who appreciates this display, but that's okay. Its eye catching and is getting the kids looking at what is on it!

PS I'm not sure exactly where I got the idea that is was Music History Month from, but I can't seem to find it anywhere now. So it will just be March History Month at our library!

Mar 13, 2013

The Categories

I'm still tossing the subcategories around, but have decided on my main categories. I combined ideas from METIS, Storytime Katie, Gretchen Caserotti at the Darien Library, and Amy The Show Me Librarian to come up with my main subject areas. Here they are:

Ourselves: My Body, Growing Up, Family, Friendship, Emotions, Feelings
Concepts: Alphabet, Colors, Numbers, Shapes, Opposites
Favorites: Award Winners, Favorite Characters, Favorite Authors, Classics
Nature: Conservation, Food, Plants, Seasons, Weather
Animals: Birds, Fish & Water, Dinosaurs, Bugs & Crawlies, Farm, Pet, Zoo, Forest
Community: Biographies, History, Careers, Sports
Traditions: Birthdays, Holidays, Religion
Transportation: Air, Land, Water, Military
Tales: Fairy & Folk
Rhymes & Songs: Mother Goose, Nursery Rhymes, Poetry, Songs, Fingerplays
Stories: Everything else.

The main categories are finalized, it is the sub-categories I am still working out. I started this post about a week ago, and have already changed my mind about sub-categories. For example, when I got to the farm/ tractor/ farmer books I did not want to separate them. Hmmm. . . thinking about adding them to Community. Why? Probably half the kids in town live on a farm or have a grandparent with a farm which are all part of our. . . community. We'll see what happens after I sleep on it.

I think the decision making is one of the best and worst parts of this project. I make all the ultimate decisions and am free to make whatever categories I want. I try very hard to be thoughtful about this; thinking about how patrons will be looking for the books and I also talk at my co-workers constantly about how they would do it, but ultimately it is up to me. Waa! Haa! Haa!  It's all up to me!!!

Update March 23rd. I changed one of my main categories to Fun & Games.

Mar 11, 2013

Build it and they Will Come?

I have always organized my children's books by subject. I did it with my own home collection and I did it for two of the different childcare centers I have worked at. My categories were VERY specific, I had well over twenty or thirty different subjects for each of those three collections.

I'm not sure how I originally heard about the METIS system out in New York, but I started following the librarians who have worked on METIS about a year ago. I started to dream about reorganizing my own library into a more user friendly structure. Their organization made a lot of sense, and I liked how they incorporated non-fiction picture books in with fiction picture books to put everything in one easy access location.

In the past few months I have run across a few other systems that have been implemented in other libraries. One of the first systems I found was developed by Amy Koester at the Show Me Librarian. She called her's Picture Book City and color coded her books and used phrases for groups rather than using letters like METIS did. I loved this idea, yes colors are limiting, but I think that with my small collection, I won't have to go to a deeper level like the METIS team did and I can avoid using letters which is another representation system to learn.

I found the second system just recently in the past few weeks at Storytime Katie. She also chose to name her's Picture Book City and used colors to divide up her sections as well.

As I got closer to finalizing plans to begin this project, I ran across Gretchen Caserotti's slideshare slides for the reorganization she did at the Darien Library. Her slides were SUPER helpful in cementing my plans.

After a few conversations with the cataloger, director and outside eye I had my basics outlined and started to order the supplies I would need.

Mar 8, 2013

Jumping Off the Cliff

Yikes!! I did it!
And by I, I mean we, my fabulous co-workers and I. We took the first steps toward reorganizing our picture book section from alphabetical into (what I believe to be) a more user friendly system!
The stickers arrived, time to get stickering! 
Starting today there are officially books labeled for our very own Picture Book City. This is not the official name yet; we are still tossing around ideas and are open to suggestions. The books are being sorted by topic,color coded and re-shelved with their new spine labels as I type! There will be more info to come in future posts, but I just had to share because I'm nervous, and super excited, and nervous, and a control freak, and did I mention super nervous?
Here are some of the books on a cart waiting to be prepped  for our "Favorites" section.
Our first shelf just waiting for its books.

Mar 7, 2013

A Suess-tastical Celebration

We started the party with a conversation about who Dr. Seuss really is. I love it that kids almost ALWAYS believe that the Cat in the Hat is Dr Seuss. 
I had four stations set up for parents and their children. I knew this was going to be interesting because not many parents stay in the room for storytime, so this was new to them. After a little bit, some parents noticed that other parents were participating with their children, and they all ended up joining in!

The four stations I had set up were: reading Seuss books books with their kids, painting a fish bowl with blue corn syrup and adding goldfish crackers, making a green egg with vanilla pudding, and a Cat in the Hat photo booth. I've done corn syrup painting in the past and found a reference on pinterest to a Dr Seuss craft, but didn't feel like cutting out a ton of fish, so I just bought some Goldfish crackers- yummy, yummy.

I had to leave to get a knife for the cake, and while I was gone 
The Cat in the Hat (read me) visited the library and read the families his story!
 Then we got to have the CAKE- everyone's favorite part of the party! I had a lot of satisfied little kiddos, and it was especially exciting to see so many of the parents, aunts and grandparents reading with their littles.
I ended up with 13 kids and 7 adults attending and the program cost me about $15.

Mar 4, 2013

Time to Unwind... with Teens?

My daughter, who is a senior this year, asked me to accompany her on a field trip to the Bahamas. I was a little reluctant and wouldn't have gone with her if she hadn't asked. Why not? you ask. Let me explain: 30 hours on a bus, 3 nights on a cruise ship, 30 more hours on a bus. . .with 300 high school students! Yikes I say.

So I went. I was seriously impressed that she asked me to go, how could I say no? So, I spent six days in close proximity to three hundred teenagers. The trip was for the high school music department and thirteen different musical groups performed on the ship. It was amazing and fabulous. The kiddoes were great, the music was wonderful, and did I mention the weather? Sunny every day and it was ninety degrees for our day on the island! (Wisconsin got 5 inches of snow while we were gone- ha! ha! ha!)

How is this in anyway related to the library? I was able to immerse myself in teen culture for close to a week. They were impressed when I knew some of the movies they would like and even more so when I knew what the Harlem Shake was. The number of kids running around at rest areas looking for outlets was laughable. . . priorities people. First the phone, then the running water and food!

On a bus tour in Nassau I managed to get a picture of the Nassau Public Library and Museum sign as the bus drove by.
The library was in an octagon shaped building that was PINK!!! I was probably one of the only people on the bus who was interested in stopping to visit the library, and sadly the bus did not stop near there. 

Would I go again? You bet!