May 29, 2013

Just When You Thought it was Safe to Go Into the Library

This last week has felt more like working at the daycare than at the library, not because I feel like I am watching everyone's kids for them, but because I am dreaming of sitting at my desk for more than twenty minutes at a pop. Since last Wednesday, I've had my school age Crafternoon, a day of last minute summer decorating and running copies for the 200 kids for library visits on Friday, (thankfully the weekend off) a funeral and four hours of work at the circulation desk and a Friends meeting yesterday, 200 more kids through the library today and another twenty kids for an hour and a half of programming after the tours! I'm exhausted and haven't craved wine this badly since my daycare days. Summer Reading Program is A LOT of work for youth services people! Vent over...

Kudos to all you fabulous people conducting your own SRPs! Also, kudos to all of you daycare people who don't even have a desk to escape to!

May 20, 2013

The Center of Everything

is the latest book by  Linda Urban. I just finished up this book and it was okay for me. There was not a lot of action in the story it was more about self-reflection (something I don't do consciously enough). Ruby makes a wish to relive part of her grandmother's last day in order to right her perceived wrong. She has always done and been what and who she is "supposed" to do or be. Supposed to do. . . it got me to thinking. . . oh yeah, by the way this is not a book review.

Two recent blog posts really got me to thinking about how I go about this whole librarian thing: Hey You MLIS grads and You Don't Have to Do All Things to be an Awesome Librarian.

I have had my MLIS for one year now, and my job for a year and a half. It has been a super busy year with a lot of changes going on in my library (mostly by me). It got me to wondering if I have been jumping the gun. . . have I done too much? Am I doing what I am "supposed to do"?

One of the first changes I made was to level the easy readers in our collection. We had many, many parents coming in for "really easy" books for their kids to read. I was not familiar with the collection (like the parents) and thought it would be an easy, quick way for parents to find what they needed. Looking back a year later, and after talking with the local elementary school's principal, I am regretting that choice a little. I would still label them, but instead I would use the guided reading levels that the school uses for consistency for the parents. Yes, I could make a list of them, but really what is the point. I (as a former non-librarian parent) would rather go to the shelves, pick up a book and know whether it was the "right" level or not (that instant gratification thing that is so popular these days). So, yeah jumped the gun there.

The second big thing I did was buy a loft with donation money for the kids area. AWESOME decision! I would make it again and highly recommend it if you are short of space and have a few thousand dollars laying around. Yes kids throw things off of it (I put soft blocks and puppets up there), but the kids really love it. It is "their space" in a library with very little space. It doubled our little kids area and I am not done tinkering with the space under it yet. I am thinking rope lights, bean bags and a kitchen to promote the literacy activity of PLAY!

The third thing I changed was the way we shelved (I use that term loosely) our board books. They were in one of those crappy blue plastic crates. I participated in a Military Grant and was able to buy a super cute shelf for the board books. In 2011, the year before I started, we had 97 board books go out. In 2012 after I added the new shelf. .. wait for it (these are amazing numbers). . .347 circs! The new shelf more than tripled the circ numbers. (I know that is some shameless back patting on my part, but none the less super exciting).

I also added a Wii. . . some days yeah, some days aargh.

There are a lot more changes you can read about in my other blog posts (especially the picture book reorganization).

I have been super busy, I am a one woman department. I do all of the things you are "supposed to do" like preschool and toddler storytimes, but I really don't always know what the rest of the "supposed to dos" are.

I am super lucky to have a director who is extremely supportive of youth services and usually always wants more kids in the library. The two of us together are quite the pair. . . constantly dreaming up ways to make things more user friendly and easier to access. Last week we reorganized half the library (with the help of our coworkers). We kicked the Young Adults out of the kids side of the library!!!! Best day ever. There is so much more room now it is amazing.

I'm rambling. . .basically, I love this job. I love my boss and coworkers. I feel constantly challenged to do things better yet easier. When I started, I felt like I had got thrown into the lion's den/ shark tank/ under the bus (take your pick). It was overwhelming not to have my schedule for the day mapped out to the nearest quarter hour. Workshops, conferences, supportive coworkers, and many of you bloggers out there have helped me see the limitless possibilities in library services for youth. Not necessarily what I am "supposed to do" but what I can dream of doing.

May 14, 2013

Picture Book Place- Animals

Major Category: Animals
Sub Categories: The subcategories were harder to come up with in this category. Dinosaurs was the easiest, but after that I had to do some hard thinking. I started by using major category of animal: Mammal, Bird, Fish, Insect, etc, but really didn't like how things were going. I ran into a lot of books about ducks in which there were also frogs, beavers and different insects. There were also books with polar bears, seals and fish together in them. I switched to sorting my books into habitat piles and ended up with Arctic, Woodland, Pond, Ocean, Pets and a pile of wild/zoo animals and insects/worms/spider type animals. I still wasn't completely happy with my piles.

I did not want stories of animals living in Africa in with the Zoo stories because those animals live in completely different environments. I ended up with an Africa pile, Rainforests, and Zoo. I decided to keep the creepy crawly things together and called them Crawlers because it fit on the spine label. The Rainforest books were a combination of South American, African, Asian, and Australian animals. I didn't want to confuse kids about which animals lived together, so I ended up pulling out the African and Australian animals and leaving the rest in the Rainforest group. Eventually I ended up with this list of subcategories.

  • Africa-
  • Arctic-
  • Australia-
  • Crawlers-
  • Dinosaurs-
  • Ocean-
  • Pets-
  • Pond-
  • Rainforest-
  • Woodland-
  • Zoo-

May 9, 2013

Super Worm! or May Displays

When I found this cool Avenger font on fontspace, I wanted to make a graphic novel display. So I did. The graphic novels are interfiled with all of the fiction (I sense another reorganization project for March) and hard for some kids to find. Also our awesome, awesome tech guy fixed my printer so I can print posters from my computer and don't have to bother poor Kim every time I need a poster printed! Yeah Kris!!!
My co-worker Bridget has been talking about the fishing opener this past weekend (with 22 inches of ice on the lakes) and I was inspired to use the overhead projector to make a giant worm on a hook to display our fishing AND worm books. I also printed some covers of books to hang on paperclip hooks from the ceiling cuz' you know, they were hooked.
That's it for May displays. . . coming soon Summer Reading Program deco!

May 7, 2013

Monsters! ROAR!!! ROAR!!!

The question of the day was: Do you have a monster under your bed? Was this risky, yes! but the kids thought it was hilarious, "that's a silly question" and they loved asking each child who came in the door. Needless to say, they ALL did not have monsters under their beds :( I have to admit I was a little disappointed.

First book: The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler. Fun rhyming book, a lot of the kids were able to grasp the craftiness of the mouse. About midway I started adding long pauses prompting them to say "the gruffalo".  Then we danced to I'm the Biggest Monster by The Laurie Berkner Band. Kids love it when they get to roar.

The next book/story was Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley with flannel pieces. For some reason the kids thought this was hilarious as well (maybe they are giddy from being traumatized by the foot of snow we had five days ago, did I mention it is eighty degrees today?) I put emphasis on the Ed Emberley author hoping some of them would make a connection with two Emberley stories in a row, but they didn't so I got to tell them about it. I sang the book If You're a Monster and You Know It by Rebecca Emberley & Ed Emberley and we did all the movements and ROAR a lot. I had listened to the free recording, but didn't feel it was worth bringing the laptop to storytime
I read Big Brave Brian by MP Robertson, which was not a hit with this crowd. We finished way early so I pulled out Jumpy Jack & Googily by Meg Rosoff & Sophie Blackall. This is one of my favorites because of the sheer irony of Googily showing Jumpy Jack that there are no monsters under his bed, when in fact he is a monster. I've done this before without many kids catching on, so I started by asking them what types of creatures Jumpy Jack and Googily were. They were able to pick up on the irony after that (mostly the four and up crowd).

Finished up with bingo dabbers, markers and googily, yeah that's right googily eyes to make our own monsters! ROARRRR!
There was even a green one with yellow eyes and purple hair (not pictured here).

May 6, 2013

Picture Book Place- Ourselves

Major Category: Ourselves


  • Behavior- bullying, taking care of books, wearing seat belts, manners, etc. all are here
  • Confidence- Anything to do with believing in yourself, staying true to yourself, and/or being proud of you.
  • Family- moms, dads, new sisters or brothers, grandmas, aunts, uncles. . .same sex parenting families, adoption. It all goes here.
  • Feelings- feelings and how to deal with strong feelings go here.
  • Friends- best friends, frenemies. . .
  • Health- dental, body parts/systems/functions, doctor visits, excercising, etc.
  • Routines- things that happen in kids daily lives like going to the bathroom, getting ready for bed, daily schedule type books.
  • School- I debated putting this section into community, but figured most of the kids that come to the library will end up going to school someday; that is part of their everyday lives, so all of the going to school, and what happens during school books are here.

I DREADED working on this category. This category has a lot of ambiguous books. They could be behavior, but could also be friendship or family. I saved this one until the end. Piles of books about kids lives went into an even bigger pile to sort and separate later. When I had no other choice but to work on these books, I started grouping them by similar books and then the sub-categories emerged.

May 2, 2013

Picture Book Place- Fun & Games

Main Category: Fun & Games


  • Art- Books about drawing, painting and famous drawings and paintings. Also pottery, quilting and other types of art and creative
  • Dance- all types of dance. Ballet, Lola's Fandango, and as you can see Dancing with Daddy.
  • Music- Anything about instruments, music AND songs.
  • Rhymes- Nursery Rhymes, Fingerplays, not basic rhyming books. I divided up the poetry to the other categories with the thought that it will probably get checked out more. For example a dinosaur poetry book will probably move more in dinosaurs than it would have if it were on these shelves.
  • Sports- Anything sports related. Karate, Tennis, Baseball, Football, etc.
  • Theater- Many of Auch's chicken books are here. Anything about being on stage or performing for an audience.

This category started out as Rhymes & Songs. There were only a small amount of books, and I had piles of sports and fine arts books that needed a home. I brain stormed with my co-workers to come up with commonalities for these books and we came up with hobbies, which led to Fun & Games.

May 1, 2013

Fish! Fish! Fish!

The question of the day was: Have you ever been fishing? Only one said no they had not, which is not surprising because we live in Northern Wisconsin where you can't turn around without running into a river or lake. I skipped the counting part because it was obvious which side had more (and I wanted to get started). One little guy could NOT sing the opening song because we had not counted the names. . . lesson learned. Just count them!
I started out with Ten Little Fish by Audrey Wood and used flannel fish to stretch the story out a little. Some of the kids noticed the rhyming patterns. They liked the ending with the ten baby fish. We danced to and sang Slippery Fish. Then I read Trout, Trout, Trout! (A Fish Chant) by April Pulley Sayre. It is a chant that lists many of the freshwater fish in North America. This was a fun one to read because it had great rhythm and the fish were actual fish (although they didn't have very fishy behavior). I was able to point out a few of the fish the kids had talked about catching when they were answering the question of the day at various points i the book. Then the kids helped me out with Have You Ever Been a Fishin'. This is a fun one to do because it gets faster and faster. Singing it without the CD let me have more opportunity to play with tempo.

I went to a storytime workshop last week and was inspired to try a poem at storytime. I modeled it after Jenna's performance of a Prelutsky Spaghetti poem she had told us about, but used a fish instead. We read My Fish Can Ride a Bicycle from Jack Prelutsky's Something Big has Been Here. Every time the word fish was in the poem, I held up a picture of a fish and the kids got to shout out, "FISH!" It was AWESOME!  The parents seemed to enjoy it almost as much as the kids.

The last book I read was This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen. I explained about how it had won an award, which they could have cared less about. They did however LOVE it. I let the pictures do most of the talking and the kids were shouting out, "He's mad" and "That crab pointed to him".

For the craft, I chose to do something "risky" that I liked doing at the day cares. I put cups of soap with paint mixed into it on the tables and had them blow bubbles with a straw. When they had a lot of bubbles they had to squash a fish shape onto their bubbles. I really talked up the blowing into the straws part and made them practice blowing into their straws several times before I let them near the paint.
I guess I could call it a success, only two of the fourteen drank any soap :)