Oct 31, 2013

Who Better than a Librarian

Image via Henriksent on Flickr Creative Commons
I've been thinking about using apps in storytime a lot. I've been on the fence for awhile. I've been reading the arguments on the list serves, and blog articles online. I was not sure why I was reluctant to join this new library storytime movement, but it made me uncomfortable.

Last week I went to a Growing Wisconsin Readers workshop and the presenter, Gayle Tylka (Early Childhood Response to Intervention Statewide Coordinator and Early Literacy Instructor at Viterbo University), gave me an aha moment. I can't quote directly because the aha did not happen until after she was done with her presentation, but to paraphrase. . .  you as librarians are modeling for young children and families. Your goal is to build a desire in children to want to learn to read.

I am choosing to not use apps and screen time in my storytime sessions. Here is why:

1. American Association of Pediatrics: "Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child's brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens." 

I strongly agree with this statement. There is a time and place for everything and if we are modelling best practices, then we as librarians should not be including screen time in our toddler storytime sessions at all, period. I live with a medical professional, and I hear his complaints about how people don't listen to doctors and disregard their advice when it conflicts with what they WANT to hear, rather than what they actually hear. Jessica Simpson (cough, cough).

Here is a disturbing statistic for you (also from the AAP): 
Today's children are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices. It does go on to say: Children and teens should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day, and that should be high-quality content. This part of the statement seems to be where most people who do use apps in storytime get their arguments for their choice. I agree, that as librarians we should be recommending the best web sites and apps, but most people using the apps are tech savvy enough to figure out how to use them for themselves. A list would probably suffice.

AAP Press Release Statement from 2011:
"Parents who watch TV or videos with their child may add to the child’s understanding, but children learn more from live presentations than from televised ones. 

The report recommends that parents and caregivers: 

Set media limits for their children before age 2, bearing in mind that the AAP discourages media use for this age group. Have a strategy for managing electronic media if they choose to engage their children with it; 

  • Instead of screens, opt for supervised independent play for infants and young children during times that a parent cannot sit down and actively engage in play with the child. For example, have the child play with nesting cups on the floor nearby while a parent prepares dinner; 
  • Avoid placing a television set in the child’s bedroom; and 
  • Recognize that their own media use can have a negative effect on children."

The last bullet, really hits the nail on the head. If parents see librarians using apps with children, they are definitely going to think it is okay to be using apps with their children when they are not at the library. 


No really, you can. 

This is my own personal argument, which probably has all of you millennials rolling your eyes at me! I am disturbed by the number of kids and adults at restaurants on devices, in waiting rooms at the doctor's office, or at the grocery store in a cart, I can go on and on. At some point someone has to step up and say, Whoa! You can have fun without an electronic device! Who better, I ask, than a librarian? 

I know that librarians out there rock storytime with their songs, stories, flannel props, puppets and more. I've seen many of them in action.

What librarians do in their storytimes is individual to each librarian, so I am not saying those who use them are WRONG, because hey, if they feel using apps enhances their storytime and helps them get excited about sharing early literacy with families, that's great. I, on the other hand, will be enjoying my screen free storytimes.

Oct 28, 2013

Picture Books: Six Months In

I was really freakin' nervous honored and privileged to present a session about our library's picture book reorganization project at the Wisconsin Library Association's Annual Conference! Now that some of the results are in, I can let the whole world know how it is going!
Comments from REAL patrons!
The increase in circulation numbers is awesome, but I had to take into account that everything in the children's collection is up as well. The difference between the two: 25%.

 I will let the numbers speak for themselves!

Oct 14, 2013

Pizza Pizzazz

The first book I read was Curious George and the Pizza Party by Cynthia Platt, it was a little long and wordy for the kids, but they made it through. Then we sang and danced to Charlotte Diamond's I am a Pizza. The Italian verse sure threw us for a loop, but the repetition made it an easy song to do with the kids. 

The second book was Hi, Pizza Man by Virginia Walter. The kids really got into saying hi to the next character behind the door, and it was a definite pick me up after Curious George. I found this song at Perpetual Preschool and took pictures of the characters from Hi, Pizza Man to print out and show to the kids as we sang each verse.

Do you know the pizza man, the pizza man, the pizza man?
Do you know the pizza man, who brings it fresh and hot?

I had the kids sub pizza man with pizza woman, cat, dog, duck, cow, snake and dinosaur from the book depending on which picture I held up.
We team read Jack Prelutsky's A Pizza the Size of the Sun from the same titled book. I held up a pizza shape and the kids and adults shouted out "Pizza!" I finished off with The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza retold by Philemon Sturges, the Hen shared a little more nicely in this version. The "Not I's" really helped the kids interact with the story.

Our craft today was painting a paper plate with "pizza sauce" (red paint as I don't like to waste a lot of food with art projects) and adding the toppings. I used the paper shredder to make mozzarella out of 1.5 inch paper strips.

Oct 7, 2013

Those are MY Jeans!

By far one of the easiest displays I've ever done. This was up in September with all of our diary-esque juvenile fiction books. I printed out a big poster that read Dear Diary and printed out the pencil on a different paper and made it pop off the page with a piece of crunched up masking tape under the eraser.

These books will SCARE your pants off!
 My daughter was NOT amused when she came into the library after school and saw her jeans on top of the library shelves! We've had a lot of comments on this display already!

Oct 4, 2013

Go Dogs, Go!

The question of the day was, "Do you have a dog?" More kids had dogs than did not have a dog.

We sang our welcome song, and I asked the kids if they knew what we were going to be reading about. I always have the books standing up on a table for the kids to see as they walk in the door. "Dogs!"

First up for storytime was Oh No, George! Chris Haughton. Poor George tries to be good, the kids were so so with this one. Thank goodness I'm super over dramatic to hold their attention. There was a lot of opportunity with this one to ask the kids what choice they think George will make.

Then we danced to Jim Gill's Tempo Marches On to get some of our wiggles out, this is a younger group of threes and there are a lot of boys (just sayin').

I read My Dog He is an Ugly Dog from Jack Prelutsky's New Kid on the Block. I printed off a dog picture and every time I read the word dog, I held up the picture of the dog and the kids got to say it for me. I hesitated at the word "stupid" but luckily no kids told me I said a "bad word"!

Bark, George Jules Feiffer The kids liked the silliness of this story with the different animal noises. I read another good crowd participation story, Rrralph Lois Ehlert which got giggles from the parents, and the kids liked to say the different dog sounds. We did a little Jumping and Counting-by Jim Gill (I must have been in the mood for some Jim Gill that day).

We finished with Dog's Colorful Day by Emma Dodd. The project at the end was using bingo dotters on Dog to give him more spots!