Friday, August 26, 2016

Interactive Tech for Tweens

At our library we've been working on trying new STEAM programming for tweens as well as general ways to incorporate play and technology for older kids.

At a recent WAPL program Beth Carpenter shared her success with Stikbots, a stop motion animation toy that comes with a green screen, smartphone tripod and small sticky-footed peoples.  You can drop in backgrounds on the green screen and use props.  We've found this a little challenging as our sticky parts keep popping!  But we are still trying.

We also purchased Osmo, honestly in part because our IT guy was so excited about it, he offered us new iPads for programming out of his budget.  I'm not above a little bribery.  
And luckily, this has been a bit more fun to play with.  There is a coding piece as well as this drawing tablet addition.  The gist of all of the components being that manipulation of physical objects combined with screen play helps kids understand coding and computers a little more fully.

We've done some Lego stop motion as well--my favorite one featuring a tumbleweed and dichotomous narrators.  One in a nice flight attendant voice calmly stating, "Welcome to our planet." and the other bursting in with "You're all going to diiiiieeee!"  

In addition to these, we've tried some lower tech STEAM projects as well.  Robot Art, an upcoming Paper Airplane Adventure, and a Star Wars light-saber build.

We'd love for you to share what fun programs you have set for this fall or winter!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

PLA and Harvard Family Research Center Team Up to Promote Family Engagement

The Public Library Association has teamed up with the Harvard Family Research Project to provide libraries with resources and tools to help improve family engagement in library programs.  The Harvard Family Research Project has a lot of terrific resources for people looking for information on brain and child development, and it is really great that they are working with libraries!

The report is available here.  It has lots of great information and ideas, including 5 succinct ways for libraries to improve the involvement of families in their children's learning, with examples from the field.  I have included the 5 Rs below, but look to the report for more information and inspiration!

  • Reach Out: Libraries reach out to families to promote the programs, collections, and services that are vital in a knowledge economy. 
  • Raise Up: Libraries elevate family views and voices in how library programs and services are developed and carried out. 
  • Reinforce: Libraries provide guidance on and modeling of the specific actions that family members can take to support learning, reaffirming families’ important roles and strengthening feelings of efficacy. 
  • Relate: Libraries offer opportunities for families to build peer-to-peer relationships, social networks, and parent-child relationships. 
  • Reimagine: Libraries are expanding their community partnerships; combining resources and extending their range; improving children and families’ well-being; and linking new learning opportunities.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Comics at the Library

Wiki Commons
Comics and graphic novels are popular at my library. I found a few simple, passive program ideas in the presentation "Making Comics: Comics Conference for Educators and Librarians" by Jack Baur and Matthew Murray.

In the children and teen areas, you can have fill in the blank comics.  Kids can rewrite the dialog to an already existing popular comic. 

Kids and teens can also create their own comics but with a twist, like a choose your own adventure.  There are also instructions in the presentation on how to make a mini-zine. You can have either the materials and instructions in the Library or as part of a program.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Snapchat and Libraries

Library use of social media is deeply interesting to me. Libraries are not exactly like businesses but they aren't exactly like individuals either. So, how we make use of social media and apps to connect with our patrons and our communities is constantly changing just like trending apps.

Today, I'm examining the potential of Snapchat for libraries to highlight books and services. Spurred on by an article #SnapSeptember and Snapchat in the Library on the ALSC blog, I followed the link to Alanna Graves' School Library Journal article on How To Use Snapchat for Readers' Advisory, which covers Snapchat basics and libraries and bookish accounts to follow.

As these things often do, it led to several more articles of interest:

BookRiot's 8 Bookish Snapchat Accounts You Should Be Following
David Lee King's Snapchat Content Ideas for Libraries
New Jersey State Libraries Marketing Portal's Marketing Public Libraries to Millennials Using Snapchat

Librarian Enumerations' Libraries on Snapchat listing
and Small Business Trends How To Start a Snapchat Account for Your Business.

If you are using Snapchat to reach youth in your library, we'd like to hear about it. Just email scournoyer (at) mwfls (dot) org.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Sneak Peek at Wednesday Youth Programs at WLA!

YSS is sponsoring a number of great sessions at WLA this fall and we want to pump you up! We will be sharing tidbits between now and Oct 26 when the conference starts at the Potowatomi Hotel and Conference Center. To stay updated, bookmark the conference site to register for the conference and hotel and read all the details!

Our first look is at some of the Wednesday, October 26 sessions. We are happy to have not just YSS members sharing their expertise but also Amy Koester, a nationally recognized speaker on youth services join us.

State of the State: WI Children and Teen Library Services   11-11:45 am       
Join our youth think tank! Get updates on the current status of library service for youth in our state. Then it's your turn to share. This active sharing/listening session will focus on YOUR needs as a youth library staffer and what YSS, DPI AND CCBC can do to support and improve library service for all youth in our state.

ABCs of Leading from Anywhere – Amy Koester   1:45-2:30 pm
You’ve probably heard the leadership mantra that you can “lead from anywhere”; but what does that really mean? Learn strategies for serving as a leader from your current position in your organization. We’ll cover the basics, including unpacking the difference between leading and management, how to survive change, and leadership as a career trajectory.

Play and Read: A Partnership to Engage Young Readers   2:24-3:30 pm
Play and Read, a collaborative grant between AmeriCorps Serve Wisconsin and DPI, develops literacy skills through play for economically disadvantaged young children at the local public library. Participants from seven participating Wisconsin public libraries share successes outcomes for this program.

Family Matters: Supporting Families to Learn, Connect, and Grow – Amy Koester   4:15 -5:00 pm 

Families with children are in the library every day, taking advantage of our collections and programs aimed at youth. But how do we support families as a unit, as well as the caregivers who support them? This session will explore strategies for tapping local resources and harnessing staff expertise, allowing libraries to offer parent engagement opportunities that empower caregivers and family-focused programming that builds social connections and community

Stay tuned for information on our luncheon speaker, Burr Worzalla award speaker, preconference plus great WLA events celebrating the 125th anniversary of our association and lots more in coming weeks and months!

September Early Literacy Activities

Here comes fall and here comes another month is YSS's 2016 Early Literacy calendar.

Some libraries print off their fall storytime on one side of the calendar so parents can access the great daily ideas and provide a link so parents can download the rest of the calendar themselves.

However you use it, it's a great shared resource!  This month's contributor is Karen Wendt, the Youth Services Coordinator at the Monona Public Library. Enjoy!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Librarians' Guide to Homelessness

I signed up today for a free week long trial of this content and thought you all might find it useful as well.
Here is a tidbit on the issue of waking sleeping patrons:

  • Give the person a minute or two after you wake them up before expecting them to understand what is happening.  Homeless individuals are just like you: a little groggy when they first wake up.  It is worth taking an extra minute to talk to a person after they wake up to make sure they are going to stay awake (or leave, if that is what you asked him/her to do).

  • ​If at all possible, DO NOT wake people up by touching them.  Many homeless people have been awoken by someone robbing them violently.  When they are touched in their sleep, they immediately start swinging in self-defense (and you could get hit).

  • If you absolutely cannot wake someone up without touching them, stand immediately behind the person so if they wake up trying to defend themselves you won’t be hit.  Another way to do this is to reach across from the other side of the table and touch the person’s hand.  The worst place to wake someone up from is immediately beside them.  At a minimum, reach your hand out and do not lean in where you can get hit in the face.

  • Some people recommending making a noise nearby to wake someone up (e.g. bumping a table, “accidentally dropping a book,” etc.), but I don’t.  This will agitate some people and it doesn’t correct future behavior.  Similarly, I don’t recommend that you “accidentally” bump a person’s chair as you walk by.  Passive aggressiveness (which is how it is perceived) rarely works.​​

More information here: 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Teen Activity Calendar: September 2016

Teens are challenging.  They are perhaps the most difficult demographic to entice into the library, and gaining their interest and involvement can feel like climbing a never-ending mountain.  Teen programming takes a lot of work, and often times it seems like the turn-around on that effort is negligible.  Luckily, there are awesome resources out there to help spark great program ideas and event possibilities.  Check out the latest Teen Activity Calendar from Greenwood Public Library's Head of Reference and Teen Services, Emily Ellis, in coordination with DEMCO Content Strategy Manager, Liz Bowie, for some innovative and fun programming ideas.  You can download the calendar HERE.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Makerspace on a Budget

Perler Beads (Pixabay)
Looking for ideas and tips for a maker program?

Diana over at Renovated Learning provides a treasure trove of project ideas, tips on running the space, and ways to keep it fresh on tiny budget.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

School Age Preconference Passive Program Call

Have you done a passive program for school-age patrons you loved? Your fellow YSS members want to try it, too. After all, our ideas are "Better Together." So, the preconference committee is looking for YSS members to share a successful passive program used at their library. Passive programs will be set up as booths for attendees to browse during the Tuesday, October 25 Preconference snack break. 

If you're interested, please contact Terry Ehle, YSS Chair-elect, at for more details.