Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Middle Grade Collection

Most librarians have a few ideas for collections that they would do if they only had the space and time. A middle grade collection is one of mine.  The article "Dedicated Middle School Collections in Public Libraries: A New Trend?" in School Library Journal, though, is inspiring me to just go for it.

Space is the biggest issue at my library. It is a small one. There is hope for a new library but that's a few years down the road. I struggle finding the right place for the collection. After reading the SLJ article along with one in Booklist, I need to carve out a space even if not ideal in order to make it easier for young people in 5th to 8th grade to find books. (In my community, the intermediate school is 5th-6th grade and middle school is 7th-8th grade. I'm using that as the basis for my middle grade collection.)

I lied. Time is always a problem! Thankfully, I work with an amazing Technical Services department that is well trained and good at planning. They're supportive of ideas that promote the collections and improve the patron experience.

Do you have a middle grade collection? How do you define middle grade? 4th-6th? 6th - 8th? Is it a thriving collection?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Visual Development in Children is Crucial to Wellness and to Reading Success

Visual development begins at birth with babies learning to see as they grow according to the American Optometric Association. Their website has plentiful information about vision for infants, preschoolers, and school-age children. Scroll down on this page to see the tips for parents about helping their child's visual development. It includes reading and other early literacy practices.
InfantSEE is a partnership between the AOA and Johnson & Johnson as a public health program which promotes visual care as a necessary component of wellness care and a child's quality of life. Their site has resources for parents, provides free informational bookmarks as a public service, and helps connect parents with an optometrist.

"Under this program, participating optometrists provide a comprehensive infant eye assessment between 6 and 12 months of age as a no-cost public service. Click here to learn more and locate a doctor in your area who can provide the free infant assessment."

Monday, April 24, 2017

Fun Family Programs

A recent post at Tales for the Tiny featured a fun "Mini-Masters of Library Science" family program. Full of delightful mostly DIY "stations of stuff" activities for kids to choose from - from checking in books and  doing a storytime for stuffed animals to recommending books and  finding books (scavenger hunt!!), the post is complete with PDF's to try and an invitation to ask for publisher files to be shared.

"Programming" Station from Mini-Masters Family Program
For more ideas for family programs, YSS has an archived YSS Powerhouse Presents webinar called "All in the Family" full of ideas from three of our YSS members.

Be sure to check out the other archived webinars at the WLA YSS website - and plan to join us for our next webinar on Services to Homeschoolers on May 2 at 1:00 pm.  Registration is now open!

Friday, April 21, 2017

YSS Board Meeting Update from February 16, 2017

YSS advocates for professional empowerment, collaboration, and innovation, inclusive and intentional service.
YSS Members Present:  Terry, Emily, Leah, Linda, Sue, Susie, Sarah, Elizabeth, Julie
Old business included discussion of the Board Retreat, YSS programs submitted for WAPL, WLA YSS luncheon speaker, WLA YSS preconference and the formation of a new YSS membership committee.

  • The day long Board Retreat, with exclusive board work time in the morning, followed by a working lunch and then opening the meeting to anyone interested in attending worked well.  Everyone enjoyed themselves and the afternoon book share resulted in a great list of books shared earlier this month to the YSS Blog. 
  • Five YSS sponsored programs were submitted to the WAPL conference committee for consideration.
  •  Andrea Davis Pinkney has agreed to be our speaker at the WLA YSS Luncheon for 2017.  The board brainstormed some ways to come up with additional funds to pay for Ms. Pinkney to attend.  (Right now we are about $300 short.) 
  • WLA preconference planning is underway.  Tessa is waiting to hear back from the speakers.  
  • Linda Jerome joined us to talk about the formation and goal of a new membership committee.  The board agreed that some data gathering needed to be done first: who YSS members are, where they are in their careers and identification of the non-YSS members currently working with youth around the state.  Linda and her committee will gather all data by WLA this year.

New business included adding a monthly YSS Blog Post about YSS board happenings and an update from our WLA Representative Sue.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Browse the Web In Style

If you are anything like me, you use one web browser.  ONE.  And it's probably one of the "Big Four": Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge (a.k.a. Internet Explorer).  What you may not know is that there exists an entire world of browsers, most created to be really great at specific tasks.  Tasks that include intense privacy, superior media streaming, and text-only display.  Want to know more?  Check out PC Magazine's recent article highlighting some alternative browsers.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Collection Development Webinar Series Schedule

This line-up looks fantastic and YSS's own WLA Board Liason, Sue Abrahamson of the Waupaca Public Library is presenting in September on collection development. Those who attended the YSS Member Retreat in January got a first-hand look at Waupaca's collections (I loved the juvenile non-fiction - it looked fresh, relevant, and inviting). Also, if you are at a smaller library where you may do collection development in multiple areas, you're sure to find these other topics essential. For instance, YSS Board Member Elizabeth Timmins is part of the panel on Adult Selection Tools.

5-Part Collection Development Webinar Series
REGISTER for one, all five, or anything in between! All sessions will be recorded.

April 19, 10:00-11:00 am: Making Your Collection Count
Presented by Holly Hibner and Mary Kelly. 
Make your collection count! We will discuss collection development policies that balance popular with well-rounded content, reflect diversity and inclusion, and provide methods for dealing with (and avoiding) challenges. This session talks about how to measure a collection's quality. This includes the benefits and methods of taking a physical inventory, analyzing collection procedures and workflows, and the life cycle of a collection. Our holistic approach to collection management will help all types and sizes of libraries to keep pace with the demands and expectations of their communities.

May 12, 1:00-2:00 pm: Adult Selection Tools
Presented by Sarah Statz Cords, Michael Nitz, and Elizabeth Timmins.
Learn some tips and tools for keeping on top of selection, including a focus on nonfiction, non-traditional resources, and how to make things work in a small library.

September 7, 1:00 -2:00 pm: Tips for Building a Well-Rounded Collection for Youth
Presented by Sue Abrahamson and Shelly Collins Fuerbringer. 
How do you keep on top of the avalanche of materials being produced for kids and teens? How can you make sure you are finding the best materials for your collection and your community? Collection budgets are rarely as big as we want them to be, so how can you make the best use of resources? And what about the salespeople? Join Shelly Collins Fuerbringer (Eau Claire) and Sue Abrahamson (Waupaca) for a lively discussion of the tips and tools they recommend.

October 26, 10:00 – 11:00 am: Data Informed Collection Development
Presented by Shanneon Grant. 
Do you like language and stories far more than numbers and statistics? Do your feel like data is dull and uninspiring? Get ready to change your thinking and begin uncovering the clues that data can reveal for you! Join us for an exploration of Data-Informed Collection Development. (It is so much more exciting than it sounds…) It’s NOT about fancy data collection tools, it IS about using the basic data you have access to help you make informed decisions when developing and maintaining your collection. It’s about interpreting your data, rather than just blindly following the numbers. It’s about discovering correlations and connections that drive planning and decision making.

November 3, 10:00 – 11:30 am: Promoting Your Collection: Merchandizing and More
Presented by Kathy Dempsey. 
Collections are the mainstays of libraries. After spending lots of money and time curating, processing, and making them available, you may think the work is done. But there’s one more vital step—promoting them! This final webinar of your series will help you go beyond basic book displays and posters. You’ll hear about using book talks and shelf-talkers, and will learn ways to publicize your collections outside of your buildings. This webinar will focus most on merchandising—what it really is, and how to do it effectively enough to boost your circulation. It will feature many colorful photos of great signage and merchandising from libraries around the world to get your creative ideas flowing. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

YSS Spring Meet-up - Eastside Wisco!

A special invite from YSS chair Terry Ehle:

Ahh, Lake Michigan. Pixabay Image
Summer is quickly approaching and as youth librarians all over Wisconsin prepare themselves for the increase in visitors and programs, YSS would like to offer a bit of calm before the storm.

YSS Regional Meet Up - East Side!
Friday, May 19
12:30-4:00 PM
Cost: $0

Starting Location: Manitowoc Public Library 707 Quay St. Manitowoc, WI 54220
Ending Location: Lester Public Library 1001 Adams. St. Two Rivers, WI 54241

We will start the afternoon at the Manitowoc Public Library and then travel up the road to the Lester Public Library in Two Rivers.

In Manitowoc, YSS Member Susie Menk will share information about MeeperBots,the new technology she has been using with tweens and attendees with get some hands-on experience-a chance to play!

At 2:00 PM we'll make our way up the coast of Lake Michigan to the Lester Public Library where YSS member Terry Ehle will give a tour of the library's early literacy center, including their dramatic play area.

(The drive between libraries is approximately 10 minutes.)

We will finish the afternoon with refreshments and an informal program share. Bring a program that is working or has worked for you or one that you are planning for summer.

Come be inspired!

Have a colleague that isn't a YSS member yet? Invite them along and they can see what YSS is all about!  Please let us know you are coming here:

Questions? Email Terry Ehle at

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Robot Storytime: Coding for Preschoolers

Coding is the hottest thing in libraries since the electronic card catalog, but how do we bring coding to our littlest patrons?  In a recent blog post, Jenn Carson, Library Director of LP Fisher Public Library, Woodstock, N.B., Canada, discusses her search for STEM programming targeting a preschool-age audience.  She touches on wanting a no-screen option if possible, as well as something durable and suitable for a large group.  Her solution?  Cubetto, a wooden robot produced by Primo Toys.  Operation does not require a device, the wooden base body is very sturdy, and Cubetto comes with storybooks!  Check out Carson's search and results in their entirety HERE.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

We Read Too

Looking to be inspired? Kaya Thomas struggled to find books by people of color, for people of color, about people of color. She took matters into her own hands and created a directory of 600 books that prioritized diversity.

Kaya learned how to code so she could create a searchable database to share with others. THEN she studied how iOS works.

Now there is a free iPhone app called We Read Too!

Thank you, Kaya!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Free Audiobooks for Teens All Summer Long Beginning April 27

This program is a great one to use if you're looking for ways to reach teens, partner with your local middle and high schools, or want to share the awesomeness of audiobooks. SYNC is totally free for us and our patrons to use. The tool kit has all the promotional materials you could need. Teens don't even need a library card to download these books, only a computer or device with the Overdrive app on it, and the books are theirs to keep.

Librarians, Educators, Bloggers—Spread the Word!

What is SYNC?

The audiobook publishers’ and AudioFile Magazine’s commitment to introducing the listening experience to teens.

A FREE audiobook download program that has been offered since Summer 2010 and returns April 27, 2017.

  •     SYNC audiobook titles are given away in themed pairs.
  •     SYNC hooks readers by introducing a free download of a wide variety of titles.
  •     SYNC demonstrates that Required Reading can be completed by listening.
  •     Libraries, schools, and bloggers can access the SYNC Tool Kit.
  •     Titles are delivered through the OverDrive app.

How can Libraries, Schools, Bloggers & Press Promote SYNC to Teens?
  •  Use the SYNC Tool Kit to introduce SYNC to your patrons, students, and other readers.
  •  Encourage teen readers to text syncya to 25827 to receive text alerts about all the featured titles.
  •  Sign-up to “Join the SYNC Newsletter” for title alerts.
  •  Encourage teens to download the OverDrive app, in advance of the program.

Download Details
  •     Downloads are in MP3 format and are Mac and Windows compatible.
  •     Downloads will operate through the OverDrive app.
  •     Most listening devices are supported.
  •     Each SYNC audiobook is available for download for a period of 7 days (only).

Frequently Asked Questions for Librarians and Educators:

Can I copy and distribute SYNC audiobooks for my students/patrons to use? SYNC audiobooks are intended for personal use only and may not be copied and distributed under any circumstances.

Can our library add the SYNC audiobooks to our audiobook collection or to our existing OverDrive collection? No. SYNC audiobooks are for personal use only. Most individual titles within the SYNC program are available for purchase through OverDrive. Contact your digital content provider for more information.

Additional Questions:

For questions about the program, titles, and how to use the tool kit to connect with teens, please contact the SYNC Manager at

For issues or questions about the download process please contact the SYNC Help Desk at