Monday, December 11, 2017

We Know How to Winter CE in Wisco!

Here comes my favorite time of year - January. I snuggle up, immerse myself in a hygge mindset, read, relax and learn while snowflakes whirl outside.

Oh, and of course, January means the return of the wildly popular Wild WI Winter Web Conference, the brainchild of Jamie Matczak. The 2 day conference is held January 23-25 in the comfort of your office or home. The state-wide virtual learning fest is sponsored by 16 library systems.

Nineteen great programs (including a youth track) will keep your mind engaged and your discovery/innovation brain cells hopping! Registration for these free sessions is now open.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Consider a WAPL Program Proposal

If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.  
Margaret Fuller
(1810 – 1850, Journalist, Critic and Women’s Rights Activist)

Have an idea? A success story about programs, people or partnerships? A clever marketing strategy? Outreach efforts that paid off? Want to highlight ways to approach, expand upon and take action on hot topics like diversity, inclusion, equitable access, readers advisory, early literacy, makerspaces and more?

Share your experience and knowledge with others. If you're new, nervous or simply want to polish your proposal, the Youth Services Section Board is here to assist you. We can help you put together a panel, fine-tune your proposal and coach you on your presentation if needed. All it takes is a quick email to Sarah or Terry and we'll help connect you with the resources you need to put together a proposal for Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries. You've got what it takes and we're here to support your effort!

The YSS Values Statement says that YSS advocates for professional empowerment, collaboration, and innovative, inclusive, and intentional service. Together we can embody our values and enrich ourselves and our colleagues around the state.

Friday, December 8, 2017

YSS Board Meeting Minutes from December 2017

YSS Meeting, December 5, 2017, 12:30 pm

Present:  Elizabeth Timmins, Terry Ehle, Leah Langby, Sarah Cournoyer, Sue Abrahamson, Susie Menk, Tessa Michaelson-Schmidt, Emily Heideman
Absent:  Julie Kinney, Caitlin Schaffer

Terry called the meeting to order.  Susie motioned to approve the agenda, Sue seconded, agenda was approved.

Coding Program Resource:
Both Julie and Caitlin were absent, but they are working on it.  Tessa will be glad to link to it from the DPI Coding Resource.  Susie volunteered to help with this project, even from off the board.

Milwaukee Public Library:
Sarah and Terry have set up a meeting with Kelly Wochinske to talk to the Milwaukee Public Library Youth Services staff in February about YSS and the benefits of membership and involvement.  Sue will provide chocolate!  They will talk more about content closer to the date.

YSS Meet-Ups:
Some discussion of whether or not to have one after the Board Retreat in January.  Consensus was that there can’t be too many meet-ups, especially if non-board members can host.  It is also nice for people to be able to attend a meet-up and get to know the board members. 

Sarah sent an email to the WAPL Conference program people about why YSS could/should be involved in curating, soliciting, and vetting programs.  She wondered if she should wait to hear back from WAPL folks before sending out a call for submissions to YSS members, and we decided she should send something out letting people know that the YSS Board would love to help people if they were interested in submitting a program but didn’t quite know how to go about it, or needed some mentoring.  She is hoping to hear back from the WAPL folks before early January, and will wait to send out a formal call for submissions until after hearing back from WAPL.

Book Award Committee:
Judy Jones, chair, will be working with Terry to look over applications in early January.  Applications are open until the end of December.  Right now they have 5 applications for 2 positions.  One person said they had applied 3 times and had been rejected all the other times.  Some discussion ensued about what criteria are considered when selecting members, and the value of being explicit about what is considered when making selections for membership.  The chair will look into that for next year, when the application is made available.

Membership Survey:
Several suggestions were made (mainly by Tessa and Susie) for ways to make the survey easier to understand, more inclusive and welcoming to all youth services staff, and Susie suggested adding a question about the age range the respondents served.  Terry will take suggestions back to Linda, who will edit with her committee and then turn back to the board for approval before sending out.

Board Retreat:
Decided that the board retreat will be a good chance to delve into some meatier issues—maybe about the priorities, goals, and longer-range plans of YSS, and how they might fit with the larger WLA goals and priorities.  Decided to wait on the diversity discussion with CCBC until after the retreat, when we might have a better idea of the direction/priorities of YSS.  Those attending the January 12 Leadership Retreat for WLA will have a chance to get some information at that meeting to share to help shape the direction of the YSS Board Retreat.  Then discussed a bit about the Meet-Up after the retreat—votes for a hands-on component and book-talking.  Sue will coordinate lunch.

Meeting adjourned.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Presenter Pro Tips

Pixabay Image
With the call for WAPL program proposals, you may be thinking, "Hey, I have an idea for a presentation!

Presenting at conferences or workshops is fun! You get a chance to share your knowledge, perhaps with a partner or two. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you prepare a topic to propose - and your talk!

DO have your idea and speakers firmly set before you write a proposal. That way, what you propose is what the audience gets.

DON'T be afraid to recruit others - especially from other libraries of other sizes or types or community partners  - to make a panel.

DO make sure you can attend the conference before you propose - nothing is worse for organizers than selecting your session and have you bow out.

DON'T just talk about how you run your library good. Seek out other panelists or points of view on social media to give your listeners a wide range of opinions and options to try.

DO practice your presentation for timing. Often, when nervous, a presenter will ramble and run overtime, leaving no time for audience questions.

DON'T just read the text off your slides or make slides text heavy. Toss in a photo, gif, image, quick quiz or other eye-catcher for your audience.

DO make sure your images and photos are either copyright free or you have obtained permission to use them.

DON'T go over an agreed-upon time limit for your part on a panel. That ensures everyone's voice is heard and no one is rushed after you.

DO use the microphone. Even if you have a big voice, many people have hearing difficulties in echo-y conference rooms.

DON'T make put a gif in your last slide if that is what the audience will see during questions and comments. It will draw attention away from you and the discussion onto a projected fidget-spinner.

DO bounce your idea for a proposal with colleagues or YSS board members. Crowd-sourced wisdom is valuable!

DO jump in with a proposal.  Everyone loves to hear new voices, approaches and ideas!

What are your favorite tips for presenting and proposal writing?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Top Ten Gaming Trends of 2017

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (PC/PS4) stars a woman who experiences psychosis.
I am not a gamer.  Pretty sure the last game I played with any enthusiasm was Pokemon Yellow for the Game Boy Color and that definitely had something to do with the fact that my brother was playing it.  That being said, gamer culture has recently had a measurable impact on teens in the library.  From enhancing the collection with titles such as Little Brother (Doctorow), Brain Jack (Falkner), and Rush (Silver), to growing a video game collection, to promoting the upcoming film adaptation of Ready Player One (Cline), library shelves now reflect bits of the gamer world.

As a non-gamer I love good resources and Jordan Erica Webber over at The Guardian recently released an article examining the most prevalent gaming trends of this past year.  From inclusion of disabled and LGBTQ people, to the exploration of mental health this year has seen the gaming industry grow and change.   Check out the full article HERE.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

C'mon, Get Crafty! Circulating Craft Kits

Do you find yourself sitting on oodles of prepared crafts without a purpose?  Perhaps they're leftover from a story time or program and--while there aren't enough to utilize again in a different setting--you still would like to find a use for them?  (After all, you did all the hard work of creating and prepping things!)  What's a Youth Services Librarian to do?

Consider making them into circulating craft kits!

At a system-wide Youth Services meeting last spring, the lovely Tricia from Waterford mentioned that they had started circulating pre-made craft kits and had seen an amazing response from their patrons!  Right then, I knew I wanted to implement something like this at my library.  (Our patrons are avid crafters.)  What's really great about this particular offering is that, other than staff time and the initial set up, you can do it at practically no cost!  SAY WHAT?!

Here's the basic idea:

Patrons check out a bag (or envelope or what-have-you) that contains all the pieces necessary to create a particular craft.  They take the craft home, make it, and return the bag to the library.  Then, the bag is refilled with a new craft and the cycle starts all over again.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

You can tweak the bag--and its contents--to suit the needs of your individual library, both in terms of patron ease, budget, and craft reproduction.  Some libraries may opt to give step by step instructions; whereas our library chose to include a picture of the completed craft, along with both a title and the suggestion to check out other books or materials to complement the project.


You may also opt to include glue sticks or other materials with your kit, or to instead choose to provide them with the necessary pieces specific to the project and have them use glue/scissors/etc. from home.

There are so many ways you can customize this special collection, should you opt to incorporate it in your library!  Don't be afraid to experiment and have fun!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Holiday Gift Ideas

Over at Nerdy Book Club, there is a post detailing some cool book box subscriptions and "one-time-onlys" for the young readers in your life. Check out the post here.

And for all you library staffers out there, if you're tired of receiving heart-felt but sometimes useless things from the people you love during holiday or gift-giving, why don't you see if family members would give you a gift of membership to the Wisconsin Library Association or other professional organization you love but pinch pennies to join! WLA costs $50/year plus $3 for every additional $1000 of salary. My mom used to do that for me and I loved her for it! No more bread-making machines or card tables!!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

WLA YSS Sessions in Short: Reach One, Teach One

Reach One, Teach One
Ehryn Barthelme discussed the ways teen peer educators from Planned Parenthood of MN worked with the Rochester Public Library teen librarian Sarah Joynt to make sure teens in the Rochester area have the information they need about sexual health, sexuality, and gender expression.  Unfortunately Sarah was unable to join us because she was sick, but Ehryn shared information and answered questions about

·         Discussing sex with teens
·         Working with community partners
·         Talking to administration and parents about what you are doing.  Her advice:  don’t try to do this on the down-low.  Be up front about the needs you are trying to address and it usually goes better!  Examples from the Rochester experience included making sure the library administration understood the need for an LGBTQ+ group, and providing information and resources to Somali parents who were concerned about what their teens were learning.

Resources recommended for getting accurate and positive sex education:
Advocates for Youth champions efforts that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.
Go Ask Alice is supported by a team of Columbia University health promotion specialists, health care providers, and other health professionals, along with a staff of information and research specialists and writers.
Planned Parenthood has an excellent program to educate people about sexual and reproductive health.
Safe Zone Project is a free online resource for creating powerful, effective LGBTQ+ awareness and ally training workshops.
Scarleteen is an independent, grassroots sexuality and relationship education organization that provides inclusive, comprehensive, supportive sexuality and relationship information for teens and emerging adults.
Sex, etc. is sex education by teens, for teens, including information on birth control, condoms, HIV/AIDS & STIs, pregnancy and more.
The Teaching Transgender Toolkit is a detailed collection of best practices, lesson plans and resources for those who wish to facilitate trainings about transgender people, identities, and experiences.

Author: Leah Langby

To see all the recaps of "WLA Sessions in Short" click below:
Group Problem Solving
Fear Not Coding for the Rest of Us
Using the Five Practices in School Age Programming
Plan Less, Program More
Diversify Me

Thursday, November 23, 2017

WLA YSS Sessions in Short: Group Problem-Solving

Group Problem-Solving with Evidence-Based Case Discussion
This session involved all participants in a problem-solving technique developed by Birth to Three practitioners in Wisconsin as a way to discuss challenging situations with families.  Shawn Brommer and I led the group in a process to help a librarian, Florence LaBeau, think about the always-challenging, perennial problem of having too much to do and not enough time to do it.  I’ve used this technique to help groups of librarians think about a variety of issues, including:  setting boundaries with a Friends group; getting un-stuck in a project to create an Early Literacy Area; figuring out how to deal with challenging patron and staff behavior; figuring out whether and how to provide staffing in a teen area; and more.  Nearly every time, the person with the question went away excited to try a few of the possible next steps.

Some ​ ​important​ ​things​ ​that​ ​help​ ​make​ ​this​ ​work​ ​better:
1.      The group should have some trust developed with each other—this works best when people feel safe around each other.
2.      The person with the situation being discussed should be aware that it can be a little vulnerable to be the center of all this attention.
3.      Stick to the order! Don’t let people jump ahead!

Step​ ​One: The person (or people) with the question to be discussed explain the question and the situation.
Step​ ​Two: Everyone in the group identifies assets/strengths/resources/capacities that the person/situation has.
Step​ ​Three: Now (and only now!), people can ask what other information do we need in order to understand the situation? This could be things that can be answered today by the participants, or it might be things that need more research.
Step​ ​Four: The group comes up with possible interpretations of why this situation might be happening.
Step​ ​Five: The group brainstorms possible next steps and suggestions.
Step​ ​Six: The person (or people) with the original question/problem/situation choose a few next steps they would like to pursue.

Author: Leah Langby

To see all the recaps of "WLA Sessions in Short" click below:
Reach One Teach One
Fear Not Coding for the Rest of Us
Using the Five Practices in School Age Programming
Plan Less, Program More

Diversify Me

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

WLA YSS Sessions in Short: Fear Not: Coding for the Rest of Us

Fear Not: Coding for the Rest of Us

There were several sessions at WLA that gave me some superb program ideas, but none more so than “Fear Not: Coding for the Rest of Us,” presented by Andrea Stepanik and Gillian Dawson (Brown County Library, Green Bay). I’ve always been interested in coding; learning how computers work and how to create programs is incredibly empowering. Here’s the thing, though: growing up—even up until just a few years ago—I never thought coding was for me. I have never been good at math or science, and don’t you have to be some kind of genius to code? The idea of learning—much less, leading—a coding program seemed way too intimidating for me to ever consider a realistic possibility.

If you have ever felt like me, “Fear Not: Coding for the Rest of Us” is a perfect resource for you. Stepanik and Gillian began the session admitting that they were also completely self-taught and had never imagained they would be leading innovative coding programs. First, they introduced the different kinds of coding languages you can use in your programs from HTML to Scratch, and which languages are best to use with which ages.

Then, we got to learn about the toys. Oh, the coding toys! I can forsee much grant and supply money going toward these fun pieces of tech! Here are a few of my favorites that Stepanik and Gillian recommended using for your coding programs:

·         Code-a-Pillars are about $50.00 each and teach kids the basics of computational thinking with a fun (and noisy!) hands-on caterpillar that they code by manipulating and connecting pieces.

School Age-Teen
·         Lego Maze Coding. You just need Legos for this unplugged coding activity. Kids build Lego mazes, switch mazes with someone else, and then write the code that would allow a Lego figure to navigate the maze.
·         Coding Escape Rooms: Breakout Edu kits includes access to three computer science kits that make kids use code to get out of the room! Difficulty can be scaled up and down depending on difficulty.

Multiple Ages: Coding Board Games
·         Coding Farmers (ages 7 and up)
·         Code Master (ages 5 and up)
·         Littlecodr (4-8 years)
·         Robot Turtles (ages 4 and up)
·         Science Wiz Cool Circuits (ages 8 and up)

Then, there’s the granddaddy of them all: Arduino. Arduino reminded me of Raspberry Pi, but cooler. They combine circuitry and coding to teach kids through adults how computers work and how to create anything from a knock-code lock for your door to a self-watering system for your house plants. It is definitely the most complex and intense of the tech introduced in the session but I cannot wait to try it.

That was the biggest gain I got from the session: empowerment. I am excited to play with new tech and introduce it to my patrons. When you see your code working, it is incredibly empowering. Now that I’ve got my feet wet, I can’t wait to learn more! Since the session, I am proud to say that I have now lead my first coding class. And you know what? None of the kids laughed me out of the room or scoffed at me. They were so excited to learn and so engaged with the programs, they didn’t have time. In fact, most of them were more than happy to help me when I got stuck. The technology introduced at this session are more than just toys: they can be the tools that inspire your kids to imagine—and create—the future.

Author: Julia Lee

To see all the recaps of "WLA Sessions in Short" click below:
Reach One Teach One
Group Problem Solving
Using the Five Practices in School Age Programming
Plan Less, Program More

Diversify Me