Friday, August 17, 2018

2019 National May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture Scheduled in Madison!!

Debbie Reese, PhD
An alert peer noticed a tweet on August 11 from the CCBC's KT Horning:

"Mark Your Calendars! The 2019 May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture by @debreese wil take place in Madison WI on Saturday April 13 7:30 pm. #2019Arbuthnot, @UWMadison@wearealsc"

This is big news! The CCBC, UW School of Education and UW-Madison iSchool successfully collaborated on an application to host this annual honored lecture featuring Dr. Debbie Reese, champion of of Native representation and strong advocate for inclusion.

The free Arbuthnot lecture is held all over the US (last year in Bellingham WA) so having it close to home is great!

You can read about the details of next year's lecture here and read general information about the lecture and Arbuthnot here.

Mark those calendars now for Saturday April 16 at 7:30 pm. We'll keep you posted on location, how to get free tickets and final details as they happen!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

ALSC Webinar: STEAM Programming in your Library

Wednesday, August 22
11:00AM (Central)

Want to engage school-age kids through exciting STEAM programming in your library but don’t know where to start?  Three recipients of the Strengthening Communities Through Libraries grant are ready to share tips and tricks for partnering with others, selecting materials, outreach to build participation, measuring outcomes, and documenting success.  Many libraries struggle with STEAM programming; this webinar will give you the confidence to start tomorrow.

Maryann Brickey, Children’s Librarian and Branch Manager, Live Oak Public Libraries (Georgia)
Krystal Lancaster, County Librarian, Camden County Public Library (North Carolina)
Melissa Harrison, Media Coordinator, Weeksville Elementary School (North Carolina)

Learn more and register HERE.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Tweaking the Summer Teen Volunteer Program

Sam Stavole-Carter writes: “This year I have begun to notice a marked decline in overall availability of our teen summer volunteers at Mesa County (Colo.) Libraries. What did we do wrong? We expected too much, and we didn’t anticipate attrition. Fortunately, we are still receiving plenty of volunteer applications, so finding new volunteers isn’t an issue. However, I believe tweaking the structure of the volunteer program to make it more agile could naturally preclude such issues. Here’s what we will be doing next year.”...
Read Sam's full article HERE

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Happy Trees! Paint Like Bob (Ross)

Image result for bob ross

Have you been yearning to try a Paint Night for your patrons, but can't afford the cost?  Maybe you have an avid group of artists always looking for a new challenge?  You should host a Bob Ross Painting Party!

For those of you unaware of the calming majesty of Bob Ross, his Emmy-Award-winning Joy of Painting program--aired on public television in its heyday, but now also available on Netflix, Youtube, and in DVD format--is one of the most popular and recognizable art programs on television.

For our first go, we decided to pick the Bob Ross video tutorial "Grey Winter" - - only three paint colors were necessary and most of the brushes were readily available through our craft suppliers of choice.  We had 20 of each brush available, but depending on your budget, you can always add or subtract (and have folks share.)  We decided against buying the painter's knives and instead encouraged participants to use the back end of their smaller brushes or popsicle sticks for the portions of video that called for that particular technique.

For canvases, we ordered these handy-dandy 9x12 boards from Nasco.  At $1.20/each, we knew we'd be hard-pressed to find a better bang for our buck.  We also purchased our three acrylic paint colors from Nasco and had more than enough for two separate sessions of Bob Ross goodness.

On the day of the program, we set up our room and dispersed the necessary materials, giving each participant a paper plate to use for their paint palette.  Each station also had a book display stand to serve as an easel.  NOTE: Make sure to cover the base of your book stand with masking tape or the like, as they're likely to be painted upon!

Before beginning, reassure folks that everyone's art will look different--and that's ok!  Rather than focusing on the finished product, they should instead enjoy the process and exploration. 

While each Bob Ross tutorial is around 30 minutes, plan for at least 60-90 minutes for your program, as you'll like want to pause the video after each step.  This allows folks to catch up without feeling like they need to create at professional-artist-speed, as well as gives them the opportunity to replenish any supplies, review a previous step, or simply take a break.

Other supplies that will come in handy:

  • paper towel (lots!)
  • individual cups of water

We had a blast with this program and definitely plan to revisit Bob and his happy, happy trees in the future.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Where to Access Additional Free Children's Ebooks

Pixabay image
The ALSC blog has a great resource post on finding free children's books online. 

As author Angela Nolet of Washington's King County Library System says, "It seems like even the family cat has access to a device, so it’s no surprise that even our youngest readers are utilizing eBooks. While our library collections are full of exciting new content (read along ebooks, beginning readers, and picture books to name just a few), sometimes nothing hits the quality reading spot quite like sharing a classic title. And best of all, there’s no such thing as a holds queue when reading classics with a free and legal public domain download."

Click here to read the rest of the post and find links to the resources.

Friday, August 10, 2018

C.A.L.L.: Conference About Libraries & Learning

C.A.L.L.: Conference About Libraries & Learning
Thursday, January 31, 2019

It is our distinct pleasure to invite you to the third Conference About Libraries & Learning (C.A.L.L.). The conference is a collaboration between UW-La Crosse Murphy Library, the School District of La Crosse & La Crosse Public Library and will take place on the UW-La Crosse campus on Thursday, January 31, 2019. Librarians from all types of libraries (school, public, academic, special, etc.) are welcome to attend.

Service runs through a librarian’s work day. We know it from day one going in to the field. We expect to be tired at the end of a day, week, program, or semester. Patrons, students, community members or administration turn to us for answers, help, expertise, reassurance, and a friendly smile.
So let’s talk about burnout. What do we do when we have barely anything left to give, when we’re at the end of the rope, when we feel emotionally drawn and the tanks of compassion are running on empty? Is there any space in our work lives to recognize that sometimes we feel unprepared for the realities of managing and regulating the requirements of emotional labor of librarianship? Let’s talk about it.

For this year’s C.A.L.L. conference, we are going to explore ideas and techniques, both urgent on-the-spot, and intentional techniques to cultivate when time allows.
We are excited to invite presenters on the following topics of interest that may include, but are not limited to:
  • Techniques to combat compassion fatigue in the workplace
  • How to emotionally support one another professionally
  • Techniques to de-escalate emotionally charged interactions:  librarian to patron and colleague to colleague
  • Workplace practices to nurture self-care

Submission Details
To submit a conference proposal, please use the submission form. The deadline to submit proposals is Monday, September 17, 2018.  The committee invites proposals that address current challenges faced by professionals in the field and are solution-oriented as well as stimulate and provoke discussion and audience engagement. Presentation sessions are 30 minutes each with 15 minutes scheduled for questions/discussion. Collaborative and interactive presentations are encouraged and panel presentations are also accepted. Notification of acceptance will be prior to Monday, October 15, 2018.

If you have any questions or need clarification, please contact Liz Humrickhouse at

We look forward to seeing you at the Conference About Libraries and Learning!

Cindy Halter, School District of La Crosse
Teri Holford, UW-La Crosse Murphy Library
Liz Humrickhouse, UW-La Crosse Murphy Library
Linda Jerome, La Crosse Public Library

Thursday, August 9, 2018

ALSC Webinar: New Media and Preschool Services

Tuesday, August 14
11:00AM (Central)

New media is everywhere and children are using it. This webinar will focus on real best practices of incorporating new media into preschool services.
What are some specific apps that are age appropriate for preschoolers? How much time should be devoted to using an iPad or other tablets in a preschool storytime? What are the pros and cons of leading a digital-focused preschool storytime versus a traditional preschool storytime?

Claudia Haines, Youth Services Librarian, Homer Public Library (Alaska)
Melissa Ronning, librarian who works for institutions that promote the accessibility of digital resources to the entire community
Laura Jenkins, Library Services Clerk, Huntington Beach Public Library

Learn more and register HERE.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Star Wars Jedi Training

Jedi Knights have assembled children sensitive to the force to test their Jedi abilities. Under the tutelage of the Jedi masters, the recruits must learn how to use the force to wield lightsabers, discover their Star Wars name, design their own ship, shoot down Storm Troopers, assist in a mission to destroy the Death Star and build their own droid. Come and join us, my young Padawan!

We offered “Star Wars Jedi Training” the third week of our summer reading program and it was a big hit! We offered this on Monday evening and again on Tuesday morning! One prep and set-up for two huge program days! And, only one clean up on Tuesday after the program was done! The costs were incredibly low and families wanted to stay at the library playing with all the activity stations for about 90 minutes, significantly longer than many parents/kids usually have the patience for with a room filled with excited people! That alone was a great sign!

Read the full blog post of this program HERE

It's a Tech Take-Apart, a Break-a Take-Apart...

(First things first...sorry to all you 90's folks for the earworm in the title. 😉)

Do you have oodles of old technology sitting around, waiting to be recycled?  Why not put them to good use--before they're recycled...and put to good use--and host a Tech Take-Apart?

A Tech Take-Apart is literally just that: patrons get the chance to take technology/technology-based toys apart to see what's inside and find out how they work.

This program can be as structured or free-form as you like, depending on your expertise, comfort-level, and/or prep time.  At the most basic level, you provide your participants with goggles, technology, and tools and let them loose on your available outdated technology.  Be sure to also pull out books or print materials that explain the inner workings of your available tech!  Folks will be curious to learn, so be ready!

To expand upon the idea, you could also consider reaching out to a local technician or handyman who may be able to provide insight on the various pieces found in the disassembled equipment.  (You could even make this a series of programs, focusing on a different type of machine each session!)

My library's recent Tech Take-Apart was hit with patrons of all ages--it was so fantastic watching some of the younger kids help an older woman with her endeavors, explaining the various bits and pieces to her as she disassembled her computer of choice--and garnered attention from both regular patrons and folks who have never been in our library before this particular program.

A few things to consider before hosting a Tech Take-Apart of your own:

1. Even if you ask patrons to bring their own screwdrivers and you have a small stockpile of your own, bring more.  You can either buy relatively inexpensive ones or simply ask staff members if you might be able to borrow theirs for the duration of the program.  Out of the multiple families who attended, only three of them remembered to bring a screwdriver along.  **TIP: Provide screwdrivers of varying sizes.  The wee ones for eyeglass repair and the like came in quite handy for many a participant.**

2. Be sure the technology you're providing is suitable for disassembly.  Remove any battery packs, snag SIM cards, clear and/or remove hard drives, and so forth.  Additionally, avoid any CRT (cathode ray tube) television screens or computer monitors.  The contents are extremely volatile.  (Needless to say, kids with tools cracking them open?  Bad News Bears.)

3. Provide goggles for your participants.  While most folks are quite careful, even the most diligent tech lover could accidentally send a computer key flying through the air during the break-apart of your take-apart.

4. Depending on where you hold the program, consider having some sort of table covering handy.  Indentations on tables are less than optimal, let's be honest, and technology can be awfully scratchy.

5. Have a plan in place for the various materials upon completion of your program.  Most of the technology will need to be recycled, so consider reaching out to either the recycling location or your local city/town government.  They may be willing to add your recycle-worthy technology to an already existing stockpile.  (The recycling location may charge a fee for drop-off and your community officials might have an agreement in place, allowing you to drop off your items at a more cost-efficient rate.)

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Sock Hop

Disclaimer: If you ask children what they think a "sock hop" is, you will be told 99 times out of 100, in descriptive terms, about a sack race.

I am in love with this summer's CSLP Libraries Rock theme.  I have gotten to do genre-themed storytimes (including musicals, sqeeee!), Teen Music Trivia, and tons of other delightful music-based programs.  But last Saturday I capped off July with an all-ages Sock Hop, and it was a blast!  Here's what I did:

1) Food - I had a local bakery do up some cupcakes to fit the Sock Hop color theme I had chosen (white, pink, teal), Pixy Stix, candy buttons, punch, chips, and popcorn.  I can tell you right now that the Pixy Stix and the candy buttons were the favorites of the bunch!

2) Crafts - I had out two crafts: Socktopus and Soda Jerk Hats.  The Soda Jerk Hats I bought plain and in bulk via Amazon, here, and let the kids decorate to their hearts content.  The Socktopus involved purchasing lots of socks with fun patterns, thread, poly-fil, and felt.  Check out the full Socktopus instructions here.

3) Playdough Station - I also set out a table of playdough in themed colors, with cutters and rollers.  This is a great younger sibling option when families with multiple age children attend our larger
programs.  It is also a good sensory experience.

4) Local Royalty - I reached out to my local pageant and requested one of this year's Butterfest royalty to attend the Sock Hop.  My request was granted and in our programming room I had Miss Sparta's Outstanding Teen doing a number of musical activities, including boomwhackers, musical chairs, hula hoops, and more.  There is just something about having a "princess" at an event that makes the kiddos go crazy!
5) Music - I had 50s music playlists playing in our Children's area (where the crafts and playdough were) and in the program room.  Everyone bopped along!

I also encouraged the kids to come dressed in poodle skirts/leather jackets or other 50s garb. Overall, the Sock Hop was a success, with families arriving early and staying late!  Rock n' roll really is here to stay!