Monday, September 15, 2014

A Simple Storytime Favorite

The fall storytime session started this week at my library. I wanted to share a favorite. Our storytime kids love getting their hand stamped as they leave. Toddlers, especially, love getting a stamp. One time at the grocery store a storytime regular saw me and held out his hand for a stamp!

What is a simple storytime favorite at your library?

Friday, September 12, 2014

South Asia Book Award Ceremony in Madison

Join the South Asia National Outreach Consortium for the

The 2014 South Asia Book Award Ceremony
Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 3 pm
Central Library│Madison Public Library
in the Children’s Department Program Room
201 W Mifflin St., Madison, WI 53703
Presentations by:

2014 Award Winners
Elizabeth Suneby
Razia’s Ray of Hope: One Girl’s Dream of an Education
(Kids Can Press, 2013)
Jennifer Bradbury
A Moment Comes
(Atheneum Book, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, 2013)

2014 Honor Winner
Farhana Zia

The Garden of My Imaan
(Peachtree, 2013)

Join the South Asia Book Award committee to honor the 2014 SABA Award Book winners, and recognize the 2014 Honor and Highly Commended authors and books. After remarks from committee members and presentations by Ms. Suneby and Ms. Bradbury, the event will close with a book signing. Award books will be on sale at the event. For more information about the event, please contact award coordinator, Rachel Weiss (608) 262-9224, or visit:

 Held in conjunction with the Wisconsin Book Festival, this event is free and open to the public!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Take the Library on the Road!

Remember way back in the “olden days” when mothers would bring their children to the library? Remember when children would enjoy a trip to the public library for a field trip?  Well, these things still happen, but they are getting more and more infrequent as more mothers work outside the home, and as classrooms get busier trying to accomplish learning goals.
What if, instead of people coming to YOU at the library, you went to THEM, instead?  That’s just what I do as Children’s Librarian at Marion Public Library.
During the school year, I have scheduled visits to both of our daycares within Marion.  Every other week, I visit one or the other daycare.  I bring my week’s themed storytime along with me, along with Storytime handouts to send home with the children.  In addition, I also visit the school at least once a month, to bring my storytimes to the 4K, 5K, 1st and 2nd grade classrooms.
How do I accomplish this?  Easy!
  • I schedule storytimes when I know there are enough staff staying at the library.  Without my supportive staff members, I wouldn’t be able to travel.
  • My storytimes are only about a ½ hour long, so I’m not gone from the library for long when I do travel.
  • I have portable tools to bring with me—my portable flannel board, iPod and iPod speaker enable me to have the same storytime that I’d have at the library.
  • I have great relationships with the daycares and the school—not only do I bring them storytime, but I also request themed books for them.
Being willing to step out of the library is so important- it gets our library name out in the community.  Building community relationships is one of the most important aspects of a public library!  Also, I had greater participation in my Summer Reading Program this year, mainly because the kids and I had developed a relationship, and the kids begged their parents to keep seeing “Miss Esther” during the summer.  It’s fun for the kids to see me outside of the library setting- and it’s fun for me to see them!

Don’t be afraid to leave the walls of your library—get out there and build relationships!
From Esther Burns, YSS member and Marion Public Library children's librarian.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Library Card Sign-up Month

September is Library Card Sign-up Month. Yesterday, the ASLC blog had a great post about how to work with schools to get more kids signed up for library cards. The ideas can be used anytime of the year.

Spring is a great time with summer around the corner and kids not having access to school libraries. In May and June, all first grade classes from the three elementary schools visit my library for a tour and stories. Weeks before the visit, the teachers pass out library card applications and return completed ones to me. When the classes visit, the kids get their new library cards.

Storytime at my library draws a young crowd (mostly 3s) who are fun. I love when the first graders visit because I can do longer stories with more sophisticated humor. My current favorite is Big Bad Bubble by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Teen Read Week™

Teen Read Week™ is October 12-18, 2014 with the theme "Turn Dreams into Reality". Through its website Teen Read Week™, Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) offers free PR materials, programming webinars, and grant opportunities. You do not need to be a YALSA member to sign-up to get freebies.

Under the Planning tab, you will find Activity Ideas and a list of 50 ideas. Below are my favorites for a librarian who might not have too much time or money but wants to do something. That probably includes all of us!
  • Set up a Suggestion Box—then post suggestions with responses
  • Collect and post teen reviews [offer some instruction in review writing]
  • Ask an English professor or teacher to host a 'so you want to be a writer' program
  • Passive program: bookmark contest
  • Passive program: have teens create book spine poetry
  • Family Activity—teens read to younger kids at library
  • Passive program: which book would you save from a fire & why?
  • Offer book giveaways for teens who are 'caught reading'
  • Create a bulletin board filled with book title suggestions from teens
  • Write an email or letter to your favorite author

Friday, August 29, 2014

Star Wars Reads Free Stuff

I bet you are excited about free stuff as the next person, aren't you? And free stuff to help you promote reading?  Even better.  Star Wars Read Day is October 11, and publishers of Star Wars books are happy to help you promote it with an event kit, plus a bunch of other promotions, like free posters, stickers and buttons.  Orders are due September 19, so you even have some time to figure it out!  Check out the promo information here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Burr Worzalla Children's Award Winners and Honors!

Children’s beginning chapter book, The Year of Billy Miller, written by Wisconsin native Kevin Henkes and published by Greenwillow Books, has won the 2014 Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award. He will present at the WLA conference in the Dells on Thursday Nov 6 at 2:45 pm. The Children’s Book Award Committee of the Wisconsin Library Association’s Youth Services Section annually awards the Burr/Worzalla to the most distinguished work in literature for children written and/or illustrated by a Wisconsin book creator. 

In The Year of Billy Miller, Billy is entering second grade and he is a bit anxious about what that year may bring. His dad reassures Billy that this is his year. We follow Billy’s relationships from his teacher, to his father, sister and ending with his mother, and as we watch their interactions we see Billy’s character grow. Kevin Henkes does a fabulous job of portraying the life of a second grader, and all the concerns, thoughts and feelings that come with it. A funny and enjoyable read for beginning chapter book readers, reluctant readers and a great family read-aloud. 

The Children’s Book Award Committee also named Avi, Notable Wisconsin Author/Illustrator for his remarkable contribution to the world of children’s literature. Avi is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Avi will be a luncheon speaker at WLA in the Dells on November 6 at noon (yet another reason to be at the fall WLA conference!)

Six noteworthy titles have also been selected for Outstanding Achievement in Children’s Literature, written and/or illustrated by Wisconsin book creators:
The Sin-Eater’s Confession by Ilsa J. BickI’m With Stupid by Geoff HerbachExclamation Mark illustrated by Tom LichtenheldSophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow MillerOne Came Home by Amy TimberlakePoison by Bridget Zinn

The Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award is made possible by the Worzalla Publishing Company, Stevens Point, through a grant to the WLA Foundation.

The 2014 Children’s Book Award Committee members consist of Jeni Schomber, Chair, Beloit Public Library; Jennifer Bahnaman, McMillan Memorial Library (Wis. Rapids);  Jean Elvekrog, Waunakee Public Library; Karli Pederson, Milwaukee Public Library; Julie Harrison, Verona Public Library; Krissy Wick, Madison Public Library; Rachel Cornelius, Sparta Free Library.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Free Virtual Tours of the Roald Dahl Museum

Exterior of the Roald Dahl Museum and Storytelling Centre
This seems like a great idea to share with our school colleagues--or build a
homeschool program around it!

Believe it or not, this year marks the 50th Anniversary of Roald Dahl's beloved
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. This September, Penguin is celebrating with
a week long Skype Tour of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre!
On the Skype tour:
•       The Roald Dahl Museum's Education Manager will lead your group around
the Museum virtually
•       Kids will get a look inside Roald Dahl's real Writing Hut, featuring
his famous chair and the unusual objects he kept on his desk
•       Experience the world of Dahl and the inspiration behind his wonderful
•       Participate in a Q&A with the Education Manager
Skype opportunities are available the week of Monday, September 29 - Friday,
October 3, 2014 between 9:30am EST and 3:00pm EST/8:30am CST and 2:00pm
CST/7:30am MST and 1:00pm MST/6:30am PST and 12:00pm PST.
If you are interested in scheduling a FREE virtual visit, please email with your preferred date and time. You can also
find more information at

Friday, August 22, 2014

To Feed, or Not to Feed?

I've been following an interesting discussion on an ALSC list-serv about serving snacks in programs.  Nearly everyone writing in is advocating avoiding food at programs for young children.  Somewhere between one in twelve and one in sixteen kids have a serious food allergy, and this number seems to be on the rise, according to the CDC.  This becomes a safety concern, and also an issue about inclusion.  If parents have to prepare for a fight with their left-out children at every storytime where snacks are served or you do a food-related craft, how likely are they to return?

Tricky stuff, since it is fun to include food in programs, and we have heard for years that a great way to make teens feel welcome at library programs is to feed them!  How do you approach this issue?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Including Everyone

Sometimes it is easy to get overwhelmed when thinking of how to adequately accommodate and welcome everyone to use our library programs and services.  There are some terrific allies out there who are eager to help us figure out new territory.  Agencies that work with people with disabilities, family members/parents, and kids themselves are often thrilled to be asked for suggestions for adapting programs and services to make them more accessible and inclusive.  Don't forget to consult with public school special education teachers, CESA contacts, Birth to Three, support groups, and others when you are making plans for programs!

The ALSC Blog had a terrific post about this very topic, with a list of excellent and useful resources for librarians who are working to make their programs and services more inclusive.