Monday, February 27, 2017

NASA @ Your Library

Public libraries are invited to apply for NASA@ My Library, a STEM educational initiative that will increase and enhance STEM learning opportunities for libraries across the nation, including geographic areas and populations currently underserved in STEM education.

Seventy-five U.S. public libraries will be selected through a competitive application process to become NASA@ My Library Partners and participate in the 18-month project (Phase 1), with the opportunity to extend for an additional two-year period (Phase 2).

  • Two NASA STEM Facilitation Kits (total value: $750) designed for use in hands-on STEM programming facilitated by library staff or outside groups
  • A tablet computer, pre-loaded with how-to videos, apps, educational games and visualizations relevant to the kit materials
  • A $500 programming stipend
  • Participation for one library staff member in a required two-day orientation workshop in Denver in February/March 2018
  • An $800 stipend for travel costs for the orientation workshop
  • And much more
  • NASA STEM Backpacks designed for circulations (total value: $200)
  • Two additional NASA STEM Facilitation Kits (total value: $750)
  • An additional $500 programming stipend
Participating libraries will be required to hold at least three public programs per year that utilize the NASA STEM Facilitation Kits, NASA educational resources and/or NASA subject matter experts. The programs should target a variety of age groups, and at least one program per year must be a publicized, high-profile event. Grantees will also be asked to host a community dialogue event to discuss STEM learning needs of their community. View the full project guidelines.

Questions? Visit the project webpage or email us at

The project is offered by the National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) at the Space Science Institute (SSI) in partnership with the ALA Public Programs Office, the Pacific Science Center, Cornerstones of Science, and the Education Development Center. Funding comes from NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Oh Happy Days - ALSC Notable Booklist Available

ALA's Association for Children annually publishes a huge list of the most notable books for the previous year. According to the Notable Books website:

Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children's books. According to the Notables Criteria, "notable" is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children's books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children's interests in exemplary ways.

This year's list is chock full of goodies for all ages.

Check it out here..

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Teen Adulting Programs

Some of you may have heard the recent NPR program on Adulting School for Adults, in which emergent adults can take a class in everything from balancing a checkbook to mixing a killer cocktail.
Adult School
While I think you could have a lot of fun programming for these twenty-somethings, this seems like a great opportunity for teens as well.

Los Angeles County Library is doing just that with their Adult 101 for teens.  In the series, teens can learn everything from dining etiquette:
     Learn how to have confidence in a variety of dining situations!
  • Communication skills at the dining table.
  • What does your handshake say about you?
  • Learn the difference between Continental and American style dining.
  • Do you know which is your bread plate?
To job skills:
     Get prepared for your job hunt by learning the basics of resume writing and interviewing. After the workshop, stay for 
some Blue Exorcist anime episodes and watch our main character struggle to find a job and a new direction in life. 

At Kitsap Regional, teens can learn about money management, cooking and how to dress on a budget.

Pickerington Public Library in Ohio focused their #adulting series this past fall on Resume Writing, Financial Aid, and registering to vote. 

Here we've discussed programming on sewing a button, fixing your car, and even parenting for our pre-adult patrons.

What adulting skills are you teaching teens?  

Let's Move at Your Library Survey

Announcing a new project: "Let’s Move! Libraries.”

At the project website you will find information on movement-based programs in public libraries throughout North America (think yoga/tai chi/Zumba in the library, StoryWalks, music and movement, walking groups, etc.). The overall goal of this project is to strengthen work already underway in public libraries that seeks to get our communities up and moving.

I am asking for your help in this project. If you work in a public library in Wisconsin, please consider taking a few minutes to fill out this short survey about any programs or services your library provides, has provided in the past, or is planning to provide in the future.

Survey Link:

Please share this link with others you think may be interested in this project.

Thank you for your time! I look forward to your feedback.

The results from this survey will be shared on this website in Fall 2017.

Noah Lenstra
Assistant Professor
Library and Information Studies
University of North Carolina Greensboro

Thursday, February 23, 2017

ALSC Advocacy Survey

Considering the current state of affairs in the United States, advocacy for library services to children may be more vital than ever before. The ALSC Advocacy and Legislation Committee would like to make sure you have all the tools and resources you need to be excellent advocates for yourselves, your libraries, and children and families in your communities. Whether you consider yourself an advocacy expert or you are just beginning, we want to hear from you!

Please take a few minutes to fill out this short survey, and share it with your colleagues. This survey will aid the committee in developing advocacy tools by learning about the usefulness of existing advocacy tools and resources, additional resources you may be using, and items on your advocacy tool wish list. The survey will close March 15th and is open to ALSC members and non-members.

Teen Cookie Wars

It's no secret that teens and food go together like peanut butter and jelly.  But what is the best way to harness that teen love of all things edible?  Wars.  Food wars that is!  Earlier this week I hosted a Teen Cookie War at my library and it was smashingly successful.  Here's how it went down:

1. I purchased a random assortment of candies and cookie decorating supplies, including several (like 8) tubs of white frosting.  This included food color, which as we all know is a great stainer, so introduce your teens to it with words of caution.

2.  I bought big, plain sugar cookies.  Now one may think that any sugar cookie will do, but that is NOT the case.  The cookies cannot be overly soft or they will fail to hold up during the vigorous decorating process, and they need to be of sufficient size to be an attractive surface for decorating.  Note: I always purchase more cookies than teens I think will show up, about 3x more, so after they create their masterpiece, while judging is happening, they can decorate a cookie to eat.

3.  I also purchased three $10 Barnes and Noble gift cards for the winners.  You could of course have anything you like as prizes, or nothing but the joy of eating a masterpiece.

4.  I created three "stations" in our programming space: the Judging Table, The Supplies Table, and the Decorating Zone.  Participants picked up supplies at the Supplies Table, and were only allowed to decorate in the Decorating Zone.

5.  As participants entered they received a large (think Chinet sturdy) white paper plate, and were told to take a spot around the Decorating Zone Tables.

6.  Once everyone has arrived and received a paper plate, this is the spiel I shared:

Welcome to Teen Cookie Wars!!  The theme today is FAVORITE CHILDHOOD BOOKS.
We have THREE cookie categories:
1)      Most Creative
2)      Best Representation of Theme (Favorite Childhood Books)
3)      Most Legit
There will be ONE winner for each category, 3 winners total, who will receive $10 gift certificates to Barnes and Noble.
You will get one white plate, this is what you will submit your cookie on for judging.  You can only submit ONE cookie for judging.  You can now come and choose ONE cookie and take it back to your work space.
When you hear the bell ring, your 30 minutes to decorate will begin.  You will get a warning when there are 15 minutes remaining and when there are 5 minutes remaining.  The bell will signal the end of your decorating time, at which point your completed cookie needs to be on the judging table.  Your NAME and the TITLE of your cookie needs to be on the white plate (in marker or in decorating material), when it is submitted for judging.  During judging you will tell the judges about your cookie!

6. I found that 30 minutes is sufficient for decorating and the verbal indication of time heightens the adrenaline and excitement. 

7. I had myself and one of the Youth Library Assistants as judges, but feel free to have a whole panel if you want volunteers involved or other teens.

8. We announced the winners of the 3 gift cards, took tons of pictures, and sent everyone home with at least one cookie!

Overall, this was a very successful teen program, with great attendance and enthusiasm from attendees.  And some glorious cookie masterpieces! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Teen Tech Week

Teen Tech Week is right around the corner - March 5-11. The theme is "Be a Source of Change" and is about how technology can be used for social change. Dawn Abron's Blog is hosting 18 Days of Teen Tech Programming for inspiration. The ideas can work anytime of the year, especially with the CSLP's theme "Build a Better World".

If Teen Tech Week snuck up on you but you want to something, Dawn's Day 1 suggestion, creating a zine, might be a good passive option. This is a low tech option but markers were once advanced technology. Put out paper, markers, old magazines, scissors, and glue along with instructions in your teen area. You can offer inspiration for topics like what would you can in your town, library, or world. Ask teens to share their zines with you. Maybe one would be willing to talk about their zine and process in a video that you can post on YouTube or Facebook.

Another passive idea is an online scavenger hunt to get teens familiar with the library's website along with other useful and reliable sites.  If you are short on time, Education World has many ready-made themed hunts. You can offer more computer time or fine reduction if they do the scavenger hunt. Or have a drawing for gift cards to local businesses.

What are doing for Teen Tech Week?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Meet Your Board: Tessa Michaelson-Schmidt, Ex officio member

Tessa Michaelson Schmidt poses with small mammals at two recent WLA conferences.
Tessa also shares a bit about herself in her board interview:

Tell us a little bit about who you are and your connection to libraries and the YSS Board.
I serve the public libraries of Wisconsin as the youth services and inclusive services consultant for the State of Wisconsin. In this capacity, I sit on the YSS board as an ex-officio, or non-voting, member in order to maximize fluency between the Department of Public Instruction (home of the state library) and the Youth Services Section of WLA.
Tell us about a memorable experience at WLA or WAPL.
I have been part of the past few preconference planning committee for YSS at the WLA Annual Conference. We have offered a terrific line-up of early literacy, teen services, and school-age efforts in recent years. For some attendees, the preconference is a great kick-off to the conference. For others, the preconference is a wonderful one-day learning opportunity. Being part of the planning committee is largely a virtual effort, and a fun way to collaborate with YSS members to plan something special for the youth services community.
Which book(s) have your read and re-read and read again?
Having moved several times in my adult life, I made the decision to only keep books that I would read and again, so that my bookshelves (or moving boxes) were only filled with favorites. A few titles on my shelf include I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, Feed by MT Anderson, Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, and I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg.
What’s your favorite thing to eat while reading?
Sweet and salty—peanut butter filled pretzels don’t last long around me.

Monday, February 20, 2017

CCBC's Multicultural Stats for 2016

It's always exciting to read the breakdown of stats for the thousands of books that the CCBC receives each year from publishers.  How is the mirror that reflects the diversity of our children when held to the books published for them? Often, mighty white.

In this post detailing statistics on diverse voices creating content and diverse content in books as well as major national movements to spotlight more diversity in publishing for children, there is hope and some good, thoughtful reading. Still coming to their blog is a first-time, more detailed analysis of picture book content. It should also prove revealing.

Click here to read the full post 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Guest Post: Once a Pond a Time

Author: Sigrid Peterson, Wisconsin Water Library

Here hunts the heron, queen of the pond,
that spears the fish
that swallows the frog
that gulps the bug
that nabs the nymph
that drinks the flea
that eats the algae, green and small,
                in the depths of the summer pond.
from Song of the Water Boatman & Other Pond Poems (2005) by Joyce Sidman illustrated by Beckie Prange

At UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Water Library, we have been taking an interdisciplinary approach to water literacy for children pre-K to second grade for a number of years. We define “interdisciplinary,” to include the simultaneous acquisition of STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Education, Arts, and Math) literacy and reading/language arts literacy.

Years ago, we began outreach to libraries across the state offering water-themed storytimes. This later evolved into the creation of formal STEM kits and lesson plans ( dedicated to a physical, biological, and/or ecological property of water. Our STEM kits circulate to interested schools and libraries across Wisconsin and enhance the traditional library story time with a water science topic, along with an introduction to the essentials of the scientific method: observation, hypothesis formation, testing, more observation, recording and conclusion building. Included in each kit are a full story time guide with a topical “science chat,” read-aloud books, a science experiment or game, songs, and craft ideas. The 13 lesson plans have the same content and are available as a download on our website.

With Spring approaching (okay. . .- ish), we’re already thinking about one of our favorite STEM kits, Once a Pond a Time (the “Ponds” kit for shorthand) With this kit we situate ponds as a special body of water—smaller than an ocean or a lake, but bigger than a puddle—with a unique ecosystem teaming with life most grown-ups don’t even think about. Our science chat challenges children to “think like a scientist” and hypothesize about what lives in and around a pond: Mallard Duck, American Toad, Tree Swallow, Largemouth Bass, Cattails, River Otters, etc. This is followed up with game that includes a simulated pond in the form of a large, blue rounded tablecloth set on the floor, around which children gather. One by one, kids announce a possible habitat creature or aquatic plant discussed earlier in the story time. With a correct response, a child receives a laminated illustration of the creature/plant—designed by artist, Kristen Rost—and moves inside the pond until it is overflowing with kids. . . and ecosystem knowledge!

Because the pond appears repeatedly as a natural setting throughout classic and contemporary children’s literature, Once a Pond a Time, includes a curated selection of four pond-themed picture books that are staff favorites, as well as an extensive reading list in the STEM kit guide.
If you need a taste of Spring in advance and want Once a Pond a Time delivered to your library, please Borrow a Stem Kit using our online submission form:

And please contact us with any questions you might have at

Happy STEM-ing!