Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Message from the Chair

If you’re reading this it means that you’ve reached the YSS blog – the place for up-to-date information for Wisconsin Youth Services librarians. The YSS board has been working hard to come up with the best ways to communicate with all members. This blog is just one of the ways. So set up an RSS feed so you can be up on the latest news from YSS.

The YSS web site is a great collection of resources for youth services staff. The new online tour of dynamic youth locations was just unveiled at WAPL and resides on the YSS page. The project, spear headed by Jill Lininger, the YSS web master and youth librarian at the Racine Public Library; and Barb Huntington, the Youth and Special Needs consultant with the Department of Public Instruction, allows us all to take a tour of dynamic spaces without leaving our computer. If you have a dynamic space, submit your photos to Jill. See the YSS web page for details on how to submit. Keep a look out for dynamic teen spaces, which will be coming this fall.

The kick off of the children’s spaces was just one of the excellent programs sponsored by YSS. We also sponsored sessions titled Playing to Learn, Learning to Play, My Space – Don’t Be Intimidated By It! Can It Work For Your Library?, and YSS co-sponsored a panel discussion titled Intellectual Freedom Matters in Theory and Practice for Children and Teens with the Intellectual Freedom Round Table. Thank you to everyone involved in making these sessions happen – I know it takes a lot of work to present at a conference, but sharing what you do best is the best way for us to all learn and grow. See individual write ups from participants on these sessions.

The YSS board met at WAPL and was busy planning the fall annual conference. The author for the much anticipated YSS author luncheon is Catherine Gilbert Murdock who wrote Dairy Queen and The Off Season. Both are set in Wisconsin and are about a teen living on a dairy farm learning to find her voice. Murdock’s latest book Princess Ben was just released – read it now and then attend the luncheon to meet the author in person.

But fall seems a long way away with summer reading just around the corner. If your life has been like mine lately, you’ve been immersed in plans for summer reading for about a solid four months now. I know many librarians who come to dread summer reading. Trust me, there are days when I can relate to that feeling. But over all, summer reading to me is the synthesis of why we are children’s librarians because the main goal of summer reading is to get kids excited about wanting to read. Through summer reading we are developing and creating readers – and that couldn’t be more fun. When I see children excited about a story or a character and can’t wait to get their hands on the next book in a series, that’s what makes all those months of planning worth it.

Summer reading programs make a big difference in the reading success of a child and research proves it. Children who read over the summer can maintain or even increase their reading level. Reading for pleasure is the best way for children to practice and improve their reading skills. Children who find something they want to read tend to be the best readers and have more enjoyable reading experiences overall. For further research on why reading over the summer is crucial go to:

We’d love to hear your summer stories - what worked, what didn’t, what funny things happened while you were hosting a program, etc. Submit them to and we'll make sure to post them to the blog.

Finally, make sure you get in a little of your own summer reading and enjoy spreading your love of reading to all the children in your city.

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