Monday, October 16, 2017

Preschool Storytime: Sharks

We had the Shark Cart from the Newport Aquarium visit earlier this month, so to get the kids excited about it, I did a shark storytime the week before. This is one of those storytimes that I thought would be difficult to plan, but it turns out that LOTS of librarians have done shark storytimes and there was plenty of fun material to be had.

Here's what I did:

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello

Book: Great White Shark by Deborah Nuzzolo (Pebble Books, 2008). I used this book because I wanted to use one with real photos and the Pebble Plus books are great for having large full-color photographs. We talked about lots of great vocabulary words in this book - predator and prey, nostril, and more. I was worried about real pictures being too scary, but it turns out kids are brave. I did warn them before the last spread of the shark jumping out with its toothy mouth open wide. ;)

Felt Rhyme: Two Little Sharks
(A variation on Two Little Dickey Birds)

Two little sharks in the deep blue sea
One named Leonard and one named Lee
Swim away, Leonard! Swim away, Lee!
Come back, Leonard! Come back, Lee!

Source: Sunflower Storytime

This is a traditional rhyme that helps children practice motor skills and following directions.

Action Song: Bubble, Bubble Pop

I adjusted the lyrics slightly:

One little blue shark
Swimming in the water
Swimming in the water
Swimming in the water
One little blue shark
Swimming in the water
Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble

We repeated with different colors until the kids were ready to move on.

Book: How to Spy on a Shark by Lori Haskins Houran (Albert Whitman, 2015). This nonfiction book uses gentle rhyming text to describe one way that scientists study sharks: by tagging them and having robots follow and record what they are doing. I chose this one because it's a very simple introduction to some of the work scientists do.

Action Song: The Sharks in the Sea
(Tune: The Wheels on the Bus)

The sharks in the sea go chomp, chomp, chomp
Chomp, chomp, chomp
Chomp, chomp, chomp
The sharks in the sea go chomp, chomp, chomp
All day long

Repeat with different sea animals. We did fish/swim, lobster/click clack and then I turned it over to the kids and they suggested sea turtle/glide, octopus/wiggle, and dolphin/flap tail.

Source: Adventures in Storytime

Felt Rhyme: Sharks in the Bathtub

One little shark in the bathtub
Going for a swim
Knock, knock (clap twice)
Splash, splash (pat knees twice)
Come on in!

Repeat with two, three, four, and five. At the very end "They all fell in!" and knock the felt pieces off the board.

Source: The Storytime Station

Book: Shark in the Park by Nick Sharrat (Corgi, 2000). This is one of our department's very favorite storytime books. It's cute and has actions the kids can do along with it (looking along with their telescope). This is a great one for practicing directions (look up, look down, look left, look right) and it has a fun surprise ending that kids love.

Felt Rhyme: Five Little Fishies

Five little fishies, swimming in the sea
Teasing Mr. Shark "You can't catch me!"
Along comes Mr. Shark, quiet as can be
And SNAPS that fish right out of the sea! (clap on "Snaps!")

Repeat: count down until there are no fish left.

Source: Never Shushed

We have a shark puppet and I love to use puppets with this rhyme.

Closing Song: Do You Know What Time It Is?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Preschool Storytime: Rain

I spotted the book Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre on a display and I was inspired to create a rain-themed storytime this summer. I did it during our last week of summer storytimes and this was a really fun one to go out on because I tried a new thing and it worked (yay!).

Here's what I did:

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello (our standard!)

Intro: Okay, I was going to bring out our rainstick to show the kids so we could hear it and I could talk about how they are made. BUT I couldn't find it on the hectic morning of our storytime, so I skipped that. If you have a rainstick, it would be a fun thing to show the kids.

Book: Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre (Bean Lane Books, 2015). I was drawn to this one for its photo illustrations, which are a little unusual in children's picture books and I think they're neat. This is a great book for introducing kids to new vocabulary because Sayre uses such a rich selection of different words.

Felt: Five Little Umbrellas

This simple rhyme helps kids practice counting down and you could use it to practice colors, too. I put it in here to break up my books a little bit and give them something a little bit active (they can count on their fingers as I go through the felt pieces on the board). You can use the names of the kids in your storytime or substitute Mom, Dad, Cousin, etc. or just say "Someone".

Five umbrellas stood by the door.
Riley took the pink one, and then there were four!

Four umbrellas, pretty as can be.
Ben took the blue one, and then there were three!

Three umbrellas with nothing to do.
Ollie took the green one, and then there were two!

Two umbrellas having fun.
Lincoln took the yellow one, and then there was one!

One umbrella alone in the hall.
Ashly took the purple one and that was all!

Book: Storm Song by Nancy Viau (Amazon, 2013). We talked about what happens when a storm comes - what do we see, what do we hear? And one kiddo mentioned that it's sometimes scary, which lead right into this book. A storm comes and the power goes out and this family observes the storm and finds things to do with the lights out. It's a book that depicts something that most kids are familiar with and it has a lot of interesting rhythm and sounds in the text.

Action Song: If It's Raining Outside, Wear Your Boots

(Tune: If You're Happy and You Know It)
If it's raining outside, wear your boots.
If it's raining outside, wear your boots.
If it's raining outside, then your boots will keep you dry!
If it's raining outside, wear your boots.

Repeat: raincoat, hat, umbrella, etc.

I asked the kids to tell me what we need to wear if we go outside when it rains, so feel free to turn this over to the kids and use their suggestions in your song! Doing action songs in storytime not only helps get some wiggles out and allows kids to then sit and listen more calmly, but singing songs helps kids hear that words are made up of smaller sounds.

Book: Mr. Gumpy's Motor Car by John Burningham (HarperCollins, 1976). It's a sunny day and Mr. Gumpy is going for a drive. All of the farm animals want to come, but none of them want to help push when it rains and the car gets stuck in the mud.


Book with Props: Rain by Manya Stojic (Crown Books for Young Readers, 2000). I chose this book because I wanted to use some props with it (this was the new thing I tried!). As a rainstorm starts on the Savannah, animals see lightning, hear thunder, and finally the rain comes down. I divided my group up into three smaller groups based on where they were sitting. The kids on the right got yellow and orange scarves for lightning, the kids in the middle got egg shakers for rain sounds, and the kids on the left got rhythm sticks for thunder. First, we each practiced our parts. The lightning kids waved their scarves in the air up and down like lightning striking. The rain makers shook their eggs. And the thunder beat their rhythm sticks on the floor.

Then as I read the book, each group chimed in when it came to their part in the story. I didn't read the whole book - after the rain came and then the rain stopped, I skipped to the end where it gets hot again.

The kids had a lot of fun with this and even though I was nervous of chaos with so many noise-making props, it turned out to be really fun. I like finding ways to get kids involved with the story in unusual ways! And in this activity kids practiced motor skills and following directions.

Closing Song: Do You Know What Time It Is?

Monday, October 2, 2017

Here's Where I've Been

I had a little unanticipated hiatus with this blog for awhile due to some staffing changes in my job, but that doesn't mean I wasn't writing about books and libraries! I'm going to work on getting this blog back to regular posts, which may be different from what I had previously been posting about since I'm in a new role at my library. In the meantime, here are some columns I've written for various publications over the past several months:

Leadership in Librarianship 
Youth Matters column from American Libraries in September.

Tips on developing leaders in your library from the Power Up Conference from both myself and my librarian who accompanied me to the conference and is an amazing "unofficial" leader.

Five STEM-Themed Chapter Books
Chapter Book Chat column for School Library Journal's Be-Tween e-newsletter in August

Got kids who love science? Connect them with these books!

Build a Better World with Chapter Books
Chapter Book Chat column for SLJ's Be-Tween e-newsletter in June

These books were selected to go with this summer's Build a Better World SRP theme, but they're great for starting discussions and helping your world anytime!

Summer Reading Reboot
Youth Matters column for American Libraries in May.

When is it time for changes to your Summer Reading program? This column encourages you to take a look at your current Summer Reading program and decide if it might be time for some changes.

Engaging Readers with Fiction and Nonfiction
Chapter Book Chat column for SLJ's Be-Tween e-newsletter in April

Chapter Books for Change
Chapter Book Chat column for School Library Journal's Be-Tween e-newsletter in February.

Introduce students to themes of tolerance, generosity, and friendship with these diverse chapter books.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Taking Off My Manager Pants

Hi. It's been a minute.

That's because there have been some changes going on!

Let me start at the beginning...

When I was in library school, one of the required courses was a management course. I thought this was ludicrous; I had no interest in getting into management. I took the course, but repeatedly said to everyone that I would never be a manager.

My first job out of grad school was up near Chicago. After a few years there, I started to look for something closer to my hometown and my family. The job that came up? A manager position. Library jobs around my hometown are scarce, particularly jobs that pay you enough to live as a single person. I didn't know if they would hire me; I didn't have any management experience.

But they did hire me. Suddenly I was in a manager position.

I know lots of you are in a similar boat. You're a great youth services librarian and the only place to move up in your organization is a management position. You feel like that's the next step, so let's do that. Does that mean you suddenly have a passion for managing people? For mentoring and coaching and all the things that come with a management job?

Maybe it does! That's awesome! But sometimes not. And for me, it did not. It took a long time for me to really realize that and longer still for me to come to terms with it and to be okay with it. It was fine for awhile, as I concentrated on building up our program schedule and making connections for outreach: manager work that needed to be done to get us up to speed, but that was still the librarian work that I loved. However, when a new director came in and started really working with the leadership team and providing training and workshops and development for us, I started to panic.

I felt like I had NO TIME to incorporate all the things that I was supposed to be doing as a manager, mentor, and coach. I felt like I would have to work 60-80 hour weeks to get all my manager tasks done in addition to all the other things I was responsible for. I realized that the reason that I had no time was because I was still also doing all the work of a front-line librarian and that the thought of giving up those tasks to do the true work of a manager broke my heart.

Honestly, it took breaking down at the Power Up: Youth Services Leadership Conference to really start to take a hard look at why I was so unhappy. Gretchen Caserotti asked me why I wouldn't consider seeking a director position and I told her "Because it would be all the parts of my job that I hate and none of the parts that I love." I burst into tears whenever someone asked me how I was doing. HELLO. I was in the wrong job.

So, I gathered up my courage and I went to my administration and I told them that I would love to stay with our library but that I wanted to step down from my management position. I wasn't sure how it would go. I wasn't sure if they had a role for me other than my current role. I cried the entire morning before I went in for my meeting with them, rehearsing what I was going to say. But I wanted to stay, so it was worth a shot.

I have an incredibly supportive and understanding administration team. They listened to what I had to say. They readily acknowledged that many people find themselves in management positions when they don't really want them. I felt like a fool for taking eight years to figure this out, but they applauded me for figuring it out at all. They told me that they would work with me, that it would take a little time to figure out what we could do, but that we could do something.

Just hearing that made me feel so much lighter. And now, our library is undergoing a major restructure (which was in the works before I approached them) and I'm stepping into a new role as the Collection Development Lead. Which is pretty much my dream job.

I am proud of the work that I did as the Children's Manager and then Youth Services Manager at my library. Together, my staff and I made great strides forward with our department. This new role doesn't change any of that. This change doesn't mean I love the people I work with any less. I am thrilled to continue to get to work with them in a different capacity and to see where they take our library's youth services next. I know it will be awesome.

Changes are coming as we transition to our new staffing structure. And I'll just be over here taking off my manager pants and putting on some new pants. I think they'll feel great.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

#24in48 Wrap Up

Well, the 24in48 Readathon has come to a close and I hit my goal of reading 20 hours this weekend! I also finished 5 books and most of an audiobook. It was another great weekend of reading and I am super glad that I'm taking most of tomorrow off so I can get some freelance work done.

11 hours 10 minutes + 8 hours 50 minutes = 20 hours!!

Here's what I read today: 

I finished up The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco, which was fine if a little derivative and slow in the middle. After a long fantasy novel, I needed something a little quicker, so I picked up...

...One Trick Pony by Nathan Hale. I knew nothing about this graphic novel when I brought it home except that I love Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales. This is a really satisfying science-fiction adventure story that is STANDALONE (I was so afraid it was going to end on a giant cliffhanger!). Would hand to fans of Scott Westerfeld and it keeps Hale's style with some humorous asides throughout. Loved it. 

Next up was Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden, which was so great and also very bleak. It's based on true events and explores what happens to slaves freed by Sherman's army as they march with the Yankees. There is a lot of description of the horrors of slavery and this would be great for mature teens who are interested to know what slavery was truly like. 

After that, I needed something lighter, so I picked up The First Rule of Punk by Celia Perez, which I am really enjoying even though I haven't finished it. Once I hit the 20-hour mark it was time for dinner and then Game of Thrones, so I decided to call it quits for this Readathon. 

So, my total list of books read for this weekend's Readathon is: 

This Side of Home by Renee Watson (Bloomsbury, 2015). 
Patina (Track #2) by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum, August 2017). 
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (Sourcebooks, 2017). 
One Trick Pony by Nathan Hale (Amulet, 2017). 
Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden (Bloomsbury, 2017). 
*More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (Soho Teen, 2015) - audiobook still in progress. 
*The First Rule of Punk by Celia Perez (Viking, August 2017) - book still in progress. 

Total, I read 5 complete books (yay!) and part of 2 more.

Thanks so much to the team behind the 24 in 48 Readathon

I had a great time, as usual, and eagerly await the next one!

#24in48 Check-In

Good morning! I'm up and ready to start reading again for the second day of the 24 in 48 Readathon. I spent about 11 hours reading yesterday and I read some really great books. I'm hoping to do at least 9 hours today and maaaaybe 13 hours to make it to 24, but WE'LL SEE.

Here's what I read yesterday:

I read and LOVED Renee Watson's Piecing Me Together a couple of weeks ago, so I went back and picked up her YA debut, This Side of Home (2015), to read for the challenge. Friends, it is great. I have a new favorite YA author and you can be sure I will be reading anything else she writes. 

Last year I read and loved Jason Reynold's Ghost. When I was able to download an e-galley of the sequel Patina from Edelweiss, I did a happy dance and decided to save it for the Readathon. It is also great and I'm sure I will be revisiting it on audio when it comes out in August. 

After two contemporary novels (three, including my audiobook!), I needed to switch things up a bit, so I picked up some fantasy. I'm about halfway through The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco and really enjoying this one, as well. I have realized that I love fantasy about witches and magic, especially on the darker side of things, so this is pretty much right up my alley. 

And when my eyes need a break or I need to do some cooking or laundry, I've been putting on my audiobook, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, read by Ramon de Ocampo. Here's another case where I really enjoyed Silvera's more recent release and wanted to go back and read his debut. It's great, too. 

So, a great Readathon for me so far with a lot of diverse books that I'm really enjoying! It's thunderstorming outside this morning, so a perfect day to cozy up inside and read. Here's to more great books today! 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

#24in48 Starting Line

Yaaaay! It's here! The 24in48 Readathon! The goal this weekend is to read for 24 of the 48 hours between midnight Friday and midnight Sunday.

I'm not much of a night owl, so I've scheduled this post and will begin reading whenever I wake up Saturday. It's been a beast of a week, so hopefully I will actually sleep in a little bit. I'd like to read for at least 20 hours this weekend; 24 hours will be a stretch goal for me. :)

Here's my reading pile:

And I've got tons of galleys on my Kindle, too:

Plus, I keep forgetting and then remembering with delight that I have Patina on my Kindle, too. I've been saving it for this weekend, so that's one I'll tackle for sure! 

I will NOT be reading all of these. I love to have lots of choices for Readathons, so I surround myself with great books. If I finish five books this weekend, I will be thrilled! 

My husband C will be reading this weekend, too, although probably less diligently than I. He's got his stack ready to go. Lots of anthologies, which are great for finding new authors. He just finished a massive Stephen King reading project, so he's ready to discover some new fantasy and horror.

I'll post a couple of times throughout the weekend, but I'll probably make more frequent updates on Litsy and Instagram, so feel free to follow along! If you're doing the Readathon this weekend, let me know! I love the camaraderie of everyone reading together, even though we're not physically together!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

#24in48 is Coming!!

Friends, the next 24in48 Readathon is coming up THIS WEEKEND, Saturday, July 22 and Sunday, July 23. Will you join me?

The goal of the 24in48 is to read 24 of the 48 hours between 12am Saturday and 11:59pm Sunday. You don't have to read any certain number of book and you can set your schedule so that you can sleep and get other things done.

I have participated in the past 3 readathons and it's been a lot of fun. I'm going to spend some time before Saturday getting my reading piles all ready to go. And then you can catch me updating Litsy probably more frequently than I will update here (although I will try to update the blog at least a couple of times throughout the weekend).

Won't you join us??

Monday, July 17, 2017

Summer Reading: A Blast from the Past

I don't know where they came from. Someone must have cleaned out a cabinet somewhere. Suddenly, there appeared these boxes.

Boxes of stuff from past Summer Reading Clubs, dating back to the 1980s and 1970s. 

So, a couple of weeks ago on a quiet Friday morning, I delved into these boxes to take a look at our summer reading past before the boxes went to the Indiana Room for archiving in our library history files. 

Some of what I found is delightful, so I wanted to share with you today. :) 

Apparently our Summer Reading Club used to be a lot more collaborative with our neighboring libraries, including the Louisville Free Public Library across the river. Check out these mascots! And yes, our mascot for MANY years was a rat named Floyd the River Rat who was "a retired river boat captain". For MANY years. You will see him again. 

Do you remember the California Raisins? They did a Summer Reading campaign in 1989! Sometimes my library participated in national or statewide campaigns and sometimes we went our own way. 

I have no idea if this was a large scale campaign, but I find the image unfortunate. (What must parents have thought?! Or is it only me whose mind goes there?)

Of course there was a roller skating theme in the '80s! Lots of the coupon prize packs I found had tickets to local roller rinks (which are no longer in existence, sadly). 

As promised, here's Floyd the River Rat again in an Indy 500-themed club called the "Reading 500". As far as I can tell, 1982 was not any kind of special anniversary year for the Indianapolis 500, but I'm sure it was a popular theme nonetheless! 

This might be my favorite of the ones we had in our boxes: a 1978 play on the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. 

And I have to give a special mention to this dinosaur-themed Summer Reading Club log, which was not ours (it was from the Louisville Library across the river), but I would participate in this club in a heartbeat. Hmm. It was 1987 when I would have been turning 5 years old, so it's possible I DID participate.... Look at those bones to write your books on! Yes, please. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Summer Check-In #3

This week we met our signup goal!!! My director challenged us to sign up 5% of our population, which almost doubled how many we had been typically signing up. I was Very Skeptical. But we did it! Early this week she told us that whenever we met our goal, we would get to wear jeans for the rest of the summer, so the faster we met it the more jeans days we would get. And we hit our goal on Wednesday!

Also this week, I hit my wall where I started really wishing for summer to be over. It's a fun time of year with tons of families visiting us, but it's also time to start thinking about planning fall programming and the projects we need to be working on. It's hard to get started on that (even mentally) when you're giving so much energy to the summertime crowd.

Luckily for us, our summers here are short now. School starts in less than 2 weeks and we put up our Back to School displays this week.

Things have been hopping, but they are starting to slow down as people go on vacations and start squeezing in the last things they want to do before school starts. We are starting to get lots and lots of SRC finishers coming in to collect prizes and we're having to refill our prize cart at least once a day. We've run out of our marshmallow building Science Activity Pack, so we took that off the menu. 

Our Summer Reading In Your Neighborhood sites have slowed down, too. After the schools' camps ended in June, we no longer had a captive audience and we moved some of our sites and we've had (comparatively) few visits. It's got me thinking and thinking about what we're going to do next year - there's a lot of potential to capitalize on daycares and summer camps and maybe make it more of a mobile service (a mini-bookmobile) with one or two stationary spots that are more central to where people ARE. I'm wondering what would happen if we set up at Walmart on Saturdays, for example. Or maybe we need to be at a playground near public housing in the evening. 

I will meet with our interns to debrief the #instaLibrary program next week and my staff and I will talk about it at our department meeting. I want to get everyone's ideas for what we should keep  the same and what we should change and how we can keep building on this service. 

This week on our Engineering Table, we built with cardboard boxes, which means that my office finally doesn't look like a trash heap. ;) Although this is a very simple and obviously a homemade activity, this is one that I wanted to make SURE to include because this is a cheap activity idea that any parent could do at home. I don't get to throw them away quite yet; we're still saving these boxes for next week's Build-a-Thon program, which is going to be our last big children's program of the summer. 

Ms. B has been working on the Build-a-Thon program, which will be a self-directed building program. She's got several stations planned where families can build with all kinds of different materials. We'll set up all the stations and leave them up for several hours. We can bring out all the Engineering Table stuff we've used throughout the summer, plus our Lego collection. She's printing out tangrams that the kids can cut out and try to make the tangram shapes. And I don't know what else! I am very excited to see and I hope we have a great turnout. 

Our "reading log" continues to grow and I've noticed lots of kids and parents still stopping to take a look. Next year I'd love to explore ideas on how to make it a little less raggedy-looking. Of course I can laminate, but I also want to make it easy for my staff to add to it and laminating adds another step. Any other ideas? 

If you're still in the middle of everything (or maybe towards the beginning of your summer), I wish you strength. If you're starting to see the light at the end of summer, I wish you strength.  How's your summer going?