Thursday, September 2, 2010

CYPD 10 Part 2

Yesterday I posted about the keynote speakers at the ILF Children's and Young People's Division Conference. They were great, and there were some great breakout sessions, too.  I love the breakout sessions for practical ideas that librarians can take back and use at their libraries.

On Sunday, I attended a session on El Dia de los Ninos/ El Dia de los Libros, an ALA/REFORMA initiative to celebrate diverse cultures and books.  One thing I didn't know is that the celebration is not limited to Latino culture, but strives to serve whatever cultures are present in your community.  The celebration is held in late April and 2011 will be the 15th anniversary, so they're planning some special stuff, including a website renovation.  Libraries are a great place to celebrate the many cultures found in our country and around the world.  Check out the website and the Dia Facebook page for many ideas on how to celebrate diverse cultures.  These would be great ideas for anyone participating in the One World, Many Stories summer reading theme! 

Then I went to a session about a Guys Read book club held at an elementary school in Mooresville.  Fourth-grade teacher Wayne Venable started a weekly Guys Read club to encourage boys to read (and enjoy reading!).  He combines reading aloud with student booktalks, "guy snacks" (no tea parties here!), projects like model-building, and physical activity (dodge ball!).  He rewards students who reach certain AR points goals with field trips to places like an armory museum and local caves.  Some of the things they do in their club would be hard to do in a library (like field trips and dodge ball), but he did share many ideas that librarians could incorporate into programs.

He gives out Yorkie candy bars (not for girls!), plastic cockroaches, and Whoopie Cushions as small prizes for games or AR points.  He starts each session with a readaloud, a short story or passage from a book.  He ends each session with a preview of what's to come the next week.  And he invites guest speakers like fencers and falconers to do demonstrations and teach the boys about what they do.  Every week they do something hands-on, like making paper models that he purchases at Fiddlers Green.

On Monday, the breakout fun continued with Why Not Create?: Using Art in Children's Programming.  This might have been my favorite session of the conference.  Librarian Vicki Parker from the Westfield Washington Public Library shared with us the importance of encouraging creativity and including art (not crafts!) in children's programs.  Now, I must confess that I am not one (yet!) for messy crafts in storytime, but I think Vicki might just have changed my mind.  She points out that most schools are not set up to promote creativity and that children are naturally creative.  All you have to do is provide the space, the materials, and leave them alone!!

This is not always easy for parents (and librarians!) to accept, but Vicki has a few pointers:

- Don't create a sample or parents and kids will feel that their creation has to look "right".  And there is no right or wrong in art!
- Quality supplies go a long way.  Vicki recommends Crayola paint and springing for the pump top, which makes it easy for even young kids to get paint refills for themselves.  She recommends adding a couple of drops of mild dish soap to tempera paints to make cleanup easier and using a little mild dish soap for cleaning brushes (also, always lie them flat to dry!).  Vicki gets most of her supplies from United Art.
- Keep a rubbermaid "treasure box" with odds and ends that you can put out for the kids to use in their art.  Anything can go in the box from broken toys to bits of ribbon to pop tabs to scraps of fabric or paper.  Kids will use this stuff in amazingly creative ways!
- And always keep in mind that young children are process oriented.  They may not care about their end project and that's okay!  The benefits come from thinking creatively (which children will do naturally) and doing it!

So, I think we may try this out in the spring with our storytime sessions.  I'll embrace the mess (remember: art supplies are NOT dirty, they are messy!) if it means encouraging creativity in our kids. :)

And I ended the conference with Be Twixt and 'Tween: What is a Tween Anyway?, a panel program about services and programming for 'tweens.  Tweens can be defined as kids anywhere from age 8 to 14 and a 2001 study showed that these kids control up to 75% of family buying power.  So, more and more products are being marketed to them, while at libraries they often fall through the cracks.  They're too old to be "children", but not quite ready to run with the high-schoolers (though they might think they want to).  Tweens need programming and library spaces designed and reserved for them if we're going to hang on to them as library regulars.

So, what kind of programs are libraries doing for tweens?  Crafts (think hemp jewelry, beading workshops, or no-sew pillows... nothing babyish!), murder mysteries, duct tape fashion shows (I so want to do this at my library!), and making chocolate candies.  Need ideas about what tweens are into?  Check out, a heavily moderated (read: safe from predators) discussion forum exclusively for tweens.  You have to be a tween to register, but anyone can read the forums.

And that wraps up the 2010 CYPD Conference.  It was a good conference.  I learned a lot and had fun with a lot of great librarians.  Anyone else attend CYPD?  What did you think?

Painting picture is from Flickr Creative Commons