Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year!

Happy New Year!

What was the most interesting thing you learned about, or explored, or tried, this year in Youth Services?

For me, it was starting to think about Library 2.0 and the Transparent Library stuff, in terms of children and children's libraries, in a more systematic manner. I'm not very far along yet, but as we think about ways of encouraging patron interaction with the library and its processes, in person and on the web, we should be thinking about how to include children as well. I'll post more on this later in the month!

Monday, December 29, 2008

readertotz Arrives!

Hooray! Another cool blog to share with you guys! This one is called readertotz and it's from the same people who brought us the fab readergirlz.

readertotz aims to celebrate the best of the books for infants and toddlers. You can read their press release to find out more.

I'm so excited about this because choosing books for my baby storytimes is such a struggle. I use the same titles and authors all the time! I can't wait to keep an eye on their list and get some fresh ideas for storytime and for our board book bins.

What are your favorite books for the youngest kids?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Literary Clocks - a fun project!

This neat idea was passed on to me by Amanda P. It's an adorable clock made out of a children's book! (I would vote for using Where the Wild Things Are, myself!)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Children's Librarian Training, Chicago-Style

Here's a post from the ALSC blog that describes "basic training" for Chicago PL Children's Librarians!

As we swing into the new year, what training would you like to see ALD offer so you can continue to build your skills as youth services staff?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux movie is out tomorrow!

Guess what I'm going to ask? Yes, that's right. What are we going to recommend? For books or for movies? Post your ideas!

We link to games on the movie site from the Treehouse and have a nice If You Like list there.

Monica Edinger at Educating Alice talks about seeing the movie and Alison Morris at PW talks about it too. (Thanks Fuse #8 for the links.)

This title is still a big favorite with classroom teachers and an easy one to recommend when a child has to read off the Newbery Medal list for school. If you haven't read it yet, now's a great time to get caught up.

If you have read it--how is it holding up for you? Did you like it when you read it? Do you like it now? What do you think? Does it still feel like a Newbery? Is anybody planning on seeing it?

I read it when it won, but now I just have foggy impressions of a dining hall, dungeon, and authorial asides. Guess it's time to read it again!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Best of 2008

It's a fun time of year--lots of "best of the best" year-end round up lists are out.

Check out a few of these lists...are any of the titles familiar to you? If not, now's a great time to read some reviews! You'll be ready with some fresh books the next time someone needs a recommendation!

Horn Book Fanfare
New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books
School Library Journal
Publishers Weekly (scroll down for youth titles)
Amazon: Picture Books, Middle Readers, and Teen.

Books that are on at least three of those lists?

Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Kingdom on the Waves
Hunger Games
Little Brother
Our White House
Pale Male
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes
Tender Morsels
We Are the Ship

Need more?
Check out the Best Of page at Chicken Spaghetti.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Grade-Level Reading Lists

This time of year, we sometimes get patrons who are asking for good books they can buy as presents for their nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. They may not see them often and may wish us to recommend books by grade level because they don't know what the children are currently reading.

Well, help is at hand! While we have fewer paper bibs and lists in the libraries, there are grade-level reading lists on Tales' Treehouse.

This is a great resource to share with grownups. To get there, go to the Treehouse, click on Swoop the Owl, then on Great Books. You'll see "Books by Grade Level" on that list.

We want to make sure there's a good mix of genres and interests on each list. Go have a look and see how we've done so far. If you have titles you'd love to see included, send them to Alyson Corcoran!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Colorado Libraries

Another good blog to keep an eye on--no matter what Interest Group you're in!--is the Colorado Libraries blog from the Colorado State Library and CLiC.

As you might expect, the blog covers a lot of ground, from academic libraries to public libraries, from the Front Range to the Western Slope. If you read it all, you'll get a good idea of what's going on and what people are talking about all over the state. You can subscribe via RSS or have new posts sent to your email.

Or you can just choose a category, such as Children's Services, and just get those updates sent to your reader.

(Don't use a reader? Check out Andrew's recent post on the Professional Development blog about tips for using Google Reader. Don't know what RSS or a reader is? I'm happy to help you set up your own reader.)

Monday, December 8, 2008


The RA challenge has been a great way for me to plow into children's material while I readjust from teens.
I finished one vertical and one diagonal row and am working on some others. Some highlights:
E/J Biography: Abe's Honest Words - beautiful illustrations from Kadir Nelson, out in anticipation of Lincoln's 200th birthday
New J Fiction: Leanin' Dog
– set in Colorado and with a Colorado author

ER series: Sam at the Seaside and others – who doesn't love a cute puppy who gets in trouble

Children's Poetry - Where Fairies Dance - not really children's poetry but famous authors (Blake, Shakespeare) who have written about fairies - gorgeous illustrations, for older fairy fans

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Hipster Librarian's Guide to Teen Craft Projects

The Hipster Librarian's Guide to Teen Craft Projects by Tina Coleman and Peggie Llanes is a new ALA book.
"It's not your grandmother's crafting projects! Instead, you and your teen patrons can engage in the hottest new DIY way of life, recycling everything from discarded books to Altoids® tins. The authors' focus on recycled no-cost and low-cost materials addresses most libraries' budget constraints. These craft sessions offer a unique way for teens to claim their identities and gain confidence—at the library!"- from the ALA store

Thursday, December 4, 2008

We have a Book Club here at Smoky and this months pick was a YA book called "Elsewhere". We use books from many genres, but I am particularly excited to include YA books in our selections. It is nice to be able to choose from the book club kits for a YA selection!

Good Storytime Resource

I ordered and received a new storytime resource that I'm happy to share! It's called More Family Storytimes by Rob Reid, and has titles/ activities for 24 creative themes like "What'cha Gonna Wear," "Mouthsounds," and "Uh-Oh Accidents!" Let me know if you'd like to use it, and I'll send it your way. Thanks- Lori

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

January Trainings

The January Training Calendar is now available on StaffNet. Classes of interest to the Youth Service Interest Group might be Children's Databases (Part 1 and 2), and Merchandising.

Monday, December 1, 2008

December: Vocabulary

This month's early literacy skill is Vocabulary!

What is it?

Vocabulary is knowing the names of things.

Why is it important?

Because the more words kids know, the easier it is for them to read. It's a lot easier to sound out a word that they already know than one that is new. Plus, the more meanings of words kids know, the easier it is to make sense of what they read.

What does Vocabulary look like in storytime?
  • Reading picture books is a great way to increase children's vocabularies, because picture books have more rare words than does casual conversation.

  • Talk with the children before and after storytime. The more words children hear, the more words they learn.

  • After a story, go back to a page with an unfamiliar word or phrase and talk about it some more.

  • Choose books with rich language. Think of all the synonyms and "sleep" words there are in the simple story "The Napping House."

  • Songs like "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain" and "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" and "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes" all introduce great vocabulary words.

  • Read non-fiction as well as fiction in your storytimes!

  • Talk about the emotions of the characters in the story.

What do you like to do to enhance Vocabulary in your storytimes? What Vocabulary tips do you give to the parents during storytime?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Developmentally Appropriate Technology

An article written earlier this year in the New York Times by technology expert Warren Buckleitner, editor of the Children's Technology Review.

He uses the developmental stages of psychologist Jean Piaget to help make decisions about what technologies are appropriate for children at different ages.

Read it and let us know what you think. Does this match up with what you experienced as a child, or what your children experienced? Do you have different ideas? What about technologies that the author didn't discuss? Where would you place them developmentally? Does this have implications for children's collections and programming?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jail Program

Hi all. Just an FYI... We're really happy to be sprinkling youth literacy information and books for kids through the jail library. Jennifer Miller and I plan to give away 1000 books for 1000 kids at a series of 14+ sessions for inmates between now and Dec. 18. We help them select age-appropriate children's books to send home with a personal note for each child. It is extremely rewarding! Also, Melissa is regularly providing awesome literacy workshops with great tips for all of the inmates.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Here's the list of giant balloons (and other attractions) that will be in this year's parade! Click on Parade Information, then Parade Line-Up to view--I can't get a direct link, sorry!

Horton the Elephant will be making an appearance this year. What other children's book characters would you love to see? I think Maisy would make an excellent balloon!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Places to Go, Things to Do

This time of year, families often start looking for special things to do with their kids, either to celebrate the holidays or to enjoy time together while school's out. In addition to pointing them to our online calendar and the Dewey, and reminding them that storytimes are on hiatus Thanksgiving week and at the end of December, here's a couple other resources we can use to help them find out what's going on.

Kids Pages has a nice list of holiday events. It says "for November" at the top, but many of the listings include December dates.

Colorado Parent has a December calendar, as well.

Families (and you, too) can also use YourHub.com to find out about local happenings. Go to YourHub.com, and select your state, community (Denver Metro), and Neighborhood (Aurora, Centennial, Littleton, Glendale, Sheridan, etc.); click "Go to Your Hub." From there, you can click on Events on the left menu.

You'll get a weekly calendar with all events, but you can limit in a number of ways, including by "Children." Also, once they get this far, families can sign up to get an RSS feed of local events.

What other resources do you use to help families find things to do?

Friday, November 21, 2008


It's here! Twilight, the movie, was released today.

For those of you who have been living on Mars this year, Stephanie Meyer's vampire series has been THE hot read. What are we going to recommend to tweens and teens who have A) read all the books and B) seen the movie 20 times already and C) want something just like it?

Leave us a comment with some movies or books that you are going to recommend!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

National Book Awards

The National Book Awards were announced yesterday!

The National Book Awards were first given in 1950, with a Children's Literature category added in 1969. In the 80s, the number of categories proliferated (Children's Fiction, Hardcover; Children's Non-Fiction; Children's Picture Books, Paperback; etc.) until 1983 when, in order to preserve the impact of the awards, the categories were reduced to only 3, with no category for youth literature.

In 1996, however, a Young People's Literature category was reinstated! This is cool because the NBAs are very highly regarded. It's great to have youth literature recognized at this level again. The NBA in this category is mostly, but not always, awarded to books for older readers...kind of in the upper-Newbery-to-Printz range. There's a fair amount of overlap between all three awards.

A short list is selected each year, from which the finalist is chosen. This year's short list was:

Laurie Halse Anderson, Chains
Kathi Appelt, The Underneath
Judy Blundell, What I Saw and How I Lied
E. Lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now

And the winner is...Judy Blundell for What I Saw and How I Lied!

The Young People’s Literature judges this year were:
Daniel Handler (Mr. Lemony Snicket to you),
Holly Black (1/2 of the Spiderwick team),
Angela Johnson (tons of awards),
Carolyn Mackler (of the esteemed The Earth, My Butt, and Other Round Things), and Cynthia Voigt (a Grand Dame of children's and YA literature).

Who's read any of these yet? Let us know what you think!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Matilda Needs Help

We have a cool opportunity!

donna geesaman has asked a few of the former Youth ASTs to help her gather resources for a few new Book Club Kits. I volunteered for Matilda, by Roald Dahl, and I would love for you to pitch in. Why?

Because I think this is a great chance for those of us who are unfamiliar with the kits (I'm one of them!) to...
  • learn what resources come with a kit when you order one

  • practice doing research to support a book club without having to prep an entire program yourself

  • have some fun brainstorming activities and crafts you might like to see in the book club kits
Resources to include in the kits should include, but are not limited to:
  • author information [Allison is working on this!]

  • reviews of the book

  • list of read-alike books [Jill Corrente is working on this!]

  • list of other books by the same author

  • discussion questions [Karen H is working on this!]

  • background information on the setting or characters

  • any historical information that will help the presenter place the book in time

  • activities (classroom, games, crafts, snacks) [Elisabeth and Lori Noreen are working on this--but several other people can, too!]
Please volunteer to research and provide one or more of these resources for the book Matilda, by Roald Dahl. Our deadline for sending the materials to donna is December 31.

I would also welcome discussion about book clubs in general, so if you have any questions or comments, please let us know!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Get Ready, Get Set...

Fresh from the CAL Conference, I have been thinking a lot about professional development. Here's a question for you!

What was the non-library experience that best prepared you for working in a library? It could be anything: growing up in a reading family, working for non-profits in college, or working retail at the mall. It might not be an obvious connection--that's ok! For instance, when I applied to work at the Tattered Cover (a million years ago), one question they asked was if you ever had experience in food service. They had found that folks who had been successful as waiters and waitresses knew a lot of the basics about customer service.

Tell us what your experience was and why it has been so helpful to you now.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In One Ear

Working with kids means we need to be able to help them find more than just books. We need to be Media Advisors, too. To that end, I'd like to ask everyone to listen to one children's music CD this month. Stick it in your car's CD player for a few days, or listen to it while you do the dishes, but listen to the whole thing, then tell us about it. How does it compare to the music you loved when you were a kid, or to the music your kids listened to when they were small? How would you recommend it in one or two sentences to a child or their family?

Need some help choosing? Here's a few sites I gathered up. Where do you go for music recommendations?

Kids' Music That Rocks
NPR's "The Year In Music for Kids 2007"

Try a search in Tales' Treehouse for "Children's Music" and explore what's available, including this article.

Also, I ran across this cool Music Blog from the Kalamazoo Public Library. It includes reviews of children's music, and has links into their kids' music collection.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday at CAL

I saw Shelley Walchak of CLIC speak on improving your presentation skills. I have lots to learn, but this is was a great step.

After lunch I went to hear Jessamyn West, one of the keynote speakers. I've followed her blog for a long time but was psyched to have her at CAL--this was the first chance I've had to hear her speak. She talks about the intersection of politics, libraries, and technology (today's talk was "Towards Open Libraries") and it's always interesting to take what she says and think about the implications for the kids that we serve, and their families.

She talked about how we need to make what we do as librarians more transparent to our patrons, so that they know more and have a better understanding of it, but also so they can be participants in what we do and we can better be a community together.

When we think about the Web 2.0 stuff, we're thinking about this in terms of online community. So how do we include children and their families in this process? Children don't necessarily have the technology or the access to be online participants themselves, because of their youth. For example, my kids play on the computer all the time, but they don't have email accounts; they don't have cell phones; they're not on Facebook. About the most they do so far is put books on hold from home or Skype with their grandparents.

My kids will do more in the future. They are growing up in a very digitally connected family with lots of access to technology. But there are another set of kids who not only aren't connected now, but neither are their parents. How do we include them in our growing online community? How can we make sure they grow up to be a part of our new libraries without walls?

So now it's time for ice cream and a session about “Books in the Park” which takes library programming to places in the community where you can connect with people who never come into the library building...a non-tech take on inclusion.

Friday, November 7, 2008

CAL Report!

I'm standing in the CyberCafe at CAL, trying to process all my sessions! Yesterday, Kris Chipps, Virginia Brace, Lori Romero, Pam Grover, donna geesaman, and I presented a full-day pre-conference workshop: "The Early Literacy Storytime: Putting It All Together." We took the backbone of the 4 Early Literacy Storytime classes we developed for ALD and turned them into a one-day show. It was very cool. We had a nice turnout with youth services staff from all over the state. Plus we stayed on schedule the whole day! (I was impressed--that never happens when I present solo...)

Today and tomorrow I'm back...no more presenting, I just get to sit and listen to other sessions all day!

I heard Mary Dempsey's keynote this morning--she's the Commissioner of the Chicago Public Libraries, which is doing some amazing stuff in terms of revitalizing neighborhoods, investing in local communities, and extending opportunities to all kids. They are also VERY big on early literacy and working hard to get library cards to all families. Very inspiring! If they can do it in Chicago, surely we can do it in Denver and our much smaller towns and cities?

I also went to "How Extreme Is Too Extreme? Pushing the Limits of Young Adult Literature." We discussed the book Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (I will add the link later, I promise) and the place it and other "edgy" YA lit has in our collections as public and school libraries. Read the book and see what YOU think.

I heard a school librarian talk about "Family Nights: Bringing Community Together" and I am hopeful about starting to work with schools and preschools to partner with them to offer family activity nights (or afternoons...or breakfasts! Why not?) to families who might not be in the "library habit."

Paul Wember from Wember, Inc did a slide show that toured us through 10 Colorado/Wyoming libraries with new/newer building projects. (He showed Castlewood both before and after the remodel and it was all I could do not to raise my hand and go, "Hey! I do storytime in that room every week!" :) ) These are beautiful libraries with lots of intriguing ideas about display space, furniture, shelving design, all that. I really, really loved the mobile furniture: in some of the newer libraries, everything, tables, chairs, public computers, desks, study carrels, everything is on wheels and can be scooted to wherever the patrons need them.

I tucked into the last fifteen minutes of Carol Edward's talk on what it's like to be on the Newbery Committee--she served last year. It was overwhelming--they easily read, carefully and critically, between 200-450 books (or more) in the year they are on the committee. Makes my excuses about not keeping up with my reading seem kinda puny!

OK--that's it--that's what I did today. It was fun and I'd love to hear from you if you were here! What did you see? If you did NOT come to CAL, why not? Let us know that, too.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hello from Alyson

I am Alyson Corcoran and I am one of the newest members of the Youth Services Interest Group. I have worked for the district for about 5 years – first as a Reference Sub, than as a Reference Librarian at Southglenn. In August 2006 I moved to Digital Services to "help" with the children's website for three months and have not left yet! When Jill returned from maternity leave, I started working on teen content for the website and on developing the new teen site. I have now moved back to Tales' Treehouse and am busy trying to catch up on children's services.
I look forward to working with all of you, and let me know how Tales' Treehouse can continue to support what you do!

Monday, November 3, 2008

December Trainings

The December Training Calendar is now posted on StaffNet, so don't forget to take a look. Some classes you might be interested in are Homework Databases, and Patron Interview. There's also a new class required for PSSs called Basic Reader's and Viewer's Advisory.

December Training Calendar

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Aesop Award

The Aesop Award is given out by the Children's Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society, to a book of folklore (go figure).

This year's winner is ....Ain’t Nothing But a Man: My Quest to Find the Real John Henry, by Scott Reynolds Nelson, with Marc Aronson.

What I think is so cool about the award is that it's not just for a well-told tale, but for excellence in documenting and annotating where the story is from. The winning title should "accurately reflect the culture and worldview of the people whose folklore is the focus of the book" and that "folklore sources must be fully acknowledged and annotations referenced within the bound contents of the publication."

For years, all that critical stuff was virtually ignored in books for kids. There are still books in our folktales section that we have no idea whether they are genuine folktales or just a story the author made up and set in another country. Or books where we have no clue whether or not the author has some familiarity and understanding of the story's culture.

So I like to keep this list in mind when I'm working with teachers who are looking for folktales for their classrooms, since I know I can trust that the stories on this list have been properly researched and cited.

Aesop Accolades (runners up)
Dance in a Buffalo Skull. Told by Zitkala-Ša.
The Adventures of Molly Whuppie and Other Appalachian Folktales. Anne Shelby.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November: Print Awareness

Our early literacy skill for November is Print Awareness!

What is it?
  • Noticing print everywhere
  • How to handle a book
  • Knowing books have print
  • How to follow words on a page
Why is it important? Because you have to be aware of words before you can read them; you have to know how books work. When kids are comfortable with books, with how to open a book and where the story starts and what those black squiggles are, they can concentrate on starting the decoding process.

What does this look like in storytime?

  • For the babies: Have extra board books out for them to play with while they listen to you. Use big books as often as possible; they make it easier for babies to see the pages.
  • Hold the book upside down and pretend you don't notice. Start turning pages from the end instead of the beginning. If the kids are older, they will correct you! If they are younger, "correct" yourself: "I can't read the book yet! It's upside down!"
  • Point to the title as you read it.
  • Point to repeating words or phrases in the story & have the kids say them with you
  • Make books with 4-5s as a storytime craft. Talk to them about the parts of a book as they work
  • Use words with big type or word balloons like What Will Fat Cat Sit On? or Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
  • Add words to your favorite flannelboards. When you put up a picture of a castle, also put up the word "castle" underneath.
What do you like to do to enhance Print Awareness in your storytimes? What Print Awareness tips do you give to the parents during storytime?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Scary Stories

Happy Halloween!

What was the scariest story you ever read when you were a kid? Was it a chapter book, short story, or picture book? Give us the title and author and tell us just what creeped you out so much.

Mine was The Ghost in the Swing by Jill Patton Smith. I read a lot of spooky stuff--John Bellairs and Zilpha Keatley Snyder were two of my fave authors--but this one got me so bad, that after a few chapters I would only read it if I were in the same room as my mom.

This girl goes to visit her aunt and discovers a ghost in the house. She tries to discover where the ghost came from. One night she hears flute music up in the attic, and heads up the attic stairs...

That's as far as I got! I never finished it! I could never convince myself to go through the attic door.

Now it's 200 bucks on Amazon. I may never find out the ending! :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Book Trailers

Another post! I'm trying to get back up to speed after a kind of a slow month.

Here's a look at something kind of new: book trailers! They're just what they sound like, movie trailers for books. They are being done by all sorts of people--authors, students, publishers, fans. Here's a few to check out:

Rain Is Not My Indian Name
How to Lose Your Tail
Adventures of Deadwood Jones

What do you think? How do these compare to vodcasts? Do you think these would be appealing to kids? Should we link to trailers in Tales' Treehouse when we can find them? Would this be a cool project for our kids and/or teens, to create their own trailers? Here's a link to a college professor who is doing just that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Running Amok with Achockablog

Another blog I try to read from time to time is Achockablog, the blog of the huge, independent UK children's review website, Achuka. It's great for a different perspective on the children's publishing world.

A debate this year has been the desire of publishers to start to "age-band" their books (printing 5+, 7+, 9+, etc. on the covers) this fall; here's a short post with a link to an article about librarian opposition to the idea.

Publishers obviously want to help guide the parents who purchase books, but we know not all kids are so tidily categorized. What do you think?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tweet Tweet

I decided it was time for me to explore Twitter, the free "microblog" application. If you're not familiar with it already, it's kind of like a blog and kind of like IM. You post quick updates on what you're doing. "Quick" is the operative word here: you're limited to 140 characters. Some people post a couple times a week. Other people post multiple times an hour.

School Library Journal and Wired have a couple of articles to look at if you're interested.

I wanted to try it out to see how we might use it with kids (who probably aren't Twitter-ers yet) and their families (who could be). I'll let you know in a few weeks what occurs to me!

Right now, I'm using Twitter to record what I'm reading. I've just posted a few times, but already I can see that the short-short form will be a real help in focussing my thoughts on what I've read.

I've also been trying to Google around and find other Colorado children's librarians on Twitter, but I haven't had much luck yet.

Are YOU on Twitter? Let us know what you think about it, and if you have any children's library ideas.

PS. You can follow me at MelissaZD

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Perennial Newbery Debate

OK, I'm a little behind the curve on this one (October has been a little messy) but earlier this month a discussion about the Newbery award started that is worth a look. Check out the following links and see what you think!

Anita Silvey wrote in SLJ about her frustrations with recent Newbery winners--she speaks to a "trend" away from recognizing books that are popular with young readers.

The problem is, the Newbery criteria specifically state that "the award is for literary quality and quality presentation for children. The award is not for didactic intent or for popularity."

Both Nina Lindsay and Roger Sutton have written responses; don't miss some of the conversation that follows their posts in the comments. This debate crops up every few years, so it's worth the time to get familiar with it.

And if you're curious about what books folks are saying might be Newbery and Caldecott contenders for this year, here's a few lists to read:

Fuse #8
Wizards Wireless
Allen County Mock Newbery List
Allen County Mock Caldecott List

In addition, you might want to check out the Cybils (Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literature Awards). This new award was created specifically to bridge that perceived gap between literary excellence and popularity. On their FAQ they say, "We wanted a literary competition that combined the freewheeling democracy of the Internet with the thoughtfulness of a book club...The winning books must combine quality and 'kid appeal.'"

Compare their nominations lists for this year with the books getting buzz for the Newbery and Caldecott!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Chicago's After School Matters program

Chicago’s After School Matters program lists after-school programs for the Chicago Public Library, Dept of Children and Youth Services, Chicago public schools, After School Matters, and the Chicago Park District. Powered by Google maps, students can enter their home or school address into www.afterschoolchicago.org and find nearby programs.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

City of Ember

Yesterday was the release of the movie City of Ember! It's based on a YA book by Jeanne DuPrau (1st of a trilogy) & is a big middle-school read, though I know 4th and 5th graders have read it too.

So it's all checked out--and of course we won't have the DVD in for awhile. What are we going to recommend to the kids who come in looking for it or who loved the movie?

If you haven't read it (it's a good one), read a few reviews* and see what other upper-elementary/middle school titles come to mind as possible recommendations. Leave a comment with your title, and why you think it's a good read-alike.

If everyone leaves one or two ideas, we'll have a really nice list to help kids out with this month!

*reviews are easy to find--just click on the cover image in Milllennium.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Can Reading Help Kids Lose Weight?

Interesting article from Time.


Hey Everyone
While at the storytelling swap, I learned of the milkshake song. I played this for my preschool group, and for the past 3 weeks they have asked for it every time. Every time I go to play a song at least one will ask 'is it the milkshake song?" a mom today asked me what CD that is, she liked it so much too!
Just a nice thing to find something that I thought sounded fun that the kids really love


I'm glancing through the latest Horn Book Magazine and found this CLAT test (Children's Literature Application Test). It's kind of hard (I thought!), but also fun and informative. Give it a try if you have a spare moment.

The Very Hungry...Curtains?

OK, more just for fun: Eric Carle has licensed some patterns to Andover Fabrics!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Leo Politi 1908-2008 Centennial

While looking at the book bingo list Melissa gave us at Thursday's meeting I noticed several boxes I wanted to put my green dot in - Read a picture book published before 1958; Reread a picture book from your childhood and Read a Caldecott. I thought of the author Leo Politi born in 1908. I have a personal story to tell about him back in the "olden" days in the 1970's. I went to a Chinese restaurant with relatives in downtown Los Angeles called Sam Dam Noodle House (really!.) Sitting at the counter was an older man in a rumpled brown suit with a sketch pad drawing a picture of the little Hispanic boy sitting next to him. I was curious and since it was a very small eatery I could see him sign his name -Leo Politi. He tore the drawing from the pad, handed it to the little boy, finished his tea and left. I hadn't been out of college very long and remembered studying Leo Politi in Children's literature. I was surprised and wondered if the Hispanic family knew who he was. Anyway, I reread Song of the Swallows (1950 Caldecott winner) and then looked Leo Politi up on the internet. 2008 is Leo Politi Centennial http://www.leopoliti2008centennial.org/. We only own two of his titles . I filled in three boxes with one book - Does that count Melissa? (: (It could also qualify as a bilingual picture book I think.)

Friday, October 3, 2008


Last week I took a call via the hunt group from a patron who was trying to remember the name of a humorous chapter book about a knight that she and her daughter had read a few years ago. She remembered a lot about the book, but mostly information about the cover picture and about the author (though not his name!); what she did remember about the book was not enough to narrow down a keyword search. Plus, she uses the Aurora and Arapahoe libraries in addition to Prospector, so there was no way to restrict the search that way.

Rather than tell her I didn't know the book and couldn't find it, I posted a stumper request to PUBYAC, and within 24 hours had two librarians email the title to me. (It was Swords for Hire by Will Allen. We own it. Never heard of it.)

PUBYAC is a listserv (an email mailing list) for public libraries serving young adults and children. People send an email to the listserv address, and it is automatically forwarded to everyone on the list. It is an extremely active and vital community, with numerous discussions weekly about all aspects of youth services, with tons of program ideas and storytime resources. One way to use PUBYAC is as I did, by posting a question about a mystery book to the "collective brain." (If you do want to try PUBYAC as a stumper resource, please read and follow the stumper etiquette posted on the PUBYAC site.) Another way might be to ask for input about a situation your library is experiencing, or to report on a succesful new program you tried.

I strongly encourage you to sign up and follow the discussions for a couple of months to get a taste of what goes on in youth services outside our district! It is a very active list, so you would get lots of emails, but I can help you set up an email filter, or you can opt to get the messages in daily "digest" instead.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Todays Meeting

Thanks for all the good information today at jour meeting. I really enjoyed the meeting and I love the new story time kits for ages 2-5. I cannot wait to try one out this Spring. I learn by hands on.
It was a plus having Jill at the meeting also. I learned a couple of new things about our Childrens web site. I always forget that there is a parent section. Thanks Again. Jan

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Greetings everyone

Greetings! My name is Karen Hathaway, I am a YAST currently based at SM. For about 10 years I worked at the Glendale Library where I did a little bit of everything for all age groups. When I moved to SM I was able to narrow my focus to services for elementary school age children.
There are so many aspects to youth services that I want to explore I have found it hard to settle on just one goal for this group. After considerable thought, I have decided that I want my focus to be on becoming more knowledgeable about the six literacy skills and how to present them to the parents and the kids.
I have just started to do storytimes. Once a month I do a storytime for some women who do daycare in their homes. Since I have only one shot a month to share the literacy skill, I feel under some pressure to do an exceptional presentation. So, what I would like to do is use this group as a resource for ideas that will help me explain the literacy skills in a non-lecturing manner to the caregivers, and give them ideas of how to incorporate them in with their daily activities.

I am looking forward to learning more about what others in this group do and the different ways we inspire kids to develop a love for reading and books.

October: Print Motivation

Our early literacy skill for October is Print Motivation!

What is it? Print Motivation is a child's interest in and enjoyment of books.

Why is it important? Kids who enjoy books and reading will be curious about reading and motivated to learn to read themselves. Motivation is important because learning to read is HARD WORK! Children who have negative experiences with books and reading wind up with less interest in reading and less desire to learn. (What are some of those negative experiences they might have? Don't turn the page yet! Don't talk while I'm reading!)

So it's really important that we make sure our children start reading and listening from day one and that they have a good time with books.

What does this look like in storytime?

  • It looks like YOU having a good time! You’re the model that books and reading are fun.
  • Make it fun for YOU. If you hate singing? Chant or play a CD instead. Don't force yourself to do things you hate because kids will pick up on your lack of enthusiasm.
  • In the same way, choose books you love.
  • If a book isn't working—stop reading! Tell the kids you'll finish it another time, and say it's time for the Hokey Pokey or the Tooty Ta, or just go on to your next activity.
  • Choose pop ups, and lift the flaps sometimes, since kids really respond to the interactive stories.
What do you like to do to enhance Print Motivation in your storytimes? What Print Motivation tips do you give to the parents during storytime?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Diablo Cody: In Praise of Judy Blume

Because Judy Blume is one of the most outspoken authors against censorship and it is Banned Book Week...

Check this out this article from Entertainment Weekly, written by EW columnist and Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody:


I'm a Judy Blume "real" girl for sure!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Banned Books Week

Welcome to Banned Books Week! September 27-October 4

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is held the last week of September each year. The purpose of the celebration is to remind us that we shouldn't take this freedom for granted.

Many challenges have to do with "protecting" children. It's worth reading the ALA's statement regarding this situation:

Although this is a commendable motivation, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (ALA's basic policy concerning access to information) states that, “Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents—and only parents—have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources.” Censorship by librarians of constitutionally protected speech, whether for protection or for any other reason, violates the First Amendment.

How is your branch celebrating or promoting Banned Book Week? Have you read a banned book this year?

Check out these sites:

Banned Books Week (ALA)
Banned Books Week (jointly hosted by all BBW sponsors)
Fahrenheit 451: Freedom to Read (Pelham Public Library, ONT)
Banned Books Challenge (blog reviewing banned books)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pokemon Challenge

If you have not seen Anders Johnson's ALD LIVE for his Pokemon Challenge group please watch. It is very clever.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

ALSC Institute

I just got back from the Association for Library Service to Children's National Institute. This is a conference held every two years (it's in Atlanta in 2010): "a two and a half day intensive learning opportunity with a youth services focus." I came away with a lot of great content to add to the website and tons of programming ideas--which I will type up for Cindy Mares in the near future. I attended the technology track and the lifelong reading track (they also had a programming track and we got to hear 4 authors speak: Sharon Creech, William Joyce, Laura Seeger, and Christopher Paul Curtis). It was a very well organized conference and would be a great one for anybody in youth services looking for a nice professional development opportunity. I'll attach my notes once I've finished them, but feel free to contact me if you want more info about the Institute.

Monday, September 22, 2008

YSIG Meeting Reminder

Our next meeting of the Youth Services Interest Group is next week! We will meet Thursday, October 2, from 8-9.30am in the Castlewood meeting room.

I have some plans for our time together, but am very interested in your ideas! If you have an issue or a topic that you would like to see addressed at the meeting, please let me know, either in comments here or via email.

See you soon!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Caldecott Hopefuls Blog

I'm sorry to push down Melissa's post about the Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy website--please make sure to visit!

I wanted to direct everyone to the ALD 2009 Caldecott Hopefuls blog. Here we are posting and discussing great picture books published in 2008 that have a chance at the 2009 Caldecott Medal. Towards the end of October, Melissa will take our postings and create a final list of about 10 books on which we will have patrons vote for a winner. Then we'll compare our winner with the ALA winner mid-January. Feel free to comment and shoot me an email if you want to become a contributor.

New Early Literacy Resource!

Lori Romero, Richard Lyda, and I all recently had a chance to work on a new resource website for Colorado librarians. We're part of a state-wide organization called Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy, and the website is one of our first projects. We're trying to bring together as much material as we can for librarians who are working with literacy-based programs.

Will you take a look at it and let us know what you would love to be able to find here? What resources do you wish for as you plan your literacy-based storytimes? It's very much a work in progress and we could use your input!

Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Controversial Material

For your information about a children's book:
We have on order for ALD a book titled Uncle Bobby's Wedding by Sarah Brannen. Douglas County has already had a reconsideration request on the book. It deals with same sex marriage. Read this article for Jamie LaRue's response. http://wordpress.com/tag/uncle-bobbys-wedding/

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


That alphabet soup refers to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the Rocky Mountain Chapter of which is having their annual fall conference on September 20-21, 2008 in Lakewood.

I would encourage you to check out their brochure and see if you'd be interested in attending! They have agents, editors, authors, and illustrators as speakers and lots of workshops and panels.

Even if you don't attend, it's good to keep the SCBWI in mind. We all occasionally get patrons who approach us about being readers for their manuscripts, or want us to answer questions about the state of children's publishing, and the SCBWI is a great referral in those situations.

In addition, Koelbel, Smoky, and Southglenn have copies of The Children's Writers' and Illustrators' Market, which can also be a help.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

School Visits

Richard Lyda (OS) Miryam Loo-Camacho (GL) and I visited the Challenge School on E. Mississippi on Sept. 3rd and 4th (evenings). We set up a table near the library. It was a parents night and they were going from room to room but we were lucky and spoke to many of them as they passed by. We were excited to hear that many were loyal ALD users and they were happy the new Glendale library would be located near their school on Parker and Florida. We made library cards, handed out information and bookmarks, used the laptop to show the webpages for teens and kids and handed out invites to the construction party this month and the booksale. All in all we had a fun time even though there were "lulls" at times. This is a Cherry Creek school but kids come from all over including Koelbel, Smoky and other areas. How was your school visit?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back to Storytime!

Welcome back to storytime!

I'm spending some quality time with the 6 Every Child Ready to Read early literacy skills this week for a training project I'm working on, and thought I'd do a review post about them as we head into storytime season.

The six skills researchers have identified as essential for kids to have in place before they can be successful readers are:

Print Motivation: Loving books! Being interested in books and enjoying books.
Important Because: Kids who are more interested in books are more motivated to learn to read on their own.

Phonological Awareness: Hearing sounds! Being able to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words, like rhymes, syllables, beginning sounds.
Important Because: Kids have to be able to hear how words "come apart" before they can sound words out successfully.

Vocabulary: Knowing words! Knowing the names of things.
Important Because: The bigger a child's vocabulary, the easier it is to recognize words on the page and understand what is being read.

Narrative Skills: Telling stories! Being able to desribe things and events and tell stories.
Important Because: This is the comprehension piece. If you can describe what you're reading, you can understand it. If you can't understand it, you're not going to be very motivated to read.

Print Awareness: Seeing print! Seeing print everywhere, knowing how books work, how words work on a page.
Important Because: You can't start tackling learning to read print until you understand what it is.

Letter Knowledge: Knowing letters! Knowing that letters have different names, shapes, and sounds.
Important Because: You can't start to sound words out if you don't understand what words are made of.

If you do a storytime, tell us a little about how you provide your literacy tip to parents in your sessions. Do you do it at the beginning? Middle? End? Do you have a routine, or do you try different things each time?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kids Get Their Games On, Too

ALD has done a great job getting our teen videogame programs up and running--so great that each branch will have its own console in order to make it easier to schedule & provide these programs.

But elementary school kids love videogames, too, and I've been finding myself thinking about them a lot lately. For one thing, my own girls, in 5th grade and 2nd grade, are total gamers: they've got the Wii and Nintendo DSs, plus they love spending time online with their Webkinz and UB Funkeys.

I'm conscious of wanting to keep Get Your Game On! on a cool, teens-only groove, but I also know there's tons of younger gamers among our patrons. So what would library gaming programs for this age group look like? Some libraries have had DS programs where kids bring in their DSs and cartridges and they have a chance to connect and play wirelessly with each other, but that really presupposes a certain economic group. Unless we bought 25 DSs to send around for programs...

My mom just sent me a flier from our hometown library for a program called "Grandparents Got Game!" It was a once-a-week drop-in program in the afternoons where grandparents (and/or grandfriends) could play with their grandchildren. Each session includes board games, a Wii, a craft, and snacks. Kind of a neat idea!

Could we have kids come and sit in a computer lab and all log on to a free online world? I haven't done a ton of research, but I know that Disney's Toontown can be played in a limited version for free.

What do you guys think? If you know anyone in the under-12 bracket, what do you think would appeal to them?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards

Another awards announcement! The Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards were announced on the 17th. Their Children’s Literature (picture books through YA) category "honors books for younger readers in the tradition of The Hobbit or The Chronicles of Narnia."

This year's winner is the complete Harry Potter series!

Nominations included:
Holly Black, Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale ; Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie ; Ironside: A Modern Faery’s Tale
Derek Landy, Skulduggery Pleasant
Nancy Springer, Dusssie
Kate Thompson, The New Policeman

What do you think? Do you think it was a good decision--that HP really is that good, despite all the hype? Or do you think another book or series on the list was better? Remember to take the criteria of the award under consideration (eg, "like the Hobbit or Narnia"). I have been meaning to read Holly Black's books for ages. Now I have some more incentive!

Homework--help meeeee!

I was just curious--with all the schools in session now--how's everybody doing helping kids with homework assignments? What are some of the big assignments popping up? What great resources are you using? Where are we lacking in assignment support?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Minders of Make-Believe

Whew! I just finished working my way through Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children's Literature, by the great Leonard Marcus.

He spotlights the earliest giants in the children's book world--the first children's librarians, book reviewers, publishers, authors, illustrators, and editors--and traces the development of the industry over a couple hundred years.

It's full of lots of fun behind-the-scenes peeks (when one condescending bigwig called Jean Karl a "juvenile editor," she called him a "senile editor" back and said, "good children's books are never juvenile."). And it has tons of interesting backstories (including how the knowledge of Sendak's at-that-point prickly relationship with his editor Ursula Nordstrom informs Marcus' reading of Where The Wild Things Are.)

But the best part is how Marcus places children's book publishing in context with both economic and cultural changes. I kept thinking, "Oh, so that's why..." It's definitely a work of serious criticism, but I recommend it highly!

However, if you're looking for fun anecdotes you can work into your RA interviews, check out Anita Silvey's 100 Best Books For Children; if you want shorter, highly readable reflections on children's literature and culture written by a gifted essayist, try Alison Lurie's Don't Tell the Grown-Ups and Boys and Girls Forever.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hello It's me Jan

I'm Jan A-Z from Smoky. The reason people call me Jan A-Z is my last name beginnings with A and ends with Z. It is a hard name to pronounce. I love my job at Smoky. I do story times for Babies, two to six years and the different Elementary Schools in the area. I enjoy working with children of all ages. Right now I have been working on new flannel boards for our fall story times. If any one has any good web sites for flannel boards let me know.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Is anyone else addicted to the Twilight series?

I was encouraged to share with all of you what I have been reading of late. A friend of mine told me that I should read the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer because she was really enjoying them. At first I was a little hesitant seeing as how the books are about a vampire and this is not typically what I would read. Also havingSince I had this conversation with this friend of mine I have now finished the first 3 books in the series and have really been enjoying them. Not only are the books well written, the characters seem very real and Stephenie Meyer truly has a way of making the series interesting. So fascinating in fact that I for one have been addicted to them!

I thought that by posting about the Twilight series we could generate a discussion about whether or not any of you have read them, what you thought of the series? and what to recommend to young adults coming into the library having read the entire series?

Tattoos and Kids Lit, A Natural Combination

Hey, this post is just for fun. I was doing some random professional blog reading and wound up on Contrariwise, a blog of literary tattoos!

Scroll through the Books section to find Le Petit Prince, Harriet the Spy, the Lorax, and a few others. Shel Silverstein is over in Poetry.

What children's literature reference would YOU wear on a tat?

FYI: I started off at Fuse #8, another one of my must-reads, written by Elizabeth Bird, an actual live children's librarian, now published on the School Library Journal site. She has LOTS of insider bits plus thoughtful commentary. And just check out her blogroll!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I'm Jane Crawford and I work as a PSS2 at SG. I want to become more familiar and confident with the Children's Collection as a whole in order to do better RA in this area. What's good in the tried and true classics and what's really good in the newly published titles? I'm looking forward to the exchange of ideas and info.

New Books!

This week we received tons of new children's books in from Baker & Taylor, which makes it a great time to explore the new book situation in your branch's children's area!

  • Where does your branch put new children's materials? Is there a new book shelf? A display? Do books go right into the regular collection?
  • How long do the NEW stickers stay on the books at your branch? Who's in charge of keeping an eye on the new children's materials and removing stickers? Talk to them and find out what their usual procedure is. How can you help them?
  • What do you like about how your branch handles the new book collection? What would you like to see done differently?
  • What titles are catching your eye right now? Tell us about one title currently in your new book collection.
  • Don't forget to check out Tales' Treehouse and look at the "New Books, Movies & Music" tab under Swoop the Owl. This is a great place to recommend to families.

Leave a comment with the answers to any or all of these questions!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's Lori from KO

Hi, I'm Lori N at Koelbel. I do Baby and Preschool storytimes - they're wicked fun! I can't wait to share ideas, sorry I'm challenged at blogging - yikes!

Hi from Michelle Shields

Hi, I'm Michelle Shields , PSS II from Smoky Hill. I am new to baby story time and am learning all the time. I am very excited to be the Bright Beginnings representative for Smoky Hill and have already signed up 14 of my 15 baby story time children and hope to expand to the other baby story time's we offer here at Smoky in the near future. I am enjoying the August break, but spending most of it preparing for September...it is just around the corner!

An explanation of Bright Beginnings:

Bright Beginnings is information designed for newborns through toddlers. There are 3 different levels, prenatal-12 months; 12-24 months; and 24-36 months. Each packet (in a really nice color coded book bag) contains a booklet of activities and games to promote the childs growth and development; a parent handbook on critical health, nutrition, safety and development issues for young children; a guide for finding quality child care; a classical music CD for infants; a childrens board book; and a community resource guide. All the parent or guardian needs to do is fill out a Bright Beginnings informational sheet and have the program explained (usually around 15 minutes) The program is free and sponsored by the State of Colorado

Aug 18 08 There are other reps for Bright Beginnings at other branches and Lori Romero would know who they are.

Hi From Cheryl

I'm Cheryl and I work at Koelbel. I really enjoy doing storytimes and all the programs for children. It is fun to be creative with kids. The summer reading program was very good. I am grateful for the break between SRP and storytimes!

Facts on Fiction

Tool time!

I just came across this site earlier this year as I was working with a patron. It was a mom who wanted to know if there was a site for books that told parents what the content was (like Kids In Mind) does for movies).

Ta-dah! Facts on Fiction! What I appreciate about the site is that it is not "rating" the books as good or bad (which some of these sites do) but just providing the information and letting the parents make the call.

Another nice non-judgemental site is Common Sense Media, which provides parents with information about movies and TV, but also books, games, music, and web sites.

Anybody have another resource like this that you like to use?

Hi from Sheena

Hi, I am a PSS 2 at Smoky Hill. I enjoy working in children's but I would like to be more familiar with the workings of children's and also tools that are available.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hi from Vicki at Koelbel

Hi, I'm Vicki Wheeler and I'm a PSS 2 at Koelbel. I've been with the Arapahoe Library District for about 1 1/2 years and worked for the Pasco Library System in Florida for 2 years. I enjoy doing baby, toddler, and family storytimes. I know this probably sounds crazy, but I really enjoy the summer reading program, especially all the special programs we had. I hope that this blog will give us lots of information we can incorporate into our storytimes. Thanks!

Monday, August 11, 2008

To Prize or Not to Prize?

Do you guys know about CYS-Lib? It's an email listserv for people working with children in Colorado public libraries.

There's been a great conversation on it recently about whether or not libraries should hand out prizes (and if so, what kind, and how much should we spend) for kids who participate in summer reading programs.

This is a perennial discussion topic! There are those of us who feel that if we hand out prizes for reading then we aren't encouraging the right attitude--that reading should be its own reward.

But there are those of us who feel that while kids who are already readers will read regardless, kids who aren't "natural readers" or who struggle with reading really do respond to the challenge and reward of prizes for achievement.

There are others of us in the middle ground--okay with prizes, but looking to place them in a context that includes our "whole package" of programs, books, information, hangout spots, etc. and also looks to include other types of rewards. Some libraries make donations to charities for every hour or book kids read past their required reading, for instance.

What do you think about all this? Leave us a comment! Your Summer Reading Program Committee is listening!

If you'd like to sign up to receive the CYS-Lib emails, send an email to: majordomo@aclin.org. Leave your subject line blank and in the message body, write the two-line message:
subscribe cys-lib

If you'd like to see what some of the discussion has been, let me know and I'll round them up to share.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Stuff I Saw

Well, my vacation is winding up and we are heading west once again. Here's a few library things I noticed this trip:

While staying in Mishicot, WI (pop. 1422 and apparently served by the Lester Public Library in nearby Two Rivers) I saw a flier for a weekly SRP program held in Mishicot Village Park--rain or shine, games, crafts and stories! I loved this idea--clearly it's an outreach thing to a small community without its own library branch, but wouldn't it be cool to take a story and a craft every week to Westlands Park? How many people make it to the playground every week who don't come to the library? If we did this, which park would you recommend we go to near your branch?

(PS: I also really liked their webpage, which included an events blog.)

I stopped in at the Roselle Public Library in suburban Chicago--my hometown library where I paged as a teenager) and admired their summer postcard wall. They told their kids to send the library postcards from wherever they went on vacation! The postcards came in from all over the world and were displayed on a huge bulletin board in the children's room.

(PS: I checked out their webpage too and found a "Blogger Bookclub" for kids. Those of you who hold book clubs, what do you think about this idea? Should we try it at ALD? As an extension of a regular kids' book club, or as a separate online program?)

We visited my college roommate who told me about a "travel kit" service her family used this year. After filling out a short form (Mary got a sample for me if you want to see it) with their kids' ages and interests, the family picked up a bag filled with books and videos to take on vacation, including a book about where they were going. Mary was really impressed that when her four-year-old twin boys stated that their interests were french fries and pie, the librarians included a story about pie and a book about how french fries are made in the kit! I don't know that this is a service that we could support at ALD (we've got a lot more patrons), but it made me think again about doing personalized booklists for patrons via email...maybe that's something we could handle. What do you think?

(PS: Plainfield has posted instructions for their patrons to create a catalog bookmarklet--you can check the library catalog for books while surfing Amazon.)

Last but not least, we're staying tonight at a Country Inn and Suites on I-80 (the really exciting part of our trip) and I noticed that the hotel has a "Read It & Return" lending library program! Sarah and I took a walk to go check it out. They've got a bookshelf with children's and adults' paperbacks (hotel stickers on the spines) and you can borrow a book for free, and return during your visit or later to another CI&S location. And every time you bring back a book to them, they make a donation to a literacy program! What if we asked the Friends to set aside some of the children's books they get as donations, and put them in small "library boxes" at various places around town? Panera, Starbucks, DMV, banks...? Kids could read some books while waiting for their folks...

Okay, I'm finally done with this humongous post. But I have an assignment for you! Check out your hometown's library website and see if they mention any programs or services that you think are cool. Leave a comment and let us know what they are!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Eisner Awards

The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were announced a couple of weeks ago at Comic Con in San Diego. I just checked up on them and was excited to find out that last year's "Works for Young Readers" category has been split in two--one for kids and one for teens. This is an exciting reflection of the continued growth in the youth comic books and graphic novel market!

This year's winners:

Best Publication for Kids: Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 and Mouse Guard: Winter 1152, by David Petersen (Archaia)

Best Publication for Teens: Laika, by Nick Abadzis (First Second)

ALD has Mouse Guard: Fall...Anybody read it yet? If you haven't, take a look and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Hi to storytimers! It will be interesting to see how our storytime offerings match up with the patron input we get from the storytime surveys that went out last month. We'll keep you posted.
We also had good feedback about the Baby Storytime class that was offered this summer. Thanks to Pam Grover, Melissa and Erin for sharing their expertise. The more we can offer for the babies, the better!
ST Questions: How have storytimes been going? Has it gotten easier to mention the literacy tips? What do you feel like you need next? Take care! Lori

Monday, August 4, 2008


I was attending the EBSCO training last week--and while I tried to follow what she was saying, what I was really interested in was how to make the kids' databases better! Anyway, after playing around with some searches in Searchasaurus, I was still disappointed in it as a kids' search tool and spoke to the trainer about it. She recommended that we remove some of the products that it was searching. We did--and it now seems much more age-appropriate. So, for those of you who stopped using it a while back because it didn't return anything you could use or for those of you who've never used it, give it a try and let me know what you think!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Little Brother

Cory Doctorow is a writer and blogger (Boing Boing, Craphound) and a big open-source guy. He is very articulate on copyright issues; he talks about how too much emphasis on copyright protection might lead to the suppression of information and less sharing of ideas and creativity.

Anyway, his latest book is a YA title, Little Brother, which is kind of like a little brother to Orwell’s 1984. Like all his books, Doctorow has published this title simultaneously in print and as a free download. He feels that the people who will download his books are not taking away in any way from the sales of the printed material—two different user groups. Libraries, for example, are going to be interested in the hard copy. And Doctorow’s got his eye out for libraries who might like a printed copy; he’s offering to help people who liked the free download and want to donate some money to him to instead buy hard copies for teachers and librarians.

Well, we do have the printed book in our collection; but all this made me wonder, should we promote the free download as well? Should we put a link on the teen page? Does that fit in with our mission to provide access to materials? Do our teens use Overdrive? Would they like to know about this? What do you think? Leave a comment!

(And does anyone know of this type of venture with a children’s book?)

Monday, July 28, 2008

SRP Is Done! Long Live SRP!

All right! We made it!

Don't forget to pass along your feedback about Summer Reading to your SRP branch rep.

Is there anything that went especially well this year? Did your branch try anything new? Did you have any rough spots? How did your programs go? Did we meet our goals?

If you weren't directly involved with the Children's Summer Reading Program at your branch, find someone who was and ask them for their 2 cents.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

As Seen at Santa's Workshop

Okay, I'm on vacation! I will be posting from time to time while I'm gone, but won't be checking in every day. Feel free to post yourselves as well! In the meantime...

...is an Information Stroller like a Roving Reference Librarian?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Read Roger

I mentioned that one of my goals was to keep up with my professional reading; from time to time I’ll point you towards some of the blogs and resources that I love.

One of my favorites is Read Roger. Roger Sutton is the editor in chief of Horn Book; his vast knowledge, wide perspective, and pointed wit always leave me with something to think about.

This recent post is a great example: he starts off with a note about a West Side Story revival, makes a connection to a new children’s title, winding up with a larger question about children’s literature as a whole, pointing us towards a thoughtful critical essay along the way.

(PS: He also comments on the Stuart Little essay from the New Yorker!)

Online Storytimes

Melissa and I have been working on putting up online storytimes on Tales' Treehouse (Melissa is much better at this than me, but I'm practicing!) to engage parents and kids in online literacy activities--for whatever reason: maybe they couldn't make it to a face-to-face storytime or maybe they're just spending some time together online and need a little guidance. Our goal is to provide some online books, song clips, photos/videos/illustrations, rhymes, games/activities, printable projects, and literacy tips around a particular theme. We hope to have two new ones to feature each month. Maybe you can direct patrons to these during your storytimes or in helping someone on the computers...Let us know if you have any great resources to share or would like to see particular themes.

Monday, July 21, 2008

ALD Training Classes

The September Training Class list is up now on the StaffNet Training & Staff Development page; check it out to see if there’s anything you can use. And it might not be too late to look at August as well—Children’s Databases and Homework Databases classes are both on that list.

One of my goals...

Something I'm interested in is how to make our collection for parenting issues and topics stronger and more accesible. I am a patron of the Lone Tree library in Douglas and am so impressed with their collection which they've named HIP (help in parenting). They have all the potty training, dealing with death, manners, new siblings, going to the doctors etc. picture books all in one place and all the parenting materials intended for adults all in one place. It is incredibly helpful and I've used that collection often.
I'm not crazy about how we currently shelve our parenting material at Smoky...some of it is in the sad, outdated parent collection we have, some in picture books and some upstairs in adult non-fiction.
How are other libraries handling this? How can we improve it?


Hi there,

My name is Elisabeth Wright and I've been with the district and Smoky Hill since 2001. I've done story times, programs, bookclubs for the little guys as well as some teen stuff. I recently came back from maternity leave and am back in the swing of things (a *little* sleep deprived) with my 2 storytimes and upcoming bookclubs and programs. I'm looking forward to some new ideas to spruce up what sometimes feels like tired old, boring (hopefully only to me) story times.

Along with my baby, I have a 5 year old son who is a great guinea pig when it comes to trying out new songs, fingerplays and books.

I think this is going to be a great group and I'm glad to be a part of it!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Lion and the Mouse

Do children deserve a place in public libraries? And if they do, what type of literature should be made available to them? Check out this essay from this week’s New Yorker. It's long, but it's a fascinating peek at the genesis of children’s libraries and the evolution of children’s book publishing.

You'll hear EB White, Anne Carroll Moore [the first—wildly influential— Children’s Librarian of the New York Public Library], Katherine Angell [Katharine Angell White—wife of EB, fiction editor of the New Yorker, and children’s book reviewer], and Ursula Nordstrom [director of Harper children’s publishing department] as they fought “the battle that reshaped children’s literature.”

What was the battle? Whether Stuart Little was suitable for children.

Read this essay; there are so many pithy opinions in it…almost every single one still relevant to children’s publishing today.

Leave us a comment on the quote that struck you the most!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dee says Hi!

I'm Dee Requa, a YAST at Koelbel. I have been with the district since 1984 and specialized in Children's since 1992 when Koelbel opened. I am still learning lots about kid's stuff (there are constant changes)! I have done storytimes for all ages and programming too. After doing storytimes at Koelbel for 15 years I am now filling in for storytimes at Koelbel as needed and have also filled in for storytimes at Smoky and Sheridan. I loved the train whistle at Smoky! I am a member of the new Storytellers Group for ALD and have visited Glendale to do stories for Lori's Literacy group. I think it is helpful for us to visit other storytimes to get ideas and share ideas. Everyone has their own style and I feel it is all good!

Have a great day/week-end!


Hello, Im Amie Richter and I have beena PSS at Smoky for 2 years now. I've been focused on childrens the entire time. I do 2 pre-school storytimes and a family storytime each week, and fill in on rest when someone is gone. I also do kids book clubs and programs.
I look forward to hearing what other people do for storytimes, book clubs, etc, and getting ideas how I can make the programs I do better. It was good to meet all of you yesterday, and I look forward to getting to know you all!
Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hi from Elizabeth A

I'm Elizabeth Anderson, and I've worked for ALD for two years. I was and MH at SG for a year, then worked as a PSS at KO for a year where I did mostly children's services. At the beginning of the summer I transferred back to SG where I am now doing mostly teen services. I am really missing children's stuff, and I am hoping that this interest group will put me back in touch and give me an opportunity to keep my children's services skills sharp.

Greetings from Castlewood Library

Hi Everyone,
My name is Lori McKee. It was so good to meet you all at the meeting this morning. I have recently been promoted from a Materials Handler to a PSS II here at Castlewood. I have felt overwhelmed with all there is to learn in my new position. Fortunately the staff here have been very supportive as I learn on the floor. I have two teenage boys and have really missed having the interaction with the younger ones. I look forward to training for the baby story time here at Castlewood. I think the goal for me in this group is to learn as much as possible from all of you who have been doing this for awhile. Thanks for being so willing to share. Lori M.

Hi from Jill (with ulterior motives)

Hi All!

I work at Support Services where I maintain the Children's website, Tales' Treehouse. I've been in this position for 2 years, and before that, I worked at Smoky Hill in reference/technology training for about 7 years. What I hope to get out of the IG is how I can support branch staff in using our website to help patrons (I've re-written this clunky sentence a couple of times to no avail--I want to share ideas with everyone to make the website more successful).

Here's the ulterior motive part (I okayed my solicitation with Melissa first): I will be contacting site supervisors about setting up a meeting of the minds to brainstorm on Tales' Treehouse. I'm looking for any staff interested in giving me feedback on the site--the "wouldn't it be cool ifs" and "it's really hard to finds" and "I have patrons asking me fors" and "I really like the ways"--these are all things I'd like to hear so that I can plan for upcoming "redesigns." If you're interested or know someone who would be, please let me know! Thanks in advance!


My name is Lori Romero and I'm the Outreach Services Literacy Librarian. I'm anxious to find out where ALD Youth Staff would like support and training, especially related to storytimes and early literacy. It will be nice to connect more often!

Hello from Melissa

My name is Melissa Depper & I’m a Youth AST. I’ve been a Youth Services Librarian with ALD for five years, before that, I was home with my girls for a few years, and I was a children’s librarian at various places around town for several years before that. Right now professionally I’m really interested in early literacy services and outreach to parents and families who don’t use the library. I’m currently doing the Baby Storytimes at Castlewood on Monday mornings, which is just about the best way I can think of to start my work week!

In the last couple of years I’ve been so focused on stuff here at ALD that my blogs are unclicked on, my PUBYAC emails are unopened, my RSS feeds collect dust, and my journals languish on my coffee table. So my personal goal for the Interest Group is that I jumpstart my professional reading again. I want to keep a closer eye on what’s going on in children’s library services across the country…so I can see what ideas we can adapt for our patrons here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Posts, Comments, and Labels

What’s what?

A post is a new entry; a comment is a remark attached to an entry; a label is a subject tag attached to a post. All members of the YSIG are able to post, label those posts, and comment on other people’s posts.

As we have our conversations and explore professional issues and concerns in this Interest Group, we’ve got one tool, the blog, which is going to have to serve several different functions:
• A forum, where we can have continuing conversations on a topic
• A resource, which we can search to find specific tools and tips
• A bulletin board, on which we can share our thoughts and ideas

So to help us keep organized (this is what happens when you have a Virgo as your facilitator), when you have a resource to share, or an article you want us to read, or a best practice to tell us about, please make a new post, and add a few basic labels to it: Programming, Reader’s Advisory, Collections, Web Resource, etc.

When someone else writes a post, and has asked a question or invited comments, please add your responses as comments attached to that post, so our conversation is all in one place.

We’ll keep an eye on this system and adjust it if we need to as we go along!


Welcome to the Youth Services Interest Group Blog!

The Youth Services Interest Group is our opportunity for professional development. We will share best practices, enhance our subject area & collections knowledge, develop ideas for programs & services, look for ways to support ALD tactics, and much more.

The better we know each other, the better we will be able to help each other, so, after our first meeting, I’d like to have us all write a post introducing ourselves. Tell us who you are, where you work, and one goal you’d like to accomplish through the Interest Group.

Thank you!