Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Storytime - Mittens!

Storytime Tuesday!  My topic is mittens, apropos since there's a good foot of snow on the ground.  The official title is really "Mittens for Kittens - And Boys and Girls, Too."  But today, it was only boys at my storytime, go figure!  I'm doing it tomorrow too at another branch so we'll see on the turn out.  We sort of expect a bit more than usual because of the school kids coming, but then our regulars are busy and didn't come out as they usually do.

Nevertheless, it was lots of fun, and here are the books I read.  I started with Knitty Kitty by David Elliot:

Then I read A Hat for Minerva Louise by Janet Morgan Stoeke:

Then I read The Mitten by Jan Brett:

And finally, I read The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg:

I did some songs and fingerplays too - "Where oh where did my blue mitten go?" (and old, and new, etc.), and the kids "retold" the story The Mitten with animal pictures and a song to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell."  Initially it was more of a solo endeavor, but by the end, some of the boys were singing, too.
I'm doing Winter Wonderland next week (snowmen, penguins, polar bears, and hockey) and the week after, I think I'm doing blankies and quilts if I can find enough books.

But for now, I have to go find books to return - my library doesn't have a limit, and I brought my 16-year old to the library today and he checked out a bundle, and with my own bundle, I now have over 50 books checked out.  Eeeeek! 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Nonfiction Monday

I haven't blogged in awhile.  Sorry!  I'm going to busy this week and next and the next doing storytimes so I'll do some updates.  But for now, here's a spotlight on a fun nonfiction book that I found in the stacks yesterday, A-B-C 1-2-3 Craft Book:  Make a Cloth Book of Exciting Learning Toys by Phyllis Fiarotta.  We're doing a crafts program this week - sort of a you want the kids out of your hair for a bit program - so we changed a Christmas display to crafts.  When changing this book's status, I saw that the poor thing had only been checked out once!  It is a neat little number that shows how to make a very interactive quiet book for babies or toddlers.  I always wanted to make one for my kids and never did, but maybe if I start now, I'll have one for my grandchildren someday!  (Not that there are any imminent, but crafts take me a looooong time.)  I showed the book to a co-worker and she loved the book too, so she checked it out, and I'm going to get it after her.

I do think this is a great example of the limits of cataloging - it's cataloged as "soft toy making," "toy and movable books," and "educational toys."  If you search for "quiet book," or "busy book," you won't find it - even if that's what most moms would call it!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Nonfiction Monday

I found a marvelous book when working my way through the 900s section at the public library, cleaning it up (and I know as soon as I am done, if I were to start over again, it'd be a big mess again).  The Riches of Oseola McCarty by Evelyn Coleman tells the story of a black washerwoman from Mississippi who lived a quiet, uneventful life, until she was 87 years old and donated $150,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi for scholarships for needy students.  I remember hearing the story at the time and marvel at her generosity.

The thing is, it's a great story for children in a number of ways.  It's not only her generosity (Ted Turner reported that he was so touched by it that it inspired him to give one billion dollars to the United Nations), but her frugality (she never took money out of the bank once she put it in), and her simple life.  But most of all, it's the lesson that it doesn't matter what we do in life if we do our best at whatever we choose to do.

Miss McCarty died in 1999, and this book was published in 1998 so it doesn't reflect that.  It reminds me of the question in this video, "What is your sentence?"  I think this would begin a great conversation with kids about biography.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What I'm reading

I just finished Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen - again.  I read it when it came out in 1999, but gosh, he's so much fun.  I'm not sure if this is the first time we meet the former governor of Florida or not, the old bum/recluse who lives in the backwoods that shows up in Hiassen's children's books.  It is the first time we meet Twilly.  I can count on one hand the number of fiction books I've reread in my life (cookbooks don't count!) but I now want to go reread all his other books, too. 

Other books I'm reading right now:  The Adventures of Pinocchio (from the NEH list), The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, and Sh*t My Dad Says

Run, run, just as fast as you can!

I did storytime this week at the two public library branches (rather than at the Headstarts where we do them, too).  If I do say so, I rocked it!  At one, a grandma told me that his son never sat still for storytime like he did for me.  And for the other, a mom came up and asked me if I was a substitute.  I said no, I'm just new, and she said, "Oh - you're really good."  Whoo!

I figured out, though, that this creates pressure for the next time.  I have to rock it every time!  And I know what I did to rock it - I did a storytelling, rather than a book reading, to begin.  This allowed me to have eye contact with each of the children and preschoolers LOVE that.  Then also, I did three different fingerplays which were very intuitive so the kids could follow along quickly.  So I'm getting ready for next time - the week after Christmas I'm at the branches again, doing one on mittens, and the next week at the main library with the theme winter wonderland.  More on those later.

So here's the stories I did:

The Gingerbread Boy - my own telling of it, with a few clip art pictures - from a book! - that I colored with crayons.  FYI, do not use anything other than Crayola.

Then, I read The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson:

Then I read The Best Mouse Cookie by Laura Numeroff:

Then I read If You Take a Mouse to the Movies, again by Numeroff:

In between, the fillers were "One little gingerbread boy on the tray/He jumped up and ran away/Catch me, catch me, oh catch me if you can/You can't catch me!  I'm the gingerbread man!", "Where oh where is my gingerbread boy?", and "One little, two little, three little cookies."  Too much fun!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Patron tales

A little girl came up to the Youth Services desk yesterday and told me I had something on my face - and pointed to my beauty mark slash mole on the right side of my mouth.  Hahahahaha. 

Oh and one very strange man came into the library a week ago and when I asked for his library card got it plus a deck of playing card and did some Las Vegas sort of shuffling, then laid them out on the desk and asked me to do something or other.  Hit him?  I think the jist of it was he wanted me to decide what he should do next with his cards . . . I haven't played poker since my dad and grandpa and brothers made me play when I was a girl (so they'd have an even number of players - and an easy loser) so I told him umm, no thanks.  And I suggested that I could show him where the DVDs were, to get him out of the children's section ASAP.

Another story time tomorrow!  I'll post after-the-fact this time, in case I change up what I'm doing.  But now, to my final paper for my IT class . . .

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nonfiction Monday

Even if it's shelved in the Easy Picture Book collection, the book How Many Baby Pandas? by Sandra Markle, has many of the trademarks of a nonfiction book.  It's chock-full of facts (when born, it's the size of a hot dog and blind to boot), includes a map, glossary, index, and list of other sources.  But most importantly, it is full of adorable panda pictures!  I dare you to read it and not say, "Awwwww!"

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Addictive Game

Just wanted to share this addictive game that will have you reaching for your dictionary.  I think this would be super fun with middle or high school students.  The game gives you three letters to begin a word, like esc-, then you have to think of words that start with those.  But you can only have three or four (if I start playing again to check, I'll never go to work!) words of any size - so x number of three letter words, x number of four letter words.  After a while, you'll be like my little man down there and completely flummoxed!  (I'll have to remember that word just in case flu- comes up.  Ha ha.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How VERY cool is this?

Brought to you by by Wordle.  (This Wordle is for words in my blog.  I think this has great application for the classroom and school library, donchathink?)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Another one down!

I don't know how long I've been aware of this National Endowment for the Humanities list - probably fifteen years? - and I've been slowly working on getting all of these read.  Even if I read nothing else, I doubt I'd be done with it by now.  Well, that's an exaggeration, I probably would have been.  Dang you, John Grisham!  Anyway, I've been making very good progress on the K-3 list that I wanted to post here.  Of course, many are pictures books - just wait until I get to the high school list! - but it's still good.  

just finished Alice in Wonderland which was a very unusual book.  So much of what is in it is in the public consciousness - the rabbit hole, the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts - but here it all is in one pretty short story.  I'm not sure I like it, really, but I know I love this video of it, from the British Film Institute, a 1903 short film of the story.  How amazing to think that the only one still alive here is probably the trees.

Some of these books I've probably read - Aesop's Fables! - but I haven't marked it just to be sure.  A couple I'll have to get via inter-library loan.  And I know it's really weird I haven't read Curious George - he's super popular at my library, but my kids were never interested so I haven't read it yet.  Next on my list to read is Mouse and the Motorcycle, which will probably come back to me; I bet I read it as a child - I only mark it if I remember reading the book.  My absolute favorite here would be Millions of Cats.  What's yours?

The K-3 list, with what I have left to read highlighted:

Aardema, Verna. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears.
Aesop. Fables.
Allard, Harry. Miss Nelson Is Missing!
Atwater, Richard and Florence. Mr. Popper’s Penguins.
Bemelmans, Ludwig. Madeline.
Brown, Marcia. Stone Soup.
Brown, Margaret Wise. Goodnight Moon.
Brunhoff, Jean de. The Story of Babar.
Burton, Virginia Lee. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.
Carle, Eric. The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Cleary, Beverly. The Mouse and the Motorcycle.
Collodi, Carlo. Adventures of Pinocchio.
Crews, Donald. Freight Train.
Daugherty, James. Andy and the Lion.
dePaola, Tomie. Strega Nona.
Duvoisin, Roger. Petunia.
Flack, Marjorie. The Angus series.
Freeman, Don. Corduroy.
Fritz, Jean. The Cabin Faced West.
Gag, Wanda. Millions of Cats.
Galdone, Paul. The Three Little Pigs.

Grahame, Kenneth. The Reluctant Dragon.
Gramatky, Hardie. Little Toot.
Hoban, Russell. Bedtime for Frances.
Johnson, Crockett. Harold and the Purple Crayon.
Keats, Ezra Jack. The Snowy Day
Kraus, Robert. Leo the Late Bloomer.
Krauss, Ruth. The Carrot Seed.
Leaf, Munro. The Story of Ferdinand.

Lear, Edward. A Book of Nonsense.
Lionni, Leo. Frederick.
Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad Are Friends.
Lopshire, Robert. Put Me in the Zoo.
Marshall, James. George and Martha.

McCloskey, Robert. Make Way for Ducklings.
McDermott, Gerald. Anansi the Spider.

Merrill, Jean. The Pushcart War.
Milne, A.A. Winnie-the-Pooh.
Minarik, Else Holmelund. Little Bear.
Parish, Peggy. Amelia Bedelia.
Piper, Watty. The Little Engine That Could.
Potter, Beatrix. The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Rey, H.A. Curious George.
Selden, George. The Cricket in Times Square.
Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are.
Seuss, Dr. The Cat in the Hat.

---. Green Eggs and Ham.
Slobodkina, Esphyr. Caps for Sale.
Steig, William. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.

Stevenson, Robert Louis. A Child’s Garden of Verses.
Taylor, Sydney. All-of-a-Kind Family.
Thurber, James. Many Moons.
Udry, Janice May. A Tree is Nice.
Van Allsburg, Chris. The Garden of Abdul Gasazi.
Viorst, Judith. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Ward, Lynd. The Biggest Bear.
White, E.B. Charlotte’s Web.
Yashima, Taro. Crow Boy.

Zion, Gene. Harry the Dirty Dog.
Zolotow, Charlotte. William’s Doll

Monday, November 8, 2010

Using media center skills in the public library

In my library courses, I am focusing on school library courses as much as possible.  I have taken courses that were not (Public Library; Youth Services in Libraries; Intellectual Freedom) but this semester I'm taking Reference (with school librarians and those seeking school library certification) and Librarianship in School Communities (as well as an IT course).  But I'm working in a public library, and finding that what I'm doing is interesting but not wholly transferable to the public library environment.

But with that said, I've been thinking what I'm learning could transfer to the public library with a little creativity.  This weekend, I've had three students ask for help finding sources for a school project about the history of our city.  My default response is to answer the question - we need to go upstairs to look at the local history section - but couldn't I take this as a teaching opportunity?  I could say, "What sort of resources were you thinking of?"  "What do you think would be the best type of resources for this project?"  "Where else are you going to look for information?"  I'm learning about the Big 6 information model, and there's a lot there I could implement in a situation like this.

 I guess I do a little bit of this already through the reference interview (the task definition), but I think I could do it a bit more formally.  When I don't ask the patron (child or adult) to do that part - define the information problem; identify information needed - I may misunderstand what is needed and waste time and effort.  But the second part of the Big 6 - determining all possible sources and selecting the best sources - I should lead the patron to this without doing it for her.  And I could ask the patron what other sources in town are they going to - the city government's website, the city history museum, etc.  Then my job in the public library is #3 - location and providing access - and that leaves them with #4, #5, and #6.  But I could remind them of those before they go.

I wonder if it would be apropos to suggest we make up a little bookmark with the Big 6 method to give to student patrons when they come looking for guidance?  Is the whole thing copyrighted and you can't call it those things if you don't pay the licensing fee?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why do I do it?

I've been working at a public library now for one month and can do a bit of introspection, I think.  Is it as good as I thought it would be?  Oh yeah, and even better!  (The only downside - and it's a big one - is the insurance for half-time employees is more than we pay now and twice as much as I thought it was.  But that's because I misunderstood the word "biweekly."  Duh.  But since I didn't even expect any insurance, and I *can* get dental insurance for $20 a month, I'm still happy about the insurance.)

And I've considered what I would do if my job was magically able to switch to full time, and somehow I get the logistics figured out (like, umm, living 45 minutes away from work in Iowa, where winter travel is a concern).  Of course I'd be thrilled, but what if a full time teacher-librarian position came up?  Where would I rather work?  (Oh this might be more fodder for another post, but I have figured out the key to knowing if a particular school will be open to collaboration with the librarian, or if they want a glorified clerk.  Hint, look to the 500s.)  I really don't know what I'd do.  I love love LURVE my job.  (And there's no way a school librarian job would pay as well as this would if I were full time.  And just wait until I get my MLS.)

Okay, so anyway.  Today, a woman and her husband came up to Youth Services and said, "Hablas espanol?"  I said, "Hablo espanol un poco."  She started to speak more, saying "internet," which I figured meant she wanted out the computer.  So I said (in very bad Spanish, but I tried), "Tu quieres usar la computadora?"  But she said no.  I couldn't understand how she could use the internet without the computer.  We kept trying to communicate (I went to the 400s and got a dictionary), to no avail.  I finally decided to get her on the computer on a translation website, but she didn't have a library card so then there was figuring that out.  I ended up putting it up on my computer, but then a very nice Latino man and his son came over to help out, having heard my laughable attempt at Spanish.  

So we (me on computer, he on the translation) helped the couple scan something and send it (which required setting up a Google account).  This took a long time, since figuring out the scanner was no easy task.  Then the dad and his son came down to YS to get books.  I showed them the Spanish language books upstairs, especially the children's books that have both English and Spanish.  I've seen this dad several times before in the library, always helping his son get the books he wanted and encouraging him to challenge himself too.  Then shortly after they left, another Latino dad came in with his child, a daughter.  He wanted her to get a math book, then a historical book.  I encouraged the American Girl books, but she wanted something a bit more literary, I guess, so I said, "Would you like a book with a Latina character?"  She got a glint in her eye and said, "Yes!"  I was hoping for Esparanza Rising but it wasn't on the shelf so we took another of her books (without a Latina character, but with a horse on the front, to which she said, "I'll take this one!").

When I came back to YS after helping them to circulation, there were several more children and families in the department.  And I got a tear in my eye!  It was just so touching to see families (especially dads) encouraging their children in the library.  (I'd seen two dads already that morning - where were all the moms today? Sort of weird.)  So to answer the question in the title, this is why I do it.  I always thought it was in a school library where you can really teach kids, where you can impact children.  The public library, after all, requires patrons to come to it.  But here, I can help families, sometimes families who are new to America.  That's what I did today.  It was a great feeling.

Me thinking about how I love my job

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What's essential to storytime?

I've been reading some other library blogs (like this one) and it's making me wonder.  We don't do crafts with our storytimes, and actually, when my kids were young and went to storytime in Nashville, we didn't do crafts either.  Since that was the crème de la crème for me as far as storytimes, when we moved to the boonies and couldn't justify a trip to the city, the Clarksville library did do crafts.  And I thought it was so tacky.  Not sure why, but if Miss Tori didn't do it, I didn't want to have any part of it!  

However, I can see the advantages.  I think it would definitely encourage more families to come out to storytime, or at least encourage the ones who do come to come back.  But the big problem I see is the cost.  Is it worth that, AND is it worth the bother - glitter in the carpet, sticky glue fingers, etc?

Right now, I'm not in a position to change anything as far as storytime goes.  But for my part, I want to include stories, music, fingerplays, and poetry in each one.  (Seriously - I am going to do poetry as flannel boards.  We'll see how it goes, eh?)  

Oh and I'm scheduled for my next storytime, on December 3.  Again with a preschool, and I don't know if they'd want me to do Christmas per se.  I was leaning to penguins but maybe I should save that for January when it's really cold here.  (I'm not including the sweet story, When Tango Makes Three.  I think that'd be just looking for controversy.)  I'm also looking into going off the gingerbread boy theme, but all the stories I find (The Gingerbread Girl; The Gingerbread Pirates; The Runaway Tortilla) have entirely too many words for a storytime.  So I've found a few titles that are about "too much" - too many cupcakes, too many pears, too many cookies.  Moderation in all things.  Wait, am I like the morality story lady?  Please and thank you and then moderation?  What gives?!  Well, I'm not set on that yet.  If you want to share a good December theme, have at it.  (Writing this, I know it sounds pretty goofy to do a storytime featuring the negatives of the wanton consumerism that is America.  I'm not trying to indoctrinate the children to a new, starker reality with Republicans in charge of the House.  Ha Ha!  I don't know, it was just sort of a stream of consciousness thing when I was looking for books and that's the theme I saw emerge.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Chapter books . . . for toddlers?

Shortly after I'd read this article about the demise of the picture book, I experienced it myself with a patron in the library.  A mother came in with her child and wondered about finding a book to read together.  The child didn't like picture books but preferred it when the mother read her books out loud - Margaret Atwood, John Grisham, what have you.  I asked her if it was the intonation the child liked but she wasn't sure, but she was definitely very advanced and thus needed advanced titles.  

I led the mother to our display of booklets and suggested she look at older Newbery winners.  I said that the titles are really designed for children to read themselves, and of course that wasn't the case here - pausing in case she wanted to tell me that she in fact does read Shakespeare and Vonnegut.  (Alas, no.)  I said the newer titles might have inappropriate content for a person so young.  I suggested Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson and she showed her the cover.  "Would you like this book about a bunny rabbit?"  The child looked to me like she could take it or leave it.  The mom suggested we get a newer book, too, just in case, so I suggested The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  (Felt pretty good that she took both, though.  That didn't happen with the 13-year-old who was looking for a book earlier in the day and nothing I suggested would work.)

Seriously, I can laugh, but I think I probably resembled this young mother fifteen years ago.  I pushed my kids out of picture books pretty quickly (partly because they loved those godforsaken Disney movie tie-in books that were so stinking long and boring and the girls could tell if I ever went off script).  I guess I should have pointed the patron to picture books that have lots of words, and of course there are plenty.  It surprises me how few of the picture books are appropriate for story time.  

If I ever land in a school librarian, I definitely want to do more work with picture books.  I think there's a lot of instructive value there.  But for now, I need to bone up on titles.  I feel really comfortable leading patrons to children's authors, like Kate DiCamillo, Richard Peck, Linda Sue Park, Carl Hiaasen, Gennifer Choldenko.  (I hope she wasn't reading Hiaasen's adult works to her progeny!)  I don't read much young adult lit, but I can BS my way through them fair enough.  But picture books?  That's where I'm lacking, perhaps because there are so many to remember!  How do you all do it?  I asked my mentor how she kept track of the picture books she's read and I could almost hear her chuckle through the interwebs.  :-)  For now, I'm reading all of the books in the NEH list, plus any that land on the Newbery or Caldecott list, and eventually I'd like to read all of the ones on the Children's Core.  Does that sound reasonable, or not worth the bother? (The NEH list was, after all, how I found the wonders of Caps for Sale and Millions of Cats, the true story of cat-on-cat genocide.)

Not as sweet as they might appear.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Please and thank you: I can be polite

It's official, I'll be doing a storytime on November 18!  It's a week before Thanksgiving, so I definitely want to hit on the topic, but some preschools where we do storytimes are funny about holidays so I want to make it more about gratitude.  Since that is sort of limiting (and in reality a pretty esoteric topic for little ones), I'm making it on the broader topic of "Please and Thank You!  I can be polite."  Not sure on the capitalization there, obviously.

These are the books, in order:

Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf written by Judy Sierra, illustrated by J. Otto Seibold

Gracias/Thank You written by Pat Mora, illustrated by John Parra

Thanksgiving is Here! written and illustrated by Diane Goode

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague

My thought is, do the wolf book first which is about all sorts of manners (saying "excuse me," not burping!), then the Spanish/English book which focuses on being thankful, which is an obvious segue into talking about the Thanksgiving holiday.  This book is just about the meal without going into any of the historical accounts (true or not), then finishing off with table manners with the dinosaur book.  I think it's a good program, though I need to figure out which book I could do without if the kids are more wiggly and need to do more fingerplays than stories.

In between, we'll do a little rhyme about manners to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot" and then sing about three nice mice (to the tune, obviously, of "Three Blind Mice").  On my printout, I've included a poem I found in The 20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury, edited by Jack Prelutsky.  The poem is called Thanksgiving and is by Ivy Eastwick.  Not sure I'll be able to share this with preschoolers - it's three stanzas, eight short lines each; maybe it's too much?  I would like to put traditional poetry into all of my storytimes, though, and not just in the written sheet.  I'm going to check on what sort of flannelboards we have, too.  Maybe there's one I could use already made up.

I don't know yet if I'll do this at one of the branches or not.  If I do, there's tons of Thanksgiving books I've pulled for display and I could bring some of those along.  Come to the library and see for yourself!


Hi all!  If you found me because I sent you an email begging you to come see my new blog or you've happened upon it some other way, welcome.  By way of introduction, I work as a library assistant at a large city public library (well, large for Iowa) and love, love, LURVE my job.  I've only worked a couple of weeks so I'm still learning the ropes, but I am scheduled for my first library storytime on November 18.  Exciting!  

I'm in graduate school for library and information science and will graduate next December (2011).  I graduated last December from college with a degree in elementary education with the plan of being a librarian.  I love working with children and will earn a K-12 teacher-librarian endorsement, too, but if I stay in public library service, I'd be thrilled too.  (Of course, right now I'm a part-time employee - I do hope to eventually be full time!)  

Here's my Shelfari account where I keep track of books I'm reading.  I just finished John Grisham's latest thriller last night, and now I'm reading some books for a big project in my Information Technology class (Disrupting Class:  How Disruptive Innovation will Change the Way the World Learns by Clayton Christensen, Michael Horn, and Curtis Johnson and The World is Open:  How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education by Curtis Bonk).  My topic is using technology in the classroom, though I was told that was too big of a topic, so I might focus on using social media in the classroom.  I might need to read some other books, though.  If you have any ideas, please suggest!

Anywho, thanks for stopping by and I hope to post at least a couple days a week.  You can see my online porfolio site here, with separate teaching and library portfolios.  And here's something cool I did for my college class, about using basketry in the classroom.  What do you think?