Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tales from a Manager-Find Your Passion

A couple of nights ago, a bunch of us were talking about how we used to blog regularly before being promoted.  It was suggested that people would like our advice on management.  Here's my shot at starting that.

The number one piece of advice that I have for any new manager is to find your passion.  For me, that is programming. You may find that you like ordering, budgeting, or strategic planing the best. My schedule, no matter how busy I get, will still have a story time added.  This is what keeps me excited and gives me energy, even on the bad days.  It also keeps me connected with our customers, which helps me to plan for new services.

The further that you go up the management ladder, the further away from "doing" you become.  You are more of a leader and are there to encourage and mentor your staff.  You find them the resources so that they can "do".  You spend a lot of time working with your staff.  If you can still feed your passion, it helps you get through the less fantastic parts of your job (for me, that is the schedule!).

Friday, January 13, 2017

Flannel Friday-Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

This week's flannelboard is one that I created for our flannelboard that is always out in our Activity Room.  You may have seen a version of it before on my blog.  We try to come up with different ideas so kids can free play with it, but still tie it into early literacy.

For this one, I cut out a bunch of shapes that could be found on a snowman.  Every snowman that the kids create is different.  Just for fun, I added a couple of die cut snowflakes and snowmen.

We always include a sign that gives the parents some talking points.  It also gives the "why" as to why we are doing this.

 This week's Flannel Friday round-up is hosted by Anne at So Tomorrow.

  If you want to know more about Flannel Friday:

  • Check out the official Flannel Friday blog that includes schedules and other important information.
  • Search for images and links on our Pinterest page.
  • Discuss story time stuff (and other ys stuff) on the Flannel Friday Facebook page.
  • Follow #flannelstorytime on Twitter.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Flannel Friday-The Nuts: Sing and Dance in Your Polka-Dot Pants

One of the big events that we do at least 1 time each summer is a story time in the park.  When we do these events, it is not uncommon to have 150 people at our story time.  When we choose books, props, and flannelboards, we look for ones that we can make bigger so everyone can see them.  This summer, we did a movement story time that included The Nuts: Sing and Dance in Your Polka-Dot Pants by Eric Litwin.  Not only is it a great story, but the figures are pretty easy to make larger.  We used fun foam and puffy paint to create our figures.  As one person read the story, another danced with their nut to go along with the words.

 Hazel Nut and her dad

 Mama and Wally Nut

Grandma Nut
This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Mollie at What Happens in Storytime.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Flannel Friday Round-Up

It's Flannel Friday Round-Up time!  

Lisa at Thrive After Three has two great apple posts this week.  She shows off her Ten Red Apples prop, along with her individual lapboards in her first post.  In her second post, she shows off her fancy 10 Apples Up on Top hat.

Kathryn at Fun with Friends at Storytime shows off her Five Friends Play Dress Up.  She has an astronaut, a pirate, a cowboy, a ninja, and Frankenstein.

Wendy at Flannel Board Fun has created Flip, Flap, Fly! so she can show off a larger version for her groups. 

One Elephant Went Out to Play at Felt-tastic Flannelboard Funtime with Keith. 

Kate has Five Little Speckled Frogs at Felt Board Magic.   

Kate will be hosting next week's Flannel Friday Round-Up at Felt Board Magic.

See the Olympians makes an appearance by Jessica at Storytime in the Stacks. 

Jane at Piper Loves the Library shows off her dots for International Dot Day.  It's pretty cool to see all that you can make out of dots!

 If you want to know more about Flannel Friday:

  • Check out the official Flannel Friday blog that includes schedules and other important information.
  • Search for images and links on our Pinterest page.
  • Discuss story time stuff (and other ys stuff) on the Flannel Friday Facebook page.
  • Follow #flannelstorytime on Twitter.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Wild About Trains

Trains are BIG at my library so when I saw this program on Pinterest, I knew that I could tweak it to make it work for my kiddos.  We registered 40 kids as I needed to collect and store 40 boxes.

At the program, we started with a short story time.  I read A Train Goes Clickety-Clack by London and I Love Trains! by Sturges.  We also did a flannelboard of Toot Toot!  Then we started the crafts.

Craft 1: Make Conductor Hats
We precut conductor hats that were printed on white cardstock.  The kids colored their hats and attached them to 3-inch headbands.

Craft 2: Make a Train Engine 
The hardest part about this craft was collecting and storing 40 boxes.  Each kid got a box.  We precut other parts so the kids could grab what they needed to make wheels, the cattle catcher and the light on the front of the train.  We provided 2 signs-one that listed what parts to pick up and one that showed how I put my train together.

How It Turned Out
Not only did our PR person love this program as she got to take cute pics for our web site, but the kiddos had a lot of fun.  Many of them ended up pushing their train engines along the floor.  It was super fun!  I already have a list of people asking when we are going to do it again.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Flannel Friday Round-Up-Summer Reading

This turned out to be more of a regular Flannel Friday round-up than dedicated to Summer Reading.  Oh well, the posts are all still great!

Check out Jessica's Five Green and Speckled Frogs that are a part of her Get Up N' Groove story time.  This whole story time would be a great one to pull out this summer.

Leslie is new to us and has brought a companion to Muncha Muncha Muncha.  The kiddos get to sort their seeds into color rows, just like planting a garden.

Katie shows off The Great Hot Air Balloon Race, which is a game that you can play in story time with a color dice.   A template is included.

In a variation of Little Mouse, Kate brings us Little Fox.  We all could use more variations of Little Mouse!

Kathryn was inspired by a previous post and brings us her version of The Green Grass Grew All Around.  The final product is spectacular!

Kate will be hosting next week's round-up at Felt Board Magic

If you want to know more about Flannel Friday:

  • Check out the official Flannel Friday blog that includes schedules and other important information.
  • Search for images and links on our Pinterest page.
  • Discuss story time stuff (and other ys stuff) on the Flannel Friday Facebook page.
  • Follow #flannelstorytime on Twitter.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Hosting a School Literacy Night

Last night we held our 2nd annual literacy night at the library with one of our schools.  These are always great fun and we have a couple of schools that we currently do them with.  As we were setting up, Julie, one of my awesome School Outreach Librarians, said that we should post this online somewhere as we have become pros at putting them together.  I love them from a manager's perspective as they are inexpensive and bring whole families into the library.  Here is this year's plan:

Setting Up a Lit Night
Start early, especially if they want one in March as a part of "March is Reading Month".  Our calendar does fill up quickly so we are definitely booking our literacy nights by late fall.  Plus, that way we can work our schedule and our programming around the literacy night.  We start by asking the principals.  If you don't have a relationship with your targeted principal and get no response, try either a teacher or their PTO.  For one of our schools, we host a kindergarten only literacy night.  They also have 4 kindergartens at that school so we easily pull in 100+ people on those nights.

Once a school is on board, they will promote the program for you.  Some schools will give extra credit for attending since it is a part of "March is Reading Month".  They will put it on their take-home calendars, their Facebook pages, and some will even create special flyers.

Your job is to book your space.  We prefer to host them in our children's room, but at our branches, we need to hold the program mostly in the meeting rooms due to space (such as in the case below).  We set our program up as stations so parents can come and go during the 2-hour block, depending on when they get home from work, eat dinner, etc.  There is some prep work in getting the stations ready.  While our stations are mostly focused on literacy, we do throw in some STEAM.

Our Stations
As people enter the room, we set up any drawings that we have going on.  Sometimes it is a "Guess How Many Legos" container, while other times they need to just write their name on a slip.  This year we gave away extra summer reading books in bookbags that we had leftover.

Our next station was a Pout-Pout Fish reader's theater.  Kids had to make their headbands, then act out the words.  We used sentence strips to make the headbands and glued fish die cuts to them.

We have been using The Day the Crayons Quit a lot in outreach this spring. Some of our outreach adventures have involved a craft so we had bulk ordered a bunch of chunky crayons.  You can make your own crayon guy to go with the story by adding googly eyes to the crayon.  Kids then wrote a letter or draw a picture as to why their crayon shouldn't quit.

Our fourth station was an engineering challenge.  We cut pool noodles into 1-inch pieces and kids built with the noodles and toothpicks.  This station also had some older kid appeal.

Have you ever played Race to 100?  This is a math game using dice that also has older kid appeal.


To get the families out in the library, we had a scavenger hunt for children's book characters.  We like to use characters because it gets kids talking about books.  As kids finished the hunt, they got a CMPL pencil.

Our last station was out in the children's area.  Kids made books based on Press Here by Tullet.  They folded 2 pieces of paper in half to make their book.  Then they chose a new verb out of our container for each page and added both words and dots.

While this wasn't part of our original plan, it definitely will be in the future!  The school asked if we had a place to hang artwork since parents would be attending with their children.  We have racks that we moved over to this location and they brought their artwork to display.  It was very eye-catching. 

This is what we did this time around for our literacy night.  It was an Amy and Julie production (my 2 School Outreach Librarians) and I just went along as an extra set of hands.  If you haven't done one before, it is totally worth it! 
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