Thursday, July 31, 2014

Biography Display Shelves

In our library, the biography section has horrible circulation.  It's one of those areas where books may check out 1 time a year, rather than every three weeks.  For the most part, checkouts in this area tend to be assignment driven.  I am hoping to change this.  Since displays tend to increase circulation, I created a display in the biography section that can rotate as often as we need it to.

This is the "before" picture.  As you can see, I have a lot of empty shelf space, which made shifting easy.  The problem with shelves like this is that they don't really encourage browsing.  Books can easily get lost in a section.

This is the "after" picture.  I shifted the first couple of ranges so the first two shelves in the area were empty.  If this works, then I may shift a little more so the whole first range is empty.  My first display is of baseball players.  Baseball is a big thing in Metro Detroit thanks to the Tigers.  I plan for the displays to fit various homework assignments (African Americans in February, women in March, etc.) or to pull out cool people who get lost in the section.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Public Library and School Partnership Survey

As a part of the spring/summer ALSC Mentoring Program, my mentee is really interested in school and library partnerships.  We've looked online at various blogs and I have shared my experiences, but now we can use some help.  If you have 5 minutes, please take our quick survey and we will share out any results.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Paper Roller Coasters

Last winter I found this awesome web site called and it screamed summer library program.  I bought the templates, set up the program, and was ready to go.  My original intention was for everybody to make their own roller coaster.  Then I started my sample and realized that there was no way anybody could finish a roller coaster on their own in 60 minutes.  This is when I decided that we were going to make group roller coasters and display them in the children's area.

Supplies and Cost
  • Templates from$19.95
  • Foam board to support roller coasters-$17 (I bought 17 boards from the dollar store as I originally was going to register 17 kids.  You probably don't need 17, but I would have at least 2 per group.)
  • Marbles-$1
  • Card stock-I snuck this through on a supply order so it didn't come out of my budget.  You will need at least 2 reams of card stock for 17 kids.  I used 1 white ream for the support pieces and one colored ream for the actual coaster.
  • Scotch tape-I had a bunch of rolls in our craft cupboard
My grand total for today's program was $37.95.

When I set the program up, I decided on 17 kids because that is how many sets of copies I could make of the roller coaster templates with 1 ream of paper.  This works well as a smaller group program.  If you have a lot of volunteers, you could easily have more kids participate.

The Program
I started the program off talking with the kids about roller coasters.  We talked about what their favorite roller coasters had (loops, drops, etc.), then talked about how to make something similar.  The big buzzwords for the program were "energy" and "motion".  I pulled sample pictures off of the web site and we looked at how those compared to pictures of real roller coasters.

The kids had naturally sorted themselves into three tables as they came into the room, so these were our three groups.  My only rule of the day was that this was a group project and everybody at the table could participate.  I had all of the parts sorted on tables and told the kids that they were welcome to come up and use what they needed.  I had preassembled a pile of pieces to get the kids going.  Since this was science, not everything that they tried was going to work and it is okay if it doesn't.

These kids had AWESOME ideas.   Two of the groups wanted an extra board for their base (which we attached with duct tape) and they put it in different places.  They even came up with the idea of a tunnel that they made out of the beams. To reemphasize the team effect, each group named their coaster and the creators added their names to a sign that is propped up on each display.  Here are our finished coasters:

Drop and Swirl

The Health Warning

Stealth Dragon
What I Would Do Differently
The one thing that I would do differently is to either make this a 120 minute program or an all-day, drop-in program.  These kids wanted to stay and play with their roller coasters and their parents were ready to leave.

Highlight of the Program
We had a group of 4 parents who stayed in the room to help as needed.  They thought that the program was excellent since it promoted team work (even among those brother/sister combos).  One parent even said, "Your programs are normally very good, but when are you doing this one again?  We loved it."

Friday, July 18, 2014

Early Literacy Kits, Round 3

If you have missed the first two posts for this project, you will want to start here and here.  I am slowly getting the rest of the project up on the blog in between summer reading chaos-there will be at least one more post on this topic.

Kit 7-Jump, Frog, Jump
This kit contains:

Kit 8-Go Away, Big Green Monster!
This kit contains:

Kit 9-Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
This kit contains:
While the picture shows the My First Number Pairs game, we decided against it at the end due to the cost of the kit.

Kit 10-Big Red Barn
This kit contains:

I still can't keep these kits in on the shelves.  As soon as they hit the shelf, they go back out again.  This makes me want to create more than my original plan, but we'll see.  I

Flannel Friday-Butterflies

One of my favorite easy and cheap props are stick puppets.  You can make them in bulk quickly and the kids love them.  This week's butterfly puppet was made using our butterfly die cut, fun foam, tacky glue, and craft sticks.

My first use for these was in my sensory story times.  I had read Trish's ALSC blog post on how she uses "Butterflies Flit" by The Wiggles.  When I tried it with my groups, it worked great.  This past week I also used them with my baby story time kids (12-24 months) and they also had a good time.

This week's Flannel Friday round-up is being hosted here at Libraryland.  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.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Flannel Friday Round-Up

It's time for the Flannel Friday round-up!  There is a lot o great stuff this week so take a moment and check out the links below.

I like almost any flannelboard where you can change the color of the pieces.  Kathryn at Fun with Friends at Storytime did one such flannelboard using pigs and pancakes this week.  The rhyme would be a welcome addition to any story time. 

Here at Libraryland, I show off my craft stick butterfly props that I have used in a number of my story times.

Based on the Book
Jane at Piper Loves the Library flannelizes a number of Olivier Dunrea's books this week and blends them together to create an outreach event.  The effect is quite neat.

Kristen at Library Village shows off the classic story of Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.  Not only are they jumping on the bed, but they are wearing pajamas!

Fizz Boom Read
Kelly at Ms. Kelly at the Library has a great flower flannelboard and rhyme.  Not only is it a fun "5 Little" rhyme, but it emphasizes that flowers need water to grow.  This is a good addition for STEAM story times or Fizz Boom Read.

"Inspired By" Flannelboards
Lisa at Thrive After Three brings us Five Little Minions.  This post was originally inspired by Jane at Piper Loves the Library.  You will definitely want to check this one out because Lisa uses t-shirt transfer to make her pieces.  It's a great idea!

After Guerrilla Storytime at ALA Annual 2014, Amy at The Show Me Librarian used a rhyme that she learned from Rebecca Dunn to create her pieces.  I love that she pulls out real bubbles to help sing the rhyme!

Lisa at Story Time with the Library Lady shows off a new song called Slippery Fish.  I hadn't seen this one before and it is great fun.  You will want some progressively larger felt pieces to put this one together.

Thanks for stopping by!  Next week's round-up will be hosted by Mollie at What Happens in Storytime.  Also, start saving up your shark flannelboards as Shark Week will be August 15.

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.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mad Scientists-Paper Airplanes

For those who have never held a paper airplane making library program, I highly recommend it.  Plus, with the rise of STEAM programming, paper airplanes fit right in.  This is one of those low-prep, low-cost (I spent less than $10 on the program), and high interest programs.

When planning my program, I hit our stacks first.  There are a lot of unique paper airplane books.  My goal is to find one paper airplane that will fly really well and a few other unique airplanes that use different papers or materials.  I also save just about every cool pattern that I run across online as you will see below.

When I am by myself, I only want 20-25 7-12 year olds in a program.  This is all that I can realistically handle while teaching and still being able to give individual attention.  If you have more volunteers or put out stations with directions, you could possibly hold more people.  My other thought when deciding on the number of kids is safety.  Since one of the cool parts about making paper airplanes is FLYING paper airplanes, I didn't want us too squished that they would hit people.

As the kids come into the room, all of their supplies are in a packet on a table for them.  This way I don't need to spend time passing things out when we could be flying paper airplanes.  Today we made 5 different airplanes:
  • Buzz Lightyear airplane printed on normal copy paper
  • Full throttle airplane printed in color on normal copy paper
  • Whirlybird template from Microsoft Publisher on blue copy paper
  • Flying Squirrel using origami paper from Paper Airplanes: Flight School 1 by Christopher Harbo
  • Glider from Sticky Note Paper Airplanes by Steven Schmidt

After all of our creations were completed, we had to test them out.  I set out targets from Family Fun and made 3 additional targets out of posterboard.

If you make the holes "clouds", then your circles don't need to be even.

Today's testing was unanimous.  The full throttle airplane was our best flyer.  Many of our participants were able to get it to fly through the "clouds" or across the room.

As the kids left, they cleared out my entire display of paper airplane books.  Additional holds were placed on titles from the handout that each child received.  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Join the Summer Reading Club

Since I always like to see what other libraries are doing, I am going to show off how we run our summer reading club at my library.  Our program is a 10-week program and usually runs from the time that the kids get out of school until the end of August.  This year we had a little glitch (millage vote) and had to back up the program by 2 weeks.

Marketing Your Program
I am a big believer that you need to market your program inside of your library.  Just about everybody who walks in your front door is a target as almost all of them are already checking out books.  Unfortunately, many people don't understand that summer reading is a program that we run-they think that it is just reading in the summer.  It is up to us to explain the program and get them to participate.

I believe in the rule of 7-you need to see something 7 times for it to stick in your brain.  If you look around my department, you will see summer reading signs everywhere.

Our standee from Upstart has been by the reference desk in past years.  Unfortunately, not everybody comes up to the desk.  Think of when you go shopping.  Do you stop by the customer service desk every time you go?  I moved the standee so you can now see it right when you get off the elevator on our floor.  By adding the words "join" and "June 2-August 9" to the sign it helps to reinforce that this is a program that you want to do.

This display is right next to the reference desk.  While we also have forms behind the desk, this is a self-service station.  On this display we have both the kids and teen forms, the ALSC grade level booklists, our summer scavenger hunt form, a sign describing the two programs, and sign with our weekly top 10 schools by summer reading participation.  On the next side of this display, we have individual grade level booklists.

These stars appear throughout the department.  They are on every OPAC, our reference desk computers, the Activity Room doors, and inside the Story Time Room.

The Actual Program
Our kids program is designed with 60 spaces on our gameboard.  Language matters-gameboard sounds much more fun than reading log.  Kids under 5 count every book equals 1 space.  Kids over 5 count ever 15 minutes reading as one space.  We aren't super picky if somebody wants to do the program one way or another.  The big point is that they are reading.  Every time they complete 20 spaces, they come in for a prize.

Our first prize is a choice from the treasure box.  This year we have mustache pens, stampers, magnifying glasses, bouncing balls, and clip-on critters in the treasure chest.  Kids also get a sticker (see below) and write their name on a die cut to add to our window (see below).

In addition to being a cool display, this generates interest in the program.  We have kids asking us how they can put their name on the window.  This gives us the opportunity to explain the program.

We make these stickers in-house using Avery circle labels.  While stickers are always a cool prize, many of our kids put them on right away and wear them out in public.  It is free library advertising!

When kids come in for their second prize, they get to spin the prize wheel.  Honestly, a prize wheel is awesome for generating interest in our program.  Kids are always coming up and asking if they can spin the wheel. When we explain that it is a prize, they take the form.

Each number on the wheel corresponds to a different prize.  We have rubberband bracelets, Smencils, animal finger puppets, a ball game, and color changing soccer and footballs.  By having them numbered, this gives the staff member a chance to switch the prize if it wouldn't be appropriate for the child.  After all, what 10 year old wants a finger puppet.

For their third prize, we pass out books.  We visit our local Scholastic Warehouse sale every May and stock up on quality books for a great price.  Kids also get a packet of stuff including their above and beyond gameboard and free coupons to fun places (roller skating and bowling).

Since you have to worry about prizes being safe for kids under 3, we have a special bucket for baby prizes.  While some want the same prizes as their big brothers and sisters (which we let them if their parent okays it), they love being able to choose their own prizes too.  Their bucket includes rubber duckies, bubbles, and plastic shovels.  They also get to pick out a free book as their last prize.

That is our program for this year!  We are always trying to change things up in terms of what our community wants and what would be the best use of our money.  We already have some great ideas for next year, but our whole team will sit down in September to evaluate the program.

Just for fun, this is the "before" picture for summer reading.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Toddler Crafts

This morning we ran our Toddler Crafts program for ages 2-4.  At my library this type of program is station-based so kids and their adults work on the projects together.  I always have a sample on the table for them to follow.  When choosing projects for this age group, I tend to focus on one skill, whether it be coloring, gluing, or something else.  To tie this type of program back into early literacy, most of these projects work on fine motor coordination, which strengthens hand muscles so kids can begin to write.  Here are today's projects.

Paper Plate Fish
If you have never made your own paper plate fish before, they are super easy.  Cut a triangle out of a paper plate and staple it to the plate to form the tail (see above).  I cut a variety of construction paper squares and kids glued them on.  I had some leftover sticker eyes from another project and the kids had great fun adding the eyes to their fish (one kid ended up with six eyes on their fish!).

Envelope Puppets
Envelope puppets are one of my favorite projects because they are low-cost, easy, and come out with a great product.  To make your own, seal an envelope and cut off about 3 1/2 inches at the end.  If you use letter-sized envelopes you will be able to cut them in half.  Today I made a variety of animal die cuts on our AccuCut die cut machine and put them out for kids to glue to their envelope.  They could then decorate their animal with crayons.

Bead Necklaces
I bought three supplies to make these necklaces:
When looking for beads for this age group, look for larger-sized beads and ones with large holes.  Tipped lacing yarn is great because it is easier to string through the holes.  To set up this station, I put a handful of each type of bead in a cup along with 1 piece of yarn.  This made it easier to pass out.

Toddler Art

This is one of my favorite programs that we run every summer.  It is one that I pull out in some form every June (you can see past ones here and here).  What I like best about it is that every project turns out different-there is no one right way to do it.  Plus, I am exposing kids (and their parents) to a wide range of art supplies.  Many parents watch what their kids like and then ask me afterwards where they can purchase something similar.

Since this year's summer reading theme is Fizz Boom Read, I cut stars out of 8 1/2 x 11 90 lb. cardstock.  To make a pattern, I went into Publisher, used the star shape and made it as big as possible and so it would still fit on the paper.  As kids came into the room, I handed them two stars.  Also, I explained that one star would go home with them and one would stay to decorate the library.  I set up stations in our Activity Room and each station had a different art supply.

This Year's Stations Include:
  • Glitter Glue from Discount School Supply-I really like these bottles because the young hands are able to easily squeeze them.  Please note-you can never have too much glitter glue.
  • Watercolor Paints from Discount School Supply
  • Chubbie Markers from Discount School Supply-These are awesome!  Kids love to make dots and color with them.  The finished product looks similar to something painted.  They aren't as messy for little hands as regular markers. 
  • Star Stampers from Oriental Trading
  • Star Stickers from Oriental Trading 
  • Crayons

One of my staff members had made a bulletin board for Fizz Boom Read in the Activity Room.  We added our finished stars to the board.

What's really fun about this is that kids are always taking their parents back there to find their star.  It's like our own art gallery!
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