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Weekend Plans – Princeton Children’s Book Festival

23 Sep

092317CBFSavedate3I’m hanging out at the Princeton Children’s Book Festival this weekend with a TON of authors, illustrators and book lovers! I’ve got Christmas and birthday gifts checked off my list for the next year or two for all the awesome kiddos in my life and I couldn’t leave without adding a few titles to my personal library! If you’re in the Princeton area, check out this awesome event!

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#ClassroomBookaDay

21 Sep

jillian1.jpgI just recently heard a podcast on Books Between about Classroom Book a Day with it’s creator, Jillian Heise. I love the idea of reading a book every day kids are in school and not only that, but reading picture books to middle grade students. Jillian was inspired by Donalyn Miller and her summer vacation Book a Day challenge – and up-ed the ante to include her students.

I love the idea of teaching about a global perspective, theme, character development and so much more in a very short amount of time and then getting the chance to compare these ideas across a wide array of texts. This idea also promotes visual literacy which is becoming more and more integrated into students’ lives.

As I was listening to the podcast, I thought of a really interesting blog project – Blog Book a Day, if teacher’s can find five minutes to read a picture book during the school day, I should be able to do the same during my day. And it’s perfect in that I have access to a TON of picture books at the library, so I’ll never really have an excuse. So, I’m thinking about hashing out these details to start in January. It sounds like a great project!

Director’s Thoughts #12 – Office Space (or Mantras to Work By)

12 Aug

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My office has some fairly hideous carpet – dark green border with a pale lilac faded interior color, which makes decorating my office extremely difficult, but what I did find were some of these absolutely adorable children’s book posters that I use as my director mantras (it also helps that I chose them in shades of purple to offset the carpet. Coming from a children’s librarian perspective, these are not only the perfect fit, I adore them! Take a look at Bookroo for a variety of amazing posters and if I were independently wealthy, I’d probably by them all… I’m especially eyeing The Polar Express as it carries a lot of memories for me around the holidays. But, let me explain to you the reason I specifically chose these three posters.

Lily and the Perfect Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes is about a small mouse named Lily who has a really difficult day at school which causes a lot of frustration and anger on Lily’s part. But, she learns from her ever-inspiring teacher that tomorrow is a new day and learns how to comprehend strong emotions, taking turns and be considerate of others. My director’s mantra from this book: Try again tomorrow.

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney is the story of a young woman who grows up to travel the world, live by the sea and as her grandfather says, “…do something to make the world more beautiful.” And so, everywhere Miss Rumphius travels, she plants lupine flowers all around her town, which makes her little corner of the world beautiful. This is a quiet story with beautiful illustrations and a lovely message. My director’s mantra from this book: Make the world more beautiful.

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch is the story of a young princess named Elizabeth who is having a really rough day – a dragon destroyed her castle, lit everything she owns on fire and took off with her prince, so with nothing to wear Princess Elizabeth dons a paper and sets off to find her prince. When she finally reaches him, the prince is less than impressed with Elilzabeth’s messed up, tangled hair, her paper bag and her appearance in general and demands that she goes back to the castle and come back to save him when she looks more presentable. Elizabeth decides the prince isn’t worth in the end. My director’s mantra from this book: Sometimes you have to say, “Screw it” I’m going to make the decision that is best for us (even when you don’t think it is).

I love all three of these stories and find their messages help me get through my tough days, my great days and all the days in between. How do you decorate your office (or what are your mantras)?

Popular Trends & How to Incorporate Them into the Library

5 Aug

Yellow_Fidget_SpinnerPopular trends happen in a blink of an eye – a book becomes popular after being a sleeper when it was published, a movie becomes the most quoted movie of the summer or a toy becomes the must-have of the holiday season. As libraries continue to fight for funding and recognition within their community , jumping onto these popular trends is a way to bring people into the library that may not normally visit. So after carefully planning your programming months in advance, how do you throw in additional programs at the last minute and still have staff time to plan an event and market the program to the community?

Although this is something I think my library needs to work on a bit more, I think that it’s important to have a basic program plan ready to go for arts, movies, technology, and other themes. By having a basic plan, you can toss in any popular trend quickly and easily. Below, are a few popular trends over the past few years and I’ve added a quick program that’s easy to offer to your patrons.

Disney Movie Sing Along
Frozen was a HUGE hit and you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing kids singing the soundtrack. Offer a movie sing along at the library, a movie license, some speakers and a projector is all you need and encourage kids to sing along to all the songs. If you want, you can add snacks and crafts (but you don’t need to!).

Pokemon Go
Pokemon Go was a crazy trend last summer that had people roaming all throughout their community with their cell phones catching Pokemon. A quick, no fuss program (that you can partner with your local Park & Rec dept.) have a Pokemon Go safari in a local park or in the community. A 30-minute walk is the perfect amount of time for young kids, plus it gets kids exercising.

Slime
I’ve made more Slime in my life than I ever though possible. A few summers ago, I made slime with 4 different camp groups, plus offered another program at the library. I swore I would never make slime again, but it’s popular now and it’s fairly easy to make, so teach the kids how to make slime and talk about non-Newtonian fluids and bam – you’ve got a STEM program.

Kindness Rocks
This is my favorite, new popular trend – painted rocks that are hidden all over the community, often with kind words or inspiring quotes painted on them. This is a super simple program, have kids bring in their own rocks or purchase some from a home improvements store. Grab some paints and paintbrushes from your supply closet and you’ve got a program. Once the rocks dry, offer a second program to spread them throughout the community or allow kids to take them home and hide them near their houses. Because honestly, who doesn’t need more kindness?!?!?

So once you’ve planned the program, how do you promote a program that was planned a week ago? Social media for one – our patrons love checking our Facebook page for upcoming events, make sure to add it to your event calendar and promote it on your website. Plus, if you another program happening before your popular trend program – promote it there! Talk it up at the check-out desk and make sure you put together an eye catching flyer and leave it at the computer desks, reference desks and circ desks.

The worst thing you can do is try to offer a popular trend program after the trend has died down. It’s important to take advantage of the trend while it’s popular, otherwise you’re just creating more work for yourself and not connecting patrons with the world they know and love. The view that libraries are antiquated and unnecessary is so prevalent and what I want my library to do is to embrace those current trends and look at the future to gauge what might become popular and be ready.

…And Now a Short Break

3 Aug
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Kriston Jae Bethel

I’m taking a quick break today from my regularly scheduled blogging to blog-brag a little about the my partner’s amazing skills when it comes to photography and graphic design. I’m going to try really hard not to get too mushy, but he’s got some amazing skills and is brave enough to choose to work (as a freelancer) in an industry that is misunderstood, similarly to libraries (my phone has a camera, why do we need to hire a photographer?), and excel at what he does. Kriston is an editorial photographer working in Philadelphia (and surrounding areas) and has been dappling in illustration for the past month or so working on his graphic design skills, which means creative projects that he gets to have fun and play around with while trying new techniques. In reality, he gets the chance to combine his love of music, puns and illustration to create this awesome graphic for the upcoming eclipse.  A lot of libraries are offering programs about the solar eclipse and are handing out solar eclipse glasses, so if you’re so inclined, you are more than welcome to use this image (please credit him!).

To learn more about how he created this image, check out his Behance page to see the step-by-step process for creating something like this (it’s way more advanced than I imagined it to be). And follow him on Instagram (@kjbethel) for a chance to check out some of his amazing photographs.

And stay tuned, because tomorrow we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled program…

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