Saturday, May 19, 2018

lego extravaganza

While planning summer and fall activities for the teen club at my library branch, someone told me another branch had some giant legos.  I asked the teens if they were interested in making something with the legos, and their answer was a resounding yes.

This month was our lego month and while they ate their pizza, which the library supplies every month, I asked them to brainstorm ideas for what they wanted to do with the giant legos.  Everyone agreed they wanted to make a display for lego-themed books (another branch did this and it was awesome).  I was really surprised by how motivated they were.  They had to drag all the legos from our YS program room out into the public area, move furniture around, and then figure out how to make something that wouldn't fall over.  Then they had to find the books and help me figure out which pictures to tape to the structure.  The only thing I had to do was tell them to lower their voices a few times.  It was easy as pie and they had a lot of fun.

The best moment happened at the end. We had maybe five minutes left, which really wasn't enough time to pick out lego-themed books and movies. I told them I could take care of it if they needed to go. They completely ignored me and raced to the catalog station to find some lego stuff. One teen has a little brother who loves legos, so she went looking for his favorite lego books. I must admit my heart melted just a bit as I watched them racing around, grabbing things to fill the display.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

it is just so quiet and lovely over here

Yesterday a husband and wife walked into the children's area and made a comment about how quiet it was.  They were right. It was awfully quiet.  I hadn't seen a child in over an hour.

I poked around the stacks for a few minutes, straightening and displaying books. When I came back to the desk I noticed the husband and wife were sitting on the couch near the desk and they were sound asleep. 

Today, another impossibly slow day, I decided to hang up a new border around one of one of our carpet wall displays. As I was wrangling twelve-foot long pieces of border and being eaten alive by velcro, I noticed an elderly lady wheel herself into the children's area.  She approached the edge of our activity space and paused before exclaiming, "it is just so quiet and lovely over here."  I asked her if she needed any help and she said she was just fine.  I continued my battle with the borders and when I finished, began putting everything I didn't use away.

When I came back, the elderly lady was sound asleep.  

It's tough to imagine, that in less than a week, it will be nothing but chaos on the children's side.  Summer reading is just a few days a way...Surely no one will be napping over here then, right?   

Saturday, May 12, 2018

predicting the future, one Easter bunny at a time

Last night I had a dream that all of the face outs (when a book is on display) in the children's section were Easter books. For reasons still unclear to me, this stressed me out considerably.

As I was tidying and organizing things before we opened the library I saw something truly horrifying.

Not one, not two, but three Easter books on display.

It's very possible I predicted the future.  It's also possible I saw all three books on display yesterday but was distracted and didn't change them, but I have no memory of this.  And surely I would have cared just as much yesterday as I did today.

It's also possible this Easter weirdness is a sign I'm ready for a vacation.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Lending a Hand

I put up another bulletin board at work last week. This bulletin board is in our early literacy space. The current early literacy activities are based on the book, "Looking Like Me," which I've gathered is a celebration of the differences and similarities in ourselves and others.

I found this bulletin board idea on Pinterest and, at the beginning of May, put out a stack of hands for kids to color.  We also have plenty of space for more hands so kids will have lots of things to color at our library branch this summer.

This is my favorite hand so far:

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Rachel's first art exhibition

Last week was Rachel's first art exhibition!

For a school project, her art class exhibited their artwork in an old warehouse, with all proceeds going to a local charity.  Each student chose a spot and prepared it for their artwork.  I was so impressed by the amount of talent and imagination that went into the show.  

As you can see, she painted three different fish in acrylic.  All very adorable, if you ask me.

From left: Audrey, Grandma Carolyne, Rachel, Sam (her brother), and Robert.

It was such an awesome experience!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Introducing Jay-Z, an accomplished accordion player.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, our summer reading program's theme is "Libraries Rock!"

Due to a complete brain fart, I could only think of one display, which I posted a few days ago.  

While talking with a coworker, I mentioned our carpet wall would be blank until something could be figured out, and he suggested putting up pictures of rock stars.  

I really really love interactive displays so I wasn't sure about this idea, but it was an idea, which was better than the zip-a-dee-doo-dah I came up with.

The next day I mentioned his idea to another coworker, who suggested an "author or musician" display.  Boom, I could perfectly picture the entire display and immediately got to work.

Thanks to my clever coworkers, we have two summer reading displays and they are both interactive!

I spent the last couple days cutting out heads and silhouettes and I think this may be my new favorite display!

Next to the display is a spot where kids can grab a piece of paper that lists the names of 40 authors and musicians in one column.  The next column asks them to guess whether they're an author or a musician.  And the last column asks them to guess who they think the person is, which is why they have numbers.

This is Jay-Z, a rap star an accomplished accordion player.

And Allen Say, author and illustrator extraordinaire another accomplished accordion player.

While I was putting up the display I had a few patrons wander over to see what was going on.  They guessed the people as I put them up.  Talk about immediate success!  One teenager stared at it open-mouthed and kept repeating how awesome it was.

A fine example of the awesome power of teamwork!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

April Reads Part Two

Here is part two of my favorite April books:

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall (picture book)

Wow, what a beautiful and captivating story! I love Sophie Blackall (Finding Winnie is my favorite of hers) so I had a feeling I would love Hello Lighthouse. The illustrations are phenomenal - detailed and rich with unique perspectives. I love how Blackall portrays the layers of the lighthouse, each floor a different room, with the water pump on the bottom floor. Even when Blackall isn't portraying something vital to the story, she uses the water to add texture to the background of the pages in different ways - peaks, ripples, and waves of all sizes. It's clear she enjoys her craft, and because she does, her attention to detail elevates Hello Lighthouse to an extraordinary and magical level.

Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths by Graham Annable (juvenile graphic fiction)

Peter & Ernesto is the funny, beautiful, and super sweet tale of the special friendship between two very different sloths. Ernesto, a sloth with a nomadic soul, decides to take a journey, and with a bit of trepidation, his scaredy sloth friend decides to find him and bring him back. The sloth expressions are dynamite and convey so many relatable emotions. The illustrations are clever, the font easy-to-read, and the space within each panel uniquely utilized and never cluttered.

Wake Up! by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder (picture book, children's poetry)

The photographs in "Wake Up!" are my new favorites by Rick Lieder. The shadow of a praying mantis blows my mind. Unlike earlier collaborations between Frost and Lieder, I think the text and images marry nicely throughout the book. Frost's rhyming is simple and sing-songy and perfect for storytime.

From the Heart of Africa compiled by Eric Walters (children's nonfiction)

I'm a sucker for aphorisms so I knew I was going to like this book. After reading it I have decided I absolutely love it! There is so much beauty and strength in these aphorisms and I was delighted to see a few I hadn't heard of. I was also impressed by both the bold font and gorgeous illustrations and enjoyed the brief bio of each illustrator at the end of the book. Also included is a brief explanation of each aphorism's origin.

A Teacup Collection by Molly Hatch (adult nonfiction)

I didn't know I had a love for teacups until I saw a watercolor teacup in Susan Branch's memoir, "A Fine Romance," which was a moody black teacup. Now it's becoming apparent that I may be slightly obsessed with them. I've been doodling them, googling them, and even attempted an embroidery piece with a made-up teacup that sorta bombed. When I saw this book I had a hunch it was going to make me cry with happiness, and I was right. Oddly enough, what I love most are the irregularities and imperfections of each watercolor teacup. My favorites are the ones with creepy crawlies and the German teacup with a human head on its handle. I have also been enjoying looking up the artists of each teacup and drooling over their other creations. I plan on acquiring a copy of this book for days when I'm in an inspirational rut. It's simply tannin-tastic.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

April Reads Part One

April was a great month for reading!  So great in fact, April will be a double post.

Here is part one of my favorite April books:

Six Skills by Age Six by Anna Foote and Bradley Debrick (adult nonfiction)

As someone who is new to storytimes, I have been seeking information everywhere I can find it. This book was my constant companion during my first storytime season, which was a toddler storytime. And now I'm reading it with a slightly different perspective as I plan a family storytime for the summer.

For me, planning a storytime usually begins with the discovery of a special book I can't help but immediately read aloud. I get really enthusiastic about the book, read it aloud to everyone who lets me, and then experience a brief moment of panic when I realize one book isn't enough. What about songs and fingerplays and another book! Planning a storytime creates a rollercoaster of emotions.

Thankfully, any time I need a song, fingerplay, or picture book, "Six Skills by Age Six" is always close by and easy to read. After finding the book that initiated the storytime planning, I then question what six-by-six skill best represents it. Once I identify a theme - rhyming or noticing print for example - I check "Six Skills by Age Six" for lists of songs, books, and fingerplays relating to that theme. I then do an internet search to find lyrics, variations, and videos. Occasionally I read other early literacy books, and though I always find something exciting, "Six Skills by Age Six" is my favorite. It's incredibly easy to understand, accessible, and a lot of fun.

The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall (picture book)

I think The Baby Tree does a clever and succinct job of explaining where babies come from. Off-the-wall answers that dance around the truth can sometimes just make a child more confused. I love the haha moment when the little boy finds truth in all the answers he's received except for Grandpa's and decides to tell Grandpa the truth. I read this book because Sophie Blackall is one of my favorite illustrators and there are a few books by her I've missed. I must admit I did not think the illustrations were her strongest. They were effective and occasionally cute but not my favorite illustrations by her. No matter, I love this book and will highly recommend it.

Alphabeasts by Wallace Edwards (picture book)

Wallace Edwards' artwork is trippy, outlandish, playful, and beautifully layered with colors and patterns. The text occasionally feels forced but I think this is one of those picture books where you can skip what's written and have a blast creating a story for each page. I like how the quality of art is very adult-like, but the animals in their strange surroundings are very silly and childlike. I also applaud Edwards' choice for the letter 'X.' Oftentimes, authors who write alphabet books choose something desperate, and therefore awful, for the letter 'X.' Rest assured, this is not one of those books.

Rescue & Jessica by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes and illustrated by Scott Magoon (picture book)

I'm a sucker for books about service dogs (Looking Out for Sarah and Tuesday Tucks Me In are at the top of my favorites list), so it's no surprise I adore Rescue & Jessica. I love how Rescue and Jessica take turns telling the story, particularly doggy-like thoughts such as the page where Rescue echoes Jessica's "I think you're amazing." I must also give a nod to how well the message of determination is delivered. Determination is portrayed as not just a one-time push as you power through to positivity, but an ongoing action with occasional rewards of positivity. Powerful stuff for a children's book. I also love the illustrations - the interesting angle of Jessica the first time she's in the hospital, Rescue curled up in his doggy bed, and the constant changes in dark and light throughout the book.

Monday, April 30, 2018

goodbye poetry month

It's the last day of April so we said goodbye to our blackout poetry wall and put up something new, which you'll see soon!

In case you are wondering what the black square is - that was our branch's name.  I copied several pages of popular books, including graphic fiction (which is easier to do) and offered those with washable markers.  Not too many kids participated in this, but at least the wall was never empty.  A few kids took their poems home with them.

The above poem is:

Be a bear
hibernate during winter
sleep in the summer
work a day
live a day
then take a nap

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Books Rock My World!

I am changing out our displays and bulletin boards for the summer!  The theme for our 2018 summer reading program is "Libraries Rock!"  I have two different bulletin boards going up with that theme and a bulletin board/display that will relate to our new play space theme, which is loosely about diversity.

I finished putting this one up today, but it's missing...everything!  

I cut out a ton of first lines from books plus keyboard and guitar cutouts.  Kids will have the option to paste those lines together on a guitar or keyboard and create a song.  Or they can color the piano keys and guitars.  Or lyrics plus decoration!  So many options!  We will then tape them to the window and hopefully completely fill it up.  If all goes well, it will look very cool by the end of the summer.

I cut out the letters from old National Geographic magazines, which perfectly fit the saying.  Though the letters are not perfect, they look pretty nice and are just as easy to make as it is to dig through the mountain of ready-to-go-letters.  I will definitely be cutting out homemade letters for some of our future displays!