Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Toddlers and Preschoolers : Playing with Books

For toddlers, we talked through the first and last book and acted out the emotions. We used magnetic letters as we counted during "One, Two I Love You." Is Everyone Ready for Fun? was a total, get-up-and-move-and-shout-it-out! kind of story ... my favorite ...

During the preschool program, we talked and acted a bit more. For example, we discovered that maybe we could have more than one feeling at a time like Elephant and Piggie. For Grumpy Bird, I had a stuffed animal for each child. They came to the front of the room when thier animal appeared on the page. I pointed to a sign that said "What are you doing?," and they child repeated this to my bird stuffed animal. Then we marched around the room until we came to the next animal. Lots of fun playing with books!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Baby Programs : Letters, Shapes, and Print Awareness

For the sitters, I used large, soft, magnetic letters to introduce "B-A-B-Y" and felt shapes to do the feltboard house. They were captivated by how I used my voice and moved the letters and pieces. For example, during the feltboard house, I modified the rhyme a bit to repeat the names of the shapes and allow me to let each child have an up close view of the shape: "Start with a square, a square, a square, a square, a square, a square right there!"

For the older babes, I had a soft, toy fire truck with the word "fire truck" stitched into the side. I went around to each child and pointed to the word. While reading My Car, I also went around the half circle, pointing to the word "gas" written in the illustrations.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Grinch-mas Family Program

Well ... I did do a Christmas-y family program this year. A co-worker originally wanted to do a "Forgetful Santa" puppet show together, but being short-staffed, the program was altered to a one woman show. I offered to keep with the Christmas theme. It was advertised as such and in this way:

Family Night Capades: Merry Grinchmas - Whobalation!
It's a How the Grinch Stole Christmas Celebration. Come for the story! Come for the noise! Come dressed in jammies OR as Who-girls and boys! Come for a craft, a treat, and a game. During Family Night Capades -- no one week is the same. Children under age 7 must be accompanied by an adult.

The movement activities had to be really young-child friendly, and indeed, I had three not-quite-two-year-olds who came to the program! The Learning about the Heart station was really loosely based on the cut and tell -- just a lot of questions (Where is the heart? What does it look like? What does it do?) and movements (Make a fist -- that's the size of your heart. Find your pulse. Let's run in place and see if we can change our heartbeat.)

I let them do the stations as they please. Take them or leave them ... I use to ring a bell after every 10-15 min to let them know when to switch stations, but I haven't really had a problem with overflow, so now I just explain the stations and let them stay or leave and wander as they please. It works well, and they usually stay 45 minutes after the initial together activity, in this case the Grinch accompanied by music and a few computer projections. I always do stations at my family programs. It's my sneaky way of getting families to interact together ... and with the age ranges they can adapt what they need, etc.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Baby Programs for Sitters and Walkers (Phonological Awareness)

I've now bought a few of the Audubon, authentic sound making stuffed birds:

When I played on the recorder, the parents actually stepped up and sang out! (Hooray for plans working!)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Purple-icious Programs for Toddlers vs. Preschoolers (Narrative and Print Awareness)

For our extension activity with the preschoolers, I put a drop of red and a drop of blue paint (and a dash of hand sanitizer for easier clean up) in a ziplock bag and masking taped them to the (child-level) windows.

During the preschool program, I also made and used my first ever picture schedule. Graphics below:

The "Drawing Story" was me drawing to "Grandpa's Glasses" as I said the rhyme. The "Puppet Story" was for Purple Hair? I Don't Care ... each child got a velcro piece of the puppet and added to my plastic pot. In the end, the kids closed their eyes while I put together the dragon puppet.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Holiday Library Programs

How do you feel about holiday programs in a public library setting?

I think most of us can agree that one has to examine the needs and wants of the community that the public library serves.

I'm not against the occasional, holiday program, so long as it is advertised and you still work to meet the needs of the patrons who are not your majority or consistent audience.

For example ...

I was talking with a fellow children's librarian who is new to the Mahoning County library system, but who is a former preschool teacher with many years of experience. I asked her to plan for and present a toddler and a preschool program on November 23.

(Why we planned a program the day before Thanksgiving, I'll never know ...)

Not only did we advertise a program on November 23, we didn't advertise it as a Thanksgiving program. Because of the advertising issue, I suggested to my colleague that she steer away from books and activities that mention Thanksgiving. I am aware of at least one little boy and his family who don't celebrate national holidays, and I'd hate for him to come to a program, only to feel left out.

How do you approach holiday programming in your communities?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Birds of a Feather (November Passive Program)

For November, we're having a passive craft program all month long for kids of all ages. It's advertised as our Creation Station: Make-It and Take-It Craft Program: BIRDS OF A FEATHER Choose a turkey, eagle, cardinal, or mallard pattern to decorate with feathers ... and more!

In addition to the advertising through our Public Relations Department, here is the sign that we'll put on the craft tables:

Here is where I got the pictures from:

Here are links to the templates that I enlarged on the copier:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Baby Programs for Lapsitters (Talk) and Walkers (Sing)

This is the first time I've used Microsoft Publisher for my baby program handouts. I did not include our standard opening, middle, and closing song. Since I know I'll be doing the baby programs this week and for the next two weeks, too, I'm planning some additional overlap.

Next week we'll do "I'm a Little Teapot" without the book. Also, the cloth pieces I'll use for "Mary Had a Little Lamb" this week have reflective moon/star/planet stickers; I'll use the sticker side of them for a "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" prop next week. The kids will get to play with them two weeks in a row. (Like other libraries, we do a 15-20 minute program followed by a half hour of free play (parent socialization!) for all.)

I've also planned ahead to have the "Walkers" try to bring a stuffed animal with them next week so we can do "Tiptoe Teddy Bear" or other such music and movement songs. Of course, I'll have extras on hand for those who need to borrow one.

Also, LOVE this new album of lullabies; it even has a male singing some! It's pricey and hard to get via Amazon, but individual songs are available to download from iTunes:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Activity Sheets for Shapes Library Program

Here are some of the activity sheets I made this morning and offered after the "Triangles, Circles, and Squares" program for preschoolers. They used glue sticks to trace the shape, and then stuck on pre-cut yarn.

"Circus of Shapes: Find the Rectangle"

Monday, October 10, 2011

Shapes Program for Preschoolers

I'm back to using Microsoft Publisher for the (trying to keep it to one-page)handout.  I like having the early literacy tips separated on the side.  I'm also in the mindset of having a PLAY extension activity versus a "craft" at the end of storytime.  I'm also giving a play tip for home; I'll even give them a piece of string to take and use.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

We Are All In a Story

This is my first blog post from my new computer!  Yes, it was time to make the leap from my 2003 desktop ... I'm still in the (learning) process of moving things from the old to the new ... Did you know a CAT5 crossover cord is the cheapest cord to transfer information from computer to laptop?  At least that's what I've heard.  We'll see what happens when the item comes.

After trying to create a home sharing network and failing (my old computer needed to have Windows 7 which I was not willing to install), I hope this cord will expedite the process.

I debated about just uploading all my pictures to Shutterflly.  However, Shutterfly doesn't give you the option to download pictures saved on the site back to your computer.

So many technology options ...

At any rate, I wanted to share this quote with you.  It's my own when I was four years old.  Thanks to mom for writing it down so long ago!

"Everybody is growing up.  We are all in a story; Is it a real story?"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Apps for Library Programs

I see I had 94 hits on this blog today!  I'm assuming most of these people saw my article on music, movement, and early literacy in Children and Libraries ... My hope is that others find this blog to be a useful resource for library programming.  I appreciate any comments or questions as the site evolves!

Yes, I have been a bit quiet on this blog the last month or so ... involved in learning and special projects ... but after much research, I've FINALLY upgraded my personal technology to an iPhone and Toshiba Satellite laptop.  (I'll wait for the Flash issue on the iPad to be resolved and for the Droids to have better/ more apps.  I'm more comfortable with a keyboard for typing, and so far, I prefer storing on a harddrive vs. wireless "in the cloud" network attached storage... though I will be willing to upgrade again when technology is more refined and becomes cheaper.)  This is definately increasing my personal education and social connection, but it will also affect my professional aspirations, such as audio/video recording storytelling and library programming.

Here are some apps that I've been playing with that have great potential for use in library programs:

   Star Walk $2.99
      From the website:  "Star Walk ... allows users to easily locate and identify 20,000+ objects in the night sky. The 360-degree, touch control star map displays constellations, stars, planets, satellites, and galaxies currently overhead from anywhere on Earth." 
       My thoughts: I hope to use this during a family evening program as a supplement to stories and songs.  It would have been a perfect fit into my Starlight at Night program:

   LeafSnap  FREE
      From the website: "Leafsnap is the first in a series of electronic field guides being developed by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution. This free mobile app uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves."        
      My thoughts: The game mode covers tree leaves, tree flowers, and nuts.  My four year old nephew and I knew nothing about tree flowers and still had fun matching a name with a photograph.  A science-based option to add to a family gaming program.

I'm not sure yet how I could share these apps in the library, but I'm thinking there must be some kind of cord I could connect from my iPhone to an LCD projector ... or if I can access those apps through my iTunes account on my laptop and project through the LCD.  I'll keep you posted!

Oh ... and did you know that Amazon is offering a Kindle app?
This allows you to purchase Kindle formated ebooks on a non-Kindle device (PC, iPhone, etc.) or borrow Kindle formated books from a participating library.  The process is a bit tricky in that you have to download the Kindle book through Amazon (account required) and transfer to mobile devices through the Whispersync (wireless "in the cloud" technology -- yikes!) or USB.  Kind of freaky that the computer knew I had an iPhone and downloaded the book directly into the Kindle app ...

Check out these blogs about apps:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Baby Program for Walkers

This program differed from my baby time for lapsitters in the following ways.  I used a book to reinforce our opening song "The More We Get Together."  The "Thank You" rhyme and "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush" circle time song were used to encourage the little ones' independent mobility.  I also used a CD for our standard middle song ("The Noble Duke of York") which changed up the song's pace: fast--slow--fast.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Child Development Reminders

Copied from

In professional families --2,153 words per hour…11 million
In working class families --1,251 words per hour …6 million
In welfare families heard an average of 616 words per hour…3 million

•By kindergarten, a child from a welfare family could have heard 32 million words fewer than a classmate from a professional family.

•By age three, cumulative vocabulary for children:
professional families 1,100 words.
working class families750 words
welfare families it was just above 500 words.

•Children in professional families heard a higher ratio of encouragements to discouragements than their working class and welfare counterparts.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Babies: Lapsitters (Play and Print Awareness Tip)

After much consideration, we've divided our baby program into "Lapsitters" and "Walkers."  With baby programs, I try to include four or five types of rhymes/songs from the following catageories:

nursery rhyme
diaper ditty
name game
body parts/toy vocab

I try to use visual aids for one or two of the rhymes and always present one board book.  In this case, I am doing "Baa Baa Black Sheep" as a sticky board story and am using a crow stuffed/sound making animal for the "Jump a Little Crow."


Below is the lapsitters program focusing on the play and print awareness early literacy skills.  It is also available to download from "Baby Programs" in the side bar on the right.

Poster Read and Watch

Available to download from the "Graphics" folder in the side bar to the right.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Customer Is the Most Important Visitor (Quote)

"A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so."

This quote is attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, but the exact source cannot be pinpointed.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thirst for Knowledge

I've been quiet on this blog during my vacation from library-related activities.  I've been finding myself away from the computer ... and racing around ... mentally as well as physically.

I've been learning ... or trying to to learn.

My last day of work before vacation ... my first customer of the day ... I saw an "older gentleman" (as my professional co-worker would say) on crutches ... gingerly making his way over to me: "Good morning.  How can I help you?"  I gathered that he wanted to make a copy but had no library card.  I explained the procedure for this circumstance: "You'll need a card to get the machine to work.  If you go to the front desk with your ten cents, you can get a Courtesy Card."  The patron replied, "I want you to make the copy."  I read his tone as slightly demanding, and I asserted that the copiers were self-service but that I would show him how to use it once he had a card.  In perfect measure the older gentleman responded, "I'll go to the post offiice then."


I didn't know what to say.  I had relayed the information. I was ready to help in the way I could ...
I watched him crutch away and  felt unhappy about the interaction.


What would you have done?

I recently bought this at Rogers Farmer's Market!  Smart People DO Thirst for Knowledge!

After this experience, I immediately consulted with a colleague.  I feel my reactions weren't the best human response, but I wonder how to work that into "policy."

I've learning about these topics of communication and emotion in my personal life as well ... Which reminds me, I need to update my Shelfari shelf ...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Intelligence in Learning Environments

The following was posted on the storytell listerv: For me, it's a reminder about the overarching goal of libraries to provide access to all kinds of information and to provide programs that meet those educational gaps as well as to motivate learning in general as opposed to learning a particular kind of knowledge:

What Is Intelligence, Anyway?
By Isaac Asimov

What is intelligence, anyway?

When I was in the army, I received the kind of aptitude test that all
soldiers took and, against a normal of 100, scored 160. No one at the
base had ever seen a figure like that, and for two hours they made a big
fuss over me.

(It didn't mean anything. The next day I was still a buck private with
KP - kitchen police - as my highest duty.)

All my life I've been registering scores like that, so that I have the
complacent feeling that I'm highly intelligent, and I expect other
people to think so too.

Actually, though, don't such scores simply mean that I am very good at
answering the type of academic questions that are considered worthy of
answers by people who make up the intelligence tests - people with
intellectual bents similar to mine?

For instance, I had an auto-repair man once, who, on these intelligence
tests, could not possibly have scored more than 80, by my estimate. I
always took it for granted that I was far more intelligent than he was.

Yet, when anything went wrong with my car I hastened to him with it,
watched him anxiously as he explored its vitals, and listened to his
pronouncements as though they were divine oracles - and he always fixed
my car.

Well, then, suppose my auto-repair man devised questions for an
intelligence test.

Or suppose a carpenter did, or a farmer, or, indeed, almost anyone but
an academician. By every one of those tests, I'd prove myself a moron,
and I'd be a moron, too.

In a world where I could not use my academic training and my verbal
talents but had to do something intricate or hard, working with my
hands, I would do poorly.

My intelligence, then, is not absolute but is a function of the society
I live in and of the fact that a small subsection of that society has
managed to foist itself on the rest as an arbiter of such matters.

Consider my auto-repair man, again.

He had a habit of telling me jokes whenever he saw me.

One time he raised his head from under the automobile hood to say: "Doc,
a deaf-and-mute guy went into a hardware store to ask for some nails. He
put two fingers together on the counter and made hammering motions with
the other hand.

"The clerk brought him a hammer. He shook his head and pointed to the
two fingers he was hammering. The clerk brought him nails. He picked out
the sizes he wanted, and left. Well, doc, the next guy who came in was a
blind man. He wanted scissors. How do you suppose he asked for them?"

Indulgently, I lifted by right hand and made scissoring motions with my
first two fingers.

Whereupon my auto-repair man laughed raucously and said, "Why, you dumb
jerk, He used his voice and asked for them."

Then he said smugly, "I've been trying that on all my customers today."
"Did you catch many?" I asked. "Quite a few," he said, "but I knew for
sure I'd catch you."

"Why is that?" I asked. "Because you're so goddamned educated, doc, I
knew you couldn't be very smart."

And I have an uneasy feeling he had something there.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nonviolent Communication (quotes)

Things to think about while helping an angry person:

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg

"Behind all those messages we've allowed ourselves to be intimidated by are just individuals with unmet needs appealing to us to contribute to their well being." (99)

"...messages previously experienced as critical or blaming begin to be seen for the gifts they are: opportunites to give to people who are in pain." (100)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Digital (Wiki) Storytelling

Ready for an oxymoron? --> Here's some old news.

Did you know that Penguin launched an online storytelling experience using the wiki format in 2007?

Here's an interesting report of that experience:

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the actual, online finished story. However, this does recall a program activity I read about when CSLP was doing the "Creative" summer reading theme a few years ago.  While sitting in a circle, kids were invited to contribute to an improvised story.  Perhaps this experience could be continued on a library website, though much monitoring would have to occur.  At the very least, it's an interesting social experiment.

Has anyone ever tried something like this in a library setting?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

Santa Fe Steampunk

Mind boggling:

Yesterday, I walked through a REAL STEAMPUNK SHIP at the Center for Contemporary Arts in New Mexico!!! It was an experience of a lifetime.  My written reaction can't do it justice, but if you check out the website, hopefully you'll grasp at least the scale of the project -- 50+ artists creating a interactive fictional environment.

And I thought that I was stoked getting Kenneth Oppel's autograph a few years ago ... What an AMAZING work of art in all senses of the word ... I was so awestruck, I didn't take hardly any pictures!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

MicroHike from PowerKids Life Science Database

Here is a scan of the printout I made of the PowerKids Life Science Database's "MicroHike" which I referenced in the I Spy: Near and Far family program :

I feel that sharing this scan is within the fair use and educational copyright clauses.

I wonder if it would still have been within copyright if I gave a copy of this handout and a piece of string to the the families as their "take-away" item ... ?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Freedom of Information and Privatization of Libraries

A family friend in Idaho sent this newspaper clipping to me.  It's a super reminder of the convenient library services we have in the United States.

Thinking of kinds of libraries and how they are run makes me consider the privatization of libraries ... and makes me think of the beginning of libraries in the United States as the "subscription" libraries where members paid fees.  I worry that if libraries become wholly privatized that owners will curb and mold access to information (a la the controlling parties in Ukraine) as well as charge membership fees that will greatly and easily surpass the tax monies patrons currently pay.

Here is a Google Bookmarks link:!threadID=GIyRVPdy7Dpg%2FBDQoYZAoQ-ablvYsm where I've begun collecting information on Privatization of Libraries.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Graphic Novels for Teens/Adults

I have graphic novel on the brain!  So I made it into a (children's) display today.  Here's a sign available for download by clicking on "Graphics" under the "Youth Services Programs and Resources" heading in the upper right hand corner of this blog:

Speaking of graphic novels, I just finished reading Scenes from an Impending Marriage (LOL!) and Artichoke Tales (What?) ... Even with the pictoral character key on the end pages of Artichoke Tales, I had trouble distinguishing one character from the other.  Anyone else read these two?  In the carousel below are other more teen or adult graphic novels that I currently have checked out but haven't read yet.

Update: 7/25/11 I now realize Big Crunch isn't a graphic novel ... cover is very intriguing though ...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I Spy: Near and Far

I'm a little frustrated that Google Docs has made its older version unavailable.  (The older version allowed me to grab the embed code from my uploaded PDFs' "Properties".)  As far as I can work out, there's no simple way to embed an uploaded document.  (It's a different story if one uses Google to create the document in the first place.)  So I grabbed an embed code from somewhere on the net.  I'd like to display the code here, but I don't know how to display the code without the computer thinking I want it to follow through with the command.  Contact me if you'd like the embed code.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Home, Sweet Home Storytime Progam for Preschoolers

Here's a home themed program for preschoolers -- a bit more substance and involvement (talking/detail) than the toddler program.  I like having the early literacy tips highlighted simply in the side bar.

The embedded PDF above is available for download by clicking on "Toddler, ages 2 and 3" under the "Youth Services Programs and Resources" heading in the upper right hand corner of this blog:

"Kye Kye Kule" lyrics and signs in the "Graphics" folder.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Home, Sweet Home Storytime Program for Toddlers

I was (re) introduced to Microsoft Publisher and the possibilities it brings for attractive programming handouts.  Here's my first stab at it.  (You can see I'm still into a mostly linear approach ;) )  It's a balancing act trying to give myself an outline while putting in those early literacy and take home tips for the caregivers. 

This new format is making me think more about an interactive handout for children and caregivers to use at home.  The activity sheet on the back was the first step, but I feel the outline itself could be more interactive ...

The embedded PDF above is available for download by clicking on "Toddler, ages 2 and 3" under the "Youth Services Programs and Resources" heading in the upper right hand corner of this blog:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Graphic Novel, Squish the Super Amoeba ... and Peggy Paramecium

Speaking of graphic novels ... I recently read Squish: Super Amoeba, the first volume in a new series by the creators of well-known Babymouse.  I LOVED the humor (don't forget to watch the face change on Squish's hat!), the successful use of panels versus no panels, and the incorporation of the micro and simple organisims I learned about in middle school.  I also love the labeling in this graphic novel.  For example, below you'll see that Principal Planarian gets a stamped name as well as an arrow with further information.

I'm a little obsessed with Peggy (Paramecium) and wish I could have the original illustration of these two pages:  

I also love the following "running" late to school action scene ... Reminds me of my recent "great exercise" in the airport.  Perhaps I need to adopt a little more of Peggy's postive attitude ...

It'd be awesome to do a "Squish the Super Amoeba and Science" program ... You could show videos like this one ... a "real" interpretation of Peggy running!

Or this video about planarian regeneration from Exploratorium's Microscope Imaging Station:  

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Improving Your Storytelling Skills

Leafing through Doug Lipman's Improving Your Storytelling Skills, I came away with two reminders and a new thought.

Lipman reminded me about the importance of consciousness during the storytelling experience: "Notice the humanity of the audience." (174) This subdues fear and creates a successful experience for all.
He reminded me that "good storytelling always incorporates other art forms" and that each of us has a way of storytelling that is natural to us.

Related to this conscious, natural form of storytelling comes the new thought ... Instead of planning to tell a story, have you ever waited for a story from your repetoire to "call" to you?  Not only does this make me feel the smallness of my repetoire, but it stretches the teller to rely on previous practice and the art of free flow telling.

It's another goal to aspire toward!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Graphic Novelist, Ben Hatke

I was totally STOKED to meet Ben Hatke at his own booth in the ALA Exhibit Hall!!!

Don't know Ben Hatke?  He's the author/illustrator of the graphic novel
Zita the Space Girl.

Zita the Spacegirl: Trailer from Ben Hatke on Vimeo.

Here's some of his ORIGINAL ARTWORK that he was kind enough to let me purchase!  The black and white sketch is my favorite (okay ... one of my favorite) scenes in the book.  Turns out, it was one of his, too!  The watercolor is not a scene from the novel, but involves the characters from the book in a scene that, to me, describes in so many levels the marvel of all graphic novels -- "It's an ART book!" 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Customer Service: The Need for Apology, Empathy, and Explanation (A Personal Story)

10:02 p.m.

I huff and I puff and I snuff and I rush
From concourse B
to concourse D

This was after the shuttle bus drove past
the assigned pick up location on my receipt

3:10 p.m.
The shuttle drove past
I called the company on the phone
Who said, “Well, we can’t get another driver there for an hour”
in a WAY less than empathetic tone
So I hail a cabbie who was as nice as could be
He had another passenger already – which was lucky for me
Since the cash I was carrying wouldn’t suffice
And the Bloomsbury vendor was generous and nice
She loaned me some cash and told a great story
About her harrowing trip in
Which made this (so far) mishap boring
(She almost missed her flight after locking her keys in her car
and sat next to a long-toed passenger who was truly bizarre.)

At 5:40 p.m.
I’m at Gate D4, but nobody’s boarding
And I wasn’t sure
So I approach Delta staff to make sure that I’m right
With less than three words, she confirms it’s my flight
But neglects to inform
that the plane is delayed because of a storm
Concerned about my connecting flight
I stand in line again to make sure I’ll be alright
Another staff member (tone equally cool)
States “You’ll be fine” in a way that makes me feel like fool

At 10:00 p.m.
As I exit this first flight and see my gate
It’s “BOARDING” – If I don’t run, I’m going to be late!
I huff and I puff and I snuff and I rush
From concourse B to concourse D
“Excuse me! Excuse me!”
Of course, you know, I didn’t “make it in time”
And when I get there, I’m second in line
The unfriendly staff doesn’t bat a lash
As she ignores my sweat and my un-Olympic dash
Instead of a smile and “Sorry” and soothing explanation
She ignores my communication
What is she doing ?!
Staring at her computer screen -- apparently, she’s made me another reservation

There’s much more to tell both in detail and plot
But for a rhyming poem… I’d rather not

Let’s stop the story here and just jump to the moral:

Customer Service is communication in words and in tone –
After an inconvenience,
Apology, Empathy, and Explanation is the touchstone.

Indeed, my customer service awareness and skills during yesterday and today
Have improved 100% -- a GREAT conference take away.

ALA Annual Conference Schedule (Actual)

8 - 6 Tour of de Grummond Collection
6 - 7: 30 Exhibit Hall

8 - 10 Making Multi-Age (newborn to five-year-old) Storytimes
the Best They Can Be
10:30 - 11:10 Doing Away with Dewey: Library Innovations for Service Excellence
11:10 - 12:00 How Audiobooks Have Been Successfully Used to Engage Readers
1:30 - 3:30 Sensory Storytime: Preschool Programming that Makes Sense for Kids with Autism
4 - 5:30 Power of Play

8 - 8:30 Picture Books Go Digital
9 - 11:00 Liaisons with National Organizations Serving Children and Youth Committee Meeting
1 - 2:45 Volunteer at ALSC booth

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ALA Annual Conference Schedule (Planned)

8 - 5 Tour of de Grummond Collection
5 - 7: 30 Exhibit Hall

8 - 10 Making Multi-Age (newborn to five-year-old) Storytimes
the Best They Can Be
10:30 - 12  Doing Away with Dewey: Library Innovations for Service Excellence
1:30 - 2:30 Sensory Storytime: Preschool Programming that Makes Sense for Kids with Autism
2:30 - 3:30 Why Transliteracy
4 - 5:30 Power of Play
8 - 10 Now Showing @ ALA: Library of the Early Mind

8 - 9 Picture Books Go Digital
9 - 11 Liaisons with National Organizations Serving Children and Youth Committee Meeting
11 - 12 Early Literacy Model Magic
1 - 3 Volunteer at ALSC booth

Monday, June 20, 2011

Storytelling vs. Story Sharing and Copyright vs. Creative Commons

As a still newish member of the National Storytelling Network (NSN), I'm viewing my librarian story sharing in a different light. I'm considering the art of storytelling (with the attention on oral aspects and audience feedback) removed from the science of early literacy and removed from story sharing techniques that rely on the book as a prop.  I'm also understanding the prevelance of sharing personal stories or folktales.  Why?  Copyright issues.

What if a storytelling artist wants to share a story that is originally from a picturebook (the oral, performing artist wants to bring a story to a different audience through a different sense) and the original writer is not a performance artist?  (Some writers, such as Patricia Polacco, Charles R. Smith Jr. and Chris Raschka, can perform their story as well as produce a physical form!)  The retelling artist must seek permission, of course.

Following the suggestion of my listserv friends from NSN, I did email Paul Owen Lewis in hopes that he would let me retell his Frog Girl, a perfect family story whose theme fits "One World, Many Stories."  Today, I have gotten his permission to retell it for not-for-profit settings!

On a related note, I'm exploring the idea of Creative Commons licenses.  Anyone have thoughts and experiences with this?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Education and Society and Tween Programming

Chris Mburu makes a great statement in the documentary A Small Act.
To paraphrase...
"For us, education is a matter of life and death."
The ignorant are easily led by power-hungry leaders.
The ignorant engage in violence and perpetuate a grim standard of living.

Chris Mburu was a Kenyan student whose education was paid for by Holocaust survivor Hilde Back.  Mburu now runs a Hilde Back education foundation to sponsor other Kenyan students.

I wonder what it would be like to show a less than five minute clip (fair use copyright) during a tween program and have a discussion about it.

What about having a multimedia tween program involving conversation, music, video, print, and games to talk about a concept?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Baby Program : Creating Rich Environments

The embedded PDF below is available for download by clicking on "Baby Programs" under the "Youth Services Programs and Resources" heading in the upper right hand corner of this blog:

On the back side, I printed page one from this section on

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gotta Move: Everybody's Jumping (Vocabulary)

Again, I put an activity on the back of the handout.  It is a "finish the drawing" activity that has a picture of a dog, and the prompt says, "What is Andy doing? Draw his surroundings." 

The "Find the Letter" ball is one I picked up at Dollar General.  It has alphabet letters and first sound icons (e.g. the letter D is pictured with a dog) printed all over the surface, in no particular order.

As always, if the embedded image does not load, you can find the pdf under "Youth Services Programs and Resources" --> "Music, Movement, and Early Literacy Programs" at .

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Peace through Poetry

The following are two poems from Peaceful Pieces: Poems and Quilts about Peace by Anna Grossnickle Hines (March 2011), a great book to share during the "One World, Many Stories" Collaborative Summer Library Program . 

The poems are short enough to include one or two in a program and will prompt discussion. (They are good reminders for adults, too!) The last pages give a quote and brief bio from "The Peacemakers" (Mohandes Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Dorothy Day, Jimmy Carter, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Samantha Smith, and Mattie Stepanek) as well as Hines' creative and quilting processes:

Peace: A Recipe

Open minds -- at least two.
Willing hearts -- the same.
Rinse well with compassion.
Stir in a fair amount of trust.
Season with forgiveness.
Simmer in a sauce of respect.
A dash of humor brightens the flavor.

Best served with hope.

No In-Between
If one is right
the other wrong
how can we ever
get along?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Customer Service: Solve the Problem (Quote)

"Your job is to solve the problem, not to determine who is at fault."
From "Respond Confidently to Customer Complaints" in First-Rate Customer Service newsletter issue 595

Friday, June 3, 2011

Stories to Share: Alligator's Whistle

I've started a new side bar ("Stories to Share") where I'll post the text (and later, the audio ...) of stories I tell or retell.

The sheet music for the "Alligator's Whistle" can be found in The Storytelling Handbook by Anne Pellowski.  I play a recorder during the musical sections.  However, one could also sing, as lyrics are provided in Pellowski's book:

The Microsoft clipart images are used as a visual prompt to remind me what gestures or visual props to use.  Sometime, I'd like to print the text on large poster board, probably in four sections.  Then, the audience could read the story at the same time ...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Communicating with (Pessimistic) Patrons


I have noticed that ...
It seems that ...

I wish I could ...
I can ...

Even though I can't ____, I can ______

What questions do you have about ______

How would you like to see this resolved?

You did not receive good service, and I apologize for that failure on the part of our organization.

(I found these in a notebook without a citation.  They are probably from Communication Briefings:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Preschool Visit: Nature Stories (30 min)

A local preschool (almost five and six year olds) experienced a nature walk on the way to the library today.  I supported their learning by providing a nature/pond life inspired storytime.  (We have a small pond/wetlands area behind the library.)

We started with The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Patrick Anthony.  While I read, “Dandelion Seed” from Sing and Learn about Science by Ilene Follman and Helen Jackson played in the background.  The song played through two times.

Then, we talked about how objects look different when we look at them up close and when we look at them from far away.  We explored A Closer Look by Mary McCarthy and followed that with Big Bugs! Giant Creepy Crawly Pop-Ups by Keith Faulkner.  Big Bugs allowed the children to guess which bug was being described before I surprised them with the pop-up illustration.

Little Green Frogs by Frances Barry was equally entertaining.  The slightly repetitive text allowed for a bit of audience participation and the unfolding pages were suprising and unique.

Our last story was the newer picturebook The Croaky Pokey! by Ethan Long.  We got on our feet and moved and grooved, but stopped to carefully look at the picture when I slurped and smacked my lips.  Me: "(Slurp. Smack!) What happened?"  Kids: "The fly got away!"

Before the last activity, I did an impromptu interaction with

The frog would "ribbit" to tell me he was hungry.  (He hadn't caught the fly in Croaky Pokey, you know ...) We'd listen for the fly (puppet makes "buzz" sound), watch frog catch it with his tongue, and then the puppet would burp.  The kids LOVED it!  We had to repeat a few times, until Mr. Frog was too full to eat anymore...

We ended the visit by looking at some photographs of a snapping turtle (from Grzimek's Animal Life database and Britannica Online) and by performing the following action rhyme.  (I learned this from a colleague, so I do not know the original source.):

(Snap OR place bottom of palms together and clap hands like a mouth.)
Snap! Snap! Snap!
He snaps in the morning
He snaps at night
He snaps at the bugs
As he takes each bite
He snaps so much
He's quite a sight
Snap! Snap! Snap!

As they exited, I let them touch a real snapping turtle shell.  (Compliments of another colleague.)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day: Walking with Stories

I'm at Punderson State Park
alone for the moment
on a personal journey

How Will We Get to the Beach?
Me, I walk
pack on my back
Ipod in ears
pop beating the walk

Suddenly, suprise!
tears in eyes
a stranger offers a ride,
"I've been in your shoes before"
I love my Keen Shoes! I love my Keen shoes!

After musing and music
and sitting in mud
Walk in the Woods
on the Iroquois trail
listening to Eat, Pray, Love:

"I have a tendancy not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential." (Gilbert 285)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Babies: Motions Have Meaning

The embedded PDF below is available for download by clicking on "Baby Programs" under the "Youth Services Programs and Resources" heading in the upper right hand corner of this blog:

On the back of this handout, I printed the first page of Zero To Three: Playing with Babies:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gotta Move: Silly, Silly, Silly (Print Motivation)

I copied page 201 from the Collaborative Summer Library Program manual on the back side of the program handout.  I'm also switching the order a bit to help with the program's flow; We're getting more and more attendance, and the one-on-one name game is becoming difficult in the large group setting.

As always, if the embedded image does not load, you can find the pdf under "Youth Services Programs and Resources" --> "Music, Movement, and Early Literacy Programs" at .

Saturday, May 21, 2011

2011 Summer Reading School Visit

This year, I made my summer reading school visit presentation the same for kindergarteners through third graders.  (It was a thirty minute auditorium visit by grade.)  Here is the outline:

Click here for the "Kye Kye Kule" lyrics and song clip, or
listen/purchase the versions below:

Below are the embedded supporting posters.  (There are also in this blog's "Graphics" folder.)  Images are from Microsoft Clipart.  I used them as a models to draw images for the other motions (not pictured).

I chose "The Alligator's Whistle" which is a musical story from Anne Pellowski's Storytelling Handbook

 , and I included optional audience participation. 

At one point in the presentation, I threw an inflatable globe (our library's summer reading prize/incentive) into the audience.  Whoever caught the globe had to say what they liked.  Of course, whatever they liked, I supported by mentioning the materials that the library had on that topic.  The older kids caught on to this trend and had fun trying to stump me with "likes" such as "cheese" and "sleeping" !!

Overall, the three most important steps I drill into the kids are:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Simple Signs for Temporary Displays

I  like to have a poster to accompany temporary displays.  The following were created with Microsoft Word and Microsoft clipart.  Today I used legal sized paper, and advertised the Dewey numbers.  (See "Trains, Planes, and Automobiles (Cars)" poster.)

The embedded images below are also available in the "Graphics" folder under "Youth Services Programs and Resources" from this blog:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Toddlers: Let's Be Silly! (Print Motivation)

If the embedded programming handout does not display below, visit the upper right hand corner of this blog: Under "Youth Services Programs and Resources," choose "Toddler, ages 2 and 3." Then choose "(2011 5) Let's Be Silly (Print Motivation).pdf"

This is the third time that I've put an art/craft activity on the back of the handout!