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.)