WLA YSS Session in Short: Using the Five Practices in School-Age and Teen Programming

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Presenter: Kymberly Pelky
I attended a session at WLA that focused on taking the Five Practices from early literacy and applying them to programming for other age groups.  Kymberly talked about how this really isn’t a time for learning “new” ideas, but rather a way to rethink things we are already doing and consider how those early lit practices have value when used with older kids – and even adults.  While she was presenting, I started thinking about my own ideas of how I could use the Five Practices in programming with older kids. Most of these ideas are just things that build on things I am already doing or have considered. Generally, I am thinking about Tween and Teen programming here, although some of this would work with younger school aged kids as well.

Read: Book Clubs, Lunch Bunch – meeting to read a book together, Book talks – talking up books that might energize kids about reading Sing: Music Programs – this could be a sort of “name that tune” game or maybe use some popular artists as a theme, Displays using poplar songs, create themed playlistsTalk: Popcorn and Pages – this is a program I do where we meet and kids get to do the book talks, general talking over crafts or games, building relationshipsPlay: Minute to Win it, Board or Card games, acting out scenes from books, or even scavenger huntsWrite: Poetry groups, Create displays, write blurbs for favorite books, Post-it note reviews
Think about other ways that including the Five Practices in programming might give you new ideas for programs at all sorts of age levels. I’d be excited to hear about your ideas.

Where is Marge? YSS Fun at WLA 2017

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Marge Loch-Wouters, in her own words, October 19, 2017:

So this happened.  I was the YSS "secret game" at WLA17.  People got a picture of me and had to take a pix of me and the mini-me to win a prize.  And I thought my 772 students were just excited to see the prof!!

Looking for a program as easy as pie?

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'Tis the season for tasty pastries...  

Looking for a sweet program with minimal cost but maximum happiness?  Try this!

Inspired by a post from Karen Boardman (of the Public Library of Enid & Garfield County) on Storytime Underground's Facebook group, we held our first-ever all-ages DIY Make-and-Take Pie program at our library and, believe me, it won't be our last!

First things first, we needed a recipe.  To keep costs down while still embracing the season, we decided apple pies were the way to go.  After some trial and error, we went with good ol' Betty Crocker for all our pie-making needs.  We borrowed the filling fixings from this recipe and the crust from this one.

With our budget being somewhat limited--end of the year and all--and our meeting room having limited space--brother, can you spare some room?--we required registration beforehand.  Then, we promoted it EVERYWHERE: Facebook posts, Facebook events, our website, our in-house and electronic newsletters, the newsletters at the various schools around town, posters, and word-of-mouth.  Folks seemed genuinely excited by the program and we quickly learned that we'd need to offer a second session to accommodate the demand. (And, to be honest, we still had to turn some people away.)

Once we knew how many people we'd have each night, we set about collecting the necessary materials.  Our local Piggly Wiggly generously donated the majority of the apples, the staff provided some additional baking goodies, such as rolling pins, cookie cutters, and pie stamps, and the rest of the materials were able to be obtained from either the Dollar Tree or Aldi's.  All in all, we spent under $50!  For two nights worth of programming!

In terms of preparation, we lined the tables with paper (Hello, easy clean-up!) and pre-measured all the dry ingredients into gallon-size Ziploc bags.  Other than setting everything out, that was pretty much it!  The participants were responsible for mixing the crust, peeling and slicing the apples, and all the other bits and pieces involved with pie baking, including deciding how the top crust should look!  Everyone who attended left with a completed pie, as well as a handout with recipes, baking and/or freezing instructions, and suggestions on how they can gussy up this or future pies. 

Reports have come back that not only did they have a wonderful time, but the pies were mighty tasty, too!  Win-win.


Book of the Week: Little Wolf's First Howling

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Little Wolf’s First Howlingby Laura McGee Kvasnosky
Illustrated by Laura McGee Kvasnosky and
    Kate Harvey McGee
Published by Candlewick Press, 2017
24 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7636-8971-1
Ages 3-7
Kvasnosky, Laura McGee. Little Wolf’s First Howling. Illys by Kate Harvey McGee. Candlewick Little Wolf is eager to go out at night with his father, Big Wolf, to learn how to howl. As the moon begins to rise, Big Wolf demonstrates a howl that ends with a lengthy “ooooooooooo.” Little Wolf’s first attempt starts strong but his enthusiasm gets the better of him as he brings it to a close: “I’m hoooowling, ‘oooowling, ‘ooooowling!” Which isn’t, Big Wolf notes, “proper howling form.” Big Wolf demonstrates. Little Wolf tries again. This time, his howl starts strong and ends with a jazzy “dibbity dobbity skibbity skobbity skooo-wooooo-woooooooooooo” Big Wolf praises Little Wolf for many things. “But your howling. It is not proper howling form.” So they try again. This time, Little Wolf’s ending is even more unrestrained. And Big Wolf can’t help it: he starts tail-wagging and ear-twitching and paw-tapping along. Distinctive digitally rendered paintings reminiscent of colored block prints create an inviting backdrop for a story begging to be howled aloud. ©2017 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

What Youth Programs do YOU Want at WAPL?

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The call for conference proposals for the WI Association of Public Librarians has gone out.

Do you have an area you wish you could attend a program on? Let your YSS board know (their contact info is to your right on the blog page).

Do you have an idea you would like to present on or put a panel together to present on? Then add it. Here is how:

The WAPL Conference Planning Committee invites program proposals for the Spring Conference, to be held May 2-4, 2018, at the Country Springs Hotel & Conference Center, Pewaukee.
Proposals for presentations, panels, workshops and business meetings are welcome.  Sessions will run either 45 or 60 minutes in length.  Every WLA unit has a special perspective to offer and we encourage you to be part of our 2018 WAPL Conference.  If you have a great program idea, don't wait to be asked to present it, submit a proposal yourself!  The more ideas and diversity of topics, the more rewarding this learning opportunity will be for all. 
Please use the Program Proposal Form to submit a program. 
Deadline for proposal submissions is: January 19, 2018.  You will be notified of the program's acceptance or rejection no later than February 2, 2018. 
Please contact us with any questions.  We're looking forward to an excellent conference!
Cathy Tuttrup
Brookfield Public Library
WAPL Conference Programming Chair

Families Learning Conference

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I was recently fortunate enough to be sponsored to attend the Families Learning Conference in Arizona.  While the overall conference isn't specific to libraries, a lot of librarians attended and there were a few sessions focused on encouraging other organizations to work with libraries to promote family learning.
Below were a few of the highlights for me.
The New York Department of Youth and Community Development presented on their new "Circles of Support" framework.  I'm not sure how long this link will be live, but check it out here.  Basically they realized that they needed entire family engagement for their individual programs (youth services, workforce development, homeless youth, juvenile justice etc.) to be successful.  So they revamped all departments in order to create a larger department that works together for birth through senior life.The three guiding principles of their new framework were Participation, Communication and Partnership.  Some key points under increasing family participation stood out as especially applicable to us:
  • Greet other families as they come through your doors
  • Conduct outreach– call families to invite them to events, post flyers and brochures in schools and around the community
  • Welcome and introduce new families at workshops, classes, or events
  • Provide new families with information about programs and agency events
  • Help staff with event logistics– set up a meeting room or training space, make copies
  • Take photos at events and during programs for websites and newsletters
  • Cook/bake food for events
  • Decorate or clean up at events and workshops
They offer a look at how to create a Family engagement road map here.Another great session was on media mentorship and how we engage families in the digital age.  Some key points:
  • Parent media use is the STRONGEST predictor of child media habits.
  • The more you connect, the less you connect.  (Works both ways)
  • Children are learning from us parenting without presence, that we are "never done" with our work.
  • Families need: media mentors, including messages from us that encourage, empower and nudge without shaming, more descriptions of what they can do instead of what they are doing wrong..
  • Share these ideas with parents:  Spend more time mentoring with digital media and less time monitoring.  Don't worry so much about time spent on media, but focus instead on using it appropriately.
  • We owe our children a diverse and rich life experience, so focus on living well with media.
New AAP guidelines are the optimum.  Don't shame families who can't attain this:
  • No screens under 18 mos. unless video chatting.
  • 18-24 months introduce high quality digital activities you do together.
  • 2-5 years, 1 hour per day of high quality that you watch or play together. (Most families will find this unrealistic.)
  • Using media together improves learning (an easy nudge)
  • Think of a child's day-12 hours awake to include family time, eating, outdoor play, imaginative play, time to get bored.
Older children also act as media mentors.  Remember the closer to bedtime screens are used, the more sleep disruption and fatigue you will see.Detroit Word Gap InitiativeThis session was the closest to what SPARKS! is attempting in La Crosse.  Several agencies and organizations in Detroit worked together in two of Detroit's poorest neighborhoods to address the word and achievement gap.  Their plan was to intensively engage 150 families over two years.  They implemented that plan with:
  • A multimedia campaign in English and Spanish to raise awareness about the importance of words
  • Using focus groups (most families had never heard of the word gap and were immediately interested in improving their children's outlook.)
  • Engaging 100 local businesses to create book areas in each and hang posters/ engagement activities around literacy
  • Three key phrases "Words Build a Community" "Words are Songs" "Words are Love" were featured.
  • Local businesses created word rich play spaces.  Businesses had to apply, including two sentences on how they would maintain the program after two years.  Toys, books and shelves were provided for the initial 2 years.
  • They did text and Facebook pushes with literacy tips.  Find the FB page at Say and Play with Words for an idea of how they engaged families there.
Effective After School Literacy was pretty focused on school learning programs, but a couple of highlights
  • Low income families believe that they have an equal role in their child's learning AND are more willing to be trained as reading tutors for their children than any other measured category in the study.
  • Libraries are great at helping children love reading, but bad at helping families teach children to read or improving skills
  • To learn to read, children need to understand the rules of how print works, they need to understand how to manipulate sounds, how to connect letters to sounds, and how to read smoothly and accurately.  1 to 1 tutoring, teaching skills and involving parents is the only thing that works.
If you'd like to learn more about any of these sessions, please let me know!  Eventually slides should be available as well.

Graphic Design for Libraries Webinar

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Wednesday, November 151:00pmPresenter: Aaron Schmidt
Improve your graphic design skills and put them to work!  Schmidt will cover the basics of practical graphic design, show examples of good graphic design in libraries, and suggest tools that you can use to improve your library's signs, posters, brochures, websites, and more. 1 CE Credit


WLA YSS Session in Short: Plan Less, Program More

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Subtitled "How to Collaborate with Regional Libraries to Bring Larger Scale Youth Programs to Your Communities," this lively program featured three librarians from nearby small libraries: Rebekah Palmer Osceola; Martha Kaempffer, St. Croix Falls; and Jerissa Koenig, Amery, appropriately dressed in character for the Harry Potter universe. The three shared their planning tips to create a Harry Potter Party at each of the three libraries.  By working together their planning time was radically decreased so more time could be spent on the program itself.
The events were held on different days and times which allowed the three to be at each library's programs. They each had areas of expertise to help with the planning (baking, STEM, etc) so the variety of activities they could offer was broad. After an initial meeting to start the planning, they used Google docs to continue. They shared supplies, activities, food serving equipment and used individual money on the food. 
By pooling their talents, energy, creative ideas and staffing with each other, each library could have an amazing large party. Here is the slidedeck for more info!

WLA YSS Sessions in Short: Diversify Me!

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Jenni Frencham, YSS Member and Youth Services Director at the Columbus Public Library, presented an excellent and informative session called "Diversify Me! Incorporating Diverse Titles into Your Collections, Displays and Programming." It was an ideal follow-up to this year's preconference and was also an outstanding example of how to implement diversity in the library right now.

Here is a link to the slides and here is a link to the handout she shared from Children and Libraries Fall 2015 issue on "Awards that Celebrate Diversity in Children's Literature" compiled by Laura Schulte-Cooper. Both will be posted on the WLA Conference Program Handouts page in the near future.

Jenni described ways to do a shelf audit to see how many diverse titles are already in your collection, reminders to include diversity in your program publicity and flyers, bias in holiday collections, including books with diverse characters in Storytimes, incorporating diversity into passive readers advisory, and other practical tips.

Book of the Week: The Stars Beneath Our Feet

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The Stars Beneath Our Feetby David Barclay Moore
Published by Knopf, 2017
294 pages
ISBN: 978-1-5247-0124-6
Ages 9-13
On the edge of young adulthood, Lolly has the support of a hardworking, no nonsense mom and her girlfriend; his dad, who isn’t a daily presence in his life but whose love is never in doubt; staff at the community center; his best friend, Vega. He’s also keenly aware that the freedom with which he moved through Harlem when he was young has changed now that he’s 12; now that he’s eyed by various crews of older boys and young men as being either with them, or against them. The threat feels all the more real since his big brother Jermaine was recently shot and killed, and Lolly’s grief is complicated by the fact his brother, so often his protector, was mad at him for refusing to get involved in Jermaine’s dubious business. But Lolly’s sense of himself and the world and possibilities begins expanding after receiving an architecture book as a gift. Inspired to begin constructing an elaborate city out of Lego bricks, his efforts lead to a surprising new friendship with Rose, a girl most kids shun, who is navigating struggles of her own, and to exploring the real places pictured in the book. Lolly, his family, friends, and neighbors are vivid and alive in a story featuring exceptional characterizations and dialogue. The complexities of family and friendships come into full relief in a story celebrating the power of creativity and community in a child’s life. ©2017 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

WLA YSS Sessions in Short: Sing, Sing a Storytime

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Sing, Sing a Storytime: Integrating Music into your StorytimeThursday, October 19, 2017     3:45-4:30 Lori Bell
Lori began by telling us the significance of music as a learning tool. She shared a myriad of resources for music. Even if they were familiar, it was great refresher. I know I was saying to myself, “I should dust off___________and get that back into my storytimes.” She showed us how you do not need to be an expert at an instrument but can still introduce it to the children and play a few chords. (Great idea for next summer’s reading theme: “Rock and Read”!)  She showed us a really smart way to keep patrons engaged and keep yourself organized. For every storytime she creates a PowerPoint! She has the lyrics incorporated and then caregivers and kids can follow along (even if they are not reading, they can associate words with sounds).