Fun Fridays - Dinosaur Storytime!

Youth Services Shout Out -

Jamie Mercer is the Head of Youth Services at W.J. Niederkorn (Port Washington) Library and shares some extra fun with easy and/or FREE programming ideas/tips.

Happy Friday!  

As winter looms, I know many of us are beginning to think about our summer learning programs.  This year our library will be working with the CSLP theme Adventure Begins at Your Library.  I am thrilled with this year’s theme and the numerous possibilities we have for programming for all ages. 

As I reflect on past programs and what I can possibly reuse, one program that really sticks out is a Dinosaur Storytime with a Dinosaur Egg Hunt.  The egg hunt can really be done in the library or outside of the library.  I personally love taking the families outside to search for the eggs. 

The program is pretty simple in preparation and execution, in addition to being fairly budget friendly.  And I can tell you, this program is a crowd pleaser. 

To prepare, I would recommend purchasing plastic eggs from the dollar store in the spring and stockpiling them, depending on the number of families you think you will have attend your program.  I tend to stockpile about 100-150 eggs.   

You will then want to purchase small plastic dinosaurs (which you may also be able to find at the dollar store off and on throughout the year) or you can purchase them in bulk at one time on Amazon (typically you can find about 150 mini dinosaurs for around $15).  Stuff each egg with 1 dinosaur. 

The day of the program, while you are giving your dinosaur themed storytime, have volunteers or staff members go out and hide the eggs around the library or outside around the library. 

When the storytime is over, invite families to go on a hunt to find their very own dinosaur eggs.  I would typically give paper bags for the families to collect the eggs.  In addition, I would either have a set number of eggs each child can collect in advance or do a quick head count that day and some quick math to let families know how many eggs each child can hunt down.  I am a pretty big stickler about this because I don’t want any friends to go home empty handed. 

After the hunt is over, to save on costs for next dinosaur hunt program, have your patrons return the eggs to you, but let them know that they can keep the dinosaurs =) 

Finally, for this program in general, I am really partial to Bob Barner books as well as When Dinosaurs Came with Everything by Elise Broach and illustrated by David Small, but really it’s hard to go wrong with a dinosaur storytime. 

Science Kit Grants Available

Youth Services Shout Out -


As seen in the 11.17.23 WLA Bulletin:

Grant opportunity, IEEE Science Kits for Public Libraries

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) - Region 4’s Science Kits for Public Libraries (SKPL) Grant program is offering up to $2,000 in funding to public libraries to establish a circulating science kits collection. Libraries must be located within
Region 4 which includes all of Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and northerly portions of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Nebraska, and South Dakota.  The Application form is available now, on the SKPL website, and library submissions will be accepted until January 16, 2024.  Learn more.  

UW Madison iSchool Spring Youth Services CE Courses

Youth Services Shout Out -

Lots of great online spring CE courses coming up. For all courses, you get 10% off your registration when you register at least 2 weeks in advance.  These courses are asynchronous - which means you can access the content each week at a time most convenient for you!  

Check out the offerings:

Teens in the Library     Feb 5- March 17 (6 weeks)     Linda Jerome, La Crosse Public Library

You’ve got teens in the library–now what? Or maybe you’d like to have more teens in the library, so how exactly do you do that? This course will help provide library staff with a foundation upon which they can build successful service to teens in their community through programming, attractive space for teens in their library, teen collections, and outreach and community partnerships. Learn to create opportunities for teens to become happy, healthy, and successful adults. Class discussions will address how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected teen services, as well as strategies for success moving forward.

Programming with Purpose    Feb 26-March 24 (4 weeks)  Kelsey Johnson-Kaiser, St Paul (MN)  Public Library

We all want our libraries to have strong programming. How do you know if your library is producing meaningful programs that align with vision, support the mission, and recognize staff capacity versus simply falling into the “more is more” trap? Regardless of your library’s size, there are ways you can bring intentional thinking into programming so you’re supporting the community while working smarter. This course will explore broad perspectives on identifying programming values and goals as well as in-depth strategies for planning thoughtful, intentional programs for any age. Participants will actively focus on defining programming priorities that are informed by both current practices and goals; using a methodical practice to identify pain points and realistic solutions; implementing a project charter tool; and effective communication to aid in change management. 

STEAM for Youth Services   Mar 4 -March 31 (4 weeks)    Kirsten Caldwell, La Crosse County Library  

Are you interested in learning more about Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) for youth ages 0-5? This course will cover why STEAM is important for children, how libraries can support them in their learning, and how to include STEAM skills in library programs and storytime. We will also look at what’s coming next with STEAM in preschool. 

Babies in Libraries   March 18- April 28 (4weeks)   Brooke Newberry, La Crosse Public Library

Library service to patrons begins at birth. How can library practitioners offer the best programs, collections, and services possible to the youngest members of our communities (0-23 months)? After laying the groundwork for developmentally appropriate practice, this course will provide strategies and ideas for providing outstanding services to families with young children. Whether you are new to the profession, considering starting a baby storytime, searching for outreach partners, or looking to refresh your collection, this course will build a foundation for working with the very young.

There are alot more classes of interest in other areas as well. Check out the full listing of tutorials and classes.

And if YOU have an idea for a class you'd like to develop and teach, reach out the iSchool continuing ed department at  Sharing your knowledge and expertise is a great thing. The planners there are always happy to have new proposals. You can do it!

Program Evaluation Tips

Youth Services Shout Out -

Jamie Eastman has been sharing blog posts recently on the ALSC blog that focus on ways to consider your programs with an eye to celebrating success, recalibrating less than successful efforts and keeping track of exactly what you are doing. In her most recent post (with links to her earlier articles), she takes a look how to evaluate and innovate.

Jamie writes "Things change in libraries: staff, spaces, resources, capacity, community needs, and more. Past successes are important, but always doing what we’ve always done risks stagnation. The longevity of our Family Place initiatives gave us experience and perspective. Program growth and community connections brought new opportunities. Program evaluation highlights your wins, while innovation builds on them."

To read all her great suggestions, please stop here. [Program Evaluation: From Feedback to Flourish. Eastman, Jamie. ASLC blog. October 30, 2023.]

Chair's Corner - November 2023 YSS Board Updates

Youth Services Shout Out -

This month's November YSS board meeting update is from Alison Loewen, our YSS 2023 Chair and Youth Services Librarian, Mead Public Library, Sheboygan

It’s the time of year when we reflect on what we are thankful for.  Family, friends, good food, a safe place to sleep at night, and a job I love are at the top of my list.  I am also thankful for an amazing year as Chair, which would not have been possible without the enthusiastic and passionate group of individuals who make up our Board not just this year, but all the years before.  

When I accepted the position on the Board, honestly, I didn’t fully comprehend what it meant.  But I have come to understand that what I joined was a conversation with people who deeply care about what they do, and are ready to give extra of themselves to help connect and support youth service staff across the State.  I am proud to be a member of such a dynamic team, and grateful for each one of them and thankful for their service.

I am also thankful for all of you, readers. Every time you visit this blog, it demonstrates how much you are about your communities. When you search for a new program idea, and take the time to learn from others, it shows that you go above and beyond. To be a small part of a large community of youth service librarians is an inspiration, especially as we continue to share and learn from each other, and grow our practice together.

One of my main objectives, during my time on the Board, was to uplift YS staff through training opportunities.  Our past chair put a lot of effort into resurrecting the YS webinar series which is going strong.  Our upcoming webinar is an exciting one, and is scheduled for early January.  Connecting 1,2,3 to ABC exploring early math and its implications for emergent literacy in young child programming webinar registration is LIVE, and I hope you will consider attending.  You can  sign up here!  The webinar is recorded, so if you cannot make it the day of, still consider registering to have access to the recording. 

A new initiative, spearheaded by WLA and with active involvement from the board is the Virtual Performers Showcase.  Scheduled for December 8th, we hope that this preview of amazing performers sparks some new ideas for your summer schedule. You can find a list of participants on the website, which also has a link to registration.  If you have multiple people from your library interested in attending, there is a group registration discount.  To learn more about that special pricing, download this registration form.  If it's just you, you can register online here.

Lastly, an important update from WLA regarding board minutes.  WLA has changed their policies, and our minutes will now only be available to WLA members.  If you enjoyed reading those and keeping up to date in that way, I encourage you to become a member.  Not only will you gain access to the board minutes, but there are deep discounts on our webinar series and the Performers Showcase, and you get to vote in the upcoming board election.  There is no better time to join.  Find out more here!

Library Hosts "Card Crawl"

Youth Services Shout Out -

As seen in the WVLS (Wisconsin Valley Library Service November 2023 Newsletter

We know that pubs host “pub crawls,” but what about Card Crawls?

In this guest edition of the WVLS Newsletter, Mike Paulus, Digital Services & Marketing Specialist at the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire, talks about “Card Crawl 2023” held in September. 

How did you get the idea to host this event?
A lot of things came together for our Card Crawl event. We’ve had cardholder appreciation days during Library Card Sign-Up Month in the past, but this was the first one we’ve held post pandemic. In past years, the library used to have a prize drawing and offer patrons free candy if they showed their library card. This year, we went way bigger.

Our building recently underwent an $18.5M renovation, and we’d just moved back in and reopened the doors in October of 2022. One thing the renovation added was all these new outdoor spaces—a plaza, a makerspace courtyard, a third floor terrace, etc. Since people really hadn’t had time to explore the new spaces, this spring we had an “Outdoor Open House” with free ice cream (donated) and special activities in all the outdoor areas. 

This fall, we decided to upgrade the cardholder appreciation day using the Outdoor Open House’s basic concept of having activities and giveaways all over the library. It was great for us because many locals still hadn’t seen everything the new building had to offer. The idea of showing your library card to get free stuff (and have fun) was a no-brainer, and it led to the “Card Crawl” name. The event was held on Saturday, September 30 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Patrons were encouraged to bring in their library cards, or get a new one, and explore the building to unlock loads of library fun. There were fun freebies all over the building, a big book sale, free frozen custard from Culver’s, cool craft activities, a grand prize drawing, and more. 

Why did you think it was important to do this event? 
Showing appreciation for current cardholders and making new ones was the most important part, and we wanted people to be proud of having a library card. We also wanted people to explore the new building more fully, so the freebie stations people had to “crawl” to were by all these newer and often overlooked amenities.

 The Card Crawl brought all library   departments together. Our planning   committee was made up of people   from most departments, each   handling the tasks that highlighted   their areas. We worked very closely   with our amazing Friends of the   Library. They’re normally a more   independent entity, but we relied on   each other’s strengths to make it all   work. Everyone was working   together and excited about the same thing. 

Furthermore, we strengthened some community partnerships that day. Our city’s transit organization lobbied to their board to get free bus rides all over the city with a library card. City Transit was pleased with the results and attention they received.  Culver’s got a bunch of love from our customers, and our local nature conservatory had a huge turnout for its activities.

What was the turn out? 
Turnout was great, with approximately 1,800 people, which is three times our normal Saturday attendance. 

How many new library cards were given out? 
We signed up 77 new cardholders and renewed, updated, or replaced about 134 cards. That’s normally what we do in a whole week.

What was the most popular part of the crawl? 
It’s hard to beat free ice cream! Culver’s served 630 scoops of frozen custard over four hours. Also, I and a fantastic staffer from our Youth Services Department (who I happen to be married to) got to be “Card Crawlers.” Kids LOVED spotting us and showing us their library cards for additional prizes.

What would the library do differently if you did this again? 
Next year, we’ll need to plan on some extra staff. Most of our freebie stations were staffed by volunteers (teen and Friends of the Library), but some staff pulled double duty as prize people on top of their normal duties. That is too much when there are that many people in the building, plus events to set up.  Also, we’re located downtown, and we’d started talking to our downtown organizations about having nearby businesses offer deals and discounts to cardholders that day, but we didn’t have time to get that up and running. We’d really like the Card Crawl to expand beyond the library so the public can see people busting out their library cards and having fun.

One cool thing is that we’re lucky enough to have a great Library Board and some big supporters on our City Council. We invited those people to come volunteer at the Card Crawl and to just be a part of the day. 

For more information, contact Mike Paulus at

Group Discounts Available for YSS Performers Showcase

Youth Services Shout Out -

Thinking of attending the online YSS Performer's Showcase on Dec 8?  Registration is $20 for WLA members, $40 for non-members. 

And WLA is offering group discounts!  Register today! 

Group Discounts
Learn together and save!  Discounts are available for individuals from the same institution (individual library) attending together. 

  • 3 - 9 attendees = 10% off total registration
  • 10 - 14 attendees = 15% off total registration
  • 15-19 attendees = 20% off total registration

Group registrations must be made using the downloadable registration formAdditional instructions can be found on the form

Read more about the Performer Showcase at the WLA website

 Confirmed Presenters as of 11/02/2023

Dan Gogh's Magic and Art!
David HB Drake/Songs for All Seasons
David Landau
David Stokes Frog Chorus/Animal Adventure
Dazzling Dave - National Yo-Yo Master
Duke Otherwise
Fox & Branch
Getting Excited About Science
Historic Voices
Juggler with the Yellow Shoes, The
Mad Science of Milwaukee
Magic Morgan & Liliana
Magic Village Show
Mammoth Hunter, The
Mark Hayward - Comedy Yo-yo Guy
Miller and Mike Comedy Juggling Extravaganza
Milwaukee Steve - The Musical Juggler
Mischief & Magic
Mr. Pickles
Paul Merklein
Randy Peterson, musician
Smarty Pants/The Big Balloon Show
Snake Discovery/Snake Rattle & Roll
Spoon Man/Jim Cruise, The
Stuart Stotts, Singer and Storyteller
Traveling Lantern Theatre Company
Wendy and DB

Indigenous Reads Rising: a new resource!

Youth Services Shout Out -

As seen in the IFLS Youth Services Round-up newsletter, 11/15/23

Thanks to Kathy Larson from River Falls for sending this to me.  Indigenous Reads Rising is a new resource from We Need Diverse Books.  There is a wealth of great stuff on here, including a wonderful collection of booklists of recent and upcoming releases for Young Adults, Middle Grade, and Picture Books, including books divided by subject/genre (graphic novels, adventures, speculative, family stories, and more).  You can also find some excellent resources for teachers and librarians, including best practices, learning about Land Acknowledgements, state-by-state resources, and an excellent FAQ section. 

- Leah Langby

"Get in the Know" of WI Youth Library Services!

Youth Services Shout Out -

Image by Gerd Altmann from PixabayA message from Jeni Schomber, DPI Public Library Consultant, Library Services Team 

Do you want to stay in the know about youth services news and resources but don’t know where to start? 

The DPI (Department of Public Instruction) Library Services Team provides Youth Services support to the public library community through program coordination, resource sharing, and consulting. 

Subscribe to the YS Listserv to receive occasional emails about youth and teen programming, professional development opportunities, Library Services Team updates, and so much more! 

Simply include “subscribe to YS Listserv” in the email subject line and hit send.

AQuestions, reach out to Jeni at: 608-266-2749 


Say My Name

Youth Services Shout Out -

Maria Trivisonno asks us to consider the importance of learning and saying children's names in our work with them. She also feels it's equally important to recognize that each name is precious to children and that we need to learn names and pronounce them correctly. 

She writes "Most youth librarians can attest to the benefits that arise when you learn the names of their young customers.  When I greet children by name, they are often surprised initially surprised that I know them. The next reaction is to smile. This simple gesture gives young patrons actual proof that we are committed to their well-being…that we care.  In my experience, it makes any behavioral issues I must address easier—they more fully believe I have their interests in mind."

Maria includes a list of recent books that address the issue of pronouncing kids'  names correctly.

You can read the full post and booklist here. [Hello! My Name is... Trivisonno, Maria. ALSC blog. October 23, 2023.]              

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

Youth Services Shout Out -

Once or twice (3x!) a month on weekends, YSS posts round-ups of ads that are sent to us or that we come across. If you have a position opening up and would like to see it on the YSS blog, please forward the job ad link/descriptions to the YSS blog at the email address listed in the header above the day's blog post.

Here is another mid-November listing:

Reedsburg Public Library   Youth Services Librarian   (full time)
The Reedsburg Public Library is in search of a dynamic and creative individual with a strong interest in children's programming and literacy to lead our Youth Services team.  Responsibilities include planning, presenting and promoting programming, services and library collections for children and their families as well as circulation and reference services to all library patrons.   A four-year degree in a related field and programming experience is required. A Master’s degree in Library Science or a related field is preferred. This full-time position averages 40 hours per week, including one evening per week and one weekend shift per month.  The position is eligible for excellent benefits including health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, paid holidays, paid time off, sick time accrual, and participation in the WI Retirement System. 
We pride ourselves on providing a welcoming environment, top-notch customer service, and a fun and friendly staff. The full position description and a link to the online application can be found at:
Reedsburg Public Library - Youth Services LibrarianThis is a full-time (100%) position under supervision of the Library Director.  This librarian coordinates, presents and promotes children's programming and services.  Hours include day, evening and weekend hours.  This position includes sick leave, holiday pay, Vacation and WRS and is eligible for Health Insurance benefits as outlined in the Library Employee Handbook and City Personnel Policy. Beginning librarians and candidates nearing completion of the MLS are encouraged to apply.


  • A four-year degree
  • Experience planning and providing programming and/or services to children 
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills
  • Coursework and experience in youth services, especially focused on early literacy and family engagement 
  • An ALA accredited MLS or MLIS or equivalent degree  


The starting salary for this position is $47,840-54,080 DOE. Benefits include health and dental insurance, vacation, sick leave, holiday pay, and membership in the Wisconsin Retirement System.


Beginning librarians and candidates nearing completion of the MLS are encouraged to apply.
Applications will be reviewed upon receipt.

Sue Ann Kucher, Library Director370 Vine Street  Reedsburg, WI  53959608-768-READ (7323)