The Magic That Was ALA Annual: A Recap

So a few weeks have passed since the glory that was #alaac14. We’re mostly surviving. I thought writing this post would help keep the magic alive. Well this post and this picture.

Twitter Friends IRL

Words cannot capture how it was amazing to meet all these folks in real-deal life, these folks and so many more. We were also fortunate to attend some pretty amazing sessions and wanted to share the highlights for those of you at home. For other great ALAAC 2014 recap posts be sure to check out Storytime Underground’s full recaps from all FOUR GUERRILLA STORYTIMES Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday as well as write ups by Amy here and here, SLJ and SLJ Teen. One more glorious picture before I start session talking of Angela, our Mentor/Fairy Godmother and us. So much love!

Angela and Us! Continue reading

Book Character Parties: A Round Up

Fall planning, you sneaky beast, you!  The other week I was thinking about what to plan for the fall when school starts back up, so I asked my Twitter friends the following question:


And I have to say, ya’ll made it rain!  There were so many ideas and blog posts thrown my way that I had to bring them all together in some way.  But first, here’s why I think book character parties are a super awesome idea:

  • They bring the focus back to the books. I’m completely over one-off craft programs that require no creativity or innovation.
  • You can promote your collection – Read alikes, anyone? How about some non-fiction that would pair well with the book?
  • You can include literacy based activities and the kids won’t even care because it is SO FUN.
  • They draw on kid culture – What books are your kids interested in? What book won’t stay on your shelves? Start there.

So here is a round up of the amazing ideas everyone shared with me, plus some that I found on my own.

Alice in Wonderland

American Girl


Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Fancy Nancy

Geronimo Stilton

Laura Numeroff


Magic Tree House

Mo Willems

Percy Jackson

Pete the Cat


Stars Wars: Jedi Academy and Origami Yoda

Other Awesome Ideas

Other book ideas for parties included:

  • Rainbow Fairy Magic
  • Babymouse
  • Squish
  • Imaginary Veterinary
  • I Survived series
  • Bad Kitty
  • Captain Underpants
  • Battle Bunny
  • N.E.R.D.S.
  • George’s Secret Key to the Universe

If I’ve missed a book character party you’ve written up somewhere, please leave a comment and I will add it in to this post.  Or if you have any ideas for how to better organize the categories, let me know.

Happy fall planning!

We’ll Link To That: Summer 2014

We are excited to finally share our column in YAACING Summer 2014! YAACING is published by the Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAACS) arm of the British Columbia Library Association and if you’d like to catch up on our past columns you can find them here:

While so much has happened since we wrote this up (including meeting so many of these amazing folks!) we stand by the awesomeness of the work they do. Please check out our most recent round-up of Youth Services gold!

Awesome People Doing Awesome Things

We love discovering awesome storytimers and love it even more when we find out we’re practically neighbours. Leah, a Children’s and Family Literacy Librarian from Victoria, BC is both of these and therefore our Storytimer of the Season! You can check her out her blog Time for Storytime, or peruse her amazing Pinterest Boards like the one she created for our Summer Reading Club theme Funny Business.

We love a good joke but there ain’t nothing funny about solid professional development and these last couple of months have definitely delivered. If you have not yet read Amy’s piece on Professional Development in Youth Services we’ll wait. She follows this rallying cry with a presentation on Effective Advocacy for Youth Services which she delivered at PLA 2014.

When it comes to advocating for what we do one of the best tools is information. The folks at CLEL can always be counted on for great information like this series of posts on Developmental Milestones. It never hurts to have articles like this one on the benefits of investing in preschool and NPR’s look at what constitutes “high-quality” preschool when talking to caregivers or library administration.

Next up some quick and very cool early literacy goings on: Marge and Brooke talk about their Early Literacy Area and how it evolved here and here. We love how Ingrid posts early literacy tips behind her desk like “You don’t have to finish every book, you know.” And finally an early literacy section wouldn’t be complete without Lisa’s too-cute-for-words Early Literacy Kits she put together for families to take home.

For a slightly older crowd Sara Bryce provides her usual dose of humour and smarts in this piece on differentiated programming (aka literacy for all) and Rebecca talks about the neato storytelling launchpad she discovered in Storybird.

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Scarf Songs and Rhymes for Storytime

Last spring my colleague, Tess Prendergast, let me borrow her collection of storytime scarves to use with my preschool storytime group. They were such a hit that I knew I wanted to film some scarf songs for Jbrary.  The great thing about scarves is that you can use them with any age – babies, toddlers, preschoolers, even school age kids. If you’ve never tried using scarves with kids before, these videos are a great introduction.  You can also follow our scarf playlist or Pinterest board to see new videos as we make them.

1. Popcorn Kernels

We learned this song from Anna at Future Librarian Superhero.  The kids absolutely love throwing their scarves in the air, so I’m always looking for songs that incorporate this movement.

2. We Wave Our Scarves Together

Dana learned this song at a Mother Goose training, and I think it’s the perfect combination of a classic tune and a variety of actions (throwing, shaking, waving).

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Battle of the Funny Books: Summer Reading Club

As someone fairly new to school-age programming I am really enjoying the opportunity the Summer Reading Club presents to learn from my colleagues (near and far!) and try a few things out on my own. Last week I put on a Battle of the Funny Books program to kick off the Summer Reading Club at my branch and had a blast!

A bit of background before we get started: as Lindsey shared last week, here in British Columbia our Summer Reading Club theme is Funny Business. With this theme in mind Lindsey and another colleague participated in a webinar put on by the fabulous Lisa Shaia of Thrive Thursday and Thrive After Three called “12 Months of Children’s Programming: Grades K through 6.” One of the programs which Lisa and Joanne talked about was Battle of the Books which is a bracket style competition where books battle for kids’ votes  in multiple rounds resulting in one final winner. Rebecca Zarazan Dunn has been running a similar style tournament complete with tall ball players for a couple years now with much success. As a result of all this, Lindsey and our colleague Alicia thought it was high time for Vancouver to try our own Battle of the Funny Books!

Battle of the Funny Books Poster

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Afternoon of Disguise: Summer Reading Club Launch Party

Here in British Columbia, our Summer Reading Club theme this year is Funny Business.  For our launch party, I decided to hold an Afternoon of Disguise where kids could create a mask or play dress up using some costume supplies.  The tag line of the event was, “There’s something funny going on here!” which is one of the sub-themes of Funny Business.  This was a drop-in program – kids could come anytime and create as many disguises as they wanted.  I took pictures of the kids once they were unidentifiable and plan to put them up around the branch.  I also had a display with an array of non-fiction books – craft books, spy books, and lots of disguise books such as Animal Disguises and Buildings in Disguise.  We’re always trying to tie in a literacy component and promote our collection!


Here are the details:

Disguise Templates

I printed about 20 each on bond paper. Card stock would also work.

Craft Supplies

  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Crayons/Markers
  • Sequins
  • Feathers
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Ribbons

Optional Supplies

The best part about this program was how much fun the kids had – so much laughter and giggling. Lots of parents hung around to take pictures too.  Here’s what we got up to!


A Tour of Library Tours!

We present a tour of tours, or more accurately a stealing all of the ideas! Lindsey and I have both taken up new job posts within the last little while and I have found myself thrown into a couple tours unawares. What did I do? I turned to the Twitter-Sphere and resident Tour Gurus (which sounds cooler when said in Canadian) Sara Bryce and Marge Loch-Wouters and their awesome coworkers at La Crosse Public Library! I have learned so much from colleagues near and far I thought it high time to share. And by share, again I mean pool all the internet genius.

May I first recommend a “tour” label search of Sara’s blog? It is so cool to read about how much work they have put into tours  Field Trip Adventures! Some of the big ticket things I have learned and incorporated into my library visits are:

  • Asking kids (no matter how young!) who owns the library and letting them know they do!
  • Showing damaged materials as a way to talk about sharing, taking turns and being respectful with library stuff.
  • Setting up stations at exciting/important spots around the library signaled by visual cues or even stickers. Eep, such fun!
  • Developing scripts not as a cop-out but as a way to create consistent, high quality tours around really cool themes no matter who is delivering them.

Next up you have to read Marge’s posts which focus more on the bigger picture stuff like identifying key messages you want your tour to target and the relationships La Crosse Public Library has cultivated with their schools.  Can I just say how amazing it would be to have Marge as a boss?! Now let’s head to LibrErin where Erin adapts Sara’s Dog’s Colorful Day tour for a daycare visit! LibrErin sang the ABC’s with her group to talk about how the books are arranged and made dog necklaces for the kidlets to collect stickers on! Continue reading

Favourite Pinterest Boards for Children’s Librarians

We love us some Twitter, but another place you’ll find us sharing ideas and aggregating resources is Pinterest.  Not only do we have over 50 thematic storytime boards which include book, song, rhyme, craft, and flannel story suggestions, but we also have a variety of other boards to support those of us working in youth services.  Looking for apps to use in storytime? Or how about what to read or sing in babytime? Maybe you’ve got a bulletin board that needs sprucing up? Or perhaps you just bought an iPod and you’d like to know what recorded music works in storytime? Looking for a collection of links to blog posts featuring STEAM library programs?  You get the idea. We like to pin things!

But so do lots of other folks!  We’d like to point out some of our favourite pinners and boards (in no particular order) for those of you who are looking for new ideas to bookmark and share.  This list is just the tip of the iceberg – there are so many other great ones out there! Please share your Pinterest account in the comments so we are sure to follow you!

1. Little eLit


No one knows apps for library programming better! I love how apps are broken down by age and by use (storytime vs. anytime).  But the best part is each pin has a description that includes the developer, age range, brief synopsis, and any pros or cons. It’s an app-at-a-glance!

2. Rebecca Dunn


Rebecca, who blogs at Sturdy for Common Things, took it upon herself to create a board featuring tactile activities for babies after a Twitter conversation sparked the idea. I also love her Tournament of Kids’ Books board because I’ve adapted her display for a summer reading program here in Vancouver.

3. Leah Pearce


Our B.C. friend who blogs at Time for Storytime! Leah has boards broken down by season and common programs. I know we’ve tweeted about it all spring, but she also has an amazing SRC 2014 board with so many ideas for our theme this year- Funny Business. Making us Canadians look good!

4. Flannel Friday


All your flannel story needs organized in every which way you can imagine!  A great resource to go to when you can’t remember where you saw that cute duck flannel matching game. But they also have other types of storytelling props such as Draw and Tell Stories and Folder Stories.

5. Thrive Thursday


This is my go to browsing resource when I want to get ideas for school age programming.  Lisa does a fabulous job of linking back to all the original blog posts so you know you’re getting directed to high quality blogs. I can definitely see this account growing in the future!

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