Canadian Libraries Spotlight: Ottawa Public Library

We are so excited to feature the Ottawa Public Library in our 11th post in the Canadian Libraries Spotlight.  Need catch up on our series? Here are all the posts.  This post was written by Kirsten, Lise, Angela and Jessica , current and past members of the Children’s Services team at the Greenboro branch of the Ottawa Public Library (OPL). Take it away, ladies!
jbrary-flagHello and bonjour from Canada’s capital! One of the most exciting things about life in a library is that you never know what to expect, and each day has its own new adventures to be experienced.  We feel very fortunate to be part of OPL and we would like to give you a glimpse of what life in the Greenboro Children’s Department looks like.

OPL is the largest, officially bilingual (English and French) library system in North America and serves a population of approximately 870,250.  Our branch is one of 33 branches scattered throughout the city. We also have two big Bookmobiles and a new Mini Bookmobile.  Without a doubt, Ottawa is a very diverse city. As such, OPL offers material in 13 languages including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Korean, Punjabi, Persian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Urdu and Vietnamese. Being the capital city also means that we are lucky to have a wide range of museums, both national and local, on our doorstep. What’s more, OPL has partnerships with most of them. Therefore, our customers enjoy free museum admission passes for the whole family to places like the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum and the Canadian Children’s Museum. Furthermore, employees from many of the museums often come and do programs at the Library.

OPL is also very proud to have a Makerspace, called the ImagineSpace and a Kiosk that has automated holds pickup lockers and vending-machine style library material dispensers. The children’s department at the Greenboro branch features an integrated program room, a lot of natural light, bright colours, and space to play and learn. Join us as we take you on a tour of the children’s department.

The absolute star of the Children’s Dept is our Flintstone style car; it’s the perfect spot for reading. It has two openings at the top with Jetson-style bubbles.  It has generous front and rear trunks – perfect for kids to load up with books… much to the chagrin of our Pages!

The pod area is where all the action happens. And, by action, I mean all of our preschool and class visits happen here. We call it the pod as it’s semi circular with a sturdy accordion curtain that closes to provide more privacy when needed. Hidden behind a series of moveable panels, are handy storage cupboards with a sink and countertop. Most of our supplies are kept here and the sink makes cleanup after a messy program easy.  Kids and adults alike get a kick out of finding out that we have a Harry Potter cupboard, offering more storage under a set of stairs (of course) near the pod.


Between Babytime, Toddlertime and Contes en famille (that’s French for Family Storytime!), to mention just a few programs, we see lots of families and caregivers each week which makes for a vibrant and noisy branch!

These are some of our favourite programs that we have offered over the years:

A guide dog took part in Babytime:


LEGO® building programs:

opl4Programs offered by local museums, such as the Ottawa Art Gallery’s Labyrinth Race program shown below:


We also have a special relationship with a local school for students with profound or multiple developmental delays, the Clifford Bowey Public School. We offer four Storytimes, for many of the classes, per year. Due to the unique needs of this group, we creatively adapt Storytime to meet their needs. Each session involves some combination of books, rhymes, songs, felts, puppets and ends with a short video, usually one of the Weston Woods series of picture book films.

Some of the specific adaptations which we have used for groups with special needs include:

  • A supersized felt board (a 2 ft x 3 ft corkboard covered with felt) which is not only more visible to the children, but sits nicely in an easel and is easily moved to an appropriate height
  • Incorporating books with much rhythm, rhyme and colour
  • Enlisting the help of the classroom aides so that each child gets a chance to feel and experience the puppets
  • Reading books at a toddler or pre-school level with a lot of animation.

These programs are a 45 to 50 minute workout where the animator is in constant motion. Even while reading we move along in front of the group to keep all engaged. They are exhausting, but highly rewarding.

As in any facet of life at the Library, communication is key. To improve our services, we will often discuss songs, rhymes or books we tried during the program, to evaluate those that were successful, or those that flopped, and keep track of the videos and books we share with classes to avoid repetition.

Signs of a great program:  
There are quite a few gestures from customers that make offering programs even more rewarding , but these are a few that stand out:

  • When teachers ask for the book titles we shared with the class
  • When a child feels the need to give you a hug in the middle of the program
  • When the class breaks out in an impromptu dance party.

In the spirit of sharing, a favourite CD of ours (which has found its way into many programs) is The Second Line by Johnette Downing. Her songs Shake Your Scarves and Flitter Flutter have become favourites for the children, aides and teachers of Clifford Bowey and beyond.

Here are other resources that are a hit with our special needs groups:

Picture books:

  •  Bear Sees Colors by Karma Wilson
  •  Down by the Cool of the Pool by Tony Mitton
  •  If You’re Happy and You Know It by Jan Ormerod  (and other books based on songs)
  •  Is Everyone Ready for Fun? By Jan Thomas
  •  Wiggle by Doreen Cronin

Book DVDs

  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin
  • Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak
  • LMNO Peas by Keith Baker
  •  Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins
  •  The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats


  • Clap Your Hands from The Wiggleworms Love You by the Wiggleworms
  • If You’re Happy and You Know it from Monkey See, Monkey Do by Michael & Jello
  • It’s a Beautiful Day from Reaching for the Stars by Kathy Reid-Naiman
  • Shake it Baby, Shake it from Oh Baby! By Rainbow Songs. This is perfect with shakers or bells
  • Shake Your Scarves and Flittler Flutter from The Second Line by Johnette Downing. As previously mentioned, these are hands-down our favourite scarf songs

Please stop by and say ‘hi!’ or ‘bonjour!’ if you’re ever in town!

Population (n.d.) City of Ottawa.  Retrieved from

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Baby Storytime: Focus on Newborns

For the fourth post in our baby storytime series, I’m sharing books and songs and rhymes perfect for newborns. This post is inspired by the influx of newborns in my life lately and I hope you’ll all allow me to selfishly welcome Sidney, Mason and soon Alexander to this great place we call Earth! With these new infants in mind as well as the constant supply I have the pleasure of seeing at work, I thought a post just for brand new babes was more than warranted.

If you’re fired up about baby storytime and want to read more, make sure to check out the rest of the posts in the series!

Books and Why

I may be a bit of a zealot but I truly believe that babies should be around books as soon as they are born. It’s for this reason that every person I know ever will always receive books when a new baby arrives. Apparently lots of other children’s library folks agree with me as demonstrated by the 100 odd comments to Rebecca’s query on the Storytime Underground Facebook Group about favourite books to give a newborn. Here are a couple of our favourites for babies birth to three months and what makes them perfect for itty bitties:

  • Books with large, bright faces! Some great examples include Ten Tiny Tickles and Counting Kisses by Karen Katz, 10 Little Fingers and 10 Little Toes by Mem Fox and the Baby Step Series by Carol McDougall. Newborns seek out and pay attention to faces because it is an important source of information for them and books with images of faces will capture their attention.
  • High contrast and black and white books like I Kissed the Baby! by Mary Murphy and any of the Black and White series by Tana Hoban are also fantastic for little babies. The contrast between bold colours or black and white in the  illustrations gives baby something to focus on which helps strengthen their eyesight.

                             baby play black and white i kissed the baby karen katz mem fox

One tip we like to share with caregivers with infants is from Library Bonanza’s Early Literacy Talking Points (seriously bookmark this page!) “For a baby’s short attention span, reading shouldn’t be done in one sitting but throughout the day. That’s why it’s important to always keep a book handy. Read when you and your child are relaxed and happy.”  For more book ideas check out our Babytime Books and Songs Pinterest Board  or SLJ’s recent  Board Book Round-up for what’s new and hot in the board book world.

Songs and Rhymes

While there are so many songs and rhymes out there for babies that I LOVE I’ve endeavored to whittle down the list and really celebrate the ones which are best suited to newborns. An early literacy message to share with parents about what to sing and when (besides everything and all the time): just as baby is getting to know them, caregivers can be learning what their baby is communicating through body language. Tell parents “try choosing an upbeat song when her eyes are wide and alert and when she’s sleepy, quick to cry or turns away try a quieter, soothing song.” Here are some ideas:

The Moon is Round: This lovely song is gentle and soothing and perfect for newborns. Have parents sing it through once and point out the parts of their face and then again while they gently touch baby’s face.

Peek a Boo: This is such a great song for new infants for a couple reasons. First off, because of babies’ attraction to faces, they will tune in when parents make their face disappear and reappear. Also, this begins to model the verbal convention of taking turns. Encourage parents to make big silly faces and let their baby react. By pausing after they draw their hands away, they’re letting baby know it’s your turn and I’m listening.

Ride Baby Ride: While lap bounces and dancing songs are a lot of movement for newborns we love this song because of the playful language. I wouldn’t have parents of newborns bounce to this one, instead I would suggest that they pat baby’s back or chest while they’re held close. Babies will begin to make cooing and gurgling noises at two months and parents can encourage these noises by singing songs with silly sounds or ending a rhyme with a tickle and a coo.

What are your favourite songs, rhymes and books to recommend to parents of newborns? What tips do you send home with these little bundles? Drop us a line in the comments below and stay tuned for our next Baby Storytime post!

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Canadian Libraries Spotlight: Windsor Public Library

It’s the 10th post in our Canadian Libraries Spotlight series, hooray! If you’re just joining us, we invited library staff in Canada who serve children and families to write about the awesome work they are doing.  This week our guest blogger is Chelsie Abraham, the Acting Associate Branch Librarian with Richmond Hill Public Library’s Oak Ridges branch in Richmond Hill, Ontario.  She also blogs about library services to children and young adults over at Rock the Library.  Check her out!  She’s here to tell us about developing programs on a tight budget.

jbrary-flagLet’s face it, not all of us have an infinite programming budget. Pressures to increase program attendance paired with the high cost of makerspace gadgets, small-to-medium sized libraries have to think outside the box.

My first contract as a Children and Young Adult Librarian was at Windsor Public Library’s Remington Park branch in Windsor, Ontario. Programming budget for this 1000 square foot branch for the entire year was a whopping $100.  And that included summer reading! We were open 3 days a week, and we had a program scheduled everyday. Sometimes even two. We had higher program attendance than all 5-days a week branches and were neck-in-neck with the largest central location.

So, I’m here to show you that the feat is not impossible.

Programs to Run Under $5

Spool Knitting

An easy program to run in the fall/winter. Spool knitting is simple to learn and teach. There are a ton of free critter and monster patterns available on Pinterest too!

howl the owlWhat you Need

  • Receipt paper spools (ask your circulation staff to save them for you!)
  • Nails
  • Yarn donations
  • Miscellaneous craft supplies such as googly eyes, felt, hot glue gun
  • Optional: If you have access to a 3D Printer, have crochet hooks made!

To make the spools, glue the nails around the spool evenly with either a hot glue gun or industrial strength glue (E-6000 works best).

Junior Writers

A weekly program to run throughout the school year.

junior writers

What you Need: Shop back-to-school sales to get the biggest savings.

  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • Folders
  • Exercise Book

Give yourself lots of time to prep for this program. Exercises can be as simple as developing a character and then writing a letter to that character to writing a myth or a legend.

Tips for Buying Supplies

  1. Invest in reusable supplies. Some supplies such as the 1-gallon of Elmer’s Glue may be an expensive start-up, but is reusable. Try to laminate everything. If you don’t have access to a laminator, ask your local school board to do it for you. Tip: Offer a school visit in exchange for lamination. It’s a win-win for everyone!
  2. Ask your manager to view an office supplies catalogue. Libraries get mega discounts on their office supplies – sometimes up to 60% off the store price! It’s a great place to get construction paper, glue, and even a case for your iPad! Ask to have a programming account set up if they’re worried about budget allocations.
  3. Sales, coupons, and bargains. Back to school supplies are not just for kids! Pencils, lined paper, duo-tangs, and pencil crayons all go on clearance the first week of September. Freshen up your supplies for the entire year. And let’s not forget Michael’s coupons. Never shop without one!
  4. Sharing is caring. If you work in a multi-branch system, ask one of them to go halfers with you on supplies.
  5. It doesn’t have to be dollar store craft supplies. It may be $1, but not the best value. If you’re buying in bulk, sometimes it’s better spend a little more.

A big thank you to Chelsea for sharing her budget friendly programming ideas!  Please leave a comment with any tips or tricks you use at your library.

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Flannel Friday: Ladybug, Ladybug Flannel Game

Remember when I tried to find all the renditions of Little Mouse, Little Mouse posted on the internet?  Good times.

My family storytime loves the Little Mouse flannel game. The toddlers faces light up with delight when we finally find the mouse.  Even the older kids get into guessing which colour house it is hiding behind.  I knew I wanted to create a summer themed version.

My 4-year-old niece Sophie loves ladybugs. The other day we were at the park and I snapped this picture of her with her little friend. Two seconds later it flew away and she said, “Bye, bye sweetie. I love you.”

sophie ladybugI made this ladybug felt game because it reminded me of her, and I wanted a chance to talk to my storytimers about the importance of ladybugs (they eat aphids which are killing some of our trees!)  It’s also super easy to make!

The rhyme goes like this:

Ladybug, Ladybug
Are you behind the (colour) rug?

When I do it in storytime we practice saying the rhyme two times before playing the game.  A great early literacy tip to share before or after is about phonological awareness: “Rhymes slow down language and break words into sounds children can hear. In this rhyme, we really stretch out the word “ladybug” and break it into three clear syllables.  Being able to hear the sounds in ladybug can help kids later when they learn to read.”

Now for the flannel set! I completely free-handed the ladybug.  Just cut out a black circle for the body, a smaller black half circle for the head, two black antenna, four small black circles, and the red shell. Grab some hot glue and you are ready to go.

ladybug 2

For the rugs, I cut out six rectangles in different colours.  Then I frayed the ends by cutting some fringe on the ends.   Seriously, this is the easiest flannel set you will ever make. Now I was content to leave them plain, but my awesome co-worker Karen saw my rugs and asked if she could decorate them.  But of course!  Imagine my delight when I came back the next day and they had the most adorable patterns on them!

rugsNow I have a second early literacy tie-in: patterns and shapes.  Before we play the game, we talk about the shapes and patterns the kids see.  I give a second early literacy tip to caregivers that goes something like, “The next time you see a pattern or a shape, try talking about it with your children.  Being able to distinguish between patterns and shapes will help them later when they need to recognize the differences between letters and numbers.”


The kids have been loving this Ladybug version just as much as Little Mouse. Thanks to Laura at Library Lalaland for hosting this week’s Flannel Friday!  Check out her blog for the full round-up this Friday, and check out the Flannel Friday website for information on how you can participate.

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Canadian Libraries Spotlight: Annapolis Valley Regional Library, Nova Scotia

Welcome to the 9th post in our Canadian Libraries Spotlight series! If you’re just joining us, we’re highlighting the amazing work being done in Canadian libraries in the field of youth services. This week our post comes from our fairy godmother Angela Reynolds who works at the Annapolis Valley Regional Library in Nova Scotia.  Read on to learn about StoryKits, Baby Boxes, and Be Fit Kits!

jbrary-flagKits and bags and boxes, oh my.

As Head of Youth Services for a rural library system, I have the great pleasure of providing resources and training for our library staff. We are a small system with around 60 employees total. We have 11 branches and a bookmobile, and many of our branches are single staffed, or perhaps have 2 people working at the same time. My goal is to make it easier for staff to provide quality programs and storytimes with limited funds and limited time to plan and prepare

Enter the StoryKit! In my previous job at WCCLS we had a huge store of these kits, which is where I got the idea. I like to think of these as a “Storytime in a Box” – open it up and add kids, and you have yourself a storytime! Currently, we have 11 kits for staff use. I try to add one or two each year, to keep things interesting.  Each kit is stored in a Rubbermaid tub, and labeled with eh kit name and number on the outside. They are delivered along with books to our branches. The kits contain books, felt stories, active play items, puppets, and a resource notebook that contains craft ideas, fingerplays and songs, and early literacy information.  Each kit is themed. . I always suggest that those who are new to storytime use these kits for their first session of storytimes, just to get a feel for the types of books and activities are in a good storytime. The kits all have an ECRR focus, and contain Early Literacy tips for the presenters.

To give you a better idea of what is in a kit, here are the contents of our “Song & Dance” kit, which gets used a lot!


  • Animal Music – Harriet Ziefert
  • Beetle Bop by Denise Fleming
  • Cha Cha Chimps- Julia Durango
  • Doing the Animal Bop – Jan Ormerod (with CD)
  • Drumheller Dinosaur Dance – Robert Heidbreder
  • How Can you Dance? – Rick Walton
  • In the Fiddle is a Song- Durga Bernhard
  • Giraffes Can’t Dance – Giles Andreae
  • Tanka Tanka Skunk – Steve Webb


  • Rhythm Sticks Rock- CD
  • Egg shakers (12)
  • Polka Dot Maracas (4)
  • Dance ribbons & CD (12 ribbons)
  • Brementown Musicians felt story
  • Hey Diddle Diddle felt rhyme
  • Singing English kit
  • Resource Notebook

I recently created Baby Boxes for baby & toddler storytimes. These are boxes that stay at the branch while they are doing Baby Storytime, and they include new board books, scarves, resources,  and a hand puppet. We also have a large puppet collection that branches can borrow. I try to buy quality puppets from FolkManis, but we also have some nice puppets that have been donated. We keep these kits and puppets at our Headquarters location, and branches schedule them as they need them. This cuts down on branch storage issues, and allows us to do some resource sharing.

baby boxpuppets
We also have kits for public use. I know that parents are often looking for information on a subject or for books of a certain type, and so we’ve made it easy to grab and go! Our most popular are the Potty Kits – again, an idea I stole from my previous job. The Potty Kits contain – Everyone poops by Gomi – No more diapers for ducky by Ford – Potty Power DVD – Potty Time by Paterson – The Potty Training Answer Book by Deerwester – Tinkle, Tinkle, Little Tot (with CD) – and Too Big for diapers by Barrett.

wellused pottyWe also have “Little Reader Bags” – leveled early readers in a bag. These were so popular that we created them in French as well as English. Another kit that we have for adults is our Breastfeeding kits. These were created in partnership with the local La Leche League. Many of the kits for the public have been created with grant funding, and we update them with our own book budget when needed.

Our most recent kit is the Be Fit Kit.  We’ve partnered with Sport Nova Scotia and Department of Health & Wellness,  Active Living Branch to create kits that you can take home and play with! Each kit contains fun items such as balls, juggling scarves, activity dice, frisbees, skipping ropes, and more! There’s an activity booklet included in each one that guides you in ways to use the items included. We’ve even included 4 picture books that will get you moving as you read together. The kits are designed to increase physical literacy and to make it easy for you to be active. Our kits are modeled on kits that were originally developed in Kingston, ON.

While the kits can sometimes be a lot of work in the background for staff, for patrons they are really convenient and helpful.  And our StoryKits are the same for staff—takes a bit of time to create them (but I love doing it!) and they are a big help to our storytime presenters.

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We’ll Link to That: Summer 2015

Every quarter we write a column for YAACING, a youth services newsletter published by the Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAACS) arm of the British Columbia Library Association.  This summer our column is all about innovate summer reading club programs, but make sure to check out the entire Summer 2015 issue! If you’d like to catch up on our past columns you can find them here:

It’s Summer Reading Club time!  We hope everyone’s having a great time with the Build It! theme this year.  Though we are already in the thick of it, we thought we’d highlight innovative ideas children’s librarians across North America are implementing.  Ever thought about ditching prizes? Want to get the kids more involved and active in SRC?  Look no further than our 10 favourite Summer Reading Club blog posts.

1. Tiny Tips for Library Fun : In this six post series Marge pushes us to think past the “narrow lines of expected service.” She not only provides research and evidence, she also asks the tough questions about going prizeless, preventing staff burnout, and reaching the kids who aren’t participating. This series made us think deeper about the why behind SRC. Don’t forget to check out her Summer Reading Revolution Pinterest board as well.

2. Abby the Librarian: Are you sick of giving kids cheap plastic toys for SRC prizes?  Then this is a must read post!  Abby takes us through how she stopped giving away prizes and instead offered super cool Science Activity Packets. A balloon rocket? Check. An exploding stick bomb? Check. The learning and fun shouldn’t stop at the library, and Abby demonstrates just how to make that happen. The best part is the kids loved it.

3. Jean Little Library: You want to make changes to SRC but how do you get everyone on board?  Read Jennifer’s detailed summer proposal. She includes excellent reasons for going prizeless, why to offer something for the little ones, and what other people are doing to simplify SRC. Her plan is aimed at making it more accessible for each family.

4. Library Bonanza: Kelsey rebranded her summer reading club to the Summer Library Club. Kids are rewarded just for visiting the library! We love how this makes the library a destination for families and extends beyond books and reading. Books are used as giveaways and volunteers are heavily utilized to make this program an increasingly popular summer activity.

5. Hafubuti: Rebecca created wonderful summer reading club booklets as a way to get the kids in her community active. The booklets combine coupons to local businesses with a thematically related literacy activity on the opposite page. She also made bright, eye catching signs for businesses to put up that say “This Business Proudly Supports the Library.”  Another great example of a library going prizeless and working with community members to provide a literacy rich summer for families.

6. Kids Library Program Mojo: Our guru Marge Loch-Wouters teaches a Power Children’s Programming course and her students came up big with ideas all about achieving a zen state during SRC. Impossible you say? Read on for simple tips about staffing, engaging with the community and prizes (or lack thereof.) Marge writes passionately about that fine balance between maintaining your sanity and providing quality service to families and we love her for it.

7. Thrive After Three: Reading logs or reading records can start to feel a little old, especially for older kids. For this reason we absolutely love Lisa’s Summer Reading bingo cards which feature challenges or activities involving books, holidays or library programs. Feedback from families was extremely positive and getting a new bingo card each week kept them coming back all summer long! Pssst, Lisa also links to her Lend a Friend program which we’re dying to try.

8. Growing Wisconsin Readers: We all know SRC is a time to focus and program for school age children, but what about your younger crowd? In this post Abby writes about her Early Literacy Summer Library Program for children birth to four and their caregivers. Inspired by Marge (who we can’t talk enough about!) Abby created simple logs for families to record early literacy activities like pointing out print or playing a rhyming game.

9. ALSC Blog: This post talks about the latest trend in SRC programming: camps! Detailing a very successful Geek Girl Camp, this post not only has lots of ideas for an awesome STEAM focused camp but also makes an argument for why this model is so successful.

10. Bryce Don’t Play: As her library moved away from prizes Bryce was tasked with developing Summer Reading Game Cards and we’re so glad she was! In this post she writes about the activities on the card and how and why they develop literacy skills. We saved this one for last as a hilarious treat, enjoy!

Do you have a favourite summer reading club idea that we missed? We’d love to hear about it, give us a shout at

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YouTube: A User’s Guide to Creating Storytime Videos

There are lots of things we get asked: can I link to your content? What are your storytime tips for someone just getting started? Who are Glasses and Dimples?! But the one question we get asked which is near and dear to our hearts is how do I get started on YouTube. As two freshly pressed Children’s Librarians we set out on the rocky seas of online videos without any navigational training. Now, over two years of creating and posting content under our belts we thought it was high time to share our best practices.

Check out our first blooper reel for maximum appreciation of how much time has passed! Then vow never to watch another one of our blooper reels.

Setting up your channel and making things findable

  • You don’t need all the gizmos and gadgets: YouTube’s Creator Studio has easy to navigate tabs which help you manage your videos and grow your channel. When it comes to uploading, YouTube Help has useful FAQ’s and there’s even a video editor within the Creator Studio to make it that much easier!
  • Make and maintain playlists: Many of us work in libraries and like being able to find stuff, right? Well the same goes for your YouTube channel (and blog too!) Creating and maintaining playlists allows people to easily browse your content which becomes more important with each new video you add. These serve as access points for older content and are super useful for us busy-multi-tasking-letmejustthrowthiscrafttogether-types who like to have videos playing while they do other things.
  • Include as much information as possible: Not to sound like a broken wheel but we library folk know that the more information you can include in a record the easier it will be to find. So, include the words to the song or rhyme in the video, include who taught you the song or where it comes from, include a link to your blog, include EVERYTHING! Not only does this mean a higher quality video for your viewer, because you’ve included the words but you’ve also just increased the video’s searchability. Yay!  This goes for your “About” section as well. Remember that people from all over the world will be viewing your channel, not just your local patrons, so include the province or state you’re in or heck even the country. Can you be found on other social media platforms? Include those too- make it easy! Ok, rant over.

sepiaMe asking my Lindsey if we really need to add the words to every video. Her laughing at me.

Being a Responsible YouTube Citizen

  • Update content regularly: Remember library school when you had to do an assignment on libraries and social media? It was all the rage! The trouble is many folks get off to a great start on YouTube and upload a truckload (say it ten times fast!) of videos and then find it difficult to keep up. When you’re getting set up add a solid handful and then have an honest conversation with your Lindsey (oh, I’m the only one with a Lindsey?!) or yourself about how often you’ll be able to create. We film 10-20 videos every couple of months and then upload a new one each week. This means our channel always has new content without either of us feeling overwhelmed.
  • Be respectful of copyright and content: Because we deal in children’s music (most of which is in the public domain) and have cultivated relationships with other professionals in the field we’ve never gotten in any serious copyright trouble. As long as you do your absolute best to credit the song and/or share who you learned it from this should be sufficient when it comes to songs for children. We’ve had artists claim songs we’ve done and we simply ask their permission, add that information to the box below the video and thank them profusely. If someone asked us to take down a song we absolutely would. YouTube is a very participative space and while it lacks the formal, written copyright rules we might be used to in print following these best practices has been successful for us thus far. We swear this post is not sponsored by Youtube (in fact it was inspired by a question about copyright!) but their Copyright Centre is a great place to start if you’re recording music which is not your own and for information specific to Canadian copyright and materials within the public domain we found UBC’s Copyright Centre to be quite helpful.
  • Subscribe, show love! The strength in our professional community is in our numbers: the more people using this medium to share video content, the better we all get. And even if you’re not ready to start uploading just yet challenge yourself to check out new channels, give the old thumbs up to videos you like and share, share, share.
  • For some examples of folks we love on YouTube scroll all the way down to Other People Making Videos.

We’re looking forward to a post in the Fall from Belleville Public Library all about their newly minted library YouTube channel and the lessons they’ve learned, so as they say in the business STAY TUNED! In the meantime please leave questions, your own best practices or resources you’ve found helpful when it comes to creating and sharing video content in the comment box below.

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Baby Storytime: Favourite Lap Bounces

For the third post in our baby storytime series, I’m sharing my favourite lap bounces. Make sure to check out the rest of the posts in the series!

I do a few lap bounces every baby time. Usually in the middle, after we’ve sung our hello song and done a few fingerplays and tickles. Here are some of the early literacy tips I give for lap bounces:

  • If your baby is up for it, try turning them so they face you as they bounce. This allows them to watch your mouth as you sing so they can see how you form the sounds and words that make up your language.
  • Bounces are a great way for children to feel the beat with their entire body in addition to hearing the rhymes.  A steady beat is reminiscent of their mother’s heartbeat, a sound that provided them comfort in the womb.
  • Walking, running, and dancing all require the body’s ability to keep a steady beat. So by doing lap bounces with your baby you are getting them ready for this later developmental stage.
  • Lap bounces allow us to be close to our babies by holding them on our laps and giving them hugs and cuddles. This is a great chance to build a positive, loving relationship with your baby which is the foundation for learning.

And here are some of my favourites!

This one is so simple – perfect for when you have a group of new babytimers. When my niece was 2-years-old she always used to say, “bumpy road!” whenever we went over a part of the road that jostled her in her stroller. Proof that this one works!

To the tune of “Shortnin’ Bread” this one is catchy. I sing it three times through – pants, shirt, and hat. I always encourage caregivers to sing this one daily to establish a getting dressed routine. The best is when I hear them singing it on their own when they are packing up baby to leave the library.

This one is so fun! The caregivers love it and sometimes we do it multiple times throughout the babytime.  A lot of people in Vancouver take transit, so I encourage them to sing it while riding the bus.

A classic! There’s a second verse I started doing where you tip babies to the side and sing, “One wheel’s off and the axle’s broken, one wheel’s off and the axle’s broken, one wheel’s off and the axle’s broken, won’t you be my darling?” We also have a winter version of this song and a space version too!

It’s fun to take an old classic and adapt it for babies. Most of the caregivers know the words and tune to this one – we just made it more fun!

If I’ve got a group of particularly active or rambunctious babies, I always do The Grand Old Duke of York.  Sometimes bouncing just isn’t enough and the babies want to be lifted.  For younger babies, I recommend just moving their arms or legs up and down.

This one also combines bouncing and lifting, but it is less well known than the Grand Old Duke. I still think it’s lots of fun and a great one to introduce to babytime groups who are ready for some new material.

Want more lap bounces? Check out our YouTube playlist or our Pinterest board.

What are your favourite lap bounces for baby storytime? Let us know in the comments!

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