Just Add Rhythm Sticks!

We’ve heard about these things called rhythm sticks, we’ve read many a blog post but for way too long they remained a mystery to us. Lindsey finally put her foot down and bought some. We’ve done shakers, we braved scarves and darn it it was high time we mastered the sticks! The result? We had a blast filming a whole bunch of new songs! We had so much fun we declared November #RhythmSticksMonth and you can find them all here on this playlist.


To get us started we turned to the wonderful wide web of our colleagues for ideas and strategies. Amy’s Laptime and Storytime blog provides simple instructions on how to make your own rhythm sticks, an activity to get the kids practicing responsible rhythm, lots of songs and even books with rhythm. Whew, what a post! Next up is Anne’s Library Life, where she dedicates the activity section of her babytime to rhythm sticks and includes some great parent-talk and early literacy tips on how to use them and why they’re important. Kathy and Christine at Storytime Stuff share some brilliant ways to use rhythm sticks which go beyond the ordinary and would work for school age kids as well. Using them as wands, turning them into spiders, flutes or clock hands? Pure genius! Finally, Claudia at Never Shushed has put together a magical storytime all about snow (Winter Hokey Pokey!) as well as one on rhythm and sound which on top of some neat new songs has lots of ideas for using rhythm sticks.

So with all this great advice from our wise colleagues we jumped in. We hope you’re ready for the guided tour! Continue reading “Just Add Rhythm Sticks!”

Adventures in Booktalking

Since starting my current position as a “middle years” focused children’s librarian, I’ve spent a good chunk of time developing relationships with the Teacher Librarians at my area schools. It’s been a wonderful part of my job – all of my TLs are super friendly and open to collaboration. We’ve been developing ways we can work together throughout the year that benefit both parties. On my end, my overarching goals are to ensure that all the kids in my area have three things:

  • a public library card
  • a visit to the public library
  • a knowledge of and (hopefully!) a relationship with the public librarian (that’s me!)

One of the ways I’ve made headway on the last goal is by doing booktalking programs at the schools. In addition to promoting our collection and cultivating a love for reading, booktalking programs let the kids get to know me. They see my face, they learn my name, and we get to talk about our favourite books together. It’s been amazing, and somewhat astonishing, at how effective this program has been. Kids have been coming in and asking for the books I talked about. Some of them personally ask to speak to “Len-say.” And my hope is that when I visit them again in June to promote the Summer Reading Club, I’ll be a familiar face.


Last fall I’d definitely been feeling what Erin puts into words so well – the pressure to put on ground breaking school-age programs that I see on so many wonderful blogs. But then I realized that booktalking – though it may be considered a very basic program – is exactly what my community needs; in addition to falling in line with my library’s strategic initiatives. So I’m going with it, and I’ve been super happy with that decision.

So, what exactly did I do? Well, the first thing I did was email Abby who gave me lots of booktalking advice and shared some examples of booktalks she’d done. She has been a great role model to me in this endeavor and I highly recommend checking out her blog further.

Here are the details! I’m providing you with pretty much EVERYTHING I used because I wish I would have had something like this last year when I started to plan.

Continue reading “Adventures in Booktalking”

We’ll Link to That: Winter 2015

We are excited to finally share our column in YAACING Winter 2015! 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:

Usually we’re all about bringing you all the link love one little article can contain, but this quarter we’re changing things up. We are constantly discovering new blogs dedicated to youth services. Some of these blogs are just starting up, and some of them are well established. In both cases, they’ve made it onto our radar over the past few months, and we want to share them with you. So get your RSS feeds ready!

  1. Hafuboti: Rebecca’s blog is an absolute must-read! Her monthly displays and passive programs are a sight to behold with recent additions such as Dinovember and Decemberley. This blog is bursting with creativity, from crafts to graphic design projects. Everything you see you’ll want to do in your own library.
  2. Playing the Hits: Don’t let the byline fool you – Maggie is no rookie! One thing we look for in blogs is a diversity of content and this one delivers. Read about unique storytime themes such as Pizza Dinosaurs, learn about apps she uses in her iTots storytime, or get the rundown on holding a Minecraft club. The Chicago area is lucky to have her!
  3. Geeked Librarian: Lots of STEM ideas on this blog by a newly minted children’s librarian. Learn how to make squishy circuits or find out how to make a library website with no budget!  We also love how she discusses how she tweaks and revamps the programs she’s inherited such as this music and movement storytime.
  4. Laura’s Library Adventure: We were drawn in by the adorable profile picture, we stayed for the top notch content. With over 10 years experience, Laura wows us with her full spectrum of programs such as her preschool labs, pumpkin palooza, and storytime goodies. We also love her ideas for the after school crowd: hands-on science and sweet snacks.
  5. Miss Colleen’s Corner: Colleen blogs about all different kinds of storytimes and her posts are very thoughtful and detailed. She explains why she chose the books and songs for each theme. We also love her StoryTech posts which explain how she incorporates technology into storytime. Additionally, she’s blogged about a sensory storytime she offered with the cutest visual cue cards ever.
  6. LibraryKirsten: While Kirsten’s blog is only a couple months old it is brimming with thoughtful content. Her blog focuses on both her experiences as a Children’s’ Librarian and her participation in the Colorado Association of Libraries Leadership Institute (CALLI). The result is lots of great reflection on topics like screen time, professional goal setting and awesome ideas when it come to books and programs.
  7. erinisire: We love following Erin on Twitter because she keeps it so real and her blog is no different. Her recent post about what she wants to do highlights her commitment to all things awesome and early literacy. Look no further than her TMNT Passive Program or her Ode to Babytime for original ideas and plain old hilarious writing.
  8. The Adventures of a Bookgirl: We love Bookgirl’s blog for its well organized content (c’mon we’re librarians too!) and lots of gorgeous pictures. Check out her Tween, Teen and YA programs and display ideas as well as her Sensory Storytime for some neat visual tools.
  9. The Frozen Librarian: It’s not just because she’s so close to the Canadian border she gets French radio that we’re excited about this new blog. We really like the range of formats she covers in her recommended reads, interviews like this one and did we mention her Taco storytime?! Oh yes, and oh you’re welcome.
  10. Teeny Weeny Library: First of all check out this list of themes, Andrea’s even got being sick. Love it! Ok, now back to it Andrea writes awesome book reviews and has contributed big time to Flannel Friday. And just to round this out she’s got a growing list of School Age Programming and Young Adult book reviews. All this makes for a blog worth following.

Call for Canadian Youth Services Library Content!

As the new year rolls around, Dana and I have been thinking a lot about the direction we want to take Jbrary. Since the beginning, one of our goals with this blog and our YouTube channel is to highlight the youth services work taking place in Canadian libraries.

When we first debuted the maple leaf tag on our blogroll to draw attention to Canadian bloggers and YouTubers, our dear friend Angela said, “We need more maple leaves!”  And we couldn’t agree more.

Over the past few months I’ve been mining Twitter for Canadian library staff who serve children, trying to make connections with as many people as possible.  And it’s been a good start. But we’d like to do more here on the blog.

Are you working in a Canadian library and serving children and families in some capacity?


We would love to highlight the work you are doing!  Our goal is to feature a monthly guest post written by children’s librarians, library technicians, or any other staff who answer yes to this question. We have no rules or guidelines for the guest posts –  just tell us what’s going on in your part of Canada! You could describe a recent program, share some favourite storytime books, or even talk about your community. The options are endless.

Interested? Send us an email at jbrary@gmail.com!

Please share this call for Canadian library content with anyone you think might be interested in contributing. As we slowly build our network, we rely a lot on word of mouth and the reach of social media.  Thanks so much!