Community Mapping

One of the things I’d like to write more about is community-led children’s librarianship.  A few years ago Dana wrote an introductory post about this topic with great examples. She also pointed to the Bible of community work: The Community-Led Libraries Toolkit.  This model of service positions the community members as experts and asks library staff to examine the different barriers to access users face.  I believe community outreach is a key part of our job, one I’m not willing to outsource to volunteers.  So let’s dive deeper into the toolkit strategies that help me better understand my neighbhourhood. We’ll start with community mapping.

When I moved to my current library branch a year and a half ago I had a fair idea of the demographics. I looked up data from the Human Early Learning Partnership based out of the University of British Columbia which shows me the level of vulnerability and developmental health of the early years and middle years children in my specific catchment.  I knew the types of stores and restaurants in the area because I don’t live far away.  What I didn’t have a good grasp of were the key services for kids ages 0 – 12 years old: daycares, preschools, schools, and out-of-school care facilities. These were the groups I wanted to reach out to but I didn’t know where they were located.

Enter community mapping and Google maps. I’m a visual learner and have a much easier time keeping track of information when I can look at a picture. In the Community-Led Libraries Toolkit one of the strategies for getting to know your area is called community asset mapping. Community asset mapping “focuses on learning about the organised or formal groups in a community. It helps you learn about the services provided in the community and identify potential community partners, providing a launch pad for you to enter the community.” I decided to create a Google map specifically mapping those three groups to better understand the spread of services. Here’s what my map looks like.  The yellow book icon is the library, the blue children are out-of-school care facilities, the purple houses are elementary schools, and the pink babies are preschools and daycares.

To create a map first open Google My Maps then select “Create a New Map.” There are tons of customization options. I didn’t do anything fancy. This website has a short video tutorial if you’d like to see a step-by-step guide. I like how you can colour code points, change the icons, and add notes.

Now I can easily spot daycares and preschools not within walking distance to the library or on an awkward public transit route. It’s also easy to spot the services that are clustered around a school, something I keep in mind when visiting classes.  When I schedule an outreach visit I look at the map and check to see if there is another centre nearby I can visit, either to drop off information, do an informal storytime, or simply collect more information.

There is a notes field attached to each point on the map that allows me to track how often I visit, the centre’s access to books, if the centre has an institutional library card, the socioeconomic status of the families, language spoken in the centre, etc. You can write in anything you find useful! It’s great for an at-a-glance summary of the spaces families are using for childcare and learning in my neighbourhood. Here’s an example:

Community asset mapping can be used for much broader purposes too. In the toolkit, they list the following questions to consider when creating your map:

  • Who lives, works, or visits around here? Where do people go?
  • What do they identify as the best places to shop for groceries, stop for coffee, check a bulletin board, or relax in a park?
  • Are there different “best places” for youth, families, seniors, or specific ethnic or economic groups?
  • What types of services and resources are available in the community?
  • What kinds of places or activities do people feel are missing from the community?

You can also invite the community to help you create your map. I’ve seen libraries make giant maps that they put on display and ask library users to add the places they frequent. You can also have staff go on community walks and come back and add any new developments they spot.

How do you get to know what’s in your library’s community? I’d love to hear about any other ideas!

 

It Takes a Neighborhood to Nourish a Children’s Librarian: Introducing “The Cardigan”

I can’t even tell you how much excitement I have for this announcement! When Katherine and Allie told me about The Cardigan I immediately asked if they would write about it so I could help spread the news.  Read on to learn about this amazing resource for library staff serving children.

Who We Are and the Vision

We (Allie & Katherine) are two Children’s Librarians working together in a public library in Oklahoma. Katherine primarily works with early childhood kids and Allie works with elementary kids.

Before working with Katherine, I (Allie) worked in a small rural public library in another state. It was my first full-time Children’s Librarian position out of library school. In this new position as a solo Children’s Librarian, it wasn’t long before I began to feel a little alone. I spent my free time researching great resources (like Jbrary!) to help me feel connected and up-to-date, but soon finding the time, support, and energy to research the relevant information left me exhausted.

This is a trend we have both noticed since becoming Children’s Librarians:  finding relevant and current professional development resources can be challenging, tedious to sift through, or costly. So we dreamt up the idea of a newsletter: a visually appealing platform made up of high-quality, bite-sized information related to the profession with real-world implications. Articles posted on social media can be difficult to keep track of, so the newsletter format allows us to preserve all of our resources in one place. Each newsletter will be turned into a PDF and accessible through a Google Drive folder. In this way, we hope to create a repository of the best tools available to help us become excellent at our jobs.

The Cardigan Newsletter

This newsletter is called “The Cardigan” and drops in your inbox on the 20th of every month. In every newsletter, we will explore the following topics with links to professional resources:

  • Learn. Deepen your knowledge on a topic related to Children’s Services.
  • Play.  Play is a right! Learn quick tips to optimize play experiences in libraries.
  • Plan. Learn about an interesting program you can easily replicate at your library.
  • Consider. Libraries are for everyone! Read resources about the importance of inclusive Children’s Services.
  • Connect. Discover new places to find content.
  • Reflect. Where we reflect on the deeper questions regarding Children’s Librarianship.
  • Read.  Check out some of our favorite books.
  • Ask. Where we answer your questions!

After some reflection, we settled on “it takes a neighborhood to nourish a Children’s Librarian” as our motto because we want to center in on the reality that we need each other to be happy, healthy, and effective librarians. We are both relatively new to the profession, and we hope to create a digital “neighborhood” with Children’s Librarians of all strengths and competencies.

This will happen in three ways:

  • Our “Celebrate” section: We want to celebrate your awards, promotions, and hard work!
  • Our “Share” section: You can e-mail us your cool programs and initiatives related to Children’s Services and we will select a few to feature each month.
  • Our Instagram and hashtag: We are going to use our Instagram (@thecardigannewsletter) to feature other ideas and programs, and the “shares” we aren’t able to fit in the newsletter. Tag your library-related Instagram and Facebook posts with #thecardigannewsletter so that we can see what you are up to!

How to Join the Neighborhood

We hope you’ll join the neighborhood and subscribe to The Cardigan! This little newsletter is our humble attempt to contribute to the need for professional development in our field; we know it won’t solve all of our problems, but we are excited to do our part and would love to have you along for the ride.

Here are four action items:

  • Subscribe to the Cardigan here.
  • Contribute to our first “Ask” section. Email us at thecardigannewsletter@gmail.com with “Ask” in the subject line with any library-related question.  We will do our best to answer, but if we can’t, we will bring in an expert.
  • Contribute to our first “Celebrate” section. E-mail us at thecardigannewsletter@gmail.com, with “Celebrate” in the subject line, along with a brief description (2-3 sentences) of your successes. Celebrating coworkers is also welcomed; please ‘cc them in the submission e-mail so that we can get their permission to be featured. Examples of things to celebrate include: trying something new, practicing radical self-care, getting a job, getting published, being a great coworker… Whatever you deem to be an accomplishment!
  • Contribute to our first “Share” section. You can e-mail us your cool program ideas at thecardigannewsletter@gmail.com, with “Share” in the subject line. Please include at least one photo, along with a short (100-150 word) description.

We can’t wait to see you around the neighborhood!

Katherine & Allie

Guest Post: Storytime Out Loud: A Storytime Podcast

Are you ready to have your storytime life changed? Because I am about to introduce you to two ladies who have started the first ever (at least, the only one I know about) podcast all about library storytime! It’s called Storytime Out Loud and there are three episodes out already.  You can also follow them on Instagram and Facebook. I asked Christy and Lauren to write a guest post about who they are and why they started Storytime Out Loud. Read on to learn about this amazing new professional development resource!
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Hi, we’re Christy and Lauren! We are youth services librarians at a large regional public library in Raleigh, NC where we plan and present baby, toddler, preschool and family storytimes. We just started recording a brand-new podcast called Storytime Out Loud, where we’re having a blast talking storytime ideas, new books, and much more. Other topics include anything in the “culinary-retro-film-Gilmore Girls-Broadway” world. Is that a thing? It is now.

Our podcast is for anyone doing storytime. Especially those who enjoy modern ideas, are looking to adapt tried-and-true resources in different ways, are interested in learning about new picture books, work in libraries, preschools and daycares, and like to have fun! To be honest, it’s for anyone who will listen, but this was our purpose in creating it. It took us forever to make the leap using every excuse we could think of… kids, time, our pie-baking regimen. I mean, let’s be real, we know nothing about podcasting. But we finally took the plunge, and our hope is that we can provide fresh and modern storytime ideas, as well as connect with others who are working with young children.

Over the years we have gained a robust knowledge of storytime and surrounding topics, from songs and rhymes to books and storytelling. Our backgrounds play a big role in our book selection and storytime choices. Before working in public libraries, Lauren was a school librarian, while Christy worked with children in the performing arts, yet somehow, we ended up with similar storytime styles. We enjoy collaborating and bouncing ideas off each other. We’re like peanut butter and jelly. Mario and Luiji. Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins. You get the picture.

Our podcast topics range from what’s happening in the world around us to random things we like talking about. We can be totally crazy, but we have a lot of fun. Christy may or may not belt out the Pippi Longstocking theme song from 1988 every now and then. Ultimately, we want you to feel like you are right there at the table with us. After our chat, we present the themed content in Storytime Selections. This includes rhymes, songs, games and flannels. The ideas are explained and demonstrated. Sometimes you just have to break into song. You just do. Christy knocks it out of the park with her vocal skills, and Lauren tries her best.

Our Book Buzz segment features new and forthcoming books that we are excited about. Get ready for a lot of great new books, Lauren just can’t seem to rein it in and always leaves listeners with something to look forward to. The words/lyrics, as well as any visuals are posted afterwards on our social media accounts, so you have everything you need to weave these ideas into your own programs.

One of the books featured in Book Buzz!

Recording the podcast has been so much fun that we’ve decided to go from a monthly program to bi-weekly. Connecting with our community and listeners is huge for us, and we are really hoping that this will continue to evolve as we go. In the future, we hope we will be able to feature YOU and YOUR wonderful ideas. We would love to interview librarians and other professionals who present storytime. There are so many in this field who inspire us (Jbrary, we’re looking at you!), and we love learning from our community of fellow youth services pros. In the next few months you can expect more of our favorite storytime theme ideas, a firsthand look at School Library Journal’s Day of Dialog, information from our big in-library event called the Storybook Ball, a visit to a conjuring arts library in NYC, special guests, and our favorite recorded music. Then: some original songs? Yeah, maybe. All we have to do is learn to play the guitar, drums, and keyboard, and find someone who will produce…for free. We’ll work on it.

 You can find us on Twitter @StoryOutLoud and Instagram @StorytimeOutLoud. Our website isn’t complete yet, but you can find us there very soon at StorytimeOutLoud.com. Let us know what you’d like to hear discussed in future episodes! Anything goes!

Library Display Calendar

In January I started working at a new library.  One of the best things about this branch is the amount of display space I have for highlighting our children’s collection.  But this also means I’ve been spending a lot of time whipping up posters and scouring the internet for display ideas.  To get myself more organized I finally sat down and created a calendar filled with a year’s worth of display ideas.

This calendar reflects both my city (Vancouver) and my country (Canada), so not all the ideas will be applicable to everyone. With that said, sometimes I’m lenient on the “National” marker and included some U.S. special days.  I also only listed ideas if I think I have enough material in my collection to fill (and refill) a display that will last at least a week. So unfortunately things like National Donut Day didn’t make the cut.  Lastly, I didn’t include generic displays that can be put up anytime of the year.

I’d love to hear your display secrets!  Did I miss any ideas your community loves?  Please leave me a comment with your suggestions.

January

  • National Hobby Month
  • New Year’s Resolutions
  • National Science Fiction Day (January 2)
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday: social justice books (January 15)
  • Lunar New Year (end of January/early February)

February

  • Black History Month (U.S.)
  • Tu B’Shevat/Celebration of Trees (February 11)
  • Valentine’s Day/Blind Date with a Book (February 14)
  • Pink Shirt Day: anti-bullying and books with pink covers (February 22)
  • Freedom to Read Week (February 26)
  • Oscars: movies and actor biographies (end of February)

March

  • National Craft Month
  • National Nutrition Month
  • Monstrous March
  • March Madness (sports books)
  • Dr. Seuess’s Birthday (March 2)
  • International Women’s Day (March 8)
  • St. Patrick’s Day/Read Green (March 17)
  • Spring Reads/Spring into a Good Book (March 21)

April

  • National Poetry Month
  • National Humour Month (joke and riddle books)
  • Artsy April
  • Math Awareness Month
  • Stress Awareness Month
  • Passover (varies)
  • Easter (varies)
  • Earth Day (April 22)

May

  • Asian Heritage Month
  • Middle Grade May
  • National Bike Month
  • May-nia (fill in with any alliterative title, such as Music May-nia)
  • Star Wars Day (May 4)
  • Mental Health Week (first week of May)
  • Vancouver Bird Week (2nd week of May)
  • Mother’s Day (second Sunday of May)
  • International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (May 17)
  • Ramadan (varies)

June

  • Aboriginal History Month
  • Gay Pride Month
  • Great Outdoors Month
  • National Garden Week (1st week of June)
  • Summer Reading Club Launch (mid-June)
  • World Refugee Day (June 20)
  • Father’s Day (3rd Sunday)
  • Summer Solstice (June 20)
  • National Aboriginal Day (June 21)

July

  • Summer Reads
  • Canada Day/Canadian Reads  (July 1)

August

  • Family Fun Month
  • Vancouver Pride Parade  (August 6)
  • International Cat Day (August 8)
  • Book Lovers’ Day (August 9)
  • Summer Olympics  (every 4 years)

September

  • Classical Music Month
  • SeptZenber: relaxing reads
  • Back to School (September 4)
  • International Literacy Day (September 8)
  • Grandparents Day (2nd Sunday)
  • Dot Day: books with dots/spots; art and drawing books (September 15)
  • Science Literacy Week  (September 19)
  • Fall into Reading (September 21)
  • Rosh Hashanah (varies)

October

  • Women’s History Month
  • National Vegetarian Month
  • Star Wars Reads
  • Thanksgiving (October 9)
  • Halloween (October 31)

November

  • Picture Book Month
  • National Novel Writing Month
  • Dino-vember
  • Remembrance Day (November 11)

December

  • Human Rights Month
  • Hanukkah (varies)
  • Winter Solstice (December 21)
  • Christmas (December 25)
  • Kwanzaa (December 26)

Reading Picture Books With Children by Megan Dowd Lambert

Holy hairballs, folks!  Do you ever read a book that gives you so many a-ha! moments that you’re just bursting to share it with others? Well that’s what happened when I read Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking About What They See by Megan Dowd Lambert.

reading-hires-cover

I was first alerted to Megan and her work by the great folks at Storytime Underground.  Then I got a hold of her book and I read the entire thing in one sitting (and read it a second time the next day!).  Lightbulbs were going off left and right!

Megan writes about the Whole Book Approach in which “children’s active participation in making meaning of all they see and hear during a picture book reading takes precedence over moving through the pages at the pace of the adult’s oral reading of the text.” She talks about reading the whole book with children – the illustrations, the design, the pacing, the cover, the end papers, all of it.  Reading her book truly made me consider the picture book as a piece of art, not just a container of stories.  Her approach shifts storytime from a performance to leading “co-constructive storytimes” where kids are engaged and talking during the reading of the book, not just before and after.

I think one of the reasons Megan’s approach hit home for me is that she respects kids.  Plain and simple.  The focus of her storytimes aren’t the songs, rhymes, or books – it’s the kids who attend them and their ideas, opinions, and observations.  She even says – “the child’s voice is crucial to the success of a dynamic and, yes, playful storytime experience.” I feel like that’s a philosophy I’ve been trying to put into practice for a long time now, and Megan’s book has given me some great ideas for how to make it happen.

One of the biggest things I took away from this book is to SLOW DOWN.  Like, a lot.  Sometimes I think back on storytimes where I tried to squeeze in 4 or 5 picture books to a group of preschoolers in 30 minutes.  Looking back, I see so many missed opportunities to listen.  In fact, one of my favourite quotes from Megan is: “I rededicated myself to listening – really listening – to what children had to say about the books I read with them instead of just listening for them to say things that I’d already considered.”  WHOA. Now that’s keeping it real, folks.

I admire how Megan’s Whole Book Approach also seeks to keep the tone of storytime playful.  She shares numerous examples of the hilarious and insightful things kids have said during a reading with her.  During one of my recent preschool visits, a 3-year-old girl told me, “you need rain clouds to make frozen yogurt.”  I eventually realized this had to do with her understanding of temperature and ice cream, but this little nugget would have never come about if I hadn’t spent time talking about the front matter which was covered in clouds.  At the end of Reading Picture Books with Children, Megan provides an array of prompts and questions you can use in your own storytimes to elicit these types of discussions.

This is one of those professional development books that I’ll read again and again as I try out the strategies of the Whole Book Approach.  Megan’s model positions “the picture book as a meeting space for child and adult,” and that’s a message that rings true to me in both my personal and professional lives.

For More Information:

Kirkus Review

School Library Journal: An Interview with Megan Dowd Lambert

Megan Dowd Lambert on Twitter

Full Disclosure: I received no payment, no ARCs, no monetary reimbursement of any kind for writing this review.  I simply read the book, loved it, and wanted to share it with others. I received Megan’s permission to include the quotations from her book.

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.

5 Tips for Youth Services Bloggers

Welcome to the world of youth services blogging.  There’s kind of a lot of us! Dana and I have been blogging here at Jbrary for over two years now, and I finally feel knowledgeable enough to write this post.  Though not the most glamorous topic, I wanted to spend some time talking about our website – how we’ve organized it, features we’ve added, what we blog about, and why we’ve made those decisions.

Blogging can be very personal, and this post is in no way meant to be a “One blog to rule them all” type of thing. We all make choices based on the reasons we blog and our personal aesthetics.  And there is certainly more than one way to do things effectively as a blogger. This post will simply explain Jbrary.

Here are five things we do in an effort to make Jbrary the best blog it can be.

1. Make it Findable

As librarians, we feel especially responsible for making our content findable.  What happens to a blog post after it’s been published? Can people still easily find it a year later? Here’s what we’ve done to make our content findable:

  • Navigation Bar: We created different tabs in our navigation bar that organize our content. These tabs have definitely changed over the past two years, but that’s just part of being a new blog and figuring your shit out.  We tried to think about the different people who use our blog and what they might want to find. One of the bigger decisions we made was to separate out our “storytime” and “school-age” programs.
    naivagtion bar 2If you click on either of these links you will see ALL of our posts for each category even further organized by age group or topic. We hope this makes it easy to browse our content and find what you’re looking for (or perhaps stumble upon something you didn’t even know you were looking for!).
  • Categories or Tags: For a long time we had a tag cloud in the sidebar, but after looking at our analytics we changed it to a list called “Categories.”  Whenever we write a post, we classify it as one of the categories on the list. These categories are the same as the ones on the actual pages you can get to using our navigation bar, we’re just providing another way in. We put it on our sidebar so that people see it when they scroll down to read our blog posts. Here’s a zoomed out view of our website with a big red arrow pointing to our Categories feature.

categories

  • Search Bar: We may be one of the few blogs left that still features a search bar, but we think it’s worth it to have in case someone doesn’t use the navigation bar and wants to find a specific post. If you have a blog and provide no other content organization, I highly recommend having a search bar!

2. Make it Connected

Blogging is only one of the social media platforms we use, and we want people to be able to easily link our social media accounts together. That’s why we feature our “Stay Connected” buttons at the top right of our sidebar.

connectedWe also link to our blog and our YouTube channel on our Twitter account where we’re most active. Again, just trying to make it easy for people to find us and connect all our different resources.

twitterLastly, we want Jbrary connected to all the other wonderful youth services folks blogging so we created a Blogroll featuring all of the active youth services blogs we know about.  Sometimes when we add a blog it sends an email to the blog owner and they learn about us too.

3. Make it Shareable

We need to give a huge shout out to Ingrid at The Magpie Librarian because she encouraged us to install a plugin that allows people to share individual posts.  Our plugin allows people to share via email, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook. This feature makes it so much easier for other people to publicize our posts, and we try to return the favour as often as we can! Here’s what it looks like:

share buttons

4. Make it Personal

Not everyone has the luxury of being able to identify themselves and where they work, so we count ourselves lucky in that regard. We love having an “About Us” page that features pictures and a short description of who we each are. This also allows people to find our individual Twitter handles.  Whenever I find new blogs, the “About Page” is one of the first places I go to (maybe I’m just nosy!) – But I love learning the blogger’s name, what city they live in, and what their job is like. And for us in particular, we are among the few children’s librarians in Canada who blog so we want to highlight that fact and make it easy for others to find us. Lastly, we included a “Contact Us” feature here so people can email us with any questions.

5. Make it Interesting

When we first started to blog, we mainly posted thematic storytime outlines. And that was great – I don’t think there is anything wrong with just posting storytime outlines. Often it can serve as an organizational tool for the blogger in his or her own professional life. But we just found ourselves wanting to write about other stuff – like what it’s like to be an auxiliary librarian or why we think it’s okay to do holiday programming.  We also love doing series and really exploring a topic in depth. I think the variety you get on our blog is one of its strengths, and its something I look for in other blogs too.

So those are the five principals that have guided the creation and development of Jbrary as a website and blog. What advice would you give to library folks looking to start a blog? Is there something you do that we didn’t mention?  Leave us a comment and let’s discuss!

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

little

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

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

leah

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

flannel

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

thrive

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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