Get Ready, Set, Read!

Awhile back our friend Bryce asked us to create a Summer Hype Video for her lovely staff at the Washington County Cooperative Library Services.  You know, something to help them get through the dog days of summer (reading). We were more than happy to oblige!  In true Jbrary style, we wrote this song that ties in to the Summer Reading theme many American libraries chose: On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!

This video is dedicate to the library folks at WCCLS, but also to anyone who needs a little pick-me-up this summer. And with some tweaking of the lyrics, you could easily adapt this song for a summer storytime!

We highly recommend keeping an eye on Bryce’s round-up post to see all of the motivational videos our blogger friends created.  If there is one thing we can say for sure, it’s what a wonderful community of youth services folks we belong to.

Not get ready, set, read!

10 Years of Summer Reading Club

It’s about that time of the year.  The time when children’s librarians kick it into high gear as we prepare for an influx of kids visiting the library and signing up for Summer Reading Club (SRC). Heck, some of you may already be in full swing.  In Vancouver, our schools don’t get out until June 24th this year, and our SRC kicks off on June 17th.

In British Columbia we have a provincial theme each year that sets the stage for our booklists, programs, and SRC materials.  I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and look at the themes from the past 10 years.  I’ve only been a children’s librarian for three years, so I missed out on many of these.  Each year a B.C. artist is hired to design all the materials.  You can also visit the websites for each year to find supplementary materials if a particular theme floats your boat.  Which one is your favourite?



Theme: Book a Trip!
Artist: Lee Edward Födi



Theme: Build It!
Artist: Shayne Letain



Theme: Funny Business
Artist: Jeremy Tankard


SRC 2013

Theme: Up, Up and Away!
Artist: Eliska Liska



Theme:  Strange…But True?
Artist:  Mike Deas



Theme:  Savour Each Word
Artist:  Rose Cowles



Theme: Reading Rocks!
Artist: Chris Tougas



Theme: Follow the Reader
Artist: Scot Ritchie



Theme: Read All Over the Map
Artist:  Elisa Gutiérrez



Theme: Catch the Reading Bug!
Artist: Ashley Spires



Theme: Extreme Reading!
Artist: Kirsti Wakelin


Summer Reading Club 2015: Build It!

Our Summer Reading Club theme this year is Build It and we could not be more excited! A little tired and stressed yes, but mainly excited. What will we be building, creating and imagining? What does Summer Reading Club look like around Vancouver? We’re glad you asked!

BRIT Rocket
SRC rocket made by staff at the Britannia Branch of the Vancouver Public Library!

First up check out these sites for ideas and inspiration:

Next up, let’s get into the programs and activities that have us all geared up! (#sorrynotsorry)

Build a Story Contest

This was a Lindsey-and-Dana-over-sushi original. Coming off of last year’s Battle of the Funny Books which Lindsey developed we knew our system wide book battle had to measure up. Feeling restrained by our theme we were worried that simply gathering building books wouldn’t have the same spark. So, we decided that we wouldn’t vote for whole books but elements of a story instead such that Vancouver kids would Build a Story! Ta-da! Starting next week kids will vote (from lists we’ve created) for their favourite character, then their favourite villain, favourite setting and finally their choice ending. With these elements chosen it turns into a writing/drawing/graphic novel’ing contest where kids submit a story and stand to win a prize or have their work added to our collection. Feel free to check out our library’s website and stay tuned for more details!

Family Fort Night

There are lots of neat things going on this summer but a few we’re reeeeally pumped about. We’ve been reading about Family Fort Nights (thanks Amy and Laura) long enough to know that they’re pure awesome so when I found out our theme I swore I’d make it happen and lo and behold I will hold an after-hours Family Fort Night at my (new!) branch next week. Here’s how I’m hoping it goes: we will close the branch down and reopen for an hour on Friday night to families and kids only. Each group will choose a story to read, grab fort supplies and start building. My co-worker has a night light and sound machine which I cannot wait to try!

Paper Minecrafts

Paper Minecraft, meet the Three Little Pigs! Kids listen to contemporary versions of this favourite story, cut out and glue paper Minecraft pigs and wolves, and work together to build the pigs’ houses. Will the creeper come to help the wolf? The kids have been going nuts over this one!

paper minecrafts

Make Your Own Lego Movie

We’re going to create spectacular short films using Lego, iPads and a stop animation app. Kids will work in a team to build a great story and then strategically set up their Lego pieces to create a fantastic film. We’re providing the iPads.

We are proud to say these are just a brief smattering of the programs we’ll be involved with this summer. Please let us know what you’ll be getting up to in the comments below!

Summer Reading Club iPad Programs

I know, I know, it’s the beginning of October and I’m just now writing about one of our most popular series of Summer Reading Club programs. This summer was the first time we offered iPad programs for kids ages 8-12 years old. I was fortunate to be able to run each of these programs at least once at one of our 20 participating branches. When I was looking for app recommendations, I took advantage of Little eLit and super genius Emily Lloyd.  I also worked closely with two of my colleagues, Saara and Nicole, to select the apps for each program. I thought it’s only fair to give back to the community by sharing the apps we used and how they worked.

For each of these programs we registered 18 kids as we were limited by the physical number of iPads we own. We also provided bookmarks with the list of apps used and challenges the kids could complete. For the first 15-20 minutes we split the kids into groups and briefly modeled how to use each app. Then we let them play, while we answered questions, interacted with the kids, and encouraged them to complete the challenges.

Funny App Hourchatter

Our SRC theme was Funny Business, so we tried to find apps with a high LOL factor. All of these apps are free.

Verdict: ChatterPix Kids stole the show (see my demo below!).  Kids can create talking pictures and there were many a talking poop creations. Runner up was Sock Puppets – kids loved changing the sound of the voices and working with others to create their show. SparkleFish and Mad Libs only appealed to a small crowd, and I could have probably just gone with Mad Libs. The only added feature in SparkleFish is it lets kids record the missing word, rather than choosing or typing it in. Singing Fingers was kind of a dud – cool concept but it was a bit finicky. Many of the kids loved BeBop Kids which allows you to mix your own beat. It was just a cacophony having 18 kids in one room all playing different types of music.

Here’s me having some fun with ChatterPix!

Continue reading “Summer Reading Club iPad Programs”

Celebrating Summer Reading: A Visual Guide

Whether you prefer the hashtag #SRC or #SRP, children’s librarians across the world have been sweating over how to make reading over the summer fun for everyone. We wanted to throw together a quick post to show off some of the awesome we’re surrounded by and to say a huge congratulations to everyone for all the hard work! Our summer was full of Funny Business like An Afternoon of Disguise, Battle of the Funny Books and Silly Songs Dance Party and we’ve been reading all about the Fizzing, Booming and Reading going on from our neighbours down south.

During a presentation at ALA Annual in Vegas called What No Tchotskes? Creating an Experience Based Summer Program I was captured by Amber Creger’s images of ways in which she helped make the reading her young patrons did VISIBLE! As Arlington Heights Memorial Library (where Amber runs the Kids’ World!) moves away from incentive based Summer Reading, these hands-on displays celebrate reading or challenges completed and contribute to the larger community of library users. Check out the old school Reading Brick Road she shared too!

Luggage ties equal each challenge completed.
Luggage ties equal each challenge completed!
Behold, a reading forest!
Behold: a reading forest!
The Reading Brick Road!
The Reading Brick Road!
Finally, the super cool teen light board!
Finally, the super cool teen light board!

Continue reading “Celebrating Summer Reading: A Visual Guide”

Silly Songs Dance Party

As I’ve mentioned before, our Summer Reading Club theme this year is Funny Business. What better excuse to throw a Silly Songs Dance Party! I was completely inspired by magnanimous Angie at Fat Girl Reading who shared her Baby Dance secrets including her playlist! A lot of these songs I stole from her, but the rest I either already knew or found by going through the Music CDs in my collection.

When creating this program outline, I knew I wanted to have a mix between recorded music and just us singing. I also knew I wanted a mix of high energy and low energy songs because let’s be real – 1 hour of dancing is a lot for both me and the kids! I definitely over planned – this outline is probably enough for two hours, but I’m glad I had lots of options to choose from because I wasn’t sure exactly how many kids would show up or how old they would be.  We did advertise this as a family program, and I got kids ages 2-12 joining in.

Logistics wise, all I did was clear out a large space in our program room for the dancing part. I had two tables along the side with a display featuring Music CDs and books about dance and music. Then I had one table up front where I could put the CD player (yes, I’m old school), my water bottle, the egg shakers, and my program notes. Then I had a flip chart on an easel with the lyrics printed for all the oral songs. Easy peasy.

Here’s what we did! When possible, I’ve provided links that allow you to listen to the songs.

1. Welcome Song

Bread and Butter

2. Warm Ups

Body Talk by Greg and Steve on Kids in Motion
This is a great song to begin with because it is slow paced and has the kids go through each of their body parts and warm them up.

Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi on More Singable Songs
It’s a Beautiful Day by Kathy Reid Naiman on Reaching for the Stars

3. Let’s Jam

Bananas Unite
Baby Shark
We are the Dinosaurs by The Laurie Berkner Band on The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band

Laurie Berkner is my all time fave. We marched around the room and it was awesome.

Wiggy Wiggles Freeze Dance by Hap Palmer on Two Little Sounds
This song is quite fast paced, but the kids were busting up laughing just trying to freeze at the right time.

Baby Bumblebee by The Countdown Kids on 50 Silly Songs
Hurry, Hurry Drive the Fire Truck
The kids needed a little break at this point, so we sat down for this one. I added in a dramatic play element – we put on our seatbelts, got dressed in our fire gear, got a call about a fire, slid down the fire pole, and then sang this song.

Herman the Worm
I’m Gonna Catch You by The Laurie Berkner Band on The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band

My 3-year-old niece is obsessed with this song so it was no surprise that it was the best song of the whole program. We acted out the whole thing; the kids loved chasing each other around.

Alice the Camel by The Countdown Kids on 50 Silly Songs
Horns to Toes by Adam Bryant and Sandra Boynton on Rhinoceros Tap

One of my new favourite songs! We pointed out all of our body parts as we listened. Such a great beat.

Continue reading “Silly Songs Dance Party”

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!