Thursday, April 24, 2014

Book Display: These are a few of my favorite things

Staff picks is always an easy book display. I typed up a sign that says, "Try some of Carrie's favorites! 'I have a 4-year-old and an almost 2-year-old. These are some of the books they ask to read again and again, and most of the time I don’t mind. :) ' "
I have another dozen or so books written down that I can pull from as these ones go out.

Are any of these your favorites too?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

QR Code Quest: A library scavenger hunt

All of the 6th-12th grade students at my local public middle and high school receive a school-issued iPad for use during the school year. I see a lot of these students after school, when they walk to the library and hang out playing on their iPads - sometimes together, sometimes alone.

I honestly don't remember where I got the very first idea to create a scavenger hunt with QR codes. Pinterest maybe? My Great Book Character Hunt last winter went over well with this age group (even though it was geared toward elementary-age kids). QR codes are becoming more and more common, and I thought it would be a neat way to give students information about the library in a tech-y way. I learned a lot from The Daring Librarian

Here's an overview of how I created my scavenger hunt:

  1. I wrote out 10 questions I wanted the students to answer. Each question would take the student to a different part of the library, they would write their answer on an answer sheet, and the next QR code would be in that place for them to scan and find the next place. For example: The library currently has over 600 movies that can be checked out. How much does a movie rental cost, and how long can you keep it for? 
  2. *I took a photo of each location, and used PicMonkey to fade it and overlay it with text. I saved each image in my Dropbox (other photo sharing sites like Flickr can also be used - you just need the file to be saved somewhere "public" that will allow you to "copy public link").
  3. *Copy the public link of the image file. Go to and paste the link and shorten it. Copy the new, shorter link (see the Daring Librarian's post for why you want a shorter link). 
  4. I used this really simple QR code generator to make QR codes for my images. Just click on the URL tab and paste the image link, then save the QR code it creates to your computer.  
  5. Then it's just simply choosing Word, Publisher, or any other simple document editor and inserting the QR code images (along with any descriptive text), printing it out, and sticking them around. 
*Numbers 2 & 3 above were extra steps I chose to take, because I wanted to use photos. It is also possible to simply take the text of the questions I created, go directly to the QR code generator, and paste the text to create a QR code. When this kind of QR code is scanned, it will bring up only the text. I'd probably go this route if I make another quest sometime.

Then I created a display with instructions, and hoped the students would come...

If you scan this code:
 It will reveal this picture:

So far not many students have participated. I'm offering a prize drawing as an incentive for completing it, and even though it was advertised as a spring break event, I'm extending it to the end of the month. I also was in touch with one of our local newspaper reporters, and he wrote a nice article about it

This is the most tech-y our library has ever been! I might make use of QR codes in other ways in the future.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Money Smart Kids Read! Storytime

My library decided to take part in Money Smart Week this year, which is April 5-12. The Michigan Credit Union League graciously offered to give free copies of The Berenstain Bears' Trouble with Money book and Money Rules by Jean Chatzky to each family in attendance if we offered a storytime program. We didn't have as large of a turnout as I'd hoped, but those who came said they really enjoyed it.

I offered the program for ages 8 & under, as the BB book age range is 3-7. I ended up with one 7 year old, one 5 year old, and then my normal storytime crowd of 2-4 year olds. I felt a little bad for the older girl, because I kept tailoring things to be what the little ones would best understand, which I knew was way below her level. Oh well, I think she still enjoyed it.

1) These Are My Glasses - Laurie Berkner
My "usual" weekly storytime opening song. I start by asking them to show me their glasses and their book, then we sing it through twice.

These are my glasses (make the letter o with each hand)
And this is my book (hands together)
I put on my glasses (put "glasses" over eyes)
And open up the book (open book hands)
Now I read read read (hold book up in front of face like reading)
And I look look look (put glasses over eyes and look around room)
I put down my glasses and… (lower glasses)
WHOOP! Close up the book. (clap as if closing a book quickly)

2) The Berenstain Bears' Trouble with Money - Stan & Jan Berenstain
I wouldn't have chosen this to read to such young kids, except that it's the one they would all receive for free at the end of the program. It really does have a great message, and great ideas about spending and saving money, it was just a little long for my youngest kids. Putting it at the very beginning of the program helped keep their attention though.

3) Values of money
I showed the kids some real money (coins and dollars), we talked a little about how different kinds of money equals different numbers (you know how hard it is to explain that to preschoolers?!) and I put up this flannel.
I got the idea from Librerin. The coins are printed on cardstock, with a velcro circle on the back to hold it up. I taught the kids the little song from Librerin (to the tune of Ten Little Indians):

Pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters
Pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters
Pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters
Put them in that order

We sang it a few times, then I purposefully goofed it up and they all corrected me, No! No! That's not the right order!!

4) Bunny Money - Rosemary Wells
I created cardstock money with velcro on the back to go with this book. I put it all on the board to start and took it down as Max and Ruby spent it. It seemed to help enforce the idea that when you buy something, your money goes away.

5) Down Around the Corner at the Bakery Shop
I first created this for my doughnut storytime. The original idea was from Lindsy's Preschool Alphabet. I combined it with Mel's Down Around the Corner and used her nickels. After giving each kid a cardstock nickel and spreading the "donuts" on the floor, I read:

Down around the corner at the bakery shop,
There were (#) little donuts with colored frosting on the top.
Along came (name) with a nickel to pay,
And he/she bought the (color) one and took it away!

So the kids got more practice with "paying" for something (they had to give me their nickel when they picked up their donut). After all had been taken, I went around the room asking "[name], what color donut do you have?" and they would tell me and I'd take it from them. 

6) Jenny Found a Penny - Trudy Harris
Some simple rhymes and big pictures helped this be a good closing story. After it was over, we went back through and looked at all the things Jenny did (or didn't do) to get money. 

7) Wrap-up
I pointed out the books on the counter that I'd pulled off of our shelves that could be checked out, both kids and adult books about money.
I explained I'd distribute the free books while the kids worked on their craft, as well as the survey that the Money Smart Week people wanted us to return to them to help plan for future events.

8) Wooden Bank Craft
I bought some unfinished wood block banks from Oriental Trading, and set the kids to coloring them with markers. I encouraged the kids to maybe draw a picture of something they'd like to save their money up to buy. The BB book also came with stickers that many kids put on their banks.

Probably my favorite part of the night was when I went around and gave each kid a penny to put in their bank to get started saving. Their eyes LIT UP and they were soooooo excited to receive money from me! 

Other ideas for a money storytime:
Benny's Pennies - Pat Brisson (All of the blogs I read about a money-themed storytime used this one. When I went to interloan it, it was only available at two libraries in my co-op, and they were both checked out. Bummer.)
You Can't Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime - Harriet Ziefert (I literally flipped on the spot back and forth between this and Jenny Found a Penny for my last book, trying to decide which would be better for this particular group of kids. Maybe I should have just flipped a coin. :)
Sheep in a Shop - Nancy Shaw
Just a Piggy Bank - Mercer Mayer

And here are some more photos of our evening:
"This is the doll I want to buy! She looks just like me!"

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Display: When you have no idea what to do...

Sometimes I get stuck in what to display on my hallway shelf. It sits by itself, away from the rest of the books. I've used it before for things like Readbox and Blind Date with a Book, but have been stumped the last few months with what to do with it.

I don't remember where I first saw the idea to display books based on their color, but it came to mind with St. Patrick's Day (and March Madness, with my alma mater making it to the Elite Eight...). I featured the color green for a few weeks, and just recently changed it to yellow -- makes me think of sunshine and spring, which is sure having a rough time arriving in Michigan this year.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Storytime: Zoo

Age: 18-36 months (coloring page instead of craft), 3-5 years (with craft)

This school year in storytime I decided to use the alphabet to give me inspiration for themes. So this week, Z is for Zoo, and we're done!!!

1) These Are My Glasses - Laurie Berkner
My current opening song that we sing acappella every week. I start by asking them to show me their glasses and their book so that they remember the signs. We sing it through twice.

These are my glasses (make the letter o with each hand)
And this is my book (hands together)
I put on my glasses (put "glasses" over eyes)
And open up the book (open book hands)
Now I read read read (hold book up in front of face like reading)
And I look look look (put glasses over eyes and look around room)
I put down my glasses and… (lower glasses)
WHOOP! Close up the book. (clap as if closing a book quickly)

2) Mystery Box
This week I put some plastic animals in the box.

3) Animal Strike at the Zoo. It's True! - Karma Wilson
I had to explain a little bit about what a "strike" is, though they got the idea the more we got into the book.

4) Zoo Animals song
Found this from the Madison Public Library, originally from the Whatcom County Library. To the tune of If You're Happy and You Know It.

If you want to be a monkey, jump up high 
If you want to be a monkey, jump up high 
If you want to be a monkey If you want to be a monkey 
If you want to be a monkey, jump up high 

parrot… flap your wings 
elephant… swing your trunk 
lion… roar out loud 
giraffe… stand up tall

5) From Head to Toe - Eric Carle 
The kids really got into acting out this one! I didn't even really need to model the movements myself (which was good because I was holding the book...), they just imitated the person they saw on the page.

6) Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree 
Found this at Mel's Desk. You can change "snatched" to "scared" if your group would handle that better!

5 little monkeys sitting in a tree
(hold up five fingers)
Teasing Mr. Alligator, “Can’t catch me!”
(put thumbs in ears and waggle fingers) 
Along came the alligator, quiet as can be
(put palms together like an alligator mouth and weave back & forth)
And snatched that monkey right out of the tree!
(open palms wide and clap loudly on “snatched”)

7) Good Night, Gorilla - Peggy Rathmann
One of my youngest daughter's favorite books right now. I really used to not like it (see this post from my old blog, when my oldest daughter was 15 months old) because I'm not very good with wordless and semi-wordless books. But I've had lots of practice with this one, so I knew what to point out and what questions to ask the kids about each page. And of course when we got to the page with just the lady's eyes, I had them all make big eyes too, and it was hilarious.

8) Zookeeper, May I?
Found this at Lindsy's Preschool Alphabet. I had the kids stand at the end of the room, with their backs against the wall. I explained to them how the game was going to work, then we played. You say, “Take 3 elephant steps forward.” Have the kids say, “Zookeeper, may I?” Say, “Yes, you may.” Repeat with other zoo animal steps: 4 kangaroo hops, 2 snake slithers (they’ll think of something!), 2 lion leaps, 3 frog jumps.

9) The Underpants Zoo - Brian Sendelbach
The kids and grownups all got a kick out of this book. I feel like the younger ones giggled even more than the older group, maybe because underpants are a taboo subject for 4- and 5-year-olds?? :)

10) Z is for Zoo coloring page (18-36 months) or Z is for Zoo craft (3-5 years)
Since the older kids haven't really had coloring-type crafts this season, I just created a letter Z with pictures of zoo animals inside for them to color, and they could cut it out if they wanted.

I survived my first entire year of storytime planning! And we made it through the whole alphabet in a decent amount of time! Now just a few small events are going on over the next month, then I'll have an entire month to plan for summer reading. Yippee!

Other zoo ideas:
Z is for Zookeeper - Marie & Roland Smith (I really did consider using this one for the older kids, but I was afraid it was too long for the whole group. I could see myself reading it with my own daughter one-on-one.)
Monkey and Me - Emily Gravett (similar to From Head to Toe)
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? - Eric Carle (I was planning to use this until I found the other Eric Carle book)
Inside a Zoo in the City - Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Zoo Ah-chooo - Peter Mandel
1,2,3 to the Zoo - Eric Carle
A Sick Day for Amos McGee - Philip C. Stead
Felt zoo pieces
The Animals at the Zoo song
iPad apps: Zoo Sounds or Animal Sounds
animal crackers snack

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Judging Books By Their Covers: Little House in the Big Woods

Jessica at Quirky Bookworm hosts Bookworm Fridays on the first Friday of each month, and April features a "Judging Books By Their Covers" linkup. Here's my contribution.

I've loved the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder for a looooong time. As a child I felt I could often relate with many of the stories, as I too lived in a log cabin in the woods, raised animals, and helped in my mom's vegetable garden. Come to think of it, it's probably what inspired my love of books from that time era in general.

Which cover is your favorite? If you saw all of these together on a shelf, which one would you reach for?

1953 edition, this is the cover I'm most familiar with
First edition, 1932

UK edition, 2009
Spanish edition
Most of the foreign language ones I found simply used the 1953 cover above. 

Sounds like this one is a new 2014 UK edition

I'm partial to the 1953 Garth Williams illustrations, mostly because it's what I'm most familiar with. But I do really like the 2014 UK one too. I think I might have to re-read this series!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

One year later

It's hard for me to believe I've been at my library job for an entire year. Looking back, I did a TON of things, but it all went by so fast. The first week of April a year ago, I was learning what treasures were in my storage closet (though I still find new things, even now!), where to find books about dinosaurs in the non-fiction section, memorizing our address and phone number, planning four more storytimes to finish the season, and freaking out about summer reading being only two months away.

I don't have a library degree, and this has been my very first job in a library setting. On top of the simple where-things-are-in-the-building learning, I've learned about things like library privacy policies and the reference interview. I'm amazed my brain hasn't exploded yet.

I'm actually looking forward to this next year with excitement. Rather than just surviving, I've got ideas for change and improvement. I have goals for increasing my storytime attendance, not just for the sake of numbers, but because I feel like kids are missing out when they're not there. I'm changing how we're tracking summer reading to encourage consistent reading, not just a competition for prizes. And next fall I want to add elementary and teen programs. If I can fit it into my part-time schedule...

I can almost guarantee this next year will look different than last year. And I like that thought. I guess this means I'll be sticking with this job for awhile, huh? :)

P.S. I just discovered that this is my 50th post. How fun. :)