Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Banned Books Week

Hopefully you and your libraries are celebrating Banned Books Week in some creative way. I hosted a book club meeting to discuss Robert Cormier's The Chocolate War. We talked about censorship, books challenges, and why some of their favorite books now appear on the Top 10 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2010 list. We also had a Chocolate Trivia War and a chocolate tasting which, I'm not going to lie, were the most popular elements of the program.

Here's another creative way one cheeky British filmmaker has come up with to keep explain the dangers of censorship and the symbolic meaning of book burning.

Library of Burned Books Pitch from Alasdair Beckett-King on Vimeo.

You can support the creation of this film and even appear as a supporting artist in the production. This could be the perfect gift for those librarians on your holiday list!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Reforma National Conference 4

A few weeks ago I attended the 4th Reforma National Conference (RNC4) in Denver, Colorado. The theme was Elevation Latino Services to a Higher Level and celebrating 40 years of Reforma. I have to say, I've been to my share of library conferences, but this one was by far my favorite. The sessions were good and relevant to my work, the socials were entertaining and lively, the city was gorgeous, the conference committee and staff were organized and friendly, and the people I met were awesome! I also liked that it was a much more intimate conference than what I'm used to, by the last day I felt as though I' had interacted with the majority of the attendees. The vibe was relaxed and I didn't feel as though I had to rush to cram everything in, the earliest sessions started at 9:30am. Overall it was a good time and worth the investment.

Here's a list of what made RNC4 a worthwhile experience for me:

  • Networked with other librarians serving similar populations and exchanged ideas.

  • Promoted and recruited presenters for an upcoming workshop I'm hosting at my library.

  • Learned about the history of Reforma and connected with some of the pioneers that paved the way in the organization for incoming librarians.

  • Got inspired to better serve Spanish speaking communities and brought home two new program ideas to implement at my library.

  • Learned about oral storytelling programs and listened to talented story tellers during the "Noche de Cunetos".

  • Met several bilingual children's book authors and even booked some of them for upcoming library programs.

  • Talked to Spanish book vendors and learned more about the Guadalajara book fair experience.

  • Learned about YA book titles with Latino characters and attended a session where several of these authors Skyped in to talk about their work.

  • Did a little site seeing and experienced the city culture.

  • Met active inspiring library professionals and made new friends!

To learn more about Reforma and RNC4 check out their website:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Monkey See Monkey Do

Unfortunately, I don't have the chance to do storytimes very often as a teen librarian, but I'm always on the lookout for great resources for my coworkers in the Children's Department.

If you're a visual learner, you'll appreciate StoryBlocks, a website created by Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy that provides videos demonstrating fun songs and rhymes that parents, educators, and librarians can use to help the children in their lives become great readers - long before they ever enter school.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Finger Puppets Fun

After seeing another great flannel post on Mel's Desk, I begged my cousin Jess to make me some finger puppets. On Saturday I got the best surprise package in the mail filled with finger puppets. The blackbird finger puppets are for the rhyme "Two Little Blackbirds" but I am sure I can find another rhyme they can be used for as well.

The black bats are from Mel's Halloween version of "Two Little Blackbirds" called "Two Little Black Bats." Jess made me enough that I can have a pair and the teen moms or dads can have a pair when we do the rhymes. Last week's early literacy practice was talking to your child and we were working on understanding the concept of object permanence. These finger puppets arrived just in time so we can continue building on that lesson.

I am excited to use these in storytime, because whenever we use the regular finger puppets the kids love it, so I am sure they are going to like these new ones.

Check out Mel's Desk for the pattern and rhyme

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Spotlight: Portland Public Library Teens

Teen Read Week is coming up so I have been thinking about teens and libraries, and wishing I still worked with teens on a day-to-day basis. The theme this year is "Picture This" and my friend Justin Hoenke is doing rad things with teens at the Portland Public Library in Portland, Maine that I wanted to spotlight.

I asked Justin what his mission is with the teens and here is what he had to say:
"Everyday, teens are using the Portland Public Library to create, share, and remix their lives in unique ways. We here at the Portland Public Teen Library believe it is part of the library's mission to collect these awesome works."

LOVE this! Seriously, I am inspired by this. Justin created a site via google for his teen space,  Made by Teens,  If you are considering doing music or any "non traditional" library projects with teens, check it out. I love that libraries are great avenues for music with teens (see Ady's blog post about her teen music group "Project Unknown" at the Logan Heights Library).

There are so many different projects to create with teens that speak to the "Picture This" theme of Teen Read Week, what are you up to??

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New crowd pleaser just in time for Halloween

I am seeing lots of Christmas books as I am ordering for the system right now, but I will steadfastly ignore those in favor of the holiday at hand. And although Halloween is more than a month away, this little gem came across my desk this morning and I had to rave about it.

 This is the third Mouse adventure from Judy Cox (Cinco de Mouse-O; One is a feast for Mouse: a Thanksgiving Tale) and it is just as great as the other two. The pictures are fantastic, and there is so much happening on each page that the book begs to be re-read and explored often. I particularly enjoyed seeing the world from Mouse's angle. He is so cute and I love how he reacts to the Candy! Added bonus on the cute factor: Mouse wears little blue glasses! He reminds me of my 22 month old nephew who just got blue plastic frames and is constantly waddling about getting into things.

This is one I am going to be putting on display October 1st , and will definitely be recommending to families.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wolves of Mercy Falls

I finally got around to finishing the last of the Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. Although I got an A.R.C. of Forever in New Orleans at ALA, I will admit I was nervous to read it. I wasn't sure if the book was going to have a satisfying conclusion, and after falling in love with Sam & Grace's story I feared I would have a hard time letting go. I am happy to report that I did enjoy the book and would highly recommend this YA series to any werewolf fans out there.

with the author in NOLA

Books in the series:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fall Forever

Fall is my favorite time of the year! I will admit (but don't tell anyone)-- fall is the one time during the entire year that I wish I didn't live in Southern California. I know, I know, slap me now. But seriously, I used to live in the midwest and watching the fall leaves change, feeling that crisp "I need a scarf and sweater, but not a jacket yet" wind blow around me, eating apple butter and drinking apple cider, going to football games, and seeing pumpkins in my uncle's garden was pure heaven. So now I basically celebrate fall as soon as September hits, hope that no one complains, and cross my fingers that the kids will use their imaginations to envision the weather changing ('cause it is hot as all get out right now).

A few of my favorites that I will be using during various storytimes--I do baby, toddler, and preschool--over the next month are:
Fall Isn't Easy by Marty Kelley
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
My Garden by Kevin Henkes
Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens
My Father's Hands by Joanne Ryder
One Bean by Anne Rockwell
Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert
Fall Leaves Fall by Zoe Hall
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
Mrs. McNosh and the Great Big Squash by Sarah Weeks
Fall Mixed Up by Bob Raczka

And drum roll absolute favorite is:
Grandma Lena's Big Ol' Turnip by Denia Lewis Hester

I LOVE that "The Turnip" was adapted to feature an African American family!

Mel has some great rhymes/fingerplays to do with fall leaves over Mel's Desk too.
What are some other great fall stories that you love?

Who Loves You?

Are patrons always commenting on how helpful you are?
Do kids and teens run up to hug you whenever they see you at the library or in their school?
If so, this is their chance to say thank you by nominating you for the I Love My Librarian award sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation, New York Times, ALA, and @ your library. In addition to the honors and accolades, it also comes with a $5,000 cash prize!
The nomination process is simple and the form can be found on the @YourLibrary website. All you fabulous librarians out there should post this information to your blog or website and wait for the nominations to roll in. Or if you're a librarian fan, show them how much you love and appreciate them by nominating them today.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Amelia Bloomer Project

Many of you keeping up with this blog are likely familiar with the various book lists created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC). These lists are invaluable resources for librarians, teachers, parents, and caregivers hoping to find books and media that will get their child motivated about reading.

In addition to YALSA and ALSC, the Feminist Task Force (FTF) of the American Library Association's Social Responsibilities Round Table (say that 10x fast!) has the AMELIA BLOOMER PROJECT (named after the American women's rights and temperance advocate), which annually creates book lists highlighting strong feminist messages for young people from birth to age 18. Having an undergraduate background in gender studies, I'm pretty stoked about serving on this committee--I get to combine my interest in feminism with my experience/expertise in library youth services. Yay!

If you are interested in finding out more information about the Amelia Bloomer Project, or you want to access lists from previous years, please visit The committee also welcomes field nominations for the 2012 list; publication dates must fall between July 2010 - December 2011. Please note: the deadline for nomination is September 30!