Wednesday, November 20, 2013
As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, I'm reminded of just how much I have to be thankful for. I have a loving, supportive family; inspiring, hardworking staff and colleagues; and I just got a promotion! I am now the Technology & Support Services Manager at my library, so my primary focus is no longer Youth Services. While I will always have a place in my heart for my teens and for teen literature, I'm excited to take on the new challenges that face me in this position including the acquisition and implementation of a new Integrated Library System, maintaining and strengthening our social media and web presence, directing the marketing and branding of my library, and managing people...that's a HUGE one!
And I'm not the only one who's had some major career and life changes hit them recently. After much angst and discussion with my fellow Dewey's Devils, we've decided not to continue adding content to this blog. It has been a wonderful way to share our successes and gain wisdom on our failures, and for that reason we will keep it up as an archive for posterity. Thank you, followers and readers, for your support and contribution. Have a wonderful holiday season.
Posted by Joanna at 3:44 PM
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
We had another incredible session of Burritos & Books last week as part of our Teen Summer Reading Club. The standing room-only crowd was exposed to 30 books in 75 minutes covering a variety of genres including manga, horror, historical fiction, realistic fiction, drama/music, action, food-themed (to tie in with the Reading is So Delicious theme), romance, paranormal, fairy tail retellings, and sci fi.
As if that weren't enough, they were also treated to a smorgasbord of tempting treats donated by our local Taco Bell owner, Taco Terry!
If you'd like to start a Burritos & Books program at your library, I will gladly share our Prezi (including awesome trailers), Feedback Survey, list of Booktalks, and more! Just leave a comment with your email address.
Posted by Joanna at 2:50 PM
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I did a lot of traveling recently between attending the School Library Journal Leadership Think Tank and then heading straight to the Eureka Encore program in San Jose. In between all that jet-setting, I had to prepare a project for my Teen Crafternoon program. Since Earth Day is in April, I wanted to do a recycling project, and I chose to attempt making a tote bag out of recycled Target or other plastic grocery bags.
There are also pages and pages of Pinterest ideas for using recycled plastic bags, and tons of great tutorials out there including this video which I followed to the letter, but I just couldn't get the finished product to come out right.
So, the day of the craft I went into my supply closet and pulled out all of the scrapbooking supplies I had as well as a stack of random magazines (I'm talking about Bloomfield Business and our local AAA magazines) that I pilfered from the Friends donations and some manga that I had in my giveaway supply.
I was feeling guilty that I didn't have something more interesting or "Makerspace"-y to offer the teens, but they LOVED this project. We went 30 minutes over our allotted time, and they would have stayed longer if I didn't have to get to another meeting, because they just didn't want to leave. They were having such a good time being creative and using Mod Podge (they kept referring to it as "hodge podge" :)).
What I learned from this experience, and what is a wonderful takeaway for all teen librarians, is that you don't always have to think so far outside of the box to make your teens happy. What they truly want is a safe, comfortable space and a reason to be creative.
Here's just a sample of what they created:
Posted by Joanna at 12:26 PM
10 hours of reading and/or attending library events = Free book
15 hours of reading and/or attending library events = Free food and museum coupons + 1 grand prize entry
20 hours of reading and/or attending library events = 5 grand prize entries
25 hours of reading and/or attending library events = Invite to our exclusive After Hours Party
Grand Prizes = Kindle Fire HD, Nintendo 3DS, Pick-a-Ticket Ticketmaster gift card, 4-pack Knotts Berry Farm tickets, 4-pack of Wave Waterpark, and more!
Burritos & Books is one of our most popular teen events, and it's not just because of the burritos! We have fantastic community partners who donate burritos for teens to munch on, but the feedback that we get after each event is that the teens' favorite part is learning about all of the books that we book talk to them. As a response to their feedback, we've actually extended the program to an hour and a half so that we can fit in more books! In addition to having first dibs on many of our brand new hot summer reads, the teens also go home with a free book (ARCs that I receive from wonderful publisher contacts or like-new donations).
Teens will enjoy a free showing of the movie Life of Pi and feast on individual Hostess pies with whipped cream!
Teens are invited to challenge their friends at a variety of food-themed board, video, and Minute to Win It games. We're going to set up our Wii systems and have Cooking Mama, Iron Chef America, and Burger Island as well as Cooking Scrabble, a cooking version of the Memory Game, Foodie Fight, and Wasabi. The teens will get to make candy sushi and grub on other snacks as well. We
will also have some fun Minute to Win It challenges that involve food items.
Teens who complete 25 hours of reading and/or attending library events by July 28 will earn an invitation to our exclusive After-Hours Party. Four hours of fun begin after the library closes. In addition to a chocolate trivia race, a Name-That-Historical-Kitchen-Implement game (with items borrowed from the Escondido History Center), and a Project Runway food challenge (contestants must use food items to create an outfit for a Barbie), teens will also take part in a Mad Hatter Tea Party with prizes for the best costumes. We are also participating in the Nationwide Teen Lock-In. I'm the coordinator of the Minute to Win It challenges so my teens will be participating but won't be eligible to defend their reigning champion status.
If you'd like more details on the logistics of any of these events, or if you just want to share your great Summer Reading Club events, post a comment!
Posted by Joanna at 12:19 PM
Monday, April 29, 2013
In an effort to provide more regular programming for the often overlooked older kids, we recently began a tween book club at my library. Our library has teen and adult book clubs that are successful so we were hopeful this too would be well received and so far so good. I love seeing the kids talking excitedly about their love of reading and making new friends and hearing their insightful take on the books.
While they are open and everyone is welcome, in order to ensure kids have access to the book and feel a sense of a commitment, we have the kids sign up in advance and upon doing so receive a free copy of the book for book club. Because we meet monthly, this can get expensive. I'm afraid if we do it less often, the regulars will become forgetful and lose interest in attending. Our Friends of the Library generously support our programming but still we have to buy affordable books and Book Depot fits the bill. They have a pretty good selection for $1-4 a book when you buy in large quantities, 100 books per order. The downside to this is that I have to choose books they offer on their web site, so am limited in that sense, and I end up picking all the books, rather than the kids, as I have to order all the books for the next six months to meet the purchase minimum. However, we have a core group of kids now, so I plan to create a list from the books available and have the kids help me select the next six months of books.
At our book club meetings, we sit in a circle around tables and I provide snacks, if possible themed to whatever book we read (although, red vines by far are the most popular treat). The book club usually begins with a round of introductions or ice breaker activity and I tell a little bit about the author. We discuss the book, I usually have a list of six or so questions, starting with whether or not they liked it and then moving onto specific questions geared to the book. The kids love sharing their favorite parts of the book best. We usually do some sort of activity or craft as we continue to talk and end with me book talking the next book and handing out copies. In each book, I include a small flyer with the next book club's date and time.
Below are some of the books and activities we have done so far...
Sideways Stories from Wayside School
For my very first one, I borrowed some great ideas from Library Noise.
This has been the most popular of the books we have read. The kids loved the fast paced, action packed, survival story of a boy, who loves video games and isn't big on the outdoors, saving his older brother on a kayaking camping trip gone wrong. We had a good discussion about what constitutes a hero talking about the similarities and differences between real life heroes and superheroes. For our activities, we completed one of the two line bad songs Tanner makes up in the story “On Boulder River I saw a bear, ...” and we made origami kayaks.
The Ever Breath
This was my lowest turnout because most of my regulars are not big on fantasy. It's about twins, a brother and sister, who realize they have a special destiny and must venture into a magical world called The Ever Breath to save both that world and the real world. The two kids who actually read the book enjoyed it but I myself, who loves fantasy, found it to be a little overwhelming keeping track of all the different characters and magical creatures. Since the story involves magical snow globes, we made our own snow globes in book club and everyone loved that.
For April, we didn't read a book but instead I asked the kids to pick a poem or write one, in honor of National Poetry Month, and we shared those and discussed poetry. Each kid read their poem aloud, almost all of them picked a Shel Silverstein poem except for one who wrote their own. I photocopied them and then passed out paper, magazines, watercolor paints, colored pencils and die cut images so
they could get creative and decorate a page inspired by their poem.
Next month, we are reading Journal of a Schoolyard Bully. The kids were excited when I presented it because it is a Diary of a Wimpy Kid readalike. I'm hoping for a good turnout and lively discussion.
Posted by Marie at 8:20 PM
Saturday, April 13, 2013
I'm going to apologize in advance for the length of this post. I know it violates every rule on web copy, but I had such an incredible experience at the School Library Journal Public Library Leadership Think Tank that I want to include everything I took away from it so that those of you who weren't there can also benefit.
Rachel Payne, Coordinator of Early Childhood Services at Brooklyn Public Library
Posted by Joanna at 10:31 AM
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Many of you may have noticed the push for STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) programs both in schools and at libraries. My 9 year old nephew, Theo, is part of a FIRST (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science & Technology) Lego League team called ROBOLUTION that is competing to win the Global Innovation Award. His team has spent countless hours over the last year researching, designing, and presenting on a product of their own design aimed at addressing the issue of dehydration in senior citizens. They've created a patent-pending product that has the potential to actually make it to market and these kids are in FOURTH GRADE!
It's hard to believe that these young kids did this on their own, but I've watched them throughout this process. You can read all of the details about them, their product, and their research & methodology here on their blog.
Please help me spread the word through the power of your social networks to get people to vote for these kids so that they can move on to the next round of competition and have the chance at winning $20,000 and the opportunity to work with a lawyer at the US Patent office to bring this innovation to life!
Voting runs from February 11 - March 1 and will be done on this website. Starting Feb. 11 just search for ROBOLUTION and click vote! It's that easy.
Please, please spread the word and vote yourself. You can vote everyday day as many times as you want. Please share this information with anyone you think would be interested in supporting this STEM project and particularly these amazing kids.
Posted by Joanna at 8:24 PM