Thursday, March 20, 2014

Field Trip Adventure Time! with Bryce and Erin


I'm so happy to have this [GIFs and commentary by me] guest post by Erin, a Twitter friend and a student of Marge's CE class. I snagged her when she mentioned me in a tweet about scripting library tours FIELD TRIP ADVENTURES! I was on vacation, and was completely stoked to see her write up in my inbox when I got home! 

And remember, if you'd like try your hand at blogging or if you want to share your version of something you found here (like Erin and Ariel and Julia), please email me at brycedontplay at gmail! I would love to have you create my content so I don't have to.

This guest post is by Erin Davison, Library Assistant II in the Youth Services Department in Holland MI, where she lives with her husband Peter and cat Charles SimicShe used the phrase "done borrowed" in reference to my script idea-- correctly, I might add-- so of course she grabbed the attention of this former Southerner.  Hit her up on Twitter: @erinisinire.

My name is Erin and I was a Lurker [Bryce Note: Hi, Erin.]. My feedly is chock full of smart, creative people's blogs. I joined Twitter almost 2 years ago primarily to follow smart, creative librarians. Last summer, I had the chance to attend ALA and Guerrilla Storytime where I first had the inkling these librarians "rock stars" were actually PEOPLE. I recently had the opportunity to attend MIKidLib14-an unconference planned by Lisa Mulvenna, Anne Clark and Andrea Vernola-and it was at that conference I realized I might be a smart, creative person who had ideas and could help other people. And when Amy Koester wrote the "There is Something Rotten in the State of YS Professional Development" post I felt like it was written for me. I just want to thank all of those blogging, tweeting, Tumblring, Facebookgroup librarians who've been of immeasurable help to me professionally. I WAS a Lurker. I won't be any longer.

[Anyway, back to Erin]
I follow Marge on Twitter and she mentioned something about a class she was going to be teaching online through University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension on Power Children's Programming on a Budget (aside: I do not have my MLS. I've spent the last 13 years thinking that SOMEDAY I would do it, but I just didn't want to commit. In addition to knowing this class would be invaluable to our department, I also figured it would be a good opportunity for me to see if I was capable of keeping up with an online class while working and if online learning was even a good fit for me. University of Wisconsin has, of late, become my first choice school if and when I finally decide to take the leap!).

This.class.has.been.amazing. There have been so many ideas and so many practical ways to implement these ideas regardless of the size or budget of a library.

Week 5 introduced us to Preschool Programming and that's when serendipity really hit. Our department was in the process of revamping our preschool tours-having something that was consistent regardless of who was giving the tours-and when I read the 3 blog posts Marge highlighted, I knew it was exactly the direction we needed to go.

That was last Saturday. Less than a week later, I went for it. 

We decided to go with the "Dog's Colorful Day" idea as we had 10 areas of the department and library we wanted to highlight. I put together a rough "script," printed Dog on card stock (and on the reverse side I printed our upcoming Elephant and Piggie Spring Break programming schedule), scrounged the library for any colored dot stickers I could find (note: preschoolers WILL ask if you don't have a purple sticker. Like the book. Because they're smart like that!), printed BIG dots and hung them in the areas we wanted to highlight with containers of cut up dot stickers and away we went!

We started in the storytime room where I straight up cribbed Sara's opening question about who owns the library: "The librarians! The books own the library! Important people!" Their mouths literally dropped open when I said "Actually EVERYONE in Holland owns the library! YOU do too!" [Bryce Note: This is actually Marge's line] That was the moment I knew things were going to be just fine. We went on to talk about sharing and taking turns and I showed them examples of materials that were damaged by other people. The sadness in the room was palpable when I held up a copy of Gregory the Terrible Eater in pieces. They vowed to always take care of library materials, we read through Dog's Colorful Day and off we went on our library adventure. 

Things I learned: 
  • Yes, taking a sticker off the backing with our fingers is great way to help develop fine motor skills. It's also not exactly the most efficient way to hand out stickers to 23 3-5 year olds on a 45 minute schedule. One of our awesome aides was a huge help as were the teacher and parents. Next time? I will hand teachers/parents strips of ALL of the colors at the beginning to peel off at each station and hand out to kids.
  • There are so many exciting things in the library! The AWE stations! The puzzles! The wooden carousel! The CONVEYOR BELT! Next time, as we approach our next station, I'm going to have everyone hold their hands in the air when they see the big dot and keep it up until everyone's hands are in the air to help keep focus. I can't fathom the awesomeness  horror [edit by Bryce] of an enormous wooden boat in the department. Our small carousel quickly turned into a jungle gym. I feel your pain.
  • The "backstage tour" part where we got to see the conveyor belt was a big hit. Maybe too big of a hit. Next time we'll have a big strip of yellow tape and instruct everyone to not.cross.the.line. 
We used to do a short "storytime" and then a tour through the department (we didn't go downstairs to see where we get library cards or the book drop conveyor). I really really really believe this format is so much more meaningful for preschool aged children. There is something repetitive and concrete they do at each highlighted area. They go home with something from the library. It's tied to a BOOK. And it's developmentally appropriate.

[Bryce Note: For an idea that solves the sticker problem, check out Dinosaur vs. the Library over at Reading with Red]

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cory Eckert: A Tribute (Band?)

Soooo something awesome happened today, and that is: Cory Eckert, founder of Guerrilla Storytime and co-creator of Storytime Underground, was named a 2014 Library Journal Mover & Shaker.I was one of the many librarians who nominated her,in good company with Angie, Kendra, and Amy (and I'm sure there's more). In the spirit of lifting each other up and the fact that the little blurb did not do her justice, Here's what I wrote about Cory-- this time, with GIFs.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Are Your Programs S.A.F.E.? A Librarian Look at the Afterschool Alliance Report

Last week, the Afterschool Alliance published a literature review/report called "Taking a Deeper Dive into Afterschool: Positive Outcomes and Positive Practices." First of all, if you didn't know the Afterschool Alliance was a Thing, I forgive you; but please immediately rectify this situation by adding their incredibly informative website to your radar and maybe even following them on Twitter.

Now, many of us librarians don't have the time, resources, or community interest for a daily/weekly afterschool program that this report focuses on; but we definitely can take some great suggestions from its Positive Practices to make our planning more deliberate to set our kid patrons up for success at our programs.

First, some awesome and empowering words about our role in these kids' lives:

  • A great feature of our programming is that we don't have to focus on standardized assessments and academic achievement. This allows us to focus on the meat of success in afterschool programs: personal development, such as social and emotional growth. (page 8 of PDF)
  • a meta-analysis by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (okay I want to read everything by them right away, don't you?) found that children who attend afterschool programs "saw a significant improvement in their perceptions of themselves, improved positive social behavior and a decrease in problem behaviors" (page 8 of PDF)
Note that due to increased pressure of testing and emphasis on assessment-driven instruction (which may take intervention into the afterschool realm, like Club Z as an afterschool offering at Title I schools), we public libraries are uniquely posited to offer personal-development-focused programming. How does our programming support social and emotional growth?