Summer Happenings

We’re halfway through our summer reading program, so I thought I’d share some of our library’s happenings: passive and active.

Teen Fandom Passive Program:

One of our volunteens made this endcap sign for our teen area. It’s been super fun to see what teens are loving, and as a major Harry Potter fan, I love that Harry is still on the list. The list also includes, Percy Jackson, Shrek and Hamilton.

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Stuffed Animal Sleepover:

One Thursday evening a group of kids came to their library with their favorite stuffed animals, and listened to a bedtime themed storytime. After storytime their stuffed animals stayed behind for an epic sleepover, which was documented. Obviously. The next day, the kids came to pick up their stuffed animals, and some photos. We had some lovely volunteers help us with a display to commemorate the shenanigans.

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Captain Underpants Passive Program:

I found a template online and our volunteens have been cutting them out for us. We have the underpants and crayons/colored pencils available for kids to color in the library. They can take home the underwear or display it in the library. Of course, we can’t keep any of the Captain Underpants books in stock to display with the passive program.

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Teen Club:

Once a month teens gather in the library meeting room to discuss books, get ARCs, play games and enjoy some snacks. While I’m not leading the program, it’s been fun to hear about!
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Readers Advisory Conundrum

Today, I had a more unique readers advisory interview. A young girl came up to the desk, blushing (or maybe sunburned), and asked for recommendations for good books for a 10-year-old. After going through the “what’s the last book you read you like” and “what did you like about it” I learned she likes romance books. Now I read romantic type books too when I was that age (almost every Ann Rinaldi * and Dear America ** book had some sort of romance), but we don’t have many of those anymore. And our young patron would have to be interested in historical fiction to enjoy my pre-teen reads.

I recommended the Wide Awake Princess series by E.D. Baker, Bloomability by Sharon Creech, The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler (can’t remember any romance, but she did say she liked mermaids), and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. She seemed less interested in Anne since the first books isn’t very romantic, but I hope she does eventually read the Anne series. Anne and Gilbert are one of my favorite fictional couples. So sweet.

Did I miss something obvious? She seemed on the younger end of 10 so I didn’t to get too crazy with the romance, and certainly not into young adult, but I’m stumped! And this should be my wheelhouse (as opposed to J Sci Fi)! Blerg.

*in 6th grade I read Time Enough for Drums by Ann Rinaldi so many times that we almost bought the book from my middle school library since it was out of print at the time. Lucky for me, it was reprinted by the time I was in 7th grade.

**Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady, R.M.S. Titanic, 1912A Coal Miner’s Bride: The Diary of Anetka Kaminksa, Lattimer, Pennsylvania, 1896 and The Great Railroad Race: the Diary of Libby West, Utah Territory, 1868 were particular favorites of mine. 

Who Was… Book Club

One of the new programs I’m running this summer is a Who Was… book club. For those of you not in the know, the Who Was series are super popular among elementary readers. They are short biographies of important historical figures (past and present) and they are expanding to significant events and locations. We get so many kids coming in looking for a specific section of the Who Was books, but we have them cataloged and shelved according to their Dewey Decimal number. I’m toying with separating them out, but in my experience, it makes it much harder for staff. And hopefully, readers will find something else in the area near Who Was Michael Jackson? For example that might interest them.
Anyway. Our first book club selection was Who Was Sojourner Truth? Day of, I remembered just how hard it is to discuss a nonfiction book. Oops. This book was also difficult, although important, because it deals with so many hot button issues, including women’s rights and racial disparity. Since I accidentally scheduled the first meeting on the last day of school, only two girls showed up. We discussed the book, and talked about how brave Sojourner Truth was, and how her name is so representative of her and her values. We then read the “Ain’t I Woman Speech” and discussed it, and the women’s convention. Then we mapped out Sojourner Truth’s travels. Overall, I regret not thinking of a better activity. Next month, Who Was Paul Revere? I’m going to plan everything a little better, and hopefully include a craft or larger activity.

Second Grade Visits

It’s that time of year again! Outreach for Summer Reading!

My library happens to be across the street from a local elementary school, and every year the second graders come over for library card signups, a tour, and an opportunity to check out books. During their visit, I talk about our summer reading opportunities and then I read A Library Book for Bear by Bonny Becker.

I am loving how well this books is working out! We talk about library rules (Bear and mouse roller skate to the library, so we talk about appropriate shoes, Bear is loud in the library so we talk about how we have to be respectful to everyone else in the library, but not necessarily silent), we talk about storytimes and activities, and lastly, we talk about fiction vs nonfiction.

Also, every second grade class (so far) has applauded for me when I’m done reading. Whether that’s a sign of how much they enjoy the story, or a cultural thing at their school is a bit up in the air, but I love it! I do think they enjoy the story though, since they laugh a lot. A Library Book for Bear has gone over much better than last year’s Dewey: There’s a Cat in the Library. Although that also led to lots of good conversations.

Summer Storytime

This summer we are majorly understaffed and as such I did not get nearly enough time to plan my storytimes. Some were still good, others were not so great. I did some analyzing of my storytimes and what is working and what isn’t, which I will share later, but for now I have Summer Storytime Favorites:

Go Away Big Green Monster! By Ed Emberly

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Monsters Love Underpants by Claire Freedman

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I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry

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Eeny, Meeny, Miny Mo, and Flo! By Laurel Molk

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Don’t Squish the Sasquatch! By Kent Redeker

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Can You Make a Scary Face?  By Jan Thomas

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One of the best things about these books is they appeal to kids and parents. I had more than one parent (interestingly, they were all dads) told me they did not expect to sit in story time and laugh and want to check out the book themselves. Specifically, I‘m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean and Monsters Love Underpants.

I also discovered that the hokey pokey (especially if you make it work with your theme) works really well with squirrely groups. It gets everyone up and moving and it takes up a decent chunk of time, while still working on literacy skills.