We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Storywalk

Last week I accomplished one of my professional goals. Since starting in public libraries I wanted to run a We’re Going on a Bear Hunt storywalk, through nature that somewhat resembles the scenes in the book. My current library is working on a partnership with a local nature center (we want more outreach, they want more visitors, so win-win!) and another librarian and I jumped at the chance to start this journey. I brought up my Bear Hunt idea and they loved it, and the site just happened to have a master naturalist volunteer who had already created a bear game, a bear den, and a box of bear paraphernalia (plaster prints, bear skin, etc). The nature center even has bears living on their property and have trail-cam photos of the bears.

Bear Hunt

I got to nature center at noon on a Wednesday and helped set up the non-trail portion of the event. We had a corner set up for kids to read to stuffed bears and a basket of other fabulous bear books. We also had a binocular making station, coloring sheets, and a “map” with early literacy tips for parents on the back.

Not only was I impressed by the turnout, but by how long some of our Bear Hunters took on their walk. Some were on the trail for an hour! They then stayed and made binoculars or colored or read for another hour or two.

I’m super excited to continue this partnership and hope that the upcoming nature storywalks are just as successful. And I was so excited to see something I’d thought about for years come to life.

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Farmers Market Storytimes

I love farmers markets. I don’t always buy stuff (except flowers), but I love the idea. This year, some librarians joined me in promoting the library at the farmers market. We’re lucky enough to work in a community where the farmers market organizers reached out to us first. I love that other organizations also want to partner with library and it’s not always us reaching out to them. Especially when I get to sit outside.

When I went to the farmers market I ran a storytime of sorts. I never had kids all at the same time, so it was mostly a “who wants to hear a story?” kind of situation, and I’d read books throughout my time at the market. At my last job I tried doing farming/vegetable/food related stories, but those are all long and not particularly engrossing. Especially when the storytime is surrounded by other more interesting distractions. So I went with some tried and true silly favorites. By far the most popular books I read were:

Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas

New Socks by Bob Shea

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems (surprise, surprise)

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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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.