Parachute ideas for all kinds of programs!

Stumped for ideas for using the parachute at storytime?

Think outside the picture books stacks!

Here are some great ideas for incorporating material from other areas of your collection.

Want to make your own clip art?

Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started!

Some easy ways to spice up your site!

Be sure to suggest your favorites in the comments!

Ideas for incorporating factual materials into storytime

There is lots of great nonfiction for kids out there. If I missed your favorite, leave a comment!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Library Day in the Life (#libday7)

If I were a patron, I'd have racked up a serious fine, because this blog post is so overdue! Finally, here is my #LibDay7 post! Thanks for waiting and I hope you enjoy. I will be updating this post throughout the day so I apologize to anyone who sees it multiple times in their RSS feed.

I am a youth librarian in a Michigan public library, but today I have been scheduled to work in the adult department, which is always a challenge when your expertise lies elsewhere. But it can be fun to answer some tougher reference questions and see some new (to me) patrons.

8:00 Arrive at library. Yesterday I was at a workshop so I spend a few minutes going through items on my desk and running through my mental to-do list of items I want to get done before we open at 10:00. Start working on those: change the bulletin board (from an idea I found on Pinterest), go through new books fresh out of processing, check email and voicemail, as well as daily opening preparations (turn on computers, change date on date due stamps, reset people counter, etc.)

9:00 First co-workers arrive: two of my three pages arrive. The last one will be in at 10. Pages empty the book-drop and vacuum the sections of the youth department that still have debris from painting. I fill out a form for mileage reimbursement and professional development summary from yesterday's excellent workshop I attended on early literacy and school readiness (presented by MSU Extension).

10:00 Third page arrives and the two pages working in the adult department today turn on the lights, send the elevator down to the parking lot level, and  so forth. We have recently had new lighting installed on the laptop tables and neither the page or I know how to turn them on! Luckily the page scheduled for the youth department was here when they were installed and fills us in. Time to open! I wait for patrons to come in. They trickle in slowly. Check some books out, help patrons log in to use the computers. Order some books from ILL. A children's department regular comes in and asks me what I am doing "on the wrong floor" and I help her find the Cars soundtrack. Make a mental note to change the cataloging on that one as it is in the adult department but the movie itself is downstairs in children's. We also spot the Wall-e soundtrack on the wrong floor, but it has been misshelved (as opposed to miscataloged/mislabeled). Another patron asks if we can hold her ILL books if they come in Monday or Tuesday, so I promise to leave a note. In between patrons, I type up a Goodbye sign that I wanted to make for the youth department that I pinned.

11:00 Time for lunch! Since it is a short work day, I take a half-hour. My husband brings me Jimmy John's and I remember why I married him. He hasn't seen the new paint job in the youth department, so I am excited to see what he thinks. He thinks it is a big improvement and I am inclined to agree. Lunch break is interrupted by a question from a page about whether or not it is OK for a patron to take a book out of a stack (yes, and a good thing too because it was for a Board member!)

11:30 Back from lunch. Other staff members start to take their lunch. Help patron find a Nicholas Sparks book only to discover at the check-out desk that she doesn't live in our service area. So unfortunately, she would have to pay a non-resident fee or will not be able to check anything out. I hate telling people they can't borrow our materials! Hate it.

12:00 Am able to work downstairs for a few minutes to get ready for Monday's Grand Re-Opening of the youth department. Hang up a welcome banner, and put up some other decorations. Also adjust the bulletin board because when I did it this morning (pre-caffeine) I stapled some of the letters crooked. Oops! Also sign a few kids onto the computers, find a Maggie Stiefvater book for a patron, and say thank you's for compliments on our new paint job.

1:00 Finish my projects downstairs and head back up. One page goes home. We have been busy all day and this is no exception. Sign more people onto computers (one from Mississippi and one from Ontario!). A woman asks me if we have any CDs by Joanna Newsom. We do so I find it for her. Since our CDs are cataloged in Dewey, she asks if I can print her a list of category call numbers. I fish one off the Internet and send it home with her. I also print one for myself for the children's department so I can make a sign with "real people" language as our CDs are also in DDC downstairs.

Page asks me how we are supposed to put the chairs up on the reading tables now that they have lights installed on them. I have no idea so we experiment a little and get them to (just barely) fit!

2:00 Survive the last minute frenzy. Closing duties are done (everything's off and doors are locked) so it's time to go home!

That's all folks! Hope you enjoyed the blow-by-blow description of a day in the life of a youth librarian temporarily moved to the adult department!

Friday, July 29, 2011

One more Dewey Decimal sign...

This is just a quick post (coincidentally, we are knee-deep in a painting project of our own) to share one more Dewey Decimal sign that is now hanging in our kids' department:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Library Makeover Part 2: New Board Book Storage

While we were repainting the youth department, we also switched out our board books. Previously, they were stored in 2 clear plastic bins, which while functional, were overflowing and not attractive. See?

A quick trip to Meijer and $25 (on clearance!) later, we had an adorable storage solution:


Make It Over! Our Adventures in Repainting the Youth Department

Pictures are up here, if you'd like to see our makeover.  We used Behr's Wickerware (yellow) and Corn Husk Green for our colors. By we, I mean that I picked them. So I'm to blame if you don't like them.

If anyone is painting in the future, here is some advice:
  • Think really hard about what section you want to paint first. I would start with the one that will be the hardest to reshelve. In most cases, that will be the picture books.
  • Play music. Loud music while reshelving. Something peppy. It will put you in a better mood.
  • Use an assembly-line technique for unshelving and reshelving books, particularly the picture books. They are a pain. Start with them so you can get it over with. Throw the yucky ones that should be weeded in a seperate pile so you don't have them go back on the shelf.
  • Close the library down for more time than you think you will need. Then you won't feel rushed and it is better to reopen early than to stay closed longer than you told people.
  • Invite the press and throw a party for when you reopen. Have the kids make decorations for the "new" children's department.
That's all for now! I have books to reshelve. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Library Day in the Life

If you're looking for my #libday7 post, I hope to have something up later this week (I hope Saturday) as we have closed my (youth) department for this week for painting. I am thrilled about this but it makes for a much atypical week. If you'd like to read about a much more typical day in my life as a children's librarian, please read my post from last summer.

If anyone is interested, I will write up a post later this week about our makeover. Or at least share photos.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Big-Hearted Elephant

In honor of the wedding I am attending tomorrow, here's a lovey-dovey flannel board for all you romantics out here. It's called "The Big-Hearted Elephant" and it is an original Valentine's Day story. After what feels like forever searching, I finally found the source of this story! It is from Holiday Hoopla by Kathy Darling. The book is long out of print, but used copies are available on Amazon or you might be able to ILL a copy.

I'd advise anyone attempting this poem to have one person manipulate the flannel board pieces and another read the words. It is quite long, and you don't want to lose the rhythm fumbling with the pieces. This is one of the first felt stories I ever made (I think it was the 2nd) and it shows in the execution.

Don't forget to stop by Sharon's blog for this week's Flannel Friday roundup. Previous roundups are here.

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Storytime Philosophy

My philosophy for storytime is summed up by a Hallmark ad (of all things!):

Summer Reading Photo Stand & Other Projects

Meant to share this way sooner! Look at what my husband and I put together:

The front was a color-your-own banner from Oriental Trading which I actually delegated to an art major page and then my husband built the frame. We took it to our county's preschool Fun Fair and it has been sitting in the youth department for summer reading since. 

It's always so much fun for us to build things together. We also redid a $5 garage sale bench. Here's the before (with the rest of our finds from that day--the coat rack also got a makeover):

And then after some sanding and painting ($18 for a gallon of paint---more than enough and we've been redoing some smaller things to match and I believe the fabric was around $12--on sale at JoAnn Fabric):

But now my husband has decided to build some storage underneath it for our entryway, so there will be another after pic someday.

Quick as a Cricket

This week I am sharing Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood for Flannel Friday (look for the roundup hosted by Andrea). This is a storytime classic* and a great flannelboard. I will confess to not being the biggest fan of the original artwork. Just not my taste. 

It does have tons of pieces and I didn't have time to dig the bigger flannelboard out of storage (we are getting ready to shut down our youth services department for a makeover soon) so bear with me. 

Here they all are together: 

I'm as slow as a ...


I'm as loud as a...

I'm as wild as a ...

 I'm as strong as a ...

I'm as sad as a ...


I'm as happy as a...


My flannelboard pieces were out of 2's Experience: Felt Board Fun by Liz and Dick Wilmes, but I noticed that KizClub has a pattern for this book as well. It doesn't look like they have all the pieces, so you might have to rework the rhyme a bit. 

Another fun and faster way to tell this story would be to print out photos or clip art and clip each image to a clothesline as you tell the story. You can also do something similar with a group where each child gets a picture of an animal (some can be repeated) asked the kids questions like "who has a mean animal? a strong one? brave?" etc. 

Here's a question for storytime presenters: Do you put all the pieces up and leave them or have one up at a time? I'm a put up and leave 'em  girl, especially because this book ends with "Put it all together, it's ME" but I am curious what others are partial to. Part of it would depend on how big your board is also. 

*I do express some dubious feelings about the line about being "hot as a fox." Maybe it's just me... but it seems a little odd. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Reading Week 5!

I can't believe it is Week 5 already! This has definitely been an interesting summer (read my other summer reading posts here) and it has never really felt like we fully hit our stride. I hope our numbers wind up being OK, but I know we won't be setting any records this year. And that's just fine.

For me, one of the highlights of the summer has been being able to actually watch the programs. Most of the year I am the one putting everything on myself and the great thing about our SRP is getting to be part of the audience myself. We have had some very cool events hosted by people who aren't me. We have had a juggling workshop, theater performance, and a family performer stop by and they all were smashing. I even got a few ideas for stories and songs that I might try out in storytime.

I have to say I was really impressed with all of our performers' professionalism. In previous years, I have had a staff member with a petting zoo wearing a pro-marijuana Tshirt and had an aging hippie talk about partying while presenting to children. Both times I was cringing like a madwoman. There were no moments like that this year. Thank goodness.

Our summer reading program ends next week. It's always nice to have the finish line in sight, but it always seems to go by so fast. Of course, then we start right up planning the annual Carnival. This year is the 40th anniversary of our event, so you know we have to do it right!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Storytelling "There is a Bird on Your Head"

One of the things I love the most about how my library does summer storytimes (besides going outside for them) is that we schedule an extra person to help me out with them. This is a luxury that I would LOVE to have more often, because we can do so much more things with another set of hands. One of my favorite is to do a dual reading. And one of the best book series for this is of course by Mo Willems. Any of the Elephant and Piggie books can be great this way, but my favorite is There is a Bird on Your Head.

I am the lucky owner of these puppets from Discount School Supply and am a huge fan. The puppet for the number 3 happens to have three little baby birds in there. When we read this book, I play Gerald (the elephant) and leave the closed nest on my head. When the baby birds are born, I pop my fingers up and there they are. It's a great effect, she said humbly. The other person simply holds the book for us and reads Piggie's lines. At the appropriate time, I move the nest to their head. Surprise! Easy peasy. 

These puppets are a great set for storytime planning collections. They come with lots of ideas for using them and, if I remember correctly, the words are also in Spanish. 

Friday, July 08, 2011

Summer Reading Week 4 Roundup

We are finishing week 4 of our summer reading program here so it is time for another roundup! This week went very smoothly, so that means next week probably won't. Kidding. I hope. 

We have had quite a lot of interest in signing up for summer reading but very few people have returned their logs.  It will be interesting to see if it's just procrastination or taking longer than normal. I won't be at work the last day of summer reading (wedding) so I hope people come in before then with their finished logs so the poor staffers who are working won't be too slammed. 

By the way, does anyone else work in a small town? I am curious what those of us who live in more rural communities do for summer reading and what numbers they expect? Our service area is around 20,000 residents in size. So I struggle when I try to compare our numbers with some people who work in much more populated areas.

Lunch by Denise Fleming

Today's Flannel Friday is Lunch by Denise Fleming. I tell this story using the flannel board and a little mouse puppet (sadly, not pictured, but I think it's this one). As the mouse in the story eats his way through a lunch buffet, the puppet snags the food off the board with his mouth.

This is a nice story to tell for a beginner or anyone who has my inability to memorize. Basically "Mouse was very hungry. He was so hungry he ate some _______________________________" and then "he took a nap until (pause for suspense) DINNERTIME!"

According to my notes, I got the patterns from Toddler Storytimes II. I no longer have a copy of this book, so I can't share them.  You could use coloring sheets off the Internet as inspiration. You could also use print clipart and laminate it. I might try this with play food in the future.

This week's Flannel Friday roundup is being hosted at Storytime Katie. Previous roundups are here.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Am I Ready to Go?

Now that it's July and incredibly hot, I thought it would be fun to post a winter-y "getting dressed" idea for today's #FlannelFriday. This is another Storytime Magic idea (#21), so buy the book if you don't have a copy. You can thank me later.

Here's my male model:

I drew hearts on his boxers, because that's how I roll. Here he is all ready to go play out in the snow:

I like this set because you can use the rhyme MacMillan and Kirker provide or you can invent one of your own. You could also retell Froggy Gets Dressed or How Do I Put it On? (a great baby storytime book, if you have a copy of this out-of-print gem).

This week's Flannel Friday roundup is being hosted by Katie. Previous roundups are here.