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Showing posts from September, 2011

The Rat's Daughter

Today's Flannel Friday is the Japanese story "The Rat's Daughter" (patterns from the Flannel Board Storytelling Book by Judy Sierra)  about a proud man who wants his daughter to only marry "the strongest in the world" and not the rat next door. So Mr. Rat asks the sun who the strongest is and the sun replies the cloud is stronger than he. Then the cloud says the same of the wind, the wind says the same of a wall, and the wall says the same of... the very same rat who had asked Papa Rat for permission to marry his daughter in the first place and who is chipping away at the wall right this second.


Finally Daddio Rat agrees to let Neighbor Rat marry Princess Rat. And they all lived happily ever after.


Don't miss any of this week's submissions-- Sharon's in charge of the roundup this week. Previous roundups are here. Don't forget to check out Flannel Friday on pinterest!

Practically Free Picture Book Collection Marketing

I know a lot of libraries do this already, but a wonderful way to ensure picture book series circulate is to call special attention to them by placing a sign over them. I have made coordinating signs to go over our top row of picture books.

I have found this to be popular with parents, kids, and staff members. It also alleviated some shelving space issues to use the top, although unfortunately the tops of our shelves are rather high off the ground due to space issues on the floor.

If you are interested in printing them off for your use, you can download my file here. I'd love comments and photos from anyone who uses these.

For a slightly more expensive option, you could also check out what I did with the series books at my library.

Incidentally, if you are wondering what is up with the cracks in the wall behind the shelves, the top half of that wall is actually sheets of corkboard, not drywall. The signs are laminated (hence the shininess) and then stapled to the cork.

Collection Development 101: Weeding (part 2 of series)

Last week I talked about how I add books to our collection. I'd like to thank the people who left comments because I really enjoyed the conversation that developed there. I'd also like to thank Elizabeth Bird for linking to that post on Fuse #8 and Melissa for pointing it out to me! And you should definitely read Erin's follow-up to my post, which is full of great details and absolutely no spreadsheets! :)

After all this, I hope I don't get a big bigger head! Although I discovered when shopping for a horseback riding helmet one summer before camp that I had what the sales clerk termed a "deceptively large head." Cue middle school self-esteem crisis!

Today I want to talk about what happens when a book has overstayed its welcome in your collection. Maybe it was once a great book, but has been ignored recently. Or the topic has changed so much that it is now out of date.  Another common scenario is that you once had to have 200 books on robins, because the ele…

Collection Development 101: Selection (part 1 of series)

Today I'm starting a new series on collection development! I hope that this will be of use to library students as well as new professionals. I'd love if veteran selectors would chime in with their collection development process. For this post, I am going to talk about my selection process. I think it is always worthwhile to examine these processes closely and inspect for inefficiencies and redundancies.

But first, a little about my particular library. My youth department serves babies through high schoolers. We break our collection down into the following categories: picture books, easy readers, board books, J kits (circulating book and CD sets--these come out of my audiobook budget), chapter books, nonfiction, and young adult books. We have further cataloging distinctions when books get to that stage, mainly for the Caldecott and parent/teacher collections.

Also, since the population of this branch's service area is only about 20,000 people, it is pretty rare for my depa…

My Dump Truck Fred

"My Dump Truck Fred" is from the awesome storytime planning resource book Storytime Magic. If you don't own this one at your library, go buy it now. I will wait.

OK, now that you've ordered this book (it is my very favorite, so you better have ordered it). "My Dump Truck Fred" is a first person story about what I would do if I had a dump truck named Fred. That is a big "IF" if you ask me. But anyway, here are some things to do: 

Patterns for this story are on the ALA Website (My Dump Truck Fred is #397) Words are from the Storytime Magic book, but if you haven't bought it yet (you really should), really all you have to do is say "I'd give Fred a hat! I'd make sure he wore his scarf!" etc.
I highly recommend making this book as a magnetboard story as I did. I printed out the pictures, colored them with markers, and then laminated them and cut them out. If you use thin magnet coins (I used these and paid $3.99 for 100), then yo…

How I Plan My Storytimes

I've been putting off admitting to this publicly, but a few people have asked how I plan my storytimes, so here is how I do it. I'm sure there are much more organized ways of doing this, but this is how it works for me. I want to stress that I am probably insane and you should bear that in mind while reading this post.

The first thing I do is make a list of possible topics. I don't like to think of them as "themes" because themes wind up feeling too specific for me. For example, there are lots of great books about pigs but I get bored reading a bunch of books about them. So instead I'll do a storytime on farms. I've found that by broadening my range of acceptable subjects that my storytimes wind still feeling cohesive but I'm not reading any books I don't really love. I won't read a book that doesn't "do it" for me. Nothing gets thrown in just because I need one more book, etc.

I plan a whole session at once (6-8 weeks), so I wr…

Otto the Cat

Today's story is adapted from the easy reader Otto the Cat by Gail Herman (also the author of most of the Scooby-Doo books I've seen, coincidentally). FYI: This is a rebus (pictures fill in for words) story also, so to adapt that aspect to the story I coded my version of the words so that I point to the picture as I say the word). It is probably unnecessary but it does reinforce the idea.

Otto is a cat and he lives in a house OTTO'S house.


He takes HIS car to the pet store where he wants a new dish and a new mouse.




"Otto gets everything he wants. Does he want a puppy?"


No? "TOO LATE, OTTO!" The puppy wants to come home with Otto.

Otto does not like to share with the unnamed puppy so Otto hatches a plan to lose him in the park, but it is Otto who gets lost. Will Otto be able to find his way home? DUN DUN DUN!



I used clipart from MS Publisher 2003. This story can work as either a flannel (attach hook and loop fastener) or magnet board (attach magnets) as…

Display Ideas for Any Time! (part 2 of series)

Earlier I posted some seasonal display ideas, and today I am back with some display ideas that can work at any time of year. I am in the process of redoing my display signs, so eventually I will make them downloadable so you can print them. But for now, here are the ideas (and please suggest more in the comments!):

Picture Books
Bodily Functions (with the caveat that such displays are not for every community)
If You Like Fancy Nancy*
Under the Sea Book*
Pirates

Chapter Books
Historical Fiction* (dreaded school assignment)
Percy Jackson
Chapter Books Every Kid Should Read ("classics" and contemporary crowd-pleasers)
Mysteries

Teen Books
Ain't Shakespeare (retellings)
As Seen on TV (books turned into TV shows like Pretty Little Liars, The Lying Game, Huge, etc. as well as novels based on TV shows like Glee, etc.)
Beauty Books
Books that Rock(music related)

Adult Books
Graphic Novels for Grownups

Multi-Age Displays
Ninjas
Samurais (This was a patron request--he said I'd nev…

My Kitten's Mitten

Once fall begins, I start wondering when I am going to need to break out my mittens. I love mittens and have lots of pairs (appropriate for a girl from Michigan, I think). And I get very upset when I lose a pair (or even worse, lose half a pair!) so I can relate to this flannel version of "My Kitten's Mitten" by Jean Warren. For copyright reasons, I don't want to post the whole thing, but here is the first stanza:

My poor little kitten Lost her mitten And started to cry, "boo hoo." So I helped my kitten To look for her mitten, Her beautiful mitten of blue.
I will 'fess up that I didn't want to make little mittens for ALL the stanzas, so I exercised my librarian license to just do the colors that I like. Please excuse the glare, I put together this week's Flannel Friday on short notice. We are extremely busy this week--huge event tomorrow!

This week's roundup is being hosted by Melissa. Previous roundups are here. Don't forge…

A Year's Worth of Library Display Ideas (part 1 of series)

One of my favorite things to do in my library is create displays. I thought it might be helpful if I shared the calendar that I drew up to make sure I don't miss any of the "must-do" displays. It is so helpful if you can take people over to a seasonal display versus trying to look up in the catalog or find Easter books or whatever. I hope this helps any new librarians who might be overwhelmed by the process of marketing your collection!

As a general rule, I tend to keep displays up for about 3-4 weeks or if I run out of books all together. One tip I'd recommend if you have the space for multiple displays is to change one display in each space every week and rotate around the youth department like that. For example, one week you put up a new picture books display, then nonfiction, then YA/teen, etc. Don't forget to raid your CD and DVD collections for a multi-category display.

A great resource for making display is Chase's Calendar of Events, which is a prett…

Flannel Friday Roundup for 9/2/11

Roundup for September 21, 2011!

Notes from the Story Room reminds us "Don't Let the Tiger Get You". I love her props!

Story Time Secrets has lots of ideas for Squirrels (part of a fall series). Side note: Other people think "I HATE squirrels" every time someone says "squirrels," right? We just watched UP again, so that's back in my head now. Sorry. Not into squirrels? How about ducks? Nicole at Narrating Tales of Preschool Storytime has you covered with Raffi's (in?)famous song "Five Little Ducks". If your storytime needs some missing dinosaurs, Seth's your dude for that with "Five Little Dinosaurs."

Continuing the animal theme, Cat at Storytiming is asking "Can You Guess My Breakfast?" while Miss Mary Liberry is hunting down A House for Birdie. Bridget shares her version of Dog's Colorful Day, one of my favorite storytime books. Hello Kitty dances at Moxie'sFive Little Ballerinas.

Miss Alison Is Blogging…

Animal Opposites

Another discussion-generating Flannel Friday this week to discuss opposites. This would also work as an early literacy activity like I discussed last week. Only this time, we're talking about Animal Opposites!

For younger kids, put pairs of animals on the board and ask why they are opposites (height, width, textures, loud versus quiet, fast or slow, etc.).







With older kids, you can put multiple pairs or all the animals up on the board at once and ask them to guess which are pairs and what makes them opposites. They might surprise you with their answers!

I adapted this idea from Storytime Magic (which has downloadable patterns if you'd like another way of making this flannel). I decided to use animal photos instead.

This week's Flannel Friday roundup will be hosted by me! Previous roundups are here. Don't forget to check out Flannel Friday on pinterest!

$1 Collection Marketing: Make Your Popular Series Stand Out with IKEA Frames!

I wanted a way to make my chapter book series stand out more in the stacks (especially the popular ones!), so inspired by Come Into Delight as well as a pin on Pinterest, I got to work. I decided to use these frames that were left over from the table markers (stationary by Hitch Design Studio) at my wedding last summer:


I even had some still left in the wrapper. Our nearest IKEA is about 2 hours away, so my wonderful mother-in-law picked these up for the wedding long before we knew how many tables were actually going to be at our wedding reception leaving me with spares.


The frames are originally from IKEA and they are a steal at $1 each. What works perfectly for my purposes (besides the price) is that they are double-sided and completely plastic. They are meant for 4 by 6 pictures, so I designed a file in Publisher that prints 4 postcards per page. Then I roughly cut the sheets into quarters and stuck them between the plastic "glass" sheets. I used the plastic as a guide to…