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!

Friday, September 30, 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.

When I originally made this, my board's background was black so now you can't see the cloud as well. :(

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

A Happy Ending! 

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!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Practically Free Picture Book Collection Marketing

Close-up
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.

Our picture book section
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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

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 elementary schools assigned a report on the state bird, but now the curriculum has changed and you need the space for books on the state turtle.

For some reason, weeding is discussed much more frequently than acquisitions on blogs and in professional development workshops, so I am not going to go into nearly as much detail as I did with my previous post. 

It is important to look carefully at your collection on a regular basis. I also ask staff members who are responsible for shelving to keep an eye out for items in poor condition. I walk through our stacks nearly every day and look for items that stick out as old or ugly and bring them to my desk for evaluation.

For the sake of space, I am mainly discussing books but please do not neglect your video, music, and audiobook collections either! A lot of the same ideas apply to non-print collections as well as print.

If weeding is not your strong suit, there are some great Internet resources for you to check out: 
-CREW Manual
-Arizona State Library's Collection Development Training

And for a lighthearted look at weeding, check out Awful Library Books, another Michigan library world blog!


My Weeding Process
When I notice that space is getting tight in a particular area, the first thing I do is create a list of books that haven't circulated in the past few years. At my library, we use 3-4 years. I would argue that for certain collections you could go with less, two that I might suggest if space is particularly lacking is young adult and picture books.

Here is a screenshot with the factors I typically use to have the computer create my list:
Options and appearance will vary by ILS, but basically this is a pretty good representation

After the list is created, it will look like this:

First page of weeding list
Then I will go pull the books on the list. Sometimes I delegate this if I am working on other projects or someone needs a project of their own. I usually only pull a few pages at a time, as there is limited space for books at my desk.If I were to tackle this entire list at one time, I would have to make decisions about 1,500 copies. While some require little thought, many will need detailed consideration. So to avoid overwhelming my brain and my space, I try to stick to about 50 or fewer a day.

Of the 1500 books, many books will go right back on the shelf. We tend to keep a lot of Michigan materials regardless of circulation as it is important in our collection development policy. Also likely to state are some of the Newbery and Caldecott winners scattered throughout the nonfiction. I am contemplating some cataloging changes to bring them all into one collection though.

After a few years of weeding, I have gotten our nonfiction collection in respectable shape. A good goal to aim for is to have the average age of your collection within 10 years of the current date. As you can see from our statistics below, we are very close. Certain areas of the collection (200s, 300s, 800s) are a few years older, but their broad topics (mostly folktales in the 300s, mostly poetry in the 800s) do not change as frequently as, for example, the 500s (math and science).

Nonfiction Collection Statistics (Call number ranges truncated) 
Specific factors I consider when weeding:
  • Age and condition of the material. I am huge on having an attractive and up to date collection. I am not pleased when I find picture books that have mold damage or damaged spines. When you have books in poor condition on your shelves, you are sending a message that you don't care about your collection. And that teaches patrons that it is OK not to take proper care of library materials. 
  • If I've ever heard of the person the book is about. If an adult librarian hasn't heard of the biography subject, probably the kids haven't either. And they won't exactly be clamoring to write their reports about him or her either. If you're not a sports fan, then there's that, but if the person isn't Michael Jordan/Babe Ruth famous and is retired from a sport and not from your immediate geographical area, well... do you need it? 
  • Speaking of your immediate geographical area, proximity is huge. If you have a famous writer from your town, you are probably going to hang onto his or her books whether they're still circulating constantly or not. This can be more than a little aggravating when you'd love new editions with lovely updated cover art but the books are long out of print. But I'm not bitter or anything. This is purely hypothetical, of course. :/
  • Any important awards the book has won. 
  • Whether a change in cataloging might help the book circulate. For example, I've had good luck moving some picture book fairy tales out of the 398s and into the picture books. I've mainly left collections and picture books too long for small children to sit through in the 398s, while the shorter ones have been circulating much better in the more highly trafficked picture book section. 
  • Whether a particular area would be a good candidate for a display based on the subject to see if that would help the titles get noticed. See my display posts for ideas and printable signs for displays. 
Advice for new librarians or librarians new to weeding
I strongly recommend that you start with certain areas and wait until you have a really firm background in children's literature to weed others. I'd suggest starting with computer science, health, and other topics that should be kept as current as possible (within 5-10 years, depending on the exact subject and detail). Other topics that can be evaluated quickly are careers, animal books, math and science. If you are looking for detailed guidance, a really excellent book that will work you through each Dewey classification is Less is More: A Practical Guide to Weeding School Library Collections by Donna Baumbach. Despite the name, the advice is highly relevant for public libraries as well.

I would avoid folk and fairy tales, poetry, and any other subjects that require a pretty detailed knowledge of the topic. These are also topics where older titles may still circulate well. Wait until you know your community and your collection well for these.

One of the greatest things about weeding is how quickly it makes a visible impact on the attractiveness of your collection. Having an ugly book on the shelf makes its neighbors look ugly! Remove an outdated book and the rest of the shelf can breathe again.

I've said everything I think I wanted to say. What say you, dear readers? Do you have a favorite source for weeding advice? Or a tidbit of your own? Please chime in with a comment (or two!)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

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 department to buy more than one copy of anything. We do buy doubles (and sometimes 3-6 copies) of the hugely popular stuff---Harry Potter, Twilight, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, etc. It is unusual for us to have the demand to justify more than one copy of most items, although we are happy when a book catches on and requires it!

How do I locate books to be potentially added to my library? 
Blogs! I am a huge fan of bloggers who write about publisher's preview sessions. One who does this is a lot is fellow Michigan native Elizabeth Bird who blogs at Fuse #8. 

Review Journals! I read School Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, The Horn Book. We also get Library Journal, which I mainly read for the articles and not the reviews. There are many more journals than these worth taking a look at, but these are the ones I have access to at work and home.

Patron Requests! I am pretty liberal about buying what patron requests unless it is outside the scope of our department (textbooks, for example) or of extremely questionable quality. Price and availability are also factors.

Bestsellers lists! I mainly find in Publisher's Weekly and try to keep an eye on what is selling the most on Amazon.com as well.

How do I decide how much to allocate to a budget? 
Honestly, budgeting is one of the areas I need to work on the most. This year I decided to try something new, which I actually wish had dawned on me earlier to do this. Warning: spreadsheets ahead! First I looked at the youth department's circulation statistics for the past 10 years:

Total Circulation for the Youth Department

The first group of data is straight circulation numbers from our annual reports. The chunk below that and on the left is percent growth and decline of individual areas. You can see that certain areas of our collection are exploding in popularity and others are declining. These are calculated off the past few years' worth of data to be as current as possible. Growing in interest are the young adult, fiction, and graphic novels, while paperbacks and kits are declining. Actually the reason for the decline of paperbacks is that I stopped circulating them generically and have them cataloged and now they are included in the fiction category.

Then I determined what percent of circulation comes from which category. Basically, it can be broken down like this: Nonfiction and fiction combine for about 40-45% of our circulation, picture books are almost exactly 50%, and the rest is primarily young adult with a smattering of graphic novels and readalong kits in there to round it out. I would not be at all surprised to see our young adult circulation contribute much more heavily in the 2011 statistics at year's end. Our collection has been greatly expanded over the past 2-3 years and is going gangbusters.

Circulation breakdown by category as a percentage of circulation overall
Next I took the approximate amount of circulation per category and determined approximately how much we should be spending (in U.S. dollars) per year in that area. So, for example, approximately $6,000 on picture books and just under $3,000 on nonfiction and fiction. These are just broad goals. As you develop your collection, you will want to consider the strong and weak categories and reallocate funds appropriately. For example, this year I focused on strengthening our weak nonfiction selection (weeding and acquiring) while taking some funds away from our well-stocked picture books. You will want to rotate which collections you put the financial emphasis on from year to year.


What does the ordering process look like? 
There are two main ways we order books at my library. We occasionally meet with direct sales reps and we also order directly through a book distribution vendor. With sales reps, I tend to purchase many nonfiction sets, as well as some picture books and easy readers (almost exclusively media tie-ins like SpongeBob, etc.). The media tie-ins are not usually reviewed in the major journals, so this is how I keep our collection up to date with new titles.

The vast majority of my books are ordered through our book distribution vendor. There are several different companies. Major ones include Baker & Taylor and BWI. I used B&T at a previous library, but my current library uses a Michigan-based company, Emery Pratt. Basically, you search for titles, ISBNs, or authors you are interested in and create a cart (or many carts!). When your order is ready, you can submit it. If you've never acquired library books, the process is very similar to online shopping with the advantage that you are not spending your own money. And you're most likely spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on one order.

They are so many great books out there! How do I stick to a budget? 
All ordered books go into spreadsheet containing the book's author, title, price per copy, and a guess at where it will most likely wind up being cataloged. Sometimes it is hard to tell from the review, particularly with 'tween books that might wind up in YA or chapter books once they get here.

You will also want to keep in mind the average price of a book varies by category. School Library Journal tracks these numbers on a year to year basis.
The beginning of our book order for the next fiscal year

The formulas at the bottom calculate like so:

Total: sum of all prices (displayed in Cell C21)

Total remaining: my annual budget - the total from Cell C21 = total in Cell C22.

Total w/ est. discount. This is where things get tricky. Our library generally gets a percentage discount off the list price. How much it is totally at the mercy of our distributor. I usually assume we will pay anywhere from 80-90% of a list price. The spreadsheet is currently calculating at 80%, so the formula is C21 *.8 ad displays in C23 (the highlighted cell).

Total Remaining with discount: Subtracts the estimated discount from my annual budget and displays in C24.


So now let's look at what the budget looks like after I pick out all the books that sound like possibilities:
Here's what the monthly budget breakdown looks like at first pass


















I am happy with the first pass but a little worried about some of my budgeting. We have way overspent in YA so now I am going to go back through and whittle out some titles. Currently I have 23 YA titles picked out and I should have about half that, so I go back to the reviews a little more carefully, which brings us to the next question.


If you're on the fence about a particular book or need to cut lots of books, what factors are considered? 
  • How well other books by that author have circulated, if we have any. Also the author's general reputation
  • How much shelving space is in any given section (and if weeding has been done recently to free up some) 
  • The popularity of the genre in our community and/or whether it is well-represented in our collection already or not. 
  • If it is the 2nd or subsequent book in the series (be careful! You don't want to buy a later book, if you don't have the first one. And if you haven't had a demand for the first one, will there be a demand for the second one) 
  • Likelihood of availability through inter-library loan. Michigan has a statewide ILL program called MeL Cat. Many regional cooperatives also have a ILL option, although our cooperative does not. 
  • Price. I am more inclined to take a risk with paperbacks in the $5-9 price range than with a more than $20 
  • If the author is local or not. Local can be state-wide or within a few counties, depending on your library's definition and selection policy. Some libraries emphasize this more than others. 
  • How positive the review is. If it is just a generally positive review, we may or may not buy it. If it is a rave review from a trusted journal, that weighs heavily. Some journals have a reputation for being more critical than others. Starred reviews are not purchased automatically. 
  • How much of that category's monthly budget is being spent already. If I buy this book, will I have to remove another from my list? Which one is more important to our collection development? 
So, let's apply those factors to this list of our 23 potential YA titles: 
Our list before making any cuts
List with rationale for potential cuts
After rereading the reviews, I cut 3 YA books entirely and assigned 3 to the J budget. I also eliminated 2 nonfiction books after checking the Dewey sections and realizing that they are already well stocked. I'd like to stress that our not buying a book now doesn't make it a bad book. Another librarian might have cut the books I kept. We may even still end up buying some of these books later in the year if patrons request them! 

 Overall, my verdict is: not great, but not bad. There are a lot of great books coming out this fall, but unfortunately there is only so much money to go around. 

Now that we've cut some books, let's see how our budget looks now. 




Well, kind of a mixed bag success-wise. I stuck to my monthly budget overall, but some categories were much closer (J fiction and graphic novels) to the target than others (YA is still $110 over budget and JNF is $71 over as well, but that is balanced with the picture book budget being almost $200 under budget). Don't forget that we still have the unknown factor of discounts, which will most likely bring the total amount down into the $1200 range.

In the end, I am happy that the total amount spent was close to what I anticipated and am not as worried about the individual categories. The thing about collection development is that some months certain categories of kids' books really outshine others. Maybe this is just the time of year for quality YA books, kind of like later in the year is Oscar bait season at the movies? Perhaps I will do another budget breakdown  later in the fiscal year and compare how I am doing. Let me know if you'd be interested.

Now we're ready to actually order books! For books not purchased directly from sales reps, either I will place the order online or our secretary will call them. I prefer to place it online so I can see right away if we have already ordered the same item accidentally or not. The customer service reps will tell us over the phone if we have already ordered something as well though and ask if we want a 2nd copy or not.

Friday, September 23, 2011

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: 
Teach Fred good manners and to eat his gravel cereal every day. 

Go tanning at the beach with Fred. Don't forget your sunglasses! 

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.

Get Fred ready for the winter and hang his Christmas stocking. 
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 you can layer the pieces flannel-style without having to painstakingly cut them out of felt. Now, I love felt as much as the next girl and think this would be a darling story in felt, but the text is so short that I didn't feel it was worth my time to do myself.

I actually don't use the stocking part and I am curious as to whether or not other people agree with this decision. How do you treat religious holidays at your library? I am not sure that there is a right decision as it really comes down to the presenter's comfort level and the community as well, but I am curious to hear people's thoughts on this one. 

This week's Flannel Friday is being hosted by Mary

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

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.

Brainstormed list of Not Themes
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.

Pink Notecards of Final Not Themes
I plan a whole session at once (6-8 weeks), so I write each theme (OK, I called them themes!) I'm considering on the top of a postcard. These happen to be pink, which is awesome because it stands out more on the pigsty that is my desk. Also I like pink.  I write down any ideas that I'm inspired by from blogs or any books that I know I would love to read at storytime, as well as proven crowd pleasers. I want to stress how important it is to read books that you know will go over well as it will boost your confidence. I've been doing storytimes for several years now and I still get a little nervous. That is normal. I've found that it helps me a ton when there is a book that I just love and can't wait to share with the group, so look for a book that begs to be read aloud.

My favorite storytime planning books
Inevitably, some of the cards will wind up a little short. That's when I hit my favorite planning resources. Pinterest is quickly becoming one of my favorite idea sources for crafts. In addition, I read a lot of blogs and I am always discovering new books, rhymes, and activities that way. Some of my favorite blogs are listed on the Recommended Reading sidebar, but obviously they are not all storytime-related.  I am also constantly ILL-ing planning books, but I keep coming back to the three in this image:
Storytime Magic
Preschool Favorites: 35 Storytimes Kids Love and
Creative Resources for the Early Childhood Classroom

Eventually, I come up with about 5-6 things on each card. Usually it is 2-3 books, a short flannelboard or 2, a craft, and maybe a song. When I combine that with the rhymes and activities I always use as my storytime opening, I have a completed storytime plan! If things roll along, I can have  an entire session of storytimes planned in about 2 hours of work.

So that's how I plan my storytimes. I'd love to hear about your process! And I hope I didn't insult anyone with my anti-theme planning process. Basically I do use some themes--just general ones. I've also just read books that I liked for storytime and not worried about whether there was any connection, but it does help me feel more organized to have a connection between the stories.

Friday, September 16, 2011

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 none of the pieces need to be layered.

This week is being hosted by Tracey.  Previous roundups are here. Don't forget to check out Flannel Friday on Pinterest!

Monday, September 12, 2011

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 never be able to come up with enough material to fill a display... CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!)
In The News (a good one to keep up all the time and update with areas of the world or other subjects cropping up on/in the news)
Be A Literary Tourist (originally made for Spring Break for the kids who weren't going out of town to get them to read books set in other countries, etc.)
Classics
Staff Picks

Non-Book Displays

Read the Movie (books into movies)
 Quirky Kids Music (music that isn't annoying)

Friday, September 09, 2011

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 forget to check out Flannel Friday on pinterest!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

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 pretty standard reference book, so hopefully your library has it. If they don't, I've also used This Day in History too.

January
  • "New Year, New You" books on common resolutions (yoga, healthy eating, etc.) --this is a good one for the adult department as well

February
  • Valentine's Day picture books and anything to do with love
  • In the YA area I do "Not your mama's romances" and cut up broken hearts, etc. You could do an anti-romance one (black construction paper hearts?) or both! 
  • African-American History Month

March

April
  • Poetry Month
  • April Fools! (History's great hoaxes and practical jokes)
  • Women's History Month
  • Anniversary of the Titanic Sinking
  • Earth Day (suggested by commenter Mrs. Reader Pants--thank you!) 

May
  • Mother's Day books (a few dads have thanked me for doing this because they would have forgotten otherwise--one of the many services at your public library is reminding people that these holidays exist!) 
June/July
  • Something related to the summer reading theme (this year it was stories from around the world, for example)
  • Father's Day books (with a sign that says "A man that reads is a dad, indeed! Happy Father's Day"--big hit with the moms)
  • Road Trip reads (great audio books for the whole family in the car)
  • Summer picture books and nonfiction
  • Beach Books for the teens
  • 4th of July

August
  • Back to School Books
  • Potty Training books (kids usually have to be potty-trained to start preschool)

September
  • Fall books--apples, pumpkins, etc. (a lot of preschools and elementary classes will do farm visits around this time of year as a field trip, so anything related to that)
  • This year, we have a September 11th display up for the 10 year anniversary. It is pretty simple but powerful. 

October
  • Beginning October 1st--Halloween books
  • I do a J & YA display called "Scarier than the math test you forgot to study for" also. 

November
  • Thanksgiving books beginning November 1st (or if the Halloween books start to look really picked over early)
  • Christmas books go out the day after Thanksgiving (what I do is put the Thanksgiving books that are still on the display--if any--on the shelving cart while I am doing my closing duties Wednesday night and then put a note on my desk to put the Christmas books out on my next workday)

December
  • Winter picture books and nonfiction
  • Along with the Christmas picture books, I put out books on making gifts, wrapping paper, and all sorts of different activity books for kids who will be bored over the break (drawing, etc.)
  • I usually put up a display to go with our puppet show (books on making puppets and/or the folktales the show is based on, or books related to the subject (cooking, etc.) if any)
  • Anything we have on New Year's traditions, resolutions, etc. 
Printable Signs
I am working on updating my signs for the displays and will edit this when finished.

I have a post coming up on display ideas that are great for any time of year, but since this is the beginning of the school year I thought I'd do the seasonal one first!

Friday, September 02, 2011

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's Five Little Ballerinas.

Miss Alison Is Blogging shared her Insect Guessing Game, which would be great for anyone planning a bug-themed storytime. Also posting a guessing game, this week is Mel's Desk--Mel's thinking about vegetables. This could be a cute idea if you are doing an outreach storytime at a farmer's market this fall. If burgers are your bag, Tracey's got you covered with Brown Bun, Brown Bun and then suggesting some 5 Little Jellybeans for dessert.

Speaking of yummy food, Anna is talking about Five (or 6) Little Apples. Apples are always a popular topic around this time of year. And an apple a doctor keeps the doctor away! One way to keep the dentist away says Mollie is to use our Five Toothbrushes. Hygiene can be fun!

And, lastly I posted my Animal Opposites activity. This can be used in storytimes or you can leave it out as an early literacy activity for families to do together.

I'm also pinning this week's posts on the Flannel Friday pinterest boards, so make sure to check there if you're starting to plan your fall storytimes.

Happy Labor Day! Everyone gets a big round of applause and a pat on the back from me for surviving Summer Reading.

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.).

Fat Hippo & Skinny Flamingo

Prickly Porcupine & Smooth Snake

Loud Rooster & Quiet Rabbit

Hard Crab & Soft Kitten

Fast Cheetah & Slow Turtle

Big Elephant & Small Mouse

Tall Giraffe & Short Monkey
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!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

$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 trim them to the correct size and insert the clear plastic back into the frame. Then I used stick-on magnet coins to attempt to keep them from migrating too much on the shelf (our shelving is metal).

And VOILA!
I am happy to share my Publisher 2007 file with anyone who emails me for it. You will probably have to adjust some of the sizes and placements for your particular printer.

Customize this for your needs:
  • Add clip-art in the white space at the bottom for each series.  A broomstick for Harry Potter, a log cabin for Little House on the Prairie? The possibilities are endless!
  • Add covers for all the books in the series
  • Spray paint the frames for added visual interest and to match (or stand out from!) your decor
  • Don't have room on the ends of your shelves? You could also use these as sign holders for displays.
  • Adapt this idea for your nonfiction collect and use clip-art to signify fairy tales, dog books, dinosaur books etc. I did this on a much bigger scale with the library's Cricut machine and oodles of scrapbooking paper. 
This project was F-R-E-E to the library. What do you think? Anyone have IKEA projects at their library? I dream of someday replacing our kids' furniture with IKEA pieces... drool.