Monthly Archives: March 2014

Toddler Time #1

We’ve started doing Toddler Time programs at our library as part of our Early Literacy Initiative. We’ve never done programs specifically for this age group and the turn out has been crazy. Toddlers are 18-36 months and when you get 57 of them in a room, things get a little wild. At least I was mentally prepared as we started doing them earlier this month and I knew the numbers would be large.

I figured the best thing to do with a group that size was to keep them focused on me as much as I could using songs and rhymes and other active things.

Early Literacy Tip #1 — Singing, doing rhymes together, and making animal noises slows down your speech so children can hear the smaller parts of words. This is part of phonological awareness and it will help the child later when they are learning to sound out words.

Before the kids came into the room, I made sure I had my puppet ready!

This helped to get their attention on me as he waved to everyone who came in. I’ve decided I really like puppets with arms I can move! Once it felt like we had everyone in the room, I showed the kids that when Wavy claps there is no sound! Then I asked them to clap so I could hear them. Then we sang the “Clap Your Hands” song, which I think was originally on a Wee Sing album but I know it by heart now so I just sing it on my own.

The we did the classic “Open, Shut Them” to get everyone sitting down and facing forward.

After everyone was seated, I did my early literacy tip for the parents. Then to keep it all going, I asked the kids to bring out their SPIDERS. We did Itsy Bitsy Spider and his cousin, Great Big Spider (I just have the kids hold their arms out for this one).

Since they were doing so well seated, I did a really quick book, Peek-A-Moo by Marie Torres Cimarusti. This is one of my go-to books for younger crowds. I asked the kids if they knew their barnyard animals and also how to play peek-a-boo. This book had both the kids and the parents involved.

I could feel the wiggles starting to come back so then I did “Head to Toe” by Eric Carle but I think the concept of moving like an animal may have been too much for the younger end of this crowd and I could feel myself starting to lose them. I sorta rushed the last half the book to get through it so we could move on.

Since they were up and ready to go, I went to my old stand-by of “Jumping and Counting” by Jim Gill. Hardest part here is counting as slow as the kid on the CD! I do a big arms, Pete-Townsend-playing-guitar style counting to help slow down the counting with the actual kids in the room with me.

Best thing about this song? It ends with Gill saying “and you can jump right back down into your seats” so now that we are sitting again, we can try a book. I read “Waking Dragons” which is really short and colorful and the few kids up front were fine but with a room full of 57 kids, its too hard to do a real book so once that was over, it was time for another activity.

Thank goodness for Microsoft Word! The day before I had found a cute Dragon clipart and used it to create a “Five Little Dragons” flannel board.

I used the rhyme on Nancy Stewart’s website but I changed the ending and had Mother dragon roar “I’m going to eat your snack” because that is the sort of thing my mom would have said to make me come back haha.

Then we did “Going on a Dragon Hunt” which is just “Going on a bear hunt” but with more dragons. ūüôā

And for their take-home craft, I printed out black and white versions of the Little Dragons and Mother Dragon and added the text of the rhyme for everyone to take home and make their own 5 Little Dragons story.

And now I need a nap!!!

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This felt like something librarians should discuss…

This seems like it should be a call to arms for librarians! You can archive the Internet all you want, but who will organize that archive? Is the Internet worth archiving — in my opinion, yes. Mostly because we never think NOW is important, but later we will want to look back, for nostalgia or research. It’s already becoming harder to look back with things like computers and video games as you have to have older consoles/machines to run the games made at that time. Books and artworks that were made physically are not tied to a model number of a processor so we can look at them if they are 5, 50, or 500 years old and say “hey, there it is”. But I just went to the Wayback Machine and tried to find my old Geocities site (stop laughing) and it is, as Mike said, a shell of a site with broken images and the index page was never archived.

buzz words and face to face marketing

NEVER underestimate the power of walking up to a patron.

I think a lot of times, we forget the that the lives of most of the people who visit the public library do not revolve around the library. ¬†They may pop in and out for a book or movie, they may stop by every 3 weeks to return a stack of picture books and let their kids pick out another set. ¬†But, unlike those of us that work there, they are probably not checking the library’s website on a daily basis or following all of its social media outlets. ¬†

So when you hang up that poster in the front of your library, NEVER assume that it is enough.  We have all learned how to ignore all of the messages being sent to us every day.  Billboards, posters, fliers, spam texts and emails Рwe avoid a lot of marketing, we have to or we would never get anything done.  

So, librarians, if you want your program to succeed, be it a storytime event, teen club, or adult class — YOU have to take the initiative and talk to your patrons. ¬†

One of our librarians decided he wanted to create a “Guys Book Club” – a book club with books that would appeal to male readers. ¬†Now, he could have just put up a sign, maybe a little display, and hoped for the best. ¬†And he probably wouldn’t have had anyone show up. ¬†Adults, especially men, are notoriously hard to get into programs. So he made sure there was a stack of our system publication of events sitting open at the desk with the Guys Book Club dates highlighted. Any time he helped a male patron, he made sure to talk up the club, invite them to the program, and give them a handout. ¬†And you know what? The club has been going strong for over two years!

Also, never underestimate the power of buzz words.  

We will be starting our Early Literacy Initiative this month. ¬†In reality, we have been doing this forever, reading stories to children, singing songs, and preparing them for when they learn to read. ¬†Our new programs will just include more information for the parents/caregivers to help them after the 30 minute story time is over. ¬†In an effort to make people aware, I followed a cue from my co-worker and opened up the publication to the Early Literacy page. ¬†When I started handing them out, I just said “storytimes are coming back in March!” and most parents smiled and nodded. ¬†

Then I decided I should say “Early Literacy Initiative”. ¬†No sooner had I talked it up to the parent I was helping, but then another parent came over to me to find out more because she heard me say “early literacy”. ¬†

It’s easy to forget, when we live in the library, that not everyone knows what we are doing or understands the full value of programs for all ages. ¬†So the next time you or a co-worker are trying to get a new program or series off the ground, don’t just put up a poster and cross your fingers. ¬†Go out into the stacks, talk to patrons and let them know. ¬†Your excitement and enthusiasm may make them want to check it out or your words might carry over to a patron you had missed and they will want to know more. ¬†