Monthly Archives: August 2014

Storytimes/Early Literacy/Tech

Our discussion focused on seven general categories. Each of the categories is numbered in these notes with the respective comments following the general heading.  Two takeaways from the session are listed.


  1. How to use more technology in early literacy library programming


Norwalk Public library uses a 65-inch smart TV to project rhymes and fingerplays during storytimes. Every once in a while a YouTube movie is used. This is for ages 5 years and under.


There was another report of using an Apple TV with a PowerPoint presentation to display rhymes and fingerplays. These have been made particularly colorful. The net result is a greater participation in these activities.


White Plains Public Library has used a YouTube movie in a program on optical illusions for children in grades 2 and up.


E-Books have been projected from an iPad to a screen during storytime. This has allowed for more people in storytimes. Tumblebooks also has an  iPad functionality.


Betsy Diamant-Cohen, creator of “Mother Goose On The Loose,” has developed a feltboard app which can be used to create digital feltboards that can be projected onto a screen.  Cohen teaches “Mother Goose On The Loose,” a popular approach to library storytime, at Simmons College in Boston, MA.


  1. New music and books


The Carol Peterson CD, Dancing Feet, was suggested as great for movement to music in storytimes.


An instrumental version of Chicken Fat on the Simplified Rhythm Stick Activities CD was suggested. Buckwheat Zydeco was another suggested CD.


Throwing scarves to “Let It Go” from the movie, Frozen, has been popular. As a matter of fact, librarians were encouraged to do a free dance program to any music they liked. We should encourage parents to dance with their kids every day.


How can a storytime be made bigger for a bigger audience? Use a microphone. Use an iPad with speakers for music. Have another librarian with a second set of puppets to interact with the children in the room.



The following new books were suggested for storytime:


Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Jane Cabrera

I Dream of an Elephant  by Ami Rubinger

Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort

Tap The Magic Tree by Christie Matheson

Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler

The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems

The latest “Pete the Cat” book – Pete the Cat and the New Guy by Kim Dean


The question was asked as to whether anyone repeats titles in storytime? The general response by the group was, “Yes! All the time! It is OK!”


One librarian does a storytime at a school twice a month. If she does not bring a favorite title each time she visits, they will ask for it again and again.


It also works to read a book and do a feltboard story of the same book.


The same book can also be used for different themed storytimes. Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd is a good title for different themes.


Multiple copies of classic title board books work well with storytime groups. These have also been used in stuffed animal sleepovers in which children practice reading to their stuffed animals.


How many books does everyone read in their storytimes? Some read 3 books while there was a report of reading only 1 book and maybe 2.


  1. How to recharge your storytime


Try a snowball fight! One librarian made net snowballs and has a snowball fight to the tune of The “Freeze Song” on Carol Peterson’s Dancing Feet CD. It was also suggest that plush snowballs could be purchased through Amazon.


Someone else commented that she changed her whole storytime by throwing out the things she did not like doing. Now it’s all fun!


  1. Rhymes and fingerplays


A great list of YouTube videos of songs can by found at


A few librarians shared their favorite song/rhyme/action play:


Nancy Platt, Ferguson Library (CT): “Finger Family”


Leah High, Nolen Library in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY): “This is Big”


Elise Brand, Terryville Library (CT): “Button Factory”


  1. Age ranges – How to handle a mix of ages in a storytime and how to enforce age limits for programs.


There was some discussion about dealing with age ranges in storytime.  This is dealt with in different ways at different libraries. One library has the 3 ½ to 5 year olds come in to storytime on their own. The toddler programs can have siblings. Another library has family nights during which time there is a wide age range. This is handled by using very simple picture books and offering a lot of variety in the program.


  1. What else does everyone do in programs besides reading books and doing crafts?


Playing with the parachute and cotton balls to the tune of “The Popcorn Song” on the Snacktime! CD by Barenaked Ladies is great fun.


The “Name That Tune” game with the ukulele works well also.


  1. Using percussion instruments in children’s programs (and other instruments)


There was not much discussion on this topic. However, one last online resource recommended was the “Pop Goes The Page” blog created by librarians at the Princeton University Cotsen Library.


Two takeaways  from this session


  • Technology is being used in ways that maintain the interactive nature of storytime. These include:


Projecting the words of rhymes and fingerplays on a smart TV

Using YouTube videos appropriate to program topics

Projecting ebooks to a screen during storytime

Presenting Digital feltboards


  • Librarians are encouraged to observe what colleagues are doing. There are a lot of great ideas to share! Always remember — in the area of Storytimes/Early Literacy/Tech — do what you love!

Notes submitted by:

Terry Rabideau

White Plains Public Library


Reorganizing Collections – KidLib Camp 2014

The group discussing reorganizing collections was diverse, school, children’s and teen librarians and a library school student.

Different libraries reorganize to suit their patrons needs.  It was agreed that the end use for something like this was to make it easier for the patron to find materials and to get higher circulation. Looking at different possibilities for reorganization, each decision opened up a whole new can of worms, it was best to MAKE A PLAN and FOLLOW IT.  Nothing is written in stone, it can be changed if it does not work.

Since we were at the beautiful Darien Library this is how they have broken up, F5 (First Five Years) and Kids on either side of the room.

F5 – First Five Years 9 sections (glades): Favorites (award winners, Eric Carle, Berenstain Bears), Stories (catch all), Nature (seasons, animals that act like animals), Growing (milestones), Rhymes & Songs, Celebration (holiday), Folk/Fairy Tale, Learn to Read (Early Readers)
There are nonfiction Picture books at the end of every section shelved by dewey number.  So cool!

Kids Nonfiction 10 sections: STEM, Facts, Fun (magic, StarWars, travel), Animals, Create (art, music, cooking), Then & Now (history, social sciences), Self (612, body, disease), Sports, Tradition (398.2, world religions, costumes), Poetry.
Keeping the Dewey numbers they they color coordinate the different sections and shelf accordingly.

Plan at least 6 months
Post signs Ask a Librarian what is Happening @ your library!
Touch each book as little as possible
Scan Record sets of each section into polaris and put book back where they belong.
One major moving day.
STEM books go out like crazy!
Now they have a Non-Fiction permanent display.

I think that the reasoning, how to sell it to your library, will be posted too!

I thought it was a great session I learned a lot!

Thank you,

Lisa Sedita
Youth Services Supervisor
Montclair Public Library
Montclair NJ

STEAM Programming

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) programming

“Program in a Box”

Living/Nonliving theme


For younger kids:

color mixing–all you need is red, blue, yellow paint. Intro. color wheel

If you don’t want to get messy, you can put the paint in ziplock bags.



took old library books; recycled them. They made poetry by crossing out words in the text, with remaining words they created poetry.  (the “A” in STEAM)


Little kids: Mural

themes: oceans, land, sky, creatures

did book to match each portion

combined all to make a mural

arts & crafts – can be the A in STEAM; but connect it to some nonfiction in the collection and then…you’ve done [Common] Core!



  • Science Bob 
  • — ideas for programs, e.g., film canister rockets (Alka Seltzer + water) (needs backyard).
  • use scientific vocabulary, e.g., gases, combustion.  Encompasses ages 6 – teens
  • sciencebob website sells film canisters, or you can get on amazon
  • or cvs store
  • Sciencekids materials, procedures
  • Science Flix — new subscription database from Scholastic, in BookFlix family
  • Bedtime Math program .  free.  encourages daily math every day, just like reading.
  • Fetch program, based on PBS show, grades 1-5.  has science activities.
  • Gamestar Mechanic: Game development program
  • Twine — digital “choose your own adventure”


  • Year of Code
  • Scratch
  • Scratch, Jr. (new)
  • Daisy the Dinosaur (app)
  • Robot Turtles board game from ThinkFun. teaches coding to preschoolers (prereaders)

video of water sculpture (?)


librarian read book from home, then kids made a related craft in the library

Skype website


Toothbrush Robots you build yourself, put out by Maker Faire, done by teen program

talk about traction, problem-solving


“Art afternoons”, K-6, stations.  One derivative from a famous artist project, e.g., Mondrian, Monet.  Talk about artist.  Tie in biography.  New Horace Pippin bk.

Digital art; drawing on iPads

allow kids to take screenshots of their art; collect them in the photos on the iPad.


Phases of the Moon w. Oreos; lunar calendar; label them


Math:  Fibonacci sequence,


Board game building


Magnetic tabletop w. stick-on, movable magnetic shapes.  Very popular for building designs.



Angry Birds


Magic tricks (science?)



Story of Zero

Science is Simple

engineering book series from Crabtree

Sisson, Star Stuff, picture book bio of Carl Sagan

Molly Bang, Buried Light

Fibonacci sequence books:  Growing Patterns, Wild Fibonacci


Maximize your resources.  You don’t have to be an expert.  You can research kids’ questions with them.

Makerspace does not have to be a separate room.  Can be integrated into the whole library space.


Submitted by Cheryl Wolf

Notes from Programming for Kids with Special needs

From a former special ed teacher

  • 3 pre-registered classes come from local schools and learn computer skills because their school doesn’t allow computers for religious reaons
  • use the website which has a differentiated, progressive learning plan.  Get the grade levels from the teacher before hand.
  • the public library as extension of school.
  • special ed teachers are great participants in summer reading.

Much desire for a monthly storytime for children on the spectrum

  • this way parents and kids can connect
  • examples: Chappequa NY has Special Saturdays (Mirriam Langbudin and Kathleen Sully)
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art did one
  • iPads can be a useful tool
  • it is important to have a schedule for the storytime, show it, stick to it, and refer back to it.
  • other tips: enclosed room, every child needs caregiver, have manipulatives (ie stress balls, seating discs, weighted sensory toys)
  • use the term “Spectrum Friendly Storytime”
  • a good book – “We’re Going on a Lionhunt”
  • All the concerns about what a kid with autism would do in storytime – we already deal with (disruption, overbearing parents, etc)


  • discussed this article: Could a Child With a Disability Use Your MakerSpace?
  • problems with accessibility in aisles
  • kids on the spectrum to really well with the 3D printer – are creating their own designs
  • market the MakerSpace to all – encourage especially parents and kids on spectrum to come
  • could print out tactile picture books for storytimes



– notes by Lisa Nowlain



Notes from the Summer Reading Revamp Session

Notes from the Summer Reading Revamp Session – taken by Heather Massa –

Many libraries are using Evanced – Resulting in the following:
• Less population in library for reporting
• Not necessarily a lot of people signing up (this varied by library)
• Less staff time used on prize redemption
One library is using Library Insight, a similar program to Evanced, but it lists the prize selection for children and keeps inventory of the quantity, so that if a prize is no longer available, it doesn’t list it as a choice – (this librarian said that the program is usable, but a bit “clunky”).
One library only uses books as prizes – they collect throughout the year, and have a connection to a reviewer, so they get a lot of ARCs. They also have a raffle.
We had a mix of public librarians and state or county youth services coordinators, so there was some interesting discussion of statistics. In one area of NJ, there was around 400 adults who signed up for SRC through Evanced, around 400 teens who signed up for SRC through Evanced, and around 3000 kids who signed up for SRC through Evanced. They sign the kids up on Evanced at the library itself, and find that keeps their statistics steady rather than telling the parents to go home and sign up.
Some libraries also give paper logs if that is how the patron prefers it, and they make a note in Evanced that the patron has a paper log.
Many libraries who used Evanced did not make reviewing books a necessity, but received a lot of reviews anyway. We discussed incentivizing participation – using some sort of point system that included attending a program or writing a review on a blog in addition to reading books for earning their prizes.
In two of the states represented in our discussion, the states paid for Evanced for a contract set number of years. Librarians were unsure whether they would continue the service when they had to pay for it out of their budget.
One library buys a bunch of items from the dollar store and creates “kits”, which go into a catalog for participants to choose from.
Someone had heard of a library that partnered with the Humane society and, instead of prizes, the SRC earned donations to the animals. We also talked about a library in a wealthier community that partnered with a different charity every week and children earned “donations”. Many charities will offer those rubber bracelets for a certain monetary donation, and that was what the children received.
We talked about “game cards” offered for reading different genres/non-fiction books. One library that has a raffle gives participants the opportunity to earn another raffle ticket by reading 5 out of the 10 non-fiction subject books.
The New Canaan library told us about a “pop-up park” that is sponsored one week by the library. It’s an ongoing summer program in the town that is sponsored by a different organization or business each time. They cordon off a piece of street and put out tables and chairs and umbrellas. They had their 3D printer set up and 2 storytimes. It was successful for the library but the storytimes were not well attended.
Some libraries attend street fairs and have booth sign ups and small crafts to promote the SRC.
One library has hosted “field trips,” which are meet ups at local spots. They had a trip to the ice cream store and to the Helicopter Museum. The library did require a permission slip be signed that they were under no liability for anything that happened at the meetup and they did not provide any sort of transportation.
One technology librarian told us about using gamer language to attract teens and tweens. Using different programs to earn “achievements” along with reading, creates the same feeling as badging. She set up a blog with their names and used publisher to make a gaming icon, then listed their achievements next to their names. Creating ringtones, programing games, attending programs all could earn achievements. Her library skyped with a book club in Ireland and both discussed “War Horse”. She also suggested signing up for the “Year of Code”, where all you have to do is provide 5 computers and students can work their way through the year of learning new things. There is a printable certificate once they complete the program.
One library had a Read-to-Me club, from birth to school age, where parents helped kids earn book prizes.
We discussed how statistics should count other things besides reading a book. Early literacy skills are addressed in lots of different types of programs and students who are doing a program like the “Year of Code” are certainly reading.

One librarian asked about how to address her need for incentives for a diverse population with a limited budget. Suggestions included trying to give a lot of choices and earning tickets towards a bigger prize. One suggestion was to contact Best Buy and other big business local to the library to see if they would donate something substantial.
One thing is clear throughout the states and populations represented: PROGRAM ATTENDENCE IS UP! Does it matter if the kids are registered members of the Summer Reading Club? They are reading when they are playing a game. They are reading when they are following instructions for a passive table craft. They are engaged with literacy when attending a storytime. Statistics for registration are down, but the SRC is only a PART of the Summer Reading Program as a whole. Think of the Summer Reading PROGRAM as Reader’s Advisory, programs, helping kids prepare for school, creating responsible community members.
Professional Reading Suggestion – Expect More by David Lankes.
If kids are using twitter, tumblr, gaming, coding more and more, did we win the battle to get them reading? Are they reading more than ever, even if it is less traditionally?
One library teamed up with the Mayor to promote summer reading, and when the participants earned an ice cream party, his office paid for and promoted it.
One state advisor changed her tactic on statistic reporting with two questions to member libraries – 1. How many programs did you have? 2. How many participants? Those changed her statistics report from dismal to awesome. Reading can be quantified in a lot of ways if you can figure out how to look for it.
Two Takeaways – One) Summer Reading Club is only part of the Summer Reading Program and Two) Maybe we need to take a look at the purpose of the Summer Reading Club and change the way we deem it successful (change the way we look at the statistics).

Guerilla Storytime Notes

Hi! My name is Elise Brand, and I’m a children’s librarian at the Terryville Public Library in Terryville, CT. I attended the Guerilla Storytime after lunch and took notes.

Where do we find resources/new ideas for storytime?

What can be done with a pear prop?

  • Adapt Laurie Berkner’s “Somebody’s Got a Pig on Their Head” with pear or different objects
  • Practice another language (i.e. practice saying “pear” in Spanish)
  • Demonstrate rhyming (what rhymes with pear?)

What’s your go-to song for calming a rowdy storytime group?

  • “Button Factory”
  • “Dance Your Fingers Up”
  • “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”
  • “Shake Your Sillies Out”

How do people use iPads in storytime?

  • Use the iPad as a treat rather than as the focus (e.g. choose a book that has an interactive app, show the hardcover book, and then hold up the iPad and read the book on the screen)

What is the maximum amount of children you accept in a storytime?

  • It’s a free-for-all with drop in storytimes (Darien and Stamford can have 100+), but with storytimes that require registration the answers ranged from 12 to 20
  • One librarian limits the class to 12, and if there are more children trying to register, the library makes a second session
  • Darien caps the 6-week class session at 15-18 kids

Weekly storytimes vs. Registered sessions

  • Time to recharge in between sessions
  • Most kids that register show up, and if they don’t, call parents after they miss a week or two if there’s a waiting list
  • Email reminders the day before are a huge help


  • Some storytimes have nametags that are made using the die cut machine and follow a theme (e.g. leaves for a Fall storytime)
  • Kids can decorate their nametags, the nametags are collected at the end of class (one way to do attendance), and kids can take their nametag home the last week of storytime

What can be done with a rooster prop?

  • “I Went to Visit the Farm One Day,” “Old McDonald Had a Farm, “Hickory Dickory Dare” (throw animal to each child, good for turn taking, can be used with any animal puppet)

How do you use the parachute in storytime?

  • Retelling the Napping House, play popcorn, have the kids run underneath, have the kids sit on top of the parachute and parents help move the parachute in a circle and the kids go for a ride

Session III: Makerspaces

Session III: Makerspaces-‘Do What You Can’


  1. Making can be lo-tech or high-tech from paper folding to 3D printer.
  2. Making can be done from a cart or table or in a dedicated Makerspace.

Ways we may define ‘makerspace’

  • Space related to 3-D printing
  • Space to make stuff-experimenting, sewing, etc…
  • Space to utilize software, computers, etc…
  • Not limited to just technology
  • Not just a dedicated space

Examples of ‘Maker’ programs:

Makerspace wish lists:

Outreach & Collaboration:

  • Survey current staff for hobby, craft and talent information-could be utilized for programming
  • Host visiting artists from the community
  • Host/attend maker faires in the community
  • Look to other makerspaces such as Chicago Public Library:
  • Intergenerational program with library knitting club and interested children who want to learn how to knit
  • June 2014 issue of Teacher/Librarian Magazine
  • Observation: there seems to be more flexibility in the public sector than in the schools for programming
    • Reading directions while making something strengthens a student’s ability to comprehend procedural texts

3-D Information:

  • Requires constant maintenance
  • Some libraries charge $0.10 per gram for completed projects to pay for filament
  • Some libraries offer demos of the machine to inform public
  • Some libraries require an orientation of the machine before individuals can use it on their own. Orientation includes how to use the machine and how to use design software.
  • Minecraft creations can be uploaded to sites like: and printed or already-created models can be printed from:
  • Tinkercad can be used to create 3-D models. This program can also be used to simply teach the principles of design without the printer.
  • Staffing for 3-D spaces should be determined in advance: volunteer? Staff member?
  • 3Doodler is a pen selling for about $99 (includes 50 strands of plastic)

Tools to learn more about making:

Sources for funding:

Session Notes Login Information

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