Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Series On A Stick

Do you have plenty of space to shelve the books in your library? If you do, consider yourself VERRRRRY lucky...............if you don't, I may have an idea for freeing up some extra space.

We shelve our picture book "series" books at the beginning of our picture book collection. Having books about the same character shelved together helps children and their parents locate the books easily. We were using some outdated plastic dividers that took up 2-3 books worth of shelf space that we really need soooooooooo.......we discovered a nifty solution.

Plastic shelf  marker paddles from Highsmith are now being used to divide the character books in our picture book collection. We printed pictures of the characters and used Modge Podge to adhere them to the paddles.Then, we attached the paddles to books ends with book tape.

Our character series collection looks tidy and pre-readers are able to see clearly where their favorite books are located.

This idea is working so nicely that today my assistant and I are making paddle dividers for the Juvenile Series books to replace the plastic dividers that take up too much space . We printed out the name of the series for each paddle in the Juvenile Series section.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh......shelf space...........sweeter words were never spoken!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Last night Santa and his reindeer flew into the library for their yearly visit. He brought Mrs. Claus and a few elves,too. The reindeer stayed outdoors, since I do not enjoy cleaning up after them and they like the cold better, anyway. This is Santa's seventh yearly visit to our library.

We have an outdated library with a very long hallway leading to the Children's Room. Every year the long line to talk to Santa extends down the hallway. There is not enough room in the hallway and here is nothing to do while you wait.

Simple Solution: We created a literacy lineup throughout the Children's Room! Mother Goose rhyme posters, fun facts, riddles, and an I Spy With My Little Eye game made waiting a lot more fun for everyone.

The line moved smoothly and children enjoyed books and puzzles along the way,too.

It took me seven years to think of this?????????????????????

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thank You For....Candy Sushi

Oh so sushi. We just loved our candy sushi event last year and decided we better have a replay. Such a simple idea. Inexpensive. Imaginative. Creative. Yummy. Colorful. Anyone can dream up and produce a lovely, edible creation. We attempted to talk about going to a sushi resturant and what real sushi chefs actually use for ingredients. No one seemed too interested because ------they were HAVING SO MUCH FUN!

Recreate this wonderful tween/teen event with any cakes (Twinkies, Snowballs, Little Debbies, Pound Cake Snacks,etc.), gummy octopus (ocotopi?), gummy worms, Swedish Fish, Fruit Roll Ups, Fruit By the Foot, marshmallows, sprinkles.....the sky's the limit.We used mini donuts this time for "pillows" but Rice Krispy treats are another idea and can be cut into rectangles or round shapes or even made into large rolls.

Give thanks for candy sushi.
Give thanks for amazingly creative and fun tweens/teens.
Give thanks for libraries.
Give thanks for books, computers, Kindles, and iPads.
Give thanks for all of the wonderful people who devote themselves to making the library a lovely, fun,exciting place to spend time.
Give thanks for blogs where we can share ideas, photographs, and chuckles.

Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Twas' The Night of The Scarecrows

Last week we had a scarecrow making event for families at 6:30 on Thursday evening. At 6:29 Cynthia and I were looking at each other with puzzled expressions on our faces------------no one had shown up for the event!??? We prepared the pages to ready themselves for massive walking taco consumption. They seemed up for the task.

Then, much to our wondering eyes did appear, 36 people toting scarecrow making gear! Their eyes, how they twinkled, their stomachs were growling, all of the children and adults seemed to be howling, "More scarecrow heads, more tacos, more markers, more stuffing, more cider, more clothes, and more sunshine for lighting."

We heard them exclaim, as they drove out of sight, "This was so much fun!!!! Let's do it again tomorrow night!"

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Grand Bedroom Makeover

We had two Grand Prizes for our Tween/Teen Summer Reading Program this year. One was an iPod and the other, a Bedroom Makeover. Last Thursday, the design team gathered (Elaine, Cynthia, Sandy, and moi), filled our vehicles with paint, supplies, and all of the lovely purchases that we had amassed for the project. It was mind-blowing to see what four enthusiastic and creative women could do in a day!

The photos do not show the colors accurately. Sandy donated the gorgeous bedding and valance that became the palette for the room. The walls are a soft lavender, accents are lime green,pink, and a sherbet orange.
Cynthia is a design whiz and planned the shelves, desk, and room layout. She also made the super cute daisy pillows.Elaine knew just how to put up shelves, solve the mechanical issues, and was an extraordinarily good at cut-in paint application.I am now experienced at putting together Ikea products and painting. Contact me through this blog.

Huge thanks and appreciation to all of the design team for the fun and creative energy as well as some very good gingerbread..
Hope I can hire them to come to my house : )

Our winner was really excited and fell tummy down on her bed, grabbing fist fulls of pillows.  Her toes were curled and she actually squealed with delight.


Fairy Lights and Yoga Mat

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bathed in Creativity

Rules of Birdbath Creativity

1.Painting always goes more smoothly if you stick your tongue out while you paint.
2. If you use lollipop wrappers to paper your birdbath someone HAS to eat the lollipops, right?
3. Gathering natural materials, such as acorns, is appropriate and encouraged.
4.Sometimes boys are not inhibited about enjoying the color pink and sparkly things,too, and we like that.
5. Work together to create something unique with a shared vision.
6. Try hard not to step on the paint plates or glue plates.
7. Try hard not to poke your eye while trying to thread your beads, it hurts.

Today we had our last summer program. Each summer we partner with Messes and Masterpieces ( a local arts center for children) to do a cooperative project. Today we made birdbaths that each had a theme. Nature, princess, candy wrapper mosaic, and painted birdbaths were created by a fun team of children along with some adult supervision. It was interesting to see the girls go right for the painting and a young man take on the princess theme with abandon. Everyone appreciated the cooler weather, sunshine, and an afternoon just to be creative.

We used some plastic birdbaths that were purchased and had tubs of materials for each project. Glue guns were available with adults to help.

The  creative works will be displayed at our annual "Corn on the Corner" event that takes place every August. Free corn on the cob, root beer, and some AMAZING birdbaths to view while you eat.

Kinda makes you want to be a bird, doesn't it?

Friday, August 6, 2010


Some days the light just shines through in the form of inspiration. The marvelous ideas seem to flow like a river of creativity. Beautiful, funny, imaginative displays, crafts, and programs bubble up from the brook. Other days, not so much.
Where do you go to prime the pump?
One of my inspirations and wonderful motivators has come in the visage of one Marge Loch-Wouters. She first appeared to me at WLA many years ago as a humorous, talented, and interesting speaker/storyteller. She always has wonderful ideas and shares them generously. She always blogs about informational and timely library topics in a clever way.She always makes me smile. She is fun to laugh with and terrific to talk to.....always. She is willing to share her experience and expertise. She has lots of fun and interesting stories to tell. She is always interested in what you have to say.
She has also been  named Wisconsin Library Association Librarian of the Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So lift your puppets high in honor of Marge...she is a delightful inspiration!

And how about you? Where do you go for inspiration? Blogs, magazines, books, people?
 I really am interested.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Well, our summer reading program is over. Cynthia took this photo yesterday and it illustrates exactly how we felt when the carnival was over yesterday.So much work goes into that eight weeks every summer and it could not happen without the help of volunteers and staff.
                                                       Everyone rallies for the carnival---


                                                                        teen volunteers

                              staff,  maintenance staff, and even some of the Friends of the Library helped out.

It is satisfying to know that so many children had fun, experienced some wonderful entertainers,  discovered how much fun the library is, and what a welcoming place is waiting for them every day. There have been thousands of books checked out this summer and I am confident it will continue.

August will provide some time to refuel and gear up for fall storytimes, book clubs, school visits, and early out programs, as well as Teen Advisory Board. Today I will sit back and smell the roses with the knowledge that months of planning, weeks of effort, and a LOT of energy has been enjoyed and appreciated by so many families in our community.

                                         And now....................................let the refueling begin!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


This summer we loaded up Cynthia's car with bags of prizes we gleaned from our prize closet. Marge Loch-Wouters at gave us this idea a few years ago at a workshop. When kids sign up for the summer reading program we gave then a poster to hang in their window (what if you can't see my window from the street?Hang it on your mailbox in a ziplock bag. What if I live waaaaaaaaay out in the country? We just might be taking a drive and see your house.) Then we mapped out the city (and surrounding areas) and set out to look for posters in windows. When we spotted a poster Cynthia would hop out of the car, run up to the door with a prize bag she would hang on the doorknob, then she would ring the doorbell (what if I don't  HAVE a doorbell---then we knock), and then runs back to the car (er...Su-Prize mobile), and we make a speedy getaway. SU-PRIZE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I felt like a bit of a creeper lurking around neighborhoods, driving slowly, looking at kids and waving, so we rigged up some posters on the car. It feels less creepy that way and provides some SLP publicity,too.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Imagine A Castle/S'More Free Teen Programming

I have been waiting for this day since I planned the program. So many happy hours were spent playing in the sand when I was growing up and I suspect that is true of many kids. It is a delight to watch teens have creative freedom and some time to just relax and have fun. Teens, sand, sun , s'mores, 3D chalk, on a sunny summer afternoon, was the order of the day.

Cynthia and I used the remainder of the glue in the small bottles from last years programs to create everlasting sand castle mixture. Yes, we actually got paid for watching glue drip out of bottles into a big container....ahhh life in the Children's Room. We used the cups leftover from the Iron Chef program and filled them with sand and glue. The teens added some water and stirred with craft sticks, then placed the sand mixture on paper plates (also left over from Iron Chef program), and proceeded to model a castle. We were fortunate enough to have a beautiful day and it was delightful to watch the teens create some sand castles.

After working up an appetite making castles in the sand, everyone tried out the 3D chalk, and then munched some s'mores that were made from...........that's right...........leftovers from the Iron Chef program!

Chocolate, chalk, sand, sunshine, and a summer afternoon. Life just doesn't get much better.

Monday, July 12, 2010

EXPLOSIVE PROGRAMS--Teen Iron Chef and Big Machines

This summer has been an explosion of activity at our library. Lots of children, day cares, reconfiguring the Children's Room, new comfy chair for adults and children to snuggle in, and our new self-check unit (yes ,we are way behind, I know).

We revisited the Teen Iron Chef program as Iron Chef Goes to the Beach. What kinds of things would you like to serve at the beach? Fresh foods, things they may not have tried before, new flavors to add, and some good old standbys. The teens were creative , as usual, adding their own touches and wonderful imaginations to create tasty and interesting new combinations. Beach Boys music set the scene.

Teens just love this program and it is a perfect storm of program elements. Inexpensive, creative, interactive,cooperative,and they can eat!

I try to spend under $70 for this program. Tables covered with white paper allows the teams to spend time brainstorming a name for the team and doodling on the paper. Each team chooses one person from the team to go to the food table to get the things they need to create an appetizer, entree, and dessert. We allow 20 minutes to create the dishes, name them, and then we bring in the judges.The teams are judged on presentation, creativity, and taste. Then we feast.
Clean up is easy with the paper table covers.


I love the big machine or big truck programs. The people who drive and operate the machines have a great time interacting with the public and seem to enjoy the kids enthusiasm. What a wonderful free program that has all the right stuff!

Bring on the trucks and boats,

add some bubbles,

some chalk on the sidewalk,

books of course,

 a bit of sunshine, and you have a perfect program!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Teens Are Walking On Water or Jimmy Choo's Got Nothin' On You

The tremendous amount of plastic water bottles that are put in the garbage is a disturbing reality.When we hold teen programs we have a glass dispenser that can be filled with water and then we add fruit or cucumbers for flavor. The kids have glass mugs that can easily be washed. No plastic bottles. When planning summer events, we thought it might be a good idea to call attention to the water bottle problem and offer some inventive solutions. How about shoes made from water bottles?

Duct tape, some pictures of designer sandals as a jumping off point, and loads of imagination, produced some incredible results! I bet there will be a lot of grateful parents when it is time for back to school footwear.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Am Pertinent To Someone!

Big thanks to Marge at Tiny Tips for Library Fun for a Pertinent Post award! It is always nice to be recognized and appreciated, and I say,"Right back atcha', Marge!" I always get great tips from her Tiny Tips blog.

 Marge already named some of my faves in her post, but I can add these:

Happy Stuff  the blog that got me started (and hooked) on blogs and blogging
My Porch  well written reviews that also entertain
Color Me Katie when I need to smile
Library Goddesses  program ideas

I benefit from the connection blogs provide. They are chock full of ideas, inspiration, insights, and ramblings. How marvelous to peek into another persons world and see things from another perspective.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Just One More Sticky Situation

Just when my head was spinning with the onset of the summer splash I found out my fall/early winter program schedule is due. Things are really full speed at our library right now. I have had all I can do to keep up with the day care groups, families, and misc. kids at our library, not to mention extra desk time because other staff are on vacation (isn't taking a summer vacation if you work in a library against the law or something?). So, in the midst of all of the summer hubbub, I am wracking my brain to reinvent the wheel yet or two Babygarten times---early,mid morning,what is best? Toddler Time for sure, but should we do a 4&5 story time or all ages---morning, afternoon,both? How many programs are maybe just too much for me to take on, spreading myself too thin, and not presenting a quality program because I am too wiped out? What can I come up with that is cutting edge, amazingly inventive, something totally new? Adult,teen,family, character parties, book release parties, lock ins,storytimes,early out programs.................yowsa!

It occurred to me that the teens had an absolutely wonderful time at the duct tape program we held on Tuesday. Now, all of you who work with teens know this is not an original idea---been there, done that, made the wallet. The fact is, they still love to have the freedom ( and the wide variety of free duct tape) to create, explore, and experiment. They were happy and laughing, playing, working side by side.

I have to remind myself, on a fairly regular basis, that I need to allow myself that same kind of creative freedom. No pressure, just a chance to create,experiment, and explore. Every program I plan does not have to be original, it does not have to be cutting edge, it does not have to wear me to a frazzle, and it can certainly be something I have done before. Kids just want to have fun in a relaxed atmosphere where the librarian who planned the program, is happy and laughing, playing, and working side by side with them.

I think Red Green would agree.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

You Otter Make a Splash

Today was our summer kickoff program and it was a zoo out there---literally and figuratively! Fantasy Corral came with 20 different, and amazing, animals including...wait for otter! Her name is Blossom and she really does make a splash in her pool swimming clockwise around and around. The red object is her firefighters helmet.

Squeaky Shoes came with her mother and sister. She is doing well and just adored the animals. Her mother even purchased a bunny to take home.Her sister aptly named it "Hope", right there on the spot. Four year olds can be remarkably introspective.

It was so much fun to reunite with all of the families after a storytime hiatus. It is very sweet when the school children come up and ask if I remember them from my school visit. I always give them an emphatic, " YES,of course I do, and I am SO glad you came!"

Summer is off to a splashing start and I am looking forward to all of the summer reading fun. Check back in a few weeks to see if I still feel that way!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Words To Live By for Summer

We have had a whole month of exciting, kid-filled summer reading promotion. My TMJ is aching from all the talking and singing! These past few days brought hundreds of kindergarten and preschool children to our library for tours and summer reading motivation. It was so great to have Cynthia there to add to the excitement and do the whole dog and pony show----or should I say shark and squid show, along with me. We made a shadow puppet show of the Kevin Sherry book "I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean". Then we sang the baby shark song and ended it by squirting the kids with our squirty sharks. That certainly brought down the house! By the end of the day yesterday, I was so sleep deprived and punchy the puppet show took some unexpected twists......but it was hilarious fun.

 Cynthia is a force of nature. She is astoundingly and remarkably creative. She has boundless energy. She is so much fun. She makes me laugh.....alot. She can sing really well,too. She is so tiny she can almost fit in my pocket, which is especially handy for school visits. She can leap tall buildings in a bound...really.
Sometimes she just seems to pop up out of nowhere. She can make amazing creations out of cardboard. She always wears really fun clothes and jewelry. I am so glad we can finally work together.

I am taking a vacation in a beautiful part of the country where the sun shines most days. When I get back from my vacation it will be the first day of our summer reading program. It is almost time to unleash that flood of summer fun and pandemonium, to register readers, to keep displays full, to keep the prizes ready, to watch months of planning and preparation come to fruition.

Words to live by this summer..............keep your squirty sharks loaded    :  )

Friday, May 14, 2010

Everybody's Gone Surfin'

Newquay Surf Shop by ElDel777.

Great idea! Melissa at The Imaginary Librarian blog, created a surf shop for her Teen area, in honor of the summer reading program. I appreciate the creativity and thought, not to mention the time and effort, that goes into all of the environments librarians create for kids and teens.

Thank all of you bloggers for sharing great ideas, trials and tribulations, and the pictures to prove it. Visit The Imaginary Librarian: Hang 10 Surf Shop.