Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tasting India with Teens

This summer we decorated the teen area to represent Bollywood. The colors are wonderful and they love the gold fringed chandelier. This week we had a Taste of India event and it was a blast!

Cynthia and I took a road trip to the World Market in Minneapolis for inspiration and unusual purchases. I found rice flour at   and colored with vibrant food coloring in the hope that we could do a Rangoli painting outside. It was just too windy the day of the program, so we used paper with the design outline and tissue paper. Cynthia is a fan of plastic tablecloths for crafting and decorating. The colors do not fade and they can be used over and over. She taught everyone how to make pom pom flowers using bright colored.....plastic tablecloths!

Since decorating is so much fun, we turned the story time room into a restaurant.

We have some small tables that are easy to set up and don't take up much space (always an issue for us). Cynthia has several of the battery lit candles that were added to tables for atmosphere. The food was Indian food from Trader Joe's that only required a couple of minutes in the microwave. Each dish was served individually,the name and history of the food was read, then tasted. Everyone actually tried each dish offered and found favorites they never imagined they would like.

The party ended outdoors with a water balloon toss. Partners tried to keep the balloons from breaking as long as possible and counted the number of times they threw it back and forth.

They all enjoyed the party and asked to do it again with other countries. It really makes my heart skip a beat to see teens so happy and having fun at the library. We are in desperate need of a new library that has more teen friendly space, so we try to do all we can to make things special for them.

 Feels good when we get it right.

Friday, June 17, 2011

No More Teachers, No More Books???

Last summer, one of the libraries in our system was moving to a new building. It created a real problem for trying to hold their usual summer programs. The teachers in their community decided to take turns doing a weekly storytime for all ages at the library. Children enjoyed seeing their teachers and meeting those who would be their teacher for the upcoming school year. The teachers had a great time talking books with the kids and browsing the collection with them. What a terrific idea!

I shared this idea with one of the teachers in my community and he jumped right on the bandwagon. He organized teachers to come every Thursday all summer. He even publicized the event! Yesterday was the first storytime and it was well attended and lots of fun.

What a wonderful partnership for schools and libraries!

Monday, June 13, 2011


Okay, I admit there often SEEMS to be much ado about the summer reading programs at our libraries. Workshops, catalogs, prizes, and buzz. Themes, illustrations, PSA spots, etc., seem to overwhelm us. It is important to summon enthusiasm for promoting our libraries and the treasures they house. All year. Summer just happens to SEEM like an exception because it has different hoopla involved.

Most libraries have programs running all year, that include storytimes, after school events, book groups, dogs to read to, and humans dressed up like book characters, to name a few. It just so happens that summer has a different feel and a theme all it's own. I love workshops and crave them all year, like many/most of you. I am always hungry for the fresh ideas, enthusiasm, motivation, and information from peers. I am not sure that summer reading overshadows the rest of the year for me's just different and it is a welcome change of routine. While the teachers take some much needed time off from kids, librarians ramp up for the kid onslaught.

 The prize trinkets never seem all that important to the kids I work with, and I bet you might find the same at your library. Sure they can be fun. I like a squirty camera as much as the next kid! But the opportunity to interact with children during the SRP is different than during the school year. They are relaxed and do not have any AR points pressuring them, or book reports due the next day. No homework or teachers to keep them tethered to home and school. Extra budget money is spent wisely during SRP because more children can attend the events. They actually have some free time.

I believe our mission can be marketing the wonderful products we have to eager kids. So what if it holds the added incentive of a camera that squirts? The toy will be lost or thrown away by the end of summer, but the words that were read will last a lifetime.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Noo-Nie,Noonie,New Knee!

Hello Again!
It has been a while since I have posted. Seems my knee was just too worn out and needed to be replaced. My new knee and I are back at work and back in the blogosphere.

I came back just in time to visit some schools with Cynthia and be at the library when the Kindergartners came for their annual visits. This years theme, "One World,Many Stories", was the perfect opportunity for Cynthia to use her storytelling skills to entertain children of all ages with a tale from Africa.

The BIG DECORATING  effort will take place this weekend. We will transform the Children's Room into a visual trip around the world. Stay tuned!

Jun 7, 2011