Saturday, October 15, 2011


So, I just attended my first big, professional librarian conference!  The Colorado Association of Libraries holds a yearly conference event for library professionals in the state of Colorado.  This year the event kicked off on Thursday evening and goes through this Saturday.  There were lots of vendors hawking their wares: books, circulation systems, self checkouts, you name it.  I got lots of business cards, handed out lots of business cards.

I understand how important these types of things can be for networking with other professionals, but honestly I got more out of the breakout sessions.  Each session was an hour long, and presented by library professionals from all over the state.  I attended three sessions on Friday and all were inspirational and thought-provoking in their own way.  First, I attended a session about an outdoor learning adventure program sponsored by the public library in Mancos, Colorado.  I've always wanted to incorporate outdoor activity with learning.  This type of program would be for those "tween" kids (oh how I hate that term!) from around 9-12 years of age.  Mancos had the benefit of being a teensy tiny town with only one library, one school, etc.  Not to mention that their library is right beside a river and lots of open outdoor space.  While applying this type of program to an urban environment could be rather challenging, I'm all about encouraging a kid-centered community in the outdoors.  Here in Colorado Springs we are always in view of the mountain range, but a lot of the urban space is concrete and pavement.  Without the economic means to get to the mountains a lot of children are robbed of the incredible experiences they could be having in our natural playground.  We may have to tweak the program a bit to meet our location's needs, but the foundations of community, citizenship and leadership can easily remain.  A lot of their ideas were so wonderful: Putting up bird feeders in the winter, walking to the same area each time to watch how things change with the seasons, putting out bird seed in patterns, making art out of natural found materials, flying Frustrationless Kites!  This is a program in the making!

The next breakout session was about using technology more in regular library programming and staff development.  Our library district is pretty tech savvy and usually on the forefront of the library technology trends, i.e. Ereaders, Playways, downloadable audiobooks, so we are already doing things like virtual all staff meetings.  But this session did make me think about how we could incorporate the use of some of the library's technological offerings to teach patrons about them.  One idea I've been playing with is in regards to our Summer Reading Program.  We usually have a bonus round, where kids read more in order to enter their names for different raffle prizes.  For 2012 it might be fun to have the bonus round be a little more interactive and task oriented: Listen to one book or story in audio format; Play a game from the KidsWeb; answer bonus questions...  I am still thinking about it but I think it could be a great way to get patrons to use some of our other resources!

The final session examined self-assessment and tools for assessing ourselves at our jobs.  Two librarians from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Tabatha Farney and Beth Kumar, have created a guide for self-assessment of library work.  It can be found here:
I'm looking forward to playing around with the tools found on the website, as this is an area that I often overlook but is actually really important.  By assessing our performance we not only justify our place, but we continually acknowledge what we are doing and how successful we are at it.  This isn't meant to be a self-criticism but merely a holistic view of how we spend our time- and how we might spend it more effectively.

All in all, a success!  To learn more about CAL, go here:  My only gripe was that there were very few sessions related to children's services, and apparently that is because for some reason or another the members on the committee didn't think it was important?  Hopefully such a grave oversight isn't repeated next year.  The 2012 conference is in if next year's ski season is anything like this year's I'll be able to ski too!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Keeping Up- Creating a Story Time

My, my, my I can't believe it has been a year since I last created a post for this blog!  It has also been just over a year since I moved to Colorado and started my first "real world" job as a librarian.  It has been a great year of discovery and adaptation.  I've been learning like crazy, meeting tons of new people and trying to form some new relationships and partnerships within my new community.  All while still having a life and exploring the amazing and beautiful place I live. 

As a recap, I am currently a Children's Services Librarian with the Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs.  We have 13 libraries in our district, including mobile library services- the bookmobile, in other words.  I'm always fascinated to see how the planning takes place on such a grand scale.  Coming from a small library system with two libraries, things were so much different in terms of programming, collection, circulation...ay yay yay!

I originally started this blog with the intention of providing some insight and lots of resources for others working with children to use.  I find myself perusing the web and collecting millions of useful things for story times, research-based information, etc.  Instead of charging myself with the overwhelming task of trying to document everything that's going on in my library, I thought I would instead choose themes based on current things I'm working on.

In the spirit of fun, this post is dedicated to creating a story time!  I am currently working on a story time for the month of October, and while the go-to idea would probably include something about Halloween or fall, I'm not the only one doing story time in my district and therefore there will definitely be some fall and Halloween related story times done by others!  I did a fall-themed story time last October, and will post those ideas here as well.  Eventually.  

October's theme will be...drum-roll please.... ART!  I love art and creativity, so I always try to encourage young learners to be creative and think outside of the box.  For this story time I decided to incorporate some books about color, primary and secondary colors as well as just general creativity.  I also want children to learn and understand that art doesn't just have to be visual.  We all express our creative selves differently and dancing, singing and telling stories are just as creative and artistic as making something visual to admire and hang on a wall.

Instead of publishing a synopsis of how the story time will go down (since I haven't done it yet, I don't know which books I'll read and in what order), I will just put the components that will make up this story time.

First things first, the books.  Keep in mind, I won't use all of these, but I like to have LOTS of options to satisfy a variety of moods and energy levels.  You never know what you're going to get on any given morning!  These are all books that fit my theme and would go over well in a group setting, (I think.)

Book Suggestions:
I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont
Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle
Dog's Colorful Day by Emma Dodd
Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley
Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni
Bear's Picture by Daniel Pinkwater
First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Lemons Are Not Red by Laura Vaccar Seeger
My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
Look!  Look!  Look!  by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Lines that Wiggle by Candace Whitman
Art & Max by David Wiesner
Hilda Must Be Dancing by Karma Wilson

Action Rymes/Songs:

Action Song: "Driving Round in My Car" (Tune: Ten Little Indians)
Driving round in my little red car
Driving round in my little red car
Driving round in my little red car
Zoom zoom zoom zoom zoom
Credit: storytime katie

Let the kids choose which color the car will be next!

Action Rhyme: "When I See"
When I see red I put my hand on my head.
When I see blue I touch my shoe.
When I see green I wash my face real clean.
When I see yellow I wave to the fellows.
When orange is found I put my hand on the ground.
When I see pink I think, think, think.

Action Rhyme: "Red, Red"
Red, red is the color I see
If you're wearing red, then show it to me.
Stand up, take a bow, turn around
Show me your red and sit back on the ground.
Credit: Colors

And since no story time would be complete without flannel boards, here are two that I made:

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Source: storytime katie
This was so much fun!  I've always loved this story, but the format is a little small for story time.  Clever librarian Katie thought of a great way to share this in another way!
I omitted some parts of the story that would just be too difficult to tell, i.e. the cityscape, the mountain, the sidewalk.  I can't wait to see how this goes!

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Source: storytime katie

This is a great story for teaching about primary and secondary colors.  Three mischievous mice have fun with some jars of paint while the cat is sleeping.

I had so much fun creating this story time.  I will be sure to come back and post any suggestions, warnings, comments about how this went with the kids.  And I'll also show some photos of the lovely art-related crafts they create!