Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Time to Get Serious

Registration for the summer reading program has begun.  The program officially starts next week though our kick-off event isn't until the 29th. 

I have less than a month to prepare for family story time.  This is when working part-time is a disadvantage.  I've been browsing through our wonderful folktale collection picking out stories that would be fun to tell.  Now I have to get serious about narrowing down my choices and working out how I'm going to present them.  For family story time I place an emphasis on visual presentations since I need to engage a large group of varying ages.  I usually only read one or two books and use the flannel board, props and stick puppets for the majority of the stories.  The stories are then followed by a simple craft.

Since the state theme this year is "One World, Many Stories," I plan to concentrate on specific geographic areas for my three programs - Africa, Asia and Europe.  I have exactly one story prepared - "The Bremen Town Musicians."  It's time to go rummaging through the boxes in my basement for some drawing and paper cutting stories.  I know there's a good Anansi story down there somewhere.

Friday, June 10, 2011

It Works!

I'm preparing for my summer family story time programs.  In keeping with this summer's theme, "One World, Many Stories," I will be telling and reading folk tales from around the world (which is what is usually do for family story time anyway).  Since the program is held in the meeting room which is a rather large space I like to use visual props to tell stories (the props also help to hold the attention of the younger listeners).  I've been wanting to tell the "Bremen Town Musicians" without using a board for the figures because I like to vary how I tell the stories.  The easiest format to make is stick puppets - find clip art, color it, glue it on construction paper and tape a craft stick on.  If I have time I will put construction paper on the back as well to "finish" the puppet.  But for this story I have to stack the stick puppets on top of each other.  I was thinking of adding "holders" of some sort to the back of the puppets but as I was adding the back pieces to the puppets I decided to leave the bottom part open and try fitting the puppets on top of each other.  It worked.  The puppets do get a bit floppy when it is humid but it is easy to support all four puppets with two hands. 



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

And I Have Trouble Making a Frog That Jumps

This was posted on the Craft blog.  The french artist, Etienne Cliquet, transforms the craft of origami into art.  It is fascinating to watch his miniature pieces unfold as they float in water.  I love the fact that he uses science to create art.  It would be fun to have an origami program for older children and then show them this and other examples of origami as art including Cliquet's shark's jaw.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Biased Opinion

As part of the tech challenge I attended the June CSS board meeting at the NJ Talking Book and Braille Center.  I enjoyed the tour of the Center and was most impressed by how much it has to offer. 

It's been a long time since I've met with other youth services librarians and I enjoyed talking "shop" as well as finding out what the current issues are.  The major concern is the tremendous pressure on libraries due to funding issues.  Unfortunately politicians tend to view the local library as a non-essential service.  Yet to me access to a library is essential in order to have an informed democratic society (granted most people do not come in to read Plato but the point is that the library is there for them).  It is also a place where people in a community can come together . 

Most important to me are the community's youngest members.  At the public library access to the tools of literacy, whether it be storytime, a collection of board books, or playing learning games on the computer, is available to every child with no regard to economic background.  I feel that storytime offers so much to get a child started on the road to reading - sight, sound, exposure to art and literature, and the personal interaction with the storyteller.  No matter how social the media, a child needs to experience the real world and to be with other children.  Storytime also inspires the imagination and creativity.  I am always surprised how I can give 10 children the exact same craft materials and have 10 totally different projects as a result. Children from all economic backgrounds benefit from the storytime experience which is just a part of what is available at most libraries.  There is so much more. 

Let's hope that those in our profession who are shaping the future of libraries make sure that there is a balance between the traditional and the new, between cutting costs and cutting service and that when allocating increasingly limited funds, they do not loose sight of the needs of all users no matter what their age or economic situation.