Friday, October 10, 2014

Early Literacy Center- Mail time! Part 1

We were very fortunate this year to receive a Community Foundation Grant to upgrade our Early Literacy Center. We purchased some big furniture pieces that we'll be rotating out quarterly. This will help keep the area new and exciting for our littlest patrons.

We decided to open our newly renovated area with one of our coolest purchases. A mailbox of course!

Kids love getting mail, and they love pretending to be a mail person even more. After visiting the Eau Clair library and seeing their great early literacy area and reading the great mailbox ideas over at Libraryland I knew we had to jump on the mail train. 

We made mailboxes for some of our favorite characters and wrote each of them a letter. This was my favorite part.

This has been a huge hit in our Play and Learn area. Kids can organize the mail, deliver the mail to their friends, and then mail the letters back in the mailbox. I've seen kids pretend to be a mail person for over 30 minutes. It's pretty awesome.

We've also added a writing component to our area, but I'll talk about that more in part 2!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hello Again!

Hello dear friend! I am so sorry that this blog has been abandoned over summer. Life has been a little crazy over in La Crosse.

Imagine this... but with children.
 I'm the guy in the yellow coat.

Our summer reading was a smashing success! We went prizeless this year, and you can read about it over on Marge's blog. TL:DR is that it was amazing. Kids loved it and so did the parents. Everyone should go prizeless next year, ok?


My name is now legally and officially Brooke Newberry. Isn't that the best last name for a children's librarian?! I am changing my name professionaly as well. Since no one knew how to spell or pronounce my maiden name I don't think this will cause too much heartache.

Storytime outlines (I have about 12 of them) will start going up next week, and then we will hopefully return to our regularly scheduled, slightly less sporadic, blogging. Thanks for sticking it out with me friends!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Play, Baby, Play! and other fun ALA adventures

Two weeks ago I was in Vegas for ALA Annual! It was a fabulous, hot, and humid time. While there I was able to attend a committee meeting, some great presentations, and even give a few myself. Since I can't figure out if my slides are actually available through ALA or not, I decided to go ahead and post them up here.

I was lucky enough to present with the fabulous Kendra of Read, Sing, Play. We are both extremely passionate about early literacy programming, storytimes, and cheap wine, so it was a perfect match for us to present together. We decided to do an IGNITE session where each slide advances every 15 seconds and we have 5 minutes total.

It was seriously one of the coolest things I've ever done. It's amazing how much information you can get out in 5 minutes! It also makes you realize how much people ramble in presentations when they don't need to (guilty).

I'm assuming the picture is a little blurry because of
 the manic energy we were putting out there. 

Here are all of our slides:

I also presented with the fabulous joint chiefs of Storytime Underground about storytime. We had a great crowd and they had some amazing things to share at the end of the presentation.

Four Guerrilla Storytimes happened at ALA as well. The wrap-ups can be found over at Storytime Underground. Everyone was amazing and I found like 10 new things that I want to start doing in storytime immediately.

The highlight of my conference was the Newbery-Caldecott Banquet. I was very fortunate to receive the Kate McClelland and Kathy Kransnieqicz Scholarship since this was my first ALA. The scholarship was sponsored by Random House so I was invited to sit at their fancy table at the banquet. I sat next to Clare Vanderpool, Matt De La Pena, and Markus Zusak! It was probably the coolest night of my life. I couldn't even look at Markus for like 75% of the banquet. They were all very lovely to me.

My biggest regret was that I didn't have enough free time to go and find Elvis. My dad is absolutely obsessed with him and I knew he would be slightly disappointed in me. As I was getting off the plane in Minneapolis, I heard a familiar voice behind me. It was ELVIS! He had followed me all the way back to Minnesota. He said he was coming to visit family and only impersonated in the winter usually, but I think it's because he knew I needed to tell my dad that I was successful in my search.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Biggest Baby Shower Ever – Community Outreach

The community I live in is amazing. There are so many great opportunities for library outreach. We go to school fairs, parent read nights, mom & baby classes, daycares, and anyone else who will invite us. One event that I look forward to every year is the Biggest Baby Shower Ever!

It is coordinated by the Mayo Clinic and groups come from all over to participate. There are about 20-30 booths at this event, with everything from the YMCA to Mary Kay represented. The library has been lucky enough to get invited to this event for the past few years. Around 250-300 people attend each year, and it is a great opportunity to meet new patrons!

I always make sure to have a bright and fun table. The event is located in a Children's Museum, so I'm competing against a lot of background items to grab their attention. I also make sure to have some sort of "giveaway" for parents. Fact– New moms love free things.

This year I brought plastic keys and rubber duckies to hand out. Each had a sticker with our logo and website on them. Truthfully, I found both of the items in the basement (lots of buried treasure down there) and decided I was tired of seeing them every time I went downstairs.

On the table I included some of our alphabet sensory bags we use in storytime, board books, a handout about storytime,  and a sign-up sheet for our Baby Book Bees initiative. I also set up a little reading nook in the corner with paperbacks of popular characters for older siblings who were getting bored. I had quite a few parents thank me for this last minute addition.

They only got the bib if they signed up for Baby Book Bees.
Once people started showing them off
I had lots of questions about the program!

The main thing I highlight when I talk to people are our storytimes. We offer speciality ones for infants, babies, toddlers, and a family storytime. I also talk about all of the different resources we offer such as DVDs, books, audio books, etc. I encourage expecting moms to use us to read parenting books. You'll only read them once or twice and they're usually $25-$35 each! It's way more cost efficient to get a library card and check the books out from us. I keep our tri-fold pretty sparse and use lots of white space. I usually only have parents for a minute before they walk away, and the pictures always make them stay a little longer.

I love this event because I get to meet potential patrons for the first time, while also seeing some old friendly faces. I always leave this event feeling successful because of the number of people I speak to, but this year the success was even more apparent. We opened up storytime signups the following day and my infant storytime is almost full 2 days into sign-ups! I've never had an infant storytime fill up, so we're all feeling pretty happy about this.

Does your community have an outreach event like this? If not, you should convince your library to organize it. It is a great resource for new parents and it's a wonderful way to reach new patrons!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Baby Storytime –Farm

Opening Song
Welcome Song

Opening Rhyme/Movement
Hands are Clapping

Early Literacy Tip
If your child really loves a certain page of a book, then stay on it. When we all read our board book together we don't all have to stay on the same page. If your child really loves the black sheep or red bird then stay on that page a little longer and start talking about it! Every time you talk to your child you are introducing them to new words and building their vocabulary.

Shape Game
Today, I hid a cow. You can find out about this game here.

This is Big

Farm Animals by Simms Taback
All of these giant fold-out books are perfect for baby storytime! I use them often and they're always a winner.

Itsy Bitsy Spider


I Went Walking  by Sue Williams
The sing song rhythm is perfect for baby storytime. Plus there's plenty of opportunity for animal noises!

Giddy-up, Giddy-up

Where is Thumbkin

Choral Reading
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?  by Bill Martin Jr.
Ten Little Fingers and Tel Little Toes by Mem Fox

Egg Shakers
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
The Egg Shaker Song

Closing Song
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom


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