Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Summer stories.

It's the time of year for this youth services consultant to wade through member libraries' summer reading program statistics and compile them for the state.

Honestly, though? The numbers don't mean much to me. They might tell me about how many kids each library usually sees at a program or how successful they are at registering kids for summer reading (and they're certainly useful to New York state), but they don't tell me about the experience the kids - or the staff - had.*

Summer reading at Oswego School District Public Library.

I want to hear about actual children and their positive learning experiences through summer reading programs. I want to hear about what worked and what didn't, and most of all, I want to hear about what libraries are planning for next year so that I can better support them.

So, this year I decided to add a page to our system's final report for short answers to questions about the experiences the libraries had with summer reading. And when I say I added questions, I mean I unabashedly lifted adapted them from another system's report. (Thanks, Lorie from Southern Tier!)

Not everyone responded, but among those who did, there were some common answers:

'Reading for pleasure and understanding.' Got a story in which children and teens in your program expressed this?
*At the end of every program, our display shelves were empty.

*After almost every program in which we did experiments, the children expressed an interest in reading the [related] books we recommended.

Tailoring your displays to your programming (or to the summer theme in general) is a great way to keep the kids excited about what they just experienced and also to highlight parts of your collection that might not get the same kind of action throughout the school year.

Summer 2014 was memorable for our library because...

*The theme was fun & engaging  / kids loved doing experiments and hands-on learning

*Attendance was high / we had so much participation that we ran out of reading logs

For as apprehensive as many libraries in our system were about the science theme, feedback on final evaluations was overwhelmingly positive. Some even attributed their increased attendance to the appeal of fun experiments and plan to continue programs that incorporate hands-on learning throughout the year.

For Summer 2015, I'd like to...

*Increase teen involvement 

*Do more publicity / marketing / partnerships

*Invite local heroes from the community (firefighters, soldiers, etc.) 

Everyone's looking for that elusive teen audience. Definitely something for me to address at our next summer reading workshop!

*But do I want libraries to register their kids for summer reading? YES, YES, AND MORE YES. If libraries don't register their kids, they have no number to give me, which means I have no number to give the state, which means that the report I am submitting is not reflective of the work our libraries are doing. This hurts my heart. I want them to know!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New e-books added to NCLS collection!

Absolutely Almost, by Lisa Graff.

Albie has never been the smartest kid in his class. He has never been the tallest. Or the best at gym. Or the greatest artist. Or the most musical. In fact, Albie has a long list of the things he's not very good at. But then Albie gets a new babysitter, Calista, who helps him figure out all of the things he is good at and how he can take pride in himself.

A perfect companion to Lisa Graff's National Book Award-nominated A Tangle of Knots, this novel explores a similar theme in a realistic contemporary world where kids will easily be able to relate their own struggles to Albie's. Great for fans of Rebecca Stead's Liar and Spy, RJ Palacio's Wonder and Cynthia Lord's Rules.

How I Discovered Poetry, by Marilyn Nelson. Illustrated by Hadley Hooper.

A powerful and thought-provoking Civil Rights era memoir from one of America's most celebrated poets.

Looking back on her childhood in the 1950s, Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Marilyn Nelson tells the story of her development as an artist and young woman through fifty eye-opening poems. Readers are given an intimate portrait of her growing self-awareness and artistic inspiration along with a larger view of the world around her: racial tensions, the Cold War era, and the first stirrings of the feminist movement.

A first-person account of African-American history, this is a book to study, discuss, and treasure. 

Greenglass House, by Kate Milford. Illustrated by Jaime Zollars.

It's wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler's inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers' adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo's home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook's daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening mysteries to discover the truth about Greenglass House—and themselves.

 Revolution (Sixties Trilogy) by Deborah Wiles. (Audio, narrated by  Stacey Aswad, Francois Battiste, J. D. Jackson, Robin Miles.)

It's 1964, and Sunny's town is being invaded. Or at least that's what the adults of Greenwood, Mississippi are saying. All Sunny knows is that people from up north are coming to help people register to vote. They're calling it Freedom Summer.

Meanwhile, Sunny can't help but feel like her house is being invaded, too. She has a new stepmother, a new brother, and a new sister crowding her life, giving her little room to breathe. And things get even trickier when Sunny and her brother are caught sneaking into the local swimming pool -- where they bump into a mystery boy whose life is going to become tangled up in theirs.

As she did in her groundbreaking documentary novel COUNTDOWN award-winning author Deborah Wiles uses stories and images to tell the riveting story of a certain time and place -- and of kids who, in a world where everyone is choosing sides, must figure out how to stand up for themselves and fight for what's right.

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's Your Superpower?

Dawn from Lowville came to my office today sporting this pretty spiffy shirt. Way to promote next year's summer reading theme ("Every Hero has a Story") all year long! If you're interested in ordering one for the low, low price of $15, contact her before October 4.

Dawn Myers, library superhero.

New e-books added to NCLS

Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson. (Also available in audio, narrated by the author.)

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child's soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson's eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

The Fourteenth Goldfish, by Jennifer Holm. (Also available in audio, narrated by Georgette Perna.)

Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer.

Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far?

Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He's bossy. He's cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie's grandfather, a scientist who's always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?

With a lighthearted touch and plenty of humor, Jennifer Holm celebrates the wonder of science and explores fascinating questions about life and death, family and friendship, immortality . . . and possibility.

(Descriptions from OverDrive.)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Big Library Read coming up soon!

It's time for another Big Library Read from the good people at OverDrive!

In case you missed the last one, the Big Library Read is when OverDrive makes one e-book title available for simultaneous use for about two weeks. That's right, no lines! No waiting! This time, it's Anatomy of a Misfit, by Andrea Portes, a brand new YA title.

The Big Library Read runs from October 13-28, and anyone with a North Country library card has access to the title (in print and audio) during those two weeks. Print out this handy flyer and make sure your patrons know about this great program!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Taco Storytime. For realz.

Linda in Gouverneur has feelings about tacos. Perhaps not coincidentally, she also has storytimes about tacos. Check it out:

I feel about tacos the way other people feel about pizza. I would have tacos for dinner every night if I could.  And sometimes, when my husband is gone, I do.  Why?  Because everything you need is right there in a magic crispy shell.  Never underestimate the importance of crispiness.

 But never mind that, because this is about storytime.

 And tacos.

We read Mud Tacos  by Mario Lopez and Marissa Lopez Wong and Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin.

And we had tacos.  At ten in the morning.  Because when is it not time for tacos?  Never.

As you can see from the pictures, plenty of dragons showed up once they heard about the taco party.  The menu included refried beans, shredded cheddar, shredded romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, salsa, taco sauce, sour cream, and soft or hard shells.

No one went away hungry and everyone went away happy, if a little surprised.  To those who may scoff at the idea of tacos for breakfast, I submit that it's always time for tacos.

The dragons agreed.

New children's e-books added to NCLS!

El Deafo, by Cece Bell.

Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers!

In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid. The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear—sometimes things she shouldn't—but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is.

After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become "El Deafo, Listener for All." And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she's longed for.
All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom, by Angela Johnson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis.

Experience the joy of Juneteenth in this celebration of freedom from the award-winning team of Angela Johnson and E.B. Lewis.

Through the eyes of one little girl, All Different Now tells the story of the first Juneteenth, the day freedom finally came to the last of the slaves in the South. Since then, the observance of June 19 as African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. This stunning picture book includes notes from the author and illustrator, a timeline of important dates, and a glossary of relevant terms. 

Told in Angela Johnson's signature melodic style and brought to life by E.B. Lewis's striking paintings, All Different Now is a joyous portrait of the dawn breaking on the darkest time in our nation's history.

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas, by Lynne Cox, illustrated by Brian Floca.

World-renowned swimmer and bestselling author Lynne Cox and Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator Brian Floca team up to bring us this inspiring story of an elephant seal who knew exactly where she belonged.

Here is the incredible story of Elizabeth, a real-life elephant seal who made her home in the Avon River in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. When Elizabeth decides to stretch out across a two-lane road, the citizens worry she might get hurt or cause traffic accidents, so a group of volunteers tows her out to sea. But Elizabeth swims all the way back to Christchurch. The volunteers catch her again and again--each time towing her farther, even hundreds of miles away--but, still, Elizabeth finds her way back home.

Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor, by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Brian Biggs.

Frank Einstein loves figuring out how the world works by creating household contraptions that are part science, part imagination, and definitely unusual. After an uneventful experiment in his garage-lab, a lightning storm and flash of electricity bring Frank's inventions—the robots Klink and Klank—to life!

Not exactly the ideal lab partners, the wisecracking Klink and the overly expressive Klank nonetheless help Frank attempt to perfect his Antimatter Motor...until Frank's archnemesis, T. Edison, steals Klink and Klank for his evil doomsday plan! Using real science, Jon Scieszka has created a unique world of adventure and science fiction—an irresistible chemical reaction for middle-grade readers. 

(All descriptions from OverDrive.)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Battle of the Books 2015

The reading list for the 2015 North Country Battle of the Books is out! Here's the complete booklist, with links to the NCLS catalog and OverDrive:

The Boundless, by Kenneth Oppel. E-book

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,
by Roald Dahl. E-book

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library,
by Chris Grabenstein. E-book

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures,
by Kate DiCamillo. E-book | E-audio

Fortunately, the Milk,
by Neil Gaiman. E-book | E-audio

by Andrew Clements. E-book

Game Over, Pete Watson,
by Joe Schreiber. E-book

The Great Greene Heist,
by Varian Johnson. E-book

Igraine the Brave,
by Cornelia Funke. E-book

Moon Over Manifest,
by Claire Vanderpool. E-book | E-audio.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy,
by Karen Foxlee. E-book | E-audio

Pippi Longstocking,
by Astrid Lindgren.

by Avi. 

Princess Academy,
by Shannon Hale. E-book

P.S. Be Eleven,
by Rita Williams-Garcia. E-book

The Sign of the Beaver,
by Elizabeth George Speare. E-book

Spy School,
by Stuart Gibbs. E-book

Stealing Air,
by Trent Reedy. E-book

Wild Born,
by Brandon Mull. E-book

A Wrinkle in Time,
by Madeleine L’Engle. E-audio