Let’s Drive Playtime

13 11 2008


If You’re Happy and You Know It (Flannel Board)


Freight Train by Donald Crews– Have the kids make train noises throughout the book to keep them interested.


Firetruck song (to the tune of 1 little, 2 little, 3 little Indians) — Hurry, hurry, drive the firetruck (drive), hurry, hurry drive the firetruck, hurry, hurry drive the firetruck on a Sunday morning.

Other verses: Hurry, hurry turn the corner… (turn and shift to side) Hurry, hurry find the fire (search with hand over eyes)… Hurry, hurry climb the ladder (climb)… Hurry, hurry spray the water (pretend hose)… Hurry hurry back to the station (drive).

The Wheels on the Bus


Ring around the Rosie


Autumn Story Time

25 10 2008


The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri

Old Bear by Kevin Henkes

Fall Leaves Fall by Zoe Hall

Plumply Dumply Pumpkin by Mary Serfozo


The Leaves are Falling Down (to The Farmer in the Dell)

The Little Squirrel


I got the idea for a pretend walk through the forest from Children & Libraries in an article called “Let’s Pretend.” We put on our coats and zipped them up, and everyone got a pair of binoculars (paper towel rolls stapled together with a piece of yarn at one end). We ran through the meadow, hopped around bushes, skipped on the path, balanced on a log over a stream, tiptoed around a sleeping porcupine, and twirled with the falling leaves (adapted from Wee Sing Let’s Pretend). Then we looked at pictures of animals (labeled with their names) that were posted on the wall through the binoculars. After the walk the children decorated their binoculars with stickers.


Next time I might lead the children through each picture so they can talk to me and each other about the animals. Also, the stickers didn’t stick well to the paper towel rolls.

If a problem comes along, you must ban it…

30 03 2008

Michael Stephens recently blogged about the Mishawaka Library’s ban on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. According to the post, “Fights, lewd language, and cars being blocked in the parking lot by teenagers” were cited as the reasons behind the ban.

The ban is controversial, and the comments left below the post reflect that. One anonymous commenter vehemently defended the ban, saying “Myspace and Facebook are NOTHING more than distractions to pollute the already sensory-overloaded psyche of the American youth. Would it kill these rude and foul mouthed kids to pick up a book every once and while?” Yikes.

I don’t know firsthand what Anonymous’ experiences have been with teens in the library; undoubtedly they haven’t been positive. But I think this type of bitterness toward teenagers reflects a much bigger problem in communities across the country — fear, distrust, and resentment of young people.

Banning resources isn’t a strategy for improving behavior; its an attempt to rid the library of pesky teenagers. I’ve found that in my own experience that banning a particular service or resource doesn’t solve discipline problems. The unwanted behavior continues, but in a different part of the library. Throwing things, vandalism, picking on other children, cursing at strangers — none of this requires that teens have access to MySpace.

What I’ve found does improve behavior is creating programming for teens, developing a relationship with them, and making sure they know the rules and are corrected when those rules are broken.

I don’t know the teens at this particular library, but I doubt that every one of them spells trouble. I also doubt that every one of them deserves to be punished on behalf of those who misbehave. What I don’t doubt is that every one of them will feel the affect of this ban, and will feel mistrusted, alienated, and undervalued because of it.

I just hope the ban solves Mishawaka’s parking lot problem. It would be a shame to alienate an entire demographic of people for no good reason.

Web 2.0 review — del.icio.us

5 03 2008

Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking tool created in 2003 that allows users to collect and organize Web addresses. Unlike the bookmarking feature found on Web browsers like Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, del.icio.us allows users to access their bookmarks from any computer anywhere, not just the computer on which the link was originally bookmarked. Del.icio.us makes it possible for users to quickly and easily share their collected links with other people, making it a useful tool for librarians, who are in the business of collecting and sharing information.

Del.icio.us uses folksonomic tagging to organize Web sites, which means each user tags, or assigns, each Web site with whichever words they think best describe the site. For example, if you come to a Web site about intellectual freedom that you think is the absolute best, you might tag it “intellectual.freedom,” “libraries,” and “absolute.best” (each tag is separated by a space, so I use a period or underscore between words to tag phrases). Later, when you’re looking for information on intellectual freedom, libraries, or the absolute best Web sites, you can use your tags to search for them in your own collection or to find other sites with the same tags throughout all of del.icio.us.

Libraries have started using del.icio.us to provide patrons with up-to-date links to credible Web sites. Nashville Public Library’s del.icio.us links to Web resources on subjects that were specifically chosen by librarians, like teen pregnancy and financial aid, and also includes links to bibliographies on the library’s own Web site. The University of Michigan’s Health Sciences Library has bundled (or grouped) it’s tags in interesting ways – by “information type,” so users can browse specific kinds of sources, “geographic focus,” so they can find information from different locations around the world, and “sources,” so they can find resources by who produced the information. Other libraries, like at the College of New Jersey, are using del.icio.us as pathfinders and subject guides.

In the youth services department at the public library where I work, del.icio.us would be a great way to provide children and teens with up-to-date Web resources for their assignments. Currently, when a big project is assigned, teachers let the public library know and we pull books out of the collection to display on carts. Using del.icio.us is a similar concept, except instead of collecting books for a physical cart, we’re collecting Web resources for an online one. When an assignment is announced, any librarian who helps a child find a useful Web site could add it to the del.icio.us page so that others could use it as well. Tags could include the name of the assignment, name of the teacher, grade level, and the information found on the Web site.

Although the tagging process isn’t perfect because it’s not controlled vocabulary, I think patrons will appreciate the speed at which libraries can collect and distribute pertinent information using del.icio.us.


*Information for this post was found in this article from Library Journal.



New Inheritance Book

4 03 2008

I saw this advertised in the book store:


It’ll be out Sept. 25. In the video on Amazon, Paolini says that he split the final book into two because there was too much story to tell for one installment. I liked the first two, even if they were drawn out (and even if the movie was terrible).


Speaking of MySpace…

1 02 2008

This article about the complete and total uncoolness of being friended by your parents and other old people on MySpace amuses me. Mostly because some 13-year-olds recently made fun of me because I’m “a 30-year-old with a MySpace”.


Post #2 — Online Privacy? Sure.

29 01 2008

When I started working as a youth services librarian last year, I changed my Myspace profile to private. The idea was I didn’t want the kids to find my photos — like the one of me and the beluga whale, for example — and a.) make fun of me (it hurts, OK?) or b.) draw horns and mustaches on them and then make fun of me (funnier, but still painful).

Unfortunately, I forgot one little problem with online privacy. It’s pretty much non-existent. I doubt the kids would actually care enough to try and hack pictures from my site, but this article at wired.com reminded me that nothing is private in cyberspace.

To sum up the article: Someone known as “DMaul” hacked into MySpace’s private profiles and stole a bunch of photos. Then DMaul made the photos available through Pirate Bay, a site for downloading pirated material. So far, 6,700 people have downloaded the file, which turned out to be a lot less exciting then they were hoping for (baby showers, weddings, anniversaries…).

I wouldn’t exactly die of embarrassment if my beluga whale shot circulated throughout the world. But the point is, there’s always someone who knows how to get your “private” information if they really want it. When asked why he stole the photos, DMaul said he was trying to prove the point that “it is ridiculous to think that there is privacy on public websites.”

Ouch. I am officially ridiculous. Definitely a learning moment for me that I intend to share with the social-networking teens at my library.