Friday, August 29, 2008

Library Travels: Vergennes, Vermont

Library Mermaid went landlubber and visited the Public Library in Vergennes, Vt. A beautiful glass dome ceiling, a nice old building that manages to feel old and historic and yet airy and open. Upstairs they were holding a used book sale - the son grabbed some paperbacks - and we stumbled across their historic room - we were charmed by the stuffed birds and artifacts and the way it was just something we lucked across. Serendipity.

Poetry Friday: William Jay Smith

There was a Young Lady named Rose
Who was constantly blowing her nose;
Because of this failing
They sent her off whaling
So the whalers could say: "Thar she blows!"

from Around My Room, a collection of his children's poems.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How to create a reader

First and foremost - let children see that reading is not just important to you but a pleasure. Let them catch you dipping into a book. Let them see piles of books on your bedside table, a paperback in a purse or a briefcase or beach bag. If you understand there is magic in books, they will want to discover that magic themselves.
Try leaving books from the library, a seemingly random selection, on a table in your home and see if there are any takers. Get a joke book out and write out some jokes and stick them on the fridge. Include a book as a gift for at birthdays and holidays. Take out cookbooks from the library and have your child read the recipe to you. Read to them at night if they have trouble reading themselves...let them pick a book that interests them and take turn reading the paragraphs. Get them a magazine subscription, start a book club for them and their friends, let them pick out things to read you might not adore graphic novels, Captain Underpants books, (after all they aren't telling you not to cruise through People magazine - if adults don't have to read War and Peace level literature everytime they pick up reading materials, why should kids?). Give them a build-your own-home-library allowance and let them hang out in bookstores and libraries. And hang out in those libraries and bookstores with them. You'll meet the nicest people in those places :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

8/8/08...and a few links of interest

I continue to marvel at the amount of stuff people seem to include in their blogs on a daily much detail, so many links, so many updates and extensive reviews. Librarian Mermaid is busy thinking about napping and why Advil is not really working for me so much anymore.

Storytelling site: lots of good storytelling links as well as the storybug site.

the Scranton library in Madison, Ct has a wonderful picture books site that can be subscibed to:

and five owls most excellent book reviews and more..., and a promise to read the blogger instructions and great info sent by Nan about how to put in links properly without all this mess of computerspeak...once I am back from the land of the son's virus spreading throughout the house ...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Oh, behave!

When I first started doing programs, I was amazed at some of the behavior I witnessed. Not the kids, mind you, but the adults. Talking among themselves loudly, cell phone chats (my fave - the Dad on the floor saying loudly into his cell "no, I'm not busy, just hanging out with the kid at the library" as he is inches away from where I am attempting to enchant the wee ones. ). Then there is the mother who likes to read a separate book (loudly!) to a younger sibling (maybe she thinks we are harmonizing), the ones who choose the library for free to be you and me time for the kids so Parent or Nanny can have some downtime... including this one nanny (who I haven't seen in a while, hoorah) who used to sit in a front row and fall asleep even during the noisiest of songs. What's a girl to do? I preface my programs with a couple of brief and cheerily announced guidelines (this being suggested a couple of years ago by an older librarian and boyhowdy, it works). In Family Storytime by Rob Reid, he also notes the difference in behavior that opening remarks can make. Weird but true. The one he puts forth in his (very useful) book is a bit too formal to me but can easily be adapted to your personality and needs. "Children, put on your best listening skills. That means sit still and be quiet unless I ask you to talk or move around. Parents, feel free to take any children who are restless or noisy out to the hallway until they are ready to rejoin us. I appreciate your cooperation and consideration for the other audience members and myself. Thank you."
Of course, everyone still will misbehave, but you will feel better and in more control. And people will glare at the misbehavers more fiercely which is all the better as you and your puppet carry on stalwartly.