Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wrapping Up Summer!

It's September!
We have a had a really fun Summer here at RML! 'Science' was truly a great Summer Reading theme that let us explore all kinds of topics. Here's a look at the past few months:

We kicked off the Summer with the fun Yo-Yo Show! I just know there's some physics involved in there!

Next up was Marlborough's own storm chaser, Jason Dunion, with weather science. Hearing all about his job flying into hurricanes for NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) made me enjoy the atmosphere here at RML all the more!

July was the month for our 4 Science Labs, where kids got to enjoy some hands-on fun.
The Science of Pop-up Books, Kitchen Science, Science Outdoors, & Computer Makey-Makey Fun.

The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center also visited in July, presenting the Science of Ooze! The kids learned all about how slugs, salamanders, and toads use slime to help them move about and protect themselves.

Ms. Patty had a great group for her Sensory Play for Little Ones program. This wins for the biggest mess of the Summer.

In August we welcomed Jerry Schneider to help with our 'Science of Batman' program.
 I think we will be seeing a lot of these cool t-shirts around town.
Keith Michael Johnson also visited the Senior Center with his Science Isn't Always Pretty show. It really wasn't. Scatology was just one of the cool things happening. Eewww...

Along with programs for adults (The Science of Food) & teens (Spark A Reaction), we had a really full Summer! Congratulations to all our weekly prize winners who walked away with some great gift certificates this Summer as well. And to our 'Reading Geniuses' who completed their Summer Reading and those who won some great Prize Packs!

As for Ms Patty and myself, we will take a break for a bit before we start planning events for next Summer - here's a hint: it's going to be 'Super'!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

That's What It's All About...

As librarians and library staff, we can only hope that all our efforts put into Summer Reading time make a difference, keep kids reading, inspire, or even just entertain for a bit.
This year, SCIENCE is the name of the game, and it has been so much fun to create a summer reading program that involves different aspects of this topic. So I was totally surprised and delighted when a family stopped in the other day and told us that their daughter had literally taken the theme and ran with it!
We were giving out chocolate-covered sunflower seeds in test tubes as part of the first prize week. Most kids had gobbled them down before they even left the Library. But our friend Leah, had other ideas. She took one of the seeds home and yes, planted it.

Because if there's one thing you learn with science, it's that experimentation often leads to accidental discoveries. Ok, so maybe it won't grow with chocolate-covered seeds inside, but you never know.

Monday, July 7, 2014

It's Library Science!

We always like to have something set up in the Storytime room for the kids to do in the Summer. We've had the ocean floor, a camping tent, and last year, a cave!

So when 2 things collided this year - the 'Science' theme for Summer Reading and getting the new Sierra/Encore computer system and doing away with 'stamping', Ms Patty and I knew what we had to do!

Many of our young patrons enjoy stamping and would often ask if they could stamp their library books. You may even have someone in your house who enjoys 'playing library'! So we decided to set up a "Little Library" in the Storytime room! Complete with date due slips, books they can sticker and process and 'check-out', we tried to supply them with whatever they would need to have their own Library. 

What they may not know, is that when you are officially a Librarian, the degree you complete is called a Master's Degree in LIBRARY SCIENCE, or Library Science and Information Technology!

Here are a few pictures with my girls testing it out:

Here's a flashback to a post from last year.  My friend Ryan shared his video with me of his home 'Library"!

And here are 2 pics from July 2009 with my nephew, Daniel. His mom would have to drive him from Milford to Marlborough each summer when they visited, just so he could play Library with me! 

So let the kids stop in this Summer and 'play' Library! But be aware, it may inspire some "little libraries" in your own house!


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Get Ready for Summer Science!

If you haven't heard, the words for Summer are:

We are busy planning a great Summer Reading Program here at RML, with all things SCIENCE! Here's the link to the CSLP (Collaborative Summer Library Program) preview video:

Our Summer Reading Kick-Off Night will be Wed, June 25
with the Yo-Yo Show!
Summer Reading registration begins at 6pm and the show starts at 6:30pm
Be sure to stop by for the festivities - children, teens, and adults all get
a special registration prize!

We are also working on other exciting programs like:
Storm Chasers
Science Lab
The Science of Batman
Science Isn't Always Pretty

And our Summer Reading Program for Teens (students ages 12 & up or entering 
Grade 7 in the fall...)
And don't forget the Adults too!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Another Terrific Way to Enjoy Books!

If you are reading this blog, you are probably tech-savvy enough to know and possibly use the Library Connection OverDrive service for audio and e-books. So I just wanted to make sure you knew about their newest way for your kids to enjoy books - through streaming video!
You can 'check out' streamed video books the same way you borrow an e-book. Just set up an account with OverDrive, and browse all the great picture books that come to life by streaming them the same way you would a Netflix video, etc. (But these are video adaptations of great children's literature so it's better for them, I swear ;)
How to:
From our website at, choose Online Resources from the drop-down menu, and select OverDrive.
Right now, they are featuring the Streaming Video on the homepage, but in the future, just search for Streaming Video. You can find just what you want by doing an Advanced Search and choosing just the grade level you are interested in, but that will limit the titles you see. What is helpful is selecting "show only titles with copies available" if you are looking for something to show your child right at the moment. Otherwise, you can still put holds on other streaming videos that are checked out.
Many of the titles are adapted by Weston Woods for Scholastic - long a favorite of mine and a Connecticut classic. They take favorite picture books and turn them into videos, without loosing the elements that made them great books in the first place. I got a chance to visit Weston Woods as a graduate student, and they are a class act.

Some of my favorite titles available include:
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Goodnight, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
Happy Birthday, Moon by Frank Asch
Harry, the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
Musical Max by Robert Kraus
Pete's A Pizza by William Steig
Goldilocks and the Three Bears by James Marshall
The Library by Sarah Stewart

There are also a few Richard Scarry BusyTown titles, Madeline, Inspector Gadget, and Max & Ruby, among others.
So be sure to check this great service out when your kids are asking for computer time!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Backpacks!

We've changed around most of our Backpack book sets again to give you some new subjects! So here's the latest ones for Spring! They get checked out just like a book for 3 weeks.
Awesome Books for Boys
Great Books for Girls
Potty Time!
Preschool Picks
More Kindergarten Favorites
Picture Books as Early Readers
I Like Me!
Growing Up
My Family
In My Neighborhood
Muzzy Spanish Language
Muzzy Spanish II

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Evolution of a Storytime Craft

What Ms Patty and I decide on for Storytime crafts comes about in a variety of ways. Sometimes, we have certain books we are dying to include, so the craft comes after and has to fit in with the theme. Sometimes, the craft dictates the storytime - i.e. We did alot of painting crafts already so maybe we should do playdough or collage, etc.
Sometimes, we find something wonderful on Pinterest or on a storytime blog.

Then there are the times when we want to do what we want to do, and just aren't finding the right craft, so we make it up. Then you better watch out and not disturb us because the wheels are in motion! This happened last week when we were set on doing books about puffins, and couldn't find a craft we liked.

Ms Eileen came across a photo in Google images of an actual puffin costume made out of fabric, etc. But it had a cute head, so of course, we thought: let's make hats!!! Our kids LOVE to make hats as crafts. It took an hour while we were working on the desk to get it just right (don't tell our Director!). The eyes had to be in the right place, the top couldn't be too pointy or look like a pilgrim. Here's the prototype:

 Next comes the setup - how are we going to do this craft so the kids can take it home dry, and we can fit in all the great books we want to do? (Plus we wanted the kids to be able to watch a puffin cam we found online that showed a baby change from an egg to a fluffy ball of fur, to a youngster!)

Puffins of Seal Island, Maine

We decided to have the kids paint their puffin beaks before doing stories so it would have time to dry. They practiced making the correct stripes on scrap paper first. The key was to not let them have a lot of paint (too gloppy!). We were amazed at the differences in ability depending on the children's ages. Eileen's 4s & 5s were clearly better at painting stripes, but even within that group, some 4s couldn't make full stripes across the beak, while a few of the youngest ones still wanted to 'color' the beak instead of making the stripes. Or some made stripes that didn't reach from end to end. We just love seeing the different stages of development in things as simple as stripes. Kids are amazing!

We pre-made the hats so we would have time to fit them on after stories. A stapler is a must! Here are some of the books we read:

And finally, our cutie-pie kids playing puffin. They had a ball, some had puffin parades, and some just enjoyed talking to each other in 'puffin'. Cuter than muffins! ;)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Three Fave's From the 1930s

As part of our 90th birthday celebration here at RML, we are focusing on a different decade each month. February is the 1930s, so I thought I would highlight 2 books published in the 30s - Ms. Patty's favorite and mine.
My pick: 

To the left is an earlier cover - the above one is the one I read, likely published in the 1950s. I spent a great deal of time reading most of the series as a kid growing up in the 1970s, and it amazes me that kids are still reading these today, over 80 years later.
My elementary school library was one of my favorite places, and there was a dark little nook in the back left side where all the Nancy Drew books were located on the bottom shelf. So the whole series reminds me of that place I loved, as well as the Media Specialist who had such a great impact on me that I became a Librarian! These stories were probably the beginning of my love for mysteries as well, and now that I think of it, my fascination with the game CLUE. 
So most people now know that 'Carolyn Keene" was merely a pseudonym, and the man who created 'Nancy Drew' was Edward Stratemeyer (and his famous Stratemeyer Syndicate who employed ghostwriters for series fiction). Stratemeyer died about 2 weeks after The Secret of the Old Clock was published in 1930. So who actually wrote the books? Well, after some googling, I came across a book that I now MUST READ! See the second link below. In all, there were 8 ghostwriters who penned these classics.

14 Fun Facts About Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her

Patty's pick:
"I've loved The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf since I was a little 
girl.   It was the special favorite of my younger sister, Laura, and I 
can't read the book without thinking of her. Ferdinand's primary wish, 
to sit "just quietly" and smell the flowers, validated my own need to 
spend lots of time by myself, outside, doing not much of anything.  
Ferdinand does his own thing, doesn't shrink from the aggressors or 
judge them, he merely meets them with his own strong pacifism; the 
epitome of quiet strength. And of course, there is the understanding 
mother ("even though she is a cow") which delighted me as a child and 
When my children were little I could not wait to share the book with 
them and was happy to discover they loved it as much as I did.  I 
continue to share "The Story of Ferdinand" in storytimes and it is one 
of those books that never fails to capture the children's attention.  
The tale is gentle, but exciting, and creates just that right about of 
tension that makes a picture book work so well. Combined  with Robert 
Lawson's charming illustrations (despite being black and white), you 
have a book speaks to the world of the child and also captures their 
Patty added some interesting factoids about this classic: 
From Wikipedia:
 The book was released nine months before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War,
and was seen by many supporters of Francisco Franco as a pacifist book.
    It was banned in many countries, including in Spain. In Nazi Germany,
 Adolf Hitler ordered the book burned, while Joseph Stalin, the leader of the
 Soviet Union, granted it privileged status as the only non-communist children's
 book allowed in Poland. India's leader Mahatma Ghandi called it his favorite book. 
From the New York Times, Pamela Paul:
In 1938, Walt Disney created a short animated cartoon of the story, which went on to win

 – deservedly – an Oscar for Best Animated Short Subject (Cartoons)

(This last bit is interesting since the Oscars are around the corner. )

Still on Amazon's list of best selling children's books!

You can even watch the Walt Disney short on YouTube:

So I have to mention my runner-up / Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright. I remember reading this as a young girl and really loving it. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for my daughter's experience. We tried to read this lovely story of growing up on a farm in Depression-era Wisconsin together, but we only made it a few chapters in. I have to admit, there isn't alot of action and it doesn't hold up as well as Nancy Drew 80+ years later. But I still love the main character Garnet, and all it's thimble magic.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Saying So Long to January!

I don't care what that groundhog says - SPRING could be in sight!  I don't hate winter - but I am a fan of more moderate temperatures.
So I'm cleaning out my iPhone pictures of all that Januaryishness.
 Here's a failed attempt at photographing our new employee, Mike. He wasn't cooperating.

These were from our Next Chapter Reading Club that met this month to talk about Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed.  We played around with some ice from outdoors, added salt and food coloring and let the kids go all science-y and stuff!

The salt and purple/green food coloring on this one made the coolest metallic looking color.  I just had a thought - Ms. Patty - we should have added glitter!!

Here's their own version of a rhyming poem the kids made based on the poem, "What I Love About Winter" from the book Winter Eyes by Douglas Florian:

'no school' days
fire blaze
ski time
banks to climb
make some snowmen round and fat
give them all a winter hat
catching snowflakes on your tongue
holiday carols to be sung
slide down a slippery slope
then in a hot tub with lots of soap!
soup that's hot
chili in the pot
angels in the snow
having nowhere to go!
find a little nook
and read a good book.
fuzzy socks,

And finally, a cutie pie moment from one of our smallish patrons that I just had to capture.
One great thing about January - snuggling at home with a good movie!