Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Books That Need Love

If you frequent the picture book bins here at RML, you may have seen the one labeled "Books That Need Love". It's a follow-up to the same one I did a few years ago - the last time I went through and weeded the entire picture book collection. Last time, we added slips in the books so that the patrons could tell us if they liked the story (and we should keep it), or if they thought we could discard it. 
(I'd like to add a note here to gently remind everyone that we HAVE to get rid of books sometimes. They fall apart, they get 'crummy' looking, and sometimes they've just had their time. Plus, that's how we make room for shiny new books!) 
Anyway, our project didn't work last time because everyone wanted us to keep everything! So this year, I've had to make some hard decisions, but there are always those books that are in good shape, and are still relevant today. And I want to keep them. Even though you guys haven't taken them out in a LONG TIME! Hence, the Books That Need Love bin.
So here are a few of the titles in the bin that I'd like to highlight. They are great books, and sometimes they just don't get love because they are on a low shelf or maybe they don't fit into any specific categories so we don't often put them on display.
Come check out the books that NEED LOVE!!!

You can't go wrong with illustrations by Simms Taback. 
 This reminds me of my childhood, so I can't get rid of it. Take it out!

 If you've ever sung this song to a child, they'll want to see it illustrated.

 Perfect for your little train lover! You'll feel like you're actually in a miniature train set.

It's complete at 34 words. But it says so much about how to make a friend. Love it.

A party with a crocodile, elephant, and hedgehogs? C'mon!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Monster Mini Golf @ the Library!

It was one of those things I always wanted to do. Play mini golf in the Library of course! Halloween seemed like the perfect time, plus I had a willing co-worker and a bunch of teen volunteers which was key. 

The weather cooperated (though it was tad windy) since we had 4 of the 9 holes outside. Ultimately, with the rest of the staff pitching in, it worked out great!
We had 3 time slots that families could sign up for - 4-5pm, 5-6pm, and 6-7pm. This kept the event from being crazy! We also limited it to 9 families per hour, mostly due to a limited number of clubs. If we had more, I think we could have done 12-15 families an hour. 
My partner in crime for this event, Christine, made up these great scorecards:

 We had some refreshments (Monster eyeballs and inspiration courtesy of Pinterest (Library Mini Golf Board) and a Halloween prize wheel I found at Oriental Trading

Here are the 9 monster-themed holes we created:

The Big Green Monster

 The Grinch

 Monster High

 Cookie Monster

 Storytime Friends

The Headless Horseman

 Frankie Stein

 It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

 The Spooks of Halloween

 Tired pumpkins at the end of the day!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Author/Illustrator Spotlight: James Marshall

While I was hunting for a book for our first "Next Chapter" Reading Club of the school year, I came across Rats on the Roof by James Marshall and knew it was the one. It is short - good for our first book, has animal characters so I don't have to debate the whole boy/girl thing already, and has that unmistakable James Marshall artwork on the cover that makes me love him. And love him I do.
Which makes this factoid all the weirder - he wrote (sometimes as Edward Marshall) and/or illustrated all his greatest stuff during the years I was not reading or appreciating them. Aside from maybe the first two in the George & Martha series, I was in middle or high school or college when he worked on things like:

 But I'm fairly certain I do remember this title he illustrated as something I read BEFORE learning about James Marshall's books in college and graduate school:
His simple characters (and that witch!) are now classic Marshall - they look at least familiar to anyone who has read his books to their children at some point. How he conveys so much with such simple faces and expressions reminds me so much of Charles Schulz.

At our Next Chapter meeting, we talked about his illustrative style, and tried our hand at creating our own characters from some James Marshall body parts and faces:

 So make sure your kids get to enjoy some James Marshall books while they're still young. Or sorta young. Oh, just read them no matter what age you are!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Summer - That's A Wrap (Despite the Weather Today!)

It's pretty darn warm out today, but we have said BYE to Summer at RML and are focusing on some great programming for the Fall for all ages!
That is not to say that we aren't reflecting back on summer and learning how we can improve things next year. We also had a big Staff Development Meeting last week where the whole staff sat down to see how we can improve services to our community - we are constantly re-evaluating!
So back to Summer Reading. This summer was the third year of a 3-year State contract with the company behind the Evanced Summer Reading online system. We tried out their new offering this year - Wandoo Reader. There were pros and cons of using this program. The biggest hurdle was the parental approval email requirement which kept the School Media Specialist at Marlborough Elementary from registering all the students in June. Parents were tasked with registration at home, and I think this turned out to be more confusing to parents than we had thought.
Secondly, we found that while many kids and parents love logging their reading through the summer (some even compete!) there are many who just don't have the time to do this. 
So, while we aren't sure where the State Library will take us yet for next summer, we do know that we are taking a very close look at how we can make summer reading easier for everyone, and we are prepared to offer something new and more streamlined next year! Summer slide is still a real problem, and I think we all agree that keeping the kids reading throughout the year is important. Keeping that in mind, we want to offer the kids something that they can do while on vacation, but still come visit us at RML during the summer months. Stay tuned!

On another note, the Friends of RML helped bring summer to and end as usual, with their Ice Cream Social. I'll leave you with a few pics from that fun annual event and a reminder to please let me know any suggestions you have for your child's Children's Department at RML!
Ms Eileen