Libraries Are For Everyone Because…

Libraries Are For Everyone coloring sheet and writing prompt with a box for kids to write their "because..." answers | hafuboti.com and @MsLuker

I am beyond thrilled to have the wonderful Laura Luker (@MsLuker) guest writing for my blog! She created the above fabulous coloring sheet/writing prompt for her students, and shared it on Twitter so that anyone can use it. You can also click on the above image to get a copy of her jpeg. Hooray for open culture!!! I also picked out a few of her tweets that made me cry the most (with tears of joy) to share with you all.

And so, without further ado, I turn this blog over to Laura.

I created the sheet and the lesson that goes with it because since the last election, a topic that’s been on my mind often is the role of librarian as activist. It’s a role that people may not consider often – or may even disagree with, but one that I feel strongly about. Understandably, this must be done with care. As much as I am frustrated by our political landscape today, my double role as librarian and educator means that I’m not really allowed to voice political opinions. So for me it comes down to thinking really hard about what I CAN do to make a difference in the lives of my students and in the broader world.

In my mind, this takes many forms. I teach in a K-12 school, which means I work with patrons from the age of 5 all the way through high school. I also consider colleagues and school administrators to be my patrons. I am responsible for providing a very wide range of services from safeguarding patron privacy to providing information literacy skills – and in some ways this is easier with my older students. The library world is full of great resources for teaching how to find and evaluate information and how to teach and support literacy. I consider both of these topics to be issues of social justice. After all, a well-informed, critical, literate populace is democracy’s best defense.

Certainly, younger students can and should be taught about critical thinking and inquiry, but the elementary grades are also prime territory for lessons about inclusion and equity. Developmentally, kids at this age are very invested in the concept of fairness, which made my job pretty easy when I began talking to them about the role of libraries. I provided a framework of first thinking about what libraries do for them personally and then expanded that into asking them to take the perspective of a student new to a school and then outward to a family new to the United States. We made a class mind-map on the board and ultimately ended up with general categories of information, entertainment, and safety. (I will admit that the last category made my heart swell the most!) With gentle prompting, they came to the conclusion that these services are provided for free to everyone, regardless of income, color, ability, etc. With this fresh on their minds, they gleefully set to work writing inspirational messages of library love.

While I love that I was able to have my third graders focus on this topic for a day and come to the conclusions that they did, I also very much hope that this lesson lasts. In addition to the crucial focus on equity, I admit that I hope that my students take away a longer-lasting message of libraries as important places of information and social justice. In Massachusetts, as I’m sure is the case in many other states, library funding is constantly in jeopardy. Many schools don’t have libraries or qualified librarians, putting students at a disadvantage compared to students in schools that do have those services. Public library budgets are also either level-funded or cut, which means that all the great benefits my third graders were able to describe to me could be increasingly difficult to provide. My hope is that these future decision makers will carry this lesson into a future where libraries and the services they provide continue to be seen as relevant and important.

Laura Luker
library teacher
Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School
Hadley, MA

Family Fandom Festival

Have you made it through all of my holiday postings?

If your answer is “yes,” then you know what you should do?

Sparkly pink words of "Treat Yo Self" | hafuboti.com

I know that I will!

While working on all of my holiday posts, I kept debating whether or not to create foundation programs for pop-culture-based celebrations. The thought of writing at least a dozen more holiday posts made me want to cry. But then I had a flash of inspiration:

LET US CELEBRATE THEM, ONE AND ALL!!!

I shall call this program The Family Fandom Festival where all ages and all fandoms can come to the library and celebrate their holiday nerdery together.

Family Fandom Festival for libraries flyer featuring many pop-culture celebrations | hafuboti.com

Click on the above flyer template to get a larger version that you can download and use for your library’s celebration.

This event could be done in so many ways – especially depending on who in your community would enjoy cosplaying during the holiday season (and not just as Antasay Lauscay). Here’s a list of holidays that I selected, but you can definitely find and incorporate more – after all, the more the merrier!

Get some meat lovers pizzas, dust off your Vader helmet, and ring your bells!
*whispers* so much pop cultuuuuure…

DISPLAY & ACTIVITIES

Here are two scavenger hunt sheets that you can also use for a display. Click on the two image collages for a letter-sized version that you can download and print:

Imagery from pop culture holiday events for a scavenger hunt or display | hafuboti.com

Set of images from various pop culture holiday celebrations for a scavenger hunt or library display | hafuboti.com

SONGS

You have so many options here! Whether you have a sing-along portion of the event, or put together a playlist for background music – you’ll be sure to have fun with lots of these:





And in honor of my all-time favorite princess Carrie Fisher:
And there you have it: the final post of Library Holidaypalooza!

Hopefully you learned something (I know that I did) and have been inspired. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll rethink holiday programming at your library as a result. If not? At least I know that I tried.

If you happen to have started at the end of this series, then you should start here, or you can follow the holidays tag.

…OR IS IT?!

(It totally is. I am utterly sick and tired of coming up with holiday programs.)

Deal with it | hafuboti.com

This Isn’t Your Grandma’s Krampusnacht

Copyright-free PNG image of Krampus leading a group of naughty children to hell | hafuboti.com

HAPPY KRAMPUSNACHT EVERYBODY!

Over the past few years, Krampusnacht has become more acknowledged and celebrated in the United States. This celebration takes place on December 5, the day before Saint Nicholas (who approves of the Krampus’ work) rewards the good children on Nikolaustag. Read more about it here since I’d rather get to the storytime resources for planning an children’s library event around this holiday than break down the holiday and its history.

FLYER/DISPLAYS

Here is a flyer template that I made for you to ownload and use. It includes the image at the top of this post which I wanted posted as a separate png in case you’d like to use it for anything else. I basically erased the bright red background from this image.

Blank flyer template for a children's Krampusnacht storytime at a library | hafuboti.com

The free fonts that I used for this flyer and other literature for this program are graphik_text, st_nicholas, and gotenborgfraktur.

For a display, you could use the top image from this post and then print out the images below onto card stock, cut them out, punch a hole, and hang them from the ceiling using fishing wire. That would add some movement to the display and make it more eye catching.

The silhouette of three children praying and screaming in Krampus' bag | hafuboti.comThe silhouette of one child screaming in terror after being stuffed in Krampus' bag | hafuboti.comThe black silhouette of two terrified children in Krampus' sack | hafuboti.com

BOOKS

This was one of the trickier aspects of creating this storytime. However, if you expand the theme of good vs. bad, antiheroes, or children behaving badly then your book options are much more varied. Here are just a few:

  • Matt Lake’s Night of the Krampus which includes some Krampusfied Christmas Carols (978-0692495223)
  • Bailey Quillen Cooper’s Kris & Krampus Kringle (978-1483585017)
  • The No, David! series by David Shannon (No, David! 978-0439129657)
  • Quite a few of Shel Silverstein’s poems such as Sick and Listen to the Mustn’ts (Where the Sidewalk Ends 978-0060256685)
  • The Berenstain Bears and the Bully by Stan & Jan Berenstain (978-0679848059). This one will need discussion such as “who in this story would the Krampus want to grab?”
  • Ellen Javernick & Colleen M. Madden’s What if Everybody Did That? (978-0761456865)
  • Lots of Eilleen Cook’s books such as But It’s Not My Fault! (978-1934490808) show kids behaving badly.

SONGS/RHYMES

Here are several classic children’s songs that I’ve modified to be more festive. There are lots of opportunities for acting out the words. It would also be fun to get some cheap pillowcases and have each child stand inside one like it’s a potato sack race. Then they can jump to the rhythm while pretending that the pillowcase are Krampus’ bags.

Feel free to download and use:

Alternative lyrics for Baa Baa Black Sheep to make it Krampunacht-appropriate | hafuboti.com

Alternate lyrics for London Bridge Is Falling Down to make the tune more appropriate for Krampusnacht celebrations | hafuboti.com

A doom-filled Krampus-approved version of Zoom Zoom Zoom (wer're going to the moon) song for Krampusnacht storytimes | hafuboti.com

CRAFTS/ACTIVITIES

Make Krampuskarten: Think “Christmas Cards,” but featuring Krampus.

Masks: Have the kids make scary Krampus masks to wear (or for their parents to wear). Bonus level – cutting out a slot for a tongue to stick through.

Stickers: Give these out for either attending the program, or for completing a passive program such as a scavenger hunt. Here’s one set and another.

Photos: Either create a face-cutout photo op stand where the child (or parent) can be the hapless victim in Krampus’ bag, or if your library has a green screen, add them to a vintage krampuskarten.

A Surprise Krampus visit: Purchase this mask and have a staff member come charging into the storytime yelling. Please keep safety in mind! You might want to advertise that Krampus will be visiting depending on the age group.

Download and print out this drawing/writing prompt:

My Krampus passive program worksheet or worksheet for a Krampusnacht storytime | hafuboti.com

Now, I can imagine some knee-jerk reaction that this is all too scary for children. For sure it would be too intense for some, but others will revel in the scariness and monstrous aspect of this. You could do a version of Tickle Monster with flannel pieces and board where kids can see the monster changed into not being scary.

And there you have it: a good foundation to build a storytime around Krampusnacht and/or to add to your all-inclusive celebrations! As always, I’d love to hear what you think – especially if you have ideas and/or resources that I left out (or if I need to adjust anything here if I was unintentionally insensitive to those who celebrate this).

Find out why I’m doing this.

Go for the Gold

Every-once-in-a-while my team gets stumped on decor for a theme. We throw out ideas and then we throw out those ideas. And nothing goes “ding” like you hope it will. It was like that for this past summer’s CSLP theme: On Your Mark, Get Set…Read!

We talked about book characters, giant foam hands, and lots of other random things. I love a good brainstorming session, but this one felt like a struggle.

Side Note: I don’t know that I ever have mentioned this before, but I made a promise to our Children’s Librarian that none of our displays would ever have the term “a good book” in it. Like our previous Get Caught Up in a Good Book theme. It’s just a pet peeve of hers (and once you notice it, you notice that it is EVERYWHERE in the library world – which isn’t a bad thing at all – it works and gets the job done. It’s just a pet peeve of hers and hey, I usually like being different so that all works out).

Anywho.

It was our Children’s Librarian who finally suggested the idea that sparked excitement for summer decorating: what about gold medals? After all, we had used gold reading medals to promote our Readathon event, as well as in promoting our summer programming.

Natasia took the idea and ran with it. She bought shiny gold poster board (I didn’t know that existed!!!), some bendy mesh red white and blue ribbon, and then cut out words and images using my Silhouette.

Behold Natasia Magic (we totally should trademark “Natasia Magic”):

Gretna Children's Library's 2016 Summer Reading gold medal front windows. On your mark, get set...read! | Hafuboti.com

These were incredibly striking, and you could tell that the kids thought that they were awesome. Everything on them shimmered except for the black – and that made the black really pop.

The favorite part of this for quite a few kids (who seemed entranced by this) was how Natasia handled the medal on/above the door. It’s in three pieces so that the door can open freely. Therefore, when the kids came in, many of them would be looking up to see if the ribbon stretched – but it didn’t and it was like magic to them.

Here’s a close-up:

On your mark, get set...read! medal at the Chldren's Library's front door | Hafuboti.com

::whispers:: Natasia Magiiiiic…

Oversized gold medals along GCL's long wall. #1 Reader. Speed Reader, and Marathon Reader | Hafuboti.com

She continued the theme inside on our long wall. These made me smile several times a day during the summer. Shiny or twirly – or even better shiny AND twirly – things tend to have a positive effect on me.

Ashlynn and Shelby (it was Shelby’s final display before heading off to college ::sniffle::) made the reading bench display. These are books that have recently been returned to our library – which saves us time on reshelving during the summer months. Woohoo! We also reused the inflatable baseballs that were the previous October’s baseball bats. We hung most of them using fishing line, but the ones in the top part of the windows were just thrown up there (which yes, that was fun):

"Books that Are a Hit" reading bench display along with inflatable baseballs | Hafuboti.com

Finally, I got in on more of the fun by making another passive name game on our whiteboard. I wanted it to be short ‘n sweet in terms of both creating it and playing it . I also wanted to surprise our boss with it since she’s a huge WWE fan:

Very simple "find your wrestler name" passive game at Gretna Public Library | Hafuboti.com

Fun Fact: We posted this picture on our Facebook page, and we counted those who replied with their wrestler names as participants in this passive program. Woot!

The summer’s scavenger hunt was created by several team members, and it involved finding several images of sports balls hidden throughout the library. If you look back at the reading bench display, then you can see the basketball “hidden” on our clock.

And this brings me to a slight change on my blog. It might not even be noticeable, but I’m aware of it. As my team has strengthened, and I now have a Marketing Minion (i.e. the magical Natasia), my focus at the library has shifted. Therefore, you won’t find as many passive program printables here.

I’ll write more about that later, but I wanted to say that if there’s something that I write about or picture on my blog and you’d like more information and/or anything I might be able to send your way – then please just ask! Post a comment here or send me an email at hafuboti@gmail.com. I seriously love to get reader emails and am ridonkulously excited to help fellow librarians out!

First Library Card Celebration

library card celebration

 

Over the past few months, my overall vision for our library has become about making good memories for everyone at our library. I have been working on a two-parter post to delve into this new managerial perspective, but I just had to share a new tradition that we started at our library.

Because IT. IS. AWESOME!!!!!!

Ahem.

One of the neatest experiences at our library is when a child finally turns six years old, and thus becomes old enough to get a library card. There are times that kids have come in still wearing their party hats and have proudly stated that they are now six and would like to get their first card.

But what if we could make this experience even better? To really signify to the kids that this is an awesome thing happening (and hopefully an experience they will cherish for the rest of their lives).

How about make a special pledge for the kids to recite? Eh, too serious.

Have a monthly library party for kids who got their first card? Nah – too much work that would not equate directly to the moment the first card is given.

I also didn’t want it to be something to take away from the focus of what’s special: getting a library card for the first time.

To make a long story short: I believe the idea came to me while watching MLP: Friendship Is Magic. Pinkie Pie had hidden confetti cannons around Twilight’s castle. What about those little confetti poppers?  I loved those as a kid!  But they’d be WAY too loud (and slightly dangerous) in our small space. But what if there was a quieter/cheaper confetti shooter out there? Pinterest to the rescue!

After handing this project over to Natasia, she ran with it and made some really beautiful cannons. Feel free to ask in the comments (or via email: hafuboti@gmail.com) if you’d like details on what she did and I’ll happily share.

Here’s our first confetti cannon trial:

I wish that the video could show how amazing the confetti is – it goes up high and shimmers beautifully as it flutters down. It also doesn’t take a whole lot of confetti to be effective (about a teaspoon I’d guess).

And here’s our very first kid to get this special treatment:

I’ve lost count of how many kids we’ve given this special treatment to, but lemme tell ya what: this has been even better than I had hoped. A mothers shared with us that her (under six) daughter gathered up some of the confetti that we shot when her older brother got his first card. Now the little girl keeps it in her pocket because it’s special. Everyone who happens to be in the library at the time end up smiling and cheering with us for our newest patron. It’s simply joyful.

When I shared this in Storytime Underground’s Facebook group, the main comments were about the mess.

Now lemme tell you what’s what: I hate a messy/disorganized work space. I’ve banned glitter except for in rare cases. But to have the library look like a fun party went down? I can live with that. For a bit. And a suggestion from a Director at a nearby library turned out to be perfect: get a manual floor sweeper. I think her words were, “it’s a confetti beast.”  We purchased one of these and have been very happy with that purchase.

The confetti has been very impressive in terms of how far it can go. But you know what? I think that most people who see it will not think “messy,” but “I wonder what happened here? It looks like they had fun!” We also hand sweep-up confetti on our circ desk to reuse to cut down on waste.

And there you have it: one of the funnest passive things we’ve ever done. Do you do anything special for first library cards (regardless of age)? I’d love to know about it!