Leadership Development Institute Applications Open

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Would you like to attend this year's Leadership Development Institute?Apply Today!

The Wisconsin Library Association is committed to developing educational programs and opportunities to help shape tomorrow's leaders. This year's Leadership Development Institute will take place August 8-10, 2018. The event will be held at the Best Western Premier Park Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin. The cost to attend is $300 for WLA members and $375 for non-members. The program is 2 ½ days.

We invite you to apply today for a unique learning opportunity. Space is limited, so get your application in soon.
Your first step is to apply to participate in this year's Leadership Development Institute. 
Find Out More

Collaboration Between Public & School Libraries: Partnering for Summer Reading Success

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The ALSC blog had a post about something I'm excited to have happening in Wisconsin - collaboration between public and school libraries. School Library Connection has the free webinar presented by Jen C. Cannell and Mary Fellows on their site. You can access the webinar titled "The Perfect Equation for Summer Reading Success: School + Public Librarians" HERE for ideas on partnering to keep youth reading all summer long.

Guest Post: WAPL Highlights - Friday

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Author: Elizabeth M. Timmins Library, Director, Muehl Public Library
Friday, May 4, 2018Lindsay exposing participants to new social apps.8:30-9:30Toddlers to TeensLindsay Conrad, Special Agent, Wisconsin Department of Justice, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Madison
Resource mentioned in this breakout: Protect Kids Online Podcast @
This session was very informative. Protecting kids online is the job of all of us. We can teach net etiquette from the time children start using the Internet. If kids understand the appropriate ways to use the Internet when they are younger, they will retain those good habits as they age.
Some key messages:  - If you have not met the person in real life they are NOT your friend.  - Once you send something electronically, it is always there and it will never go away.   - For parents of teens/tweens: Teens should not have privacy with their devices. Parents can learn how to use parental controls. Parents can require their children to not sleep with their devices. Parents can learn how to check that their children do not have multiple accounts in an app (one of which they are hiding) and/or they are utilizing apps that are designed to hide.

Ashlee (left) and Jayme (right) and SPARKY mascot. Friday, May 4, 201811:15-12:15Our MakerspaceAshlee Kunkel and Jayme Anderson
Resource mentioned in this breakout: Mentor application for volunteering in THE SPARK (Milton Public Library makerspace) @
Ashlee is the young adult librarian and Jayme is the children’s librarian at the Milton Public Library in Milton, WI. They have a successful new makerspace in their library called “The Spark.” In their makerspace there is always something to do! They have individual projects set out and they plan collaborative projects with their community. Pinterest is an ongoing, wonderful resource for ideas for them.
They learned very quickly that they needed help so they began targeting older people with expertise. These mentors fill out an application (see resource mentioned) and then they begin integrating the mentor into their space.
Broad lessons they shared with listeners:·         People are needy and can be wasteful if unsupervised.·         You’re already doing STEAM, and you may not realize it.·         High tech is cool but does not always mean easy programs. 

Madison Public Library's "Bubbler" Database of Maker Kits

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Did you know that Madison Public Library's "Bubbler" has compiled a database on their existing Maker kits? No? I didn't either! If you have not already, go their webpage HERE and check out the maker kits. They include photos of the kits in use, materials needed, budgets, prep time, time spent tinkering, and the amount of support that programs needs from a staff member. You will find ideas for a wide variety of budgets and interests. If you are considering ways of beginning, expanding, or taking your library's current STEM/STEAM/maker programs in a totally new direction, you are sure to find resources to get you started! Again, the link for the database is HERE

A Closer Look at 2017 African/African American #OwnVoices Books

CCBC Blog -

With the ever-growing call for #OwnVoices books in youth publishing, we delved deeper into the CCBC's 2017 diversity stats, with a particular focus on #OwnVoices books. In this post, we examine the African/African American #OwnVoices books and consider creator roles, book type, and countries and cultures that are represented.

First, a bit of background: To compile the CCBC diversity stats, we consider the race/heritage of primary characters, and of secondary characters who appear throughout the story and have a strong bearing on the plot. Consider, for example, Jason Reynolds's Miles Morales: Spider-Man. The primary character, Miles, is Afro-Latino, so this book belongs in both the African/African American and Latinx categories. Miles's Korean American best friend, Ganke, is a significant secondary character, so this book is also included in the Asian Pacific/Asian Pacific American category. 

For picture books, we also note the number of times a character appears in the illustrations. For instance, if a book with a white primary character has an African American secondary character who only appears on 3 out of the 32 pages, it's unlikely that we'll count that book in the African/African American category.

Apart from characters, we consider other significant content. If a book is set in Tanzania, for instance, it is included in the African/African American category. Likewise, a Mexican folk tale with animal characters would be included in the Latinx category, and possibly, depending on the original source of the tale, First/Native Nations.

Each book is, of course, different, and the process is somewhat subjective. We always consider characters and content within the context of each individual book, and we strive for consistency in our counting.

As of our most recent count, we received a total of 355 books with significant African or African American characters and/or content published in 2017. Of these, 111 were #OwnVoices: They had at least one author and/or illustrator of African descent.

Creator Roles

Of the 111 #OwnVoices books:
  • 95 had African/African American authors
  • 41 had African/African American illustrators

Of the 111 #OwnVoices books, 62 were illustrated. Of these 62 illustrated books:

  • 24 had an African/African American author, a non-African/African American illustrator
  • 15 had a non-African/African American author, with an African/African American illustrator
  • 25 had both African/African American authors and illustrators

Type of Book
Of the 111 #OwnVoices books:
  • 26 (23.42%) were picture books
  • 54 (48.65%) were fiction
  • 31 (27.93%) were nonfiction (including one graphic novel)

Percentage of #OwnVoices in Countries/Cultures Represented
Below is a list of countries/cultures represented in the books we received. The percentage is the number of #OwnVoices books out of the total number of books representing that country/culture. For example, we received a total of 4 books about Haitian Americans, and 1 of those (25%) was #OwnVoices (OV).
  • Characters of African descent (unspecified fantasy setting): 0 of 2
  • African American: 88 of 261 (33.72% OV)
  • Haitian American: 1 of 4 (25% OV)
  • Nigerian American: 0 of 1
  • Trinidadian American: 2 of 3 (66.67% OV)
  • African Canadian: 2 of 5 (40% OV)
  • Jamaican French Canadian: 1 of 2 (50% OV)
  • Caribbean (unspecified location): 0 of 1
  • Cuban: 0 of 7
  • Haitian: 0 of 2
  • Jamaican: 1 of 4 (25% OV)
  • St. Lucian: 0 of 1
  • West Indian: 0 of 1
  • African British/Irish: 1 of 7 (14.29% OV)
  • Ethiopian British: 0 of 1
  • Jamaican British: 0 of 2
  • Nigerian British: 2 of 2 (100% OV)
  • African Brazilian: 0 of 1
  • African French: 0 of 2
  • African Australian: 0 of 1
  • African (unspecified or multiple countries): 5 of 16 (31.25% OV)
  • Congolese: 0 of 3
  • Egyptian: 1 of 7 (14.29% OV)
  • Ethiopian: 0 of 2
  • Kenyan: 1 of 3 (33.33% OV)
  • Liberian: 0 of 1
  • Nigerian: 3 of 4 (75% OV)
  • Senegalese: 1 of 1 (100% OV)
  • South African: 2 of 4 (50% OV)
  • Tanzanian: 0 of 2
  • Ugandan: 0 of 1
  • West African: 0 of 1
  • Zambian: 0 of 1

We observed that books with African/African American characters written by non-African/African American authors often feature diverse casts of characters that include one or two characters of African descent. This is true for both picture books (e.g. Hats Off to You! written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by LeUyen Pham) and fiction (The Devils You Know by M.C. Atwood), although it is most noticeably a common characteristic of chapter book series (e.g. "Girls Who Code" series by various authors).
Picture books with authors and/or illustrators of African descent more often contain cultural identifiers or address race in some way (e.g. In Your Hands, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Brian Pinkney; and Justice Makes a Difference, written by Dr. Artika Tyner and Jacklyn Milton and illustrated by Jeremy Norton and Janos Orban) than do picture books by non-African/African American authors and illustrators.
There were also quite a few picture books written by non-African/African American authors and illustrators with a protagonist who definitively appears to be of African descent in the illustrations, although cultural and racial identifiers are absent from the text (e.g. Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall; and We Love You, Rosie, written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Linda Davick). 
Additional posts providing further detail about the CCBC's Latinx, First/Native Nations, and Asian Pacific/Asian Pacific American stats are to come, so keep an eye on this blog in the near future.

Princess in Black Party

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I'm sure most of you are familiar with the super rad Princess in Black series by Shannon Hale.  (If not, get thee to a library and join in the fun!)

This is one of those go-to series when it comes to recommendations (at least in my experience!)  Just the other day, a mother come in into the library, thanking me for recommending it to her daughter who has been heading to her room to read without prompting, whereas before she had to be coerced.  *cue happy dance*

Needless to say, I'm a big fan. (Can you tell?  I hide my emotions so well, I know.) 

Last autumn, we decided to hold a Princess in Black Party in celebration of the newest addition to the series.  The participants were encouraged to dress up in their fanciest royal attire...but also to be prepared to battle some monsters, should any goats find themselves in immediate peril.  One of the little boys even brought his own mask and cape, ready and rarin' to be the Goat Avenger!

We decorated wands and crowns, played Pin the Horn on the Unicorn, ate sparkly snacks, read the first chapter of The Princess in Black, and--once they had completed their various tasks and deemed themselves ready to be superheroes--everyone was given a mask, a light-up sparkle ring, and sent on a goat rescuing mission! 

Goats were hidden around the Children's Room, as were monsters!  Our heroes needed to reassure the goats they would be safe--"It's OK, little goats!  There's nothing to fear!" and wage battle with the goat-'noming monsters. (which consisted of shouting "Twinkle, twinkle, little SMASH!" and throwing a giant puff ball at the offender.

This party was a BLAST, well-received by participants of all ages, and I'm already planning on a round 2. 

What are some of your favorite book parties?  Share them in the comments!

Book of the Week: Children of Blood and Bone

CCBC Blog -

Children of Blood and Boneby Tomi Adeyemi
Published by Henry Holt, 2018
531 pages
ISBN: 978-1-250-17097-2Age 11 and older
Zélie was three when she saw her mother murdered along with the other maji in Orisha. Their deaths severed the links with the gods of the ten maji clans. As a result, young diviners like Zélie, identified by their white hair and disparagingly called maggots, can’t come into their magic. Amari is the daughter of King Saran. Her father killed the maji, believing magic a threat to Orisha. When Amari sees her maid and best friend Binta, a diviner, murdered by her father after Binta touches a scroll that awakens her power, she steals the scroll. She asks for help fleeing her pursuers from the first diviner she sees: Zélie. A fast-paced, richly imagined fantasy set in a world that draws on African cultures and geography (the almost-lost language of magic is Yoruba), follows Zélie, Amari, and Zélie’s brother, Tzain, on their quest to reestablish the connection between maji and their gods. The king’s guard in pursuit is led by Amari’s brother, Inan, who loves his sister but falls easily under the spell of their cruel father’s logic. Inan is also desperate to keep his own magical gifts, awakened by the scroll, hidden. The opening volume of this immersive new series offers twists, turns, and surprises as Zélie, Amari, and Inan, haunted by their separate pasts, each seeks to change the future, although not necessarily in the same way. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Sharing Literacy Tips in Storyime

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I often hear library staff who do storytime feeling less confident than they'd like about sharing literacy tips. Questions include, ""Where do I find them?" "How do I share them?" "What should I share?"

Jbrary blog, a wonderful storytime resource, recently posted about a great app called Vroom that provides science based tips at the touch of a smart phone! Useful not only to you in storytimes, it would be great to share with parents. Read all about it here at Jbrary.

Diversity-Celebrating Summer Reading List Available

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We're the People, a group of bloggers, authors, academics and publishers, have been working since 2015 to introduce more diversity into Summer Reading lists. Each year's group suggests and closely reads books to "identify microaggressions, cultural misappropriation or examples that negated our struggle for social justice and inclusion."

The recommended books are by and about IPOC (Indigenous and People of Color), people with disabilities and people from the LGBTQ+ community. Each book has at least two readers and are thoroughly discussed, vetted and given second reads.

Stop here for the full free downloadable 2018 list.

Guest Post: WAPL Highlights - Thursday

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Author: Elizabeth M. Timmins Library, Director, Muehl Public Library
Hands-on: playing a familiar tune with Boomwhackers!Thursday, May 3, 201810:30-11:30Explore and Experiment with Science Kits!Jen Fait/Maria Hinners/Katherine Schoofs
Resource mentioned in this breakout: Wisconsin Standards for Science @
Three different librarians at three different locations with three different approaches definitely made for a wealth of phenomenal ideas in this session. Circulating science kits were described. Topics ranged from birdwatching to manga drawing. A science kit can be anything you want it to be. Make sure you include a book or two. Emphasis is on including what is not traditionally found in the home. And don’t get hung up when kits are returned with missing parts. Passive programming in libraries can include kits for use on site.

Katharine (left) and Kelly (right)Thursday, May 3, 20184:15-5:15Marketing on a Shoestring (or no string) BudgetKatharine Clark and Kelly Allen
Resource mentioned in this breakout: ALA Center for the Future of Libraries blog @
The presenters spoke about different tips for marketing that they use. CANVA for flyers and MAILCHIMP for email campaigns were noted. The Rule of 7 is hearing or reading something 7 times for it to imprint. So for whatever message we are conveying it serves us well to send the message a minimum of 7 times. Traditional modes of marketing do not have to mean boring. Fortune tellers throughout the library are a great way to have people interact and take note of an upcoming program. Another great idea is to have staff carry flyers with them in the community and pass them out to patrons who may be interested in an upcoming program. Think of ways to make multiple impressions. A thought was to create a library welcome bag and one target audience could be new home buyers in your community, for example.

ALSC's 2018 Summer Reading Lists!

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ALSC's Quicklists Consulting Committee has updated our Summer Reading Lists with new and exciting titles!The lists are full of book titles to keep children engaged in reading throughout the summer. Four Summer Reading book lists are available for Birth-Preschool and grades K-2, 3-5 and 6-8.Each list is available here to download for free. The interactive lists can be customized to include call numbers, library address, summer hours, and information about summer reading programs for children before making copies available to schools and patrons.Titles on the 2018 Summer Reading Lists were compiled and annotated by members of ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee. Access the lists HERE.

May is Mental Health Month

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May is Mental Health Month, dedicated to drawing attention to and increasing the understanding of mental illness and easing the stigma surrounding it.
Want to make a display, but don't know where to start?  Here are a collection of websites that have put together handy dandy book lists:Penguin TeenTor TeenBrightlyThe Guardian
The following was found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:Mental Illness and Adults
  • In 2015, there were an estimated 43.4 million adults –about 1 in 5 Americans aged 18 or older – with a mental illness within the previous year.
  • In 2015, there were an estimated 9.8 million adults – about 1 in 25 Americans aged 18 or older – with serious mental illness. “Serious mental illness” is defined as individuals experiencing within the past year a mental illness or disorder with serious functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
Mental Illness and Children and Teens
  • Just over 20% – or 1 in 5 – children, have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder.
  • Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14 and three-quarters begin by age 24.
To learn more, check out the following websites:
Centers for Disease Control and PreventionMental Health.govNational Institute of Mental HealthNational Alliance on Mental IllnessMental Health America of Wisconsin
Just one last thing before I go...Remember, you're not alone, you are stronger than you think, and you are not less than others. You matter.

Book of the Week: The Prince and the Dressmaker

CCBC Blog -

The Prince and the Dressmakerby Jen Wang
Published by First Second, 2018
290 pages
ISBN: 978-1-62672-363-4Age 11 and older
When an unconventional dress design (“‘Make me look like the devil’s wench,’” says the client) costs Frances her job, it attracts the attention of a wealthy new patron in search of a personal seamstress. Whisked away to the palace, Frances discovers she’s been summoned by Prince Sebastian, heir to the Belgian throne. After a brief, half-hearted attempt to conceal his identity, Sebastian confesses that it is he who would like to wear her dresses. Although sometimes comfortable as Sebastian, the prince has an alter ego: the confident and charming Lady Crystallia. Soon, transformed by gown and wig, Lady Crystallia invites Frances to accompany her to a beauty pageant after dark. Under pressure from his loving but clueless parents to find a bride, Sebastian finds respite in several clandestine outings with Frances, dancing and meeting new people—one of who happens to be Frances’s idol, the famous designer Madame Aurelia, who offers Frances a spot in an upcoming fashion show. Frances jumps at the opportunity, but Sebastian is terrified it will lead to the discovery of his secret. This clearly and brightly illustrated graphic novel offers a wonderfully affirming message of acceptance of gender-expansive identities. (MCT)  ©2018 Cooperative Children's Book Center

How to Talk About Racism In Classic Children's Books

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If you went to last year's YSS preconference at the WLA fall conference, you had a chance to start or continue your thinking about classic children's books that display hurtful racial stereotypes.  But many of us weren't there.

The blog No Time for Flashcards recently had an excellent article by Bethany Edwards of Biracial Bookworms giving concrete tips on how to deal with these classics. As Bethany writes, "Sometimes good people, people you love, aren’t always right. The same is true for classic children’s books. Today, I want to give you a framework to have critical and courageous conversations about racism in classic children’s books.

First and foremost, racist, sexist, homophobic books should not be banned. Censorship is not the answer. Most of the classic children’s books written 50 years ago fall into one of these aforementioned categories."

The post is thoughtful, link heavy and very helpful. Read more here.