Book of the Week: Jerome By Heart

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By Thomas Scotto
Translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick & Karin Snelson from the French.
Illustrated by Olivier Tallec  U.S. edition: Enchanted Lion, 2018
32 pages
ISBN: 9781592702503Ages 3-8
Raphael loves his friend Jerome, who holds his hand and chooses him for a buddy on field trips. Jerome, who is fun to be with and makes Raphael feel safe. Raphael’s parents think he talks and thinks too much about Jerome. “Now that’s enough,” says his dad. “Dad’s voice is like sharp fish bones in my hot chocolate.” But Raphael knows “Jerome” is not a bad word, and is determined to find the perfect gift for his friend, who is always up for an adventure, and would never hide his head in shame. “Raphael loves Jerome. I can say it. It’s easy.” Illustrations that are soft yet slightly quirky showcase the deep and genuine affection between the two boys, and the temporary dissonance and isolation caused by adult disproval before Raphael affirms feelings that bring him such contentment and joy. This welcome picture book offers sweet and essential conformation of emotions that children are too often encouraged to deny or suppress, particularly when it comes to same-gender friendships/relationships, and especially between boys. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Where to Access Additional Free Children's Ebooks

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Pixabay imageThe ALSC blog has a great resource post on finding free children's books online. 

As author Angela Nolet of Washington's King County Library System says, "It seems like even the family cat has access to a device, so it’s no surprise that even our youngest readers are utilizing eBooks. While our library collections are full of exciting new content (read along ebooks, beginning readers, and picture books to name just a few), sometimes nothing hits the quality reading spot quite like sharing a classic title. And best of all, there’s no such thing as a holds queue when reading classics with a free and legal public domain download."

Click here to read the rest of the post and find links to the resources.

C.A.L.L.: Conference About Libraries & Learning

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C.A.L.L.: Conference About Libraries & LearningThursday, January 31, 2019
It is our distinct pleasure to invite you to the third Conference About Libraries & Learning (C.A.L.L.). The conference is a collaboration between UW-La Crosse Murphy Library, the School District of La Crosse & La Crosse Public Library and will take place on the UW-La Crosse campus on Thursday, January 31, 2019. Librarians from all types of libraries (school, public, academic, special, etc.) are welcome to attend.
Service runs through a librarian’s work day. We know it from day one going in to the field. We expect to be tired at the end of a day, week, program, or semester. Patrons, students, community members or administration turn to us for answers, help, expertise, reassurance, and a friendly smile.So let’s talk about burnout. What do we do when we have barely anything left to give, when we’re at the end of the rope, when we feel emotionally drawn and the tanks of compassion are running on empty? Is there any space in our work lives to recognize that sometimes we feel unprepared for the realities of managing and regulating the requirements of emotional labor of librarianship? Let’s talk about it.
For this year’s C.A.L.L. conference, we are going to explore ideas and techniques, both urgent on-the-spot, and intentional techniques to cultivate when time allows. We are excited to invite presenters on the following topics of interest that may include, but are not limited to:
  • Techniques to combat compassion fatigue in the workplace
  • How to emotionally support one another professionally
  • Techniques to de-escalate emotionally charged interactions:  librarian to patron and colleague to colleague
  • Workplace practices to nurture self-care

Submission DetailsTo submit a conference proposal, please use the submission form. The deadline to submit proposals is Monday, September 17, 2018.  The committee invites proposals that address current challenges faced by professionals in the field and are solution-oriented as well as stimulate and provoke discussion and audience engagement. Presentation sessions are 30 minutes each with 15 minutes scheduled for questions/discussion. Collaborative and interactive presentations are encouraged and panel presentations are also accepted. Notification of acceptance will be prior to Monday, October 15, 2018.
If you have any questions or need clarification, please contact Liz Humrickhouse at
We look forward to seeing you at the Conference About Libraries and Learning!
Cindy Halter, School District of La CrosseTeri Holford, UW-La Crosse Murphy LibraryLiz Humrickhouse, UW-La Crosse Murphy LibraryLinda Jerome, La Crosse Public Library

ALSC Webinar: New Media and Preschool Services

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Tuesday, August 1411:00AM (Central)
New media is everywhere and children are using it. This webinar will focus on real best practices of incorporating new media into preschool services.
What are some specific apps that are age appropriate for preschoolers? How much time should be devoted to using an iPad or other tablets in a preschool storytime? What are the pros and cons of leading a digital-focused preschool storytime versus a traditional preschool storytime?

Claudia Haines, Youth Services Librarian, Homer Public Library (Alaska)
Melissa Ronning, librarian who works for institutions that promote the accessibility of digital resources to the entire community
Laura Jenkins, Library Services Clerk, Huntington Beach Public Library

Learn more and register HERE.

Star Wars Jedi Training

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Jedi Knights have assembled children sensitive to the force to test their Jedi abilities. Under the tutelage of the Jedi masters, the recruits must learn how to use the force to wield lightsabers, discover their Star Wars name, design their own ship, shoot down Storm Troopers, assist in a mission to destroy the Death Star and build their own droid. Come and join us, my young Padawan!

We offered “Star Wars Jedi Training” the third week of our summer reading program and it was a big hit! We offered this on Monday evening and again on Tuesday morning! One prep and set-up for two huge program days! And, only one clean up on Tuesday after the program was done! The costs were incredibly low and families wanted to stay at the library playing with all the activity stations for about 90 minutes, significantly longer than many parents/kids usually have the patience for with a room filled with excited people! That alone was a great sign!

Read the full blog post of this program HERE

Book of the Week: Running through Sprinklers

CCBC Blog -

Running through Sprinklersby Michelle Kim
Published by Atheneum, 2018
209 pages pages
ISBN: 9781481495288Ages 9-12
Sara, 12, has been best friends with Nadine since they were in diapers. Both are biracial, Sara Korean/white, Nadine Japanese/white, and have grown up on a cul de sac in Surrey, BC, moving in and out of each other’s houses and families and traditions with ease. Sometimes it seems to Sara they’re a single person, and she likes that feeling. As the summer before grade 7 winds down, two things disrupt Sara’s sense of security: A boy named Daniel Monroe disappears without a trace, and Nadine announces she will be skipping a grade and entering high school (grade 8 in Canada). Sara’s sense of hurt at the last-minute announcement is amplified by the feeling that Nadine is ready to leave her behind. When school starts, Sara focuses on getting good grades in the (unrealistic) hope of skipping to grade 8 midway through the year. She also becomes closer to Nadine’s younger sister, 6th grader Jen, but still longs for reconnection with Nadine. Sara is imperfect, at times incredibly selfish, but genuinely grieving and achingly real as first-time novelist Kim writes with a singular style and sure hand, immersing readers in Sara’s slowly expanding perspective in a story that explores friendship, family, growth, change, loss, and finding the light again. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Sock Hop

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Disclaimer: If you ask children what they think a "sock hop" is, you will be told 99 times out of 100, in descriptive terms, about a sack race.

I am in love with this summer's CSLP Libraries Rock theme.  I have gotten to do genre-themed storytimes (including musicals, sqeeee!), Teen Music Trivia, and tons of other delightful music-based programs.  But last Saturday I capped off July with an all-ages Sock Hop, and it was a blast!  Here's what I did:

1) Food - I had a local bakery do up some cupcakes to fit the Sock Hop color theme I had chosen (white, pink, teal), Pixy Stix, candy buttons, punch, chips, and popcorn.  I can tell you right now that the Pixy Stix and the candy buttons were the favorites of the bunch!

2) Crafts - I had out two crafts: Socktopus and Soda Jerk Hats.  The Soda Jerk Hats I bought plain and in bulk via Amazon, here, and let the kids decorate to their hearts content.  The Socktopus involved purchasing lots of socks with fun patterns, thread, poly-fil, and felt.  Check out the full Socktopus instructions here.

3) Playdough Station - I also set out a table of playdough in themed colors, with cutters and rollers.  This is a great younger sibling option when families with multiple age children attend our larger
programs.  It is also a good sensory experience.

4) Local Royalty - I reached out to my local pageant and requested one of this year's Butterfest royalty to attend the Sock Hop.  My request was granted and in our programming room I had Miss Sparta's Outstanding Teen doing a number of musical activities, including boomwhackers, musical chairs, hula hoops, and more.  There is just something about having a "princess" at an event that makes the kiddos go crazy!
5) Music - I had 50s music playlists playing in our Children's area (where the crafts and playdough were) and in the program room.  Everyone bopped along!

I also encouraged the kids to come dressed in poodle skirts/leather jackets or other 50s garb. Overall, the Sock Hop was a success, with families arriving early and staying late!  Rock n' roll really is here to stay!

Dinosaur Party

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Wow. That is just about all I can think after hosting our Dinosaur Party last week! It was one of our largest programs I have ever prepped for. We organized our summer reading program differently this year, and I planned our large family programs (like the Dinosaur Party) to run twice, once on Monday evening and again on Tuesday mornings. That way, we are able to offer our large programs to families who need to come in during the evenings, and for families where it works better to come in during the morning. And, because it was the same program, I only had one prep, set-up, and clean-up for two huge programs! What a labor saver! 

I planned this out so that we had five activity stations. This is probably the most expensive program I have hosted so far this year, but even so, I would estimate I paid about $80 for everything we needed and the supplies served almost 200 people between both days! 

Read the full breakdown of the program HERE

Collaborative Story Times: Fun for All and All for Fun!

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Story times are a staple of library programming. 

I know I'm preaching to the crowd in terms of the importance of story times, so rather than spout out facts, figures, and heartwarming tales, I instead offer up a suggestion for another type of story time to consider adding to your rotation: collaborative story times.

Last summer, the fabulous Emily Sanders of Barrett Memorial Library in Williams Bay and I decided we wanted to hold a collaborative story time at a local park, a venture we lovingly dubbed Sunshine & Stories.  We had so much fun with this program, we decided to offer it again this summer!

First things first, we needed to find a location that was equidistant to both our libraries, allowing for easy access for both sets of patrons.  After finding a location--Community Park in the Town of Delavan--we made sure to reach out to the Parks & Recreation Department.  While pop-up story times are wonderful, we wanted to make this a regularly occurring event and thought it common courtesy to make the Parks Department aware of our intentions and get their approval for our event.  (Not only did they approve, but they also included our events on their electronic signage!  Woo!)

As it should be with any collaborative effort, all the promotional materials--whether it be social media, newsletter, website, or physical poster--contained the names of all the entities involved in the program.  Additionally, the images and designs utilized by both libraries were identical, as it was important that the patrons see this as a truly collaborative effort.

One of the many fantastic benefits of a collaborative story time is the opportunity to play off each other's energy and utilize materials that embrace dialogue!  The Elephant & Piggie series by Mo Willems, the Ballet Cat series by Bob Shea, Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein, Big Bunny by Rowboat Watkins, Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins are just a few examples of stellar multi-reader story time options.

Another benefit?  Partnering with other agencies!  You gain the opportunity to reach an audience you may not have had access to before, not to mention the sense of community and camaraderie created when working as a team.  While nearby libraries are an option, you could also consider reaching out to schools, government agencies such as your community's police and/or fire departments, or local businesses about forming a story time partnership program.

Collaborations can be intimidating, but don't let that stop you!  They offer you the opportunity to provide services to a wider base of patrons, create a sense of community, and make connections.  Hello there, win-win-win!