Category: Organization

Resolve to Rock in 2015!

Resolve to Rock meme image
Storytime Underground is encouraging children’s librarians to Resolve to Rock in 2015! I used to choke when it came to goal setting when I started out my career. I’ve had some practice over the years and have a list of ideas you can use:

The Early Years For those of you new to the field, start out slow! You’ll be facing difficult challenges each day. You shouldn’t have the added stress of completing additional goals on top of learning the job. Try some of these out:

  • Learn and assist the planning and implementing of storytime (you can even be specific with an age group)
  • Learn and assist the planning and implementing of after school programs (again, choose an age group to focus on)
  • Learn and perform all tasks of the children’s librarian position
  • Learn how to tell a flannel board story
  • Learn how to develop a storytime curriculum
  • Learn the state preschool curriculum, school age curriculum, Common Core, and STEM/STEAM
  • Learn the school schedule
  • Learn what times are most busy for future preparation of programs
  • Learn how to order, process, catalog materials
  • Learn how to run reports
  • Develop a playlist for storytimes
  • Survive your first summer reading program

The Intermediate Years OK, now you have the basics under your belt. You can focus on targeting some key programs or collections in your library:

  • Strengthen and expand the summer reading program (you can add an age-specific program)
  • Implement an outreach program (whether it’s preschool storytime outreach monthly, or a book exchange with middle school students)
  • Strengthen the way we publicize and talk about storytimes (Do your parents know the value of storytimes? Do you include the state preschool curriculum? Do you use ECRR?)
  • Strengthen the way we publicize and talk about school age programs (Do your parents know about how important reading aloud is? Books in the home? Do you include STEM/STEAM? Core?)
  • Incorporate crafts into your outreach programs
  • Plan and execute lending materials to schools
  • Develop passive programs for children who visit the library when you’re out of the office
  • Develop a monthly schedule of displays to increase circulation (you can even focus on a specific collection: non-fiction, beginning readers, picture books, storytime books, etc.)
  • Plan funding for a diecut machine to assist with craft preparation
  • Create school age programming on half-days, vacation days, and professional development days
  • Create a partnership with someone from the school (or parks and rec, or museum, etc.)
  • Join Storytime University! Complete tasks ranging from Attend a Conference, to Write a Guest Blog Post.

The Seasoned Years You can plan and execute storytime and school age programs in your sleep. Here are some ideas to spruce up your children’s department:

  • Develop the flannel board collection for storytimes and outreach
  • Update the Unattended Children’s Policy
  • Plan and seek funding for programs
  • Train staff
  • Evaluate programs and modify based on the conclusions
  • Design new library cards
  • Move the collection to increase circulation/ease for patrons
  • Weed the collection
  • Develop fundraising
  • Plan and execute literacy bags
  • Seek funding for furniture to update your children’s room
  • Seek funding to recover classics in the collection that need a facelift
  • Collaborate with schools to setup a bus stop for programs
  • Write a grant to purchase special needs equipment for children’s programs

Professional Goals Now it’s your turn to teach newbies in the field, and those looking for inspiration:

  • Publish an article sharing your expertise
  • Be a guest blogger for Thrive Thursday or Flannel Friday or Storytime Underground
  • Start a blog
  • Write a proposal for your state library conference
  • Write a proposal for a webinar
  • Make a coffee date with a library colleague you admire
  • Post a comment on a blog from an idea you’ve used
  • Write a letter to the editor of School Library Journal or Horn Book
  • Join a Facebook Group
  • Join a conversation on Twitter

How do you plan to rock in 2015?

Setting Goals for Your Children’s Department

Setting Goals for Your Children’s Department

Goals Each year when it comes time to sit down and think about my goals, I freeze up! I don’t know why. I never have trouble coming up with new and improved ways to do my duties. It’s just the imminent deadline that seems to choke me up. Knowing this, I’ve decided to keep a folder with a list of ideas throughout the year. This way, at deadline time I have a menu of choices to discuss with my director!

Here are some ideas:

The Early Years For those of you new to the field, start out slow! You’ll be facing difficult challenges each day. You shouldn’t have the added stress of completing additional goals on top of learning the job. Try some of these out:

  • Learn and assist the planning and implementing of storytime (you can even be specific with an age group)
  • Learn and assist the planning and implementing of after school programs (again, choose an age group to focus on)
  • Learn and perform all tasks of the children’s librarian position
  • Learn how to tell a flannel board story
  • Learn how to develop a storytime curriculum
  • Learn the state preschool curriculum, school age curriculum, Common Core, and STEM/STEAM
  • Learn the school schedule
  • Learn what times are most busy for future preparation of programs
  • Learn how to order, process, catalog materials
  • Learn how to run reports
  • Develop a playlist for storytimes
  • Survive your first summer reading program

The Intermediate Years OK, now you have the basics under your belt. You can focus on targeting some key programs or collections in your library:

  • Strengthen and expand the summer reading program (you can add an age-specific program)
  • Implement an outreach program (whether it’s preschool storytime outreach monthly, or a book exchange with middle school students)
  • Strengthen the way we publicize and talk about storytimes (Do your parents know the value of storytimes? Do you include the state preschool curriculum? Do you use ECRR?)
  • Strengthen the way we publicize and talk about school age programs (Do your parents know about how important reading aloud is? Books in the home? Do you include STEM/STEAM? Core?)
  • Incorporate crafts into your outreach programs
  • Plan and execute lending materials to schools
  • Develop passive programs for children who visit the library when you’re out of the office
  • Develop a monthly schedule of displays to increase circulation (you can even focus on a specific collection: non-fiction, beginning readers, picture books, storytime books, etc.)
  • Plan funding for a diecut machine to assist with craft preparation
  • Create school age programming on half-days, vacation days, and professional development days
  • Create a partnership with someone from the school (or parks and rec, or museum, etc.)

The Seasoned Years You can plan and execute storytime and school age programs in your sleep. Here are some ideas to spruce up your children’s department:

  • Develop the flannel board collection for storytimes and outreach
  • Update the Unattended Children’s Policy
  • Plan and seek funding for programs
  • Train staff
  • Evaluate programs and modify based on the conclusions
  • Design new library cards
  • Move the collection to increase circulation/ease for patrons
  • Weed the collection
  • Develop fundraising
  • Plan and execute literacy bags
  • Seek funding for furniture to update your children’s room
  • Seek funding to recover classics in the collection that need a facelift
  • Collaborate with schools to setup a bus stop for programs

Professional Goals

  • Publish an article sharing your expertise
  • Be a guest blogger for Thrive Thursday or Flannel Friday
  • Start a blog
  • Write a proposal for your state library conference
  • Write a proposal for a webinar
  • Make a coffee date with a library colleague you admire
  • Post a comment on a blog from an idea you’ve used
  • Write a letter to the editor of School Library Journal or Horn Book
  • Join a Facebook Group
  • Join a conversation on Twitter

What are your favorite goals?

My Storytime Space

My Storytime Space

Welcome to my storytime space

Inspired by fellow Flannel Friday posters (such as So Tomorrow), I decided to share my Storytime Space this week.

Storytime Room 3

I have to share my program room with the grownups, which means I have to setup and clean up for every single program. I am lucky enough to have a closet that I share with the technology equipment so I don’t have to move everything out of the room each day! Our community room also houses the art gallery, which changes each month with a featured artist. (Notice the yummy bakery items on the wall.) Although, I am thinking about making a Storytime Cart like Future Librarian Superhero!

Craft closet

My closet includes:

  • carpet squares to sit on for preschoolers
  • padded mats to sit on for Bouncing Babies
  • school supplies for crafts
  • basket of musical instruments
  • iPod dock
  • flannel boards (easel and lapboard)
  • butcher paper to cover tables for crafts
  • the pile of books and crafts to use each week
  • Tupperware bin of toys for Bouncing Babies

I load the closet at the end of each week for the upcoming week. I pile the books for each storytime and after school program, with accompanying crafts and activities.

Storytime circle

I have three typical storytime setups. I use the easel with certain stories and activities. I prefer my lapboard because I have better control and can hide the board when needed. I usually sit on the floor in front of the bench. But I like having the option of sitting on top of the bench if needed. I always have the children’s backs to the door so latecomers won’t disrupt the action.

Storytime with puppet songs

This is a typical setup with my lapboard, big book, puppets and finger puppets.

Storytime with Puppet Bin

This is a typical setup with my lapboard, big book, flannel story, and puppet story.

Storytime with all on display

(This is a neater version of what the end of storytime looks like!)

Storytime Room 2

Craft space

After storytime, I ask the children to put their mats in a pile and find a seat at the craft table. This side of the room is for crafts.

For the Bouncing Babies Storytime, I set the room up slightly different. I setup my materials on a table instead of the bench. This way my curious friends cannot reach my goodies.

Babies with toys in closet

I always use shakers and bubbles after reading a big book, or pass out board books. I use padded mats to sit on instead of the carpet squares. We push the mats together after storytime for playtime. (Notice the toys hidden in the closet. It mostly works as out of sight, out of mind.) After ten minutes or so, I put the Clean Up Song on and we put all the toys and mats away together.

Babies Storytime

How do you setup your storytime space?

For more storytime ideas check out Story Time Secrets, she’s hosting Flannel Friday this week.

How to Organize Your Storytime Supplies

How to Organize Your Storytime Supplies

I am lucky enough to have storage room in the basement of my library to store flannel stories and puppets.

I organize my flannels in two ways: one in milk crates and cardboard boxes, and one in Excel. All the stories are in alphabetical order.

Flannels

I have the 1) Title of the Book, 2) # of Flannel Pieces (to make sure I enough to share), and 3) Themes. I am consistent with my themes so I can search using keywords. For instance, “Dog’s Colorful Day” themes would include: colors, counting, numbers, bedtime, dogs, bathtime. When I am planning and prepping my future programs, I am able to search keywords in Excel with a document I created.

Flannel list

My puppets are also alphabetically organized in tupperware bins (to keep them safe from dust and insects).

Puppet Organization

Each tub has a list of the puppets that live in it.Puppet bins

My Excel sheet matches the puppet bins so I can easily find what I’m looking for.

Puppets List

I do the same with my Big Books collection. (Though they weren’t really picture-worthy. You can see them under the Puppet Bins.)

I’ve recently developed my Finger Puppet collection. I have them stored in several gallon-size Ziplock bags in no particular order.

Finger puppet storage

I choose a song I want to use for a storytime session, and place them in a small basket to handout and collect during the program.

Finger Puppet Basket

I developed an Excel sheet so I can pair up the correct song and puppets together. This list features 1)Song Title 2) Artist 3) Album 4-10) the Puppets in Order of Appearance.

Finger Puppet Songs

For more flannel and storytime ideas, check out Future Librarian Superhero’s blog. She hosting Flannel Friday this week.

How to Make a Flannel Story

How to Make a Flannel Story

I’ve been mentoring a new children’s librarian who has never made a flannel story! So I thought this post might be helpful to other newbies. I decided to write it to celebrate Flannel Friday’s birthday. For other ideas check out Mel’s Desk, she’s hosting the birthday extravaganza this week.

There are different ways flannel boards can be used:

  1. To tell a story (especially if it’s an out-of-print story, or if the artwork/book is too small)
  2. To accompany songs/fingerplays
  3. To have the children participate in the story
  4. To help children remember a story’s sequence

There are different mediums to use to create a flannel story:

  1. felt
  2. foam (with velcro tab glued to back)
  3. computer generated images (laminated, then velcro tab glued to back)

The one I work with is felt. It’s reasonably priced, you don’t have to add anything to the back to make it stick, it’s tactile, they last forever, and they’re washable if they get put in little ones mouths (which is inevitable!). Other librarians have posted why they love felt or why they love computer generated clip art if you’d like to think about it before you decide. You can use freezer paper to cut intricate felt pieces.

Though I’ve made lots of different felt board stories, my favorite are the kind to keep the children actively participating in the story. I always make enough pieces to pass out to the children before I begin reading the story. This also gives the children a chance at learning to be patient and learning how to take a turn. I also love using these in storytime so that the families come back again and again to see what surprise they’re going to get each week! Here’s how I make a story:

I pick a story that will fit into lots of different themes so I can use it throughout the year in storytimes and outreach. If you’re looking for a list of tools needed, Storytime Katie has you covered. One I made recently was The Stuffed Animals Get Ready for Bed. This story features lots of different animals that I can use in various themes, and bedtime stories are always a hit!Stuffed Animals List

First I make a list of the pieces I will create and note their color.

List of animals

Then I collect the colors I will need. Usually one 8.5 x 11″ sheet is enough for 4 animals. If I need more than this, I go to the fabric store and purchase felt by the yard.

Colors of flannel needed

When I’m ready to start drawing, I find a page in the book to copy each piece.

Sketching panda

First I cut the felt piece in quarters (occasionally if it’s a snake or giraffe I cut it in thirds going the long way). After I draw one, I can usually cut out three pieces at a time if it’s not overally complicated.

Cutting out panda

I lay out the pieces and use fabric paint for the details. If you need guidance on using paint, read Miss Mary Liberry’s post here.

Four pandas

Once all the pieces are painted, I let them dry and move on to the next animal until I have enough pieces for my biggest storytime crowd. I always make more pieces of the animals in the beginning of the story, rather than the end of the story. This particular story has ten animals. If I know certain children are impatient or young (little siblings), I give them an animal in the beginning of the story. By the time I get to the last animal, I usually need two pieces.

When all the pieces are dry, I stack them in order of the story to mix them up. If I’m doing a Toddler time, it also helps to remind me who is holding which animal.

Stacked animals

I add this story to my excel sheet of stories/themes for easy searching and am ready to use it this week! (One of these days I’m going to write an Organizing post!)

Stuffed Animals with blanket

I like to use my lap board, so I’ll ask that all the pandas come up, I’ll cover them up with a flannel blankie (they make fancy felt sheets these days), and then I’ll take down all the pandas to make room for the next animal.

Good luck and have fun with it! Thanks to Flannel Friday for all the great ideas and inspiring me to become a blogger!

Theme: Overlay by Kaira