Baby Story Time – November 21, 2014

While our family story time shrank a little today, our baby story time had its biggest crowd yet. Most of our babies are pre-mobile, though, so it’s still a very easy-going, manageable group.

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends!

Touching Rhymes/Tickles

  • Wake up, feet
  • Say hello, can you touch your nose?
  • Baby put your pants on

Book 1:Ten in the Den / John Butler

ten

Songs/Bounces

  • A hippopotamus got on a city bus
  • Bumping up and down in my little red wagon
  • Pudding on the plate
  • The grand old duke of york

Book Two: Please, baby, please! / Spike Lee

baby

Movement Songs

  • Love somebody, yes I do
  • Zoom, zoom, zoom
  • The elevator song

Goodbye song: Goodbye, Friends!

We ran out of time today! Ten in the Den was so much fun. All the parents joined in with the singing, and rolled their babies over as we sang “roll over, roll over”. But that book takes a while to sing! I had intended to do a few new soothing songs at the end, but we just ran out of time. We had quite a few new faces in the audience, so we sang everything a few extra times, just to give everyone a chance to participate and feel comfortable.

As I’ve said before, I really feel like I’m finally getting the hang of baby time, and I really look forward to it every week.

I won’t be doing story time next week, as I’ll be off at a Mother Goose training workshop, and I’m going to miss my little group so much, I hope they will miss me!

Family Story Time – November 21, 2014

Today saw a slightly smaller crowd at story time (due in no small part I’m sure to the gale that was blowing outside this morning…), and I felt emboldened enough to introduce a few new songs to the crew!

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: Ten in the Den / John Butler

ten

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • Wiggle your fingers
  • The Itsy-Bitsy Spider
  • Open-shut them
  • Roly poly

Book 2: Can You Growl Like a Bear? / John Butler

bear

Action Songs

  • Bend and stretch
  • Zoom zoom
  • Say hello, can you touch your nose?
  • Orca whale
  • The elevator song

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

The little song about the orca whale is a new crowd favourite – we sang it a number of times because it’s a new one, and everyone seemed to love it! “Say hello, can you touch your nose” is another new song for this group, but  we use in our Mother Goose baby program. It works just as well for toddlers! I just inserted a bunch of actions (flap your wings, jump up and down, turn around etc.), and really, it’s just “If you’re happy and you know it” with a new tune. Learn a new song and use it in multiple ways, that’s my motto!

It felt great to introduce a few completely new elements into the program. While I do swap songs in and out, I sometimes find myself getting into a bit of a rut and looking to spice things up again. After last week’s gong show of a story time, today’s program felt really great.

Plus, a mother told me that her toddler talks about “library Jane” all week – my life is now complete.

Baby Story Time – November 14, 2014

After the madness that was FST, a smaller, quieter, gentler baby time was just what the doctor ordered.

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends!

Touching Rhymes/Tickles

  • Wake up, feet
  • Say hello, can you touch your nose?
  • Eyes, nose, cheeky cheeky chin
  • Roly Poly

Book 1: Maisy at the farm / Lucy Cousins

maisy

Songs/Bounces

  • A hippopotamus got on a city bus
  • You be the ice cream
  • Bumping up and down in my little red wagon
  • The grand old duke of york

Book Two: Cat the Cat Who is That? / Mo Willems

cat

Movement Songs

  • Up, up, up in the sky like this
  • Love somebody, yes I do
  • Zoom, zoom, zoom
  • The elevator song

Soothing Songs

  • Rain is falling down

Goodbye song: Goodbye, Friends!

Mo Willems is picture book gold. This series is actually designed for emerging readers, but it works swimmingly at baby time. Very simple, repetitive text, bold illustrations with strong black outlines and simple colours, plenty of opportunities for animal noises, and a sweet twist ending make for a great story time book.

I finally feel like I’m getting the hang of baby time. When I first started doing regular baby times I never really felt like I was in my element – unlike at a regular story time I wasn’t interacting with children as much as I was with parents, and it was a bit difficult to adapt my style of delivery. I think including a soothing element at the end has really given my program a sense of structure – we don’t just do a bunch of exciting lifts and then leave – I now do fewer active lifting songs, and include one or two soothing songs to round out the program – today we did a couple verses of Rain is falling down, and repeated the song several times, because it’s just such a gentle, peaceful way to end the program. I’ve recently learned a few new soothing songs that I can’t wait to include in my program next week!

Family Story Time – November 14, 2014

Well. That was….an interesting story time. Our numbers for family story time have just been rising and rising and rising, which is wonderful…to an extent. Unfortunately, although we would love to welcome the entire neighborhood to our story times, we have to be mindful of fire codes and room maximums and public safety. Today we actually had to turn people away from our story time – it broke my heart, but we absolutely had no room.

While I love a busy, vibrant story time, a room that is overcrowded to the point of madness is just no fun for anyone. It’s too hot, too loud, too crowded and, for some kids, too overwhelming. For librarians, it feels less like an early literacy learning experience and more like a kiddie mosh pit. We’re working on some solutions to help make story time both accessible and enjoyable for all the little ones in our community, but it’s never as easy as you think it should be (we have to take into account limited branch opening hours, staffing levels, meeting room availability, program conflicts…..argh!)

That being said, today’s story time went surprisingly well, with 102+ people crammed into our little meeting room, and only rarely did it verge into complete gong show territory, for which I commend myself! ;)

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: This Little Chick / John Lawrence

little chick

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • Wiggle your fingers
  • Open-shut them
  • Roly poly
  • Mm-ah went the little green frog one day

Book 2: Peck, Peck, Peck / Lucy Cousins

peck

Action Songs

  • Bend and stretch
  • Zoom zoom
  • Twinkle twinkle little star
  • The wheels on the bus
  • Tick tock tick tock
  • The elevator song
  • Grr grr went the little brown bear

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

So…”Peck Peck Peck” went over like a lead balloon. It tanked, ladies and gentlemen, it absolutely tanked. I think it would work better with an older group – my story time group is about 75% toddlers, and this book was far too long for them. So I did what any librarian worth her salt would do – I cut it! I read a few pages, made up some repeated refrains, skipped to the end and added a few more action songs. Sometimes things just tank, and all you can do is make a note of it, dust yourself off and move on to the next thing!

Game On!

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Last night we hosted a board game afternoon for teens in honour of International Games Day @ Your Library.

From 4:00 – 6:00pm we took over the teen lounge and filled it with an array of board games and snacks (always the snacks). We tried to offer a variety of games that would appeal to all ages and levels of gamers, so we pulled out a little bit of everything, from Sorry! to Jenga to Apples to Apples to Monopoly.

We weren’t really sure what to expect – we’d had a very good turnout at last week’s writing event, but we’d promoted the heck out of that one, and the board game event hadn’t received as much buzz. The turnout definitely wasn’t as high as it had been for the writing event, but it wasn’t too shabby either – at one point we had 7 teens, though people came and went at different times.

The real star of the night wasn’t any of the fancy new games we found in the teen storage closet, but rather an old party favourite - Pictionary! We played an adapted version that got everyone playing and guessing, which increased the odds of someone correctly guessing the word. It was hilarious! No one was too competitive, and we used a flipchart as a canvas so the teens could make massive drawings.

Sometimes it’s the simplest games that are the most fun! Pictionary is great because it gets everyone involved (we just stole extra pieces from other games so we could add more players, and at one point we had 6 people playing), and the rules aren’t too complicated (we had a few teens who had never played before, but with our adapted rules they were able to jump in without hesitation).

In retrospect, it would have been nice to have had a bit more promotion for the event, so we could have spread the word to other teens (most of the participants were TLC members), but all in all it was a low-maintenance, low-key event that was lots of fun.

We planned it, and they came.

In honour of NaNoWriMo, my teen librarian colleague and I hosted a teen writing event. Local published YA author and NaNoWriMo participant Denise Jaden would give a presentation, take questions and lead a writing exercise, and we would continue the experience with more creative writing activities. There would be door prizes, everyone would leave with some free swag, and as with any teen event, there would be snacks.

nanowrimo_rdax_350x144

We promoted the event on social media, plastered posters throughout the library and scattered handbills on every exposed surface. We bribed a few of our TLC members with service hours if they agreed to help set up and clean up for the event, which would ensure at least a few bodies in the room. But the real question was – would the teens come?

Well, come they did. 12 of them, to be exact. 12 participants, for a two-hour after-school writing workshop. We were impressed. And while some of the participants were familiar faces, there were a number of teens who had never been to a library event before, and who had heard about us from friends or through our marketing. Success!

The event itself went really smoothly. Denise is a very engaging speaker, and her writing exercise was pretty brilliant. I used the magazine clip out writing exercises I mentioned in a previous post, and the teens thought it was pretty hilarious. We shared our creations in small groups, and there was a lot of laughter, as the teens had come up with some pretty crazy characters.

We were also able to send every teen home with a book, which the teens were pretty stoked about. We get a lot of book donations from the public, which is pretty awesome. If we already have enough copies of a donated book in our system, we either sell the book in our book sale, which raises much-needed funds for the library, or we give the book away, either at a program or through outreach (at a food bank or shelter, for example). I love being able to send kids and teens home with their own books, particularly when working in challenged neighborhoods. The excitement in the teens’ eyes when I told them they could each pick a book was really pretty awesome. Adults may be wondering about the future of the printed word, but as far as most teens are concerned, there’s still something special about physical books.

Baby Story Time – November 7, 2014

I’ve started doing a Mother Goose story time program at my branch, and it’s been a great opportunity to expand my baby time repertoire and learn new some great new material. My co-facilitator and I have been introducing each other to new songs and rhymes, and I’ve been incorporating them into my regular baby time programs. There are a few regulars from baby time who are in my MG as well, and it’s nice to see them twice!

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends!

Touching Rhymes/Tickles

  • Wake up, feet
  • Baby put your pants on
  • Say hello, can you touch your nose?
  • Roly Poly

Book 1: Sleepyheads / Sandra J. Howatt

sleepyheads

Songs/Bounces

  • Toast in the toaster
  • Oh I wish I were a little bar of soap
  • You be the ice cream
  • Bumping up and down in my little red wagon
  • The grand old duke of york

Book Two: Jump! / Scott M. Fischer

jump

Movement Songs

  • Love somebody, yes I do
  • Mamma’s little baby loves dancing
  • What shall we do with lazy Katie?
  • Zoom, zoom, zoom
  • The elevator song

Soothing Songs

  • Rain is falling down

Goodbye song: Goodbye, Friends!

Oh, Jump! What a winner! We did this as an interactive picture book – caregivers lifted their babies every time we said “jump!” It was adorable – the babies were loving it! As I’ve said before, I love a book with jazzy text, and this one is just so much fun to read. I can’t wait to try it out with my big kids!

Sleepyheads is absolutely beautiful, the illustrations are just so charming. It’s a wonderful bedtime book, but my little wigglers were not in the mood for bedtime, so I shortened it considerably and it was still lovely.