Nonfiction Monday

Even if it’s shelved in the Easy Picture Book collection, the book How Many Baby Pandas? by Sandra Markle, has many of the trademarks of a nonfiction book.  It’s chock-full of facts (when born, it’s the size of a hot dog and blind to boot), includes a map, glossary, index, and list of other sources.  But most importantly, it is full of adorable panda pictures!  I dare you to read it and not say, “Awwwww!”

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Addictive Game

Just wanted to share this addictive game that will have you reaching for your dictionary.  I think this would be super fun with middle or high school students.  The game gives you three letters to begin a word, like esc-, then you have to think of words that start with those.  But you can only have three or four (if I start playing again to check, I’ll never go to work!) words of any size – so x number of three letter words, x number of four letter words.  After a while, you’ll be like my little man down there and completely flummoxed!  (I’ll have to remember that word just in case flu- comes up.  Ha ha.)

Another one down!

I don’t know how long I’ve been aware of this National Endowment for the Humanities list – probably fifteen years? – and I’ve been slowly working on getting all of these read.  Even if I read nothing else, I doubt I’d be done with it by now.  Well, that’s an exaggeration, I probably would have been.  Dang you, John Grisham!  Anyway, I’ve been making very good progress on the K-3 list that I wanted to post here.  Of course, many are pictures books – just wait until I get to the high school list! – but it’s still good.  
just finished Alice in Wonderland which was a very unusual book.  So much of what is in it is in the public consciousness – the rabbit hole, the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts – but here it all is in one pretty short story.  I’m not sure I like it, really, but I know I love this video of it, from the British Film Institute, a 1903 short film of the story.  How amazing to think that the only one still alive here is probably the trees.

Some of these books I’ve probably read – Aesop’s Fables! – but I haven’t marked it just to be sure.  A couple I’ll have to get via inter-library loan.  And I know it’s really weird I haven’t read Curious George – he’s super popular at my library, but my kids were never interested so I haven’t read it yet.  Next on my list to read is Mouse and the Motorcycle, which will probably come back to me; I bet I read it as a child – I only mark it if I remember reading the book.  My absolute favorite here would be Millions of Cats.  What’s yours?
The K-3 list, with what I have left to read highlighted:
Aardema, Verna. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears.
Aesop. Fables.
Allard, Harry. Miss Nelson Is Missing!
Atwater, Richard and Florence. Mr. Popper’s Penguins.
Bemelmans, Ludwig. Madeline.
Brown, Marcia. Stone Soup.
Brown, Margaret Wise. Goodnight Moon.
Brunhoff, Jean de. The Story of Babar.
Burton, Virginia Lee. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.
Carle, Eric. The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Cleary, Beverly. The Mouse and the Motorcycle.
Collodi, Carlo. Adventures of Pinocchio.
Crews, Donald. Freight Train.
Daugherty, James. Andy and the Lion.
dePaola, Tomie. Strega Nona.
Duvoisin, Roger. Petunia.
Flack, Marjorie. The Angus series.
Freeman, Don. Corduroy.
Fritz, Jean. The Cabin Faced West.
Gag, Wanda. Millions of Cats.
Galdone, Paul. The Three Little Pigs.

Grahame, Kenneth. The Reluctant Dragon.
Gramatky, Hardie. Little Toot.
Hoban, Russell. Bedtime for Frances.
Johnson, Crockett. Harold and the Purple Crayon.
Keats, Ezra Jack. The Snowy Day
Kraus, Robert. Leo the Late Bloomer.
Krauss, Ruth. The Carrot Seed.
Leaf, Munro. The Story of Ferdinand.

Lear, Edward. A Book of Nonsense.
Lionni, Leo. Frederick.
Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad Are Friends.
Lopshire, Robert. Put Me in the Zoo.
Marshall, James. George and Martha.

McCloskey, Robert. Make Way for Ducklings.
McDermott, Gerald. Anansi the Spider.

Merrill, Jean. The Pushcart War.
Milne, A.A. Winnie-the-Pooh.
Minarik, Else Holmelund. Little Bear.
Parish, Peggy. Amelia Bedelia.
Piper, Watty. The Little Engine That Could.
Potter, Beatrix. The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Rey, H.A. Curious George.
Selden, George. The Cricket in Times Square.
Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are.
Seuss, Dr. The Cat in the Hat.

—. Green Eggs and Ham.
Slobodkina, Esphyr. Caps for Sale.
Steig, William. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.

Stevenson, Robert Louis. A Child’s Garden of Verses.
Taylor, Sydney. All-of-a-Kind Family.
Thurber, James. Many Moons.
Udry, Janice May. A Tree is Nice.
Van Allsburg, Chris. The Garden of Abdul Gasazi.
Viorst, Judith. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Ward, Lynd. The Biggest Bear.
White, E.B. Charlotte’s Web.
Yashima, Taro. Crow Boy.

Zion, Gene. Harry the Dirty Dog.
Zolotow, Charlotte. William’s Doll

Using media center skills in the public library

In my library courses, I am focusing on school library courses as much as possible.  I have taken courses that were not (Public Library; Youth Services in Libraries; Intellectual Freedom) but this semester I’m taking Reference (with school librarians and those seeking school library certification) and Librarianship in School Communities (as well as an IT course).  But I’m working in a public library, and finding that what I’m doing is interesting but not wholly transferable to the public library environment.
But with that said, I’ve been thinking what I’m learning could transfer to the public library with a little creativity.  This weekend, I’ve had three students ask for help finding sources for a school project about the history of our city.  My default response is to answer the question – we need to go upstairs to look at the local history section – but couldn’t I take this as a teaching opportunity?  I could say, “What sort of resources were you thinking of?”  “What do you think would be the best type of resources for this project?”  “Where else are you going to look for information?”  I’m learning about the Big 6 information model, and there’s a lot there I could implement in a situation like this.
 I guess I do a little bit of this already through the reference interview (the task definition), but I think I could do it a bit more formally.  When I don’t ask the patron (child or adult) to do that part – define the information problem; identify information needed – I may misunderstand what is needed and waste time and effort.  But the second part of the Big 6 – determining all possible sources and selecting the best sources – I should lead the patron to this without doing it for her.  And I could ask the patron what other sources in town are they going to – the city government’s website, the city history museum, etc.  Then my job in the public library is #3 – location and providing access – and that leaves them with #4, #5, and #6.  But I could remind them of those before they go.

I wonder if it would be apropos to suggest we make up a little bookmark with the Big 6 method to give to student patrons when they come looking for guidance?  Is the whole thing copyrighted and you can’t call it those things if you don’t pay the licensing fee?

Why do I do it?

I’ve been working at a public library now for one month and can do a bit of introspection, I think.  Is it as good as I thought it would be?  Oh yeah, and even better!  (The only downside – and it’s a big one – is the insurance for half-time employees is more than we pay now and twice as much as I thought it was.  But that’s because I misunderstood the word “biweekly.”  Duh.  But since I didn’t even expect any insurance, and I *can* get dental insurance for $20 a month, I’m still happy about the insurance.)
And I’ve considered what I would do if my job was magically able to switch to full time, and somehow I get the logistics figured out (like, umm, living 45 minutes away from work in Iowa, where winter travel is a concern).  Of course I’d be thrilled, but what if a full time teacher-librarian position came up?  Where would I rather work?  (Oh this might be more fodder for another post, but I have figured out the key to knowing if a particular school will be open to collaboration with the librarian, or if they want a glorified clerk.  Hint, look to the 500s.)  I really don’t know what I’d do.  I love love LURVE my job.  (And there’s no way a school librarian job would pay as well as this would if I were full time.  And just wait until I get my MLS.)
Okay, so anyway.  Today, a woman and her husband came up to Youth Services and said, “Hablas espanol?”  I said, “Hablo espanol un poco.”  She started to speak more, saying “internet,” which I figured meant she wanted out the computer.  So I said (in very bad Spanish, but I tried), “Tu quieres usar la computadora?”  But she said no.  I couldn’t understand how she could use the internet without the computer.  We kept trying to communicate (I went to the 400s and got a dictionary), to no avail.  I finally decided to get her on the computer on a translation website, but she didn’t have a library card so then there was figuring that out.  I ended up putting it up on my computer, but then a very nice Latino man and his son came over to help out, having heard my laughable attempt at Spanish.  
So we (me on computer, he on the translation) helped the couple scan something and send it (which required setting up a Google account).  This took a long time, since figuring out the scanner was no easy task.  Then the dad and his son came down to YS to get books.  I showed them the Spanish language books upstairs, especially the children’s books that have both English and Spanish.  I’ve seen this dad several times before in the library, always helping his son get the books he wanted and encouraging him to challenge himself too.  Then shortly after they left, another Latino dad came in with his child, a daughter.  He wanted her to get a math book, then a historical book.  I encouraged the American Girl books, but she wanted something a bit more literary, I guess, so I said, “Would you like a book with a Latina character?”  She got a glint in her eye and said, “Yes!”  I was hoping for Esparanza Rising but it wasn’t on the shelf so we took another of her books (without a Latina character, but with a horse on the front, to which she said, “I’ll take this one!”).

When I came back to YS after helping them to circulation, there were several more children and families in the department.  And I got a tear in my eye!  It was just so touching to see families (especially dads) encouraging their children in the library.  (I’d seen two dads already that morning – where were all the moms today? Sort of weird.)  So to answer the question in the title, this is why I do it.  I always thought it was in a school library where you can really teach kids, where you can impact children.  The public library, after all, requires patrons to come to it.  But here, I can help families, sometimes families who are new to America.  That’s what I did today.  It was a great feeling.

Me thinking about how I love my job

What’s essential to storytime?

I’ve been reading some other library blogs (like this one) and it’s making me wonder.  We don’t do crafts with our storytimes, and actually, when my kids were young and went to storytime in Nashville, we didn’t do crafts either.  Since that was the crème de la crème for me as far as storytimes, when we moved to the boonies and couldn’t justify a trip to the city, the Clarksville library did do crafts.  And I thought it was so tacky.  Not sure why, but if Miss Tori didn’t do it, I didn’t want to have any part of it!  

However, I can see the advantages.  I think it would definitely encourage more families to come out to storytime, or at least encourage the ones who do come to come back.  But the big problem I see is the cost.  Is it worth that, AND is it worth the bother – glitter in the carpet, sticky glue fingers, etc?

Right now, I’m not in a position to change anything as far as storytime goes.  But for my part, I want to include stories, music, fingerplays, and poetry in each one.  (Seriously – I am going to do poetry as flannel boards.  We’ll see how it goes, eh?)  

Oh and I’m scheduled for my next storytime, on December 3.  Again with a preschool, and I don’t know if they’d want me to do Christmas per se.  I was leaning to penguins but maybe I should save that for January when it’s really cold here.  (I’m not including the sweet story, When Tango Makes Three.  I think that’d be just looking for controversy.)  I’m also looking into going off the gingerbread boy theme, but all the stories I find (The Gingerbread Girl; The Gingerbread Pirates; The Runaway Tortilla) have entirely too many words for a storytime.  So I’ve found a few titles that are about “too much” – too many cupcakes, too many pears, too many cookies.  Moderation in all things.  Wait, am I like the morality story lady?  Please and thank you and then moderation?  What gives?!  Well, I’m not set on that yet.  If you want to share a good December theme, have at it.  (Writing this, I know it sounds pretty goofy to do a storytime featuring the negatives of the wanton consumerism that is America.  I’m not trying to indoctrinate the children to a new, starker reality with Republicans in charge of the House.  Ha Ha!  I don’t know, it was just sort of a stream of consciousness thing when I was looking for books and that’s the theme I saw emerge.)