Let’s get a jump on things. It’s about to get into the holiday season and I’m sure you’re starting to think about gifts for all those special someones in your life. Per the usual, we need to flood the stack of presents with literary themed gifts, because books are back baby!

The (Pin) Collector

That Darn (Enter Generation Younger Than You)

The Goodreads Obsessive

The Social Media Scholar

The Proofreader

The Youngin

Mr./Mrs. Highbrow

The Reluctant Adolescent

The Skimmer

Literal Librarian

The Traveller

The Holiday Hostess

Quick Picks/I Need a Gift Now!

How-to: Grand Poobah of the Holidays

Once again the holiday gift scramble is upon us. We are making our lists, checking them repeatedly and crossing off the expendables. As you go down your list and decide who gets re-gifted mugs, you may stumble upon those few people you dread shopping for this holiday.

What do you buy the person who has read everything? How do you know that they will actually read your gift? Fear not! I have a list to help satisfy all the worms in your life.

The Nerdy Bookworm
The Lord of the Rings, 50th Anniversary Edition
The Hobbit, hobbit-sized edition
eReader Covers
Out of Print Phone Case
Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary

The “I-Never-Have-Time-to-Read” Worm
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank
A gift membership to Audible.com
Out of Print Tote Bag

The Well-Read Bookworm
An Ideal Bookshelf print
One of a kind book clutch
Out of Print T-shirt
A gift card to their favorite indie bookstore
Les Miserables scarf

Le Petit Ver
This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
Return to the Willows by Jacqueline Kelly
Reading Bean Bag/Pouf
Vintage book illustration blocks
Very Hungry Caterpillar Umbrella

The Adult Reluctant Bookworm
Batman: Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
World War Z by Max Brooks
Sacre Bleu: A Comedy D’Art by Christopher Moore
Flight, volume 1 by Kazu Kibuishi
The Walking Dead Compendium One by Robert Kirkman

The Hipster-worm
Out of Print Coasters
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
The Art Book: New Edition by Phaidon Press
Vintage/handmade book ends

After your have purchased all of your little wormies their goods, you have to make sure you wrap them up in pretty little packages. Place them under the tree, on the mantle, or hidden deep in the recesses of your closet which you are guarding like Smaug. Then on Christmas, make your grand entrance as though you are the Grand Poobah of the Holiday Season, confident in the knowledge that your gifts are far superior to the rest of your family.

That's you, the Grand Poobah of Holiday Gift Giving

That’s you, the Grand Poobah of Holiday Gift Giving

Armed with this knowledge, “Operation: Last Minute Holiday Scramble” should be a snap. Your giftees will squeal with delight at the sight of your perfectly picked presents and tales of your legendary gifting skills will be sung for decades to come.

I wish you all the best of luck this holiday season, I know that it can be a stressful time for anyone directly involved in the buying of presents! Remember to breathe, get plenty of sleep and don’t stress too much about the fact that you’re in charge of everyone’s happiness.

Robot, Zombie, Frankenstein Story Time

I really need to update this more, we do so many fun things at the library and I should document them! I have been so busy though! We lost one of our part-time employees and have been training a second, very time consuming.

In the midst of training, however, we had a wonderful story time featuring Robot Zombie Frankenstein by Annette Simon. I paired the book with The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot by Margaret McNamara and If You’re A Monster and You Know It… by Ed Emberley. All three books were really great and the kids loved them, of course. I always know that any book about pirates, ninjas, robots, monsters (especially zombies) and aliens will do well at story time!

We started off story time by reading Robot Zombie Frankenstein. The kids really listened to this book. I think the combination of bright, vivid illustrations and easy to follow dialogue helped. We talked about what kinds of robots they would build if they had a chance and then I handed out an amazing activity pack from Annette Simon’s website.

Robot Zombie Fridge
“Mine can fly AND jump really high!” – Creator

The kids enjoyed doing the packets while I set up for the robot building craft. I had them sit at the table and read them The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot. They were a little wound up, but eventually calmed down enough to where they were listening well. I then gave them scrap paper (from past projects) and let them create a their own robot/monster/whatevers.

Robot Zombie Florist

When they had finished their craft, we rounded out the story time by dancing to If You’re a Monster and You Know It… and singing along. Fabulous story time, with fabulous books, by fabulous authors!

Robot Zombie War Machine
The book his robot is holding is titled “The Ancient War”

Attack of the Robots!

May the 4th Be With You

It’s been a long time since I have been able to post! Been busy, busy, busy at the library.

The library has been busy gearing up for our Summer Reading Program and I have been planning all our events. We have some really great programs planned for all our patrons for the months of May-August and I am very pleased with the themes we have chosen.

One of the most exciting programs I have had was my May 4th Story Time! Since May 4th was “Star Wars Day,” I decided to show the younger generations some intergalactic fun. Our wonderful bookstore-next-door, The River Reader, donated an event kit for Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown and I pulled some of our juvenile Star Wars books for them to check out.

How cute is little Luke?

We started by talking a little bit about space. I asked them, “How many of you like to learn about space?” Every hand was in the air, so I continued with, “Would you want to live in space?”

A few of them said they would and described the kind of spaceship they would want to live in. Then I showed them the book we were going to be reading and a few of them knew Darth Vader already. The book isn’t a typical “story time” book and I had to interact with the kids quite a bit to keep them focused. The illustrations are adorable though, so I had the kids sit really close so that the cute details didn’t go unnoticed.

“He’s playing with Legos like I do!” – Story Time Attendee

The kids seemed to really enjoy the book, even though it wasn’t as much fun for me to read as say, Those Darn Squirrels and the Cat Next Door, and they had a lot of Star Wars related questions after we were done. When I had answered all their questions, we headed to make our crafts. I had pre-cut out Stormtrooper masks for the kids and I let them color them however they wanted.

“I want to be a Stormtrooper when I grow up!”

I also sent the kids home with copies of activities from the event kit.  The full PDF kit can be downloaded at Activity Kit for Darth Vader and Son. If you feel so inclined you can print off Yoda coloring pages for them to take home too.

All in all, the kids really enjoyed the story time. I would suggest trying to find another book to read a long with Darth Vader and Son if you want the kids to be a little more attentive. Some of the jokes are more for adults, but you don’t have to be a fan of Star Wars to enjoy this book.

“That wasn’t very nice of Greedo.” – Story Time Attendee

Follow @ChronicleBooks for more great reads!
Read more about the author at: Jeffrey Brown Comics

Going Nutty for Stories*

This weeks Story Time @ 10 theme was “Going Nutty for Stories” and featured books about squirrels.

I had four (4) very excited youngsters who loved all of the books that we read, but especially Those Darn Squirrels  by Adam Rubin. Each of the books was displayed when the children came into the library (except Those Darn Squirrels because I had already taken it to the story time area):

To start with, we “Shook Our Sillies Out” and then sang “The Squirrel Song.” The kids enjoy getting up and moving before we read the stories. This helps them settle down when I actually start reading and they seem to listen better!

I read the following stories:
Those Darn Squirrels by Adam Rubin (this was SUCH a big hit that they wanted me to read it again, so I read Those Darn Squirrels and the Cat Next Door as well)
Rosie to the Rescue by Bethany Roberts
Heart to Heart
 by George Shannon

I displayed Gray Squirrel at Pacific Avenue and Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach, but did not read them because the natives were getting restless. We then talked about what we learned about squirrels and my favorite was “They are the champions of the forest!” So now when that little girl has to do a report on squirrels in school, she will most definitely cite this.

After our discussion on “Why Squirrels Are So Awesome!” we made Squirrel hand puppets out of paper bags. I would have loved to do something more detailed, but I had to remember that these are preschoolers. I tried to get a picture of each of the kids with their finished puppets, but they were too busy trying to eat each with their squirrels.

In all of the years I have been doing story time, I have NEVER had kids ask for me to read the same book immediately after I finished it. This has to be a testament to how great the Rubin/Salmieri’s writing team is! The illustrations are amazing and I would point things out to the kids that they didn’t notice before (cats legs crossed in his portrait, birds faces, etc..). The kids loved the squirrels and they made sure to point out that the cat, “Looked really mean!”

All in all, it was a fantastic story time! The kids loved the crafts and I was excited by their enthusiasm for the books.  I would highly recommend reading Those Darn Squirrels for a story time, as the kids were enthralled by the book the entire time I read it. Squeals of laughter and giggles are always a good sign that a book is a hit!

*Sorry for the delay in posting, work has been a little hectic!

Libraries change lives for the better.

Patrons consistently ask me if I think libraries are doomed. The most common question is, “With the economy the way it is, will the library close?”

The first time this question was posed to me, I went home and did a little digging. I found that a lot of libraries are in trouble and many more are facing closure each day. Budget cuts are the main reason many of the libraries have been closed, which means that it is less about the future of libraries and more about the future of the cities they provide services to. When a city closes its libraries due to budget cuts, librarians can do little to save their jobs. Without community action to save their precious stacks, libraries are often forced to close their doors forever. After reading several studies regarding the reasons that public libraries close, I found myself wondering what we might actually be able to do to save libraries.

In tough economic times, libraries have always done well.  Outside of free books, the library offers services that many people would otherwise not have access to, due to financial constraints. The majority of public libraries have public access computers, which are hooked up to printers (which you can use for a nominal fee). Many offer audio and visual media that would be too expensive for individuals to purchase for themselves. In the summer, the library provides a welcome respite from the scorching temperatures, especially for those who do not have access to air-conditioning in their homes. With many school libraries closed for summer break, students more often than not turn to their local public library for reading material. The library also provides free programming for families and children. One of the arguments I have heard against library programming is that it isn’t necessary. I would like to tell those pushing that agenda that library programming is extremely important. Libraries offer programs that serve the needs of their community and their patrons. Financial planning workshops, forums for individuals to showcase creativity, life skills seminars and multicultural events are often held at libraries because they can use the space for free. I can not count how many times I have helped individuals perform a job search, type a resume or create a poster to advertise their services. The assistance I provided them was invaluable to them and all it cost them was the paper.

Another argument I have heard thrown around is that librarians are becoming obsolete. When I was working at a university library (specifically a journalism library), I had students (and professors) contact me to ask about resources, publishing information and general library services on a daily basis. Many of the students, even the most intelligent ones, were unable to look-up information on their own because they had never been taught. With the advent of the Internet, many swore it was the end of the librarian. Who needs someone to look up information for them when they have the all-powerful Internet?! The answer, the vast majority. Professors were too busy to do searches themselves and students did not understand how to tell the difference between a scholarly resource and a Wikipedia article. The technology that the university was able to afford, was often difficult to navigate and required the assistance of a librarian/library staff member. Even the stacks were often overwhelming for the students who ventured down to them. Most had not even heard of LCC or learned how it was organized until they came to the library. When they finally found the materials they were looking for, they couldn’t figure out which books would actually be useful for their projects. This was often when we would step in, offering advice and helping them choose the proper materials.

Even though municipalities often deem libraries unimportant, they are doing more than just a disservice to the people that are entrusted to them. By taking away access to educational tools and making it more difficult for individuals to discover a passion for literature, they are severely stunting future generations.  When parents are no longer able to instill a love of reading in their children because of factors imposed on them by their government, (i.e., distance to a public library, lack of funding for libraries, hours that are at odds with patrons work, etc..) their children suffer. When local governments make the act of acquiring knowledge impossible or even more difficult, it becomes less of a priority for their citizens altogether. Not only does this cause a problem for these people as individuals, but the country as a whole suffers.

I would love to end this post by telling everyone that it will be alright. That everything will be just fine. However, with the recent news of Toronto’s library closures and the continuing lack of support for library funding, I can not find it in me to say that everything is going to be O.K. Without the support of their patrons and without new generations developing a passion for reading, libraries will be doomed to a slow death. I can only hope that people will continue to fight for access to libraries, the way libraries have fought to keep knowledge accessible to the public. My one wish is for libraries to remain as important to future generations as it has been to past ones. I think author Sidney Sheldon really summed up what libraries mean for our society when he said, “Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life. Libraries change lives for the better.”

I hope that, in some small way, I make life better for my patrons.

>Giddy Up and Read: Wild West Story Time

>As the children’s progammer I am in-charge of our Pre-school Story Time every wednesday.

This Wednesday we had a Wild West Story Time, which the kids really enjoyed!

Books read:
Widdermaker by Pattie Schnetzler
Desert Rose and her highfalutin hog by Alison Jackson
I want to be a cowgirl by Jeanne Wills

Other books displayed:
The foot-stomping adventures of Clementine Sweet by Kitty Griffin
The cowboy ABC by David Hamilton-Murdoch
Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa by Erica Silverman
The brave cowboy by Joan Anglund-Walsh
Tyrannosaurus Tex by Betty Birney

I had all of the kids sit around on the floor and made a “fire” using toilet paper tubes, sticks and made construction paper flames. I read Desert Rose and Her Highfalutin Hog and then we sang a campfire song called “The Campfire Pokey” (see below) which got the kids up and moving. After that I read Widdermaker and we played a ring toss game. I had made a quick cactus out of cardboard and rings out of pipe-cleaners, they had a lot of fun and I gave them sheriff’s stars with their names on them that I had cut out using the Cricut. We read the final story I want to be a cowgirl and then colored cowboys/girls that I got from HERE. We finished by gluing the dolls together and I sent them home with “take home paper.” I make a take home paper every week and it is normally a two column sheet. In the first column I type a little poem or song, paired with some cute clip art that fits the theme. In the second column I paste a picture they can color or a bookmark they can cut out. On this weeks take home paper they got “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain” and a section of “Cowboy Lingo.” The coloring side had a cowboy with a lasso.

Next Story Time Theme: Bang! Boom! Crash! A Fourth of July Story Time