Sunday, September 30, 2012

Early Literacy Revisited/Storytime

This post relates back to the unit we did a couple weeks ago about young children.  My sister has a little guy who is about 1.5 years old.  She wanted to take him to one of the storytimes offered by one of her local libraries (she lives in California).  She checked on the website and there wasn't an advance registration option, so she showed up a few minutes early and the place was packed!  She and a couple other parents/caregivers were asked to leave because it was full.

I guess the way it works is that the parents/caregivers show up early with their little ones and wait in the hall until the librarian comes to open up the Children's Room a few minutes before the start of the program.  This particular program is capped at 25.  I guess they have had so much interest in a toddler storytime program that they have started adding additional storytimes weekday mornings in an effort to try to accommodate everyone.

This got me thinking about the group exercise we did in class where we created a plan for a storytime. One of the questions we talked about was whether to have advance registration as an option and allow for a couple drop-ins, or whether there would be a no-registration, first-come-first-served policy.  Any thoughts/experiences on the best way to do this?  I think my sister will probably try to go again in the next couple weeks and try to get there earlier, but if you don't have an advance registration option do you risk losing people who might not come back again if they are turned away once?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Early Literacy in Libraries Project Funds College Savings Accounts

The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy website has an often-updated blog that includes news about early literacy efforts in libraries across the country.  One recent(ish) post I thought was really interesting was about public libraries in Oregon that are creating a new early literacy project called "Project Ready to Learn" that will link parents'/caregivers' use of the library with their young children to college savings accounts.  The idea is that every time they check out a book from the library or participate in an early literacy library event, the library will donate two cents to an interest-accruing college fund.  Additionally, the swipes will earn parents discounts at area restaurants and grocery stores.

The program has received pledged funding from several sources, and plans to continue to apply for additional funding.  The libraries have also partnered with Eastern Oregon University professors to develop an assessment tool to determine the correlation between early child development and library use.  This is the first time I have heard of a program like this, and it seems like a great way to try to get children in the library and help promote early literacy.  Check out the blog post and my comment here, and for more background on this program go here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The You (PLAY) room, and Early Literacy in Ohio Libraries

I like that one of Constance Dickerson's main goals in writing the article "The Preschool Literacy and You (PLAY) room" was to motive other libraries to create a similar space, and demonstrate that it is possible to create a space like this on a budget.  After her library received a Museum and Library Services (LSTA) grant from the State Library of Ohio, they were able to create this early literacy space that incorporated Every Child Read to Read (ECRR) principles.  Dickerson encourages other libraries to seek out grant opportunities to fund a similar space, and also suggests ideas for low-cost substitutions as well.

The You (PLAY) room contains lots of features that make it a fun, interactive space.  A six-foot tree with "sunlight" lets children sit and read, and movable shelving and child-sized seating allows for smaller configurations of the space.  I like that, given that Dickerson lists the vendors she used, that libraries can pick and choose exact items that they would want in their own space, or just use her experience as inspiration to implement other creative early literacy features in their own space.

A quick visit to the Ohio Ready to Read website shows that Ohio libraries are pretty active in early literacy programming.  They have a blog links page maintained by some of their youth services librarians and branch libraries that are involved in early literacy activities, and a page of resources that helps librarians and other early literacy professionals understand and integrate ECRR literature into practice.

Monday, September 10, 2012

First Lines Book Display

On the YALSA Website this week, there was a great post by Morgan Doane about a Great First Lines YA Book Display.  She explained how she created the display by selecting YA titles that had weird/silly/attention-getting first lines.  She then created a template for posters that displayed the first line of each book next to a stack of the books.  I thought this was a great way to get young readers interested in a certain book by giving them a "teaser" to grab their attention.  Check out her post and my comment and leave your own suggestion for a great first line in the comments!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Stephen Mintz's Huck's Raft Prologue

Some thoughts on Huck's Raft reading for this week:

The author talks about the history of childhood in three distinct phases: premodern, in which children were viewed as adults in training; modern, in which children were increasingly seen as malleable, innocent, and in a separate stage of life; and postmodern, in which the "norms" of childhood break down and children are no longer seen as naive and innocent.

This tied in nicely with reading I did for another class about the history of children's literature.  For that, a lot of the focus was on the mid-eighteenth century, when John Newbery started publishing books that were specifically intended for young readers and aimed to "delight" and "amuse" instead of just instruct or train children.  The books were also made to be "child-sized" so that small hands could easily hold them.  I didn't know much about this beforehand, and so it is interesting to think that using the word "amusement" was a landmark in children's literature, and the beginning of a new era of childhood.

Also, I thought the author's idea of postmodern childhood resembling premodern childhood was interesting.  It seems at first like colonial era children wouldn't have much in common with postmodern children!  But the idea of children in both phases no longer being the opposite of adults, and children growing up quickly and being knowledgeable about the realities of the world makes sense.  And he does differentiate the two by saying that postmodern children are participants in a "separate, semiautonomous youth culture."

Lastly, I thought the idea of Huck's raft as a symbol of childhood was interesting.  The idea of the raft symbolizing childhood as both an "odyssey of psychological self-discovery and growth," and also a journey fraught with danger and unexpected "currents."  This reading made me want to re-read the original Adventures of Huckleberry Finn!

My first blog

This is my first foray into the blog world.  I am looking forward to starting this and learning more about youth services librarianship!