Friday, March 20, 2020

Open Storyroom

I conceived the idea of Open Storyroom some years ago. I wanted to continue my work in making the library a community center and getting as much use as possible out of our resources and materials. I also wanted more resources available for our families and caregivers with special needs kids.

A lot of work went into this, from conferences and webinars to research and talking to patrons. Unfortunately, I... didn't really document all that. In the end, thanks to a Walmart grant, money from our school partners, and our own budget, I purchased a number of toys from WePlay, a Taiwan-based company that specializes in tactile and sensory-friendly toys for children at all stages of development, and added these to the materials we already had. With the help of my staff, I reorganized our Storyroom storage closet.

The way it works is that, when we don't have programs and the Storyroom is not in use, the staff open the door of the room and the closet and put up signs saying it's Open Storyroom, listing the rules, and asking folks to sign in. Patrons can then use the room as an extension of the play area, use materials in the closet, and hang out. We don't schedule or announce Open Storyroom, it's just a bonus people are happy to see when they come.

Signage for the doors and easel is in English and Spanish. It reminds people to feel free to use the toys, remember to clean up, and not cross the yellow lines in the closet (for reasons known only to the designers, our storage closet also doubles as a puppet theater, but in addition includes all the light switches and a ladder for roof access.)

Closet contains, among other things:

  • WePlay toys (blocks, balancing toys, and other items)
  • A collection of toys from various places, including felt toys and puppets
  • A variety of blocks
  • Ballpit balls, pool, and slide (this is used for baby storytime but people love to take them out)
  • Basic craft materials
    • crayons, scissors, markers, glue sticks, paper scrap boxes
  • Chalk for the chalkboard
  • Musical instruments
The items I have observed being played with most often are the inter-locking blocks from WePlay, the fabric tunnel, slide, and ballpit balls, and crayons, scissors, and paper. So far people have been reluctant to take down the boxes of blocks - probably because they are not well-labeled so they don't know what's in them.

I hope to continue to update and add to this collection, improving storage and labeling as well as updating and adding toys as needed. Attendance in a day can range from 10 to 50, depending on how busy a day it is and whether a home daycare drops by or not!




Thursday, March 19, 2020

Take Home Storytime: Dogs

  • Program goals
    • Pass on early literacy messages and encourage families to continue early literacy at home
    • Encourage circulation and storytime attendance
    • Reach families who are unable to attend storytime
  • Notes
    • March 2020 (Storytime bundle)
  • Supplies
    • Brown paper lunchbag
    • Cardboard die-cut dogs
    • Popsicle sticks
Miss storytime? You can practice many of the early literacy concepts we use in storytime at home! Don't forget to sign up for text alerts so you can make it to the next storytime!

Theme: Dogs

Use the five early literacy practices; talking, singing, reading, playing, and writing with these books and projects!

TALK about the books and relate them to real life. What dogs have they seen? Do any dogs live in your house? How are the dogs similar and different to the dogs in the stories?

Get ready to WRITE by using fine motor skills in your craft project. Use markers or crayons to decorate the dogs and tape them to sticks.

SING a song. Look for a familiar dog song like B.I.N.G.O. or How much is that doggie in the window? Try different versions together, or add in your own words.

PLAY with your crafts - use them as puppets to tell a story with dogs.

READ together! Help your child search for more dog books in the library catalog. Do they look funny, sweet, or sad? Check them out and see how they match up to their covers.

This is a dog by Ross Collins
Such a good boy by Coppo
Hound won't go by Lisa Rogers
Whose nose by Tarsky
Whose tail by Tarsky

For more library events, new books, and more, check out our website at www.elkhorn.lib.wi.us, join us on Facebook, or talk to a librarian. Please let me know if you have suggestions or questions!

Jennifer Wharton, Youth Services Librarian
jwharton@elkhorn.lib.wi.us, 262-723-9143

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Take Home Storytime: Rain Showers

  • Program goals
    • Pass on early literacy messages and encourage families to continue early literacy at home
    • Encourage circulation and storytime attendance
    • Reach families who are unable to attend storytime
  • Notes
    • March 2020 (Storytime bundle)
  • Supplies
    • Brown paper lunchbag
    • Die cut animals (white)
    • Bleeding art tissue
Miss storytime? You can practice many of the early literacy concepts we use in storytime at home! Don't forget to sign up for text alerts so you can make it to the next storytime!

Theme: Rain

Use the five early literacy practices; talking, singing, reading, playing and writing with these books and projects!

TALK about the books. Reading nonfiction helps kids learn specific vocabulary words. Talk about the words you don't know or look them up online or in the dictionary.

Get ready to WRITE by using fine motor skills in your craft project. Lay the pieces of tissue paper over an animal. Paint over them with water and watch them turn rainbow colors.

SING a song. Rhymes and singing are a great way to help kids learn early literacy lessons. Check out fingerplays, rhymes, and songs used in storytime here http://storytimeextras.blogspot.com/. Some great rhymes for a weather theme are Rain on the green grass; Little brown seed; Five little flowers

PLAY like an animal! Act out how different animals behave in the rain. You might even try going on a walk during or after a rainstorm and splashing in the puddles.

READ together! How many animals can you find in each story? Talk about what you see when you read together.

When rain falls by Melissa Stewart
Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld
Waiting out the storm by Joann Macken 
Boom! Boom! Boom! by Jamie Swenson
Rain by Linda Ashman

For more library events, new books, and more, check out our website at www.elkhorn.lib.wi.us, join us on Facebook, or talk to a librarian. Please let me know if you have suggestions or questions!

Jennifer Wharton, Youth Services Librarian
jwharton@elkhorn.lib.wi.us, 262-723-9143

Take Home Storytime: Frogs


  • Program goals
    • Pass on early literacy message and encourage families to continue early literacy at home
    • Encourage circulation and storytime attendance
    • Reach families who are unable to attend storytime
    • Notes
      • March 2020 (Storytime bundle)
    • Supplies
      • Brown paper lunchbag
      • Die cut paper circle (white)
Miss storytime? You can practice many of the early literacy concepts we use in storytime at home! Don't forget to sign up for text alerts so you can make it to the next storytime!

Theme: Frogs

Use the five early literacy practices; talking, singing, reading, playing and writing with these books and projects!

TALK about the books. Reading nonfiction helps kids learn specific vocabulary words. Talk about the words you don't know or look them up online or in the dictionary.

Get ready to WRITE by using fine motor skills to make an egg. You will need a piece of paper, tape, and drawing materials.

Color your "egg" (circle) and tape it to the paper on one side. Draw a picture underneath of what's inside the egg. Write a story on the back of what's hatching!

SING a song. "Five green and speckled frogs" is a classic Raffi tune. If you've never listened to Raffi, try some out! He's a classic children's musician with music ranging from the get-up-and-dance to the slow and sweet. Fun for the whole family to sing along!

PLAY like a frog! How far can you hop?

READ together! Did you know children's books have three times more rare words than conversation and 25% more than television? The more rare words a child knows, the easier it will be for them to learn to read when it's time for school and formal education. Read these stories about frogs together and learn some new words!

Ribbit by Rodrigo Folgueira
Frog Song by Brenda Guiberson
That's mine! by Michael Van Zeveren
I don't want to be a frog by Dev Petty

For more library events, new books, and more, check out our website at www.elkhorn.lib.wi.us, join us on Facebook, or talk to a librarian. Please let me know if you have suggestions or questions!

Jennifer Wharton, Youth Services Librarian
jwharton@elkhorn.lib.wi.us, 262-723-9143

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Bark with Biscuit


  • Program goals
    • We like dogs and I'm tired of the other themes I've been doing in March for a special program
Projects: Dog Treats
  • Staff in charge of this premixed the dough (pumpkin and peanut butter maybe?)
  • They brought in their own cookie cutters and used stuff in the community room kitchen
  • Small groups of kids went in to make the treats
Project: Dog toys
Project: Sewing dogs
  • Dog cut-outs (by hand from a horse pattern, will order a custom die-cut for the future)
  • 4 sewing machines
  • needles, thread, scissors
  • buttons, felt and flannel scraps, yarn
  • Batting scraps for stuffing
Project: Dog houses
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Heavy-duty scissors, regular scissors
  • Markers
  • Masking tape
  • Hot glue
Puppy ears
  • White, brown, and black construction paper
  • Glue stick, scissors, stapler, tape
Dog Parade
  • Die cut mini-dogs
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Markers
  • Tape
Other
  • Dog books, dog breed books
  • Biscuit coloring pages
  • Lakeland Animal Shelter
Evaluation