Monthly Archives: November 2012

Thoughts on ‘Fourmile’

My thoughts on Fourmile by Watt Key: A boy must contend with the loss of his father, a failing farm and his mothers shady boyfriend. He finds help and friendship with a drifter (who has his own baggage). They boy and the drifter fix up the farm as his mother’s boyfriend’s faults shine through. Thus story ends in a dangerous and dramatic showdown that you’ll have to read to believe.

Thus book is a fast paced, well written tale with compelling characters. Key trusts middle grade readers with some tough topics–that I’m sure many will identify with. This is a great read for boys and reluctant readers in grades 5-8.


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App, Meet Storytime.

My library has been undergoing some construction that’s made our storytime space unavailable. After a month-long break from storytime, we’re back in business!

I put together a transportation storytime for this week (beep beep, vroom, etc.). I’ve been wanting to try out the use of a book app in storytime for a while…but I’ve been a bit of a chicken. Would I be mobbed by toddlers thirsty for screen time? Would they fight for turns to use the iPads? I’ve been thinking about a process for using the iPad and apps in storytime for a while (more on that below). This week I couldn’t resist using the app ‘Wheels on the Bus HD’, so I got brave and gave it a try.

I’ll admit that this isn’t the best book app ever. The later pages include silly things happening on the bus that I’m not a fan of (e.g. a fish bowl on the bus). But the first few pages are nice and have great interactive elements (moving the bus, operating the doors and wipers)–so I used the first few pages.

I saved the app for the end of storytime, just before the ‘Goodbye Song’–just in case things got nuts. I sat on the floor and the group gathered around. I told the kids that iPads are fun to play with, but let them know that I would operate it for storytime. I promised the group that I would leave it out for them to play with after storytime (based on the advice of a childcare specialist–kids are more at ease if they know the cool thing you have will be available to them later). iPads are also available for on-site checkout in our children’s room if caretakers want to give their kids more in-depth time with a device. They did as I asked, sang along, and had tons of fun!

I can’t wait to use another app with my storytime group!

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Ignorance is Bliss Until You’re The One Being Ignored

I had two great opportunities to think about non-users today. First I participated in the PLA webinar: The Elusive Library Non-User: How Can Libraries Find Out What Non-Users Want? Second, my library is undergoing a strategic planning process with the help of Sandra Nelson. I was privileged to take part in a staff orientation session with her where, among many topics, she discussed non-users.

The webinar I attended defines a library non-user as someone who hasn’t used the library in the last year. Non-users are also people who have never used their library or even folks who bring their kids to the library but don’t use resources for themselves.

Living in library land, it’s easy to overlook or underestimate this group of people. But they’re real. I could share my ideas to reach the non-user–but what’s more important is what I have to say once I have their attention.

In both the webinar and staff training I took part in today, it was made clear that many non-users don’t know what modern libraries do or offer. It’s not that people think, “I love spending money on video games that my kids may play twice– why would I want to check them it for free at the library?” No. Many non-users don’t know that lots of libraries lend stuff like video games (or DVDs, toys, Kindles). The notion of the library as a book museum ran by sushers has to be updated (Note: I know that some libraries are sadly still like this). Our imagery and messaging must reflect the diverse range of services and materials we now offer (and our friendly disposition). If non-users don’t see us for who we actually are (awesome, I think) they’re unlikely to take the leap and walk through the doors.

Sure, there are other reasons why people refrain from using the library–but we are information people. We can’t let people remain misinformed about what we do and who we are.

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