Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Public/School Librarian Blog - Coming Soon!

So I will admit, I have struggled with keeping this thing up-to-date. But it's always in the back of my mind.  I know I'm missing out on a great conversation that I could be having with all the other wonderful youth librarians out there - if only I just got with it!

You never know when the inspiration is going to hit. Well, it hit hard at the Public Library Association conference this past March in Indianapolis. I was very fortunate to have a travel and conference buddy, my friend Kate who is a middle school librarian. WOW, what an amazing time we had. First time EVER to a national conference. (Yes, I felt a little bit like Michael Scott at the office supply convention. *Office reference!*) Well, we have been INSPIRED to start up a new blog where we will team-blog! This way we can help each other stay on top of things and share the excitement together. We want to share and compare the worlds of public teen librarians and middle school librarians. So be on the lookout internet, coming this fall the Kate and Jennie awesome-teen-librarian-blog that will have a really catchy name! Coming soon.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

"A Murder at Rosamund's Gate" by Susanna Calkins

I have been waiting a long time for my cousin Susanna's book to be released, and I am finally writing my review! (Very overdue.) When I finished "A Murder at Rosamund's Gate" by Susanna Calkins, I did not want the thrilling storytelling to end. Susanna Calkins weaves a wonderful historical mystery set in 17th century London, where Lucy Campion, chambermaid turned sleuth, is trying to solve the murder of her dear friend Bessie. With fascinating historical detail, Susanna's talented storytelling makes Lucy's world come alive. You experience the harsh realities of life during this time period, including the onset of the plague and day-to-day hardships. Lucy, as a woman and a servant, takes real risks in trying to identify the murderer. She challenges her status in society, faces dangerous characters, and just barely escapes life threatening situations. Along her journey she develops a friendship with Adam (the magistrate's son, Masther Hargrave whom she serves) and they will often times consult each other on their findings, determined to bring the murderer to justice. With mystery, romance, and intrigue, Susanna Calkins first mystery novel will not disappoint. Looking forward to the second installment in the "Lucy Campion Mysteries" coming out in 2014!

It would also make a really fabulous book club discussion book! Susanna has a reading group guide right on her website:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Teen Summer Reading Programs 2013

Summer Reading is literally just around the corner, and I wanted to share what programs we have planned for teens this summer!

Teen Summer Reading Kick-Off Party
Friday, June 14th

*if the weather is nice for this, the program will be outside!

Teens can enjoy pizza, an ice cream sundae buffet, JUMBO lawn games including Jenga, Scrabble, Bowling, Pac Man, Bean Bag Toss, Dominoes and MORE! We will also tie-dye t-shirts (teens should bring their own), and there will be raffle prizes!

Introduction to Improvisation Workshop
Saturday, June 22nd

High School Students 9-12
The Second City Training Center offers school programs. I contacted them to see if they travel with their workshops, and we are so pleased that we were able to schedule one with them this summer! Teens can learn the fundamentals of improv as taught and practiced by the renowned comedy company The Second City from Chicago. Second City teaching artists will cover the concepts and skills of listening, stage presence, environment, and character through interactive exercises and games.

Zombie Party
June 19th - 1:00pm-3:00pm

Party zombie-style and enjoy brain food, moldy popcorn, blood punch, and other deathly delicious treats. There will be stations with zombie related activities, a photo booth and prizes for best dressed zombie!  Want to put the "thrill" in Thriller? Learn how to dance the Michael Jackson's Thriller, taught by UW-Stevens Point dance student, Kayla Dziak.

Get Steampunked!
June 26th - 1:00pm-3:00pm
Immerse yourself in the world of steampunk by creating your own steampunk top hat, aviator goggles and steampunk jewelry. Photo booth with 19th century props provided. Enjoy these activities while watching a movie, with Robert Downey Jr. playing the famous 19th century London detective!

Open Gaming
July 3rd - 1:00pm-2:30pm
Open play at the library with Wii, Xbox, PlayStation2, and many board games! Snacks and refreshments will be provided.

Cupcake Workshop with Amanda Cupcake
July 10th - 1:00pm-2:30pm

Learn how to make fabulously decorated cupcakes with Amanda Cupcake from New London! Each teen will decorate two cupcakes. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED! By phone or in person at the Adult Information Desk.

Painting in Action - Workshop
July 17th - 1:00pm-3:00pm

Do you like working big? Do you want to try making something creative and different? Try a workshop learning the techniques of the "Action Painters" and creating your own large paintings! Bring your creativity to the library and learn how to produce your own abstract large scale action painting, taught by Mary Schmitz, art teacher and painter form Minneapolis. She will help you find your creative side through paint and movement. REGISTRATION REQUIRED! By phone or in person at the Adult Information Desk.

Mondays in July - 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th

Beginner yoga sessions with certified yoga instruction, Heidi Goodreau!

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters @ Rogers Cinema
Private Movie Showing for McMillan Teens at our local movie theater
Tuesday, August 20th - 9:30am
Meet at Rogers Cinema
REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED at the library before the day of the program.
Registration includes small soda and popcorn.

Teen Job Fair - April 2013

I approached the head of our community's Boys and Girls Club Teen Center last fall to see if he would be interested in collaborating with us on offering a Teen Job Fair this spring. He agreed, and WOW, for the first time ever doing a program like this (and a very new program to our library) - what an amazing success it was!! We had over 200 people attend, 155 of those were teens (the rest were parents who came along). 155 TEENS.......... It was way MORE than anyone was expecting, and just enough to make this program the BEST THING EVER.

We held our Teen Job Fair on April 22nd from 5pm-7pm at the library in our All Purpose Room and overflowed into our commons area. Fourteen local businesses participated, many included fast food restaurants, but other businesses included: Shopko, UPS Store, Walgreens, Boys and Girls Club, Central Wisconsin State Fair, Golf Courses, Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (local baseball team), local Job Center, US Army and a CRANBERRY GROWER*! I will tell you, it took A LOT of calling to get 14 businesses. Many turned us down because they were not interested or did not hire under 18. It took a lot of persistence, and I was very, very pleased with the number we had.

*I have to say, I was very proud of recruiting that cranberry grower. Our community is in the middle of a very rural area and we had contacted a few agricultural businesses, but none hired anyone under 18. So I thought, come on! There's got to be somebody. I even had a parent ask if any farmers were coming because their family lived out in a rural area. So I contacted the Wisconsin Cranberry Growers Association - our area is HUGE for cranberries - and they put a shout out in their monthly newsletter that we were looking for participants. I received a phone call one day from a local cranberry grower (part owner of Ocean Spray!), who mainly hires his family but sometimes needs additional help, and he was willing to give our teens a chance. WAH-HOOOO!!!

Advertising: The Library advertised the event in both local papers the weekend before the event took place. We tabled at all of the high schools twice - once two weeks before, and another time the week before as a reminder. Of course advertised it within the library, on our website, etc. It was amazing the response we were getting. Getting calls from businesses interested in participating; getting calls from schools wanting to know if they could bring a bus load of kids (from our alternative high school!) Of course! YES!!! Bring them ALLLLLLL.

Most of the businesses participating were hiring. I encouraged those businesses that weren't hiring at the time to still come. This was also supposed to be a learning experience for the teens. For them to find out WHO in the community hires teens, experience what it's like to talk to a manager, ask questions about the kinds of positions they offer, what does the work usually entail, etc. Several of those businesses that I knew were not hiring when I called, came to the Job Fair with new positions that were open.

As teens entered the Job Fair, I had them sign in with 'name, school, grade.' I handed them a sheet of practice interview questions - with questions to ask the employers and questions employers may ask at an interview (I also provided the businesses with these questions, in case they wanted to use them on the teens.) The teens also received a Teen Job Fair survey to fill out and turn in at the end for a chance to win an iTunes gift card. Some of the teens even came dressed up! Dressed to impress. We also served refreshments - coffee, soda, water, cookies, popcorn (with our cool new movie popcorn machine!) I wanted to make it really fun and professional.

On the survey, I had teens comment on location, time, etc. Who were their favorite businesses, who would they have liked to see there, etc. How did they hear about it. (Some wrote  in "Mom" or "Friends" :-) ) Also any other comments, in which I got - "I REALLY appreciate that the library held this!"; "Such a great idea!""It was easy to access all the places."; "I would definitely come back if I don't get a job this time!"; "This was an excellent opportunity to gain knowledge about local businesses." and many more.

As the businesses left, I thanked them for coming, and they told me that they were so excited and amazed by how many teens came, that they didn't know what to expect! (Our other Youth Services Librarian was running around making copies of everyone's applications because they ran out!) They said - if you do this again, PLEASE let us know!! What a GREAT way to create a good relationship with local businesses, and if word gets out now - maybe more businesses will want to attend next time!

I am so proud of this program, and so happy that our teens took advantage of it! It's the least we can do to help them out and to make their life a little better. They are always looking for jobs, to make money and they need the experience. As their library we are here to serve them, and I am so happy to support them by providing quality services and resources - and to have fun in the process!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Teen Summer Reading 2013 "Beneath the Surface"??

So I really took some time today to look at and really brainstorm about the chosen theme for the teen summer reading program in 2013 - "Beneath the Surface". I'm having a hard time grasping what the theme and the provided illustrations are about. I usually use the theme provided and am able to be creative with it - but I'm finding this one very, very hard (considering maybe choosing my own theme?). I see in the poster art there is: a spaceship, futuristic world, flying horse, excalibur, fish, a helicopter, men reppelling from the bridge and a book with a woman emerging into the sparkly misty-ness.

So where to go from there? Space? Unicorns? King Arthur? Helicopters??? What to do?

So not sure I really like the chosen theme, I tried to consider other possible themes that could have some potential:
Some other options thought might be possible:

"Underground" - London Underground Theme (subways, mind the gap, etc.) Decorationg will be great, but where to take this with programming without everything being London related?? But maybe with more brainstorming, it could happen.

"Groundbreaking READS" - Using the adult summer reading theme, and turning into a teen-focused theme = ZOMBIES. Hand breaking from ground? ZOMBIES. Graves. Underground. Death. Bones. Underworld. Possibly could work?

"Spelunking/Caving" - Some sort of caving, rock climbing, earthy theme. Don't have a catchy name for it yet... I know there are traveling rock climbing walls....

Still brainstorming! I would love to hear other thoughts on the "teen theme" and if anyone else has any great teen ideas!!

Monday, October 15, 2012


Teen Read Week has arrived! With the announcement of the Teens' Top Ten winners (our library's winner was actually Fault in Our Stars!), that kicks off the week of great programs. As  mentioned in my previous post, our library is having a READ poster photo booth program tomorrow after school (and I'm making popcorn balls with candy corn!) and this Friday we will finish out the week with Live Clue and a Pizza Party.

To promote programs, I like to bring the festivity and celebration to the Young Adult area of the library. To spread the excitement and fun, I created some fun displays to celebrate Teen Read Week for the whole month of October. In addition to displays and fun in the library, I made several school visits last week to spread the word! I tabled at two community high schools during their lunch periods - talked to students, handed out flyers and bookmarks, and took my fabulous tabling display (picture below) on the road!

On Thursday, I spent the day at our junior high school where every English class came to visit me to find out about the library's Teen Read Week programs. They were all great visits, and they gave me a chance to meet more students!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Teen Read Week 2012

Here is our line-up of programs for Teen Read Week 2012:

Create and design a book cover for your favorite teen book! Submissions must be original and are due by
October 31st. All art will be displayed in the library for the month of November.
1st PRIZE: NOOK Color
2nd PRIZE: $75 iTunes Gift Card
3rd PRIZE: $25 Gift Card to McMillan Coffeehouse
Rules and guidelines are availabe in the Young Adult area for teens to take. We're also hoping to find art teachers who might be willing to be our volutneer judges!

Tuesday, October 16th
2:45pm - 4:00pm
Stop by the All Purpose Room anytime between 2:45pm and 4pm and have your photo taken with your favorite book to create your very own READ poster! Photos will be taken on this day. Posters will be printed and ready for pick-up by Thursday, October 25th.

(the ever popular Live Clue!)
Friday, October 19th
Play a LIVE version of the board game “Clue.” Travel from room to room in the library, accusing suspects and solving the mystery of the library murder! Dress up as your favorite Clue character or wear your Halloween costume! Costumes are not required. *SIGN-UP is required for this program!*

Friday, September 7, 2012

Teens' Top Ten Display

I've been at my new library a little over a month now, so just scraping the surface of my vision for the Young Adult area. Exploring what can be done now with what we have, freshening things up a bit, making it welcoming, attractive, offering displays that will pull the teens in! I put together a Teens' Top Ten Display to kick-off our Teen Read Week Celebration. During Teen Read Week we will announce our local winner as well as the national winner. More to come in another post about the programs we'll be offering for Teen Read Week/Month!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back-to-School Teen Program - Locker Accessories

So I've started at a new library this month. As I'm settling into things, I've been starting to brainstorm program ideas once again! For teens this September we are offering a back-to-school program after school on Thursday, Sept. 13th. We're making "locker accesories" that include a magazine roll frame and marble magnets.

How to Marble Magnets 
We will have images and paper available, but we are also encouraging teens to bring their own pictures if they would like to. 

Ideas for Recycled Magazine Decor
Once finished with the frame, we will attach magnets on the back so it can attach to their locker.

PINTEREST has been amazing resource of great programming ideas! Can't wait to use more!

We will also be serving SNACKS, which include "Cake Batter Popcorn" and other delicious treats! (Recipe also found on Pinterest!)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Literacy and the Great Outdoors

Just recently I heard about the "Read to Lead" initiative teaming up with the Wisconsin State Parks. They're offering a reading program for kids ages 5 to 9 years old, that encourages their participants to read nature titles (from a provided list) and to visit the state parks throughout Wisconsin.

I have a great appreciation for our state parks and immediately took to the idea of a literacy program that encourages families to use and support their state parks.

The Waupaca Public Library's "Story Walk" is another great example of literacy and the great outdoors. More information about this project can be found on the YSS blog.

For (WI libraries) free brochures, bookmarks, and materials for this program you can contact Carrie A. Morgan at the Wisconsin DNR Eek! Enivronment Education for Kids.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Twilight Tuesdays - Summer Reading 2012

I will be leaving the public library where I currently work in about 2 1/2 weeks... getting married, moving away, lots of exciting things going on. So before my departure, I have been planning all the summer fun that will take place after I'm gone.

We will continue to have our Tuesday programs - last year they were 'Travel Tuesdays' this year they are 'Twilight Tuesdays'. Tuesday programs consist of family programs with hired performers. I really made an effort to tie-in all the Tuesday programs into the summer reading theme (same as I did last year). Here's our Twilight Tuesday schedule for this summer:

Atwood Players, Good Night! Stories - June 19th
Based out of Brookfield, WI, the Atwood Players will perform tales from many cultures about sleepers, dreamers, and night explorers. Stories include: Coyote and the Porcupine, The Brave Little Tailor, and Rip Van Winkle.

Nature in the Parks: Welcome to the Night! - June 26th
Part of the Milwaukee County UW-Extension, "Nature in the Parks" is a program created for libraries, each year with a different theme to tie-in to summer reading. They will have an interactive telling of "Little Bat's Secret," a game of moonlight tag, and a variety of activities to allow children to discover our nighttime neighbors.

Sky Hunters: Night Owls - Schlitz Audubon Center - July 10th
The Schlitz Audubon Center, located in Milwaukee, offers a variety of bird programs, particularly raptors. I contacted them to see if they offered just an owl program, and luckily - they do! They will bring a variety of LIVE owls to their program, along with artifacts. Quality programming that children and their parents are sure to love!

Wehr Astronomical Society - July 17th
The Wehr Astronomical Society associated with the Wehr Nature Center located in Franklin, WI, has a volunteer-based program that will visit public libraries. A volunteer will be providing an educational program about the solar system and telescopes. Weather permitting, at the end of the program we will learn how to view the sun (safely) through a telescope.
Daniel and Sharon Peterson from "Incredible Bats" provide a program that  teaches children about bats and how beneficial these misunderstood creatures are to us and the world around us. They have a great website you can check out for more information and for pictures. LIVE fruit bats will also be present at this program.