Apps in Storytime: 2014 Midwest Youth Services Unconference

Session Topic: Apps in Storytime

Session Facilitator: Sarah Bean

Session Recorder: Lisa Peters


Apps in storytime and apps in general

Any doing digital storytimes or apps in general

Preschool-Appiness (ages 3-5): Parents and children come together. Start with playing with crafts, etc., then non-passive screen-time giving iPads to parents to play with kids.

Each branch has an iPad: Digi-Tots 2:30 on Saturday about 5 kids at each one but hasn’t been as successful. *Didn’t know what “Digi-Tot” means* As long as incorporate digital aspect with storytime, it can be considered digi-tot.

Digi-Tot was totally digital: On Sarah’s blog. Second added a book component: Pigeon, Don’t Run this App. HDMI cable connects to the iPad and connects to the TV. Third time just used the iPad, did not work as well because children wanted to see it better. If the iPad is connected to the TV it works better. The projector on a cart was fairly cumbersome.

Allow a smaller group to each use

iPads as game stations

Aridan Books: Crayon Kiosk for iPads-put multiple apps on iPad: Timeout after 15 minutes-IT, Volume set

Two stools, Board mounted to side of endcap, the holder is mounted to that endcap. They do not have an outlet.

Curious Circus-Sounds from the Farm: Animal Sounds-Click the sound and then show the picture

Customers come with grandchildren. No screen time for below age 3 from AAP.

Apps not necessarily made for groups, more for one-on-one.

Doing workshops for parents, which would be more one-on-one.

App-visory (could be done at the end of storytime): Go down a list of apps for parents

Use app as a particular station

Little E-Lit or School Library Journal: Has great reviews for one-on-one or good for a classroom use.

“Bad” Apps:

  • Llama Llama Red Pajama
  • Press Here: **Not for storytime** Different Games-Would be good as gamestation
  • **Avoid in-app purchase apps**
  • Pete the Cat


  • Curious Circus-Sounds from the Farm: Animal Sounds-Click the sound and then show the picture
  • Singing Fingers
  • Mothergoose on the Loose
  • Smoothie Feltboard: Create own stories, take pictures, use camera roll to show the story **Less than $2.00
  • Mo Willems *$6.99*: Don’t let the Pigeon Run this App-Can let the kids use the microphone to record their voices. Can draw the pigeon with Mo.
  • Mo on the Go: Maybe not as good with storytime
  • The Very Cranky Bear-Story
  • PBS Apps
  • The Endless Alphabet
  • Drawing Stars
  • Count Down Rocket
  • Toka Boka, Monster Kitchen-Parental tips **$2-$3 highest apps**
  • Scratch Jr.
  • Fancy Nancy Dress-up**Not for storytime**
  • Rosemary Wells-Head Shoulders Knees and Toes
  • Moo, Baa, Lalala
  • Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley

Using Apps for tween/teens

Coding Apps

Do whatever feels right.

AAP usage limit-2 hours per day for younger

NPR: Digital Natives

Interaction component is really important for screentime.

Fred Rogers has good blog on screentime usage.

iPads great for music. iHome speaker or Beats Pill Speaker


Did you attend this session? Have something to add? Sound off in the comments below!


Minecraft: 2014 Midwest Youth Services Unconference

Session Topic: Minecraft

Session Facilitator: Alice M

Session Recorder: Cassie Fox


Minecraft Programs:

4th – 12th grade – IT dept. purchased user names to be used by groups

  • Buttons & fuse bead crafts
  • Technology problems interfere with fluidity & success of program – especially difficult when you do not have tech. staff present who can help

Monthly in adult computer lab – teen volunteers help (they have experience)

  • Program is for ages 8-12
  • In-house accounts for patron use

Minecraftedu launcher – one computer reserved for minecraft server

  • Teacher can set world that everyone connects to
  • Facebook group – Minecraft in Libraries

Minecraft Scavenger Hunt

  • Helps to acquaint kids with program – IT staff or teen created

Program Structure:

Minecraft Monday – use computer lab, dummy accounts, kids are encouraged to come with knowledge – 4//5th grade & sometimes middle schoolers, they can log in from home on external server (with IP address given by attending a program) – limited access to those who have been added – this helps kids to have a known group to play with and reassures parents of a safe environment

Monthly Program – sign-up ahead of time, they can come four times in a row and then space must be available for someone else to come, free play

Monthly Programs split into age groups – separate server for library use, doesn’t seem to do well with mods or additional maps

Tips & Extras:

  • Very popular – spots fill fast!
  • Food bribes not necessary
  • 4 – 5, 4:30 – 5:30 good times – they need the full time to use
  • Consider your space – near quiet areas can cause issues
  • Work closely with IT dept.
  • Consider after hours program
  • Minecraft can be played on the Raspberry Pi
  • It does not run as easily on WiFi
  • Encourages kids/teens to work together – lots of advice offered
  • Everything may not work smoothly – success comes with experience and preparation!
  • No teen volunteers? Troll computers for kids playing Minecraft and ask for their help
  • Option when World Crashes – use LAN Party (from minecraft website) – will be very basic


Did you attend this session? Do you have anything to add? Please do so in the comments!

Readers’ Advisory: Training & Strategies: 2014 Midwest Youth Services Unconference

Session Topic: Reader’s Advisory

Session Facilitator: Megan Barnes

Session Recorder: Lisa Ritter




*Resources: Goodreads, Novelist, Booklist, knowing your “advance search” feature in catalog


*Defining “reader advisory”-basically finding books for patrons of making suggestions for them when they make a request


-Try asking for hobbies, movies, games they play if they can’t give a genre they like to read.


Anne Perry read-alikes?  Mary Quinn series  “A Spy in the House”

-Genre stickers on binding help some to cut back on questions about what to read.  (ie. Mystery, humor, animals, graphic novels, etc…)


Novelist is a search engine for what to read.

-search by author, title, subject, series read-alikes, author read-alikes and for St. Charles City-County library links to their catalog.


Duncan Smith (Novelist) does reader advisory training.


Some libraries create lists and add to blogs.


Think about pathways that lead to a book: (characters, language, settings)

-a seminar with Nancy Pearl was mentioned


Working with co-workers to get to know the collection better and what to advise


Having to re-shelve books and weed.

TAB (teen advisory board) can help provide ideas for YA selections.

-“Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is an option that gets teens interested: wrap a book in paper so they can’t see the cover, only the inside synopsis

-some have a slip to fill out to do a review of the book


“Awesome box” at check out where books recommended by other patrons go to encourage others to read


Teen volunteers can be a huge help


Review New Arrival and Recent Arrivals

Passive ideas

Book Bundles: themed groupings of fiction and non-fiction books or a combination of book/audio

-Bundle together with paper, ribbon or yarn

-Some attach an age group, so do not.

Non-fiction section

-encourage browsing in non-fiction

-398 section ideas: fairy tale of the month display

-find out where your patrons are in their search or reading interest with regard to where to guide them; might need a more advanced search

-create new groupings on shelves “once upon a time” areas, “things that go”, “animal kingdom”, “people to know”, “early learning”, “abc’s & 123s” including both fiction and non-fiction

-makes it easy to browse but challenging to shelve


Did you attend this session? Have something to add? Sound off in the comments!

STEAM & Process Art: 2014 Midwest Youth Services Unconference

Session Topic: STEAM & Process Art

Session Facilitator: Shelley & Jennifer

Session Recorder: Maggie Melson


Process art or open-ended art.

  • Structure with a theme (if it helps you). “Yarn art” and have 3 different activities with yarn.
  • Frozen art (blogs of ice with salt/food coloring, frozen chalk, etc.)
  • They don’t always get to take things home with them.
  • Powdered tempura with baking soda to mix colors/watch fizz with vinegar.
  • MaryAnn F. Kohl Books – nice open ended art ideas.
  • Emphasize to parents that it’s NOT ABOUT MAKING A PRETTY PICTURE!
  • Slate tiles
  • Watercolors
  • Dripping liquid water colors onto a table covered with paper towels.
  • Maybe include a “free play” station with blocks – not all kids want to get messy. So blocks are a nice creative option.
  • Oatmeal canister, paper, chalk, then shake up your art!
  • Marble painting (use pizza boxes – get marbles back then close the lid to let it dry)
  • Remind parents that it’s okay that a kid doesn’t want to play or draw or “art” for longer than so many minutes. Another reason to set out blocks or toys (but maybe wait for a few minutes to get the toys out)
  • Karissa Christner (sp?) “Library Makers” blog – toddler art class
  • Paint dobbers and big paper and let parents cut out their kids art spot!
  • Scribble party!









Challenges of STEAM:

  • Cost so some cheaper ideas:
    • Broken computers? Use parts from the computer to create something else. And the act of taking it apart, is interesting.
    • “Invention art” or “Invention box” or a group of kids and give them just some standard stuff (newspaper, paper clips, whatever, and see what structures they can make, etc.)
    • Technology: stop motion animation, light photography,
    • Math – art projects you can do that involve a lot of math
    • Also look for groups in your community who might have interest in working with you – will help combat cost, potentially. Nice partnership.
    • Natural things you find outside.
    • Gardening programs or outside programs.
    • To combat cost: if planning ahead ask library patrons for donations!

STEAM Ideas:

  • Soft circuits (use different things that will conduct electricity and discuss why some things work and some don’t)
  • MaKey MaKeys (“fun” equivalent of a keyboard) in use with “Scratch” to introduce kids to simple programming.
  • Duct tape light up wallets – google search it. Remember that LED lights also have a positive and negative side as well as the batteries. (But a little expensive) Still, available for less money on Amazon. Aluminum tape, copper tape, duct tape, LED lights, and batteries.
  • Inventor boxes – Dollar Tree electric toothbrushes that can be taken apart and then let the kids tear it apart and use the battery to make robots.
  • STEAM station: discovery bottles with pipe cleaners and magnets, static electricity bottle, anatomy table (make your own lung), ramps out of cut up pool noodle and marbles, etc.
  • Rube Goldberg machine. (good PR to record/post online)
  • Book dominoes (after hours) (good PR to record/post online) Maybe a tough sell originally but teens had a huge time.
  • Cabbage juice is an indicator – (blend with water then strain it). Dip paper towels into cabbage juice then once dry give to kids. Allow kids to drop, with eye droppers, different liquids to show how color changes.
  • Elephant toothpaste (google it). You’ll need special peroxide – not just store kind. Go to beauty supply store. Higher percentage the better.
  • Lava lamps – water, oil, liquid food coloring, alka seltzer.
  • Ice sculptures – ice, salt, food coloring or liquid water color (frozen ice in muffin pans)
  • Sidewalk chalk things: ice chalk and other chalk “recipes” – search on Pinterest.
  • Straight line art (Seripinski triangle)
  • Tangrams, tessellations, etc.
  • Just including/having the kids count/measure anything when you are mixing/requiring scooping things.
  • Measuring things but also finding something else that is comparable length/size (helps them interact with environment and problem solve)
  • Graphs with younger ones – chart paper and then do a column with stickers (let the kids put the sticker on for which fruit they like the most, etc.)
  • “Which one of these things is alive?” as a passive program.
  • Measure kids, have them sort who is tallest – nice for big groups with variety of ages
  • Bedtime Math (google it)
  • Yarn to show bird measurements (humming bird width vs. eagle)
  • Curiosity lab: passive program. Sort buttons, simple activities on a table in the children’s area.


  • Demo and hands-on mix is usually the best. Or go back and forth to help calm them down a bit.
  • Shared activities – helps keep cost down and also gets the kids to work together
  • Know your people – make it longer if they are there to chat with you or each other early on.


  • “Superheroes School” by Reynolds is a good math book (school age level),
  • “Bean 13”
  • “Lion’s Share”
  • “How Big is It?”
  • “Aviary Wonders” – build a bird


Did you attend this session? Is there anything you want to add? Do so in the comments!

Partnerships! Schools, the Community, and Beyond: 2014 Midwest Youth Services Unconference

Session Topic: Partnerships between Schools, Communities and Beyond

Session Facilitator: Marilyn Phillips

Session Recorder: Megan Barnes


  • ID topics
    • RE: Partnerships – partner with Wolfner Braille/Talking Book library
      • Wolfner can provide
        • Demo site for talking book layer for BARD (online audio/downloadable braille)
        • Wolfner serves physical disabilities RE: reading or specific reading disorders
  • Schools
    • Who has trouble getting into schools?
      • (Republic, MO) could not get into the high school
        • Solved by going to superintendent to allow library in
      • Private school experience
        • Couldn’t get in during year
        • Used Nov. event (they were requested to do a storytime) as a way to get in to promote SRP (summer reading program)
    • Survey by hands of who goes to elementary, middle, high schools
      • High School activities
        • (Pattonville School District) Talk to the librarian, who talks to principal and sets up books during lunchtime/open house. Passes things out
        • Back to school events (set up tables, etc.)
    • Schools in General
      • Find a great point person who can help facilitate different coordinators (one has experience being introduced to an ELL coordinator)
      • Looked up staff development and worked with library staff during development
      • (St. Charles City) Library is invited to the annual health fair. Great way to get in during special events.
      • Find a contact who will distribute/post library posters within the school
      • Ask for 5 minutes at the new teacher orientation
      • Use Google forms instead of print and fill out forms to schedule create special collaborations.
      • Find a way to make the teacher/school librarian’s job easier
      • Find a way to get local library cards to teachers who may not be able to get a card with your system. (This system also waives teacher fines.)
      • Become a provider of continuing education credits
      • Conversation about how to handle school groups that visit the library as a school activity
        • What are best practices for checking out (is it the student’s card, the teacher’s, etc)
        • Do you limit how many books the kids can check out
        • What about schools that don’t have a library?
        • Does anybody offer a “library basics” training for teachers who are bringing groups to the library?
          • Give a best practices speech about expectations about using own card, taking care of books, what to do with books you don’t want to check out after all
  • Community Partnerships
    • Attend meetings at chamber of commerce
    • Can help get sponsorship for SRP
    • Partner with Head Start
      • One org. partnered with Head Start and created an early learning activity center in the library. HS is funding furniture and some of the EL toys.
    • Regional Collaboration Meetings through Childcare Aware
      • Meeting come up in November
    • Parents as Teachers
  • Successes with parents coming with daycare visits?
    • Stickers with “I visited the library today” for kids who have visited
    • Newsletter for teachers for daycare visit days
      • Talks about what was done during storytime
      • Talks about early literacy activities
      • Upcoming events at the library
  • Waive Damaged Books from preschool(s)?
    • Only from board books
    • Collaborate with middle/high schools to display art from the students
    • Student art is displayed, during same month teachers come in and lead story time at the library
    • Arts organizations for youth aside from the school art departments
    • Humane Society
    • Read to the Dogs/Tail Wagging Tutors Dog Show
    • MO Humanities Council
      • Bonus: May have grants!
      • Probably one for IL, too
    • Zoo
      • Animals do paintings (display in the library!)
    • Lit in the Lou


Did you attend this session? Have something to add? Share it in the comments below!

Guerrilla Storytime @ 2014 Midwest Youth Services Unconference

Guerrilla storytime is part training, part advocacy. Challenges are drawn or posed by attendees, and everyone chimes in to share their expertise from being a storytime practitioner. For more on the Guerrilla Storytime method, see the Storytime Underground.

One of your storytime kids is being very disruptive. What do you do?

  • Refer kids to a rug to refocus them
  • Tell the storytelling kid to “whisper it in your hand, put it in your pocket so you can save it to tell me later”
  • Miss Sarah’s Reading Crown—when the crown is on, kids know it’s time to sit on pockets, listen with ears, think with our minds, and only talk when Miss Sarah asks a question
  • Do something unexpected! Catch them off guard
  • Have spare books on hand for individual perusal, as a distraction
  • Sometimes, you just have to have a conversation with the parent/caregiver. Make reasonable accomodations. If a kid can’t deal with the whole program, invite them to come just for the end.
  • Remind kids and parents that if they need to take a break, they can take a walk in the library then come back.
  • Name the child specifically and ask them to save it for later.

How do you handle the chatting parents in the back of storytime? Disruptive parents (cell phones, etc.)

  • Set the tone for the program at the beginning. Start with a song and make it clear that adults are expected to sing along and be engaged throughout.
  • Make a joke to get involvement—“Parents, I need someone who can help me carry a tune.”
  • Do you use listening dust to quiet kids? Make a joke about sprinkling listening dust on the parents.
  • When you stop to tell kids to save stories for later, ask parents to save their talking for later, too.
  • Have a one-on-one conversation to emphasize that talking in the back is disruptive.
  • State your expectations in your introductory material. “If you have an emergency phone call, please feel free to take it outside. If grownups have the wiggles, the kids can take them outside for a break.”
  • Only provide chairs for people who physically need them; make the default room setup one that tacitly forces caregivers to engage.

Favorite Fingerplays & Motion Songs

  • “Wheels on the Bus”
  • Long version of “Open Them, Shut Them” — a great way to engage, especially if you use a song each storytime because kids are excited and know how it goes
    • Open Them, Close Them, Open them, close them / Give your hands a clap / Open them, close them, open them, close them / Now put them in your lap / Creep them crawl them up to your chin / Open up your mouth but do not let them in / Open them close them / To your shoulders they fly / And like little birdies they fly high up in the sky”
  • ASL “Five Little Monkeys”
  • “Clap clap clap your hands / Slowly as you can / Clap clap clap your hands / Quickly as you can” – repeat with “Shake your hands,” “Roll your head”
  • Tommy Thumb: “Tommy Thumb is up, Tommy Thumb is down, Tommy Thumb is dancing all around town. He’s dancing on your head
  • 10 Fat Sausages: “Ten fat sausages sizzling in a pan. One went TKTK (hands clap) and the other went BAM! (hands on bottom)” Count down by twos
  • The Crocodile Song: There was a crocodile (chomping motion with arms) / An orangutan (monkey action) / A flying eagle flying (flap arms) / And a silvery fish / A bunny (make rabbit ears) / A beaver (make beaver teeth) / A crazy elephant! (make elephant trunk ) / Da na na na na, da na na na na! (swinging dancing action)

How do you incorporate print awareness into your storytimes?

  • Nametags! Explain to parents that they help kids get practice writing their names, or watching caregivers write their names
  • “BINGO” song variations for letter recognition
  • Have giant post-it notes with the words written on them—helps caregivers know words, also provides opportunity to tell kids that the notes have the words on them
  • Sing the ABCs forward and backwards and point out letters by doing it slowly

Closing songs:

  • “Goodbye, babies. Goodbye babies. Goodbye babies, It’s time to say goodbye.” And then quickly tie in upcoming events
  • “Our hands say thank you with a clap clap clap / Our feet say thank you with a tap tap tap / Clap clap clap / Tap tap tap / Thank you, everyone!”
  • Do versions of “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear” to suit your theme (Batman, etc.), then give craft instructions and have the kids help you count attendees together (number awareness)

New and Go-To Books & More: 2014 Midwest Youth Services Unconference

Session Topic: New & Go To Books

Session Facilitator: Karen Young

Session Recorder: Amy Held


2014 Favorites

  • Naked – Michael Ian Black (picture book)
  • Boys of Blur – MD Wilson (chapter book – football, adventure, quest, swamps, zombies, Beowulf)
  • Sisters – Raina Telgemeier (companion to Smile – graphic novel, good with boys & reluctant readers)
  • Say What You Will – Kami McGovern (boy w/ OCD, Eleanor Park meets Fault in Our Stars, teen)
  • Brown Girl Dreaming – Jacqueline Woodson (verse)
  • Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell (teen, fan fiction)
  • Don’t Play with Your Food – Bob Shea (picture book, monster tricked by bunnies)
  • This Is NOT a Good Idea – Mo Willems (picture book, unexpected perspective)
  • Run Dog – Cecile Boyer (mostly pictures, minimal words, flaps, good in story time)
  • Crossover – Kwame Alexander (6th-8th middle school, verse, basketball, twins, concrete poetry)
  • Through the Woods – Emily Carroll (creepy graphics, started as web)

Where to Find New Books

  • YA Lit
  • Kirkus
  • Amazon Coming Soon
  • Early Word  – email every Friday
  • Sarah Bean Thompson’s blog –
  • Publisher Facebook pages
  • AudioFile
  • Wowrary – St. Louis County sends out newsletter every weekend of new kids / teen items
  • Blogs – read and see what they are reading
  • Goodreads – mock Newbery, mock Caldecott, mock Printz, new teen fiction, etc
  • Hornbook and School Library Journal do mock Newbury blogs in October
  • Publisher’s Weekly kids blog does a list of all starred books about every 6 months – Shelf Talker
  • Stalk authors and see what they are reading

Series Titles

  • Lockwood & Co – Jonathan Stroud (readalike for Harry Potter, fantasy, 2 books so far, 5th-9th grade)
  • Under the Never Sky – Veronica Roth (teen)
  • Testing series– readalike for Hunger Games
  • Selection series
  • Star Wars Jedi Academy – Jeff Brown (Wimpy Kid readalikes)
  • Origami Yoda – Tm Angleberger (Wimpy Kids readalikes)
  • Heidi Heckelbeck (early chapter book series)
  • Story Time Underground & Left Bank Books are doing booklists that might help with the events occurring in Ferguson


  • Odyssey Award & AudioFile good resources
  • ALA Notables – Amazing Audios
  • Cinder series – Marissa Meyer
  • Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, BFG – 2013 editions narrated by British actors
  • 39 Clues – good for younger kids also
  • Cam Jansen and Magic Tree House – good for younger kids
  • Junie B Jones – some families like
  • True Blue Scouts of Sugar Swamp
  • Frankenstein – has background noise
  • Boundless – Kenneth Oppel
  • Audible is good resource for finding out narrators
  • Noggin – John Corey Whaley
  • Dream Thieves – Maggie Stiefvater

Children’s Music

  • iTunes
  • Spotify
  • Pandora
  • Casper Baby Pants – childrens musician
  • Ralph’s World – childrens music parents don’t hate
  • Justin Roberts  & Not Ready for Naptime
  • Jiggle Jam in Kansas City – two day kids concert festival
  • Boogers – nursery rhymes
  • Mother Goose Rocks – nursery rhymes in rock
  • Use soundtracks for older kids programs – Hunger Games, Divergent

Graphic Novels

  • Umbrella Academy – Gerard Way (graphic novel, superheros, teen)
  • Fruits Basket – Natsuki Takaya
  • High School Ouran Club
  • James Patterson book graphic novels
  • Zita the Spacegirl – younger
  • Amulet series – younger
  • Binky the Space Cat – younger
  • Cleopatra in Space – younger
  • Holmestuck – online graphic novels
  • Gunnerkrigg Court – teens
  • Vinland Saga – teens
  • Dragonball Z
  • Minecraft Books – strategy books but have some stories for younger kids


  • Chasing Lincoln’s Killer
  • Can You Survive series
  • Who Was series (biographies) – When Was new series

Thinking Electronic

  • Ebooks
  • Tumblebooks – great for picture books


  • 8-10 books for 40 minute segment – try to read a segment as teaser – sometimes monthly sometimes one time – 3rd grade up
  • Show book trailers
  • Do booktalks before every program – new books, what reading now, related topics
  • St. Louis County Library pinterest page – has genre lists for teens


Did you attend this session? Have anything to add? Do so in the comments below.

School-Age Programs: 2014 Midwest Youth Services Unconference

Session Topic:School-Age Programs

Session Facilitator: Deidre Winterhalter

Session Recorder: Laura Polak

  • Questions
    • Best program? Worst program?
    • Age groups divisions?
  • Mad Library Lab
    • Halloween(ish) theme—annual event
    • Gross science
      • Burping monsters
        • Water bottles, play dough, collage
        • Add baking soda, food coloring and vinegar to make vomit
      • Fake Blood
    • Four experiments per program
    • 1st-5th grade
    • Limit to 25
    • Do experiments together rather than stations
    • 1 hour
    • Simple take-home activities
      • Levitating ghosts with balloons and tissue paper – static electricity
  • Steve Spangler
    • Great social activity
  • Egg-speriments
    • Rubber egg – not hands-on enough
    • Wrap egg in plastic wrap and won’t break
  • Tea Party
    • Themes – Japanese, Victorian, Fancy Nancy,
    • Use real teapots/tea sets
    • Presenters to tie into theme
    • Activities to tie into theme
  • Stuffed Animal Sleepover
    • Standalone program
      • Sleepytime stories
      • Tuck animals under parachute
      • Twinkle twinkle and wave goodbye to animals
      • 1 hour taking pictures, make slide show
      • Viewing of slide show and pickup next day
      • March every year
    • In storytime
      • Drop off animals day before and view slide show during storytime
    • Bring backup animal or second favorite stuffed animal
    • Hinsdale Public Library
      • Various stations for animals to go through
      • Take pictures of animals at every station
      • Kids come back and make scrapbook of pictures as craft
      • Very labor intensive
  • LEGO celebration
    • LEGO art show
    • Bring your own LEGO creation to show
    • LEGO Jeopardy
    • Bag of LEGOS to take home
    • LEGO challenges – build tallest tower, etc.
  • Scavenger Hunt
    • Use deleted books—find page in deleted book that tells what to do next
    • Tell something to librarian for next clue
    • Ages 8 and up
    • 4 minutes
    • Notebooks as scavenger hunt kit
      • Some clues in notebook – scan something for next clue
    • Find librarian with a certain nametag
  • Star Wars
  • 501st Legion come out for free
  • Winter Olympics
    • Minor league hockey team
    • Biathalon – scoot on cardboard sheet, shoot at target with nerf guns
  • Recycled materials program
    • Craft Cleanup
    • Recycled Treasures
    • Mystery bag of recycled materials
    • I Spy bottle
      • Put things in plastic bottle and fill with sand, rice, clear hair gel
      • Write poem to go along with
  • LEGOs
    • Drop-in creation, no prep
    • Expensive initial investment
    • Display until next program
    • Mystery bags
      • LEGOS in lunchbag
      • Build to theme with items in bag in a certain time
  • Doll Crafts
    • For American Girl dolls, stuffed animals
    • Scarves, ponchos, aprons, sleep mask, bracelet with cut down cardboard tube
    • Use craft foam, fleece
  • Programs in Schools
    • Choose one grade per year and bring one program to school
    • Boys and Girls club
    • Mini Mysteries
      • Scripts kids read to solve mystery
    • Spy Gadgets
      • Rubber band codes
    • Free hour of teachers
    • Paper bag puppets
    • Catapults with popsicle sticks
    • Candy Experiments
  • Candy Experiments by Loralee Leavitt and website
    • Zotts candy – sour candy with baking soda
  • How to get attention of group
    • If you’re not looking at me, we can’t continue.  Look at me so I know you’re ready to go.
    • 1, 2, 3, eyes on me. 1, 2 eyes on you.
    • Clapping call and response
    • Do what the teacher does if outreach
    • Give outline of program so children know what to expect
    • If you can hear me, touch your nose
    • Match me (point to body part)
    • Turn off lights – works well for older elementary
  • Failures
    • Sewing
      • Make scarves with an edge
      • Kids didn’t know what to do, parents took over
      • How to make better
        • Show with document camera
        • Keep parents out so they won’t take over program
    • Astronomy photo slideshow
      • Complex descriptions of photos
      • Didn’t prepare ahead of time and wasn’t able to unpack complexities for audience
    • Not able to scaffold programs for multiple ages
  • What to do if your program is going downhill
    • Heads Up Seven Up
    • Use something your audience knows and likes
    • Freeze Dance
  • Button Factory Song
    • Ask for help
    • Ask kids what else they could use materials for if need to extend an activity
  • Pendulum painting
  • How to divide ages
    • 3-6, 7-11, 12-18
    • Grade level
    • Stick to age or grade even if every kid is “gifted”; tell parents social/emotional environment is appropriate for a certain age even if child is able to do activities


Did you attend this session? Have anything to contribute? Add it in the comments!

Baby/Toddler Storytimes: 2014 Midwest Youth Services Unconference

Session Topic: Baby & Toddler Storytimes

Session Facilitator: Karen Moore from Brentwood
Session Recorder: Mia Baine from Thornhill


Why come to this session?

I only do baby time; I am looking for clues for toddlers, for Mom.
Inclusions of toddlers:
Moms are Moms, how do you handle them.
I do 9 mo to 2 yrs. Repetition, is the same, kids will let you know if something is out of the norm.

Moms love to get together, especially with the toy time.

Everyone combines toddlers with babies, but that gets frustrating. Toddlers get too much.

Every week gives a regular schedule.

Free play is a time to get to get your child to learn social skills, and social free skills.

Parents getting a place to connect with other parents, it’s a relief.

Shadow special needs.

What does your lap time entail?

Hello everybody, a lot of signing books, a lot of binger plays, a lot of bounces, grand old duke of York, clap it, bari Coral …rock and roll garden cd. Love it., puppets, not as much flannels.

Bring out a lot of books, blocks, toys

Talk to parents about toys they can make quickly and then use and then throw away.

Have you seen improvement in numbers with more programs added.

What kind of toys do you use?

We love Lakeshore.


Imaginarium Texued Blocks 60 piece blocks got from amazon or Toys R Us

Make little cards each month, have a theme each month, each parent will add that to their hook, its laminated, a child can teeth on it and its ok.

Tips of the Trade

Don’t ever take anything personally, but always validate, and thank parents.

White board or projector to allow parents to know what’s going on, for you to sing along.

Actions are different for toddlers and babies. Explaining to parents whats going on, But not being preachy.

Vocabulary, get that vocabulary in.

Old school books are good, don’t forget about them, who is going to introduce them if you don’t.

There are lot of kids that don’t have good exposure.

Give them an idea when they can do these things out side out of lap time.

How do you do your lap time?

Structure is so important, they respond to that.

SLCL rhythm and rhymes page…great ideas.

Go to another library and shadow someone, go see Mary Carol Scarmana…she is incredible.

Do songs and finger plays do you do them 1 or 2? We do that 2.

Infant to 6 in one room…implement literacy for all ages, everyone knows whats going on and whats next. We have an early literacy specialist Stephanie Smallwood…good information on website.


Did you attend this session? Have something to add? Sound off in the comments below!

Early Literacy and Music & Movement Storytimes: 2014 Midwest Youth Services Unconference

Session Topic: Music & Movement; Early Literacy

Session Facilitator: Sarah Bean-Thompson
Session Recorder: Cassie Fox

Discussion Topics: Music & Movement Idea Share, Incorporating Early Literacy Tips, Storytime Competency, Music & Movement Formats

Music & Movement

Laura – Once a month, all ages (mostly 4 and under) – read a book then dance out story – now start off with familiar songs, move into action songs – split between singing & listening movement songs – Down By The Bay – Kids Club has good flannel board patterns – brings out props at the end for free play – might include instruments – monthly prog.

Instruments: bells and shakers more than anything, also rhythm sticks
Scarf Use – Check Goodwill or thrift stores for inexpensive options, bandanas do not work as well for movement, crepe paper for alternative use, shower curtain rings + table cloths, purchase fabric and cut up for scarves.

Sarah – attended music training in summer – recommended ORFF & Kodai – go over expectations before use, such as showing rhythm stick use before instruments are brought out
Show rest position for rhythm sticks, position for preparing to play, and how to tap rhythms on sticks (proper positions and use for control in environment)

Gina – Movers & Shakers prog. For ages 1 & 2 – has had as many as 80 people – encourages parent-child interaction – singing & dancing, then parachute (recommends making sure you order the right size of parachute) – play & chat time at the end – the large number for this weekly program has not been an issue
Introduces the importance of parents interacting with children at the beg. Of storytime and that there will be a great time at the end to chat with other parents.

Sarah – Bibliobop monthly storytime

  • introduces herself as Library DJ
  • Rules: 1. boundaries for dance 2. Parents have to dance too. 3. Have fun!
  • To help get parents involved: “Okay kids, turn to your big person and ask them to dance with you!”
  • Attudetah? – great for getting parent involvement
  • “Happy” from Despicable Me 2
  • “Let it Go” with parachute

Song Recommendations (and movement sources):

  • Eric Lipton
  • Laurie Berkner
  • Casper Babypants
  • Patty Shuklah
  • Bari Koral – bee song w/scarves as the bee
  • Zie Avi – great lullabies for parachutes
  • Bean Bag Bop
  • Hap Palmer – song with freeze action
  • Ralph’s World
  • Swing Set – jazzy
  • Maria’s Movers – blog
  • Jbrary – blog and Youtube


  • Quite song to move them back into a circle
  • Transition song to move kids to the next activity – “It’s time to put our toys away, toys away, toys away. It’s time to put our toys away…”

Tips & Tricks:

  • You Get What You Get and Don’t Throw a Fit
  • Give adults shakers too
  • Use adults as volunteers

Melody – “Time for Twos” prog. – likes to use instruments in the middle to break up activities – tapping while reading a story with sand blocks – has them work create rhythms – bells, shakers, coffee can drums to walk around/march with, rubber band guitars – alternates instruments – bells twisted on pipe cleaners

Books to use in Movement & Music Programs:

  • Juba This & Juba That
  • Two Sticks
  • Baby’s Got the Blues
  • Pete the Cat
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear to “Twinkle, Twinkle”
  • I’ve Got the Rhythm


Early Literacy Tips

  • Natasha – “Very Ready Readers” prog. – music, cd, and handouts for parents – literacy tips provided
    Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy
  • “We sing, singing slows down speech.” – Melody
  • “When we sing, kids hear words in a new way” – Sarah (Sarah’s district did a conference on tips like this that she can share.)
  • Gina – holds book upside down sometimes so that kids have to correct her.
  • Early Literacy Calendars in St. Louis County – separate monthly calendars for birth-age 2 and preschool – available on website,
  • Finding ways to communicate “why” these activities are important
  • Talk to the parents at the end
  • Be enthusiastic when talking to everyone – pull kids and adults in alike
  • “Did you know that…?”
  • Ruth – “To the adults who brought our youngest patrons in today, thank you so much for instilling a love of language in our little people. This will help them to love books and reading. ”


Did you attend this session? Have thoughts to share? Add them in the comments!