#BookReview: The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

#BookReview: The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

The Seventh WishThe Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

middle grade

A school uninvited Kate Messner from an author visit because her latest book, The Seventh Wish, deals with substance abuse. My father is an addict. I felt all of the fear, anger, and disappointment that Charlie feels when her sister’s heroin addiction starts to tear their family apart. Rebecca Stead meets Wonderfalls, this book uses magic to deal with a very real and common problem. Kids need access to this book.

View all my reviews

Pokémon Go: What You Need To Know

Pokémon Go: What You Need To Know

Has your library caught the fever that is Pokémon Go? This phenomenon is catching fast and is getting people out and engaged in their communities. There are many ways that libraries can harness this power for good for their patrons!

Thomas Findley, Adult Services Manager at the Frisco Public Library, gave me permission to share their planning around Pokémon Go:

We here in Frisco are furiously putting together a “flash” social media
campaign to talk about it (as well as the information literacy aspects about
it), but really, it is just in support of bringing players into the library.

We are a pokemon “gym” where people can battle against each other.

The social media campaign for the next two days will be to drum up the
conversation about the library and pokemon go; then, starting on Thursday,
something different will take place: we will be releasing “lures” into the
library for anyone to come by and use. These lures only last for about 30
mins and so we will be setting them off three times a day, starting @ 1pm,
then @ 2:30pm, then the last one @ 4pm.

We will then set off a bundle of them before one of our Basic 3D design
classes on Thursday evening.

We will continue this across the weekend and try to get folks to share
themselves in the library using twitter/Instagram/hashtags.

Our social media team snapped into  action yesterday and here is a quote
from one of their organizing emails from our very own Library Assistant,
Britney Cossey: “If you play Pokemon Go, please try to take some photos from
around the library in fun places (ex. maybe catch a character on a book shelf
or on a One Stop). One of the things that is making this game so popular
(besides it being Pokemon) is that it is so interactive with the real world.
If we could find fun ways to show the characters in our library or on the
square, the better I think the posts will do. If you can get a photo of a
rare or popular character, even better! Also, we’re wanting to use a hashtag
for people to share posts and photos of what they catch, where they catch
them, and their experience of playing the game around the library.”

Combing the viral popularity of this game, a fun  way to share about careful
info lit practices, and engaging a very interesting demographic about the
library as a place to come  to and be, will be fun to see how this fans out
and inspires other things in the staff and users of this library.

Hold onto your hats people (or poke balls)!!!!!


Thomas Finley
Adult Services Manager

The info lit practices Thomas speaks of are the concern over access to personal information on the device. The Skokie Public Library is giving patrons a tour of several nearby PokéStops and talking about neighborhood landmarks. Each of their sessions begins talking about digital and physical safety. The City of Round Rock posted these safety tips on Facebook recently:


This School Library Journal post sums up quite nicely what librarians need to know before getting in the game.

Y’all Means All: Inclusion in our Public Libraries

Y’all Means All: Inclusion in our Public Libraries

[This newsletter article is from the July issue of the Connecting Texas Libraries Statewide monthly newsletter. You can sign up for that here.]

Y’all Means All

Though June was  LGBT Pride Month and we were able to celebrate the location of the Stonewall Uprising becoming designated as a National Monument, therecent incident at an Orlando nightclub reminds us that inclusion is one of the most important services that we can provide as libraries. How can we make sure that all of our patrons feel welcomed? ALA’s Annual Conference took place in Orlando weeks after the incident and they had a host of support events organized. Here is a roundup of PRIDE book displays from libraries and bookstores all over the world. What are you doing towards inclusion in your community? What more can we be doing?

Libraries and Autism

There is currently a push for England’s around 3,000 public libraries to become more welcoming spaces for people with autism. They are creating a network of autism-friendly libraries, educating staff about Autism Spectrum Disorder so that they can be more tolerant and understanding, and creating spaces for them to feel comfortable and welcome.

On our side of the pond, two libraries in New Jersey have put together this wonderful site of resources including decals letting your patrons know you are mindful of their needs, a brief training video for staff on providing customer service to those in the autism community, and this non-verbal communication tool. They also offer a $5,000 grant for those that are looking to create new programming or enhance current programming to benefit people with autism and their families. They are accepting applications for the 2017 grant starting September 1st.

And right here in Texas, our very own Cedar Park Public Library recently received an award from Autism Speaks for their Sensory Storytime. They were awarded $550 to purchase supplies including magnetic storyboards, musical shakers, carper circles, and weighted lap pads among other items. Youth Services Manager Kit Coates provided me with a brief description of their program: “Sensory Storytime is a Library story time specifically designed for children on the autism spectrum. It was developed to address the need in the community for a story time for this specific population and began in the fall of 2014. Held once a month, the story time is a chance for children on the autism spectrum to experience story time in an environment that is aware of and responsive to their needs. Adaptations to the traditional story time format are made to account for the needs and wants of children on the spectrum. The staff member responsible for the program received training in providing story times to children with autism, and has
further researched best practices in other libraries. The story time is approximately one hour in length, and closely follows a posted schedule so children are aware of what will occur. Sensory Storytime includes books, songs, fingerplays, and flannel boards proven to be engaging and meaningful for autistic children. The story time also includes sensory activities involving water, sand, rice, and other materials. All the books, songs, and activities are carefully researched and purposefully selected with the needs of the children in mind. They have participants register in advance, and this past fiscal year have had between 6-8 children and about the same number of adults at each story time, which has been a perfect size for this group. You can learn even more about their program by checking out their blog.

If you already have programming, make sure it is posted where special needs families can see. Here in Central Texas, the Autism Society lists local events so that families only need look in one place to find events and programming to fit all of their needs.

Please share with us what you are doing to make your library inclusive to all! Simply by sharing you can inspire someone else to do the same in their community. Write to me or share on our discussion list. And thank you for all that you do!

YouthShare Series

I am hoping to have a series of YouthShare sessions in FY2017 because it has been awhile since we have had these. I put together this quick survey to get some feedback and gauge interest. These and other workshops are for you and we value your input. Thank you!


#PictureBook Review: Gigantosaurus by Jonny Duddle

#PictureBook Review: Gigantosaurus by Jonny Duddle

GigantosaurusGigantosaurus by Jonny Duddle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Published: 2014

Dinosaur version of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Dino moms warn little dinos of Gigantosaurus before they go off and play. Little Ankylosaurus keeps tricking the others by screaming and telling them to run and hide from Gigantosaurus. On the edge of the page, there are clues as to what dino is really coming toward them which is fun for little ones to point out. This happens several times and finally the friends are fed up. They don’t believe it when little Ankylosaurus is REALLY warning them of Gigantosaurus. After Gigantosaurus wanders off, the friends think their little buddy Ankylosaurus had been turned into lunch. Luckily, their friend is ok and apologizes for tricking them.

The last two pages of the book gives some information about each of the dinosaurs encountered throughout the story. And I was most happy to see in the back endpapers the disclaimer that Gigantosaurs had been made up for the story BUT that it is very similar to what once was a real dinosaur, the Giganotosaurus.

A pet peeve is when all we are given is Generic Dinosaur. I appreciate it when picture books try to accurately depict a specific genus of dinosaur. There are little curious minds who want to know! 🙂

View all my reviews

#PictureBook Review: Dino-Basketball by Lisa Wheeler

#PictureBook Review: Dino-Basketball by Lisa Wheeler

Dino-BasketballDino-Basketball by Lisa Wheeler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published: 2011

I have to say that I am a little surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I guess I was thinking it was going to be playing heavily to “boys who love sports and dinosaurs because duh they are boys”. Instead, I was pretty impressed with how this book handled gender. There are dino cheerleaders but several of them are wearing pants. Several if not most of the dinosaurs playing basketball are referred to as “she”. We enjoyed pointing out the Allosaurus and other favorites on each page. The text is simple rhyme and basically gives play-by-play of the game. Fun… and apparently somewhat progressive!

View all my reviews

#PictureBook Review: Boy by James Mayhew

#PictureBook Review: Boy by James Mayhew

BoyBoy by James Mayhew

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Published: 2004

A boy wakes up cold in his cave. He finds several other places to get warm and comfy, but they are already occupied by sabertooth cats, mammoths, or… dinosaurs? Really beautiful illustrations but I had one major issue with this book. A large sauropod alongside Ice Age mammals and homo sapiens? This is a real problem for me and my 4.5 year old who is obsessed with the Ice Age and saber tooth cats.

View all my reviews