Eclipse 2017 Resources for Public Libraries

Eclipse 2017 Resources for Public Libraries

Have any plans to celebrate the eclipse in your community? Here are some resources that might be helpful!

  • Though here in Texas we will only see a partial eclipse, can tell you based on your location when you can expect to see the maximum eclipse possible. For instance, the maximum we will see here in Austin will be 68% coverage at 1:10pm, though the entire event will take about 3 hours. Consider scheduling a community viewing event around your local viewing information that can be found here.
  •  Remember it is dangerous to look directly at the sun. This grant is providing solar viewing glasses to public libraries. See how you can be involved here:
    • The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Provides Public Libraries 1.26 Million Solar Viewing Glasses for the 2017 Solar Eclipse, BOULDER, Colo.–December 16, 2016– The Space Science Institute (SSI) was awarded a grant from the Moore Foundation that will provide 1.26 million solar viewing glasses and other resources for 1,500 public libraries across the nation. They will serve as centers for eclipse education and viewing for their communities. The libraries will be selected through a registration process managed by the STAR Library Education Network (STAR_Net) and its NASA@ My Library project. The project team includes staff at SSI’s National Center for Interactive Learning. The Project Director is Dr. Paul Dusenbery (Director of NCIL). Andrew Fraknoi (Chair of the Astronomy Department, Foothill College), Dennis Schatz (Senior Advisor, Pacific Science Center), and Douglas Duncan (Director of the University of Colorado’s Fiske Planetarium) are co-directors. View The Full Press Release >>

Please share with us if you are planning anything!

November/December Youth News

November/December Youth News

YouthShare: News You Can Use

by Katelyn Patterson


Summer Reading Program Updates

What better time to plan your summer than in the dead of winter! You are probably aware that theme of the 2017 Collaborative Summer Library Program manual is “Build A Better World.” I am quite excited about this theme as I think there are lots of possibilities, especially for STEM programs. Kwame Alexander will be the 2017 National Summer Reading Champion. You can find information on the 2017 Teen Video Challenge here.

CTLS will be offering a combination Summer Reading Program workshop and Youthshare at several locations around the state. We are currently working out dates and locations and will be sharing those soon.

The Texas State Library and Archives will be providing a webinar on the Teen Manual on January 5th. You can learn more about that here.

I will highlight an activity from this year’s manual here every month. Keep an eye out for our announcement of dates and locations for our face-to-face workshop to help get you prepared for your best summer yet!

Haul Out the Holly?

It’s that time of year again! “When the world falls in love,” sings Frank Sinatra. Does your library get festive around this time with decorations and special programs? Even though we are in the throes of the (my personal favorite) holiday season, I would like to give you an alternative perspective to consider. In the future, consider going holiday free.

I know what you are thinking. No Santa visit? No special storytime? No Christmas tree in the lobby? No fun Christmas craft? Yes, that is exactly what I am suggesting.

To state why very succinctly, these kinds of programs exclude individuals, specifically those whose religion doesn’t celebrate the day or those who practice no religion at all. And despite the argument that Christmas has become largely secular, this belief varies greatly from individual to individual.

Perhaps no one in your community has made a complaint about this before. Consider that no one has complained because they don’t bother coming to programs in December because they expect to be excluded. Perhaps you don’t know anyone in your community that might be offended by these symbols. Though we strive to know our communities, there is no possible way we can know everyone and their preferences. Perhaps you want to reflect what the majority of your patrons want. While it is most likely safe to assume that only a handful of individuals in your community might be excluded from a special Christmas program, we have always been in the business of fighting for inclusivity for everyone. Simply revisiting ALA’s Library Bill of Rights reminds us of this. In fact, for every plan/program/decision that gets made at your library all year round, take a moment to ask yourself and others on staff, “How could someone be excluded by this choice?”

There are ample opportunities for our patrons to revel in the joys of the holidays. Some radio stations play nothing but Christmas carols. Decorations are at every turn. Special holiday events are happening every day during December in our communities. I know because my calendar is full!

Instead, consider focusing on the broader themes of the season. Decorate with snowflakes or have an adult coloring program with these beautiful snowflake coloring pages from Dover. Offer cookies, hot cocoa, and cider. Or have a program on making upcycled gift wrap, cards, and gifts.

Consider making the library a welcoming place for everyone during the holidays. For some, the public library might be the only place they can go to be free of the festivities.

Further reading:


The Family Place Library Project

The Family Place Library Project

I recently got to tour the Round Rock Public Library children’s area after they became a Family Place Library and it looks wonderful! Children and caregivers were playing and reading together. Here is just some of the work they have done.

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In the low shelves along the window, they have lots of building toys, puzzles, and puppets. In the shelves along the wall to the left is their Parenting Collection of books that has seen a lot of circulation. In addition to creating this space, they reorganized other areas that opened up more space and made their board books more visible. The staff seemed quite pleased with their participation in the program.

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Their Teen Volunteers, or Volunteens as I like to call them, were ready to sign patrons up to participate in their Summer Reading Program.

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Here I am (middle) with TSLAC Youth Services Consultant Christine McNew and RRPL Youth Services Manager Theresa Faris.

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Isn’t their Children’s Desk lovely?


Come See Me at #TXLA16

Come See Me at #TXLA16

I haven’t posted in a couple of months because I have been selling my home and buying another. It has been intense and agonizing, but we are finally out of the fog and I can focus more on work and the upcoming conference!


The Texas Library Association Annual Conference is in a couple of weeks in Houston and I will be presenting at a session called Bleep! Blorp! Books! Robots in the Library. We will be talking about how to get started with robotics programming in a public library setting. I will be speaking from my experience working on the Bots & Books grant for Connecting Texas Libraries Statewide. Presenting with me are Bob Loftin and Cecily Ponce deLeon from the Plano Public Library. They have presented at PLA on their robust robotics program in the past. Also joining us will be Megan Clark of the San Antonio STEM Connectory, formerly of the New Braunfels Public Library, where she works with First Lego League Robotics competitions.

We hope to provide an overview of the benefits of robotics, how the Plano Public Library got started and let their program evolve, and how you can take this kind of programming to the next level through FIRST Lego League.

If you are going to conference, please come hear what we have to say and add to the conversation! Our session is on Thursday, April 21st from 10am to noon.

Getting Excited and Inspired for #SummerReading at CTLS Workshops

Getting Excited and Inspired for #SummerReading at CTLS Workshops

Last week I was in Mansfield and Cedar Park having our first Summer Reading Program workshops and we had a blast! Here are just a few highlights!

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Suzan Nyfeler is our fantastic tour guide through the 2016 manual! We talked books, songs, decor, and display ideas.

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2016-01-22 14.17.47The photo booth was a big hit!

2016-01-22 09.55.14The morning was spent brainstorming and sharing ideas…

but the afternoon was spent playing games, making crafts, and doing theme-related activities.

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We had such a wonderful time! A big thanks to the Mansfield Public Library and the Cedar Park Public Library for hosting us. I will be on the road again next week at the Jourdanton Public Library and then again in February in Edinburg, TX.

I will be highlighting some of the crafts and activities we had at the workshop on the CTLS website and in the CTLS newsletter leading up to summer. These workshops have left me so inspired, I even started my SRP2017 Pinterest board. You can never start too early…

Happy reading!


Where the Wild Things Are Decorations & Craft

Where the Wild Things Are Decorations & Craft

My son turned 2 earlier this month and we had a Where the Wild Things Are party. My husband and I had fun decorating and coming up with ideas. And of course, I must think the great brain that is Pinterest for much inspiration! I thought if anyone might appreciate what we did, it would be anyone reading this blog!

All of our decorations were simple made with standard craft supplies. Construction paper for tree leaves, crepe paper for vines and tree trunks, craft paper for tree trunk, and balloons for coconuts.

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Here we used craft paper rolled and crinkled to make tree trunks.

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And our friends made crowns out of paper plates, glitter glue, gem stickers, and colors. This was a very inexpensive, passive craft that wasn’t too messy or too complicated. It was great for a crowd with a wide variety of ages. Would be great for an all-ages storytime! The only prep it requires is cutting the plates which doesn’t take much time at all.

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Fold the plates in half and cut slices like a pie, not cutting to the edge of the plate. Cut along where you folded the plate, again not cutting to the edge. Decorate it while it is flat.  The points will naturally push out more when you are crowned king or queen of all the wild things! This video was a great tutorial.


Open Carry in Texas Public Libraries

Open Carry in Texas Public Libraries

Here in Texas starting January 1st, licensed gun carriers will be able to carry their handguns openly as long as the gun is secured. They will be prohibited from openly carrying in some places such as schools and private businesses. Personally, I am asking every business that I frequent if they will allow open carry so I can know whether or not I will continue to spend my money there. However, public libraries are public entities that must adhere to this law.

The Texas State Library and Archives has put together a great FAQ on Handguns in Texas Libraries that I wanted to share. Also, the Texas Municipal League has written a paper explaining state law and municipal authority over the regulation of “firearms” (e.g., rifles, shotguns, and handguns) in Texas. And the City of Dallas has put together this short video addressing frequent questions and listing violations of the law.

These resources might help answer many questions we will all have as we adjust to the changes ahead. I am interested to learn how this affects public libraries all over the state.

Thanksgiving Storytime!

Thanksgiving Storytime!

Thanks for sharing your work as a resource for others, @storytimekatie !

storytime katie

The Plan



1, 2, 3 Thanksgiving by W. Nikola-Lisa
Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson
The Thankful Book by Todd Parr

Extension Activities

Flannelboard: “Thanks A Lot”
Thanks a lot, thanks for Sun in the sky.
Thanks a lot, thanks for clouds so high.
Thanks a lot, thanks for whispering wind.
Thanks a lot, thanks for the birds in the spring.
Thanks a lot, thanks for the moonlit night.
Thanks a lot, thanks for the stars so bright.
Thanks a lot, thanks for the wondering me.
Thanks a lot, thanks for the way I feel.
Thanks for the animals, thanks for the land, thanks for the people everywhere.
Thanks a lot, thanks for all I’ve got. Thanks for all I’ve got.

Flannelboard: “Turkey Color Match”

Fingerplay: “Two Little Turkeys”
Two little turkeys sitting on a hill

View original post 203 more words

Library Social Media Ambassador

Library Social Media Ambassador

I just signed up to be a social media ambassador for my local library, the Austin Public Library. I am interested to see how this program works and if it is effective. Basically they are asking you to help them spread the word about all the services they have to offer as that seems to be the one of the biggest barriers public libraries have.

From the APL Social Media Ambassador page:

Social Media Ambassadors

 The Austin Public Library invites you to participate in extending our reach into the community by becoming a Social Media Ambassador or #APLambassador. Help raise awareness of the Library on social media and at the same time, raise the Library’s awareness of you, its supporter.

Become a Social Media Ambassador

No application is required. Simply sign up to receive #APLambassador emails. The Library is active on several social media platforms. We’re organizing ambassadors across platforms through emails by individual staff members that we’ll send to your inbox. We’ll give you the scoop on Library programs and projects and highlight relevant hashtags. We’ll also update you on the New Central Library opening in November 2016.

What We’re Asking Ambassadors to Do

In addition to reading #APLambassador emails:

Of course, I am huge advocate for my local library and social media user so this isn’t such a stretch for me. I look forward to seeing what all the program entails and if it might be replicated elsewhere. Will report back!

A Storytime About Failure

A Storytime About Failure

While failure can be difficult for little ones, it is possibly our best opportunity to learn. I appreciate how Beaty’s Rosie Revere, Engineer teaches this lesson. Amy Weir, a youth services librarian from Pennsylvania, gives a play-by-play template on her storytime devoted to appreciating how to fail. She provides her inspiration for the theme, a great book list, and a fantastic follow-up activity: stain drawings. She printed images of ink blots and coffee mug stains that the children turned into art.

Click through for more images and ideas. It is fantastic. I love it! Thank you for sharing this with us, Amy!

via Appreciating How to Fail: A Library Storytime | GeekMom.