Category Archives: Activities

Library Sweets/Candy Club

I had this idea years ago, back in my UK Public Library days but I was unable to get it off the ground at the time due to not knowing any US Librarians and a smaller network than I have now. 

The basic premise is to set up two groups (at least), one in a US Library and another in a Library in the UK (or Libraries in other exotic parts of the world) and running a quarterly/bi-annual (more or less as your budget allows) candy/sweet tasting group. It can be tied in to holidays that have chocolates or other types of sweets/candy as a central part of the celebrations (thinking of Easter and Hallowe’en as two of the biggest examples). 

The idea muscled its way back into my fore-brain due to the Percy Pigs kerfuffle that erupted in the UK earlier this week, this made me realise how much I missed them and other British sweets, which in turn brought up the group idea as I pondered how American kids would react to tasting Percy Pigs.

This will only be able to run once we have Covid19 sorted out, but in the interim library folk can form alliances with colleagues in other countries and arrange to send examples of local confectionery from where they are from.

If anyone is interested in finding contacts in the UK or US leave a comment below for international colleagues to find you.

Dream Team

Meet the Dream Team! They turn nightmares into incredible adventures in this fast-paced first book in the series written and illustrated by the award-winning Tom Percival.
Erika’s had a bad day and struggles with her emotions, especially her temper. But going to sleep upset means bad dreams. She finds herself stranded in the Dreamscape along with a mob of hungry Heebie Jeebies – and to make matters worse, she’s being hunted by a terrifying Angermare! Only the Dream Team can help save Erika now and help her overcome her worries and get home, or will she be trapped forever?Attack of the Heebie Jeebies is the launch title in this fun and engaging two-colour illustrated series, exploring anxiety in in children through action and adventure. With echoes of Dreamworks’s Inside Out and The Incredibles Dream Team is a great way to introduce children to managing their anger, especially if they have a bad case of the heebie-jeebies!

Attack of the Heebie Jeebies

The second book in the fun and adventure-packed Dream Team series, Erika returns to tackle some more nightmares in the dreamscape, in this case the jitters!
Erika’s friend Kris is HILARIOUS. She thinks he should perform in their
school’s talent show, but he’s far too nervous.
And when Erika gets a call from the Dream Team to help on a mission, she meets another girl who is struggling with confidence. Chanda’s dream is being attacked by the jitters and nothing seems to be going right.
Try as they might, the team can’t get control of her dream – until Erika realizes that there is a connection between Chanda and Kris. Can she help Chanda to find some confidence before the jitters take over completely?
The perfect book for children to learn how to overcome anxiety and nervousness in a digestible and entertaining way.

A Case of the Jitters

Tom Percival’s Big Bright Feelings picturebooks for Bloomsbury are brilliant introductions to emotions for younger children, and in his new series for Macmillan Children’s he tackles the big subject of anxiety and related emotions (starting the series with with bad tempers and self confidence) but in short, highly illustrated chapter books for a middle grade audience (age 5+). Some dark stuff happens in bad dreams (just wait until you meet the Bone Cobble in A Case of the Jitters!) but I just love the humour in these books that balances it out nicely. There is properly witty banter between the characters, pitched perfectly for the younger reader but also funny to an older child (and any grownups reading with them), and the characters are great fun. His dreamscapes are really inventive but I also like that Erika’s real-world relationships are developed. I think these books would be great to read with a child to see what conversations they spark around feelings and worries, but they are also just great fun reads…and make sure you read the acknowledgements, heehee!

TEACHERS/SCHOOL LIBRARIANS: They would be wonderful to read with a class, and here are some lesson plans (with links to audio of the first two chapters) to whet your appetite!

Thank you to Macmillan Kids for inviting me to be part of the tour, and sending review copies of these two wonderful titles! I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next in the series.

Wand Making Workshop

Ahead of Harry Potter Book Night on the 6th February 2020 I have been working on a special wand-making workshop that will enable participants to create their own wands.

The outer part of the wand is composed of a 10 inch (25.4 cm) stiff paper tube. I sourced the paper tubes from Target. Bamboo sticks or hollow wooden dowel rods can also be used if your budget stretches that far.

The wand end plugs are made from paper twisted into a cone that will fit into the ends of the wand and be glued in place.

Participants will be able to choose a phoenix feather, a strand of dragon heart-string, unicorn hair, woven sunlight or a combination of all of them to make up the core of their wand.

Once the wand-making apprentices have completed their wand they will receive a parchment certificate confirming that they have attended the workshop.

They will also receive a cardstock wand-holder emblazoned with the seals of the Hogwarts & Ilvermorny Schools of Witchcraft and Wizardry to keep their wands safe. There is a space on the back of the wand holder to note down what is in the core as well as who made the wand.

The materials used in the workshop are:

Red, Silver & Gold Thread
Feathers
Paper tubes

The certificate is plain paper that has been soaked in a weak coffee solution (tea also works)

The wand holder is card-stock also soaked in a weak coffee solution.

The certificate is available to be downloaded in US letter size below:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

and A4:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

The wand holder is available to be downloaded in US letter size here:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

and as A4:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

For those wishing to make a more traditional looking wand using chopsticks and hot glue, there are instructions available here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Wands-With-Chopsticks/

Note: This post was scheduled to go up on the day the controversy broke around J.K. Rowling tweeting her views about transgender rights. I have decided to run this article, not in support of the author whose views I find reprehensible but for those who read Harry Potter and take away the message about love, acceptance and for standing up & fighting for what is right.

Interactive Program: Magnetic Poetry

I have just set up a Magnetic Poetry interactive display in the teen area of my library. I have gone for the imaginative title of Magnetic Po(l)etry as it is on one of the metal pillars holding up the ceiling in my branch.

It should be very easy to set up – all you need is a magnetic board or something similar (in my case it is a pillar) and some magnetic words. You can find a whole range of magnetic poetry kits online or in stores at reasonable prices. Some kits can contain <ahem> mature words so if you live or work in conservative area it may be worth knowing what you are purchasing before you buy it. On the other hand this program is aimed at teens, people who can make even the most innocent words into suggestive phrases so this sort of thing can be a risk no matter how much care you put into organising it.

Once teens start playing around with it I will update this post and possibly share whatever they create using it.

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‘Celebrating’ Banned Books Week

Over the years I have started looking at what I do as a Librarian and Human more critically, one of the (library-related) things currently taking up brain-space is Banned Books Week, and the question should we be ‘celebrating’ it?

Should we have a week to recognize the dangers of censoring books and ideas?

Yes

In an ideal world it would be more than a week, an on-going program of events and displays highlighting censorship and challenges to literature and the reasons behind them may have more of an impact.

Should Banned Books Week be cutesy and fun with photo opportunities, badges and social media opportunities to show how aware we all are? Your mileage may vary but recently I have been moving even more into the no camp on this. I have worn “I Read Banned Books” badges in the past, but my displays have mostly featured a history of banned books and books that were (and are) banned in specific countries as well as the reasons for banning.

My personal favourite display always featured Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence with prosecutor Mervyn Griffin-Jones’s question to the jury during the obscenity trial: Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?

Books are dangerous, they are carriers of ideas – the Nazis knew this when they organized book burnings. The Catholic Church for centuries had the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (List of Prohibited Books) until it was abolished in 1967.

I grew up in South Africa where, in my lifetime, books were routinely, and often with the assistance of librarians, banned and burned – I only discovered this recently while researching the effects of Apartheid on Public Library provision.

Today we live in a world where state censorship and the banning of literature and people occurs globally. People in America, parts of the European Union and beyond still have good old fashioned book burnings.

The American Library Association compiles lists of books that are regularly challenged in schools and public libraries around the country.

Links:

Banned Books Week US

Banned Books Week UK

ALA Frequently Challenged Books

Library Philosophy vs Apartheid Legislation

Index Librorum Prohibitorum

Nazi Book Burning

Library International Story Time

I have started looking towards 2020 for planning Library activities and currently at the top of my list is an idea to create an intercontinental story group.

Presently I am limiting my focus on linking my Library groups in the US and UK, mostly because I am in the US (Kansas) and most of the library people I know are based in the UK.

There is a six hour time difference between where I am and the UK so initial planning will focus on finding a partner or partners in the UK, agreeing on a date and time for the groups to meet. This means that during the school year I will be limited to baby & toddler groups, and, now that I think about it, home-school groups too. Older story-times will be limited to school holidays here.

The basic idea is, using video chat software (Skype or something similar), to link up two Library groups with a similar age range in the US & UK and form links through story-telling.

The sessions could begin with the reading of folk-tales an dlocal stories from where each group is based and then segue into general stories and rhymes (if appropriate for the group).

If the initial plan works, phase two will explore creating links with Libraries in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

If successful these story times could be a springboard into intercontinental story suggestions via post card and once the story time links are are extended, a display could be made with post cards from the various groups around the world.

At present though I am just in the early stages of planning but if anyone wants to collaborate please let me know and we can create a network of connected international libraries!

Interactive Display: Where Would YOU Like to Live in the FUTURE?

This interactive display has been more popular than I ever expected, a simple question: Where would YOU like to live in the FUTURE? and then four options of future residences with little laminated astronauts for participants to stick under their choices rapidly mushroomed.

I could not cut out astronauts fast enough to keep up with demand (I eventually dragooned two colleagues in to help me keep up with demand), currently close to two hundred library patrons of all ages have participated in voting as can be seen in the image above.

If anyone would like to make their own display they may download images below. For the first time I have made downloads available in US and UK paper sizes:

US Letter size

Download (PDF, 1.3MB)

UK A4 size:

Download (PDF, 1.19MB)

The astronaut template page can be photocopied to make extra astronauts

Library Island by Matt Finch

Library Island is an activity which simulates five years in the life of a nation’s library services. Participants become librarians, government officials, or community members on this island and face the challenges created by conflicting wants, needs, and limited resources. There is an Indigenous community and colonial history to be reckoned with, plus a range of political interests with their own agenda for the library.

It’s a simple game played with nothing more than office furniture, pens, and paper, but it swiftly leads to rich and complex scenarios. The fictional setting allows us to explore structural issues, political challenges, and even some of the disruptive behaviour that professionals may face from their users, within the relative safety of a “make-believe” context.

Source: What exactly is Library Island anyway? – matt finch / mechanical dolphin

Matt has provided a toolkit that can be downloaded with full instructions on how to run, adapt and play the game. It is available here:

https://booksadventures.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/library-island-toolkit.pdf

Space-related Ideas for Libraries

NASA

NASA Selfie App: available for iPhone & Android https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7220

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory education website: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/learn/

 Straw Rockets: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/teach/activity/straw-rocket/

NASA Image & Video Library – free to download & use: https://images.nasa.gov/

NASA Kid’s Club: https://www.nasa.gov/kidsclub/index.html

Apollo 50thhttps://www.nasa.gov/specials/apollo50th/

European Space Agency

Education: https://www.esa.int/Education

European Space Education Resource Office https://www.stem.org.uk/esero

Music & Songs

Zar and the Broken Spaceship by Dino O’Dell 

Trout Fishing in America – Alien in my Nose

Lyrics: https://www.flashlyrics.com/lyrics/trout-fishing-in-america/alien-in-my-nose-41

Space Day Camp Song Sheet: https://ftclatsopbsa.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/2011-space-day-camp-song-list.doc

Science Experiments

Steve Spangler Science: https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/

Science Kiddo: https://www.sciencekiddo.com/

Science Bob: https://sciencebob.com/category/experiments/

Science Sparks: https://www.science-sparks.com/category/science-experiments-for-kids/

Imagination Station Toledo: https://www.imaginationstationtoledo.org/educator/activities/

Home Advisor Tinkering Project Resources: https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/tinkering-project-resources/

Activity Ideas

Two Book Geeks site: www.twobookgeeks.blogspot.com

Fun with black light flashlight – tide liquid soak glows in uv light https://sciencenotes.org/list-of-things-that-glow-under-black-light/

Post-it note 8bit art https://8-bitart.com/

Glow in the dark slime https://www.thebestideasforkids.com/glow-in-the-dark-slime/

Pre-Kinders Space Activities: https://www.prekinders.com/space-theme/

Nebula in a Bottle: http://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-for-kids/diy-nebula-jar/

Straw rockets: https://buggyandbuddy.com/straw-rockets-with-free-rocket-template/

Hoop Glider: https://sciencebob.com/the-incredible-hoop-glider/

Stories       

Constellation Legends: http://tcoe.org/scicon/instructionalguide/constellations.pdf

Star tales: http://www.ianridpath.com/startales/contents.htm

Other Resources

CSLP Facebook page – for ideas and links to resources: https://www.facebook.com/cslpreads/

Herschel Space Observatory: http://herschel.cf.ac.uk/education

National Schools’ Observatory: https://www.schoolsobservatory.org/

GAIA in the UK: https://www.gaia.ac.uk/education

National Space Centre: http://education.spacecentre.co.uk/information/learning-resources

Astro Science Challenge: http://www.astrosciencechallenge.com/

UK Space Agency STEM Resources: https://www.data.org.uk/for-education/secondary/uk-space-agency/

Kid’s Astronomy: www.kidsastronomy.com

Rocketry for Kids: https://a2zhomeschooling.com/explore/astronomy/rocketry_kids/

RosCosmos: http://en.roscosmos.ru/117/

Scouts & the UK Space Agency: https://fundraising.scouts.org.uk/ukspaceagency

International Literacy Association: https://www.literacyworldwide.org/blog/literacy-daily/2019/03/05/blast-off!-space-exploration-and-litera

Passive Display Idea: Let fate decide!

A fairly simple idea using origami fortune-tellers (also known as cootie catchers, chatterboxes or whirlybirds) as a passive activity for library patrons to choose books or authors that may be diffrent from their usual tastes. I have included a craft element for patrons that wish to learn how to make their own fortune-tellers to take away. The instructions on how to make and use fortune-tellers can be found below.

Download (PDF, 321KB)

Download (PDF, 316KB)