The Library Connection
Volume 25 Number 12 December 2005
Click here for the Winter 2006 Bookmobile Schedule
In This Issue:
|New Children's Librarian at Port Washington||Legislative Day - January 30|
|Dictionary of Wisconsin History||Reading Rainbow Young Authors and Illustrators Contest|
|New Postage Stamps from Children's Literature||Between Fences Exhibition|
|New Site for Job Hunters||Harry Potter at Dodgeville|
|A Day with Nancy Pearl||Go Wild with Wisconsin Wildcards|
|Tips for Holding Brainstorming Sessions|
Kelly Allen, a December graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Library and Information Studies is the new children's librarian at the W.J. Niederkorn Library in Port Washington.
Kelly worked at the campus libraries while a student at the University and also completed a practicum at the Sun Prairie Public Library where she worked in the Reference Department and with the Summer Library Program. She also drove the South Central delivery van for a period of time. The back door of the ESLS office looked very familiar to her when she came for the fall meeting of the children's librarians!
She loves to read--particularly children's and teen books. She has just moved to Port Washington and she already loves the community and the great staff at the Niederkorn Library. Welcome to Eastern Shores, Kelly!
Legislative Day is a little earlier this year than it has been in the past--January 30, 2006.
You DO make a difference--library supporters were very effective last year in getting increased system aid--there are a lot of important issues ahead this year.
The day starts at the Inn on the Park. Senator Joe Leibham, who represents the 9th Senate District that includes much of Sheboygan County will be a speaker this year. Later you will walk across the street to the capitol for your scheduled appointments.
All Friends groups, library patrons, trustees, and anyone who loves and values libraries are invited and encouraged to attend. Sometimes these individuals can make a better case for libraries than librarians can. Print out registration forms and hand them out. Email those who you know want to advocate for libraries. Invite library vendors also. The more, the merrier (and the stronger the voice).
For more information, or to print our a registration sheet, go to www.wla.lib.wi.us/legis/day/
When did Tommy Thompson get his start in politics? What was a "coureur de bois"? Which Indians were called the Outagamis? Where was the first Big Boy restaurant? Why is our capitol called Madison? How can I see a map of Two Rivers? Who covered UW-Madison's Bascom Hill with pink flamingos? Where the heck is Bad Axe?
These are just some of the thousands of questions you can answer in the online Dictionary of Wisconsin History at http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/dictionary/
The online dictionary gives brief lives of more than 2,000 famous Wisconsin people (and many not-so-famous ones). It provides the exact location of 4,000 communities in the state, lets you see them on maps, air photos, or satellite image with a single click, and explains how every county and 800 cities and towns got their names.
Dozens of historical events are summarized, from the 17th-century Iroquois Wars to the Dow Riot of 1967. Every obsolete ancient name applied to Wisconsin Native American tribes is defined. Historical jargon such as "road monkey", foreign-language expressions like "oriniak", and specialized terms such as "Durham boat" are all explained. More than 100 broad topics such as "roads in Wisconsin" or "Indian treaties" are summarized and linked to more detailed information in the online collections, exhibits, and photo galleries. A handy "Suggestions?" link on every page allows readers to propose improvements. You can even submit your own entries when you discover an important topic that hasn't been included yet.
So have a look. Explore. Discover. Contribute. Surprise your friends by knowing how Ashland got its name ("The county was named after the village, which was named in honor of the Kentucky homestead of Henry Clay. Martin Beaser, one of the earliest settlers of the village, and an ardent admirer of Henry Clay, is credited with the selection of the name."), and a wealth of other facts.
The URL, again, is http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/dictionary/ It's all free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. After all, it's your history.
Wisconsin Public Television sponsors the annual Reading Rainbow young writers and illustrators contest for children in kindergarten through third grade. The contest begins on January 2, 2006 and the deadline is March 24, 2006.
This year Bridget Zinn, outreach assistant at WPT, has created activity guides and program ideas for public librarians to use in after-school programs. The librarians' guide includes five program ideas that result in contest entries. The program can be lengthened or shortened based on your library's program schedule.
Contest information, application forms and the librarian guides are available online at http://www.wpt.org/kids/wipbs/index.html
In January, children and adults alike in the U.S. and U.K. will delight when eight cherished characters from children's literature are featured with the "Favorite Children's Book Animals" stamp pane, issued in Findlay, OH at the Children's Storybook Museum. Two of the stamps — The Very Hungry Caterpillar ("The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle, 1969 and 1987) and Maisy ("Maisy's ABC" by Lucy Cousins, 1994 in the U.K. and 1995 in the U.S.) — will be jointly issued with the United Kingdom's Royal Mail, Jan. 10. The sheet of 16 stamps also depict Wild Thing ("Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak,1963); Curious George ("Curious George Flies A Kite" by Margaret and H.A. Rey, 1958); Wilbur ("Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White, 1952); Frederick ("Frederick" by Leo Lionni, 1967); Olivia ("Olivia" by Ian Falconer, 2000), and Fox in Socks ("Fox in Socks" by Dr. Seuss, 1965).
Museums, libraries, cultural centers, historical societies, and other venues in towns of fewer than 10,000 residents can apply to host a traveling exhibition developed by the Smithsonian and brought to Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Humanities Council.
Between Fences is a cultural history of fences and land use. It examines how neighbors and nations divide and protect, offend and defend through the boundaries they build. The display leads visitors on a journey that asks the to consider personal values and the broad sweep of American history.
In addition to having five portable kiosks available for display for six weeks, host institutions will be awarded $2,000 in grant funds to support lectures, film series, community forums, etc. They must identify a project director who will be paid travel expenses for attending a planning meeting and an installation workshop. Applicants are encouraged to partner with agencies or resources in their communities. For more information, including how to apply, go to the WHC website: www.wisconsinhumanities.org/
Wislisjobs.com, a web site for library professionals seeking employment in the public, private and the academic fields in the state of Wisconsin is now online.
Created and maintained by Jess Bruckner, a librarian at the Kilbourn Public Library in Wisconsin Dells, wislisjobs.com will allow statewide library employers to submit job postings for prospective employees.
Wislisjobs.com is designed to enhance the library community using a catchy domain name.
In addition to jobs postings, jobs seekers will find a comprehensive link section where viewers can locate employment information on Wisconsin library web sites that post such information. If your library is not included, and you would like to include your library’s web site employment link, please contact email@example.com.
To view the guidelines for submitting jobs postings, please visit www.wislisjobs.com
The Dodgeville Public Library is pleased to have on display the autographed copy of "Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince" by JK Rowling. The Library had entered a contest for libraries held by Scholastic, the American publisher of the Harry Potter series. This contest consisted of a grand prize (meeting JK Rowling, a trip to New York City, etc.) and the opportunity for one library in each state to win a pre-autographed copy of the book. This summer, the Library was excited to learn that Dodgeville had been selected as the winner for the state of Wisconsin.
For security reasons, the Library Board of Trustees decided that this autographed copy will remain a display copy only and will not be available for checkout. Harry Potter fans of all ages are invited to visit the Library and see this wonderful book. Library hours are: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10-6, Tuesday & Thursday 10-7 and Saturday 9-1. Dodgeville Public Library's website: http://www.swls.org/Members/do.html
Yes, Ma'am – Mood, Appeal, and Motivation in Providing Excellent Reader’s Advisory was the in-service presented by Nancy Pearl at the Appleton Public Library recently. Her ideas were so great that I had to share them.
Nancy had us write down in less than a minute five books that were our favorites. She then shared ways we could interact with patrons to identify the real reason why the patron may have connected with a particular book to such a degree that they would want an identical book to read. She said the first thing you do when a patron comes up to ask for a suggestion is to ask the patron, “Tell me about a book you liked.” She said you don’t even need to know the title of the book the patron liked, and it may even be better if you don’t know the title so it does not prejudice you as you advise the patron. The key is to listen to the patron for their description.
Nancy said you know the patron is seeking books that have a strong “Story” element if they use terminology to the effect that "the book was so good I couldn’t put the book down; I stayed up all night; and I just had to find out what happened." She said you might then want to recommend authors such as King, Grisham, Woods, Binchy, Patterson, Coben, Baldacci, Cussler, Sparks, Rowling, older works of Child, Turow, Martini, etc.
As an aside, Nancy said Charles Dickens was the Stephen King of his age. Nancy said since his works were serialized he knew how to keep the attention of the people. People mobbed him when he came to America wanting to know what happened to Little Nell because the next installment had not yet arrived. She also said one way to determine if a book is story-driven is to see if there is a lot of white space on the page. Dialogue drives the book and thus creates a book with white space. She said teen literature and mysteries tend to be strong on the story aspect.
Patron comments like "the people were so real I knew them like my own family" would indicate they were drawn into the book by the appeal of “Character.” Nancy stated at this time that she felt non-fiction works could be judged by the same standards and recommended as freely. Authors that were mentioned included Rowling, Wilder, Piccoult, McCall Smith, Rice, Tyler, Karon, Kingsolver, Ross, Lee, McCourt, Evanovich, Grafton as well as biographies and memoirs. A book with a person’s name in the title such as, A Prayer for Owen Meany, is a good indication it is character driven.
“Setting” is the third major appeal. You know a patron is keying on this type of book if they first say "II was transported to another place or time." The place can almost become like a character in the book. Science fiction, fantasy, westerns, and historical fiction can frequently fit this aspect. Some of the authors and titles mentioned included, Hillerman, Winton, Mayle, Rutherford, Cather, Leon, Lonesome Dove, Edge of the Crazies, Kite Runner, Marjorie Morningstar, Clan of the Cave Bear, and the Brother Cadfell series.
Finally, “Language” can be the main draw for some people if they say "I had to stop and sigh when I saw how the author worded that," or they say " I had to write that down." Nancy said this is the hardest aspect because everyone defines great language differently. Some of the titles and authors mentioned included Practchett, Conroy, Cisneros, Faulkner, Erdich, Morrison, Byet, Anthony, Fford, Ford, Powers, and The Time Traveller’s Wife. The appeal of poetry is language.
Phenomenal bestsellers reflect the fact that the book has a multitude of these aspects and many people may be drawn to the book for totally different reasons. She cited Cold Mountain as an example. Story, Character, Setting, and Language all pulled different readers into the book and made it a huge bestseller.
Nancy also mentioned that a person’s mood and motivation can influence the type of book they might want. She suggests the rule of 50. If you don’t like the book after 50 pages set it aside and come back to it another time. If you are over the age of 50 subtract your age from 100 and set it aside after that number of pages. Life is short and the book world is immense.
I found it fascinating going back to my list of five titles. I had always thought of myself as a story driven reader. But all of the titles that quickly came to my mind in the beginning of the session were character driven. This totally amazed me.
Nancy’s knowledge of books was also amazing. She had read or at least had a strong working knowledge of every book and author mentioned. Her enthusiasm was fun and the workshop was great!
(Nancy Pearl is the Director of Library Programming and the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library. Nancy is best known for the, “If All Seattle Read The Same Book” project. This idea of one city reading the same book at the same time has been imitated in cities around the world. She is a book reviewer for the Seattle Times, Booklist, Library Journal, KUOW-FM Seattle, and KWGS-FM Tulsa. Visit her website at www.nancypearl.com for lists of her personal picks. She is also the model for the Librarian Action Figure).
(Darla Jean Kraus from Lakeview Community Library also attended this workshop. Watch for her report in next month's Library Connection)
The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks recently completed work on an educational kit called Go Wild with Wisconsin Wildcards! The kit contains an activity guide designed for use with students in grades three to eight, and Wisconsin Wildcards to be used with the activities. This educators' kit is intended for Wisconsin naturalists, teachers, youth leaders, rangers, and resource specialists. The cards, activities, and games can be used to help residents and visitors learn about the diversity and vulnerability of Wisconsin's natural resources. The kit contains an educators' guide with lesson plans for 23 activities for use in more formal settings, as well as a variety of card games, magic tricks, card stunts, and puzzles. If you just want the Educators' Guide, it is available as a free download at www.dnr.wi.gov/eek/teacher/wildcardguide.htm. More details at http://www.dpi.wi.gov/seachange/sea0439_5.html
Brainstorming is a popular group process used to generate creative ideas in a short period of time. The process involves a group of 6-10 people, a facilitator, and a secretary, all of whom are involved in an open discussion aimed at generating ideas on a given topic. Brainstorming sessions are frequently used by marketers to generate names, taglines, product innovation, promotion themes as well as addressing product and service issues where ideas are needed to solve a particular problem.
As suggested by its name, brainstorming is an intense and rapid paced activity focused on generating as many ideas as possible -- in other words, a storm of ideas! Although it may sound like a free-for-all, a brainstorming session is actually a carefully choreographed meeting where rampant imagination is encouraged within a friendly, safe environment. Here are 8 tips for holding productive brainstorming sessions.
1.) The brainstorm group should number between 6-10 people. Less than 6 and there's not enough synergy for ideas. A group larger than 10 people may intimidate some people from offering unrestricted ideas.
2.) The facilitator is responsible for leading the group through the process. It's particularly helpful if the facilitator is creative so they can keep the ideas flowing and build on other ideas. While one secretary is good, we like to designate two people to record ideas. This ensures that if a secretary gets involved in formulating an idea, the other secretary is capturing the discussion.
Every brainstorm session should follow these golden rules:
No judgments or criticisms are made about any suggestion.
All ideas are welcome.
No idea is to be interpreted, evaluated or commented upon.
Don't hold back. The objective is to generate ideas.
Ideas may be combined, refined, and piggy-backed.
4.) Conduct the session in a room with a large white board and chart paper. I once had a client where every meeting room wall was pristine with not a white board in sight. It was impossible to brainstorm or develop ideas with a group of people. White boards and markers are my personal favorite brainstorming tools. Some people prefer large chart paper on easels while others like to write down ideas on large sticky notes and tape them to the wall. The bottom line is to make sure your session accommodates different types of idea generation behavior.
5.) Use your imagination when setting up a brainstorming session room. Many people like to fiddle with objects while they're thinking. Still others like to eat, doodle, or stare into space. We like to bring toys and brain food to our sessions. We use the toys as ice breakers, and the brain food -- well, it's just fun to munch on.
6.) Keep the session under 45- 60 minutes. Depending on the group and the pace of the session, most ideas will be generated in the first 30 - 40 minutes. Ideas will ebb and flow during this time. Critical to the success of a brainstorming session is the timely introduction of laughter to keep the group loose and give people a chance to refocus or shift their thinking. Nothing can kill a good idea like silence, so it's the facilitator's job to keep the energy going in the room.
7.) Don't get bogged down in the details. State the problem and restate it to stay on track, but don't get mired in the finer points. It's important that everyone in the group know what the brainstorming session is to address. However, too much information can be detrimental because people get sidetracked with the details and they start evaluating the idea instead of generating new ideas. In fact, the best brainstormers are those who are not closely involved in the problem to be solved. So as you facilitate a brainstorming session, be mindful of the amount of information you impart.
8.) Have fun! A brainstorming session should not be an endurance test. Regardless of the objective, thinking outside the box and considering the problem from every angle should be a exhilarating experience. Let your imagination roam. You might be amazed at what you conjure up!
Brainstorming sessions can yield great ideas for marketers. If you haven't held or participated in a session, you should try it. There are excellent books and resources available describing different brainstorming techniques and offering tools for generating ideas. I find browsing materials by Roger Von Oech to be helpful. Roger is the author of the classics "A Whack on the Side of the Head" and "A Kick in the Seat of the Pants." His web site offers a number of creativity tools which you may find helpful. http://www.creativethink.com/