Friday, March 20, 2015

March Madness - Picture Books Compete

 March Madness
in the Library - bring it!

The little branch where Piper and I spend most of our time is on a 3 week story time break.  Although we miss many friendly faces we have books to order, collections to weed, reports to write, and grants to submit in order to keep our future story times alive and well.

But a clever librarian and her sidekick, aka side-dog, aka Piper, want to be sure everyone keeps reading and books keep circulating.  (Yes, an eye to my department statistics is always good.) Hence we decided to participate in our very first March Madness - Picture Books Compete.  This type of book competition appears to be growing in popularity in libraries and well...we're in Connecticut!  We bleed blue!  UCONN women - need I say more?   

Fortunately we own many preschool picture books in multiple copies for lapsit programs.  I selected 16 titles to compete.  I honestly paid no attention when setting up the brackets. This was good - because now that a couple of my favorites have been knocked-out I see how I could have manipulated some of the outcomes!  I strongly suggest: do not mess with the bracket line up.  Ask a teen volunteer to set them up if you are inclined to seek preferential outcomes.  Really.  I mean it.  This is a competition! There will be upsets!

I kept two sets of the books in the library and made all the others available to check out.  We tipped off our March Madness on the last night of Prime Time with Piper & Mrs Breen winter session - so lots of families took home books. Built in fans - love it!

Each Monday night I tally the scores and see which teams books advance to the next round. 
In round one 82 people (young and old) read and scored the books.  
Our scoring sheets have three categories, with a rating of 1 to 8 (with 8 being the highest score). 
They look somewhat like this:

Book title ___________________________
Please read the book
Circle the score for the book in each category
1 is the lowest, 8 is the highest
Story              1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8
Illustrations   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8
Characters     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8

 Erin Simmons - a talented Connecticut Librarian was my source for this score sheet.  Thank you Erin! 

Here are the results from Round One:

The population in our community is wonderfully diverse and they are learning about March Madness and brackets with this book competition.  We do explain that it is based on a college basketball competition.  Our teen volunteers represent a mini United Nations and it has been interesting to watch them learn about March Madness!  

Okay now - the results from round two take us to our final four.  This was painful and exciting.  I would never have knowingly placed Sam Who Never Forgets in a semi-final against Dear Zoo.  I would prefer to see these two books as the final game!  Yet this is what happens in tournaments!

The voting/scoring picked up it's pace once the final four were announced.  Almost all of the staff participated this week  Excitement is growing. 

In the final four Sam Who Never Forgets (the top scoring book throughout) competes against the always popular Dear Zoo
And the longtime stand-out book, whose mouse are you? will meet-up with the surprise semi-finalist Yes, please, No, Thank you.  Read 'em and score!  You can leave your votes in the comments!  Or come by the library - everything is on the Chidren's Desk!

On Monday night, March 23rd,  we will announce the two books that will advance to the finals. Yikes!!

This program has people talking about books.  Thinking about books.  Looking at illustrations with the simple question - do we like that?  While I've been busy with house-keeping in my little branch, this has been my joy.  Truly. 

Flannel Friday inspires all of us to bring it.  If you'd like to learn more visit the official blog 
Visit the FF Pinterest page - you'll love it.
Kathryn, Fun With Friends at Storytime, is hosting the round-up this week.  Take a look!

P.S. (Piper Script) I love Dear Zoo and so does Cole!  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

I Went Walking in West Hartford

Will you walk with me?

A long time ago I made a set of animals for my flannel board to go with Sue William's lovely book:   

Years later at the suggestion of my friend/librarian/former blogger, Kari Ann St.Jean, I added black felt to the back of these laminated animals and now, they are better than new.  

I went walking, right here in West Hartford, and what did I see?

...I saw a cow following me. 

I went walking, right here in West Hartford, and what did I see? I saw a cat following me.

I went walking, right here in West Hartford, and what did I see?

a horse...a pig....a duck

and a dog following me

I love this set and it has served me well for more than 25 years.  It also inspired the Dinosaur bucket of I went walking - always a hit at the library.

But we didn't stop at Dinosaurs...we added a supply of bugs for our bucket.  Take a look! I went walking, outside and around the library, and what did I see...whoa!

And then we have the Zoo animals in the bucket - that gets really loud in the library!
I went to the zoo and what did I see?  

I also created an "I went swimming and what did I see?" set of animals for the bucket.  Perfect for summer story times.  You'll have to wait for that photo!  

Alas the snow is melting in Connecticut and taking a walk in the sunshine will soon be a reality.  We'll tell Sue Williams story on the flannel board in story time and the little ones will guess the animals, and make their sounds.  I'll ask if anyone ever saw a cow on their West Hartford street. Sometimes they say yes!  I love it.   Imagination, creativity, books and storytelling - they rock our world.  

Amen ~ Piper & Jane

Friday, March 6, 2015

We "heart" Flannel Friday

I've looked at clouds from all sides now....

Charles G. Shaw's simply perfect book, It Looked Like Spilt Milk will forever mark the beginning of my library career.  I had missed this gem, published in 1947, until my very first library job.  I have never flannelized it because whenever I've worked in public librarianship I have made sure to purchase multiple copies for parallel reading.  That was exactly how the inimitable Nancy DeSalvo, Head of Children's Services in Farmington CT, used the book and how I use it to this day.  Multiples.  You just don't need to mess with a good thing. I tip my hat to Nancy.

Nancy's book

I have created additional clouds to extend the book into that tactile, flannel board exploration place.  Love that place.  The book invites you to play - so we do.  I have a basket of clouds and the little ones are encouraged to come up and place a cloud on the flannel board.  And then we guess.  I do cover the bright red flannel board with navy blue for this.  I'm a believer in the dark blue/white (or black/white)contrast for focusing on shapes and identifying them.  It really makes the soft cloud lines appear sharper.  

So here's what I have for today, our Flannel Friday Birthday celebration!    

Piper and I added the FF clouds just for this occasion
Indeed, we "heart" Flannel Friday!

If you'd like the templates for the clouds in the book - you will find them here
StoryTime Katie posted this book in flannels - take a look

Thank you for visiting Piper Loves the Library.  If you would like more information about the incredibly supportive, generous and talented group known as Flannel Friday visit the official blog.  You'll love it.  

P.S. (Piper Script): sometimes I bark at clouds.