Nutsawoo: Tiara or No Tiara?

Maryrose Wood, author of the series The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, appeared at the Northport Public Library on the eve of today’s long-awaited Authors Unlimited event. On the same day as the Royal Wedding, children in Northport celebrated another thrilling event: Miss Lumley and the Incorrigibles’ trip to London (or as Cassiopeia calls it, Londawoo) the setting of the latest book, The Hidden Gallery.

Wood, who studied improvisational comedy, involved six children in a story-telling game called “Yes, And…” The first child told a line of the story, and the second continued it beginning with “Yes, and…” In that way, each child needed to agree with what was said before. The other rule, Wood explained, was: “You can’t think ahead about what you will say.” The children told a truly chilling tale of a knight who is slain and reincarnated – twice – and undergoes a questionable medical procedure.

The charismatic author also had the children thinking about the challenges of writing. “What is the hardest part of writing a story?” she asked the group. Among the many answers was: “The beginning, the middle, and the end.” Luckily for fans of this series, we have a long way to go until the end – Wood promised a total of six books before all the mysteries surrounding the charming children raised by wolves and their patient governess are solved.

As for the squirrel, Nutsawoo, it is determined that he does not have the appropriate luggage for the trip and shall instead keep an eye on the nursery while the children adventure in London.

Batty for Books in Dix Hills

Doug Florian, who made a visit to the Half Hollow Hills Library just in time to catch the tail end of National Poetry Month, has “the two best jobs in the world: an author and an illustrator.” Florian demonstrated his passion for his work to an audience ranging from 3-year-olds to 3rd grade teachers. “My students love your books,” a woman who teaches in Queens told Florian. “And I love you,” he replied.

The poet/painter held up prints from his many picture books while reciting his poetry by heart. His verse is already quite droll, and when it’s punctuated by a dry delivery of lines like, “Yes, I get paid to write about puke,” the result is a room full of giggles. Florian further engaged his young audience by drawing animals one stroke at a time and asking the kids to guess what he was creating. An excited youngster in blue is pictured above pumping both his fists after guessing “bat” correctly. Lisa and the guest of honor are also pictured – can you guess what two animals are pictured in the drawing behind them?

It was clear Florian had the audience’s creative juices flowing when the question and answer session included the query: “Did Jupiter get an infection of the big red chicken pox?” Florian’s response? “I’ll have to do some research.”

The library is a good place to start. Florian will always be welcome.

The Commack Branch Looks Gorgeous (Even on a Cloudy Day)

The Commack Branch of the Smithtown Library reopened for business on Thursday, April 14th, featuring an updated teen space and a new children’s wing. The teen section features high tables for laptop use and, by a brand new window, comfortable seating in soft, inviting shades of brown and turquoise. In the children’s room, local artist Jeff Fisher has created medieval-themed murals and will be continuing his work in the other branches as well. The space includes 6 computers for children in a purple knight-themed carousel. No longer tucked away in the basement, the children’s department has large windows that bathe the room in natural light, even on a rainy Saturday in April.

This is my home library. I have fond memories of browsing in the “secret” children’s biography nook and reading treasures such as Tiger Eyes and Deenie by Judy Blume in the teen space (before it was upstairs). I thought of these memories as I took in the lively scene: families reading together, kids playing “giant” checkers, teens browsing for books and children using the computers.

Congratulations to the staff and community of the Smithtown Library for making wonderful improvements to a much-loved branch!

Earth Day and Libraries

Libraries are “green” by definition. The community shares our resources, cutting down on the amount of energy spent creating and delivering books and media. But Earth Day is a good time to highlight ideas for doing more. Here are some simple ideas that perhaps won’t earn you LEED points but may make the young people in your library more conscious of their environment.

The easiest of all is the book display. There are so many books on the environment that Booklist has an entire March issue spotlighting environmental books (it’s available in the SCLS office if you’d like to see it.) Sachem Public Library has displayed some of their books on saving our planet where parents and kids can easily see them. A wonderful 2011 publication about the earth is How Did that Get in my Lunchbox?: The Story of Food by Chris Butterworth, illustrated by Lucia Gaggiotti, a book which demonstrates where the common foods kids eat originate in a fun and inviting way.

Cutchogue-New Suffolk Free Library has a kid-created space for recycling DVDs, and Port Washington Public Library has a sneaker recycling program. The Teen Services Department of the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library awards paperback books as summer reading prizes in replacement of trinkets made of plastic.

Going Green at Your Library is a blog completely devoted to ideas about, well, going green, and can offer you more ideas.  What are you doing in your libraries to be more environmentally conscious?

Día 2011 Resources

ALSC announced today that the book list for the 2011 celebration of El día de los niños/El día de los libros is now available online. Featuring children’s titles and websites from cultures around the world, this is the perfect resource with which to celebrate Día’s 15th anniversary on April 30, 2011. Produced in conjunction with ALSC and REFORMA, the book list offers titles in 9 languages, websites, and tips for parents about reading with their child. The best news of all is that libraries can personalize the document using Acrobat (Reader or Professional). For more information and a link to the pdf, visit Día online. You’ll also find more resources for hosting your celebration.

Dig, Plant, Water, and Grow

Today is a big day for the Middle County Public Library, who was recently featured in the March/April 2011 issue of American Libraries. The Nature Explorium opens for the season at 11:00am with a celebration of National Garden Month. NYS Assemblyman Steven Englebright will be on hand as well as Newsday’s Garden Detective Jessica Damiano. Activities are planned for kids and teens, and local organizations will be showcasing displays and exhibits. For more information about today’s event, please visit the Nature Explorium online.

Heidi Younger, the artist who designed the map of the Nature Explorium, is an artist to watch.  She was able to create this gorgeous image after only a brief conversation with the Middle Country staff. Serendipitously, Heidi has family that lives in the Centereach community. This talented artist, whose work is featured on book covers and in magazines, needs to illustrate a children’s book, don’t you think?

The Brentwood Public Library and Riverhead Free Library have partnered with Middle Country and will also be offering gardening programs as part of the Grow It! grant provided by the National Grid Foundation. For those of you celebrating National Garden Month around the county, enjoy getting your hands dirty!


Upcoming events:

February 3 Children’s Librarians Meeting

February 15 SCLA/PLDA program: How to Fill Out a Training & Experience Exam. Brentwood Public Library. 10am.

February 15 Children’s Department Managers

February 21 Free Booklist Webinar: Books for Youth Alert: New Titles for 2012

February 29 Performers Showcase

March 23 YSS Spring Conference

April 28 Authors Unlimited

May 3 Long Island Library Conference

May 11 Assistive Technology and Resource Fair. SCLS Blue Room and Auditorium. 10am – 4pm.

May 14 Children’s Department Managers

May 15 PALS Public Services

August 11 Battle of the Books

September 25 Children’s Department Managers

October 19 CLASC/SCLS Fall Literature Conference: Timeless Tales, Emerging Visions. Featuring Katherine Paterson and John Rocco.

December 13 Children’s Department Managers

Families Receive a Warm Welcome

The Children’s and Parents’ Services Department of the Patchogue-Medford Library reopened on Saturday with a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration that included crafts, refreshments, face painting by Cee Cee from Faba Gaba Face Painting, and balloon creatures masterfully created by John Reid. The room is completely rearranged and features a new media area that houses the DVDs, audio books, playaways, readalongs, music CDs and a new collection of DS and Wii games. Only 3 games remained on the shelf after a week of being open, and orders for more of these hot items are being placed to meet demand. New children’s books are also featured in this highly browsable area located near the entrance of the room.

Also new is a comfortable seating area (informally referred to as “the nest”) for parents. It’s situated near the picture book and parenting collections and adjacent to the program room that features windows so parents can see their children in programs. The parent-friendly environment is evident in this arrangement as well as the department’s welcome brochure that emphasizes family programs and the importance of parents acting their child’s first reading partner.

Some more furniture is coming soon, such as countertops that will hold nine computer stations for older children and four early childhood computers, and a brand new children’s reference desk by the entrance. Hundreds of people attended and enjoyed the festivities on Saturday, leaving with arms full of books, media, and other fun creations. Congratulations to the staff and families of the Patchogue-Medford Library district!

Sayville Reads – One Friendly Town

The children’s and teen’s areas at Sayville Library are featured in the March/April 2011 edition of American Libraries. Be sure to take a look!

For the first time this year, the Sayville Library is launching a program called “Sayville Reads: One Friendly Town.” The library has collaborated with Sayville schools and selected a theme – dogs – and four correlating books for different age groups: adults, high school students, 3rd through 8th graders, and Pre-K through second graders. Children are participating in dog-themed craft programs, storytimes, and book discussions of Bad Dog, Marley and Marley: A Dog Like No Other, both by John Grogan. Activities for teens include a program in which they bake dog biscuits that will be donated to a local animal shelter.

For more information on this unique collaboration, check out their website or contact the Sayville Library.

Screen Free Week

The Early Years Institute is participating in Screen Free Week during April 18th – 24th, and they invite you, your library, and the families in your community to participate as well. Jessica Wyatt, coordinator of Screen Free Week at EYI, reports that there is still time for your library to register a “screen free” activity to be included in the Screen Alternatives Guide.

For more information, activity registration forms, posters, and more, visit The Early Years Institute.