Bronx Zoo or Bust!

Today we welcome guest blogger, Jackie Narkiewicz!:

Patrons from the Copiague Memorial Public Library and two intrepid librarians, Stefanie Gangone and myself, visited the Bronx Zoo on Wednesday, July 20 for the day.  It was a sweltering, hazy, hot and humid day in the City, but that didn’t stop our group from enjoying all the sights and sounds of the Bronx Zoo.  We saw a variety of animals from frolicking sea lions (I was jealous of the water they were swimming in), to waddling penguins (I wonder what they thought of the heat), to wrestling Russian Brown Bears (they were wrestling in water – again I was jealous).

There were some wonderful Eric Carle sculptures in the Butterfly Garden and also strategically-placed animals that were made completely out of Legos in different parts of the zoo.

It was a nice trip, but I would recommend NOT going on a Wednesday during the summer because it is “Free Day” and the Zoo is full of camps, daycares, youth groups, and even libraries!



Parents and Children Get Together to Talk about Books

The New York Council for the Humanities’ Together—Book Talk for Kids and Parents program provides funding for libraries to create a welcoming forum for families to come together to talk about books. Each of the six 90-minute Together sessions is co-facilitated by a public librarian and a humanities scholar from the local community. The sessions explore key themes in American life such as courage, freedom, and what it means to be American.

According to Erika Halstead, the Program Officer for the New York Council for the Humanities, six libraries in Suffolk County have received a grant to host a Together—Book Talk for Kids and Parents program:

• Brentwood Public Library (fall 2008)

• Floyd Memorial Library (spring 2009)

• South Huntington Public Library (fall 2009, fall 2010)

• Emma S. Clark Memorial Library (spring 2010)

• Rogers Memorial Library (spring 2011)

• Northport-East Northport Public Library (fall 2011)

This summer, Brentwood Public Library is hosting a Family Reading and Discussion Program through a Together extension grant. I stopped by on Wednesday night, July 13th to participate in the discussion. Myrna and her collaborator Yolanda, a teacher at Southeast Elementary School, are pictured here with the featured books The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson and Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles.

The Together program is a wonderful opportunity for families to spend time together talking about ideas and experiences and it all starts with a book as a catalyst. It is great to hear a parent share their experiences and hear a child say, “Mom, I never knew that happened.” And kids have lots of ideas and experiences to share that they may not have even considered talking about until we bring them in a group and encourage them to share. It’s a great way to bring everyone together to read and talk and hopefully the reading and conversations will continue at home. – Myrna, Children’s Librarian at Brentwood Public Library

Check back with the blog in the fall for the latest from the Northport-East Northport Public Library, who will be partnering on the Together project with Heather Forest, storyteller and speaker at the September 14th SCLS program “The Magic of Words.”

Would you like to offer the Together program at your library? The deadline for spring 2012 applications is December 1, 2011.

Kid-Lit Superstar Comes to LI This Fall

Jennifer Holm is the featured author at Lit-Fest, a literature festival sponsored by the Nassau Library System (NLS) that will take place on October 14th at Adelphi University. Jennifer Holm and her brother Matthew Holm are the creators of a new graphic novel series called Squish.

Don’t call Squish a blob: he’s an amoeba. And he’s into comics. When trouble brews in the pond, Squish is inspired to do the right thing by his favorite comic book hero, Super Amoeba.

Squish is NOT pink. Matthew Holm uses the perfect shade of green to create a cast of single-celled characters: Peggy, Pod, Principal Planaria and the wiser-than-he-seems Dad. In the first installment in the series, Super Amoeba, Squish has to deal with a bad-mannered bully who has the habit of absorbing smaller life forms into his body whenever he feels like it. In the second book, Brave New Pond, Squish is hoping the first day of school will give him a fresh start – no more detention! Brave New Pond hits the shelves in September, but the advanced reader’s copy is available to borrow from the SCLS Review Collection.

Jennifer Holm (who is pictured here with NLS Youth Services Manager and conference planner, Renee McGrath) will be speaking at Lit-Fest along with Megan Lambert, Instructor for The Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College. Holm will also be presenting at a break-out session on the topic of creating comic books for kids. If you prefer discussion groups, try Middle Grade Discussion Group 4, which will celebrate Holm’s body of work including three Newbery Honor books and Babymouse #14 Mad Scientist, the volume that introduced Squish to young readers.

The Lit-Fest brochure is now available online.

ALSC Penguin Young Readers Group Award

Were you dreaming of attending your first ALA conference while your colleagues were in New Orleans? Not to worry: with a little planning and effort, you could attend next year’s conference in Anaheim as a V.I.P. of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and Penguin Publishers.

If you’ll have one to ten years experience as a children’s librarian by June 2012 and you are a member – or willing to join – ALSC, consider applying for the Penguin Young Readers Group Award. Kristine Casper, who won the Penguin Award and attended her first ALA Conference in Chicago in 2005, says:

Receiving the Penguin Young Readers Group award made attending the ALA Annual conference for the first time so much easier and gave me the opportunity to get involved in other areas of ALSC.  It is the people I met that I remember the most.  I was in awe of the vast knowledge of other ALSC members who were eager to show us around, and I learned about the publishing industry from the editors and publishing representatives who told us about their books and authors. I was star-struck by the terrific authors we met and dined with at various functions. I recommend applying for this award to any librarian who is interested in broadening their professional experience.

Shortly after attending the Annual Conference as a Penguin Award winner, Kristine was appointed to the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award committee.

Award winners and past award winners are listed on the ALSC website, and many ALSC presidents look to this list of “professionally young” librarians to find upcoming leaders to appoint to ALSC committees and task forces. If that sounds appealing to you, consider applying for the Penguin Award. The deadline is December 1, and the application will be up on the ALSC website shortly. When filling out your application, keep these tips from Tracy Van Dyne, a member of the Penguin Young Reader’s Group Award Committee from 2007 – 2009 and current member of the newly formed Grants Committee, in mind:

  1. The little things matter: be sure to fill out your application correctly and submit it on time.
  2. The committee is looking for candidates who are creative and show leadership:  go-getters!  Include projects that you’ve helped to work on, but if something is your baby or you are a co-chair, spend more time telling the committee about that particular program. 
  3. Be sure to go to the right people for recommendation letters.  A great recommendation letter can go a long way.  BUT your recommendation letters should not be better than YOUR OWN letter.  Be proud of your accomplishments!  Flaunt what you’ve done!

ALSC gives away over $82,000 through professional awards and grants every year. The Penguin Award is only one example of the opportunities available. Be sure to explore all the ways you and your library can benefit from the ALSC Professional Awards.