Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Monday, April 18, 2011

Library Fun & Leprechaun Traps

Library Lions welcomes today’s guest, Chris Davis!

Chris is a Youth Services Librarian at Sacramento Public Library, Rancho Cordova Branch

LL Roars for Chris!
For Tots
•Chris built up large Storytime groups for preschoolers, babies and their caregivers, with “Stay and Play” sharing times fostering early literacy. She also conducts regular outreach storytimes to local HeadStart preschools
For Children in Need
•Chris began a “Keep or Return” collection of donated children’s books for a local temporary housing shelter. Chris also meets with teen moms on services the library provides for them and for their new babies
For Teens
•Chris connects middle school students, teachers, and parents with the library’s services in class visits to the library, and visits to their schools
•Organizes fun craft programs for kids and teens

The Skinny
I love connecting with people, and connecting people with books. I could expand this, by listing all the different kinds of people (babies and their caregivers, teens, and adults from all kinds of backgrounds) and all the different forms the contents of books and other library "stuff" take (ebooks and databases, and manga and movies); but really, it all comes down to the great feeling I get when I've connected with someone, and helped connect them with some great library "stuff."

For example, an older teen girl asked me for books for her brother and sister one day. Her family came from Russia, and I think because she speaks English more easily than her parents, she acts as the go-between for the kids and their schools. Her sister loves reading, her brother hates it. What books could I recommend? I found a bunch of exciting series books for her brother (by Eoin Colfer and Kenneth Oppel), and The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall for her sister. She came back some time later, so pleased, and asked for more for each. I have no great quotes from them. Just a great story and a great feeling about what I do here every day.

A Lion’s Pride of Programs
We have all kinds of programs for kids and teens at Rancho Cordova Library: a kids' Chess Club; monthly Gaming Day; Reading with the Dogs when the great people from Have a Heart Foundation bring dogs and their handlers into the Community Room, and kids practice reading to a dog friend. We have music programs, author visits, writing workshops and summer reading programs.

Kids enjoy Kitchen Science slimes and bubbles.

Some of the crafts we've done include making recycled newspaper crafts in honor of Earth Day including some very cool porkpie hats out of newspaper.

We've molded chocolate skulls and roses, made popsicle stick catapults & designed leprechaun traps, (Note from Janet, Chris did you catch any leprechauns lurking in your library?)

Kids show off Mardi Gras Masks.

In two weeks, we'll be making Manga Dioramas with teens!

Preschool Storytimes and Baby and Me Storytimes are wildly popular. Parents, caregivers, kids and babies connect and share in fun storytimes that feature books, music, flannel boards, toys and crafts. I also take storytimes out into the community, at several Head Start day care centers and get great pictures and letters directed to Librarian Chris. Walking into a room of children eagerly anticipating your visit is just the best!

Library Laughs
Something happened at the first library LEGO mania program we hosted last month

We planned to have games of LEGO RockBand as well as LEGO blocks for building. I had lots of donated LEGOs, as well as the shared set from our system-wide Programming Team, to use. I had taken lots of fliers out to the schools, as well as advertised in local papers and put up posters in the branch. We had the nice new Wii game, and just to be sure it would all work, we set it up the day before the program. Uh oh! We “thought” the system the branch owned a Wii. We discovered it's actually a Play Station. We quickly called Gamestop, had them hold their last copy for us, picked it up on the way home from work, with half an hour to spare before they closed. On program day, since all our expertise (and I use that term very loosely) is with the Wii, we could not get the game set up right. We were rescued by the lovely green-haired pierced teens from Cordova High who had come for the program!

They got the game set up and going, other kids, young and old came by, and the day was saved! Interestingly, one of the high school girls refused to play, herself, saying that she just watches, because she's "no good" at RockBand, that all her friends are better. Instead, she patiently shepherded all the littler kids through the game, explaining how to choose their song and level of play, how to use the guitar and drum set, and making sure everyone got a turn. It freed me up for setting up the LEGOs, and admiring everyone's creation, and really added to the success of the day.Hooray for volunteers!

Readers Roar
"The library is a "great resource for the entire family!"

"Absolutely love your storyteller! Very gifted in her craft. The children are engaged and entertained.” - Patty L.

"My kids love storytime!” - Dim L.

"It's a great place to come for my kids. It's a wonderful learning environment."
- Julie K.

"Storytime with Miss Chris is a favorite part of the week for my boys. They've already memorized the nursery rhymes she uses on a regular basis and love to hear the new stories." - MaryAnn P.

"I get the chance to see the news, check my email, download songs, view DVD movies - Plus seeing my friends as well." -Evaristo C.

Author! Author! Describe the perfect author visit from a librarian’s point of view.
It is great when an author actually connects with the audience. Students gathered at McKinley Library to hear Janet Lee Carey talk about The Double Life of Zoe Flynn (The Children’s Book Pick for One Book Sacramento)

They were really interested to hear how she gets ideas for her books, and how she has to decide what has enough substance to sustain a whole book. When she talked about the craft of writing, she included them - they came away feeling they could be writers too. That kind of connection is what makes for a really good author visit.

Note: Hey thanks Chris. I had a great time meeting you and the students when I toured for One Book Sacramento:)

Book Brag: What three books are hot this year? Why?
Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins - because they are fast-paced, speculative fiction about a dystopian future, with a bit of fight-to-the-death, a bit of revolution and social consciousness, and a bit of love triangle thrown it. They are easy reads, fun, and give teens a lot of things to talk about.

Matched by Ally Condie - in a different kind of future, a dystopia which echoes The Giver or Brave New World, Cassia is a good girl, following the rules of society, until the day she sees an unexpected face on the screen showing her the person who is her Match for life. Now she must choose whether to stay with the perfect match the system has chosen for her, or follow her heart. This is less violent than the Hunger Games, is the first in a series, which seems to be a draw for readers, and also gives teens plenty to talk about.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The mysterious howling by Maryrose Wood - in this first book of a series for younger readers that is sure to be popular, fifteen year old Miss Penelope Lumley is hired as governess to three children who have been raised by wolves, and have been found in the woods by the strange hunting enthusiast, Lord Frederick. It is smart and funny, full of mysteries that are begging to be solved. And it has a heroine who is genuinely likable and kind.

Library Lion’s Roar: ONE LAST BIG ROAR
I've talked about lots of programs and resources we have inside the library, but Sacramento Public Library also has all kinds of online resources that kids can access from home, including Homework Help, great databases and downloadable music from Freegal. Our newest thing is pre-loaded Nook e-readers from Barnes and Noble which check out for 3 weeks, just like print books. Each Nook is loaded with about 20 popular books. There are Nooks for teens, for kids, and separate Nooks pre-loaded with bestsellers, mysteries, and romances, to name a few. All of us at SPL are really excited about this new way to get books into people's hands and keep them reading!

Connection Info
Blog: http://altlibrary.com
alt+library: an interesting blog for Sacramento readers in their 20s and 30s with really interesting comments from SPL programming librarians, Lori and Jess

Library Website: http://www.saclibrary.org

Thank you, Chris for your terrific interview!

Love Libraries? Give a Roar in “Comments” below.

Note to Librarians: If you’re a Youth Librarian working in a school or public library we’d love to hear about you and your library. Contact Janet at jlcarey@hotmail.com for an interview slot.