Tag Archives: The Children’s Room
Reflections from Joyce
I’d like to thank the wonderful people of the community who have supported the children’s
programs at Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library throughout the years. As I prepare to
retire at the end of this month, I’ve had time to reflect on my past twelve years as Children’s
Input from our patrons brought about many changes, such as adding Accelerated Reader labels to
books and creating neighborhoods where all of the Clifford, Dora, Star Wars and other favorite
characters and specific holiday books and movies are shelved in their own little section.
The children’s room staff made changes in the programs that we offer. We were one of the first
libraries in the state to offer programs for children starting at birth based on the Every Child
Ready to Read early literacy program endorsed by the American Library Association. In fact,
I founded and led ITELL, a task force of children’s librarians that lobbied and succeeded in
getting a children’s consultant at the state library. We also trained Indiana children’s librarians
in the Every Child Ready to Read skills and petitioned Indiana University to add early literacy
workshops for students studying to become librarians. Over the years we’ve provided a variety
of craft, art, music, cooking, sign language, and Spanish programs. Some of my favorite
programs and activities have been the Summer Reading Club, Reading with Dogs, I Can Read
Club, Harry Potter: Welcome to Hogwarts, Plainfield Arts Festival, Gingerbread House
Decorating, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and Boo at the Library. You may have seen
some of us outside of the library, too. The children’s staff received trophies for our Book Truck
Drill Team entries in the Quaker Day Parade, and we continue to meet many of you at the Kids
Summer Lunch Bunch and the 4-H Fair.
I’ve seen amazing changes in technology in the past decade. VHS tapes were the most popular
format for movies when I started working at this library, and who knew that we’d all be carrying
iPads, smart phones, and Nooks and be able to read books and magazines on them? Twelve years
ago children had to be in kindergarten and print their name before they could obtain a library
card. Now cards are issued to children of any age. Teens and tweens have been given more
respect and now have their own special space and some delightful librarians to accommodate
I’d be remiss not to mention the wonderful support we’ve had from the Friends of the Library.
In fact, all snacks, craft supplies and performers are purchased with Friends of the Library
funding. No tax monies are used for these. Your membership in the Friends and support of their
projects, such as book sales, enable us to provide the wonderful Art Zone, craft programs and
Silly Safaris. You won’t want to miss the fantastic Water Show they’re sponsoring this summer.
It’ll be across the street on the grassy area of First Baptist Church. Be sure to wear your swimsuit
and bring a towel to dry off.
It has been my pleasure to work for you, please continue to enjoy the programs we offer and
remember that we are here to serve YOU, so your comments and suggestions are always taken very seriously. Please tell us how we can make your experiences at the library better.
Children’s Services Manager
Once upon a time…Father Goose visited the Plainfield Library…and he’s back again, inviting you to participate in the magical fun as our beloved nursery rhymes and fairy tales get a Mother Goose-approved make-over from musician/magician, Paul Odenwelder. Children of all ages are invited to join us on Thursday, January 17th at 10:00 – 10:45 a.m. for this fun adventure that is sure to end happily ever after. Register online or call 838-3801.
Mother Goose is well-known for fairy tales and nursery rhymes, but our Father Goose, Paul Odenwelder, tells the stories his own special way. He offers lots of kid participation, great music and some magic thrown in just for fun. The Father Goose Show brings these classic stories
to life in a way that beats TV and computers for attention and encourages reading. Both Children and adults are charmed and amused.
Picture Book Month
Did you know that November has been declared Picture Book Month? This is great news here in the Children’s Room because we love picture books of all types. Here are a few of my personal favorites—feel free to chime in with yours!
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina: A peddler walks down the road with hits caps piled on top of his head. When he stops to take a nap, a bunch of monkeys steal the cap and the peddler has to get them back. This is an older book, but it was one of my family’s favorites growing up and it’s a fun read-aloud since you can act out the part of the peddler and the monkeys. With colorful illustrations and lots of detail for children to find, this is a great classic.
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey: Speaking of classics, you don’t get much better than the story of Sal and her mother who go picking blueberries on a hill. But on the other side is a mother bear and her baby. When a mix-up occurs, it’s quite a shock for everyone! The illustrations for this story are really funny and there are lots of sound effects for the kids to echo.
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney: All right, one more classic. I grew up on the story of Alice, the Lupine Lady, who wants to go to faraway places, to live by the sea, and to make the world more beautiful. When she has worked in a library, traveled the world, and settled by the sea, she goes around scattering lupine seeds so that the ground is covered with blue and purple and rose-colored flowers. Without being preachy, this story has a great message.
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen: When Annabelle finds a box filled with yarn of every color, she begins knitting with it. She has some extra yarn, so she keeps knitting. And then she covers her cold little town in yarn of every color. I love the deceptively simple illustrations and the slightly humorous tone of the story that at the same time inspires me to make the world a more beautiful place.
Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World) by Mac Barnett and Dan Santat: “Oh no…Oh man…I knew it. I never should have built a robot for the science fair.” So says our narrator at the beginning of the book. Then she has to deal with the fact that her giant science fair robot has gotten out and is busy destroying the world. Her solution is creative…maybe a bit TOO creative!
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen: Fair warning—don’t read this book with those who are especially tender-hearted when it comes to animals. However, for those of us who are a little more thick-skinned, this story of a bear who has lost his hat is absolutely hilarious. There are wonderful little jokes between the story and the pictures
Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems: Okay, basically, I love anything by Mo Willems. But lots of people know about the Pigeon books and Knuffle Bunny. Leonardo, the Terrible monster is also delightful and not so well known. Leonardo is a terrible monster. He can’t scare anyone. He doesn’t have scary teeth, he’s not big, or just plain weird. Then he decides to find the most scaredy-cat kid in the whole world and scare the tuna salad out of them. As usual, Willems’ illustrations are fun, with lots of expression on the different characters.
Flotsam by David Wiesner: A wordless picture book. At the beginning, a boy finds a camera washed up on a beach. When he looks at the film, he discovers a magical underwater world of mechanical fish, cozy living rooms where octopuses read to their young, and mermaids wave to squid. An enchanting book for the imaginative reader, with always a little more to find in each picture.
Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace and LeUyen Pham: A little vampire dreams of becoming a ballerina, but it’s not easy when you have cold feet, or when your smile scares the other dances, or when you’re liable to turn into a bat when embarrassed. This is such a cute book, full of funny little details and a heartwarming story. Great for the ballet enthusiast at any time of the year.
Every Child is an Artist!
There’s an art wall by the project table in the Children’s Room, where kids can always find supplies to sit down and make something creative. They can take their projects home, leave them to display, or make two, one to take and one to display.
The leaf project was to decorate a paper leaf with colorful paper bits. It’s amazing how different they were from each other! It tied in with the Writing aspect of the initiative. Picking up the mosaic bits and working with a glue stick helps develop the fine motor skills needed to write, and reading and writing go hand in hand.
Welcome to Our Neighborhoods!
It has just gotten easier to locate items in the children’s room through the creation of Neighborhoods. Some of the books and movies are being shelved together by topic rather than classified as fiction, non-fiction or format (such as DVD). The first Neighborhood created was based on the most popular requests from children of their Favorite Characters. These include Barbie, Clifford, Dora, Star Wars and Thomas. For children who love the airplane or train books, we have a Transportation Neighborhood with sub-categories of In the Air, In the Water, and On Land. Coming soon will be Neighborhoods on Holidays and the Town Values.
The call number on the spine of the book/DVD has not changed; the only changes are the location of the item on the shelves and listed in the Evergreen on-line catalog, plus the addition of a color-coded spine label. An example of a location change in the Evergreen online catalog will be “Children: Favorite Characters: Dora” instead of “children picture book”.
We hope these Neighborhoods make it easier for you and your child to locate the items you want. Please be patient with us as we take the time to transfer the items into Neighborhoods. If you need assistance finding items or have suggestions for improvements or additional Neighborhoods, please tell any of the children’s room staff.
Reading Aloud to Kids
Obviously I love reading. I read on a daily basis and one of my goals is to spread the joy of reading. I decided, even before my oldest son, Tim, was born, that my kids would grow up to be readers. I bought Tim Dr. Seuss books when he was 2 months old. Last year, I think my youngest son, Zeke, was the youngest child enrolled in Summer Reading, as he was born the day after summer reading started! His room is even decorated in Dr. Seuss illustrations.
However, despite all of this, I was unsure of how to read to my kids, so I went on a library adventure to find a book on the subject. What I found was The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. This is just me talking, but I feel as though this is the definitive guide on reading to your kids. Here are some tips that I use everyday that I gleaned from this book:
Start early, but better late than never! Story time is a lot of fun, but you don’t have to be elaborate if you don’t want to be. A short book before bed is a great way to “ease into” the idea of reading together on a regular basis. I read with both my boys before Zeke goes to bed, and then I read with Tim again before his bedtime, as he listens to the story and doesn’t chew on the books like his brother. The only problem I ever have is when Tim throws a fit for me to read him another story. I suppose if I have to pick a problem to have, this would be it.
Read your own material in front of your kids. Don’t allow them to think that adults don’t read! For example, you can read the newspaper at breakfast, and perhaps read aloud part of a story that may be interesting to them. You could read a recipe while cooking. Read a novel that you just picked up from the library on the couch. Kids learn by example, so show them that reading isn’t just for kids in school.
Don’t be afraid to read aloud to kids of any age. It doesn’t matter if your kid is 6 or 16, you can still take 5 or 10 minutes a day to have some quality reading time.
Don’t be afraid to read aloud because you don’t think you’re good at it. Practice makes perfect! Your child will enjoy the time you spend sharing a story even if you’re not an audiobook-quality, read-aloud, voiceover artist. At first, I was afraid that Tim wouldn’t like the crazy voices that I used for the characters in Steven Kellogg’s Jack and the Beanstalk, but now he won’t let me read it to him any other way!
Make reading aloud fun! Little kids like to read the same books over and over again. At least do yourself a favor and spice up the way you read—use silly voices, do sound effects, ask questions about the illustrations. Really get into what you’re doing, and the child will definitely follow your lead.
Take your kids to the library! PPL’s children’s department is awesome. There are zones for each age range to play, toys for little guys, puzzles and games for all ages, and a quiet area for reading. Let your child pick a book for herself. Let her grab a shopping cart and watch the books fly off the shelves! Show older kids how to search Evergreen for subjects that they enjoy.
Turn off the electronics! Television and Internet are great things in moderation. Unplug for awhile and watch your kids become more alert, imaginative, pleasant, and talkative. Maybe they’ll even do their chores without a fuss too. Okay, that’s wishful thinking.
A great adult book about reading aloud is The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma. It chronicles “The Streak” of reading aloud between a father and daughter for several years, and the profound impact it had on both of them. I only hope that the reading aloud that I do for my kids has the same effect!
NEW Library Wish List
Do you ever want to donate to a good cause but don’t know how to go about it? Using DearReader’s WishList program the library has set up an easy way for the public to donate towards items on the library’s wish list.
The process is straightforward: just go to www.plainfieldlibrary.net and click on the Library WishList Support button on the right side of the webpage. Then click Wishes and then just scroll down through the items on the list and find one that you like. Click Donate Online to make a donation towards that item.
What’s nice about the wish list is that you can donate in whatever increment you prefer be it $1, $5, $10 or more. It’s just that simple.
The items on the wish list go towards all sorts of library events and activities from programming materials, to toys for the Children’s Room, to helpful items for our patrons and much more.
The library appreciates your support!
Are You Ready for Memorial Day Weekend?
Memorial Day Weekend: a time for spending with family…
…in the car…
Why not read a book while you’re in the car?
Or are you like me, a control freak, and drive everywhere? No offense…
Or do you get carsick while reading directions when forced to be the trusty navigator?
Well here are some fabulous non-book options furnished by your fabulous library, to entertain you instead of being bored, sick, or forced to play the license plate game again.
Audiobooks: PGTPL has a fabulous collection of books on CD. Whether you like non-fiction, historical fiction, or even teen fiction and children’s books, we have something for you. Pop in a CD, and listen to great authors, actors, and professional voices read you great books. Many more audiobooks are available for download on Overdrive as well. My favorites: Beauty Queens, written and performed by Libba Bray via OverDrive; and Horton Hears a Who and other stories, performed by Dustin Hoffman available through Evergreen.
Playaways: If your trusty vehicle doesn’t have a CD player, don’t fret! We have these cute little do-dads called Playaways. You just plug a set of headphones in and listen to the story.
DVDs: If you have a fancy vehicle with DVD players, we can load you up with great movies from our collection. You can even find movies about wherever you’re going with our extensive non-fiction DVD shelves. One movie I like that’s good for all ages: IMAX Under the Sea, narrated by Jim Carrey. Popcorn not included.
CDs: Tired of trying to find a great radio station in the middle of nowhere? Grab a handful of CDs and create your own playlist. I enjoy exposing my kids to music that I like, so I don’t have to listen to the Hokey Pokey a million times. However, Barenaked Ladies have a great kid’s CD called Snacktime that rocks!
Especially for Kids:
Playaway Views: Got kids? Got kids that love Elmo, Arthur or fairy tales? We have Playaway Views in the Children’s room! These nifty handheld buddies are personal movie players. They are pre-loaded, so you don’t have to fuss with DVDs or extra pieces. Earphones can be plugged in, but aren’t necessary…unless Elmo’s voice will make the drive feel like Purgatory. My child’s favorites: Between the Lions and Strega Nona.
Kid Kits: Help yourself and help our children’s room staff flex their creative muscles by compiling a kid kit for your child. Stop by the children’s room a week or so before your trip and fill out a kid kit form. You will let the librarians know how old your child is, what his interests are, and what kind of materials he would like. Then, the librarian will pull together materials for your child to take with him on his trip! You can pick them up when convenient for you, and have all the items you need to keep your kid excited about being in the car for eight hours…well…maybe.
I hope you have a safe trip to wherever your three day weekend takes you. Me? I’m thinking a couch staycation is in order!