Booktalks 2.0

Just in time for back-to-school, Joyce Valenza, on NeverEndingSearch posts a list of podcasts and online booktalks for kids. What a great idea to get kids interested in reading – link this to your library website, and lead the kids to try it out. Hope the kids can find the books in libraries.

Even better, record podcasts for the new books added to your library! They’ll think you’re really cool.

Day of the American Cowboy

Today, July 28th, is National Day of the American Cowboy, introduced into the Senate by Wyoming Senator Thomas Craig* on March 21, 2007 and passed by the Senate May 25, 2007. S. Res. 130 .

The Cowboy is not only an American tradition, but a very real part of western life, which I grew to appreciate while living in South Dakota. The opening lines of the resolution relate the importance of the American Cowboy very well:

  • Whereas pioneering men and women, recognized as cowboys, helped establish the American West;
  • Whereas that cowboy spirit continues to infuse this country with its solid character, sound family values, and good common sense;
  • Whereas the cowboy embodies honesty, integrity, courage, compassion, respect, a strong work ethic, and patriotism;
  • Whereas the cowboy loves, lives off of, and depends on the land and its creatures, and is an excellent steward, protecting and enhancing the environment;
  • Whereas the cowboy continues to play a significant role in the culture and economy of the United States;
  • Whereas approximately 800,000 ranchers are conducting business in all 50 States and are contributing to the economic well being of nearly every county in the Nation;
  • resolution continues

Some of the best library programs we sponsored in South Dakota featured cowboy poets. There’s a great cowboy poetry site Cowboy Music and Poetry from the Western Folklife Center in Elko Nevada. For a modern poet, I especially like Linda Hasselstrom. Read or listen to her Carolyn, Miranda, and Me.

*Senator Thomas served in the Senate for 12 years, and died June 4, 2007 of complications of leukemia following treatment. (Wikipedia)

National Ice Cream Day – in 2 days

I’m posting this ahead of time, so that we can get ready. Sunday, July 15th is National Ice Cream Day – designated in 1984 as an annual event to be the third Sunday of July by President Ronald Reagan. (no theme intended, even though my previous post also referenced President Reagan).

Wouldn’t it be fun to have an ice cream social as a library event? Or at the very least, for virtual patrons, provide reference links to All those great ice cream recipes – just waiting to be made. Maybe I should head on over to my local big-box store (many to choose from) and pick up an ice cream maker this afternoon. Or then again, maybe I’ll just spend Sunday touring ice cream shops.

Anyway, have a happy Ice Cream Day!

Library service for military families

Minnesota National Guard troops will be home this summer, according to almost every news source in Minnesota. The Minnesota division has served almost 2 years, longer than any other state’s Guard division. As a former military librarian as well as a military spouse and mom (retired USAF), I feel the excitement with every one of those families.

While my family went through numerous deployments, we always lived on a military installation where the infrastructure provided lots of support and the families around us shared the same experiences as we did. Guard troops will return directly to Hometown Minnesota after a short demobilization period at Fort McCoy.

All troops don’t live near their Guard units and most hometown communities don’t have a very experienced long-term support structure to help military families. Most military families will attest to the fact that coming home is only the beginning of stressful family times, as they re-acclimate to life back together, sometimes more different than the same as it was before deployment.

Community libraries are well placed to function as an information source to military families to help them through the next period, reintegration. I encourage library staff members to familiarize themselves with the information on these two resources. You never know when you’re working the desk and can offer something of value to military families.

Library Speakers’ Bureau – just like Rochesterfest

Here’s a great idea from Marylaine Block’s weekly e-zine (#299, 22 June 2007). In her newsletter article today, Knowledge Pushers, Marylaine says that libraries are more than books. She cites the value of the knowledge of librarians. She says:

We know how to get grants, how to track our ancestors, how to digitize precious historical and family photos, and how to entice children to read. We know how to find trustworthy factual information on political candidates and important public issues. We’ve done the research and can tell anxious parents about the capabilities and limitations of various internet filters; we can also suggest other ways to keep kids safe as they explore the net.

She suggests that the reason the public doesn’t know is that we don’t tell them, that libraries wait for people to come to us, when we could go out to the community. Marylaine says that as the director goes out (I hope that’s so, but I fear too many times it’s not), so could other library staff.

All this reminded me of Rochesterfest — where I’ve found wonderful food the last couple of days (why cook?). At Rochesterfest, there is a row of food stands, run by our great local restaurants. People who go to the festival find great food from vendors whose restaurants they may never have thought to try.

So, just like the restaurateur, who comes to meet new customers where they are, the library will bring valuable information to people where they are through the library speakers’ bureau.

While I don’t work in a library that provides direct service to end users, I do get the chance to speak to groups (as do most of the librarians I work with) – and really get charged up when I invited to do so. I’ve spoken to church libraries, Rotary, groups of teachers and librarians, led a book discussion for a tea, and am looking forward to this fall when among other meetings I’ll be doing a presentation for the Friends of the Mabel Public Library.

No threat at DDR

All the kids who hang out at teen night at the Chatfield Public Library have nothing to fear from me — I’ll never beat them at DDR (Dance Dance Revolution.) It was fun to try it, though. Monica, the Chatfield PL Director set up DDR as a demonstration for the other librarians as a warm up for their regular meeting yesterday. A few tried it, more watched. But what a great thing they’ve got going in Chatfield for the kids. Now here’s another one of those “if I had a library posts” . . . .

Of course, if I managed to keep my feet in the center of the controller, I’d have done a lot better.
Monica and Barbara

However, 2 of my colleagues have it down to “perfect” — Congrats AJ and JP! How cool is this?
Aurora and Jonya