Posted in Librarianing

Padlet is ACES for RA!

Sorry about the mid-day posts these last few days. I’ve been in branch, and too wiped to write posts the night before. I’m working from home for the rest of the week, so I’ll be back to my scheduled flurry of posts during the day.

What’s up in the land of Professional Development? Well, I’ve discovered some more fun tools, thanks to the Library Voice blog. It’s primarily for school librarians, but I love exploring school librarian tools and lessons, because they have some great ideas. Sure enough, the Library Voice’s 25 Days of Digital Tools introduced me to some wonderful new toys to play with – and short videos on how librarians use them! The one I want to holler about today is Padlet. As a colleague put it, “It’s almost like Pinterest, without the ads”. It’s a virtual online bulletin board that you and your colleagues can share and work on together, like a Google Doc. This is fantastic for those of us in Readers Advisory, because how many times have you answered the phone or had a patron come in and ask for books, and have your mind go completely blank? I read over 200 books a year, but if a parent calls me and asks for picture books about dinosaurs, my brain resets to “567.9” or “How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?” What about the days when there’s no children’s librarian available and someone calls for RA? Having a padlet of booklists gives us the chance to collaborate on booklists with our colleagues and have RA at our fingertips when answering reference and RA questions in an area we may not be as knowledgeable about.


It’s free to start a Padlet, and you get three boards with your free account. Here, I’ve started my three: YA, Books for Grownups, and Children and Middle Grade Booklists. Once you establish your Padlets, you can add to each of them – and that’s where the fun begins.



Here’s a glimpse of my Children and Middle Grade Padlet. I can make any number of lists within the Padlet. Think of each Padlet as a binder, and within the binder, you have sections for each of your subjects. Here, in my Children’s and Middle Grade Padlet, I can make booklists with Arts & Crafts, Fun Facts, Realistic Fiction, Historical Fiction, and I can even deep dive into niche things like “Winter”, “Grandparents”, “First Day of School”, and more. You can add pictures, links, text, anything you want to make this resource yours.

I ran this by a few of my friends from our library system, and they loved it! So we’re collaborating on it together, and there are so many ideas, so many ways to work with this. I’m really looking forward to developing this over the next few months.

And now… I know I stick to kids and YA, but I’ll give you a sneak peek at my Romance padlet. Because I’m fairly new to Romancelandia, being a newish reader in the genre, and because everyone, EVERYONE loves Netflix’s Bridgerton, so you can expect to be getting a lot of calls and visits about readalikes (remember Downton Abbey?) I’ve started putting one together, so please forgive the patchiness – it’s in its fledgling stages.


Customize your background, how you want your info laid out, and share links for viewing and/or editing, all for free. Three Padlets gives you a lot of freedom to work, so you can get a real taste of it before thinking about whether you want to upgrade.


I haven’t started my YA one just yet – just created the list heads, so I’ll share when I have it a little more populated. You can also visit the Padlet Gallery to see other Padlets and get more ideas, and you can follow other Padlet folx! Very excited to play around and learn with this one. If you’re using Padlet, shoot me a link so I can see what you’ve got! You can find me here.

Posted in Conferences & Events, professional development

Upcoming: Latinx KidLit Book Festival

There’s a great professional development/learning opportunity coming up in December: The Latinx KidLit Book Festival is free, virtual, and takes place on December 4th and 5th!


The author list is a dream: Elizabeth Acevedo, Eric Velasquez, Francisco Stork, Gabby Rivera, Raúl the Third, and SO MANY MORE. My head is spinning. Zoraida Cordova is also attending, so I’ll be sitting here, in front of my computer, clutching my Brooklyn Brujas books and squealing.

Fill out the Librarian/Educator information form and get on this mailing list. There are also links to Educator Resources for a variety of children’s books by Latinx authors and illustrators further down on the Educator Resources pages – don’t miss these.

The panels look fantastic. I particularly want to see the one on Picture Books in the Age of Activism, and the Fantasy, Myths, and Legends also looks amazing.

Made for readers and educators alike, try to catch this festival. We need to support these authors, illustrators, and publishers!

Posted in professional development

Professional Development Reading: Exploring the Science of Sounds

My latest professional development read is Exploring the Science of Sounds: 100 Music Activities for Young Children, by Abigail Flesch Connors. Since I enjoy singing songs and teaching my storytime kids fingerplays, I wanted to see how else I could bring music into my programs. Two of my colleagues have done great programs with musical instruments and musical play, so I want to get in on the fun!

Exploring the Science of Sounds: 100 Musical Activities for Young Children, by Abigail Flesch Connors,
(October 2017, Gryphon House), $16.95, ISBN: 9780876597316

Although aimed at professionals that work with kids from preschool to age 7, many of these activities are easily adaptable to toddlers. We get an explanation of the science behind sounds – pitch, tempo, musical instruments and how they make the sounds they make – and activities that translate to teachable moments for kids (and caregivers!). Teach kids to make their own guitar/harp/stringed instruments using a tissue box and rubber bands! Use different surfaces to understand how sound travels with different thicknesses! Every single activity in here will enrich a storytime or form the groundwork for a STEAM/STEM music program that kids will love. I’m putting this one in my professional development budget; I can see myself referring to this book again and again.

Posted in professional development

Professional Development Reading: Time for a Story

Time for a Story: Sharing Books with Infants and Toddlers, by Amy Brooks Read & Saroj Nadkarni Ghoting, (Nov. 2015, Gryphon House), $19.95, ISBN: 9780876596586

I’m always looking for new ways to learn within my profession and expand on that knowledge. And since the family finances are like, “Nuh-uh” when it comes to getting another grad degree, I’ve turned to books. There is some great stuff out there! Since I’m always in search of strengthening my storytimes, especially to babies and toddlers, I started with Time for a Story. Saroj Ghoting spoke at an in-service at my library one time, and I really liked the way she talked about storytelling and how to apply learning to storytime, so I jumped at the chance to read a book she had a hand in.

Time for a Story is a good start to digging into storytime and how to incorporate singing, play, talking, reading, and writing into any and every book you pick up. Amy Brooks Read and Saroj Ghoting have tips and reading lists ready for babies and toddlers, concentrating on the early childhood literacy and the best ways to introduce a lifelong love of reading in kids. Reading, you say? Yes, reading! Kids start making connections early – print awareness is wonderful, we all know that. Keep books all over the place for kids to develop that print awareness. Let them chew on those board books (not library books, though, PLEASE), let them hold books and turn pages. I hand out books for kids to hold onto and explore during my storytimes, so it was gratifying to read that here. I was also relieved to discover that it is okay for my kiddos to wander during storytime, and for me to keep reading – they’re still paying attention while they explore. Family Literacy Tips are great to post around your libraries and classrooms, and talk through with parents during storytime.

There are book lists and samples of ways to read different books. I appreciated the advice on reading wordless or sparsely worded books, like Peggy Rathmann’s Good Night Gorilla, because I feel like it’s an untapped resource for my storytimes.

This was a nice start to my professional development reading, with information that I will come back to. Saroj Ghoting has a very useful website where you can find resources in a multitude of languages, including Spanish and Chinese. Gryphon House has a video of Amy Brooks Read discussing storytime strategies on their website.

Posted in Uncategorized

Everyday Advocacy Challenge: I’m IN!

I’m excited to be part of the ALSC’s Spring 2016 Everyday Advocacy Challenge! Over the next few weeks, I will:

Commit to completing four consecutive Take Action Tuesday challenges on advocacy topics/themes;

Collaborate with EAC cohort members over the four-week period, sharing successes and troubleshooting issues via ALA Connect;

Write a post for the ALSC blog about their EAC experiences; and

Contribute a reflection for the April 2016 issue of the Everyday Advocacy Matters e-newsletter.


I’ve been spending the first six months of my full-time librarianship getting my sea legs, learning about my new community, and acclimating to full-time public library work, including storytimes and programs for infants, toddlers, school-age kids, tweens and teens – the whole range! This year, I’ve made it a priority to get involved with the profession; really dig in – and the Everyday Advocacy Challenge offers a great chance to do that. I’ll be journaling here, in addition to anything I write for the ALSC, about the Challenge, so please follow along and chime in with any questions or anecdotes you’d like to share.




Posted in Uncategorized

Resolving to Rock in 2015!

I’ve been a huge fan of Storytime Katie’s blog since I was in library school. I love her storytime ideas, especially her Flannel Fridays posts, which have been a great source of professional development for me as I get my children’s librarian sea legs steady. Today, she’s given me a hand yet again, by introducing me to Storytime Underground and Resolve to Rock – talking about setting professional goals, and helping support fellow children’s services providers in their goals. So here I go.

resolve to rock

Having just discovered Storytime Underground, I resolve to register for their Storytime University training and apply it to my storytimes. A huge part of my Books for Kids work is wrapped up in storytimes, so this will be hugely helpful.

Seek out more resources on providing sensory-friendly storytimes. I need to work on reaching the special needs kids in my storytime classes. I used a few ideas from Storytime Katie in the past, and definitely saw a spark, so I need to incorporate more.

Get coding, and get my patrons coding! I’ve gotten through a few lessons on building a website, and the introduction to WordPress on my Treehouse account at Queens Library, so I need to make time and get through the training.

Up my picture book and nonfiction game. I read a lot of middle grade and YA fiction, but my RA skills in nonfiction and picture books could use some work.

Join a professional committee. I’m looking at ALSC and YALSA, and leaning toward ALSC because I work more with younger children. But I have to make a decision soon, and need to get involved.

Those are the big ones. 2014 was a good year for me personally and professionally, so I want to keep the momentum going! Good luck to everyone!