Friday, February 24, 2017

Partnership Incentive Award: Libraries and Free Driving Tests

Does your library offer free driving tests (car, motorcycle, and commercial) to your patrons?

If not, then you probably haven't heard about an awesome partnership between libraries and Elegant E-Learning. We're excited to highlight them today for two reasons:

1. Elegant E-Learning offers a free online driver's ed to libraries and their patrons. It is also ad-free and really easy to setup, with a special URL with your library's name. They do not keep information and there is no authentication needed. Best of all - these driving tests not only help teens and new drivers with preparing for their first driver's license, but they also provide tests for motorcycles and commercial vehicles. So many patrons can benefit from this!

2. And, from now until May 1st, 2017, every library who signs up will be automatically added into a $500 drawing. Five lucky libraries (and that's public, school, and academic libraries) will be selected.

So, if there is anything you do today, why not check out their website and sign-up? In May, you might be really thankful that you did this.

Full disclosure: I should mention that a few months ago, Elegant E-Learning's founder, Andrei Zakhareuski, contacted me and asked for ideas on how he can reach more libraries. We had a great conversation and the $500 drawing was one of the ideas that came out of it. (Thanks to my background with trying to get teens to participate in programs.) I really hope this idea helps many libraries participate! If you were always meaning to add this to your website, now is the time to do it.

(I also want to note that he did not ask me to write about his program nor paid me to do it. I am happy to share this partnership because I really think it'll benefit everyone.)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Ready to Go Book Display: Yoga

Welcome to our series, "Ready to Go!" Book Display. Once a month we'll highlight the latest or greatest for every age group that you can promote within your library or order for your collection. I think many of our stressed out right now, so let's try a relaxing yoga display.

Recommendations for Adults:

Every Body Yoga by Jessamyn Stanley (Apr 2017)
This book shows us that yoga isn't about how one looks, but how one feels, with yoga sequences like "I Want to Energize My Spirit," "I Need to Release Fear," and "I Want to Love Myself."
This book features full-color yoga pose portraits of more than 80 practitioners of all ages, shapes, sizes, backgrounds and skill levels - real people with real stories to share about how yoga has changed their lives for the better.
Yoga Body and Mind Handbook by Jasmine Tarkeshi (Apr 2017)
In this book specifically with the beginner in mind, yoga teach Jasmine Tarkeshi gives an introduction to essential yoga poses, breathing techniques and meditations.
Corpse Pose by Diana Killian (Apr 2008)
When she inherits the Sacred Balance yoga studio from her aunt, A.J. Alexander, along with her actress mother and a handsome detective, must discover who wanted her aunt dead before A.J. becomes the next target. This is the first book in the Mantra for Murder mystery series.
2,100 Asanas: The Complete Yoga Poses by Daniel Lacerda (Nov 2015)
In this collection of photographed yoga Asanas each pose is accompanied by the name of the pose in English and Sanskrit, a description of the modification, the Drishti point (eye gaze), the chakras affected and its benefits.

Yoga for Cats by Christienne Wadsworth (Apr 2016)
This hilarious faux how-to manual demonstrates the benefits of a daily yoga practice for felines.
Doga: Yoga for You and Your Dog by Mahny Djahanguiri (Jun 2015)
Classic yoga poses are adapted to include your furry friend.
Yoga 365 by Susanna Harwood Rubin (Oct 2016)
This book presents a year's worth of daily readings that invite yoga lovers of every skill level to bring the inspiration they experience on their mats into their everyday lives.
30-Minute Yoga by Viveka Blom Nygren (Jan 2011)
This guide with photos provides all the information one needs to do an effective 30-minute workout that can be tailored to the reader's specific needs.

Recommendations for Teens:

Yoga for Your Mind and Body by Rebecca Rissman (Apr 2015)
Presents yoga techniques and poses to promote brain power, stress relief, strength, and fitness.
Yoga Girls' Club: Do Yoga, Make Art, Be You by Tiffani Bryant (Feb 2015)
This is an interactive workbook format that introduces girls to yoga and meditation and offers frequent opportunities for self-reflection through short drawing and writing exercises.

Recommendations for Kids:

100 Yoga Activities for Children by Shobana Vinay (Apr 2017)
Parents can learn different ways to introduce their children to yoga.
Yoga Bunny by Brian Russo (Dec 2016)
Wanting to unwind with yoga at the end of a hardworking but beautiful day, Bunny practices his poses and wishes that his busy friends could realize that yoga would help them through their stressful routines.
I am Yoga by Susan Verde (Sept 2015)
As a young girl practices various standard yoga poses, she imagines herself as a tree touching the sky, a playful dog, a warrior, and more while relaxing and seeing how she fits into the world.
The Yoga Game by Kathy Beliveau (Nov 2010)
This book invites children to play with the words, guess the riddles and enjoy an actual yoga practice. Be sure to also check out The Yoga Game by the Sea and The Yoga Game in the Garden.
Good Night Yoga by Mariam Gates (Apr 2015)
A bedtime book for children to practice yoga before going to sleep. Start the day with the follow up book Good Morning Yoga.
Zach and Lucy and the Yoga Zoo by the Pifferson Sisters (Feb 2016)
Siblings Lucy and Zach set up their own yoga studio in the basement of their apartment building.
A Morning with Grandpa by Sylvia Liu (Apr 2016)
Curious and energetic Mei Mei attempts t'ai chi forms as her grandfather demonstrates them, then tries to teach him basic yoga poses.
ABC Yoga by Christiane Engel (Sept 2016)
Pairs illustrations of simplified yoga poses with alphabetized animals and objects in a colorful introduction to both the alphabet and the practice of yoga that incorporates playful rhymes that explain each movement.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Libraries Resist

Today is a short post but an important one. With the current political environment here in the US, our profession's core values are at stake. Thankfully, the Que(e)ry Librarians started a Google Document with lots of different resources to help libraries and library works in the resistance. Their goal is to help libraries answer the question: How do we help communities made (more) vulnerable by the new administration?

You can access their Google Document here: You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

In the document, you'll find many resources for these topics:

  • Privacy, Surveillance, and Security
  • Free Speech, Protests, Demonstrations
  • Fake News, Propaganda, Fact Checking, Media Literacy
  • Civil and Human Rights
  • Library/Government Relations and Advocacy
  • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Libraries
  • Preserving Vulnerable Data and Collections
  • Archiving Resistance History
  • Resisting in Library Work
  • Literature and Art of Resistance
  • Resources for Children, Teens, Young Adults
  • Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship
  • Multilingual, Translation, and Language Education
  • Accessibility, Disability, Assistive/Adaptive Technologies
  • Library Programs, Displays, Exhibits
  • Reference and Public Service
  • Cataloging, Metadata, Collecting and Acquisition
  • Net Neutrality, Open Access, Fair Use
  • Labor and Staffing
  • Sustainable Libraries
  • Social Media
This is a work in progress, but we applaud the Que(e)ry Librarians for their hard work. It is a great place to start when learning about your rights and to find great resources to recommend to patrons. It is going to be a long four years, but we're more powerful working together. #LibrariesResist

Friday, February 3, 2017

My Life on a YALSA Committee

I've had the honor of being a member of the 2016 and 2017 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers selection committee. Let me share with you a bit about our committee and what it's really like to be a member.

What is the purpose of this selection list?

The purpose of our list is to identify books for recreational reading for young adults (ages 12-18) who, for whatever reasons, do not like to read.

What's the difference between a selection committee and an award committee?

Quick Picks is a selection committee, the public (librarians like you!) can nominate titles and our list of what has been nominated is updated regularly throughout the year on YALSA's website. When our committee meets our meetings are open to the public and any conference attendees, including publishers can drop in and share about the books we are discussing.

An awards committee is much more private. Their nominations and meetings are kept closed to the public, conference attendees and YALSA members, and only the final winner and honor titles are revealed. The public is still encouraged to nominate titles for the committee to consider.

Both types of committees have to follow YALSA's Social Media Policy which limits posting reviews or ratings of any books that are nominated.

What kinds of books do you look at for this list?

In order to be eligibile for our list the book needs to have been published in the United States from July to December of the previous calendar year. (Books on our 2017 list were published between July 2015 and December 2016.) Our committee looks at fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, and manga.

How did you become a member of this committee?

You must be a YALSA member. Members of selection committees are appointed by the YALSA President-elect. In order to apply you need to fill out the Committee Volunteer Form, answer questions on your reading and involvement with teens and submit your resume. When I applied I volunteered for Quick Picks as well as the Alex Awards, Morris Awards, Best Fiction, and Popular Paperbacks committees. I needed to reapply for my second year.

What are your responsibilities as a member of this committee?

"Committee members are expected to participate in the nomination process, to evaluate a large number of books, to read all nominated books, to attend all committee meetings and to actively participate in book discussions." Our committee meets twice a year, first at Annual and then Midwinter when we finalized our list. It is up to you to either work with your library to pay for your trip or pay your own way.

How does a book get nominated?

Books get nominated one of two ways: either by the public or by committee member. A member of the public (as long as they are not the author or publisher) can submit a title through the Quick Picks page on the YALSA website. A committee member will then read the book and if they deem it worthy they second the nomination. If they don't, nothing further happens.

If a committee member reads a book and deems it worthy of the list and they nominate it, it becomes part of the nominations list.

What makes a book worthy of nominating?

Our committee looks at a variety of selection criteria when considering books:

Physical Appearance: Cover (is catchy and appealing?), print style (how large or small is the print, is the font readable?), format (is there a balance of text and white space?), artwork/illustrations (are they diverse, enticing?)
Style: Is the writing clear? Is sophisticated vocabulary used?

Fiction: Does the book capture the reader in the first 10 pages? Does the plot lag in the middle? Is the book developed through plot and dialogue?

Nonfiction: Are technical terms defined in context? Is it accurate? Is it objective?

How much did you read for this committee?

In short, A LOT. Committee members are required to read the nominated titles in order to vote for them to be on the list. In 2017 we had 151 nominated titles. In addition I read 62 books that I did not nominate and started at least 75 books that I started but did not finish.

What does a year on this committee look like?

After ALA Midwinter (late January, early February)- The new committee starts! Introduce yourself to the other committee members and talk about what we are looking for in a good Quick Picks nomination. The search begins for worthy books, so start reading reviews, seeing what's eligible that would fit with our list, and search your library and bookstore shelves. Read, read, read, and begin nominating any titles you deem worthy. Boxes of books will start arriving at your doorstep and it will be so much fun to see what arrives. Book your hotel and travel plans for Annual.

Usually a month before ALA Annual (early May) - Nominations are suspended in an effort for committee members to take a break from reading with the intent of nominating and focus on reading books that have already been nominated. Teen feedback is crucial for our list so get as much feedback as possible. Find out where your committee is meeting and what days and times at Annual.

ALA Annual (June) - It's meeting time! Now you finally get to meet your fellow committee members in person. Review the purpose of the list and begin discussing the nominated titles. Discussions are limited to 4-6 minutes per book. Don't forget to share the feedback you've gathered from teens. Participate in a straw poll to see how titles are currently fairing. Stop by the exhibit hall and talk to publishers about upcoming books. Attend any dinners, sessions, or speeches that you can.

After ALA Annual - Momentarily decompress from Annual. Nominations open again, continue to seek out and read new books, get teen feedback, and nominate. Get less excited about the ever growing pile of books that you receive in the mail. Who knew so many books were teen books were published this year? Book your hotel and travel for Midwinter.

Usually a month before ALA Midwinter (December) - Nominations officially close. Now you know how many books you have to read before Midwinter. Make sure you've read all the nominations (if you didn't read the book you cannot vote for it to be on the list). Try to balance the stress of the holidays and the huge pile of books you need to read. Start using the excuse "but I need to read all the these books" for staying up late and canceling plans.

ALA Midwinter (January) - Continue reading those few remaining nominated books. Meet back up with the committee and talk about all of the nominated books (including those discussed at Annual). Share feedback from teens and start narrowing down titles that you will vote for to be on the list. On the last meeting day you vote for the final list. There are 11 committee members and each book needs to receive at least 7 votes to be added. In 2017 we narrowed down our list of 151 nominations to 71 titles and two series. Next each committee member writes down 10 titles they believe are best of our list. The ten with the most votes becomes our top ten list. Now comes the hard part - annotations. Each little description/blurb must be short and cannot be taken from the publisher.

How do you get teen feedback on nominations?

There is no required way to get feedback for books. Most committee members give out short survey forms with nominated books and look at how well the book is circulating in their community. For the two years that I was on the committee I created an online survey for teens and shared it at my library and with librarians across the country to share with their teens. My survey didn't require teens to have read any of the books but asked for feedback on the cover and description. Teens shared whether or not it appealed to them and if they read the book.

What was the best part of being on this committee?

Okay, probably the best part of being a committee member is the number of free books publishers send you. Every week you get boxes of books at your house. We were sent more than 700 books this past year. Publishers send them to us in an effort to get us to read and nominate their titles. They also send us copies of titles that have been nominated. Committee members do a variety of things with these books. We cannot sell them but we do keep some, share with our family and friends, and donate them to local libraries or organizations that serve teens.

Other great things about being part of the committee include: meeting librarians from around the country, reading books that you may not normally pick up on your own, and having to go to the ALA meetings.

What was the worst part of being on this committee?

The worst part is writing a catchy annotation. When committee members submit a book for nomination we have to have a brief, catchy description. They cannot be the publisher's blurbs. New committee members, including myself, have a hard time writing them. At first our blurbs can be a paragraph or more. We try to shoot for a sentence or two. The last thing we do as committee members is write and finalize the annotations for all the books on our list. This year we spent four hours working on our 73 titles. It is mentally exhausting.

How can I get involved?

To get involved on a YALSA Award or Selection Committee you need to be a YALSA member and apply on their volunteer form. This year some committees including the Quick Picks committee are transitioning to online only. This means that you no longer are required to attend ALA Annual and Midwinter to participate. YALSA is currently looking for volunteers to be on the Amazing Audio and Quick Picks selection committees, and for individuals interested in blogging for the Hub. You have until February 12, 2017 to apply. If you are interested in learning about the transitions of Amazing Audiobooks, Popular Paperbacks, and Quick Picks to online committees you can check out this document from YALSA.

The 2017 Quick Picks Selection Committee holding our Top Ten Titles. I'm holding Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Spoilers for the 2016 Youth Media Award Winners

This past Monday, the American Library Association announced the winners of the 2017 Youth Media Awards. All one hundred of them! No, actually not that many, but close when you add in all of the lists, too. It is an exciting time to see who won, but it may also be overwhelming to the slow or busy or selective reader.

Thankfully, our sister blog, Spoilers, Sweetie, is working hard to help in this endeavor. (After all, there's still reader advisory to do!) Since the winners were just announced, it'll take them a while to compile spoilers for the 2017 winners. But if you didn't have a chance to read last year's winners (and in some cases, winners from 2015), here's your chance now. We divided them up into three categories, depending on where you are most interested in:

Outstanding! Distinguished! Excellent!

Newbery Medal, 2016 and BONUS: 2015
Caldecott Medal, 2016 (American Picture Book)
Printz Award 2016 and BONUS: 2015
Odyssey Award, 2016 (audiobook) and BONUS: 2015
Theodore Seuss Geisel Award, 2016 (Beginning Reader)
YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for YA, 2016
Scott O'Dell Award, 2016 (Historical Fiction)
Quick Picks for Reluctant YA Reads, 2016
Great Graphic Novels for Teens, 2016

New Talent

John Steptoe, 2016 and BONUS: 2015
Morris Award, 2016


Coretta Scott King Author Awards, 2016 and BONUS: 2015 (African-American author and illustrator)
Schneider Family Book Award 2016 (disability experience)
Stonewall Book Award, 2016 (GLBT)

To be notified of spoilers for 2017 (and they're finishing up 2016), make sure you follow the Spoilers, Sweetie blog! Each award is posted only after all of the winning books are read and spoiled by a fabulous volunteer team. If you plan to read a 2017 winner and would like to submit a spoiler, please register here.

Happy reading/spoiling!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Ready to Go Book Display: Twins

Welcome to our series, "Ready to Go!" Book Display. Once a month we'll highlight the latest or greatest for every age group that you can promote within your library or order for your collection. This month double the fun with books with twins.

Books for Adults:

Chang and Eng by Darin Strauss (June 2000)
A fictional retelling of the lives of Chang and Eng Bunker - the original "Siamese twins" - from their lives of poverty in Siam to their success in the United States.

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan (Jan 2016)
Twenty-five years after identical twins Helen and Ellie switch identities, Helen receives a call that her sister is in a coma after an accident, a situation that forces Helen to confront her personal demons.

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld (Jun 2013)
When the strongest earthquake in U.S. history occurs just north of their St. Louis home, Kate and Jeremy find the disaster futher complicated by Kate's self-proclaimed-medium twin's prediction about a more powerful earthquake, a situation that places Kate under public scrutiny and reveals her own psychic abilities.

Bittersweet by Colleen McCullough (Jun 2013)
Because they are two sets of twins, the four Latimer sisters are as close as can be. Yet each of these vivacious young women has her own dream for herself.

Will & I by Clay Byars (Jun 2016)
Twins Clay and Will Byars have different lives after Clay is in a traffic accident and suffers a stroke.

Hey Harry, Hey Matilda by Rachel Hulin (Jan 2017)
A story told entirely in uproarious emails follows the misadventures of fraternal twins Harry and Matilda, who fumble their way into adulthood by telling lies and keeping secrets before eventually confronting the dynamics of their complicated twinship.

Books for Teens:
Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee (June 2016)
In a small town, as high school graduation approaches, two conjoined sisters must weigh the importance of their dreams as individuals against the risk inherent in the surgery that has the potential to separate them forever.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (Sept 2013)
Being consummate fans of the Simon Snow series helped Cath and her twin sister, Wren, cope as little girls whose mother left them, but now, as they start college but not as roommates, Cath fears she is unready to live without Wren holding her hand - and without her passion for Snow.

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (Sept 2014)
A story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal told from different points in time, and in separate voices, by artists Jude and her twin brother Noah.

One by Sarah Crossan (Sept 2015)
Despite problems at home, sixteen-year-old conjoined twins Tippi and Grace are loving going to school for the first time and making real friends when they learn that a cardiac problem will force them to have separation surgery, which they have never before considered.

This Side of Home by Renee Watson (Feb 2015)
Twins Nikki and Maya Younger always agreed on most things, but as they head into their senior year they react differently to the gentrification of their Portland, Oregon neighborhood and the new - white - family that moves in after their best friend and mother are evicted.

For This Life Only by Stacey Kade (Aug 2016)
A young man struggles to move forward after the death of his twin brother in this contemporary novel about loss, redemption, and love.

Sisters of Blood and Spirit by Kady Cross (Mar 2013)
Twin sisters, one living in the Shadow Lands - the realm of the dead - and one in the land of the living, are called upon to try and save a boy and his friends who have been marked for death by a long-dead serial killer.

Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis (May 2012)
In alternating chapters, sixteen-year-old twins Ysabel and Justin share their conflicted feelings as they struggle to come to terms with their father's decision to become a woman.

Books for Children:

The Lost Twin by Sophie Cleverly (May 2016)
After her troublemaking twin, Scarlet, vanishes from Rookwood boarding school, shy Ivy tries to track her down, using pieces of Scarlet's journal carefully hidden all over the school for Ivy to find.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (Mar 2014)
Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.

Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin (Jul 2010)
Ling and Ting are identical twins that people think are exactly the same, but time and again they prove to be different.

Twins Violet and Victor write a fairy tale together, with Violet contributing a castle, a princess, and unicorns and Victor adding a fairy tale-hating witch and a bevy of Australian animals. Get more of these twins in the first book: Violet and Victor Write the Best-Ever Bookworm Book.

Full Steam Ahead! by Paul A. Reynolds (Sept 2014)
Twins Sydney and Simon learn about the water cycle and use science, technology, engineering, arts and math to solve the problem of their stuck window and thirsty flowers.

One of a Kind by Ariel S. Winter (Jun 2012)
Lysander Singleton tries his best to fit in at Twin Oaks Elementary, where all students are twins except him, but on the day of the Twindividuation contest his experience as an only child gives him a competitive edge.

Friday, January 13, 2017

5 Easy Tips to Organize Your Library Life with Trello

Trello is one of my favorite apps to use to stay organized, both professionally and personally. It is really intuitive and fun to use. You can also access it both on your phone or computer, which was really important to me.

When I first tried it out, I wasn't sure what was the best way to use it, But after a year, I now have a system in place that has worked really well. If you are curious about Trello, want to organize your life better, or see how an online organizer could work in a library setting, this post is for you!

1. Make a Column for Each Month

I have 12 columns (called "lists"), one for each month. I added tasks (called "cards") to each month to remind myself what needs to be done. As new tasks come up, I add them to the list. Anything that was a one time deal, I archive/delete when I complete it. If it is a yearly task, I move it to the bottom of my list so I know it is done, but it remains on my list for next year.  For example, I would always forget that my Director asks for my program numbers in August for her yearly report. So, in May (my last "quiet month" before the Summer Reading craziness) and in July (to catch my Summer Reading stats), I give myself a task to make sure I have a list typed up with all of my numbers. Now, when August comes around, I'll be expecting her to ask AND I already have the work done, completed at a time that's best for me.

2. Utilize the Deadlines Feature

You can enable Deadlines on your tasks. When you get close to the due date, Trello will email you a reminder. The deadline will also turn to yellow when it is due in 24 hours and then red after the deadline has passed, so you can easily see at a glance what you need to get done for the day. Recently, Trello has added a feature in which you can cross out a deadline after you complete it, so you can now see your progress, too, on the calendar as a strike-out.


3. Streamline to Decrease Clutter

I have learned two simple ways to decrease clutter and help me plan ahead. Trello recommends that you make a column to move your completed tasks, but I don't do that. When I complete that month's task, I add it to the bottom of the list for next year. If it is a reoccurring task (say a reminder to email members that your monthly meeting is coming up next week), I update the deadline and then move it into the next month's column. So when I look ahead, I don't see these minute tasks and can easily plan around my big projects.

My second recommendation is to utilize their Checklist feature. For tasks that have multiple steps, I make just one task and add a checklist breaking it down into smaller parts. You can even make generic checklists so you aren't constantly creating a new one. For example, I have a generic checklist for programs. When I create a new program, I can pull up my Program Checklist and it will fill in with my advertising, material shopping, etc. and then I can customize it for specifics.

4. Plan Ahead for Next Year

I add new tasks to each month as they come up. If it was a one time task, I delete it when I complete it. If I need to do it yearly, I leave it in that month's queue (dragged to the end of the list) and update the deadline for next year. When the month ends, I move the whole column to the end (far right). Now my first month in the list would be February and January 2018 is already planned out.

5. Collaborate with Your Colleagues

Trello allows you to share your boards with anyone. In my previous job, I had a Teen Staff board and an All Library Board, sharing it with the appropriate people. We could work together to shelf read sections of the library (we had a task for each section and people wrote where they ended in that section), build book display lists, keep track of when we pulled off the new book sticker. Every time someone posts, it is time stamped. There is also an option to write comments to each other (you can also tag specific people) and attach documents.

These tips can really work for almost any other program (Google Calendar, Asana, and others!) and you can also do some of them with a paper calendar. For my daily tasks, I do reference my Trello board and then write them down on paper. So, feel free to mix and match online and paper techniques. It doesn't matter how you do it, just that you find a process that works for you.