Friday, March 16, 2018

Ready to Go! Book Display: Day at the Circus

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. How about spending the day at the circus?

Recommendations for Adults:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Sept 2011)

Waging a fierce competition for which they have trained since childhood, a circus magicians Celia and Marco unexpectedly fall in love with each other and share a fantastical romance that manifests in fateful ways.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (May 2006)

Ninety-something-year-old Jacob Jankowski remembers his time in the circus as a young man during the Great Depression, and his friendship with Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, and Rosie, the elephant, who gave them hope.

A collection of fourteen cute circus designs to crochet.

The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman (Jul 2017)

After being sold to a circus sideshow in 1931, Lilly Blackwood carves out a life for herself as best she can - until tragedy and cruelty collide - and, two decades later, it is up to Julia Blackwood to discover the truth about his older sister that she never knew she had.

Everything You Came to See by Elizabeth Schulte Martin (Jan 2018)

Talented circus performer Henry Bell's blind ambition and determination to create bigger, better performances, which destroys the relationships around him, could save or destroy the circus itself unless he can reckon with the family and past he's left behind.

Recommendations for Teens:

The Circus by Olivia Levez (Jun 2017)

Willow has everything: a rich daddy, a pony and a place at a prestigious boarding school. Everything except the one thing she really wants - a father who cares enough to find her when she runs away from home.

Freeks by Amanda Hocking (Jan 2017)

Mara longs for a normal life while her friends perform supernatural feats in Gideon Davorin's Traveling Sideshow, but a sinister threat reveals an ability she never knew she had.

Sleight by Jennifer Sommersby (Apr 2018)

On her first day of high school after the circus settles in a small town, Gemma meets Henry and everything changes as they begin to unravel secrets that will bind them forever.

By a Charm & A Curse by Jaime Questell (Feb 2018)

Emmaline King is ensnared by Le Grand's Carnival Fantastic, a traveling circus bound by a centuries-old curse that dooms its members to participate in an endless, ageless series of performances.

Recommendations for Children:

Circus by Lois Ehlert (May 1992)

Leaping lizards, marching snakes, a bear on the high wire, and others perform in a somewhat unusual circus. 

Sidewalk Circus by Paul Fleischman and Kevin Hawkes (May 2007)

A young girl watches as the activities across the street from her bus stop become a circus. 

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley (Jun 2015)

When he realizes that his grandfather's stories of an enchanted circus are true, Micah Tuttle sets out to find the mysterious Circus Mirandus - and to use its magic to save his grandfather's life. 

DIY Circus Lab for Kids by Jackie Leigh Davis (Feb 2018)

A how to guide on creating your own circus equipment and teaches circus skills like juggling, acrobatics, balance and clowning. 

If I Ran the Circus by Dr. Seuss (Oct 1956)

A young boy imagines the fantastic animals and incredible acts he will have for his greatest of all circuses. 

Magnolia returns to explain the many downsides to bringing a circus to a local library. 

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (Jan 2012)

When Ivan, a gorilla who has lived for years in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Easy Staff Picks Displays

Sometimes, when you have a lot on your plate, creating new and exciting displays falls by the wayside. The good news is, we're here to help!

Everybody loves a good Staff Picks display - I mean, who doesn't like like tried-and-true book recommendations? - but how do you make your display really stand out?  We've got you covered.


Print out one of these signs and stand it on top of your display. Done and done.


Tuck a bookmark inside each book explaining why you enjoyed it. Books can go up on display this way, or, if you're not in the mood for a big display, you can even have them on the shelf with a special bookmark tucked inside.


This one stands out, even though it's tucked away on the bottom shelf.

For your convenience, you can choose between "Staff Selections" or "Staff Picks," or use a combination of both.


A shelf-sitter is a tag that you slide under your book, with the front folded down so that it hangs over the shelf. These are great for books in your display, and also work well for highlighting specific titles that may otherwise be overlooked on your shelves. How you use them is up to you.

I designed these shelf-sitters so that you can cut around the shape, and fold the rest down. This makes the star or sunburst designs really stand out against your books! 

To use these designs, simply right-click on the image and save. They are all sized to easily be printed on 8.5 x 11" paper (though I recommend cardstock). Please enjoy and feel free to share! All designs were made in Canva by Kat Ealy.

As always, we'd love to know what you think! Please let us know in the comments here, on Twitter, or on our Facebook page.

Friday, March 2, 2018

8 Ways to Boost Library Staff

Last summer, there was a great question on Facebook asking for ideas on how to strengthen staff's teamwork, morale, and motivation. I thought the answers would be perfect to share for today, Staff Appreciation Day. It boils down to 8 fun ideas:

1. Fun Traveling Trophies

These trophies (which could be gnomes, Kermit the Frog stuffie, a stuffed bear, etc.) travel from person to person. Each meeting, staff can nominate the winner. The manager decides who gets it for the month. There's also another variation which the winner selects the next person who will get the trophy.

2. Heartfelt Note

Even something as simple as a note highlighting their achievements and $5 to their favorite establishment can go a long way.

3. Golden Date Stampers

One library went so far as to buy date stampers, spray paint them gold, and hand them out to people who have done something above and beyond. They also come with a certificate.

4. Highlight the Little Wins

Take the time in your meeting for staff members to recognize their colleagues who helped them with the small stuff, too, like teaching a time saving technology trick or switching shifts. These little acts of kindness are needed to keep a library running smoothly, too.

5. Bravo Drawing

Staff can give each other a "bravo" which go into a gift card drawing (writing the name of the person and why they earned it). Winner is selected at the staff meeting.

6. Shout Outs

Skip the internal meeting, and highlight your hard workers in the newsletter, website, and the main wall of the library. If you are giving out a coveted parking space, put their name on the sign in front of it.

7. Traditional Gift Card Awards

Gift cards given out quarterly, annually, etc. to those who went above and beyond. They vary in amounts.

8. Kudos Bulletin Board

Staff can write up things their colleagues have done and attach it to a bulletin board. Right before the staff meeting, these notes are collected and distributed to those praised. If you are feeling creative, the bulletin board can have different themes like "You're a Peach" or "Thanks a Latte".

What are the Popular Prizes?

The prizes tend to be a gift card, a parking spot, comp time, or a monetary prize. Providing a meal where staff have to come in on their day off may not be the best way to show your appreciation. Some places also hand out plaques and certificates, and of course, the Golden Date Stamper.

Friday, February 23, 2018

10 More Facebook Groups for Public Librarians

Two years ago, we wrote a post highlighting all of the Facebook Groups that are for Public Librarians. Today, we wanted to highlight new groups that have been formed since our last update (or new to us):

Deeper Library Think Tank
Like #alatt, but deeper, and closed.
3,476 members

Elementary Librarian Exchange
Please share but keep it elementary library oriented!
-ideas you use in your library
-issues you need help with concerning your library
-elementary book reviews
-your library's website/Facebook page/blog/Pinterest/social media/TPT page
-products you love for your library
-contests/grants related to libraries
-lesson plan links to help with library lessons
-technology ideas
-classroom collaboration ideas
3,681 members

The Grown-up Table: Library Programs and Services for Adults
Welcome! This is an open forum for discussion about anything that falls (or might fall) under the banner of library programs and services for adults. Questions can be submitted anonymously.
432 members

International Public Library Think Tank
This is a think tank created especially for library staff in public libraries. Library ideas, concepts and trends will be discussed in a professional, respectful manner with an emphasis on advancing public librarianship.
62 members

Librarians For Social Justice
Our Mission Statement: Through volunteering and fundraising projects, Librarians for Social Justice works toward creating a more equitable and just society.  We actively engage with our community, on a local and global scale, in order to turn information into action.
99 members

Libraries and the Opioid Crisis
As library staff see the opioid crisis impacting patrons and communities, this group provides a way to share research, news, and strategies to respond.
295 members

Millennial Programming Ideas
Share ideas on programs you have created for 18-30 somethings or ask if you have any questions!
441 members

Readers' Advisory for Library Staff
For when someone asks you about a book they can't remember the title of, you're trying to find a read-a-like of something of which you've never heard, or you just want a recommendation for what to read next. Questions about other forms of media are also welcome! Join our Goodreads group:
1,029 members

STEM in Libraries
For library professionals interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programming in libraries; a place to connect and share ideas.
1,690 members

Tiny Library Think Tank
Welcome to the Tiny Library Think Tank!... Please feel free to ask questions about anything related to issues that affect those of us working in very small library systems - collection development, programming, policy creation, community outreach, retroactive automation, book repair, building maintenance, and more. Members of this group understand that tiny libraries do not often have HR departments, retained lawyers, multiple MLS-degreed librarians, or many other resources that are available to employees of larger library systems, even systems that may technically be considered "small" or "rural".
242 members

For more groups and to see the complete list of Facebook for Librarians, please visit our original post:

Friday, February 16, 2018

Ready to Go Book Display: Libraries Rock! Nonfiction

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'm busy planning for summer reading 2018: Libraries Rock! This month we're featuring nonfiction titles that relate to this year's theme. And if you missed last month's fiction titles you can see them here.

Recommendations for Adults:
David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music by Darryl W. Bullock (Nov 2017)
The most comprehensive history of LGBT music ever compiled, encompassing a century of music by and for the LGBT community.
A collection of behind-the-scenes stories draws on interviews with popular musicians to reveal the inspirations for influential songs, including Elvis Costello's "Red Shoes," Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," and R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion."
Musicophilia: Takes of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks (Oct 2007)
Drawing on the individual experiences of patients, musicians, composers, and everyday people, the author explores the complex human response to music, detailing the full range of human reactions to music, what goes on and can go wrong when we listen to music, and how music can affect those suffering from a variety of ailments.
Music Theory 101 by Brian Boone and Marc Schonbrun (Aug 2017)
Covers everything novice musicians and lifelong learners need to know. Full of music trivia, music history, comprehensive and instruction and visual aids, music symbols, and chords throughout.
50 Years of Rolling Stone by Jann Wenner (May 2017)
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, a leading voice in journalism, cultural criticism and music, from the 1960s to today, presents a decade-by-decade exploration of American music and history alongside interviews with rock legends and image makers and articles, excerpts and exposes.

Recommendations for Teens:
Presents a survey of the influences that have inspired American music genres with activities that explain the physics and traditions of music, from writing songs and improvising vocal styling to creating a beatbox and learning the Charleston.
An account of the Siege of Leningrad reveals the role played by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and his Leningrad Symphony in rallying and commemorating their fellow citizens.
Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound by Andrea Davis Pinkney (Sep 2015)
A narrative history of the Motown music label covering the historical context, personalities, and ongoing legacy of the "sound of young America."
Metal Cats by Alexandra Crockett (May 2014)
Hardcore metal musicians share photos of their beloved - and adorable - felines, in this head-banging collection that reveals the softer side of these extreme personalities.

Recommendations for Kids:

The School of Music by Meurig Bowen (Apr 2017)

Introduces aspiring musicians to different instruments and genres of music, and provides an overview of music theory.
50 Things You Should Know About Music by Rob Baker (Sep 2016)
Presents an introduction to music, discussing it's history, styles and genres from around the world, instruments and influential musicians.
What is Rock and Roll? by Jim O'Connor (Aug 2017)
Jim O'Connor explains what constitutes rock music, follows its history and sub-genres through famous musicians and groups, and shows how rock became so much more than just a style of music influencing fashion, language, and lifestyle.
Ketzel, The Cat Who Composed by Leslea Newman (Oct 2015)
Enjoying life in a noisy city where everything he hears is music, composer Moshe Cotel adopts a stray tuxedo kitten who walks across his piano keys, inspiring a celebrated one-minute composition.
Presents the life of the jazz musician, describing her love of music as a child, her work as a composer and musician in Chicago, her marriage to Louis Armstrong, and her collaboration with some of the greatest jazz musicians of her era.
From childhood friendship to brief teenage stardom, from early failures to musical greatness this is the incredible story of how Simon & Garfunkel.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Programming Librarian: Spend $$ Wisely With New Tool Fakespot!

We are really excited today to talk about a new online tool, Fakespot. If there could be a librarian for Amazon reviews, Fakespot would be it.

It is the perfect website for anyone who has to purchase an unfamiliar product. It doesn't matter if it is craft supplies for a library program or a new vacuum for the staff room- Fakespot will evaluate the reviews for free! Fakespot won't tell you which is the best - you will need to pick out your favorites first - but afterwards you can analyze their reviews through Fakespot to double check their authenticity.

It is so easy to use. Just go to Amazon and look up the product you want to buy. Let's say you want to buy a cell phone charging station for your reading area. Amazon has over 50,000 results! What charging station to choose?

On the first page, you can find three of them with 4.5 stars, all over 100 reviews. Let's see if they are comparable. Just copy Amazon's URL for the product and paste it into Fakespot's search bar:

Fakespot will give you a grade (rating the *Reviews*, not the Product), analysis overview, reviews summary, review count, and price track. And, lo and behold, they all rated differently (double click image to make it larger):

So, now your decision is easy! Best go for the middle price point and order the last one.

If you don't want to do that much research, you can use their "Find Me Similar Products" feature and they'll bring you to the ones with good reviewer grades. It is located in the exclamation point section.

Fakespot is best for products with lots of reviews (more potential to find fake reviews there than one with just a handful). They only work for Amazon (and a few other websites that are non-library related), BUT even if your library doesn't order from Amazon, it is very likely that your store's products are also on Amazon. Research first, then buy!

Of course, as we all know, automated evaluation programs aren't perfect. So, take their results with a grain of salt and use your judgment. However, they are certainly helpful with making decisions if you aren't sure... And in this day and age with so much fake hype going around, having a truth detector is very handy.

Happy shopping!