Friday, November 17, 2017

Ready to Go Book Display: Board Games

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 I'm going to take a break from books and feature my favorite board and card games you can circulate or use in your library.

Recommendations for Adults:

Ages 17+ and 4-10+ Players
How well do you friends and family know you? Find out when you're in the Hot Seat.
Ages 17+ and 2-33 Players
The enclosed illustrated culture cards and thought-provoking opinion cards can actually be used to play 6 unique games. There's a version for everyone.
Ages 13+ and 1+ Players
From the makers of The Storymatic, this game can be used as a writing prompt, or a way to better get to know yourself, friends and family. This conversational game is a lifetime of memories in a little box.

Ages 17+ and 4-8 Players
In this game you are setting up your friend on a blind date. You just have to convince your friend to date your horrible character instead of the others.
Ages 12+ and 3-6 Players
Create and share lists on a variety of topics. Sometimes you'll want to match your competitors, some times you don't.
Ages 17+ and 4-8 Players
This is basically the Cards Against Humanity version for those of us that are "rude and well-read."

Recommendations for Teens:

Ages 12+ and 4-6 Players
It's your turn to make up the answers to Apples to Apples.  Use the dry-erase markers to write your own response on your apple slate. Now you'll always have the perfect answer!
Ages 12+ and 2+ Players
In this twist on the original Scattergories, you aren't limited to the letter on the die. Instead you'll get a category like "Things Made of Glass" and the word BOTTLE. Now name things that are made of glass whose letters start with the letters in the word BOTTLE.
Ages 12+ and 4-12 Players
Telestrations turns the classic telephone game into a drawing game. You don't need to be an artist in this game of miscommunication. Also check out the adult (ages 17+) version with Telestrations After Dark.
Ages 8+ and 2-6 Players
The only constant in Fluxx is change and you'll never play the same way twice. Featured are the new STEM related editions, but there's a version for everyone: start with the original Fluxx or Batman Fluxx, Zombie Fluxx and more.
Ages 8+ and 3+ Players
Combine character and attribute cards to make ridiculous fights and argue over who would win.
Make sure your bookshelf is nice and level, in this 3D puzzle with 40 challenges. Need more? Also check out Cat Stax and Dog Pile.
Ages 12+ and 3+ Players
You'll need your smartphone with this game that put your internet skills and photoroll to good use.
Ages 12+ and 3-8 Players
Want to play Pictionary but hate drawing? Try this. Get others to guess the prompt by combining, overlapping, and animating  special transparent cards. 

Recommendations for Kids:

Ages 3+ and 2-4 Players
Help the hungry squirrel by collecting acorns in this game that promotes color recognition and fine-motor skills.
Ages 3+ and 2-4 Players

Help Mother Hen collect her chicks in this non-competitive game that promotes counting.
Ages 5+ and 1+ Players
This colorful, nature-themed memory game features the artwork of picture book author and illustrator Melissa Sweet.
All Ages and 2+ Players
This modern twist on the classic card game has players racing to end up as the awesome Cat Lady.
Ages 8+ and 4-8 Players
Inspired by Cards Against Humanity, this game is 100% family friendly.
Ages 4+ and 2-5 Players
This game inspired by the Logo programming language will sneakily teach programming fundamentals to kids.

Friday, November 10, 2017

5 Myths of Facebook that Libraries Should Know

Over the years, we've posted about how to use Facebook pages for libraries. There are so many new ways to increase your reach and build up your followers and we've been covering these from time to time. However, as the years go by, I'm realizing that there are 5 persistent myths that people keep believing.. Myths that instantly hurt library Facebook pages before they even have a chance to reach their full potential. Today, we're going to tackle each one:

1. Libraries should ONLY post about themselves.

FALSE. Facebook is a social network, it isn't a bulletin board. You HAVE TO POST posts that will get engagement (likes, shares, clicks, or a comment). If you keep posting work only things that don't get a good response, it hurts your current post AND future posts. So, adding entertainment/fluff posts (posts that are on the common values between your library and your patrons: articles on reading, bookworm problems, fun book questions, new book info, etc. ) is NECESSARY for a successful library page. (For more information, check out The Facebook Algorithm Explained for Marketers)

2. You can treat a Facebook Page like you do your Facebook Personal Account

FALSE. A Facebook personal account (where you, as a person, connect with other individuals) is NOT the same as a Facebook Page (a business account). In the order of importance, Facebook puts personal accounts higher up the food chain. People want to know what's going on with their family and friends BEFORE they learn about local businesses and Facebook acknowledges this. So, they only show a small percentage of pages to the user. If the user doesn't interact with your page, Facebook will show them less and then less of your posts. That doesn't happen when you post on your personal account. BIG DIFFERENCE. So, whatever you post needs to be engaging or it doesn't belong on Facebook. (For more info, check out the Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm History.)

3. Libraries shouldn't share other posts. They should only post original content from their own library.

FALSE. Facebook likes when you share popular content that received a lot interaction -- it is proven quality content. Think about it: Facebook wants to be the place people go to all the time. If they are finding posts that are boring, they will leave Facebook. But if they keep finding stuff that makes them respond, over and over again, they will keep coming back. So, use this knowledge and follow big pages. Share those posts that are connected to the same values that libraries share with patrons. Enjoy the bump in reach (Facebook will naturally show it to more people than your original post) and know that your future posts will do better --- especially the ones which are specific to just your library. (For more info, check out How Facebook News Feed Works and Facebook Has 50 Minutes of Your Time. It Wants More.)

Bonus: Not sure what pages you can share from? Here's a starter list for you:

4. You can post anything on Facebook.

FALSE. You should filter everything through the lens of: Will this get a response from my patrons? Will they like it, comment on it, share it? If the answer is an obvious no, then it does not belong on Facebook. A good example is library programming. If the program is specific to a small range of people (ESL learners, parents of toddlers who are available Monday mornings, etc.) then a post about the event is already at a disadvantage. Why would anyone outside of this small range of people respond to your post? You need to find a way to frame it so it appeals to the general mass of people. Maybe you can post an adorable picture of a boy reading to a dog and causally mention this is a weekly program. Then anyone can "heart" the photo because it tugged on their heartstrings. (For more info, check out: 26 Tips for Better Facebook Page Engagement)

5. You can use Facebook like you would an emailed newsletter.

FALSE. Unlike a newsletter that you can email to patrons whenever you want and it'll reach it's intended audience, Facebook doesn't work that way. The less you post, the less people will see your posts. So, monthly posts, or even weekly posts won't cut it on Facebook. You need to post daily, twice a day if you can, to keep your reach at a respectable number. And you'll need to experiment to see what times work best for reactions and what content most of your followers enjoy. Keep experimenting until your organic reach (unpaid) is consistently at 100 people or more. (For more info, check out: How Often Should I Post to My Facebook Page?)

Want to Learn More?

Want to learn more about libraries and social media? WebJunction and TechSoup for Libraries is currently running a webinar series on this exact topic! I had the honor of presenting in Part 1 about Getting Started with Social Media for Your Library which will be archived. Two more are coming up soon that you can register for (and for free!): I highly recommend checking them out and learning about social media analytics (Nov. 30th, 2017) and growing your social media platform and engagement (Dec. 19th, 2017).

You can also visit these websites for more information about using Facebook Pages:

Library Resources
TechSoup for Libraries
Libraries & Social Media (Facebook Group)

Small Businesses/Nonprofits Resources (which, hey, have the same resources as libraries and hence their tips are also relevant to libraries)
Mari Smith, the Queen of Facebook
Social Media Examiner (They also have a podcast and a weekly live video show)
Social Media Today (Free webinars!)

Friday, November 3, 2017

5 Tricks to Make Facebook More Enjoyable

Facebook has been an invaluable tool for me with keeping up with library news, creative ideas, and the latest developments in the library world. However, I keep hearing of people saying they are leaving Facebook because it is too negative. While that certainly does happen, there are a few tricks you can employ first to decrease the negativity before you jump ship.

1. Don't Leave Negative Groups -- Block People Instead

There are so many great librarian Facebook Groups, ranging from different topics to different group sizes. I have learned so much from them and utilized them to ask my own questions. However, as with any public group, there are trolls who will bring you down pointless rabbit holes. Instead of leaving the group, block those individuals instead. (Yes, you can block people you aren't friends with!) I have found this really handy, and was surprised at what a difference it made with just blocking a few key offenders. I am open to hear different opinions, but if people aren't being respectful, I don't need them in my news feed.

2. Save the Great Posts!

One of the best parts about librarian Facebook Groups is that there are a lot of great information being shared. If you want to save a post for future reference, all you need to do is click on the time stamp of the post. It'll give you a special URL you can save and it'll bring you back to that specific post.

3. Make Favorite Pages a Priority in Your News Feed

Instead of relying on Facebook to guess what is important to you, take the time to go through your liked pages and make all your favorites a priority. You will need to visit each page, click "Following", and then mark it as "See First". Now their posts will appear first in your news feed, diversifying what you see on Facebook with a great variety of the stuff you love (for me, that's library comics, blogs, local newspapers, etc.) before I even get to the top posts from family/friends and groups. (You can also make people a priority, too.) My Facebook news feed feels well rounded and fun -- and I don't have to worry about constantly liking page posts so they don't disappear from my news feed.

4. Utilize the Save Post Function!

Being a librarian, there are posts that appear which I want to respond to with more depth or add a link which can be tough to do on a smartphone. I save these posts for later and then revisit them when I am on a computer. It is also useful for the interesting articles that are appearing in your news feed but you don't have time to read. You just click on the three dots and then "Save Link" or "Save Post".

5. Simplify Your Notifications

Did you write a comment and now you're getting notified of everyone else's responses? You can turn that off by revisiting that post and clicking on the three dots to the upper left. You will see an option to turn off the notifications. (See image above.) Getting lots of notifications from groups? Visit their main page and turn them off (there is an option below the cover photo). Are people you are following filling up your news feed with posts you don't want to see? You can go to their page, click "Following" and mark it as "unfollow". If you want to just block certain posts from pages they keep sharing, you can click on the three dots on their shared post and directly block the page they shared from.

Bonus Tip:

Facebook takes up a lot of space on your smartphone. If you want something lighter that also offers a less intrusive messaging app, I highly recommend using the Friendly for Facebook app.

Do you have any Facebook tricks? We'd love to hear about them in the comments.

Friday, October 27, 2017

So... You Want to Be a Zombie

Today, I would like to share a fun and easy program you can do with your teens (or you can do on yourself for an easy Halloween costume!). In a previous position, I held an annual Zombie Day at the library, and it was awesome - we watched two movies, ate Jello-o brains, and did our own makeup. The first year we did a Zombie Day, I hired a makeup artist to turn us undead, but the next year, I decided we could learn to do it ourselves. I'm so glad we did! Our artist was wonderful, but that was money we could spend on other things. And, as it turned out, more teens were interested in doing their own makeup, as we had about twice as many people as we did the year before!

Kat, the Zombie Librarian!
For those who would like to host their own Zombie Day, here is a quick tutorial on how to turn yourself into a zombie. I'm using my own face and hands as a tutorial, so please forgive the zombie selfie photos.

First, the supplies:

We had white, green, and black cream makeup; fake blood; liquid latex; toilet paper (to use with the latex); and LOTS of sponges. We also had small paper plates, so each person could have their own supply of makeup, for sanitary reasons.

To apply a glamorous undead look, first mix up some makeup. Using mostly white, with dabs of green and black, make a lovely disgusting color.  I found that it looked more realistic if the makeup was somewhat mottled, so try to not mix it all the way, and give it a marbleized look.

Give yourself a nice, even coating of a pale, sickly color, anywhere you would like to apply makeup - face, hands, even knees if they stick through the holes in your jeans, whatever. Try to get at least part of your neck, or else the makeup will look just like a mask.

Yes, this is me. Don't I look excited?!

My makeup ended up a fair bit more caked-on than that, but you get the idea. Try to get your lips, too, if your makeup is safe for that (it will say so on the tube).

Next, add a bit more green and black to your makeup to make a darker color, and dab it around your eyes, to make them look sunken in. Solid colors and absolute shapes aren't necessary - no realistic zombie would have a perfect circle of black around their eyes.

You can add some dark spots to cheekbones or for bruises, as well.  Add blood (with sponges! Blood stains clothing!) to your mouth or anywhere else you feel like bleeding. I had it coming out of one ear and dripping down from my mouth. Then, mess up your hair - maybe sprinkle some talcum powder in to make it ashen.  And, voila!

Now, let's say that you want to be the type of zombie that has gaping wounds. That will require liquid latex.

The first thing you do - ALWAYS - is a test patch. Put a little bit of latex on your hand or somewhere else that's easy to wash off, and make sure that you're not itching or burning. If it dries and you are uncomfortable, DO NOT USE THE LATEX! You might be allergic! Even if you've never been allergic to latex before, it is always a good idea to test any new product to see how it makes you feel, just in case. If you can't use latex, you can follow the rest of the directions using school glue; it won't be exactly the same, but it'll be similar.

Once you've tested, it's time to get started!  First, pick where you would like the wound to be.

Even with little dabs of makeup, my hand is rather boring, wouldn't you say? Let's make one here.

Add a layer of liquid latex to your hand (or wherever), and then add some toilet paper to the top of it.  You can scrunch it up or lay it relatively flat (as I did here). Put more latex on top of the toilet paper, until the whole thing is wet, and make sure it's evenly stuck to you on all sides.

The red is fake blood.  Fake, I swear!

Let it dry. (This is the boring part.)

Paint it like you painted your face. Don't forget fingers!

Once it's dry, pick at the latex a little bit, somewhere in the middle of your hand, and pull it up to reveal the skin underneath. This will make a gaping wound, with skin peeling away. Gross.

Like this.

Dab some black paint into the wound to give it some depth.

You can drip or sponge on blood, as well.

Eeew! It's a fresh bite!

The fake blood that I had dried nicely after a few minutes, so I didn't have to worry too much about it rubbing off on anything I touched. It smeared a little bit, but the blood smears seemed to accentuate the look, so I was fine with that.

Here's how one of my teens did with her hand.  It looks so gross - I love it!

A few notes on liquid latex:

  • Always do a test patch before you apply! I know we said that, but it's worth re-stating.
  • It smells really bad. Fair warning.
  • You can use this anywhere on your body, but be careful that you don't get it into your hair. If you do get it caught in your hair, it should dissolve or loosen up with oil - baby oil, olive oil, and peanut butter all work really well, much like they do with bubble gum. It takes a little while, but this does work! (I gave myself a head wound on Halloween, and ended up using the peanut butter method on my hairline and my eyebrow. I smelled delicious.)
  • You can use things besides toilet paper for texture. Coffee grounds make excellent scabs, and crushed cereal gives you a flaky, falling-apart look. Experiment and have fun!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Ready to Go Book Display: Boarding Schools

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. Pack your bags, we're going to boarding school.

Recommendations for Adults:
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware (Jul 2017)
Four girls are best friends and inseparable at Salten, a second-rate boarding school near the cliffs of the England Channel. They are notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies to both fellow boarders and faculty. Their little game has consequences when they soon learn their shared past was not as safely buried as they had once hoped.

The Headmaster's Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene (Feb 2014)
Found wandering naked and mentally traumatized in Central Park, the headmaster of an elite boarding school imparts a story that is shaped by complicated memories, the evolution of a loving relationship, and a tragedy he cannot comprehend.

Smoke by Dan Vyleta (May 2016)
A tale set in an alternate 19th-century England where the lower classes emit smoke from their bodies that is believed to reflect wicked natures, three students at an elite boarding school for future leaders make discoveries that could cost them their lives.

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (Jan 2005)
During the late 1980s, fourteen-year-old Lee Flora leaves behind her close-knit, middle-class Indiana family to enroll in an elite co-ed boarding school in Massachusetts, becoming a shrewd observer of, and eventually a participant in, their rituals and customs.

Testimony by Anita Shreve (Oct 2008)
At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape.

Recommendations for Teens:

A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin (May 2015)
Scientific-minded Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to a school for unusual high society girls for the ostensible purpose of being reformed into a respectable lady, but is instead secretly enlisted into the war effort alongside Lord Sebastian Wyatt.

Winger by Andrew Smith (May 2013)
Two years younger than his classmates at a prestigious boarding school, fourteen-year-old Ryan Dean West grapples with living in the dorm for troublemakers, falling for his female best friend who thinks of him as just a kid, and playing wing on the Varsity rugby team with some of his frightening new dorm-mates.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (Sep 2011)
Rory, of Boueuxlieu, Louisiana, is spending a year at a London boarding school when she witnesses a murder by a Jack the Ripper copycat and becomes involved with the very unusual investigation.

Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard (Jun 2011)
In 1982 Buncombe County, North Carolina, sixteen-year-old Alex Stromm writes of the aftermath of the accidental drowning of a friend, as his English teacher reaches out to him while he and a fellow boarding school student try to cover things up.

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg (May 2013)
Tired of being known as "the gay kid," Rafe Goldberg decides to assume a new persona when he comes east and enters an elite Massachusetts prep school - but trying to deny his identity has both complications and unexpected consequences.

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett (Mar 2013)
Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for "magickind," sixteen-year-old Destiny Everhart feeds on the dreams of others, working with a handsome human student to find a killer.

I Am Her Revenge by Meredith Moore (Apr 2015)
Enrolled at an English boarding school, Vivian targets an innocent senior as part of a revenge plot her manipulative mother devised, but as the plan is set in motion, Vivian starts to uncover secrets so dark and deadly they threaten to unravel the deceptive being that Mother worked so hard to create.

Recommendations for Children:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (Illustrated - Oct 2015)
Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale (Oct 2013)

At Ever After High, a boarding school for the sons and daughters of famous fairy-tale characters, students Apple White and Raven Queen face the moment when they must choose whether to follow their destinies, or change them.

Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens (Apr 2015)

At an English boarding school in the 1930s, crime-solving friends Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells struggle to find an exciting mystery to investigate until Hazel discovers the dead body of Miss Bell, the science teacher.

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry (Sep 2014)

Seven very proper Victorian young ladies conspire to hide a murder from the authorities at their boarding school. 

The Initiation by Ridley Pearson (Sep 2016)

A reimagining of the epic rivalry between a young James Moriarty and his roommate and future nemesis, Sherlock Holmes, is set in modern times and focuses on the boys' early ventures into detective work at the formidable Baskerville Academy.