Friday, December 20, 2019

Ready to Go Book Display: Baby-sitters

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 we are showcasing books that feature baby-sitters!

Adult Recommendations:

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin (Mar 2002)

A satirical glimpse into Manhattan's upper class follows Nanny, a struggling NYU student who takes a position caring for the son of a rich and glamorous X family, as she learns how to juggle a vast array of tasks so that a Park Avenue wife never has to life a well-manicured finger.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Dec 2019)

A story about race and privilege is centered around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.

In Search of the Rose Notes by Emily Arsenault (Jul 2011)

Drawn back to her old neighborhood and to her former best friend Charlotte when the bones of their babysitter Rose are found, Nora must revisit the events surrounding Rose's disappearance and her own troubled adolescence. 

Teen Recommendations:

The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams (Sep 2019)

After new student Cassandra Heaven joins seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl's babysitters club, the girls learn that being a babysitter really means a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from evil.

The Journey Back by Priscilla Cummings (Oct 2012)

After breaking out of juvenile detention, fourteen-year-old Digger stops his trek across Maryland at a campground where he recovers from injuries, cares for little Luke, works with smart and pretty Nora, and begins to understand how his behavior and choices shape his life.

Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki (Oct 2008)

Emiko is a teenager on a quest to find herself who goes from suburban babysitter to eclectic urban performance artist.

Provides advice, tips, and strategies for teenagers who want to find, keep, and excel at part-time babysitting jobs.

The Turning by Francine Prose (Sept 2012)

A teen boy becomes the babysitter for two very peculiar children on a haunted island in this modern retelling of The Turn of the Screw.

Kids Recommendations: 

Ivy and Bean Take Care of the Babysitter by Annie Barrows (Apr 2008)

When Bean's parents leave her in the care of her older sister Nancy for the afternoon, she enlists her neighbor and best friend Ivy to come over and teach Nancy how to be a really good babysitter.

Kristy's Great Idea: A Graphic Novel by Raina Telgemeier and Ann M. Martin (Apr 2006)

Follows the adventures of Kristy and the other members of the Baby-sitters Club as they deal with crank calls, uncontrollable two-year-olds, wild pets, and parents who do not always tell the truth. A graphic novel based on the 1988 book by the same name.

Froggy's Best Babysitter by Jonathan London (May 2009)

Froggy wreaks havoc when a new babysitter comes to stay overnight with him and his sister Pollywogilina.

The Disaster Days by Rebecca Behrens (Oct 2019)

Thirteen-year-old Hannah's first real babysitting job turns into a nightmare when a major earthquake knocks out power and phones, cuts off the island, and leaves her stranded with two children.

The Shadow Hand by Kat Shepherd (Jun 2018)

When babysitter Rebecca discovers that a sinister ruler of darkness has replaced the baby with a changeling, she and her friends must save him by surviving a chilling journey through the Nightmare Realm.

Best Babysitters Ever by Caroline Cala (Feb 2009)

Mayhem ensures in their town when three best friends, motivated by unlimited snacks, no parents, and earning money for an epic seventh-grade party, find an old copy of "The Babysitters Club" and decide to start their own babysitting business.

A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting by Joe Ballarini (Jun 2017)

When Kelly loses a little boy to monsters who live under his bed during her first babysitting job, she learns about a secret society of babysitters who fight monsters.

Pinkalicious and the Babysitter by Victoria Kann (Oct 2017)

When Peter breaks his mother's mug while Maya is babysitting him and Pinkalicious, Pinkalicious tries to turn the broken pieces into art.

The Babysitter from Another Planet by Stephen Savage (Feb 2019)

Left with an alien babysitter while their parents go out for the evening, two children embark on a remarkable night that is reminiscent of classic science-fiction stories.

How to Babysit a Grandma by Jean Reagan (Mar 2014)

A little girl provides instructions for properly babysitting one's grandmother, such as taking trips to the park and singing duets.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Ready to Go Book Display: 20 for 2020

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 we are showcasing books that feature "twenty" in the title to celebrate 2020!

Adult Recommendations

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella (July 2009)
Entreated by the bossy ghost of her great aunt to track down a missing necklace, Lara Lington finds her search challenged by her floundering start-up business, her best friend's defection, and her unfaithful boyfriend.

Twenty Questions by Alison Clement (Jul 2006)
Shocked by a local murder involving the parents of two students, cafeteria worker June visits the victim's home, becomes a mother figure to the victim's orphaned daughter, and discovers a shocking truth that jeopardizes her own marriage.

In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch (Jun 2016)
Twenty years ago, six Penn students shared a house, naively certain that their friendships would endure - until the death of their ringleaders and dear friend Bea splintered the group for good. Now, mostly estranged from one another, the remaining five reluctantly gather at the same house on the eve of what would have been Bea's fortieth birthday.

20 Times a Lady by Karyn Bosnak (Jul 2006)
After a drunken orgy with her ex-boss, who had fired her the day before, Delilah Darling, obsessed with the fact that she has had sex with twenty men, tries to track down the men and make it work with one of them.

The Twenty Days of Turin by Giorgio De Maria (Jan 2017)
An investigator navigates a netherworld of occultists as he tries to connect unexplained events to an underground library of the past, where lonely citizens had met to read one another's dairies - an endeavor that had led to nighttime massacres and the Library's erasure from history.

Twenty by Debra Landwehr Engle (Jan 2020)
Meg may have just 20 days left to live, but as she sets her life in order, she re-discovers the warmth of family, the surprise of romance, the healing power of letting go and the pure joy of being.

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich (Nov 2013)
While chasing after powerful mobster Salvatore "Uncle Sunny" Sunucchi, who is on the lam, New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum must help security specialist Ranger catch the killer of his top client's mother as a giraffe named Kevin runs wild in the streets of Trenton.

Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir (May 2002)
The daughter of a former aide to the king of Morocco, who was executed after a failed assassination attempt on the ruler, describes how she, her five siblings, and her mother were imprisoned in a desert penal colony for twenty years.

Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber (Apr 2008)
Thirty-eight-year-old widow Anne Marie Roche, the owner of a successful bookstore on Seattle's Blossom Street, creates a list of twenty wishes, along with several other widows, and, while acting upon her wishes, becomes involved with an eight-year-old girl named Ellen who helps her complete her list - with unexpected results.

The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan (Jan 2002)
A novel set against the exotic backdrop of the Mughal dynasty of sixteenth-century India chronicles the life and times of Mehrunnisa, an intelligent, ambitious, and beautiful young woman who became one of India's legendary heroines.

Teen Recommendations

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler (Jun 2009)
While on vacation in California, sixteen-year-old best friends Anna and Frankie conspire to find a boy for Anna's first kiss, but Anna harbors a painful secret that threatens their lighthearted plan and their friendship.

The First Twenty by Jennifer Lavoie (May 2015)
Peyton lives with others in what used to be a factory. When her adopted father is murdered by Scavengers, she is determined to bring justice to those who took him away from her. She didn't count on meeting Nixie.

Twenty Questions for Gloria by Martyn Bedford (Apr 2016)
Gloria longs for adventure, something beyond her ordinary suburban life. When a mysterious new boy strolls into school, bent on breaking all the rules, Gloria is ready to fall under his spell. But Uman is not all he seems. And by the time she learns the truth about him, she's a long way from home.

Kid Recommendations

Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley (Apr 2016)
Going to bed early after spending a busy day at the beach with her family, Lucy wakes up in the middle of the night to find that her imagination leads her to see things differently in the dark.

20 Hungry Piggies by Trudy Harris (Jan 2007)
The wolf from "The Three Little Pigs" shows up at a party attended by lots of piggies, but his plans for dinner are disrupted by the pigs from "This Little Piggy Went to Market."

1 to 20, Animals Aplenty by Katie Viggers (Apr 2014)
Teaches young readers to count from one to twenty using simple text and animal illustrations.

See how the punctuation marks you use (and where you put them) can completely change the meaning of what you write.

Counting 1 to 20 (Feb 2014)
Introduces young readers to the numbers one through twenty, providing images of animals that represent each number, from one ape to twenty ladybugs.

Twenty Heartbeats by Dennis Haseley (Apr 2008)
After waiting for decades for the portrait of his prize horse to be finished, an angry rich man decides to confront the artist.

Twenty Gold Falcons by Amy Gordon (Feb 2010)
Twelve-year-old Aiden is very unhappy when, after her father's death, her mother moves them from the family farm, but soon she and new friends are caught up in the search for long-lost coins in the historic Ingle building that towers over the city of Gloria.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Annual Gratitude Article

“Thanksgiving just gets me all warm and tingly and all kinds of wonderful inside.” - Willard Scott

Every year at this time, we here at 5 Minute Librarian like to take a moment to express our gratitude for the wonderful things we have in our lives, both personal and professional. You can read our past years' gratitude here: 201520162017, and 2018

As always, we are extremely grateful to our readers, without whom we wouldn't have been able to keep writing for so long. It warms our hearts to see people commenting and sharing our articles, so please keep it up! 

Kat L., Children's Librarian:

  1. I am extremely grateful that I have a job that I love. My Director is fabulous and encourages me to think outside the box and push my creativity. My coworkers are awesome, I get to do something different every day, and it's generally a wonderful place to work. Having worked in some not-so-wonderful places, I am very aware of what I have here.
  2. At-A-Glance calendars, colored pens, and fun office supplies. I love being able to flip to a month in my calendar and quickly see what I am doing (green), what my assistant is doing (purple), what days our reading dogs are coming in (blue) and when I have meetings (orange). It probably sounds silly, but it makes things so easy when they're color-coded! I also have stickers all over my calendar, and fun office supplies abound. Sure, everyone has post-it flags, but how many of you have kitten mermaid ones?
  3. Do you know how many flavors of tea there are in the world? LOTS. I am on a mission to drink them all. Tea not only has health and stress-relieving benefits, but it's delicious and has zero calories. 

Allison C., Teen Librarian

  1. I'm super grateful for I was able to use our Friends' 501(c)(3) credentials, to get a free upgraded account for our Library. It's super easy to create beautiful social media posts, Facebook headers, graphics for our event calendar and even library signage. You can also have a team so that other library staff can collaborate on designs. And since it's all saved online, I can easily access it from any computer in the library.
  2. Another site I'm loving is It's great for scheduling social media posts in advance. The free version allows you to schedule 30 posts in advance (think 30 Facebook posts or 10 posts to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). Our library upgraded to the paid version so that I have unlimited scheduled posts. It really comes in handy for the summer when I can schedule out weeks or months worth of posts before I'm too busy to post daily.
  3. Work-wise, the biggest thing I'm grateful for this year is that my library has finally broken ground for our expansion and renovation project. Our library is going from a place with no program space to having a whole teen space and teen program room (among lots of other great additions). I can't wait until our teens can start enjoying it!


  1. I am so excited about e-passes! Our library offers one for the local science museum and I was able to request it online (on a Sunday night), it was emailed to me, and I immediately used it Monday morning, before my library even opened. It could not have been any easier! More of these, please!
  2.  I love public library and school collaborations. Our school is in the process of changing their curriculum from reading one book of anthologies to having a variety of books of different age levels. Not only are our teachers getting teacher cards to help add more books for kids to use, but the library director also offered all of the leftover books from the book sale for the teachers to use. It is a win-win for everyone.
  3. Lastly, I am super grateful for my colleagues, Kat and Allison. This has been a rough year for me and they have stepped up and kept 5minlib going. There is no 5minlib without you two. Thank you for all of your hard work, dedication, and passion. 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Kid Kits for Big Topics

The act of browsing is a wonderful thing. You can take your time to pick the entirely right story that will work with your mood. This is particularly wonderful in the children's room - giving a child their choice of book will help ensure that they enjoy the reading of it, because it is their book. Of course, there are times when browsing just isn't possible, and there are times when you need a book on a specific topic. Enter the Kid Kit - these kits are curated collections of titles on various topics, from potty training to the death of a pet, which are ready when you need them.

At my library, we have a large selection of kits, which are shelved all together. The topics can be divided, for the most part, into three major categories. (Why the division? For collection development purposes, I find it easier to mentally separate them so that they aren't overwhelming.) I'm going to list our topics here, to show you the broad range of things you can make kits for, but please don't take this as a call to make every single one of these. It's just to give you ideas.

Major Life Events

If you're a parent and you're already dealing with a major life event, you want to be able to grab a few books to explain it to your children and hit the road. Of course, some of these events (death of a loved one, for example) are more major than others (going to the dentist), but they are all new experiences for children. We have book kits about:
  • Adoption
  • Aging (as in, dementia)
  • Dealing with Cancer
  • Death of a Loved One
  • Death of a Pet
  • Divorce
  • Going to the Hospital
  • Going on a Plane
  • Going to the Dentist
  • Going to the Doctor
  • Military Families
  • Moving
  • New Sibling
  • Potty Training (boys)
  • Potty Training (girls)
  • Starting Kindergarten
  • Starting School
  • Tooth Fairy

Help With Behavior

Behavioral problems aren't because a child is bad, of course. They may just need some help and reminders about things (spoiler: we don't bite our friends), or some help with confidence. Our topics include:
  • Afraid of Dogs
  • Bad Behavior
  • Being Patient
  • Feeling Afraid
  • Manners
  • Needing Attention
  • Self Esteem and Confidence

Learning New Things

It's always wonderful to learn a new skill! Whether it's tying your shoes or using the potty, or reading folktales from around the world, we have you covered. Our kits are: 
  • Adding and Subtracting
  • Colors and Shapes
  • Cinderella Stories
  • Fire Safety
  • Folktales from Around the World
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Four Seasons
  • Multiplying and Dividing
  • On the Farm
  • Potty Training (boys)
  • Potty Training (girls)
  • Safety
  • Tying Your Shoes
  • Weather


Of course, there are a few kits that don't strictly fall into these guidelines, but are important enough to have kits about. 
  • All Kinds of Families (LGBTQIA+, single parents, etc.)
  • Autism (both for children who have it, or who know someone that does)
  • Differing Abilities (includes books about Deafness, blindness, Down Syndrome, etc.)
  • Extended Families (cousins, grandparents, etc.)
  • Gender Roles and Equality (including transgender children)

What They Look Like

Of course, your kits may look absolutely different from mine, but at my library, we have them in blue canvas bags, which hang next to the green canvas bags (books with CDs). Each bag has a barcode and a clear label of the topic, as well as a label listing the contents of the kit (top right).

There are actually two stickers that have the call number - in this case, J KIT GOING TO THE DOCTOR. We have one in the top left corner, and another on the left edge, so when you are flipping through the hanging kits, it's easily visible.

We also have a label that clearly and cheerfully says "KID KITS," so you know exactly what you're getting. 

The sticker on the bottom right has the library's name and address. 

Each book in the kit also has a label on it, clearly marking this book as part of the kit, so if it is returned separate from the rest of it, we know right away.

This kit has 5 books in it, which is about average. Some kits have more, and some have less, depending on the topic. They were recently updated to include newer titles, and some have familiar characters (in this case, Pete the Kitty and Daniel Tiger). 

What Do You Think?

We know every library has their own way of doing things, and we hope you share your tips and tricks with us here in the comments, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter

Friday, November 1, 2019

In Defense Of Decorating For Every Holiday

Perhaps it's just me, but between taking down the bats and pumpkins and putting up the turkeys and other pumpkins, I sometimes take a moment to consider: do I really have to decorate for EVERY holiday? But then I get back to work and tack up another cornucopia because: yes. You might not find it necessary, but I think it's worthwhile to decorate for everything. I've compiled a list of my thoughts on the subject, which I will share with you today. This does not only include wall art and decorations, but also displays and bulletin boards. (Please note that, while I believe this about the entire library, I am - to be fair - a children's librarian.)

We Want To Be Relevant

When many people think of libraries, they think of buildings full of dusty, old books. Of course, these people are incorrect, but what better way to prove that we are currently relevant than to be as current as this very week? Yes, we care about being up to date! Take away that Halloween candy, it's old news - it's Thanksgiving season now!

We Want To Be Friendly

It's hard to be angry when you're surrounded by happy things, and creating an environment full of cheer is helpful for those who tend to lean toward the grumpy side of life. Of course, some people will be stressed and unhappy no matter what you do, but for the majority of people, a cheerful, welcoming environment helps relieve some of life's tensions. According to scientists, "the nostalgia associated with festive decorations reminds people of when they were children with no responsibilities."

This same study mentions that people who decorate the outside of their homes for the holidays are seen as "more friendly and cohesive" than their neighbors who do not decorate. Our goal as librarians is to create an environment that people want to visit and use, and if sticking a pilgrim hat on the turtle tank will make that happen, I am all for it. As I tell patrons who are overly worried about a 25 cent fine, "this is a happy place."

We Want To Be Inclusive

Halloween is the most popular holiday in October in my part of the world, but it's not the only one. I had up a small display of books about Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, and every single book was checked out! Several parents were surprised we had any books about Diwali at all, and more than one family expressed gratitude that their holiday was represented.

Of course, it's impossible to celebrate every single holiday, but we can do our best to make sure that all of the most important celebrations are noted. The choice is yours: would you rather celebrate absolutely everything, or nothing at all?

We Want To Be The Third Place 

American sociologist Ray Oldenberg wrote in his book The Great Good Place that people in productive societies need to have a third place - not work, not home - "where you relax in public, where you encounter familiar faces and make new acquaintances." Whether this is the neighborhood coffee shop, the barber shop, the local park -- or, perhaps, the library! -- this place can be integral for people's mental well-being. The idea is that people have no obligation to be here, but they want to be. What better way than to create a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere?

What Do You Think?

Do you agree with Kat? Let us know here in the comments, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Literary Ghosts We Love

October is the spookiest month, and a perfect time to have some fun! Last year, we showed you our favorite Spooky Fictional Libraries, and this year we at 5 Minute Librarian wanted to share with you some of our very favorite literary ghosts.

Image result for jacob marley basil
Basil Rathbone as Jacob Marley, 1954
Jacob Marley
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Sure, there are more famous ghosts in this title, but Jacob Marley is where it all begins. He's the one who earned his ghostly shackles and is warning Scrooge of his doom by demonstrating exactly how bad things can get.

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Shirley Henderson as Moaning Myrtle, 2002
Moaning Myrtle 
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Hogwarts is chock full of ghosts to choose from, but arguably none as memorable as the girl who was killed in the toilets and haunts the castle's pipes. She's also one of the few characters who befriends both Harry and Draco!

Related image
Cynthia Garris as Mrs. Massey in The Shining TV series, 1997

Mrs. Massey (The Bathtub Ghost)
The Shining by Stephen King
There's a good reason to stay out of Room 217 at the Overlook Hotel. Danny Torrance finds this out one day when he decides to explore, and ends up meeting Mrs. Massey in the tub - who then tries to strangle and kill him! Mrs. Massey is the newest of the Overlook's ghosts, having committed suicide just a few years before the story is set. (Sure, the creepy twins may be the most memorable from the movie, but Mrs. Massey was the one in the book that we were afraid of.)

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The Headless Horseman, in miniature, as a Halloween decoration.
The Headless Horseman
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
American folklore specifies that the Headless Horseman was a Hessian soldier who was decapitated by a cannonball during the Battle of White Plains in the American Revolution. He was buried without his head, and his ghosts wanders the world searching for it. He was immortalized around the world when he pursued Ichabod Crane late one autumn night.

Billy Boyd as Banquo
Billy Boyd as Banquo, 2014
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Three witches tell Macbeth that he will be king, and that Banquo will not but his son will be, so Macbeth sees him as a threat and has him murdered. He shows up later at a feast, scaring Macbeth out of his wits and hastening his descent into madness. We like him because, if we were killed, eternity haunting at a feast sounds pretty good.

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Ghost of Emily in "Anya's Ghost" by Vera Brosgol
Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Emily is, at first, a friendly, helpful spirit to Anya, who is lonely after just having moved to town. Of course, she gets less friendly and demure and much more vengeful as time goes on, making this graphic novel super creepy and amazing.

Aragorn-Dead army
Aragon and the Dead Men of Dunharrow, Lord of the Rings, 2001
The Dead Men of Dunharrow
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
They were oath-breakers, men who abandoned their promise to Isildur to fight with him in a war, and cursed to remain on Middle-earth until they could make it right. Aragon, heir of Isildur, was able to call upon their aid and finally release them from their oath. But seriously, can you imagine being in a battle and suddenly an entire army of unkillable warriors is fighting against you?

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Anna is still wearing the bloody white dressed she wore the day she was murdered in 1958. She's killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home, sometimes literally tearing them apart. She's so creepy.


Image result for death
Image of Death from Wikimedia Commons
The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak
Though not technically a ghost, the narrator of this book from his point of view is particularly creepy when you know that it takes place during World War II in Nazi Germany.