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What I've been reading in 2018.

I set my GoodReads challenge lower this year. 24 books instead of 50. This allowed me to not only complete the goal, but to surpass it!

I know it's a silly thing but I love silly things.

Something that helped me complete that goal was to reread the Harry Potter series this summer. It was fun, glorious, and something that made me completely relaxed during SRP. Plus, it's the 20th year anniversary and I just had to!

The first book came out in the U.S. in September of 1998. I was eight years old, about to be 9 in November. My Dad bought the book for us and read it aloud every night until we finished. I am not lying when I say that I really remember him reading that first chapter to us. It was indeed, magical.

And just LOOK at the new Brian Selznick cover!        

I have read Adult Non-Fiction titles, including; Trevor Noah's Born a Crime, I'll Be Gone in the Dark, the excellent and crucial work So You Want to Talk About Race. I deleved into an infamous Hoosier's life…
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#LibrariesRock Messy Mozarts!

While perusing the Storytime Underground Facebook page eons ago I came across an amazing messy sensory playtime program for little ones.

Inspired by Miss Marissa at La La Librariana blog I created our Messy Mozarts program for this year's Summer Reading program. 
This program was for ages 0-3 and required registration. This was mainly because we are using a meeting room for a program room and thus required the entire room to be covered in tarps! Bless the hearts of our facilities staff who let me do this. 
All activities were appropriate for children under 3 and if they included food I listed allergens on the signs. While the kids played and got messy, I play some classic Mozart music! 
Descriptions of our activities are below:

Rainbow Fluff Pool: I bought an inflatable kiddie pool on Amazon, filled it with pulled cotton balls and scarves and let the kiddos go wild!

Cloud Dough: 8 cups flour to every 1 cup of vegetable oil. I did NOT use baby oil because I wanted everything to be …

Preschool Prom 2018 - Under the Sea

Every year I hold a Preschool Prom. It's a chance for the kids to dress up and have a fun night with the family at the library.
This year we went all out. Our theme was "Under the Sea." Thank GOODNESS for Pinterest, or I would not of had as many cool decorating ideas.
Also, Princess Ariel was there! She read to the kids, took pictures, and joined in the dancing.

I used a LOT of plastic tablecloths in our decor. I stuck some blue tablecloths in our ceiling tiles, placing them over lights to create waves. 
I then cut out paper turtles, and used die-cut fish to create the feeling that you were looking up from the ocean floor. We also made a backdrop and reading "stage" for our guest reader, Ariel. 

My favorite thing that I made were these jellyfish. I used paper lanterns, pink tablecloths and hot glue. 

Along the back wall we had our craft tables. We did a simple craft. Using cupcake liners, we had the kids create fish and an underwater scene. 

After crafts and a…

Updating my Preschool Program: Pre-K Explorers

When I came into my current position I was put in charge of a preschool program entitled, Pre-K Explorers. It was a storytime with a few hands-on activities that followed the weekly storytime theme.
This Fall I slightly revamped my program to focus more on directed early literacy activities and if it fits the theme, occasional STEM activities.
Important Note: I encourage caregivers to stay in the room during the program and to participate with their child in the self-directed activities. It's important for caregivers to know that they can do these types of things with their child at home as well. 
Simple Outline of Program:
Each kid makes a name tag which I will laminate and keep at the library. Then they get to choose a sticker to either put on the name tag or their shirt, wherever they want. 
Opening Rhyme:I have 10 Fingers
I have ten fingers and they all belong to me I can make them do things, would you like to see?
I can shut them up tight I can open them wide I can put them…

Book Review: A Timely Middle Grade Novel and a Rom-Com YA delight!

Amina's Voice 
by Hena Khan

Amina is much like any other middle school student, she is worried about changes in her life. 

"She has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name..."

Her friendships are changing, a new family member is coming to stay at her family's home, and Amina isn't sure how to be herself. Amidst all these new challenges Amina's mosque is vandalized. Family and friends come together to pick up the pieces and heal hearts and in the wake of tragedy Amina finds out who her real friends are. 

My Thoughts: 

Put this book into the hands of your middle grade readers now. With everything that is going on in the news today we sorely need diverse narratives like this one. 

It also touches on c…

Mad Scientist's Club - Summer 2017 Build a Better World

Build a Better World Summer 2017
This summer I held a weekly science program for kids that were going into 4th-6th grades. Each week had a specific them and a challenge based upon that theme. We would learn a little about a topic, have a few demonstrations, and finally work on our challenges.

This program was registration only, limited to 25 spots, but patrons did not have to attend all sessions. 
When I was at PLA in Denver last year I went to a FANTASTIC session led by the ladies from Cookville Memorial Library in Illinois who blog over at
My co-worker and I conspired together to do this weekly program, but alas she got an amazing opportunity to move into a full-time position at our sister library and thus I took up the project on my own. Luckily we had planned out the weeks and experiments together before she left so I had a great foundation and jumping off point.

Unfortunately, I did not get pictures every week but we did manage to get some.

Week 1 - Splash! Sp…

Book Review: The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell

Book Review: The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell Tales of a 6' 4'', African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian.

Most of us try to avoid awkward situations and awkward conversations. W. Kamau Bell says to "lean into it" full Sheryl Sandberg style.
Bell's book is written much like his interviewing style on his CNN show, United Shades of America, laid back and unassuming. (The man chuckled and smiled while interviewing Richard Spencer!) It is part memoir and part call to action. 
He reflects on his upbringing with a strong female role model as his mother, an awareness of being a an only child and the fact that his interests never lined up with the interests of other Black kids his age. (He mentions more than once of being a fan of The Dukes of Hazzard, of all shows). 
Bell's description of "intersectional progressivism" is viewed through the scope of his come…