Monday, April 27, 2015

Library Overrun by First Graders!

Last Friday before the library opened, we had the pleasure of hosting ALL of the First graders along with their teachers and some parents from a nearby elementary school.  The library was a lively place to be!  All the children learned about the events that we host here and about our Summer Reading Program. They especially loved the idea of getting FREE books as part of our SRP recognition awards.
The word quickly spread that we are the place where books live and we are the place where LEGO, Minecraft, games and art programs take place.
The kids were treated to a number of lively stories and games during their visit and left with small gifts to remember OUR Library for this summer and beyond. 
We were very happy to have welcomed this group and are eager to host other schools.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Toca Boca App Review

Lately I've been playing around with Toca Boca.

Toca Boca is a collection of apps that are not games, but digital toys that rely on creative play with no points earned and no moving up a score chart.  There is no speech, no text, yet it’s easily understandable and totally intuitive.  The apps feature bright colors, well designed visuals while it does not contain any adware or analytics.
The Guardian says: “Toca Boca divides children's activities into five categories: active play (sport), make-believe, manipulative play (building stuff), creative play (drawing) and learning play (books and games).”
Toca Boca now has several apps, which are aimed primarily at children ages 4 and up. Most cost $3, but some are free and are available on Android devices and for Kindle Fire.
Some of these apps are:
Toca House, in which players perform chores like sweeping, gardening while playing. Learning chores CAN be FUN!

Toca Hair Salon 2, in which children wash, cut and style the hair of salon patrons or their own digital hair.  Just think of the many times a child gave themselves a real haircut!  This will take the mystery out.

Toca Lab is another app, in which children are introduced to the elements of the periodic table.  In this game they are able to perform the scientific things we actually do in real labs to elements, such as freeze, boil, shake, etc.  These elements, however, have little personalities, make sounds and behave in most adorable and sometimes destructive ways.  Again, science; cause and effect.
Toca Band is a new app that is less appealing.  It is repetitive and the music staggers too quickly.  The melody is too brief, yet fun to arrange. But all the apps can't be perfect.
In their review, New York Times focused on the noncompetitive environment of the game that keeps no score.
All in all, Toca Boca has many varieties of play learning and is easier to play than Minecraft and no monsters jump out.
Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

More Bulletin Boards

As I go through my computer files I keep finding more images of the bulletin boards I've done.  Here are some from last year:
 Another shot of the "Read Across America" bulletin board for March.
 This was up in the summer and has an aquatic theme, or ocean bulletin board:

 Of course, we had to put Olaf somewhere since he's been buzzing around all year:
 I made an international children's board in the library's children's section and had the clouds spell "Hello" in different languages:
 The Solar System Bulletin Board was put up for last summer's reading program and whoever finished reading an assigned number of books, got to put up a star with their name on the sky:
 And the most recent bulletin board is, of course, MINECRAFT bulletin board.

Bulletin Boards

During slow times at the library I like to decorate our bulletin boards.  It's just one way to get my creative energy out there.  Typically, our boards get changed with the seasons.  The first one here is for March, which is "Read Across America" month that coincides with Dr. Seuss's Birthday.
 And another board was made for Valentine's, but ended up staying longer as it fits the general library theme (and was slightly more labor intensive).

Friday, April 10, 2015


OK, so fake snow.  Every library needs to get this!
It was such a hit!  We hardly every see snow and this
looks and feels like the real thing.  Too bad we couldn't fill
a whole swimming pool with this stuff.  Love it!


Today we had a bunch of bunnies show up at my story time!
They were all so colorful and creative with the masks :)
I got the templates on sale at Michael's for 70% off the day before.  Whoot!

Trying email

So I started an email list to let all the caregivers who come to my story times know our current events.  So far it seems like I've had little success, but we will know when the numbers of attendees for programs will grow.  Can't wait to see if the email updates make a difference.  I'm limiting to sending only one a month as I don't want to spam everyone.  Fingers crossed :-)