Surprise Storytime Thursday, February 19, and STEAM


It’s been a strange few days here in my city – temperatures fluctuating, Mother Nature trying to figure out if she wants to drop moisture on us, and how much, and the Library Plague still plaguing us all. I picked up a toddler storytime for my sick coworker on Thursday, and, as is usually the case, my “surprise” storytimes always go so much better than the ones I sign up for. Can you explain it? I can’t.


I’m proud that for my planned-in-advance storytimes that I have created and stuck to my “one new book in my storytime” rule, but when you learn that morning that you’re doing a storytime, I’ve created a new rule: the “the one new book in my storytime rule can go out the window when you have to pull a storytime together in less than an hour” rule. Because, I mean, honestly.

So sometimes you have to stick with what works. Making animal noises? Check. Making dog noises (and using a dog puppet)? Check. A classic Caldecott winner? Check. And the songs can be classics too: I used my Old McDonald flannel set, we sang “Bingo,” and my usual opening and closing songs. The kids were excited, everyone participated, and we had a great time.

Go figure.

On Saturday, Mother Nature blanketed my town with about four inches of snow, which made my whole town panic *rolls eyes* and closed us at 2 p.m. My commute home was stretched out to almost two hours from its regular 30-40 minutes, which wasn’t a whole lot of fun, but at least I was warm while my poor car, Daisy, was slipping and sliding her way down slushy streets.

Sunday, though, it was business as usual, and I was glad, because for once I had a STEAM program that I was truly excited – and confident! – about. I forgot to take pictures (sorry), but it was all about fingerprinting. The kids and I talked about fingerprints, what makes them, how they’re different, and the science of fingerprinting. Then we took ours with ink pads, and compared them, learning about loops and arches and whorls. (We also learned that it’s easy to see your fingerprints on a piece of tape.)

Finally, we learned about lifting fingerprints from glass surfaces by making our own. First, everyone had a little glob of honey on their thumbs, to rub with their forefinger and get them nice and sticky. Then they stuck those fingers onto various spots on a mason jar and leave fingerprints behind. Once those had dried, I produced small cups of cocoa powder and paintbrushes, and the kids used paintbrushes to make the fingerprints “appear.”

(Yes, obviously, the fingerprints were much more visible than the latent kind would be. But I explained to them that the CSI techs use a special kind of powder and brush to bring out the invisible prints, and we were doing an experiment to see what it was like.)

The best part of the whole program was that one of my attendees had visited the library on Thursday, and I had told her all about the program, and she came because she thought it was going to be cool. Yay! And it was cool, in my completely biased opinion.

Links links:

In the top spot this week: Well, this doesn’t surprise me. I’ve said it before, and I’ve said it again, and I truly don’t think you’ll find a librarian who disagrees: NOTHING BEATS THE PRINTED PAGE. 

So this may have come from a Doctor Who Tumblr – don’t judge me – but I love the variously-painted Paddingtons! And look who all is contributing to their design…

I got Lisbeth Salander whatwhatwhat? (So did Mama Bear. Sister A got Jo March.)

Assuming that copyright issues have been sorted out, this is an excellent idea.

As if I needed more reasons to find an excuse to move to Great Britain

Listen to A.A. Milne read from Winnie-The-Pooh.

The library police in my system are actual members of our town’s police force, rather than mere security guards. But their stories are probably not unlike this officer’s.

From Friend A:

Friend A works at the DC library, and this came from her system’s Tumblr. A great resource for teens – my library system should do this.

From Mama Bear:

So much debate on the “new” Sherlock Holmes story! Granddad, Mama Bear’s dad, was a Sherlockian and a Baker Street Irregular, and I daresay would have much to comment about this. (Have I mentioned him before? Probably. If so, give me a break, I’m getting old and my memory is failing.)

And speaking of Sherlock, I’m not sure how much my dear Mama Bear knows about slash fiction, but I’d be tempted to say a great deal more than she did before she read this article.

Love my hometown shoutout!

LeVar Burton is a god among men.

A final sentence can have a lot more oomph for a book than the opening sentence, don’t you think?

I’m a little tired of Lena Dunham, but I will never be tired of Eloise.

From Sister A: (I have been asked a few times if Sister A is a nun. Sister A is not a nun. I just call her that because she’s my sister.)

More on Harper Lee and Monroeville, Alabama.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I was stuck at home last week without a book, and randomly picked up Under the Banner of Heaven, which is always interesting. I need a new copy, though; the one I have is completely waterlogged and warped. I have some strong ideas about religion, which have no place in this blog, but this book always leaves me shaking my head at the extent of peoples’ fanaticism.

Next, I read the completely wonderful chapter book A Mango-Shaped Space, which acquainted me with the world of synesthesia – something I’d heard of but knew nothing about – and loved the fleshed-out characters, the themes of grief and acceptance, the plot, and now need to read everything by Wendy Mass.

Finally, I just finished this morning what I can already tell will be one of my top books of the year, and was one of practically everyone’s top books of 2014. I can give it no higher praise than saying that it felt like reading a book by Daphne Du Maurier. I want to open it up and read it again, and then have Sarah Waters tell me a bedtime story every night for the rest of my life.


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