Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day 5... The end is near

 The longer I am in Philadelphia, the harder it is for me to get up in the morning.  Diane is getting up bright and early each morning while I am struggling to get up by 7:30 am.  With first sessions starting at 8:15 am, I am kind of cutting it close.  I can only imagine how the people who are coming from Seattle or even Alaska are handling the early morning sessions.  Indiana is in the same time zone as Philadelphia and I am struggling!
     Anyways, back to business.  The first session I went to today was all about the importance of the word.  The  information presented in this program was very poignant.  I think the one thing that really stuck out for me was the amount of television and imputed a child should have before they are two years old.  I am sure you will be just as surprised as I was to hear that the answer is NONE.  That's right, a child should not be allowed to sit in front of a television or computer screen before they are two years old because it suppresses their language development skills.

     The other interesting factoid I took from this session is how important "play talk" is.  For those of you who attend my story times, you know that at the end of each class, I pull out a large box of toys and let the kids play.  For a while, I have been wondering how much the kids are really getting out of this.  However, this session today reaffirmed the fact that it is an essential part of literacy because it no longer becomes organized teaching, it becomes daily learning and understanding.
     After a short break for breakfast, I attended a session about early literacy and school readiness.  My library just recently started looking at this in terms of what AREN'T we doing.  I have been doing story times for almost three years and yet it wasn't until last school year that I even read my  state's standards.  What?  How am I supposed to prepare these young minds for school if I don't even know even know what my district expects from them?  I did take away a few great ideas from this session and I hope to be able to enact a couple when I return.  I'm not going to tell you what they are though... It's a surprise. 

     Next session was probably one I was most excited for which would also make sense as to why I was so disappointed by how it turned out.  The session was all about programs that would pack the library.  Although the information provided by the four speakers was amazing, the types of ideas they presented were something our library could never do.  These libraries built extra buildings, they held six week long festivities, and even created mobile exhibits.  I thought I would be getting lots of ideas on how to bring people into the library, however, the presenters focused on one or two events they had in which a lot of people attended and they had lots of community help.  The only thing that we have at the moment that is similar would be the Summer Reading Kickoff Carnival.  Although disappointed, I still learned about some grant opportunities that our library will definitely be looking in to.

This poster is from our Summer Reading Carnival in 2011.

     To say that I am glad I got to my last session early is an understatement.  Boy was this session FULL.  I guess everyone wants to know how to introduce story times for children that are on the Autism Spectrum.  This is an area that I believe our library should begin to focus on.  The special needs community definitely needs to have a place in the library.  With that said, I am all for integrating special needs children into "regular" story time.  However from what I learned today, sometimes the parents don't want this.  I got a lot of great ideas from this session that I can incorporate into my weekly story times.  I am also toying with the idea of starting a once a month special needs story time in the fall.  Depending on the interest, it's possible this program could become      bi-weekly or even weekly.  However, I will never know if a program like this is needed unless I put it out there.  Stay tuned to see how I work this needed program into our already busy schedule.  If there's a will (which there is), there's a way.

     Well, that's it for for day 5.  Guess what?  Tomorrow is the last day of PLA.  I can't believe it's almost over.  I feel like this week has flown by.  Tomorrow I will be attending two sessions.  One is about how to program for pregnant and parenting teens while the second is a session called "Teen Speak.". Although I work with little children,  our library has a large teen population and if there is any way I can figure out how to effectively communicate with the teens without ostracizing them, I am going to take it.  And the best part of tomorrow...  Listening to BETTY WHITE.  That's right... I will be listening to the Golden Girl herself.  I have no idea what she is going to be talking about, but who cares!  It's bound to be hilarious!    Tune in tomorrow to see what I learn and what Betty White has to say!

* *  I should note that none of these pictures are mine.  They are images that I have taken from Google images.  :)

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