Looking for me?

Yearning for some libraryvoice? I’ve begun to transition this blog into a touch-down space for my digital content and projects. But don’t despair! You can find brand new blog posts from me each month on ALSC Blog!

You can also check out the Storytime Warrior! Education Module developed to help new children’s library staff members become fluent in early literacy. I’ll be posting some fun new technology projects in the Tech Ed section as well.


Yearning for some libraryvoice? I’ve begun to transition this blog into a touch-down space for my digital content and projects. But don’t despair! You can find brand new blog posts from me each month on ALSC Blog!

My Favorite Picture Book(s) Blogfest

Today is the “My Favorite Picture Book BLOGFEST!”  Click the blue button on the left for a list of all the bloggers participating.

Hmmm.  Asking a children’s librarian to choose a favorite picture book is like asking a mother to pick her favorite child.  Almost cruel!

So, instead I’ve chosen a couple; one that I discovered and fell in love with as an adult and the series of picture books that turned me into the crazy voracious reader I am today.

The One that Could Be the Subject of an Entire Graduate-Level Course:

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales written by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith.

Stinky Cheese Man is one of my faves not just because it is insanely hilarious (which it is) or because it zany, kinetic illustrations are also beautiful and detailed (which they are) or because it is a collection of fractured fairytales (which I also love.)

It’s one of my favorites because it is a picture book about picture books.  It’s self-referential, post-modern, clever, and ingeniously designed.  There is no detail- no typeface or jacket flap or gutter- that is without thought.  It’s the kind of book that can be read, viewed, and discussed thousands of times and with each reading you will discover something new.  Besides that, kids adore it!

The Books that Helped Me Learn to Read (and Love to Read):

Little Golden Books

Oh, Little Golden Books.  My grandparents gave me a set for a birthday or Christmas when I was about four and I read them for what seems like years and years afterward.

I remember my grandfather (Pop Pop) reading the LGB Nursery Rhymes to me.  He would sing and chant the rhymes to me, bouncing me on his knee.  (And this was back before the research about phonological awareness.)  Over time, I memorized the lyrics to the rhymes and he would tap my finger on the words as we sang together.  One day, it just started to “click.” What we were saying and the squiggles on the page connected.  A reader was born.

These cheapy little dime store books were written and illustrated by some of the most popular children’s authors and illustrators, including Margaret Wise Brown, Garth Williams, and Richard Scarry.  For under 25 cents a book, Little Golden Books were accessible for families on a budget.  They helped me (and I’m betting thousands of children) start their own home libraries.  Mine were proudly displayed on a small shelf in the living room next to my toy box.  Sadly, after several moves, I no longer have my original set.  I still get a rich, warm feeling in my chest when I think about learning to read on my own and the pride I felt after reading a story to my Pop Pop.


Today, March 9th is World Read Aloud Day, a day to celebrate the power of written and spoken word.  People all over the world are celebrating by hosting reading marathons, creating videos, and doing special programs.

Today my library will be hosting an art-themed storytime using the helpful program plans from LitWorld and asking children to add their names and favorite book titles to an interactive display.  And, of course, lots of impromptu reading aloud!

How are you celebrating?


George Costanza

Ladies and gents, kids of all ages……………. I am excited to announce that after a 1 year hiatus, this Library Voice is ready to roar once again.  (grrrr)

Perhaps you might imagine that I have spent this time indulging idle pursuits; sipping mojitos, feet splayed across the reference desk, (mayhap a jaunty hat cocked sideways on my brow), letting the world’s chatter wash over me in an explosion of tweets and twitters, uploads and updates.  But ’tis not so!   Continue reading

T-minus 24 hours until the the doors open……

If you are a regular visitor to Libraryvoice, you may have noticed that my posts have been rather infrequent these past few weeks.  But, oh boy, do I have a good excuse!  In October I joined the team of the Children’s Department of the Darien Library in Connecticut.  About a month and a half after my first day we closed the doors at the Leroy Ave location to begin preparations for a move on down the ol’ Post Road.

Moving a library with over 150,000 items is certainly no small feat.  But many libraries move.  What made this move particularly special was that we undertook a massive and thoughtful reorganization of the entire collection.  From children’s picturebooks up to adult non-fiction, each department had the opportunity to rethink the physical and virtual layout and accessibility of their collections.  The goal was to create collections and spaces that are inviting, easily browsable, and intuitive.

In the Children’s Department, we have spent the last six weeks completely rethinking our collection.  In our old building, the picture books lived (like they do in almost every public library) in a large section organized by author.  For robust collections like ours, this can translate into a somewhat intimidating and confusing browsing experience.  If you are a mom searching for a good book for your 3-year-old, you may not know where to start.  If you have a specific title in mind, the huge expanse of shelves can make finding what you want difficult.  Picturebooks are a varied and diverse format.  When organized by format and author, a simple story for toddlers about barnyard animals can very well live next to a heart-wrenching tale of the Underground Railroad.  The same can be said about children’s fiction, which can range from a 500-page Harry Potter novel to a Katie Kazoo.

In our new building, the Children’s Library is divided into two distinct sections: the First Five Years and Kids.  On the First Five Years side, the collection has been organized according to subdivisions that make it easy for parents and caregivers to find materials for their young, pre-reading children.  The new sections include: Concepts, Growing Up, Nature, Rhymes & Songs, Transportation, Celebrations, Stories, and Learn to Read.  Being children’s librarians, we color-coordinated each new section to make it visually intuitive to find what you’re looking for.  Our new SOPAC reflects the changes as well.

The Kids side of the room is designed with older children in mind- kids who are now reading on their own, researching, doing homework, and creating content.  This section includes Kids Fiction and Non-Fiction, as well as an Independent Reader corner.  The books and materials here were chosen to to appeal to kids who are now comfortable reading chapter books on their own but may not be ready to take on something like Percy Jackson just yet.  The Independent Readers (or iRead section) also include picturebooks for older kids, a collection that can sometimes get lost or overlooked when not highlighted.

I could go on for pages about all the cool changes we have made, but like LeVar Burton would say, you don’t have to take my word for it!  Check out this post by local blogger, Nicole Lyons, who attended our sneak peek this week.

We officially open our doors tomorrow, Saturday, January 10th at 10am!