Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 year in review (or, Mostly We Moved a Lot of Stuff)

What a year it's been! I want to share with you a few of the highlights - but what to choose?? There were so very many magical moments in 2013.

We kicked off 2013 with a wonderfully successful Winter Reading Club: Chill Out and Read! And it's sure to be another fun winter of reading when this year's program: Reading is a Breeze! kicks off on January 4.

As the months rolled by, we learned robotics in the LEGO WeDo programs, where kids built functional robotics projects, we had an Art Attack, we sang with Ac*Rock, we became better babysitters, we challenged our Chess Mates, and practiced our PoetryPlay with a visit from poet Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

Then things heated up with Have Book, Will Travel, our 2013 Summer Reading Club. Over 2000 kids participated and 60 awesome teen volunteers made it an awesome summer with our Around the World in 80 Minutes (or less) kickoff and our Radio Disney Dance Party to celebrate! Thanks, guys.
Fall brought us LEGO Build a Reader storytimes, Polish and Hispanic Heritage Month events, Veterans Day letter writing, Kids Get Crafty, and Family Science Expo. I am out of breath (and my fingers ache from typing).

On top of the multitudes of fun stuff you may have noticed a few cosmetic changes happening on the 2nd floor of the library in recent months. Your 2nd floor self-check is still here, but in a different spot, and it's sharing a wall with the video screen that tells you about all the great programs we have going on. The parenting collection has made a leap across the room to be with our homeschooling and curriculum materials (I think it was lonely). The Chicago Bears Friend-Ship, a long-time fixture on the kids floor, has gone into dry dock. Our collection of music CDs is freeing itself from the too-high-for-kids furniture it currently lives in to be shelved with other media and at a much more browse-able level and in a place where it may grow.

Most of these minor changes are in preparation for some BIG changes to come. In 2014 we plan to increase the size of our program room. That's right! The place where for years you have come for storytime, for crafts, for games, for Wild Times, for so many good times is about to get super-sized! We are going to bust out a wall and get some much needed space. It may mean that things are a little out-of-sorts for a while, but rest assured the end result will be so much greater in so many ways!

We have had such a wonderful year, and we feel blessed to have spent it with you. If you're not here, you're missing out!

Best wishes to you and your family for a wild and wonderful 2014.

Friday, December 20, 2013

My Embarrassing (and not so embarrassing) Musical Heritage

Lately I’ve been revisiting my embarrassing musical heritage. We all have one. It’s the music you grew up listening to that hasn’t aged well, but still evokes fond feelings from your childhood. Your friends chuckle when the tracks comes up on your playlist, but you love them, so they stay.

Working with preschoolers, I am keenly in tune with the children’s music segment of my embarrassing musical heritage. How about you? Do you remember the music your parents played for you as a child?

In the late 80’s early 90’s, my parents were big on children’s folk. Some of it I still consider top quality music. Diss Burl Ives? Them's fightin' words.

Other CDs are hard to sit through despite nostalgia. Red Grammer’s excessive use of the drum machine in Teaching Peace comes to mind. But yet, I still sing his heart warming “I think you’re wonderful” whenever words alone will not adequately convey the sentiment.

Some albums are still popular. 37 years after the release of Singable Songs for the Very Young, toddlers are still dancing to Raffi. In 2009 Sesame Street re-released a collection of old school gems for their 40th anniversary. Kids can still learn their multiplication tables to Schoolhouse Rock.

Many older CDs have been loved into oblivion, (no one seems to own John Mccutcheon's Howjadoo anymore), but others are still available in the wider library system. You can put them on hold from home, and have them delivered to Des Plaines Public Library for pickup. Click here to start your search.

All embarrassment aside, I am grateful to my parents for seeking out music that would help me learn and grow. Did you know that when you and your child sing along to your favorite songs, you are helping your child learn to break words into syllables? By enjoying music together, you are setting your child up for success in school! Now that's something to sing about.

Here are some titles from my musical heritage. What about yours?

Friday, December 13, 2013

What Grandparents Do Best

The Ultimate Guide to Grandmas & Grandpas

Grandparents really are "grand" because of all the wonderful things they do for their grandkids.
And, no doubt, your family holiday celebrations will not be complete without visiting, calling or even Skyping Grandma and Grandpa! To add to your family's time together, why not share a few funny books that tell exactly what grandma and grandpa mean to your kids, or what their favorite names are for them, and what it's like to visit grandma and grandpa's house this season:

When You Visit Grandma and Grandpa

Grandparents are the Greatest Because..

The Ultimate Guide to Grandmas and Grandpas 

What Grandmas/Grandpas Do Best

I Call My Grandma Nana

I Call My Grandpa Papa 

40 Uses for a Grandpa

41 Uses for a Grandma

 How to Babysit a Grandpa

Friday, December 6, 2013

It's the Holiday Season!

There's nothing I love more than spending an evening at home with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate while the cold December winds blow outside. Even though I was born and raised in Chicago, I'm still not used to the chilly winters here in the Midwest! However, I don't mind braving the cold if it means I can have some wintery fun with loved ones. Luckily for me, Des Plaines has some wonderful family friendly activities planned for the month of December. Read on to find out more!

Friday, December 6 (today!) is Des Plaines' annual tree lighting event, Holiday on the Square. Located in downtown Des Plaines' Metropolitan Square, this festive gathering includes tree decorating, a visit from Santa, musical entertainment, and chestnuts roasting on an open fire! The fun begins at 4:00 pm. For more information on Holiday on the Square, click here.

The Des Plaines Park District will host their annual Winter Wonderland celebration at the Frisbie Senior Center on Saturday, December 7 and Sunday, December 8. The free family festival features kids' crafts, bingo, face painting, model train displays, and much more. You can even catch a staff member from the Des Plaines Public Library at a very special storytime! For more information on Winter Wonderland, click here.

Looking for a way to give to others during the holiday season? The Des Plaines Public Library is here to help! The Mitten Tree Project collects new hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves for those in our community who are in need. Items will be collected at the Des Plaines Public Library through Friday, December 13. 

And last but certainly not least, don't forget to stop by the library! Our Winter Magic Show on Sunday, December 22 is sure to delight kids of all ages. Looking for a way to get crafty? Attend our Bling in the New Year program on Friday, December 27. We'll be making all kinds of holiday accessories, including hair clips and head bands. And whether you celebrate Kwanzaa or Christmas (or you just wrapped up your Hanukkah festivities), we have something for everyone in our special holiday book collection. Click here to browse some of my favorite winter reads.

Happy Holidays!