Science Lessons and Games for Kids


OLogy is the American Museum of Natural History’s website of online science lessons and games for kids. OLogy has sections covering fourteen topics in science including climate change, astronomy, brain science, genetics, and zoology. Within each section you will find a half dozen or more short lessons and games. Many of the lessons include video and text interviews with scientists in the field.

Click here: for ideas about things to make and activities to do. This website goes wonderfully with this year’s Summer Reading theme.

Thank you to the blog “Free Technology For Teachers” for information about this terrific website!

Posted in Announcement | Leave a comment

Books to Read

…when I have time.

I don’t know about you, but every summer I think I am going to have all kinds of time to enjoy reading. While school is out, it is my intention to pick up and enjoy Young Adult books to keep up with what is happening in that part of the publishing world.

Here it is mid-July and I have not read a single YA novel. Here are a couple that are on my list:

Dead endDead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011)
ISBN: 978-1250010230

Dead End in Norvelt is the winner of the 2012 Newbery Medal for the year’s best contribution to children’s literature and the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction!

Melding the entirely true and the wildly fictional, Dead End in Norvelt is a novel about an incredible two months for a kid named Jack Gantos, whose plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is “grounded for life” by his feuding parents, and whose nose spews bad blood at every little shock he gets. But plenty of excitement (and shocks) are coming Jack’s way once his mom loans him out to help a feisty old neighbor with a most unusual chore—typewriting obituaries filled with stories about the people who founded his utopian town. As one obituary leads to another, Jack is launched on a strange adventure involving molten wax, Eleanor Roosevelt, twisted promises, a homemade airplane, Girl Scout cookies, a man on a trike, a dancing plague, voices from the past, Hells Angels . . . and possibly murder.

Synopsis from See for complete information.


recoveryRecovery Road, by Blake Nelson
(Scholastic, 2011)
ISBN: 978-0545107297

Madeline is sent away to Spring Meadows to help with a drinking and rage problem she has. It’s a pretty intense place, but there is the weekly movie night in town–where Madeline meets Stewart, who’s at another rehab place nearby. They fall for each other during a really crazy time in their lives. Madeline gets out and tries to get back on her feet, waiting for Stewart to join her. When he does, though, it’s not the ideal recovery world Madeline dreamed of. Both of them still have serious problems. And Stewart’s are only getting worse….

Synopsis from See for complete information.

In my head, summer is not over until Labor Day. That means I have nearly 2 months left. Maybe I’ll get a chance to enjoy a book or two…

Posted in Books to Read | Leave a comment

4th of July

Posted in Announcement | Leave a comment

August Display Ideas

August is a time for preparation. It is time to preserve the produce from the bountiful gardens by canning or freezing in order to prepare for winter. Display your cookbooks that are dedicated to food preservation and jelly-making along with mason jars, a strainer, a big kettle, and a long-handled spoon. It is also a time to get ready for school to start. Gather the books in your children’s area that have school, kindergarten, or teacher in the title and set them together on a shelf or a table. Here are 10 more display ideas for August.

Celebrate the “Dog Days of Summer”
Make a display that includes dog bones, pet toys, paw prints, and all of your books about dogs, both fiction and nonfiction, from the children’s and adult’s areas.

Columbus Sets Sail (August 3, 1492)
Italian explorer Christopher Columbus set sail in command of three ships—the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria—to find a western sea route to China, India, and the gold and spice islands of Asia. On October 12, the expedition sighted land. Display all your material related to Columbus’ voyage. Include both children’s and adult books. A map would make a great background.

Nixon Resigns (August 8, 1974)
In an evening televised address, President Richard M. Nixon announces his intention to become the first president in American history to resign. Display books about Nixon, his presidency, his resignation, and Watergate along with a sign marking the 40th anniversary of the end of the Watergate scandal.

Kool-Aid Days (August 8-10, 2014)
The seventeenth annual Kool-Aid Days Festival is scheduled to be held in Hastings Nebraska, this year. There will be great family fun all weekend long—featuring the World’s Largest Kool-Aid Stand. Display information about this event along with Kool-Aid packets and pitchers. You could even serve Kool-Aid to your patrons. They are sure to be delighted. Kool-Aid has played a part in summer for children across the nation…and it started right here in Nebraska!

Jonathan Kellerman’s Birthday (August 9, 1949)
This mystery writer was born in New York City. Kellerman is a child psychologist as well as a writer. He and his wife, best-selling author Faye Kellerman have four children. His first novel When the Bough Breaks won numerous awards and was made into a television movie. Since then, he has written more than 30 novels. Prepare a bookmark listing his titles and a sign for the stacks near Kellerman’s work.

Skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex discovered (August 12, 1990)
Fossil hunter Susan Hendrickson discovered three huge bones jutting out of a cliff near Faith, South Dakota. They turned out to be part of the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever discovered, and 65 million-year-old specimen dubbed Sue, after its discoverer. This seems like a great time to get out and display all the dinosaur books. They tend to be checked out, even from the stacks, but a display will have them flying out of the library!

Julia Child’s Birthday (August 15, 1912)
America’s beloved food authority, who didn’t take a cooking lesson until she was in her 30s, was born in Pasadena, CA. Child’s cookbooks and television shows encouraged Americans to cook and eat well and to be skeptical of food fads and diet strictures. “Cooking is not a chore; it is a joy.” Display cookbooks including those by Julia Child with mixing bowls, wooden spoons, and whisks.

Anniversary of the Death of Elvis Presley (August 16, 1977)
Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, died in Memphis, Tennessee at the age of 42. Display all your books, music CDs and DVDs by and about Elvis. It would be fun to include vinyl records and album covers, too.

Hawaii becomes 50th State (August 21, 1959)
President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Hawaii into the Union as the 50th state and issued an order for an American flag featuring 50 stars arranged in staggered rows: 5 six-star rows and four five-star rows. Use the flags from July’s displays and feature books and other material about our 50th state…DVDs, travel books, geography books, children’s books, and adult fiction.

Hurricane Katrina slams into Gulf Coast (August 29, 2005)
Hurricane Katrina make landfall near New Orleans, Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane on this day in 2005. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. It is hard to believe it has been 9 years since that day. Display books about hurricanes in general and information about Katrina.

Follow me on Pinterest for even more display ideas.

Posted in Display Ideas | Leave a comment

Book Recommendations

Brother Reading a BookChildren know what they like to read. We spend a lot of time as librarians, both public and school, trying to give children suggestions for books they might like. They may or may not take a recommendation from an adult, but if a friend says “You’ve got to read this book!” they are sold.

Here are descriptions of, and links to, five free tools that children of all ages can use to prepare Book Trailers:

Posted in Program Ideas | Leave a comment

“Facts & Snacks in the Stacks”

JaneneOn Thursday, June 19, the Library Board, Library Director, and staff of the Jensen Memorial Library in Minden hosted an Open House event from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. called “Facts & Snacks in the Stacks.” This special evening was planned so that members of the Chamber of Commerce, City and County elected officials, and Minden’s citizens could come and visit with the new Library Director, Janene Hill. Board members were also available to chat.

Live MusicDifferent types of snacks were available around the library. Each snack area was accompanied with a poster giving information about the library…fresh fruit in the Reference Area; Goldfish crackers in Children’s; Smarties in the Genealogy Room; cheese, meat, crackers and dip in the Crane meeting room; and cupcakes, fudge, and candies along with live music in the teen area.

Book DropJensen Memorial Library recently received a grant from the Kreutz-Bennett Donor Advised fund. Visitors could see the on-going work on the windows, and the shelving. The brand new dual book drop has already been installed and is receiving rave reviews. People are thrilled that they can return DVDs without even getting out of the car!

This evening was a great success. Janene was able to talk to a lot of people about her plans for the library.

Posted in Announcement | Leave a comment

Open a book!

This is a fun rap done by elementary students.

Posted in Announcement | Leave a comment

July Display Ideas

July is the month for patriotic events. Prepare a “Flag” display of books with red, white, and blue covers. I found this idea on Pinterest.

4th of July Book Display

You can see many different displays on my Pinterest boards “Displays for Libraries” and “Displays about Finance.” Here are 10 more display ideas for July.

“Beach Reads”
Find books with covers picturing people on the beach or in summer attire. Display them with beach balls, beach towels, beach tote, sunglasses and a bucket & spade.

“Beat the Heat”
Display books with the words “ice,” “snow,” “cold,” “blizzard,” etc. in the titles. You could even dig out a pair of mittens or earmuffs to include in the display.

E.B. White’s Birthday (July 11, 1899)
Elwyn Brooks White, the author of the popular children’s novels Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan was born on July 11, 1899, in Mount Vernon, New York. All three works were critical and commercial successes, selling millions of copies. The books have also been made into films. Prepare a display with White’s books, dvds, and audiobooks. You could add a bookmark with information about E.B. White.

Ford Motor Company Takes its First Order (July 15, 1903)
On this day in 1903, the newly formed Ford Motor Company takes its first order from Chicago dentist Ernst Plenning, and $850 two-cylinder Model A automobile with a backseat. The car, produced at Ford’s plant on Mack Street (now Mack Avenue) in Detroit, was delivered to Dr. Plenning just over a week later. Display this information with the “coffee table” books you have with pictures of cars from all eras. Include children’s books, as well.

Catcher in the Rye Published (July 16, 1951)
J.D. Salinger’s only novel was published by Little, Brown on this day in 1951. The book, about a confused teenager disillusioned by the adult world, was an instant hit and was taught in high schools for a half a century. The book took the country by storm, selling out and becoming a Book of the Month Club selection. Place a sign in the stacks or bring the book up to the circulation desk and display it with this information. The book is sure to be on someone’s summer reading list and they will be glad to find it so easily.

Disneyland Opens (July 17, 1955)
Walt Disney’s metropolis of nostalgia, fantasy, and futurism cost $17 million and was built on 160 acres of former orange groves in Anaheim, California, and soon brought in staggering profits. Today, Disneyland hosts more than 14 million visitors a year, who spend close to $3 billion. Since it is the season for vacations, find all your California and Florida travel books and display them with Disney story books and maybe even a biography of Walt himself. A set of Mickey Mouse ears would add a nice touch to the display.

Cormac McCarthy’s Birthday (July 20, 1933)
Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist, playwright and screenwriter. He was born on this day in Providence, Rhode Island.  McCarthy has written ten novels, including All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, and The Road, which won the Pulitzer Prize. His novels are known for being bleak and violent and often feature characters who are outsiders or criminals. Place a sign in the stacks near his books with a list of all that he has written. Borrow those you don’t have through interlibrary loan for requesting patrons.

U.S. Postal System Established (July 26, 1775)
The U.S. Postal System was established by the Second Continental Congress with Benjamin Franklin as its first postmaster general. Display your stamp collecting books and any stamp collections your patrons are willing to lend you. Be sure to safeguard the valuable collections by placing them in a locked display case.

Emily Bronte’s Birthday (July 30, 1818)
Novelist Emily Bronte was the fifth-born of the six Bronte children, three of whom grew up to write fiction. Emily’s book Wuthering Heights is considered a classic and is on many summer reading lists. Display the book with a sign in the stacks to draw attention to the Brontes’ books.

J.K. Rowling’s Birthday (July 31, 1965)
Joanne Rowling, better known the world over as J.K. Rowling, the author and creator of the celebrated Harry Potter book series, was born near Bristol, England. Display everything you have related to J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter. Maybe these long, hot days (and your imaginative display) will inspire people to stay inside and read.

Follow me on Pinterest for even more display ideas.

Posted in Display Ideas | Leave a comment

RVLS Annual Meeting 2014

Annual MeetingThe 2014 Republican Valley Library System Annual Meeting of the Membership was held on Friday, June 6, 2014 at the newly renovated McCook City Library. The RVLS Board meeting and the Annual meeting were held in the spacious basement community room which is accessible via stairs or elevator. Library Director and RVLS Board President Jody Crocker welcomed the attendees with refreshments before the RVLS Board Meeting. Library Commission Director, Rod Wagner and Panhandle Library System Coordinator, Eric Green were among those in attendance.

The RVLS Board meeting was held first and finished up just before 11:00. The Annual meeting lasted from 11:00 – 12:15. The minutes for both meetings are available online. Click on this link for the minutes of the Board meeting and on this link for the minutes of the Annual meeting.

Desserts2When the business of the day was concluded, Jody and her staff served a delicious buffet which included pulled pork sandwiches, a huge variety of salads and fruit, as well as many different desserts that are in the “to die for” category of deliciousness.

Once we had all eaten lunch, some of us decided to wait on dessert, RVLS Board Member, Annette Eisenhart, guided us to the Sutton House, which is a private home in McCook that was designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. We were so fortunate to have the opportunity to tour this beautiful and historic home. The home’s owner shared stories of the work involved in restoring this home after it had been turned into a doctor’s office/hospital. The furnishings and artwork they have collected are breath-taking.

Tour Group2

Thank you to all who made this wonderful day possible and to all who attended.



Posted in Announcement | Leave a comment

Saying you don’t need a librarian…

Posted in Announcement, Display Ideas | Leave a comment