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‘Tis the Season for Zoofari AT THE ZOO!

It is time for our final ZZoofarioofari Tails storytime of 2014! With great excitement I give you the December theme: Bears and Hibernation. Get ready to growl, yawn, and maybe even dance like a bear! Stories read will include The Mitten, If You Were a Panda Bear, and Bear Snores On. As usual, Rhymes and music will also be included. Since this is our final Zoofari of the year we will also be doing our annual membership drawing – MAKE SURE YOU BRING YOUR FINISHED PUNCH CARDS for a chance to win a year-long membership! Zoo docents will also present animal biofacts featuring “animal ornaments”. Children who attend will be eligible for a chance to win a free book. Families who attend will also be allowed to visit the zoo free of charge!  Please note that this is the last Zoofari that will be held at the Zoo. Finally I would like to say thank you to all of the children and parents who have made this past year of Zoofari’s possible! It has been a privilege to work with you! You all are great!

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids, library services, Parents

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December Construction Update

by Alphild Dick, Adult Services Librarian

We now wrapping up the final stages of the Children’s Expansion Project, and while each step has been exciting, it seems like all of the fun stuff came in at once! If you’ve been in the library, you might have seen some of the exciting additions to the Children’s Room. If not, we’d love for you to come and check it out!

Last Wednesday, we got truckloads of furnishings to be added to the Children’s Room. We could hardly wait to start moving it all in!

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Some of these new items included spiffy tables and chairs, and some very, very cool interactable furniture. We are in love with the cool colors and fun textures–they make the Children’s Room look so lively!

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We also received new shelving for our interactive items and signage with beautiful, bright pictures for the different neighborhoods in the Children’s Room. We were

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Thanks to a skilled team of workers, everything was assembled and hung on the wall quickly, including our lovely donor wall.

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That meant more time for people to come in and start testing things out, from climbing on the foam blocks to sitting on our comfy new seats to studying at the tables and playing with the fun toys.

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Thanks to everyone in the community for their support and enthusiasm! If you’ve got any questions about what comes next, just let us know!

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Posted in: Adult Services, Children's Dept, Children's Expansion, For Adults, For Kids, For Teens, News

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Homeschool Afternoon on December 11

Homeschool AfternoonStorytimes may be over for the fall semester, but there is one more Homeschool Afternoon for this semester.  Each month, students that practice home education gather at the library to study a specific topic in-depth together, with information presented by a children’s librarian.  This Thursday, we will be studying the ancient Egyptian practice of mummification and the elaborate tombs that were built for the pharaohs.  Join us this Thursday, December 11th from 2-3pm, in the Groesbeck Room.  This program is recommended for students from kindergarten to 6th grade.

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Furniture and Signage is Arriving!

This week, the Children’s Room will be getting new signs to help customers locate our books and media, and to identify the new “neighborhood” sections.  New tables and chairs will be arriving, along with some fun, comfy seating and playful pieces.

Most of the new furnishings will  be installed on Wednesday and Thursday.  The Children’s Room may not be accessible during all open hours on those days.

Come by this weekend to see the transformation!

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large letter A and other foam furniture chairs small

 

Posted in: Children's Dept, Children's Expansion, For Kids, Parents

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Zoofari Tails This Week!

Folks, we are halfway through NovJan Thomasember, which means it is time for my monthly Zoofari Tails Storytime pitch! Since it is Kansas Reads to Preschoolers week I have chosen a theme based on this year’s selected book Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas. This month’s theme will be all about farm animals! We have ‘em all: cows, pigs, ducks, and maybe even a chicken or two! Other stories read will include Punk Farm and Dooby Dooby Moo. Don’t forget about to add a dash of fun songs and rhymes! After storytime, Sunset Zoo docents will present animal biofacts pertaining to farm animals. Children who attend will also receive their very own copy of Is Everyone Ready for Fun? Don’t forget to bring your Zoofari punch card – if you have one – because we only have one month left before we do our yearly membership drawing! Please note that storytime will be held AT THE SUNSET ZOO at 10:00. We hope to see you there!

 

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Celebrate “Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week”

By Laura Ransom, Children’s Librarian

“Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week” is an annual event that promotes reading to all Kansas children from birth through age five. Parents, librarians, and caregivers are encouraged to read the chosen book during the week of November 16-22.

funI am especially excited about this year’s selection, Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas. Three happy cows and a frustrated chicken bounce through the pages of this light-hearted picture book. We love promoting this event at Manhattan Public Library, and each child who attends a storytime during the week will receive a free book! Funding for the free books is generously provided by the Manhattan Library Association.
My love for books began when I was very young. I have such fond memories of sitting in my mom’s lap while she read Don Wood’s The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear to me night after night. She later told me that she had the book memorized since I requested it so many times. What a patient parent! Another of my all-time favorites is The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. I remember chanting along with that brave engine, “I think I can, I think I can!” These engaging books stirred a desire in me to learn how to read the words on the pages.
readaloudAs a children’s librarian, I obviously endorse reading aloud to children, but research supports it, too. One example is a study by the U.S. Department of Education, which concluded with these words: “The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.” This quote is from The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, a wonderful book filled with read-aloud suggestions and helpful tips for parents. Books include a wider vocabulary than we often encounter in television shows or everyday conversations. Even though children are unfamiliar with these new words, exposure to them is a stepping stone to reading independently. If they have heard the word before, they will be better equipped to know how to read it on the printed page.
A love for reading is just as important as the actual reading process. The fancy name for the desire to read is called print motivation. This is one of six skills children need in order to read successfully. The other skills are: Notice Print All Around; Talk, Talk, Talk; Tell Stories About Everything; Look for Letters Everywhere; and Take Time to Rhyme, Sing, and Play Word Games. These skills were originally identified by the American Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read Program. Johnson County Public Library modified the information that program first developed, and they renamed it “6 by 6: Six Skills by Six Years.” Many of these skills are things parents already practice with their children without taking much time to consider the educational benefits. Things like pointing out the letters on a stop sign or words on a billboard can actually help children notice that words are all around them. Little habits like this can truly make a big difference in a child’s attitude toward reading.

Our librarians love to help children discover the joy of reading. Come visit us at the library for great book recommendations and resources for growing readers.

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Adults, For Kids, library services, Mercury Column, News, Parents

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National Family Literacy Month

by Mary, Adult Services Librarian

I’m a novice Grandma and so excited about helping my little guy fall in love with reading.

Fun activities that involve books and interactive reading can begin the first steps toward this love affair.
index6DNGOOOZA new book that has helped me form new ideas about reading to my grandson is:
Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in the Digital Age–From Picture Books to eBooks and Everything In Between by Jason Boog is a wonderful new book that helps parents learn the advantages of interactive reading.
National Family Literacy Day just passed us by but we are barely into National Family Literacy Month. This November take advantage of the ideas on the familieslearning.org website to enjoy fun times with books. They have an idea for each day that can make reading and learning about literature a game. Try the idea on Day 2-Draw pictures of your child’s favorite book characters and turn them into puppets for dramatic play. Day 10 – Create Picture Stories. Take a photo or draw a picture of your child doing a favorite activity. Write a story together, using the pictures as illustrations. Picture books help children develop critical thinking skills, as their brains take in the picture and the text and make connections between the two.

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Homeschool Afternoon on November 13

IMG_3964For the past two months, families in the community that practice home education have been joining children’s library staff for Homeschool Afternoon.  This monthly event takes place on the second Thursday of the month from 2pm to 3pm.  In September, we studied the history of space exploration by making a human version of the Saturn V rocket.  In October, we investigated forensic science by solving a “crime” committed by a librarian.  Students used their sense of touch to guess what might be in a variety of mystery bags.

In November, we will be learning about the artist Henri Rousseau.  Rousseau painted jungle landscapes using animal camouflage concepts; each student will get to make a jungle landscape after discussing camouflage and how we can use it in art.  Join us for this program on Thursday, November 13 from 2pm to 3pm in the Groesbeck room on the 2nd floor of the library

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Zoofari Tails Storytime AT THE ZOO

Join us at 11:00 for tOwlhis month’s Zoofari Tails Storytime! This month’s theme is all about – wait for it – Owls! Stories read will include “Little Owl Lost”, “Owl Babies”, and “I’m Not Scared”. Children’s staff will also present engaging rhymes and songs all about owls! Zoo docents will give information about owls, and even show children a LIVE screech owl! Any child who comes will have a chance to win a free book, courtesy of Clafflin Books. Children and adults who attend will also receive free admission to the Sunset Zoo! If you have a Zoofari Punch Card, don’t forget to bring it because we only have a few months left before our annual drawing – children who have 6 punches on their card will be entered to win a free year-long membership to the Sunset Zoo. Come ready to screech, squawk, and flap your wings at this mega-fun storytime! Please note that storytime will be held in the rotunda building at the Sunset Zoo. All attendees are more than welcome to wear a Halloween costume too! WHOOOOOO will be there?

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Share Books to Introduce Fire Safety

By Jennifer Adams, Children’s Services Manager

MHKFDDuring National Fire Prevention Week, our local firefighters visited schools to talk to students about fire safety and prevention, show them some equipment they use and make sure they would never be afraid of a firefighter in uniform. Notes were sent home reminding families to practice with their kids so they know what to do if the smoke detector goes off. Reading books about firefighters and fire safety is a great way to start this discussion with young children and let them talk about their concerns.

The library has an excellent collection of children’s materials on this topic, thanks to the Manhattan Firefighters Union Local 2275. They have donated funds for the past three years to boost the library’s collection, so more kids and teachers can check out books and make sure everyone knows how to stay safe.
For some fun read-alouds to start off with a lighter approach, these picture books are sure to be a hit:

“I’m Brave” by McMullan is told from the point of view of a “good looking” fire engine. He goes through all his equipment, including the usual hoses and axes, as well as duckbill pliers and rabbit ear bolt cutters. Kids who love fire trucks will also enjoy  “Firefighters: Speeding, Spraying, Saving” by Hubbell.

The exciting illustrations in Dale’s “Dinosaur Rescue” make it a perfect book to share with preschoolers, and Scarry’s “A Day at the Fire Station” in Busytown will always be good for some giggles, too. “Fire Drill” is a short picture book by Jacobs that describes the scenario of fire drills in a school setting with simple text and pictures, making the actual event a little less scary.

fire safety 1Some children are fascinated by emergency vehicles, from police cars to fire engines. For facts and photos about fire trucks, check out “Fire Trucks and Rescue Vehicles” from the Mighty Machines series, or “Fire Trucks in Action” by Hanson. “Rescue Vehicles” by Gilpin includes cross-section illustrations to show what is inside fire engines, ambulances, police cars and more. These books are now housed in our “Transportation” neighborhood in the Children’s Room.

A number of books for children have a very direct educational approach, which is great for covering the basics of fire prevention and procedures in case of a fire. “Contain the Flame” by Donahue covers outdoor and campfire safety, and “Being Safe with Fire” by Kesselring provides safety tips in everyday living, as well as steps to make an escape plan. Learn more specifics about firefighters’ jobs in books like “Firefighters Help Us” by Murray or “A Day with Firefighters” by Shepherd.

Our newest additions to the collection this year are two kits that include multiple books plus activities that can all be checked out together. The tote bag story kit, “Firefighters,” is geared toward preschool and early elementary ages. It includes six fun picture books, such as “Miss Mingo and the Fire Drill,” two informational books, a DVD of “Elmo Visits the Firehouse” and a cool firefighter costume for dress-up play.

The discovery pack, “Fire and Rescue,” comes in a backpack and is for kids in grades 2-6. It includes informational books about firefighters, fire dogs, smoke jumpers, rescue vehicles and fire safety. A large maze game will challenge older kids to think about fire safety, as well as test their logic and problem-solving skills.

fire safety 2Special thanks goes out to our local firefighters for all they do to keep us safe, educate us, and provide this kind of support to the whole community.

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