Public Library Programs and Services

Communicating with Deaf Customers in the Library

The customer approaches the reference desk.  “How may I help you?” you ask politely.  She points to her ear and shakes her head, letting you know she cannot hear you.  Do you panic?  No need!  Follow the tips below to provide excellent customer service to your Deaf customers:

•Maintain eye contact.  This is incredibly important.  Breaking eye contact without warning, especially to carry on a spoken conversation with someone else, is rude to the deaf person.

•Make sure the deaf person is looking at you before you speak, sign, or gesture.  If you need to get his or her attention, tap him or her on the shoulder or make a small waving movement in his or her peripheral vision.

•Don’t assume that every deaf person speechreads.  Speechreading is a very difficult skill to master (even for hearing people), and many deaf people don’t find it effective beyond common phrases such as “How are you?”

•Also don’t assume that every deaf person signs.  While many do, there are a wide variety of communication methods employed by deaf people. 

•Keep your face and lips visible.  Even if someone does not speechread well, a great deal of information is conveyed by the face.  Make sure your face is sending the message you want it to.

•Speak naturally.  Don’t exaggerate your mouth movements or speak too slowly.  And don’t shout!

•Avoid standing with your back to a window or other light source – this makes speechreading and getting information from facial expressions difficult.

•Offer a pen and paper to write notes back and forth, but be aware that English is a second language for most deaf people.  When writing notes:
-Keep it simple! Use short sentences and plain language.
-Don’t use idioms and slang.
-Repeat the question to make sure you understand.

•Look directly at the deaf person when speaking, even when communicating through an interpreter.

•ATTITUDE is the most important thing!  Keep in mind that most deaf people spend every day of their lives trying to communicate with hearing people, and so have many strategies for communicating with someone who doesn’t know their language.  Follow their lead in a respectful, patient way.  Deaf people will appreciate your efforts to communicate.

Kathy MacMillan is a nationally certified American Sign Language, librarian, and storyteller.  She is the author of Try Your Hand at This: Easy Ways to Incorporate Sign Language Into Your Programs (Scarecrow, 2005), A Box Full of Tales (ALA, 2009), and co-author of Storytime Magic (ALA, 2009) and Kindergarten Magic (ALA, 2011).  Find more information about American Sign Language at her website at www.storiesbyhand.com.  For programming resources, see www.storytimestuff.net

Check Out PLA's Turning the Page 2.0

 

If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re going to want to check out and sign up for this new, FREE training program. Just one hour a week (like my book!), for six weeks, library staff and supporters from around the country can build their advocacy skills and strengthen their libraries with PLA’s Turning the Page 2.0! If, like many, you’re looking for low-cost, effective and “schedule friendly” training for yourself and/or your staff, don’t miss this!

Go to: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/pla/plaevents/turningthepage/index.cfm and check it out!

A Book Recommendation for National Poetry Month

Kick off National Poetry Month in April with Jill Esbaum’s Stanza, a picture book about a versifying dog.

During the day, “Stanza prowled through the streets with his two rotten brothers, annoying and chasing and bullying others.” At night he secretly writes poetry.

When his brothers discover his passion, they ridicule him—until Stanza wins a tasty prize in a poetry contest.

The description of Stanza’s efforts to create a jingle for the contest demonstrates the importance of revising work to make it as good as it can be.

He scribbled and scrawled.
Reconsidered.
Erased.
He wadded up papers.
He pondered.
He paced.
He scoured his thesaurus.
He struggled for rhymes.
He started from scratch at least eighty-two times.

This rhyming story can encourage any kind of creative endeavor, because Stanza persuades his brothers to unleash their own artistic sides. The book ends with one playing the piano and the other painting pictures.

Dee Anderson is the author of Reading Is Funny!: Motivating Kids to Read with Riddles  (ALA Editions, 2009)

Continuing the Conversation: Liven up Baby and Toddler Storytimes with Sign Language

We just wrapped up Kathy MacMillan’s workshop Liven up Baby and Toddler Storytimes with Sign Language. We’ve gathered questions from the chat window so that Kathy can respond and elaborate.

Please continue the discussion of these, and any other questions you might have in the comments area. Kathy will be chiming in.

  • What do you think about the use of “baby signs”? How does that compare to ASL?
  • Do you find that using these techniques work best in a storytime where registrations is required (same or similar children each week) as opposed to non-registration storytime where you may have many different children/parents every week
  • What general signs would be good to use on a weekly basis?
  • Have you done sensory story times that incorporate sign language, and can you recommend some good resources regarding sensory story times for children with special needs?
  • I am curious about what sign you use for diamond in the Twinkle Little Star song.  I know the common gesture can be an ASL sign.

The Preliminary Readings for this Workshop Were:

Signing with Babies:
http://www.kathymacmillan.com/signingwithbabies.html

Benefit of Teaching Young Kids Sign Language:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/217439-benefit-of-teaching-young-kids-sign-language/

American Sign Language:
http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/asl.asp

Six Super Ways to Use Sign Language in Your Programs:
http://www.kathymacmillan.com/storytimemagic/archive/signlanguage.html

Kathy’s Videos on YouTube:

Bounce: Taking Turns: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYkJcjlxZuE
Nursery Rhyme Activity: Jack Be Nimble: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cS_XURvuMQA
Song: I Took a Walk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_psFj-5YHQ
Flannelboard Song: Three Jellyfish: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3t9zAvJ2kp0
Song: Hello/Goodbye Babies/Friends: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrpBWIkO32U
Flannelboard or Prop Rhyme: Five Snowmen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTX8ucX1sos
Flannelboard Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEvTqgxeCrY
Flannelboard or Prop Rhyme: Five Little Monkeys: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5tM5vd7hts
Action Rhyme: Caterpillar, Caterpillar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JN71_Q0aMQw
Prop Story: Bear's Bath: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBRGWcWkmLw
Book: Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready for Bed?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWNQMAZ3Ggk
Book: Bear Wants More: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXC3ll27YX0
Group Management Signs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0qYO8RjglQ

Kathy’s Slides:

Celebrate Dia with ALSC!

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is offering the first-ever Día related webinar, Día 101: Everything you need to know about celebrating El día de los niños/El día de los libros. The course will take place on Friday, April 1, 2011 at 1 PM CST.

The webinar will be an hour-long analysis of all things Día by Beatriz Pascual Wallace, MLIS Children’s Librarian at the Seattle Public Library. Learners will experience the history, resources and importance of Día.

Día is an enhancement of Children’s Day, which began in 1925. Children’s Day was designated as a day to bring attention to the importance and well-being of children. In 1996, nationally acclaimed children’s book author Pat Mora proposed linking the celebration of childhood and children with literacy to found El día de los niños/El día de los libros. The event is supported by ALSC and REFORMA, the professional organization for Spanish-speaking librarians and information specialists. To learn more about El día de los niños/El día de los libros, please visit the Día homepage.

The cost of the webinar is $45 for ALSC members, $55 for non-members, and $195 for groups. To sign up for this webinar, please visit ALSC’s online education page. For more information on ALSC’s online education programs or for registration information, please contact ALSC Program Officer Jenny Najduch, jnajduch@ala.org or 1-800-545-2433 ext. 4026.

Liven Up Baby and Toddler Storytimes with Sign Language with Kathy MacMillan

When a friend mentioned using sign language with his toddler,  the trend was news to me.  I now know that thousands of hearing parents teaching their hearing children basic signs. Nonetheless, I was skeptical when Kathy MacMillan, an ALA Editions author and storyteller who also happens to be a certified American Sign Language interpreter, proposed an ALA Editions Workshop on signing in storytime. What’s with this? I asked in an email message. Is it a Baby-Mozart thing? Kathy’s reply was impassioned.

In fact, research shows that signing with young children stimulates both spoken AND signed language development, decreases frustration, enhances bonding, and promotes early literacy.  (The books Sign with Your Baby by Dr. Joseph Garcia and Dancing With Words by Marilyn Daniels summarize the research.)  I attribute the widespread interest in signing with babies and young children to the fact that it works!  When a child can tell you what he or she wants by signing instead of screaming, amazing things happen.  

Giving a young child the power to communicate can even save a life: a colleague of mine who teaches baby sign language classes in Arizona had an 18 month old girl in one of her classes who was bitten by a baby rattlesnake while playing in the garden with her mother.  Her mother didn't see the snake, and because the bite was so small she assumed it was just a bug bite.  Only when the little girl kept signing "snake" did the mother realize what had happened.  The girl survived, and if that story doesn't illustrate the benefits, I don't know what does.

But you don’t have to be fluent in American Sign Language to bring its benefits to your storytimes.  Kathy MacMillan sees sign language as another tool in the children’s librarian’s toolkit, much like using music, props, manipulatives, or a bit of Spanish. Perhaps the best reason? “Parents get really into it,” Kathy says. “Programmers sometimes complain when parents don’t interact with their kids. I can tell you emphatically that it’s not a problem when I’m using sign language in a program. Parents are excited to learn it because it makes their parenting lives easier.”

The goal of ALA Editions Workshops is to offer practical, actionable knowledge while promoting discussion, learning, and information sharing. The relatively small audience supports focused, discussion through the chat window. We assign homework too! For ideas on how sign language can enliven your programs, see Six Super Ways to Use Sign Language in Your Programs, which is one of the preliminary readings for Kathy's Workshop.

In the online Workshop,  Kathy will present the basics you need to know to effectively incorporate signs into stories, songs, and more, including videos to get you started. We will provide attendees with handouts for reference after the event. Here’s a video for the action rhyme. Caterpillar, Caterpillar
 



You can register for Kathy's Workshop at the ALA Store by going to http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=3277
 

New Children's Programming Monthly and New Bonus Issue

It’s bonus time! In addition to the regular issue of Children’s Programming Monthly, subscribers can download a free issue, put together especially for those of you getting ready for summer reading programs. Here’s a peek at what you get:

Issue number 6, “My Clothes,” is chockablock with storytime ideas. Share a song or choose a read-aloud from more than thirty book suggestions. Plan a program around making goofy hats or ties. Or have kids help you dress a flannelboard baby. Patterns and instructions are right in the issue.   

In  the “World Wise” bonus you’ll find seven ready-made programs that take children across the world.

  • Chinese Stories”  (activities and books galore)
  • The Foolish Merchant and the Greedy Camel (an easy, one-person puppet play)
  • African Tales: Action (rhymes, fingerplays, and book suggestions)
  • All around the World (songs, books and fun facts to share)
  • The Magic Fox (a folktale to tell aloud)
  • Festivals and Fiestas/Los festivales y las fiestas: (games, rhymes, and songs in Spanish and English)
  • Sing the World (songs and activities that celebrate one world)  

Both issues are ready to download now.

If you don't already subscribe, you can purchase your subscription at the ALA Store.

Jessica Moyer on Young Adult Readers' Advisory

On January 17, ALA Editions is launching a four-week, facilitated eCourse, Young Adult Readers’ Advisory, with Jessica E. Moyer, an ALA Editions author and LIS adjunct faculty at University of St. Catherine in Minnesota. ALA Editions interviewed Jessica about the course. To learn more and enroll, see the listing at the ALA Store.

I had a chance to talk with Jessica about her background, and what students can expect from this course.

Patrick Hogan: What’s your approach to teaching readers’ advisory in an online environment?

Jessica E. Moyer: One of the reasons I enjoy online teaching is the opportunity for all students to be fully involved in the course, regardless of where they are.  I create weekly discussion topics and expect all students to contribute regularly - the more contributions we have, the better the discussion.  Every time I teach I find that I learn new materials from my students and their interests and experiences.  

PH: What are a few of the factors that distinguish readers’ advisory services with teens from adult service?

JEM: I find that adult readers often know more about they like to read where as teen readers can struggle to say exactly what kind of reading experience they are looking for.  This means librarians suggesting books to teens may need to ask more questions, work with dislikes instead of likes and provide lots of interesting suggestions.  

PH: It seems like establishing rapport would be the critical. If a YA librarian has a knack for that, what readers’ advisory skill would deliver a  big boost in service?

JEM: Knowing how to talk about books in ways that teen will not only understand but will entice them into reading.  Knowing which books are mostly likely to appeal to certain readers.  

PH: A popular perception is that teens have neither the time nor the desire for leisure reading. What is your research telling you on that?

JEM: Teens do want to read, but they are limited by time.  I’ve found, however  that they are more limited by access.  If they can get access to materials they like and want to read, at a time they have a chance to read, they will read.  But often there are too many barriers - not sure what to read, no easy way to get it.  This is one reason I am excited about ebooks and digital library services - anything that will make it easier to get reading materials to teens when they have time to read.  

PH: You’ve probably learned from questions and discussion boards from your previous teaching experience. What about readers’ advisory with teens do librarians find most challenging?

JEM: Knowing when and what adult books to suggest.  Lots of teen readers like reading adult books, but aren’t sure what to read that they will enjoy.  Most teen librarians are familiar with the YA collections but may not know much about adult books so they can be challenged when working with these types of teens.

Libraries Celebrate Bilingual Literacy

In just over six months many libraries will be celebrating bilingual literacy during El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day). The time to start planning those activities is now! Resources and ideas are available on author/advocate Pat Mora's website, http://www.patmora.com/dia.htm, and in postings to her blog, http://sharebookjoy.blogspot.com/ as well as in other publications like ALSC's brochure (http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/alsc/initiatives/diadelosninos/index.cfm) and in publications listed on the ALSC website. 

One item that merits immediate attention as you prepare for Día is the ALSC Everyone Reads @ your library mini-grants that are intended as an expansion of El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día).  Funds will be awarded to libraries that demonstrate a need to better address the diverse backgrounds within their communities but applications are due by November 29, 2010.  For more information, and the application form, go to http://everyonereads.zhost.net/.

Help Your Patrons and Your Library Go Green with Make-and-Take Recycled Crafts

Inspire patrons to reuse things they’d ordinarily throw away. Not only does this help the planet, it also fosters creativity, a quality many children don’t cultivate because they spend so much time with technology.

This activity can take place on one day, or you can provide a regular table for make-and-take crafts, varying the project regularly.

Display books featuring crafts made from recycled materials (along with examples of the more complicated projects, if you want to make some).

Set up an area in the library where interested patrons can make some of the simpler crafts to take home. Post directions with the materials, or have someone available to help people. If you lack staff for this activity, try recruiting volunteers. Some high schools have environmental action clubs, whose members might make sample crafts ahead of time and/or work at your event.

Use these super simple ideas, or consult books from the list below. Each issue of Highlights Magazine for Children also offers crafts made from household objects.

If the library doesn’t have enough materials, solicit donations through newsletters and posters.

BOOKMARKS

Children cut off the corners of reply envelopes from junk mail and decorate them with stamps or crayons.

CALENDAR PUZZLES

Children cut old calendar pictures into four to twelve pieces, depending on the picture’s size and the degree of difficulty they want their puzzles to have. Provide reply envelopes from junk mail for storing each puzzle’s pieces.

CALENDAR BINGO (A GAME FOR TWO PLAYERS)

Play Bingo with an old calendar.

Tear off the pages for three months. Make sure at least two start on different days of the week. Cut apart the squares for one month. Mix them up. Spread them out facedown in the middle of the playing area.

Each player puts one of the other months in front of him/her.
Take turns picking up a square and putting it in the corresponding section of your month. Keep playing until someone gets four in a row, vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. That player wins. (The squares need not be consecutive, just in the same row. For example, you could win with 5, 7, 9, and 11 in one week, even though those four numbers aren’t consecutive.)

Store the pages and squares in reused mailing envelopes.

BOOKS WITH CRAFTS FROM RECYCLED MATERIALS (745.5)

Anton, Carrie. Earth Smart Crafts.
Bone, Emily. Recycling Things to Make and Do.
Burke, Judy. Look What You Can Make with Paper Bags.
Chapman, Gillian. Making Art with Packaging.
Friday, Megan. Green Crafts.
Jones, Jen. Cool Crafts with Newspapers, Magazines, and Junk Mail.
Kohl, MaryAnn F. Art with Anything.
Nguyen, Duy. Junk Mail Origami.
Ochester, Betsy. Look What You Can Make with Egg Cartons.
Redleaf, Rhoda. Learn and Play the Green Way: Fun Activities with Reusable Materials*.
Richmond, Margie Hayes. Look What You Can Make with Paper Plates.
_____. Look What You Can Make with Tubes.
Ross, Kathy. Earth-Friendly Crafts
_____. Every Day is Earth Day.
_____. Look What You Can Make with Dozens of Household Items!
_____. Look What You Can Make with Newspapers, Magazines, and Greeting Cards.
_____. Look What You Can Make with Plastic Bottles and Tubs.
Siomades, Lorianne. Look What You Can Make with Boxes.
Sirrine, Carol. Cool Crafts with Old CDs.
_____. Cool Crafts with Old Jeans.
_____. Cool Crafts with Old T-Shirts.
_____. Cool Crafts with Old Wrappers, Cans, and Bottles.
Sullivan, Susan White.The Big Green Book of Recycled Crafts.
Warwick, Ellen. 50 Ways to Get Your Carton.
Young, Karen Romano. Science Fair Winners: Junkyard Science.

*written for adults who work with children

Dee Anderson is the author of Reading Is Funny!: Motivating Kids to Read with Riddles (ALA Editions, 2009)

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