Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Author Event and Literacy Career Fair!

After months of planning, scores of e-mails, phones calls and meetings, hundreds of flyers copied and distributed the Lansdowne and Darby Libraries author visit and literacy career fair happened!

We came up with the idea after reading the Pennsylvania One Book selection for 2011, Whose Shoes? A Shoe for Every Job by Stephen Swinburne. The book is a beautifully photographed highlighting shoes worn in many different professions. It encourages children to think about which careers would best suit them. The team from the Lansdowne (Rachée) and Darby (Sue and Perry) Libraries thought that we should introduce the book in addition to our regular storytimes during a Literacy Career Fair. The career fair would work to get together members from the community with library patrons while introducing them to the book and the author.

Leading up to the event, the staff from Darby and Lansdowne exchanged ideas. The ideas that we finally worked out were ones that we confidentially felt would represent the book, engage our preschoolers and their families and ensure an enjoyable evening to all. Sue, Perry and Rachée contacted artists, chefs, hospital employees, musicians, dancers and more to participate! We also contacted Erica from the Lansdowne Department of Parks and Recreation for use of the historic Twentieth Century Club.

One thing we agreed on from the start: since we would be hosting an evening program we wanted to serve light refreshments to ease a program scheduled during dinner time. Sue operated a fruit stand sharing fresh fruit and a teenaged volunteer ran a cookie decorating table.

Eventually we were able to confirm:

• Officer Albertoli from the Lansdowne Police Department who provided identification kits for young children.

• Jamie Laughlin from Ajala Essence Dance Studios. He shared information about his background in dance.

• Sarah Maccarelli from Hooping with Sarah. Sarah brought hoops for children to practice hooping.

• Noele Huie from Reilly the Band. Noele brought her violin and played for us. She also let children 'practice' and play her violin.

• The phlebotomy manager from Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. She brought plastic arms and allowed children to experience what drawing blood is like!

• Representatives from SEPTA’s Operation Safe Tracks. They presented a brief slide show about safety on railways.

• Clowns from RSVP, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, spent the night face painting and making balloon animals.

Perry embraced his role as Children's Librarian and had personalized library signs for the children to decorate.  Volunteers were cofirmed for checking attendees in, assisting with crafts and for setting up and cleaning up.

Some of the ideas that didn't make the final cut:

• A boot/sneaker made from Paper Mache to be presented to the author...but the boot/sneaker would be about fifteen sized times larger than its model

• A shoe scramble (although this may be done at one of our upcoming storytimes!)

• line dancing (see above!)

• re-enacting the book with program attendees dressing as the careers featured in the book

As we waited for the arrival of the author, we hooped, decorated cookies, made art and enjoyed learning about the rich variety of careers available! Once Stephen arrived we gathered to listen to him talk about his library of books. The crowd was amazed at his exploits with live bears! We listened raptly as he shared a recording of a baby bear crying and laughed when spoke of running from the den. Stephen's wife Heather was attended and assisted him with the reading of Whose Shoes? (Note: the ballerina that appears in the book is Stephen and Heather's daughter!). After the book Stephen asked the audience what shoes they wanted to wear and we listened to the variety of answers ranging from pediatrician to teacher! We then sang the Whose Shoes song. Stephen played his ukulele and Heather and Rachée accompanied as "The Shoestrings." Stephen also encouraged the children to read. He shared that as a child he wasn’t much of a reader and encouraged all in attendance to visit their library and read books. After the reading and song, Stephen signed each book for the children (and some adults!) in attendance. He chatted with each child and signed extra copies for the library. Shortly after he headed out; our event was his FIFTH from that day!

The libraries will continue to share the Whose Shoes? with storytimes scheduled at the Lansdowne Public Library on Wednesday, April 6th at 6:30 PM and Thursday April 7th at 10:30AM.

The Darby Libraries will share this book with childcare centers during their scheduled outreach times.

Below are pictures from the event and a video of Stephen reading his book.

If you would like to check out this book or others, please visit your local libraries or visit Stephen online at http://www.steveswinburne.com/

One of the balloon creatures made by RSVP

Rachee and Stephen

Rachee, Perry, Stephen and Sue

Stephen signing a book for a young attendee

One of the RSVP clowns

The streets department setting up

One of our library friends showing off her shoes

Stephen captivating the audience with one of hos books

A budding violinist

One of our volunteers modeling her new hat

Officer Albertoli setting up

Perry's wonderful arts and crafts station

The view from the stage

Lulubelle's face painting

RSVP waiting for the next child

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