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to access all the registration information you need for the exciting day we have planned for October 9!

Libraries as Makerspaces

motherlode-whittle-tmagArticleToday’s Motherlode blog post in The New York Times, written by Jessica Lahey of Lyme, contains a nice endorsement of libraries as makerspaces and as resources for ideas and activities. Check it out by clicking on the photo at left or the link above!


2014 Great Stone Face Award (click the image for the final tally)


GSF 2014 winner

Scientific Storytimes and Stories

Hi CHILIS folk. I meant to get this entry out to you a couple of weeks ago.  Luckily, we still have plenty of time before Summer Reading to implement these awesome science storytime ideas into our plans, and order these delightful sciencey books.  And by plenty of time I mean “AAAAAH IT’S ALMOST APRIL!”

The  Spring Conference this year boasted of our own panel of librarians presenting storytime ideas and new books for the scientific Fizz Boom Read theme.  First up we had three presenters with four storytime themes for Preschoolers and Toddlers.

Lisette from the Dunbar Free Library shared her “Light and Sun” themed preschool storytime.  She took us from beginning to end, introducing us to her preferred opening song (from Linda Adamson’s Love to Sing, Love to Dance), and her storytime feathered friend Rhythm Bird:

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She shared the read-alouds she’d pick for this theme, and talked us through sharing the simple science in them.

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She also shared her craft ideas (spectrometer craft, stained glass craft) and story-stretchers.  Her complete storytime plan with tips can be found here.

Next up, Judy from the Converse Free Library in Lyme showed us her Bubbles & Suds storytime, where preschoolers can make this easy and fun colored bubbles project (a la a lava lamp):
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She also took us from top to bottom with her “Hello, How Are You” song, her puppet friend Riley Raccoon, and read-alouds:
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It’s safe to say we all enjoyed blowing bubbles from the audience as her “charges” too.

Our last storytime presenter was a two-fer: Meg from the Richards Free Library in Newport showed us a Preschool option and a Toddler option.  For Preschool, the theme was Weather, which brought out the “Big Books.”

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She also shared her introduction song, her read-alouds, and her weather chart craft (sadly still stuck at snow).

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For Toddler Time, she showed us her “My Senses” theme, including a homemade “flannel board” made out of a music stand, felt, and laminated print-outs.

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Meg’s storytime plans can be found here (Weather) and here (My Senses).  If you want to hear more from her, head over to her blog Miss Meg’s Storytime.

Lastly, Nina from the Thornton Public Library and Tara from the Campton Public Library presented some brisk book-talking on books for kids and teens that fit nicely into the science theme.  You can view their full bibliography here.

Thanks to all the librarians who presented at the Spring Conference this year.  Please comment if you have more Science books and storytime ideas to share!



More Spring Conference Photos

You can view more photos from the 2014 Spring Conference here:


KBA Performers – Did you miss out?

We had a great showcase of performers at the CHILIS Spring Conference last week.  Here’s a brief intro to them, in case you missed out (or need a reminder of who’s who)(or just want to relive the talent again!).  To make up for the fuzzy pictures, we have some video as well. Presented in order of the roster, NOT in the order of performance.

Peter Boie – Magician

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Peter shared some magic and comedy with every day items. He presents himself as a bumbling magician, but has quite a few tricks up his sleeve.


Critters and Creatures – live animal program

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Mona showed us a (destinkified) polecat, and a blue-tongued lizard, just a sample of her many amazing animals.


Scott Jameson – Magician

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With audience help, Scott debuted a new scientific water trick, as well as a classic from his repertoire in the video below.  After he has disolved three cups of different colored sands into a bowl of water, he removes each color individually.



Jungle Jim’s – Balloon Artistry

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Jim uses 20 volunteers to create a Rube Goldberg Mouse-Trap. Watch it come to life below:



Lindsay and her Puppet Pals

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Lindsay introduced us to her Moose friend before the performance, and during she shared the science of color-mixing with her ape Einstein, plus sneak preview of her new Robot puppet named Bob.

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Mad Science – Science shows and workshops

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Mad Science made clouds in a bottle, made cap-popping potions with librarians Tara and Meg, and below they show us the balloon experiments they do in their smaller, hands-on workshop:
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Magic of Science

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Sarah from the Magic of Science shares the scientific secrets that often appear magical.  Below, she convinces Kristin that a bed of nails is actually quite comfy.

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Linda Peck – Mary Poppins Performance

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Linda brought along her carpet bag of tricks for her Mary Poppins performance, which includes volunteers as Jane and Michael Banks.  She has an alternative performance option called “Starry Starry Night.”

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Hunt and Allison Smith


Hunt and Allison present a performance option as well as a workshop presenting the Science of Sound, bringing volunteers into a big orchestra:



Gary Sredzienski – Accordion musician


Gary presents a humorous program introducing kids to the accordion, its history, and the mechanics of what makes it work:

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Vermont PuppeTree

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Vermont PuppeTree presented a shadow puppet performance of a Leo Lionni favorite.  Video below:



Michael Zerphy – Storyteller and Juggler

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Michael’s program shares the story of how he became the Speed-of-Light-Kid, including a juggling act.


If you need more info on any of these performers, here is the complete roster with program descriptions and pricing. And don’t forget, KBA Grant applications are due on Ann Hoey’s desk by Friday March 28th!

Later this week, we’ll share our own librarian presenters and their ideas for storytimes and books to share for Fizz, Boom, Read!



Fizz Boom Fashion!

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The CHILIS Spring Conference was a blast, in part due to the ever-willingness of our members to have FUN.  If you missed the conference, we’ll be sharing some photos this week, starting with today’s spread of Scientific Librarians who dressed in the spirit of our Fizz, Boom, Read! theme. Our top photo is Meg from the Richards Free Library in Newport, and her thematic manicure.

Next up: Diane from the Chester Public Library knows you must wear your safety goggles for experimentation!

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Nina from the Thornton Public Library goes MAD – Mad Scientist, that is (with Tara from the Campton Public Library).

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I took a “science fiction” approach with a Doctor Who ensemble:

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Pam from Concord Public sported a bow-tie, proving that geek is chic:

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Nancy from the Dunbarton Public Library penned some scientific symbols on her tee (pictured with Amber from the Lebanon Public Library).

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Katherine from the Belmont Public Library wore constellations (good use of endless library stickers)!

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And Barbara from Wolfeboro Public Library shows how just the angle of your glasses can take you from plain scientist to plain mad scientist!

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That’s all for now – in future posts, we’ll highlight the thematic Fizz Boom Read program ideas we shared, and pictures AND VIDEO of our KBA Performers.  If you simply can’t wait, why not visit our Facebook Page, and “Like” us while you’re at it? We’re a very likable group.

Take care,
Merrimack Public Library

Dress like a Scientist

Dress like a scientist!How do they dress, anyway? Probably a lot like children’s librarians when it comes right down to it! Wear something “scientific” to the CHILIS spring conference on March 6 and receive a discount on raffle tickets. Join in the fun and support CHILIS at the same time.

Have you registered yet?

fizz-boom-read-2The CHILIS Spring Conference is only weeks away! If you have not yet sent in your registration form, you can download it right here!


The conference is Thursday, March 6, from 9 to 4:30, at the SNHU campus in Manchester. Don’t miss all the fun: Librarian of the Year presentation, the ever-popular CHILIS raffle, and the invaluable KBA showcase. We’ll have presentations of sample STEM-related story times for this summer and rapid reviews of thematic titles. Yummy food, friendly colleagues, and plenty of laughs–who could ask for anything more?!

See you there! (Deadline for registration is February 21.)

Judy Russell | Converse Free Library, Lyme | CHILIS Conference Co-chair


Belated NELA Pics

Hello fellow children’s librarians,

This past October, I was lucky to be able to attend the NELA Annual Conference in beautiful Portland, ME.  One of the best parts of the conference was getting to see Portland’s gorgeous library and their amazing Maurice Sendak exhibit, as well as the city’s bookmobile service! Here are some photos to share for those who weren’t able to see.

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This gorgeous mural and much more of Sendak’s artwork was painted on the walls:
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Here’s a small sampling of some of the artwork on display, which included not only work from his children’s illustrations, but his theatrical designs, and even drawings from a high school Shakespeare project.

I’m a bit of a wild thing, so I couldn’t help myself.



The NERTCL Luncheon hosted author/illustrator Melissa Sweet, who is one of my favorites, so I was excited she wasn’t camera shy.
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And here’s a visit to the Portland Public Library’s bookmobile (one of them, anyway!)
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They had a huge selection, mostly of popular books and movies.  I spoke to the staff, who were very enthusiastic to talk up the service.  They reported that they serve a wide variety of ages, including school kids, families, and the elderly.  While they keep most popular stuff shelved, they also take their “regulars” into account and stock up on their favorites too.  They pack a lot of materials into one van!  The service desk, as you can see, is right behind the driver and passenger seats, for easy “swivel” access!  It was a highlight of the trip.
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Thanks for reading!
- Liz, Merrimack Public Library