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To Fidget or Not To Fidget

picture of spinner toys

At a recent library event, a frantic eighth grader rushed up to me and asked if we could make an announcement because his spinner was missing. To which I said, “Your what?” It’s becoming a challenge to keep up with the latest in the world of fidgets. At the beginning of the school year, slime was all the rage. Slime is like DIY silly puddy, a gooey blob that you can squeeze and pull apart and push back together again. While it’s still well loved, the obsession with making it and having it on you at all time has died down. Fine by me, because some of the homemade slime that got brought into the library was not congealing quite as well as it was meant to. Next, it was stress balls. Kids would fill balloons with flour or a similar substance. Once, I did a program where we made…

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Meet the Book Pirates

They’re not interested in stealing, nor are they based at sea. They’re not drinking lots of rum (that I know of), and there’s not a parrot in sight. No, these pirates apply their swashbuckling spirit to promoting children’s literacy. The Book Pirates, or Buecherpiraten, as they’re called in their native German, is a charitable organization based out of Luebeck in northern Germany. They use the combined powers of digital publishing and self publishing to empower children and young people ages 3 to 19 to tell their own story, in their own mother tongue. Anyone is welcome to create their own original picture book, with original artwork and story, and the Book Pirates will publish it on their website. Then, anyone can download the book for free by selecting their first language, second language, and preferred format, currently offering smartphone/tablet, ring-bound book, and regular book formats. Some translations even have audiobook…

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Top Five Pop Up Tech Toys for Teens

After-school can be a challenging time for a teen librarian. The teens stream in, bubbling with energy after a long day of sitting in a desk. They’re enthusiastic to be around their peers in a new setting. If left to fester, this energy can yield behavioral issues—especially in the winter months, when cabin fever combined with an inability to blow off some steam outside leave teens feeling restless and bored. One of my favorite methods to direct teens’ energy towards productive, library appropriate behaviors ┬áis to come prepared with an activity. I find it ideal to bring something into the space, rather than utilize something that’s already there, because the novelty of the activity generates more interest. While board games, coloring, and small crafts remain go-tos, it’s especially fun to bring in some tech toys. Here are some of my favorites, ordered roughly in old tech to new tech. 1….