Wednesday, December 26, 2012

LEGO Simple Machines Registration Begins Today!

Lots of kids love playing with Legos.  But did you know that Legos can be amazingly educational, as well as fun?

In two weeks we'll begin our first ever series of Lego education programs.  Kids will have the opportunity to learn about important scientific concepts using a fun tool they may already be familiar with.  Our first six-week session will be focused on simple machines.  Kids in grades 1 and 2 will learn about levers, wheels and axles, pulleys, and more!

Registration begins today for Lego Simple Machines!  You can stop in or call 617-972-6435 to register.  Please commit to attending a majority of sessions, as children will build on skills they're learning as the sessions go on.

And keep an eye out because, beginning in February, we'll start another Lego series for older kids (grades 3 to 5) which will focus on robotics!

This is part of our Science is Everywhere grant, which is administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the Library Services and Technology Act, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Hours


On Monday, December 24 the library is open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
We will be closed on Tuesday, December 25.

BUT during the rest of the week we've got lots of fun programs for kids to do during their time off of school. Check our online calendar to find out more!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Children's Book Awards - We Want YOUR Votes!

It's that time again: Time for the Watertown Free Public Library Children's Book Award!  And we want YOUR opinion!  What was your favorite children's book that was published this year?

This is the second year for the WFPL Children's Book Award, and we want to make sure everyone gets to give their input!  Think about the books you've read this year:  Any standouts?  Any that you just had to read over and over and over?  Any that left you completely moved?  Let us know what they were?

Voting starts Wednesday (December 5) at our Children's Book Award Preview program!  Come by at 3:30pm to find out about some of the contenders.  (For kids in grades K-5 - no need to register.)  We'll talk about what YOU think makes a good book, we'll show you some of our favorites, and we'll give you a chance to tell us all about your favorites!  Then, throughout the winter season, we'll take your votes!

Maybe you'll find out about some newly published hits that will become your new favorites!  You won't want to miss it!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Science Is Everywhere!

Interested in science and technology?  Then you'll love our upcoming series of new programs!  Starting in December we'll have tons of awesome science programming for elementary-aged children.  We've been awarded a grant* to develop a range of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs, and they'll start next month!

Each month we'll do an experiment-based science program for kids in grades 3 to 5.  Our first will be in December, and we'll be dissecting owl pellets!  In the coming months we'll experiment with chemistry by doing pH testing, we'll explore solar energy, we'll design our own space rovers, we'll make paper roller coasters to learn about physics, and so much more!

And in 2013, keep an eye out for LEGO Robotics, as well as some great summer science programming!

For now, be sure to sign up for our first Science is Everywhere program where we'll be dissecting owl pellets.  It'll be on Thursday, December 13 at 3:30 p.m.  It's gross, it's amazing, and it's science!  Registration starts today (Thursday, November 29), so stop in or call 617-972-6435 to sign-up!

*The Children's Department's Science is Everywhere grant is funded by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the Library Services and Technology Act, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holiday Week Hours

Amidst all the eating and relaxing of this Thanksgiving holiday, don't forget about the library!  While we will be closed for some of the holiday, there will still be time before and after Thanksgiving to come visit us!

The library will close early on Wednesday, November 21 at 5:00pm.  We will be closed all day on Thursday, November 22.

However, we'll still be open tomorrow from 9am to 5pm for you to stop by and grab books, movies, and whatever else you'll need for the holiday!  Perhaps you'll be traveling?  Audiobooks are a wonderful way to pass the time!  Stop in and pick up some fun audiobooks to share with the whole family!

Additionally, we WILL be OPEN on Friday, November 23!  We'll even be showing a Family Movie at 2:00pm!  So stop in and see us the day after Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Baby Up and Baby Down

In today’s Nursery Rhyme Time, we shared an early literacy tip about tummy time and encouraging your child to sit up.

Did you know that different kinds of physical movement are incredibly beneficial to your baby? Tummy time helps develop back and neck muscles and visual tracking abilities. And sitting upright causes baby’s larynx to drop lower in the throat. That extra space allows baby to make a much wider variety of sounds, and is actually why humans can speak and animals can’t. So make sure baby spends time both horizontal and vertical!

You’ve probably heard of tummy time – making sure your baby spends plenty of wakeful hours on his or her tummy. When babies are young, this helps them develop their back and neck muscles. It can also decrease the likelihood of flat spots on baby’s head, a common problem for babies who spend too much time lying on their back or in reclining seats. It also allows baby to develop their visual tracking abilities, since they’re controlling their own head, and therefore eye, movements.

Healthy, a website sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics, has a whole host of tips as to how to best utilize tummy time (and a bunch of other great parenting tips). Though some babies don’t seem to like tummy time, the benefits are worth sticking it out. Try introducing fun new toys while baby’s on his or her tummy, and make sure you provide lots of fun interaction.

Once babies can hold their own heads up, help them practice sitting up. Spending time in an upright position is essential in developing baby’s language skills because it allows baby’s larynx to drop. Humans have greater spoken language than animals precisely because our larynx is low in our throats. When babies are born, their larynxes are closer to their mouths, which protects them from choking and allows them to drink and breathe at the same time. As they grow older and spend more time upright, their larynx drops. The additional space between our larynxes and mouths allows us to make a wider variety of sounds, and that’s why we can talk and animals can’t.

So while your baby’s tiny, make sure to encourage lots of tummy time. As your baby gets older, encourage him or her to sit up. Once he or she has spent enough time upright, your child will begin to make a much wider variety of sounds and will be able to begin the process of speaking your language!

Research and More Info:

The Healthy Children website provides a wide variety of information about child development, including info about tummy time.

The Baby Center website has more great info about tummy time.

We also have a few great books about language development! Try:

Language Development by Erika Hoff (Information about larynx dropping begins on page 43.)
How to Talk to Your Baby by Dorothy Dougherty
How Babies Talk: The Magic and Mystery of Language in the First Three Years of Life by Roberta Golinkoff

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What (or who) is in the water?!

Have you ever wondered who or what lives in the water right here in Watertown?  On Saturday at 11:00am, you can find out!

Carole Smith Berney is a wildlife photographer, and she'll be sharing some of her amazing photographs with us!  Along our very own river walk, she's found and taken pictures of raccoons, great blue herons, snapping turtles, and much more!  All sorts of animals live right next to us along the Charles River, and you can find out more about them.

Carole will also talk about the efforts that have been made to preserve the river and the surrounding areas, and to protect the plants and animals who call it home.

There's no need to register, just come on by at 11:00 on Saturday.  The program is geared toward families with children in grades K-5.  We'll see you then!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Curious About Hurricanes?

After this week's brush with Hurricane Sandy, many kids may be curious about what causes hurricanes and how they work.  Never fear, we have plenty of resources for you!

Stop in at the library to explore a whole bunch of books about hurricanes and other natural disasters.  If you're interested in browsing books about all sorts of different weather and natural disasters, take a look in our nonfiction section around the Dewey Decimal Number 550.  And of course, you can always ask a librarian if there's something specific you're curious about.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

In addition to wonderful books, we can also connect you with a wealth of other electronic resources.  The Watertown Free Public Library subscribes to all sorts of wonderful, kid-friendly databases that you can access for free with your library card!

You can access all of our databases either in the library or by visiting our website from your home computer.  (If you're accessing them from home you'll need to type your library card number.)  Pick a database that looks good to you and just type "Hurricane" (or whatever else you're curious about) into the search box.

Kids InfoBits - This database is great for kids in grades K-5.
InfoTrack Junior - This one's excellent for upper elementary and middle school students.
PebbleGo - This one's great for the younger crowd.  First choose if you're interested in Animals or Earth and Space (for hurricanes, choose Earth and Space), then browse or use the search box.
World Book Encyclopedia Online Student Edition - World Book Online for Kids is great for elementary, and World Book Online Info Finder is best for middle school students.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Audiobooks for Little Ones: Reading and Listening Together

When you walk into the Children's Department, one of the first things you'll see are a bunch of hanging bags. Many people walk by without knowing what these bags contain, and they're pretty great.  Each bag contains a book, along with a CD with the audio for that book!  These book/CD combos are wonderful tools to help little ones feel more independence in their reading experiences.

We have a very wide collection of book/CD combos.  The majority of what we have are picture books, but there are a few nonfiction and easy reader selections mingled in there.  They're great for use at home or in the car, and teachers and childcare providers often check them out to use in listening stations and classrooms.  (They're located right next to the audiobooks on CD and the Playaways, which are also wonderful, and are usually for readers who are a little older.)

Additionally, the Watertown Free Public Library subscribes to a wonderful service called Tumblebooks.  Tumblebooks has a wide variety of books, ranging from picture books through chapter books, where the child can visually see the pages and hear the text read to them.  Additionally, the words change color as they're read aloud.  To explore this wonderful resource, click on the link and then enter your library card number.

All of these resources strongly support literacy development.  Reading and listening at the same time helps children learn using multiple modalities, so they're learning with both their eyes and ears simultaneously.  For kids who are a little bit reluctant to spend time reading, combining these two learning styles can often inspire more motivation and excitement about reading.  And the dual-learning model is especially helpful for English Language Learners.

Want to find out more?  Check out some of this research indicating that audiobooks strongly support literacy development:

Listening to Learn: Audiobooks Supporting Literacy by Sharon Grover and Lizette Hannegan.  This is a full-length book for anyone interested in learning a whole lot about this fascinating topic.

"Talking Books: Using Multimedia to Support Learning and Literacy," a 2008 article by Susan Bowdoin and Jonathan Brinkerhoff in the journal Learning and Leading with Technology.  The full text article is available through Academic OneFile, one of our research databases.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Story Time... with iPADS!

There's still space in Thursday's iLearn Preschool, for kids ages 3-5 with a caregiver!  We'll do an awesomely interactive story time with books, songs, rhymes and, of course, iPads!  Parents, you'll learn how to use an iPad to help your child develop certain literacy-related skills.

Each grown-up and child pair will get to use an iPad and two sets of headphones to explore new and exciting apps that teach your child a wide variety of sensory and cognitive skills.  This program does require registration, so stop in or call us at 617-972-6435 to sign-up!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Heifer International says THANKS!

Congratulations again to our Summer Readers!

Over the summer, kids in Watertown read a total of 2900 hours!  At the beginning of the summer, we set out to make donations to Heifer International when we reached certain reading goals.  When we read 500, 1000, 1500 and 2000 hours, we donated a flock of ducks, a flock of geese, rabbits, and a pig (respectively).  Obviously, the kids succeeded and blew these goals away!

Well, Heifer International officially said THANK YOU!  They sent us a certificate of appreciation, which is currently displayed at the Children's Reference Desk.  You can stop by and see it the next time you're in!

GREAT JOB everybody!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What do you want us to buy?

Are there things you'd like to check out of the library that we don't have?  Did you know that you can make specific suggestions about what materials we should add to our collection?

In order to keep our library growing, we are constantly purchasing new books, DVDs, video games, ebooks, and more.  We use all sorts of resources to decide which ones we should buy, but our best resource is YOU!  Of course, we can't guarantee that we'll be able to buy every single suggested item, but your input will definitely help us as we're deciding what purchases to make.

There are a couple different ways you can tell us what you'd like us to buy.  Here in the Children's Department, we have an ongoing list of patron suggestions at the reference desk, so you can just call or stop by.  You can also make suggestions online using our "Suggest A Purchase" form.  Either way, we are excited to find out what you're looking for!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

iLearn Preschool: Using iPads to Develop Literacy Skills

That's right, we said iPads!

They're shiny and new, and they're loaded with tons of fun, developmentally appropriate apps for the 3-5 crowd.  We'll be hosting educational sessions for caregiver/child pairs to learn how to interact with iPads in ways that help develop your child's literacy skills.

In today's world, it's important for kids to develop the ability to learn through various mediums, including technology.  As children grow older, touchscreen technology can be used in similar ways to traditional books to develop learning through interactive play.  Reading and interacting with your child (with books OR technological devices) helps them develop a wide range of literacy skills, including language and cognitive skills.  Because kids are touching and "moving things" on the screen, they're also developing fine motor skills and learning in kinesthetic ways.  Our goal is to help parents and caregivers learn how to use technology in the best ways for their children and utilize iPads and other devices to their greatest educational potential.

Interested?  We'll be offering these programs twice a month.  In October, they'll be on Thursday, October 11 and Thursday, October 25, each at 10:15am.  The program is for children ages 3-5 with a caregiver, and adults and kids will work one-on-one, guided by a librarian.  Registration is required (starting 2 weeks before each date) and will probably fill up quickly, so stop in or call us at 617-972-6435!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Comic Books - They're Good For You!

Comic books have been around for a very long time.  Most parents who come in remember reading their own favorite comic books as a child, and a bunch of those characters and series are still around today!  And countless new comic books and graphic novels have come out at various reading levels.  Many of these new books have higher linguistic levels, represent multicultural viewpoints, cover important social topics, and provide opportunities for readers to develop multiple literacies simultaneously.

Occasionally, I hear of parents or teachers who don't want their child reading comic books.  Of course, every parent has the right to choose what they want their children reading, and the responsibility to keep an eye on their child's choices.  It's also important, though, to know that comic books and graphic novels provide special benefits that regular chapter books lack.

An incredibly important - and often overlooked - part of literacy is called print motivation, or the enjoyment of reading.  Kids who think reading is fun will do it more often and will naturally be better at it.  Comic books and graphic novels are especially great for reluctant readers.  They're FUN to read, and they often provide a foundation of enjoyment that will lead to reading other types of books.  Research has found that graphic novels are especially helpful in developing print motivation in boys.  Think of them as a gateway drug to expanded reading.

Reading Comprehension:
Many kids today can read aloud and sound out words, but struggle with reading comprehension.  When you ask them what they've just read, they can't remember.  Research has found that the way graphic novels incorporate words and pictures helps children (especially struggling readers) develop better reading comprehension.

English Language Learners:
The direct relation between words and pictures can be especially helpful for kids who are struggling with the English language.  For non-native English speakers, the colloquial qualities of comic books are also helpful.  Characters in graphic novels tend to use slang and common phrases that are very helpful for kids to learn authentic, everyday English.

Sound interesting?  Want to get your hands on some of these super helpful books?  You're in luck!  Here at the Watertown Free Public Library, we have TONS of graphic novels!  In the children's department, we keep them on the shelves across from the DVDs.  Stop in and check some out today!

Curious about the research I've referenced?  Below you'll find a very small smattering of articles that have been published on this topic.  Feel free to do your own research to find out more!

A Novel Approach: Using Graphic Novels to Attract Reluctant Readers, by Philip Crawford.  Published in Library Media Connection in February, 2004.

Media Literacy, Graphic Novels, and Social Issues, by Gretchen Schwarz.  Published in Studies in Media and Information Literacy Education in November, 2007.

Sequentially SmART--Using Graphic Novels Across the K-12 Curriculum, by Karen Gavigan.  Published in Teacher Librarian in June, 2012.  You can find the full text of this article in our Expanded Academic ASAP database, available in the Research area of our website.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dive into fall fun at the library!

The school year's started, and that means that a bunch of great programs are starting up again here at the library!  We've got programs for kids of all ages!


On My Own Story Time - This program is for four- and five-year-olds to practice their school readiness skills in an independent environment where they are separated from their caregivers (don't worry parents, you're just outside the program room).  We'll share stories, songs, rhymes and crafts that are specifically designed to help kids get ready for school!  It's Mondays at 3:30pm, and requires registration.

Nursery Rhyme Time - Early literacy for our youngest kiddos!  We'll do stories, songs and rhymes for babies who are not walking yet with their caregivers.  The program ends with playtime, where we make developmentally appropriate toys available for babies to interact with each other.  Check it out on Tuesdays at 9:30 or 11:00am (shifted 1 hour earlier than during the summer).

Toddler Story Time - It's back!  During the summer we combined to Family Story Time, but in the school year we have divided up the toddlers and preschoolers so we can focus on developmentally appropriate activities.  This is for one- and two-year-olds who are walking and moving about.  We share stories, songs, rhymes and lots of movement activities.  It's in between Nursery Rhyme Time sessions on Tuesdays at 10:15am.

Preschool Story Time - These programs are designed for preschoolers and features stories, songs, rhymes and a craft for kids with growing attention spans.  Don't miss it on Fridays at 10:15am.


Music Programs - At various times throughout the month, we bring in fantastic musicians to the library!  Music helps your child develop early literacy skills through their listening skills and phonological awareness.  And, of course, it's fun!  Musicians come in on a variety of days to accommodate all different schedules, and include Music with Lenka, town favorite Ed Morgan, and Tempo Time with Regina!  Check our online calendar of events or call 617-972-6435 to find out specific dates and times.

Craft Programs - Throughout the school year we have various craft programs for all ages, including little ones.  Crafts encourage artistic expression, and also develop small motor skills in the hands.  Again, check our online calendar of events or call to find out more.

Kids in elementary school aren't left out once school starts!  Each month we do a few things just for school-aged children.  As always, check our online calendar of events or call for specific information.  Here are a few programs we do often:

Dog B.O.N.E.S. - This reading program gives kids in grades K-5 the opportunity to practice their reading skills by reading aloud to trained therapy dogs!  Check out a previous blog post or our most recent WFPL Newsletter to find out more about the benefits of this amazing program!

Craft Programs - Crafts for older kids are usually a little more sophisticated and allow for a little more creative expression.  Your child will love the feeling of accomplishment they get from creating their own piece of artwork!

And we are always coming up with new ideas for fun school-age programs.  For example, in September we're having a Pirate Party (September 19 at 3:30pm - call to register) and a performance of the Chinese Dulcimer Guzheng Youth Band (September 29 at 2:00pm)!

So as the school year starts gearing up, be sure to incorporate trips to the library into your schedule.  And as always, if you have any questions, just ask!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Be Ready for Back to School

It's almost that time again - school starts next week!  Ready or not, it's time to prepare for getting up early, doing homework, and diving into those after school activities.  We've got a few helpful tips to help you be ready for school!

  • Gradually move towards waking up and going to bed earlier.  Over the summer, most kids stay up and sleep in a little (or a lot) later than they do during the school year.  If you wait until the night before the first day of school to go back to an earlier bedtime, kids will still be used to the later bedtime and won't be tired yet.  They may have trouble sleeping if the routine changes suddenly.  Likewise, waiting until the first day of school to get up early could leave your child groggy and grouchy.  Help them gradually adjust to the school routine rather than going "cold turkey."
  • Clean out that backpack.  There's nothing worse than finding a stinky, moldy sandwich the night before school starts.  The earlier you clean out last year's backpack, the more time it'll be able to air out before the first day of school.
  • Take advantage of back-to-school shopping deals.  We agree, those back-to-school ads start way too early!  Though you've probably been spending most of the summer tuning them out, now is the time to pay a little closer attention.  Also, some teachers send students lists of supplies they should have before school starts, so keep an eye out for teacher suggestions.
  • Maintain an up-to-date family calendar.  Include after-school activities, sports, play dates, vacations,  family occasions, and even grown-up plans.  If everybody's activities are listed in one place, it's much easier to know where everyone is!  Though your smartphone may be a great resource, you're pretty much the only one with easy access to it, so keep this calendar in a visible place in the house where everyone has easy access to everybody's schedule.
  • And of course, don't forget about those Summer Reading lists!  Before summer started, we worked with the Watertown Public Schools to develop suggested reading lists for kids entering preschool through grade 5.  There's still time to do some last minute reading from those lists!  You can check them out on our website, or come on in to the Children's Department where you'll find them conveniently all shelved together in the Summer Reading section.  And feel free to ask us for advice on other good books to round out summer vacation.
Looking for other tips and ideas?  Check out some of these resources:
  • - The official site of the U.S. Government has some helpful tips.
  • NASP - The National Association of School Psychologists offers ideas to help your child be emotionally and psychologically ready for school to start.
  • - This site is put together by the American Academy of Pediatrics and great information about safety, bullying, and developing good study habits.
And remember, even though Summer Reading at the library is over, we'll start a whole array of programs for all ages in the fall!  Check out our online calendar of events to find out when all the fun will happen!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

On My Own Story Time: It's almost time to sign up!

Attention parents of four- and five-year-olds!  Summer Reading may be over, but we're already preparing to dive right into our school year programming!  One of our favorite programs is On My Own Story Time.  This program is for kids ages four and five, and it's designed to help them learn school readiness skills.  Children will participate in fun, curriculum-based activities all centered around stories, songs and crafts.  They'll learn important literacy skills that will help them be ready to start school.

Additionally, unlike our regular PreSchool Story Time programs, children attend this program without their parents or caregivers.  (Don't worry grown-ups, you get to hang out just outside the program room.  You won't be far away!)  It's excellent practice for kids to separate from their grown-ups and to experience something much closer to an independent classroom experience.

On My Own Story Time goes for 4 weeks, and we do ask that kids try to attend all 4 sessions. The program requires registration, and registration begins on Monday, August 27.  You can register here at the library in-person, or you can call us at 617-972-6435.

This is a program you won't want to miss!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2900 Total Summer Reading Hours!!!

Well folks, today was the last day of Summer Reading.  Following an amazing program with the Museum of Science, we held our Wrap-Up Party.  Tons and tons of kids and parents came to find out how many total hours we read this summer, and whether or not we reached our ultimate goal of reading 2000 hours and donating a pig to Heifer International.

The kids were anxiously awaiting the final count announcement.



Together, the kids of Watertown read a total of 2900 hours this summer!  That's well over our goal, so we will ultimately be donating ducklings, geese, rabbits, AND a pig to help families in need around the world!  You should all be proud of your incredible reading achievement!

 To celebrate, we ate a delicious cake!

But kids, don't stop reading!  You can stop in at the library any time and pick up your reading log, which you can now take home with you.  You can keep reading and keep recording those hours and fill up your log on your own.  How many hours can you read before school starts?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Early Literacy Tip: Babies need to hold, touch and chew on books!

In this morning’s Nursery Rhyme Time program, we shared an early literacy tip about letting your baby play with books.

Let your child play with books! One of the first literacy skills young children need to learn is understanding what a book is. They learn this by touching books, opening and closing them, turning pages, and putting them in their mouths. Even building towers out of books or spreading them across the floor helps babies learn this very early, but important, concept. Don’t feel pressure to read through books word-for-word. Physically playing with books is important – don’t rush through this fun stage!

One of the most important early literacy skills a child can learn is the enjoyment of reading, formally called Print Motivation. This comes from warm, positive experiences with books and reading. When babies are young, this includes physically playing with books. For infants, the mouth is the most highly developed avenue for learning about the world. That’s why babies put everything in their mouths. This needs to include books. Babies need to touch, feel, and of course, chew on books.

When you’re reading with your infant, it is not very important to read each word of a story. While language is important, at this age any talking or singing you do will be beneficial. When it comes to physical books, the important thing is to have incredibly positive experiences with these objects. Yanking a book away when they put it in their mouths or forcing them to turn pages when they don’t want to yet isn’t necessary. Sure it makes it easier to read the book, but it’s more fun for the baby to play with the book as they see fit.

So how do we share a book with them? Instead of focusing on the words, point at pictures and talk about the illustrations. Ask them questions (even though they’re too young to answer). Don’t be afraid of wordless picture books – these encourage even more parent/child/book interaction!

If you really want to read all the words, try giving them their own book to hold and play with while you read from another one. That way baby’s hands (and mouth) can physically explore the book, and baby’s brain simultaneously benefits linguistically from hearing you read.

Looking for more info? Check out these helpful websites!

Better Beginnings, from the State Library of Western Australia
Reading Rockets, from the U.S. Department of Education
Zero to Three, from the National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families

Monday, August 20, 2012

Only Two Days Left of Summer Reading!

All summer you've been reading and recording your hours, working toward our goals of donating animals to Heifer International.  So far, you've read over 1500 hours, and you've donating ducklings, geese, and rabbits.  And now you're almost there... on Wednesday, we'll hold our big Wrap-Up Party and we'll find out if we've read enough to donate a pig!

The fun will start with our Wednesday Special program at 2:00pm.  The Museum of Science will be here to tell us all about Super Cold Science!  You'll find out how all sorts of matter changes when its temperature is cooled to super cold temperatures! This program is geared towards kids entering grades K-5.

When the program is finishing up, we'll move into our Wrap-Up Party, which is for all ages.  That's when we'll finally announce the total number of hours we've read throughout the summer, and we'll find out if it's enough to donate a pig.  And then, of course, we'll eat cake!

(This is a picture of last year's cake.  But this year's cake will be equally delicious!)

And be sure you come into the library before the program on Wednesday to record any additional hours you've been reading.  That way your hours will count toward the grand total we announce at the party.  So mark your calendars!  You won't want to miss the culmination of all the reading you've been doing!  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Book Review from a Parent

As you may remember, few months ago we had a bunch of Advanced Reader Copies of soon-to-be published books available for kids and parents to take home, review, and then keep.  Here's another one of those reviews from a local mom!

After the Kill by Darrin Lunde

"This book has beautiful illustrations that depict realistic events of the jungle.  Given all of the factual information, this book is probably best for late elementary readers, grades 4-6.  I look forward to reading this book with my son when he's a bit older."

If you have an ARC book at home, don't forget to bring in a review that you or your children write.  We don't currently have any more books to give away, but keep your eyes peeled because we probably will again in the future.

And be sure to come in and check out some of the books that have already been reviewed!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

This Week's Guessing Jar Winner

Congratulations to Lucas, this week's guessing jar winner!  His guess of 54 was only 2 away from the actual number of raffle tickets in the jar!  He chose a slammers game as his prize.

After posing for our photo, Lucas specifically requested to take another photo with a "funny face."  Here it is:

Remember, there's still time to come in and guess and maybe win a prize yourself!  This week we're guessing how many seashells are in the jar, so be sure to stop by!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Moving Toward a Pig!

You've read so many hours that Denise needs to stand on a chair to color in the thermometer!  Awesome work!

There's only one week left of Summer Reading, and our great big goal of donating a pig is within our grasp!  Keep on reading, and keep on coming in to stamp your log and count your hours.

And make sure to mark your calendar for our Summer Reading Wrap-Up Party on Wednesday, August 22, after the Museum of Science Super Cold Science program at 2:00.  We'll celebrate summer with a delicious cake, and we'll find out if you've read enough to donate a pig to Heifer International.  Don't miss it!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Our Newest Guessing Jar Winner!

Congratulations to Arushi, this week's guessing jar winner!  Arushi guessed that there were 258 stars in the jar, and her guess was the closest to the actual 271.  She chose a Bananagrams game as her prize.

This week the Guessing Jar contains raffle tickets.  How many?  Well that's up to you to guess!

Monday, August 6, 2012

You Donated Bunnies!

As you can see, we've made a TON of progress so far on our reading thermometer!  We've been keeping track of all the hours that every single participant spends reading, and we're quickly moving forward.  And guess what?!

That's right, our readers have made it to our third reading goal!  Watertown readers have read 1500 hours, which means we can donate a trio of rabbits to Heifer International.

So how will these rabbits be helpful?  Rabbits reproduce incredibly quickly, which makes them a long-term source of protein for a family.  And rabbit droppings make excellent fertilizers for gardens.  Learn more about how your reading is helping feed families around the world by visiting Heifer International's website.

And remember, we're not done yet!  There's still time to read, read, read and, of course, to come in and stamp your log to keep track of your hours.  You can even still sign up to participate if you haven't had a chance yet.  Keep reading to help us reach our final grand goal of reading 2000 hours and donating a pig!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Check out YOUR artwork in our gallery!

Next time you visit the library, head upstairs and take a look at our T. Ross Kelly Family Gallery!  Throughout the month of August, we're displaying artwork created by Watertown's kids!

In July, one of our Unplugged Friday programs was a Community Mural!  Kids who attended designed their own pieces of canvas that come together to form a larger collage focused on a theme: What Watertown Means to Me!

You'll also find artwork contributed by our First Grade Lunch Bunch Book Club.  They read The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino, then they drew their own interpretations of the book.  A few kids also did giant self-portraits that are being displayed.

So be sure to take a look and see what your children or children you know have created!  Feel free to snap a picture or two, and bask in your month of fame!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Newest Guessing Jar Winner! *Bubbles!*

This week's guessing jar was bubblicious!  Congratulations to Ava L, our most recent Guessing Jar winner!  Ava guessed the EXACT right number of pieces of bubblegum in our jar.  And then she chose her prize - a bubble machine!

This week, be sure to stop in and try to guess the number of STARS in our Guessing Jar.  You'll have a chance at being our next winner!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Guessing Jar Winner!

Congratulations to Vera, this week's Guessing Jar winner!  This week, instead of guessing how many of something was in a jar, the task was to guess how fast a cheetah can run.  Vera guessed the cheetah's speed exactly! (They can run up to 70 miles per hour.)  She chose her prize of a giant bouncing ball.

Would you like to win a prize?  This week's guessing jar is filled with bubble gum.  Come in anytime this week and guess how many pieces of gum are in the jar for your chance to win!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Yay Watertown! You've Given Geese!

Congratulations, Watertown readers!  We've attained our second reading goal.  Together, you've read over 1000 hours and that means we'll be donating a flock of geese to Heifer International, in addition to the flock of ducklings you donated when you reached 500 hours.

If you haven't signed up yet for Summer Reading, there's still time!  Come on in and get your own reading log that we'll keep here, and you'll get to stamp a box for every 15 minutes you spend reading (or being read to).  We'll keep track of all your hours, along with everyone else in the town, and work toward donating even more animals!

And if you have already been reading and helping us attain our hours, GREAT JOB!  Keep up all that reading and pretty soon we'll reach our next goal.  If we can collectively read 1500 hours we'll donate bunnies!  So keep reading!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Another Guessing Jar Winner!

Congratulations to Elizabeth, this week's Guessing Jar winner!  Her guess of 212 goldfish in the jar was the closest, and she chose a Crayola Art Kit as her prize!

This week kids are trying to guess the top speed that a cheetah can run (in miles per hour).  There's still time to come in to the library throughout the rest of the week to take a guess, and maybe you'll win a prize!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Early Literacy Tip from Nursery Rhyme Time

This morning was Nursery Rhyme Time, a program for pre-walking babies and their caregivers that we do each Tuesday at 10:30 am and 12:00 noon.  Throughout the program we share a variety of quick early literacy tips as we do rhymes, sing songs, and read stories.  Periodically, we provide small handouts with extra tidbits, and on this blog we'll give more in-depth information about those tips.

This morning's tip was:

Why is it that some babies sleep through the night right away, while others take what feels like years?  One possibility is the speed at which parents attend to their child when he or she cries.  In her new book BringingUp Bébé, Pamela Druckerman explores French parenting and found that French parents wait up to five minutes before picking up a baby who’s crying in the night, and that their children tend to start sleeping through the night between two and six months.

I just started reading this book, and so far it's fascinating.  On the topic of sleep, Druckerman discusses the issue with both French and American doctors, and cites a few useful studies.  As stated above, she discovers that French parents practice what Druckerman dubs "La Pause" or "The Pause."  When their babies start crying in the night, they don't immediately pick them up.  Rather they spend a few minutes observing them.

Babies, just like adults, need to develop their own circadian rhythms.  They go through sleep cycles, and they usually lightly wake up in between these sleep cycles.  Adults do it to - approximately every 90 minutes - but easily fall back asleep and usually don't even know they've woken.  When babies are between cycles, they often move or make small noises, and sometimes they even cry.  But if parents let them, they usually enter right into another cycle pretty quickly.  If parents pick them up, they wake up fully and get used to fully waking up between sleep cycles.

So when your baby starts crying during the night, first just observe.  Give your baby a few minutes to see if he or she really needs you to do something, or if this is just a break between sleep cycles.  Perhaps your baby can go back to sleep independently, and perhaps he or she will begin sleeping through the night much sooner if you practice "La Pause."

Friday, July 13, 2012

Another Guessing Jar Winner!

Congratulations to Maya, who won the second week of our Guessing Jar!  She had the closest guess as to how many bubble-makers were in the large jar.  There were 24 in the jar, and she guessed exactly 24!  She chose her prize of a play-doh activity kit!

Would YOU like to pick a prize?  You've got a plenty more chances.  Each week we've got a guessing jar full of something to estimate.  The closest each week picks a prize.  Today and tomorrow there's still time to guess how many goldfish crackers are in the jar, and starting Monday we'll have yet another fun thing to guess.  So come on in and try your luck!

Monday, July 9, 2012

We Did It! We're Donating Ducklings!

Congratulations, and GREAT JOB Watertown!  Together, our Summer Reading participants have read a little over 500 hours!!  And you know what that means: you've read enough to donate a flock of ducklings to Heifer International!  Keep reading, and let's see how quickly we can make it to our next goal!

And if you haven't signed up yet, there's still time.  Stop in anytime during our open hours to have your reading count toward our great goals!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Our First Guessing Jar Winner!

Congratulations to Katherine, our first Guessing Jar winner of the summer!  Katherine had the closest guess of how many pennies were in our guessing jar (there were actually 702).  She got to pick a prize and chose a LEGO playset.

Interested in winning a prize like Katherine?  Come on in to the library each week and guess how many objects are in the guessing jar.  This week we're guessing how many bubble makers are in the jar.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Halfway to our first Reading Goal!

It feels like Summer Reading has just begun, but Watertown kids have already logged 250 HOURS!!

That puts us halfway toward our first goal!

If we read 250 more we'll be at 500 hours, and we'll donate a flock of geese to Heifer International!

So keep reading everybody!  And keep logging those hours.  And if you haven't signed up yet, there's still plenty of time.  Come on in anytime during open hours and sign up to help us reach our ultimate goal of reading 2000 hours and donating a pig!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Another book review!

We recently had a whole family review one of our Advanced Reader Copy books!

Presidential Pets: The Weird, Wacky, Little, Big, Scary, Strange Animals That Have Lived in the White House by Julia Moberg.

Here's what they thought:

Jenny - Age 6 1/2
I liked the funny pictures.  It was good.  I thought it was interesting.

Emily - Age 9
I liked it because you got to learn about presidents and you got to see the animals that they had.  I liked the book.  I learned some new things about the book and some things I already knew.  I think the book was good for a little older kids because it had a lot of words but I still liked the book.

Daddy - Age 45
It looks like a kids book and is illustrated that way but then gives very adult facts so I am not sure who the book would appeal to.

Thanks for your review!  Happy Reading everyone!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Watertown Kids Have Already Read for 100 Hours!

We've officially made it through week 1 of Summer Reading, and we've already made so much progress!  Over 200 kids have signed up to keep track of their reading and help us reach our collective reading goals.  And we're already on our way: So far, we've read 100 HOURS!!

Keep reading, Watertown!  And if you haven't signed up to participate yet, there's still plenty of time.  Come on in to the library and start logging those hours.  We're already 20% toward our first reading goal of 500 hours, when we'll donate a flock of ducklings to Heifer International.

And be sure to check our Summer Reading page.  You'll find links to grade-level reading lists compiled in partnership with the Watertown Public Schools, as well as information about all of our programs.  We've got something going on every single day we're open, so take a look at our calendar to find out more!