Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Storytelling: A Guest Post by Constance Vidor

This post comes to you from Constance Vidor, the Director of Library Services at Friends Seminary.

It took a few decades, but finally, this year, I got up the courage to try storytelling. I signed up to do a story concert at a Lower School assembly and spent the next 2 months wondering if I had gone crazy.

I picked three stories, all funny folk tales, two short and one long. All three have opportunities for action, gesture, and audience participation.
"The Hungry Wolf " from Folktales Aloud by Janice Del Negro
"The King Has Hairy Goat Ears" adapted by me from The King Has Horns, and retold by Richard Pevears
"The Stubborn Old Woman" from Noodlehead Stories by Martha Hamilton
I memorized the stories by telling them to my bedroom window many times over. When I knew the stories well enough not to need the text I practiced whispering them aloud on my subway commute. Just another crazy lady on the metro!

My assembly went amazingly well! The biggest glitch was with the microphones. I had rehearsed with a lavalier microphone (the kind that is strapped to a belt) a few weeks ahead of time with a member of the technology department, and all had gone well then. Just before the performance the person running the AV offered me a different kind of microphone, which she (and I) thought might work better because it attached to my head—like the ones you see people using on TED Talks, except this one was cheaper and turned out not to work very well.

Lesson learned: only perform with a microphone you have used before, don't go with the "new" or "better" microphone unless you have rehearsed with it. And if you use a lot of movement in your storytelling, don't use the head-attached microphones unless they are TED Talk quality!

While this blog is not the place for unseemly gloating, the point of this post is to encourage librarians to try storytelling, and the message would not be complete without saying that I have never in my career experienced the almost adulatory appreciation that both students and teachers expressed for the storytelling. Try it, I think you will like it!

There are some great resources for finding tellable stories and learning the skills. The National Storytelling Network runs a blog, an annual conference, and publishes an excellent magazine. This year's conference is July 24-27th in Phoenix, Arizona and includes performers and storytelling teachers from throughout the country. 

Closer to home, The Connecticut Storytelling Festival and Conference takes place April 25-26.

To find "just the right" story for the occasion and your particular storytelling strengths, The East Asian Story Finder and The Jewish Story Finder by our own HVLA colleague Sharon Elswit are superlative compendia of information about folktales. These books contain summaries of hundreds of folktale retellings in both print and media formats with complete publication information and indexes by theme and geography.

Finally, did you know that a series of premier, nationally known storytellers perform every Saturday all summer long at the Hans Christian Andersen statue in Central Park? Take a look at the website to see the range of awe-inspiring tellers. These performances are free, and can give us all a university level education in the art of storytelling. Tell your students!

Editor's Note: Great, live storytelling can also be found in NYC courtesy of The Moth, a not-for-profit organization committed to the art of storytelling. The Moth hosts many events throughout the year and all around the country, including performances, competitions, and classes. They also produce a great podcast, which features performances from various Moth events.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Opportunities for Professional Development

Guest Post by Shana Hitt

Below are some exciting professional development activities taking place over the course of the next year. Tell us if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.

NYLA-Section of School Librarians
Spring Conference
Exploring Excellence in Education
Syracuse-April 24th- April 26th
In collaboration with the NYLA SSL, an annual conference with events, workshops, and keynotes.

AASL@ALA Las Vegas
June 26, 2014-July 1, 2014
The American Association of School Librarians will participate in the Annual ALA conference. More information will be posted as it becomes available.
International Reading Association 59th Annual Conference
May 10, 2014- May 12, 2014
New Orleans
This conference offers quality educational learning, with a variety of professionals who enjoy all things literary.
ISTE (The International Society for Technology in Education)
Atlanta, GA
June 28, 2014-July 1, 2014
This is the premier forum in which to exchange ideas regarding education technology.

Friday, April 11, 2014

April Book Club: The Sequel!

Due to scheduling quirks*, we are having a second book club meeting this April! Join us for delicious snacks, smart conversation, and good company.

Tuesday, April 29 @ 5:45

LREI - Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School
40 Charlton Street (between 6th and Varick)

What We're Reading:
The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson
The Riverman by Aaron Starmer

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HVLA Book Club
HVLA Book Club 19 members The official book club of the Hudson Valley Library Association. We read a middle grade and young...

Books we're currently reading

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*It's not such an exciting reason; we tend to meet every 4-5 weeks and ended up bypassing March completely this year.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April Literary Events

Spring is here! Enjoy the warmer weather and the following literary events happening around NYC in the coming month. 

For those of you interested in virtual events, Open Education Database has curated sixty-three free live webinars for librarians.

Feel free to share any other events you know about in the comments!

April 8, 7:00 pm @ Barnes & Noble (86th & Lexington)
Ann Brashares, The Here and Now
Author of the NY Times bestselling series, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants discusses and signs copies of her new book, The Here and Now.

April 13, 11:00 am @ Bowery Poetry
Downtown Literary Festival

April 13, 1:00 pm @ Dweck Auditorium, Brooklyn Public Library
Brooklyn By the Book: Katherine Boo 
Join us in welcoming Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo for the paperback debut of Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, a hard-hitting and emotionally charged chronicle of children and families struggling to survive in Mumbai’s slums. In conversation with Amy Waldman, author of The Submission.

April 15, 7:00 pm @McNally Jackson
Geography Lessons with Jennifer E. Smith
Jennifer E. Smith's novels are beloved by our YA team here at McNally Jackson, and we are thrilled to host her for the launch of her fantastic new book The Geography of You and Me.

April 19, 1:00-3:12 pm @ Books of Wonder
April Picture Book Showcase
Don't miss this amazing afternoon of interacting and laughing it up with these amazing picture books creators!
AME DYCKMAN Tea Party Rules
CHRIS RASCHKA Thingy Things Series

April 24, 8:15 pm @ 92nd Street Y
Shakespeare in America With James Shapiro
To mark the occasion of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, scholar James Shapiro discusses his new anthology, Shakespeare in America, which, as he writes in the introduction, is also “a history of America itself, not the straightforward narrative found in textbooks, but rather one that runs parallel to the conventional story of the nation, a more sharp-edged one expressed through two-and-a-half centuries of essays, parodies, burlesques, poems, speeches, short stories, letters, musicals, novels, reviews, films, and staged performances. These works, by some of the most creative minds in America, explore the cultural fault-lines that have always existed just below the surface of our national conversations.”

April 28 - May 4
PEN World Voices Festival

April 29, 5:45 pm @ LREI
HVLA Book Club
We meet once again this April, this time to discuss The Tyrant's Daughter and The Riverman.

April 30, 7:30 pm @ 92nd Street Y
Wonder Women: Sex, Power and the Quest for Perfection
“You know that girl who ‘has it all’—perfect job, relationship, body? No, you don’t, because she doesn’t exist, argues Barnard College president Debora Spar in her explosive new book Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection.

Save the Date! Coming in May @ 92nd Street Y
YA Lit at 92Y
From heartbreaking dystopia to heart-stopping fantasy, coming-of-age to real-world issues, Young Adult (YA) literature has never been more exciting. 92Y brings together the hottest YA writers for conversations throughout the fall about new projects, where to find inspiration and the craft of storytelling. Don’t miss out these opportunities to get up close and personal with some of YA lit’s major players! Authors will meet fans and sign books after all events!