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YS Newsletter #15, March 2009

Topic of the Month: National Poetry Month (April)

Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month brings together publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools, and poets around the country to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. The goals of National Poetry Month include highlighting the legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets, introducing more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry, bringing poets and poetry to the public, and making poetry a more important part of the school curriculum.

How can my library celebrate National Poetry Month?

  • Put links to interactive poetry websites on the computers in your children’s area and encourage kids to use them. Here are some examples:,,,
  • Request a free National Poetry Month poster at
  • Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 30! The idea is simple: select a poem you love and carry it with you to share with patrons, co-workers, family, and friends. Go to for lots more ideas on how to celebrate, as well as suitable poems, and even poems about pockets!
  • Start a Poetry Basket. Seed a basket with favorite poems from the library staff (or original ones!). Place a sign on the basket that says, “Take a poem, Leave a poem.” Leave it in an accessible area (teen space, circ desk, program room, etc), and see what happens! Or, start a Poetry Billboard, again having the staff post a few poems and including an invitation to post a favorite poem or original poetry. A similar idea (courtesy of Jackie M. from the O’Keeffe Musem): create a PoeTree, a handmade tree with branches to hang poems on.
  • Host a Poetry Slam. These are popular events with tweens and teens! Go to and for an intro on slams.
  • Put a new poem every day on your library’s website, blog, or teen web area; archive them for the month. Also, post a new poem every day for the month around the library.
  • Create displays of poetry books in the library. Create lists of poetry books in your library by topic and/or age group.
  • Invite local poets to your library for readings and/or poetry workshops.
  • Host an open-mic poetry night for teens.
  • Gather poems your young patrons have written into anthologies by age group. Have the kids and teens illustrate the poems and then bind each book in a simple way to display in the library.
  • Post the poems your young patrons write on the library’s website, blog, or teen web area. Take it one step further and have the poets record readings of their poems and turn them into podcasts!
  • Cover a large table with paper and have your young patrons write poems on it. Display the finished product in the library.
  • Buy or make magnetic poetry displays around a theme to place in the teen area. Better yet, have your TAG make the displays!
  • Offer a craft program that involves writing and illustrating poetry. Some fun ideas for pre-K through 8 can be found at

Poetry resources for more info and lots of program ideas:


Please share your ideas, successes, questions, and challenges about National Poetry Month, or poetry in general! Send your comments to me or hit “Reply to All” on the email this came in to get a discussion going.

State Library Updates and Announcements

  • As announced recently, the State Library invites you to read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie for The Big Read for YS Librarians! Then, join in a discussion of the book at the NMLA conference in Albuquerque next month (go to for more info on the conference). In the meantime, we’re offering an online book discussion on April 15, 10:30 (limit of 22 participants). Stay tuned for more info!
  • Upcoming newsletter topics:
    April: Anime
    May: Magazines Online
    Please contribute any materials, tips, questions, and comments you have on these topics to be included in the newsletters! Also, please let me know if there are any topics you’d like to see featured in the newsletter.

Resources and Opportunities

  • The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, founded by author T.A. Barron, seeks nominations for its 2009 awards. The Barron Prize honors young people ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet. Each year, ten national winners each receive $2,500 to support their service work or higher education. Nomination deadline is April 30. For more information and to nominate, visit
  • The Colorado State Library offers a Gaming Program Pack online! The useful website includes info on the why’s and how’s of offering gaming programs in libraries. It includes sample budgets, loads of tips for gaming for all ages, lots of additional resources, and a summary of some research on the positives of gaming. Go to
  • Through the ALA Public Programs Office, public, academic and medical libraries can apply for a small travelling exhibition entitled “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine.” The application deadline is May 1. Twelve libraries will be selected to host the exhibition for four weeks between September 2009 and November 2010. Selected libraries will be expected to pay for incoming shipping for the exhibition, which will range from $250 to $450. The exhibition is composed of 6 fabric panels mounted on self-supporting stands and requires 30 linear feet of space, or 300 to 400 square feet. Go to
  • ALA and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum have teamed up again for Step Up to the Plate @ your library®. This national program brings together two American classics – libraries and baseball – to promote information literacy and the library as an essential information resource. Librarians can visit the program web site to register for free promotional tools to help promote the program locally. Tools include program logos in both English and Spanish and a toolkit that includes sample press materials and programming ideas. Go to campaign@yourlibrary/sponsorship/stepup/stepup.cfm.
  • Library Journal's newest e-newsletter, BookSmack, serves up high-impact reviews of street lit, genre fiction, graphic novels, audio, and DVDs, along with edgy RA, in-depth prepub info, and industry buzz direct from our seasoned editors. The content definitely goes beyond youth services, but there are good articles and reviews of children’s and YA material. Receive a new issue via email every other week. Go to to view the most recent issue and to subscribe.
  • Check out online video interviews with authors Ann Brashares and Ingrid Law on the Booklist website: (and check out the archived videos, too!)
  •, the Verizon Foundation’s online portal to 55,000 standards-based, grade-specific, K-12 lesson plans and other educational resources, has a new page specifically designed for librarians called Thinkfinity @ Your Library: It has a large array of resources for kids, parents, and librarians. There’s a lot to explore here!
  • YALSA invites teens to get out the vote for Teen Tech Week™, March 8-14, 2010. Teens can vote for the 2010 Teen Tech Week theme (and answer a short survey about their use of technology) at Teens’ input will help determine the 2010 theme. They can choose from three potential themes: TMI @ your library, FYI @ your library and Create, Share, Learn @ your library. The poll will also survey teens on their tech habits, including their use of online video, how they use technology at school or in their free time and the availability of technology at their libraries. Teens can vote for the theme and take the survey from March 8 to March 31.
  • The Smithsonian’s Folkways Collection podcast series includes Children’s Music, Episode 16. One of the great treasures stored within the Folkways collection is the body of children's music recorded by such artists as Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie and Ella Jenkins. This podcast takes us on a voyage of joyful rediscovery, aided by the perspectives of Seeger, Jenkins and others.
  • This timely article in Library Journal discusses CIPA and important internet policies:
  • It’s spring, and that means thinking towards your Summer Reading Program. The Kids @ Your Library Campaign has resources to make your planning easier. Check out “A Dozen Ways to Use Kids! @ your library® Materials to Spruce Up Your Summer Reading Program“ at While on the website, take a look around at the many other resources available to you through the Kids Campaign. From graphics to readers theater scripts to tattoos (temporary, of course!), there are many resources to help you promote your library.

Beth Crist, Library Development Bureau Director
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; 505-476-9753

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