Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Cindy Crushes Programming: DIY Price is Right Game, by Cindy Shutts

When my brother and I were kids, we used to love to watch and then play The Prices is Right during the summer, so I was pleased as punch to hear that Cindy Shutts had put together a version of the game while sheltering in place.

In Illinois we have been given the order to shelter in place. There are a lot of games you can play but for my family who I live with (my parents) I made my own version of The Price is Right which can easily be a program.


  • Random items to be priced
  • Notecards to write the prices on

Step One: I played the theme song from the show and did the famous “come on down your are our first contest on the Price is Right.”

Step Two: I picked a random item I had at my house and asked them what the retail price on Amazon was. The first person to get the answer closer to the price without going over wins this round and advances to the next game.

Step Three: I chose pretty easy games to play. This first contestant game I chose was high or lower. I had five books and I asked them if the list price was high or lower than the price I gave them. I had no prizes but if I did this at the library I would have given candy. My dad got three of five so he moved on to the showcase showdown.

Check out this Price is Right themed party for some decoration ideas

Pinterest Board of Price is Right Games and Ideas

Step Four: I had my mom come up to play the item game. She did well.

Step Five: The game I chose to play was a household item with the wrong price and all the numbers higher one up or one lower.

There are a lot of games you can modify to work at home or at your library.  You will need more games since I modified my home version for just two players.

Here is the list of price games: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Price_Is_Right_pricing_games

Step Six: I did not do this step since I only had two players. The wheel is one of the most iconic parts of the game. I would have used my 10 sided die to simulate the game. Roll one ten sided die then roll the same ten-sided die to get the second number. In this game the person closer to a dollar without going over goes on to the Showcase Showdown. This game is done twice in the show.

Step Seven: Showcase Showdown. I used an old receipt to make this game. I read what was on the receipt and both of my parents had to guess the price. My mom guessed only 45 cents off and won the game. One way to make the game more exciting is to pick a variety of items from Amazon and print out pictures and have them guess how much the items are in total.

Make a DIY Plinko Board

Final Thoughts: I loved this. I want to bring this to the library and I feel like this will be such a wonderful program for the teens.

Cindy Shutts, MLIS


Cindy is passionate about teen services. She loves dogs, pro-wrestling, Fairy tales, mythology, and of course reading. Her favorite books are The Hate U Give, Catching FIre, The Royals, and everything by Cindy Pon. She loves spending times with her dog Harry Winston and her niece and nephew. Cindy Shutts is the Teen Services Librarian at the White Oak Library District in IL and she’ll be joining us to talk about teen programming. You can follow her on Twitter at @cindysku.FacebookTwitterShare

Making More Materials Discoverable in OverDrive: Curating Collections, a guest post by Kathryn King

Yesterday I tweeted that my supervisor, Kathryn King, had trained me and given me access to curate collections in OverDrive and that I was excited because I was going to take a deep dive into our Teens page at the Fort Worth Public Library to help teens find the books they were looking for during this unprecedented time. A lot of people asked me how to do this so Kathryn wrote up a tutorial for us. Thank you Kathryn for all that you are doing to help our community connect with the information they need during this time and for sharing that information with other libraries that find themselves in the same situation during this time.

As we are all facing difficult times with our physical locations closing to the public, we still want to provide excellent customer service for the products we can share remotely.  Fort Worth Public Library decided to step up their game and start actively curating collections in OverDrive.  OverDrive provides curated collections that they create but Fort Worth Public Library wanted to tailor our offerings to what our users were facing and to promote materials we had available. 

Setting up OverDrive staff users so they can curate collections:

Users must have the permission to curate assigned to them in their logins in order to create curated collections.  This permission is set in Marketplace Users under ADMIN.

Setting the permission:

Go to Admin and choose Marketplace users

Click on the pencil to edit a user’s account.

Scroll to users permissions

Choose curate and click save

This user will now have to ability to curate collections on Overdrive and Libby.

To curate a collection:

Once you are in OverDrive Marketplace

  1.  Go to Curate.  It is in the lighter blue tool bar.  You will get a drop down menu.  Choose Standard curation.

Click on the green button to Create Standard Collection

The “learn more about curation” link will take you to a very thorough help page with lots of information.

  •  Give your collection a name.  This will display in OverDrive.  You can also give it a description. This will display under the main title in OverDrive.

Click pin as main collection and hit next

  • To choose where you would like it to be published, click in the box “Publishing locations”

A drop down menu will appear and you can choose the locations you want the collection to display.

There are more options if you scroll

  •  Click on the collection you want and they will move into the main box.
  • Choose how the titles will display.  All titles, Available Only or Show all titles but show available first. This last option is the one we use most often.
  • Click Save Draft
  • You are now ready to search for titles to put in your collection.  Type in search in the search box or choose to an advanced search.
  •  When you get your results you will see the option to add it to the main collection.  Click the add to main collection button to add the title to your collection.  OR you can click the box in front of the cover art and add all the titles at once at the bottom of the list.

You must have at least 5 titles in a collection for it to display in Libby.  Our preference is to have Libby and the website offer similar experiences.  Manya uses Libby almost exclusively.

  • When you finish picking your titles click on the box for your collection.  This will take you back to the collection screen.
  1. Check over the summary and the titles that will be in the collection. 

When picking titles to highlight in a collection, you should consider the number of available copies and the holds.  In my example, I will remove The Body by Bill Bryson because we only have 7 copies but 13 holds currently.  Over the Top was a great choice because all 10 copies are available. 

To remove a title(s), click on the box in first column and then click on delete titles.

  1. Then save draft and then publish.

Click confirm

  1. You will now need to go to the tab organize published collections.  New collections are always added to the bottom of the display page.  If a page is not showing you will need to use the left hand menu to choose a page
  1. Scroll to the bottom to find your newly created collection
  1. You will get a four pointed arrow.  Click and hold the mouse button down and move your collection to the position you would like it to be in.

You can also use the up and down arrows to move the collection

  1. Your collection will display on the site within 24 hours.

Additional information:

If you want/need to edit the collection you have already published, you can click on the pencil.  This is how you can add/remove titles.  The X will delete the collection.

When you go to edit a collection you will need to first “create draft”

And then make sure to PIN your collection.  If you don’t pin the collection, when you go to add your titles it won’t let you add them to the existing collection.

After you make changes, save draft and then publish.

Using Kathryn’s instructions, I began curating the Fort Worth Public Library Teens page in OverDrive. I’m putting together a variety of thematic collections that I think will help our patrons find the books they want to read. I’m excited about what this means for us moving forward in terms of doing Reader’s Advisory in OverDrive with our patrons.

About Kathryn King

Kathryn King, Collection Development Manager at the Fort Worth Public Library, received her MLS from Texas Woman’s University in 1998. She was an AV librarian and a Children’s Librarian before moving to collection management in 2004. She has worked for a county library in upstate New York, Los Angeles Public Library, Dallas Public Library and has been with FWPL since 2006. A firm believer in data driven decision making, she has presented programs at the national, state, and local levels about using statistics in collection management and right sizing collections.

March ARC Party: A look at the new MG and YA lit coming your way in March 2020

The Teen and I had kind of gotten out of the practice of doing ARC Parties, but we thought with the current situation it would be a good time to revive the practice and share with you some books that came out in March 2020. Here’s how it works: We go through the stack of ARCs we have on hand, read the back cover description, and we give a sneak peek at new and upcoming releases. Sometimes we’ve read them and we share a mini-review. Sometimes The Teen gives her point of view just based on the cover or description. But it’s a fun, quick way to familiarize ourselves with some new and upcoming releases.

Sunday Reflections: The Story of the Tree is Our Story, a story of love and loss in the time of pandemic

At the end of February in 2011, our town in Ohio flooded. At that time, it was the most traumatic thing that had happened to us. I had to find a way to escape our flooding home through flooding, freezing waters with a two-year-old and an eight-year-old. That moment changed everything about our lives and what we thought we understood about the world. We carry that trauma of that moment with us every time it rains.

That summer, still struggling from the 2008 recession and now dealing with having lost 1/3 of our lives in a flood, we moved to Texas. We were barely able to buy a new house, having found a renter for our Ohio home and a job in Texas, before everything fully and completely fell apart for us. Our renter ghosted, we struggled to pay the mortgage and tried to sell a house in a town in a state that was devastated by the 2008 recession. Eventually, we would lose that house to foreclosure and have to spend the next seven years trying to fix our credit while standing in grocery stories crying as we tried to figure out what food we could buy as we lived – barely – paycheck to paycheck. We were like every one of our neighbors, barely hanging on and trying to raise kids in a word that was scary and fraught and unstable.

When we bought our house in Texas, besides the very low price that we could possibly afford, it was the tree that made me want to proclaim yes. This was a tree that a kid could climb and try to reach the sky. This was the tree of my childhood dreams. As a child of divorce, we lived in apartments. And as a military kid, we moved a lot. There were no trees for me to call my own, to climb and try to touch the stars or name the clouds or build a tree house full of memories. This tree was every thing my childhood heart longed for and everything my parental love wanted for my children.

Several years ago, tornadoes came through parts of Texas and tore huge limbs full of years of tales from the tree. Although the tree continued to get new green leaves each new spring, you could tell the tree was slowly dying. Once again, a storm had done immeasurable damage to our home.

The tree needs to go, The Mr. would argue. It’s dead, decaying, and the limbs are falling off. For the last few years, I fought him. There is still new growth I would proclaim, even as the trunk began to fall away and the tree became a bizarrely misshappen shell of what it used to be.

But I had already lost the home where my children’s growth had been documented in pencil on the door jam. I had said goodbye to friends I loved, traditions I held dear, and the place that I had called home. I had fought through years of depression and anxiety to finally, sometimes, be able to call this new place my home. And the tree was part of the reason that I could. I would sit on the back patio and watch my children climb this tree. I watched them tell stories, spin tales, and bask in the glory of the sky.

As The Teen became a teen, I watched her and her friends climb that tree so they could glimpse sneak peeks of the neighbor boys in their own backyard without their shirts on. They would whisper and giggle and I would pretend not to notice because I knew exactly what they were doing and why. Twelve-year-old Karen would have done the same exact thing.

It seems fitting, then, that as the world is changing once again, The Mr. and I took the time this weekend to finally take down the dying tree. It seems fitting, somehow, that these two moments in time are coinciding. The world as I know it is once again changing. We are in the midst of a pandemic, something I could have never fathomed no matter how many pandemic novels I read or movies I watched – and trust me, the answer to both of those is a lot, it was my favorite genre up until about a month ago.

Having been through traumatic events before, I know that the world will not be the same after this. I have no idea what the world will look like, but I know everything is once again changing.

The world is changing. I am changing. My children are changing. So it seems fitting that in this moment, the dying tree is finally being excavated piece by piece from my backyard.

And it makes my heart ache.

My heart aches because once again, a symbol of my children’s childhood is being wrenched from my landscape. My heart aches because once again, I know that my children will face traumatic life changing events that will change everything about who they are and what their future may be.

The Teen was born shortly after 9/11. At the age of three she almost died from a rare disease called Kawasaki disease. At the age of four her mom almost died in pregnancy and had to make the heartbreaking decision to end that pregnancy, it took me almost a year to fully mentally and physically recover from the events of that time. At the age of six her little sister was born with her own health complications. At the age of eight, our home and town flooded. At the age of twelve, her childhood friends were victims of sexual violence. At the age of seventeen, just in the year 2020, a classmate died from suicide, a fellow student brought a gun to school that was discharged, and now . . . we are facing a pandemic.

I think about my teenager and all of her fellow teens. They’ve grown up in a time of environmental crisis, post 9/11 wars, police and school shootings, a deep recession, and more. Rights of passage like prom and graduation and everything they’ve been hoping for are being cancelled. We’re all hunkering down in our houses and praying that somehow this passes quickly with as few lives lost as possible and as little economic damage as possible.

I’m not here to tell you that this is the worst time in history. I’ve learned that all times in history have been bad for someone, most often marginalized groups. And though my family has had its fair share of trauma that we carry with us in the fabric of our DNA, we still have a lot of blessings and privilege and support. I feel thankful and sad at the same time. I am already mourning as I fear once again how the world is changing around me. We are all living in a time of immense grief and uncertainty.

A tree once stood here.
A tree once stood here. That tree meant everything to me.

The grief of the world feels too large for me to carry today, so I will mourn this tree, a symbol of childhood lost in a time when our children are losing everything.

Stay safe and healthy every one.

DIY Do Not Disturb Spinner, by Kara DeCarlo

Like most of the world, The Teen has moved to online virtual learning during this unprecedented time. She spends most of her days behind closed doors in her room in online meetings and doing assignments. The other day I wanted to check on her so I knocked on the door and she had to tell me that now was not a good time because she was online with a class. So I tweeted that I now needed some type of in/out board like we have a work so I would know when it was safe to knock. Fellow librarian Kara DeCarlo came to the rescue and shared with me this DIY Do Not Disturb Spinner that she had created for her own home. This might be a fun activity to share with all of our teens now finding themselves trying to navigate in this new online virtual learning world. Thanks Kara!


  • Paper
  • Scissors & something pointy (like an exacto)
  • Pencil
  • Markers
  • Brad fastener
  • Tape (painters or washi or masking)
  • 2 round objects of different sizes

  Make a list of reasons why the door might be closed

  Trace round things on paper

  Cut out circles

 On small circle, write out things from your list

Once you have worked out the spacing of the words–you want them evenly distributed around the circle–write them in using markers. I used red for “DO NOT DISTURB” and green for “door is shut, but you can interrupt me”.

Place the small circle on top of the large circle and tape down using painters, washi, or masking tape. The tape is a temporary step, so don’t use anything super sticky!

Tape your taped circles to the window and tape them on the window WITH THE LARGE CIRCLE ON TOP.

 Find your largest word, and draw a box around it. Take your circles back to your work space and take all the tape off.

 CUT THE LARGE CIRCLE ONLY. Using your pokey thing, poke a hole in the box you just drew–just big enough to get your scissors into. Cut out the box you drew.

 Place the large circle–now with window–on top of the small circle. Line them up as best you can.

 Use your pokey thing to poke a small hole for your brad fastener to go through.

Poke the brad through and write on the large circle: Why is the door closed? Feel free to add doodles, fancy lettering, and make it your own.

 Hang on your door using 2 pieces of scotch tape on the large circle. The small circle will spin freely behind it.

Meet Kara DeCarlo

Kara DeCarlo is a School Liaison librarian for a large suburban library in northern Illinois. She’s a DIY enthusiast–a side effect from her college days in theater and art. When not at work she leads a junior high Girl Scout troop, digs in the dirt, paints and makes stuff out of metal. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @KaraPaints

RevolTeens: Look for the Helpers, by Christine Lively

When we’re overwhelmed by tragic and traumatic news stories, social media fills up with stories of loss and injustice – each story seemingly more upsetting than the last. We start to complain and feel that nothing good is or could happen in the world. All seems lost and terrible. Inevitably, people start quoting Mr. Fred Rogers in response to help us regain our perspective.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” Rogers said to his television neighbors, “my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

When it comes to teens and young adults, we don’t usually get this perspective adjustment as has been the case this month. As the Coronavirus or COVID-19 began to rage in the US, the news media and social media went into a frenzy over college “spring breakers” crowding beaches in Florida and crassly explaining that they didn’t care if they or others got sick because of it. The adults swarmed with wagging fingers, shaking heads, and outrage. ‘How could they? Those kids are disgusting, selfish and horrible!’ and on and on it went.

Though I don’t condone their behavior, of course, I found the response to it to be predictably vitriolic and all too convenient. These young faces became the emblems of privilege, cruelty, and flagrant disregard for others.

They are not, of course, the only teens. There are many more teens and young adults who are “The Helpers” whom Mr. Rogers described. I didn’t have to look too hard to find them. They are out there working to ensure that people stay safe, get what they need, and are cared for. The just aren’t receiving the same screaming news coverage that the spring breakers are.

One of the most inspiring of these teens is  17 year old Avi Schiffmann from Mercer Island outside of Seattle. According to a Democracy Now interview with Schiffmann on March 13, 2020,  the website he created https://ncov2019.live/data has been visited by “tens of millions from every country on earth. It tracks deaths, numbers of cases locally and globally, and provides an interactive map, information on the disease, and a Twitter feed. The resource updates every minute or so, and pulls information from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and elsewhere.” The website is incredibly helpful because it offers raw numbers, rates of increase, and shows trends that help you see the virus without any lens or particular point of view. Schiffmann started the site in December as a way for people to get raw and up to date information without requiring them to download information that might be out of date when they get it. It’s a remarkable way to help people. Avi Schiffmann is absolutely a teen who is revolting and helping us all take control of the information that we need to make decisions and get through this crisis. That you have probably not heard of him tells you that adults are much more interested in maligning selfish teenagers than lauding the brilliant, selfless, and hardworking ones.

Teens are also maligned as spreading, believing, and falling victim to rumors and bad information on social media. While it’s true that they do sometimes believe false stories they hear, adults do too. There’s an awesome group of teen helpers who are committed to teaching other teens how to find reliable information and identify “fake news.” MediaWise https://www.poynter.org/mediawise/ From the Poynter Institute website:

“The MediaWise Teen Fact-Checking Network is a group of dozens of teens fact-checking misinformation and disinformation they find on their social media feeds. These teens have continued their fact-checking work despite unprecedented challenges — school closures, classes moving online, SAT testing, grades, final exams and even delayed graduations.

The TFCN has reported on whether you can catch coronavirus by touching money (our rating: needs context), if China is seeking approval to kill patients with the virus (our rating: not legit), if wearing a mask will protect you from COVID-19 as many videos on TikTok claimed, and the teens even debunked a claim that weed can kill coronavirus.”

The Poynter Institute is committed to teaching media literacy and helping people find the difference between fact and fiction. Their Teen Fact-Checking Network is a group of eighteen fierce teenagers who are fighting misinformation where teens encounter it most – on social media. They’re creating videos to show other teens how to debunk misinformation online. This group of RevolTeens have collected their debunking information about the Coronavirus here: https://www.poynter.org/fact-checking/2020/how-the-coronavirus-is-creating-chaos-for-teens-and-why-theres-hope/ The article includes profiles of the fact checking teens and information to help kids learn more about the virus without bias. They have a pretty cool group of social media and traditional media ambassadors, too!

Then, there’s Shaivi Shaw from Rancho Santa Margarita, California. This 15 year old has recruited her high school friends to help her assemble 150 sanitizing kits for homeless people which include hand sanitizer, antibacterial soap, lotion, and reusable masks that she bought with her parents. This RevolTeen isn’t waiting for adults to take action.

‘”It’s important for people to step in and just do whatever they can, even if it helps just one person,” she told CNN.’ https://www.insider.com/teen-makes-sanitizing-kits-for-homeless-amid-coronavirus-outbreak-2020-3

Shelters are struggling to keep up with the needs of their residents, and Shaivi’s efforts are surely making a difference. She’s launched a GoFundMe that has already raised over $17,000 to create more of these kits for the homeless in her own state of California and she hopes to expand to worldwide distribution. https://www.gofundme.com/f/covid19-sanitation-kit-for-the-homeless-community

Then there are the teens who are focused on helping the elderly who are sequestered during this quarantine period.

Cathy Free got a call she never wanted to get. Her visits to her 79 year old mother would be canceled for the next several weeks or months to protect her mother and the other residents of her Utah care center. Free took to FaceBook to write about how anxious and fearful she was about her mother’s spirits and loneliness now that she won’t have family visits.

RevolTeens took action.

Ms. Free’s high school friend is now a Middle School teacher and high school softball coach. She asked her students if they could imagine not being able to see their families for weeks and maybe months. They decided that they’d write letters to Ms. Free’s mother and the other residents in the care home and deliver them.

Each letter is addressed to “Dear Special Person,” and they are so sweet that they’ll restore your faith in humanity.

‘“I’m so sorry that you can’t see your families,” wrote Ryan Christensen, 14. “If I know one thing about humans, it’s that when they go through some bad part in their life, they are strong. I believe that you can get through this bad part in your life and will be strong all the way through.”’ The full story can be found here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2020/03/21/mom-is-stuck-inside-amid-coronavirus-outbreak-these-teens-i-have-never-met-gave-us-hope-amid-hardship/

These Revolteens and many more are “The Helpers” that Mr. Rogers’ mother told him about. Though we may be frustrated and angry at some teens’ behavior during this crisis, but when you believe in teens’ capacity for compassion, action, and thoughtful change, you just have to “look for the helpers” and there you’ll find the RevolTeens. They don’t accept the world as it is, they’re using their big brains, hearts, and resourcefulness to change the world – for the better and for all of us even in this unprecedented crisis.

About Christine Lively

Christine Lively a school librarian in Virginia. I read voraciously, exchange ideas with students, and am a perpetual student. I raise monarch butterflies, cook, clean infrequently and enjoy an extensive hippo collection. Christine blogs at https://hippodillycircus.com/ and you can follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/XineLively

Novels in Verse for Teens by author Lisa Krok

Librarian Lisa Krok sometimes writes posts for us here at TLT. Today, she is here to talk with us about her new professional book that is now available.

I wrote this book for teachers and librarians as a professional guide to aide them in reaching marginalized teens and reluctant readers through verse novels. During my two years serving on YALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers committee, I found that one of the biggest reasons that teens may be reluctant or striving readers is because they have not yet found books that reflect their life experiences. I used Rudine Sims Bishop’s Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors (1990) as my personal guideline. I searched throughout the year to find books for this list that teens from all different types of backgrounds could identify with.  Teens in marginalized demographics across varying races and religions, identifying as LGBTQ+, sexual assault survivors, facing mental illness, disabilities, foster care, and more deserve to see themselves reflected in books, too. Another big reason novels in verse work well for reluctant readers has to do with the physicality of the book. With more white space, fewer words per page and font that varies in size, style, or format, they can be more appealing to teens who may be intimidated by too many words on the page. Teens who previously wouldn’t even think of reading an inch-thick book discover they can read bigger books. This in turn can help build confidence and increase their motivation to read even more.

Another important feature of novels is verse is voice. Generally, verse novels present a first- person narrative, which invites the reader into the life of the protagonist. The short lines of verse can be rhythmic, almost asking the reader to “hear” the speaker. This lends itself to addressing topics that can be deep or emotionally intense. The white space on the pages of novels in verse can be thought of as a silence to be filled in by the reader’s imagination. A favorite quote of mine, which I included in my book is from former Poet Laureate Rita Dove.  “Verse novels offer the weight of each word, the weight of the sentence, the weight of the line, the weight of white space, heightened attention to sound, and deep allegiance to silence.” Deep allegiance to silence…just take that in for a moment.

Novels in verse also provide counter-stories to singular narratives that are often told by books considered to be classics or canon. Scholars Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Dr. Kim Parker, and Tricia Ebarvia are all cited in my book for their work on the value of avoiding the single narrative through counter-stories. Counter-stories can help fight bias and hate by seeing and valuing teens who may otherwise feel erased by the dominant culture. I also recommend viewing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story”.  Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story” TED Talk . Counter-stories can also help build empathy by seeing another side of the story.

 So, what is in the book? I have created the layout in a way that I think is most useful for teachers and librarians. The first section is research-based information about why and how novels in verse can be used to reach all teens, especially those in marginalized communities or those who are reluctant/striving readers. Part two is a large readers advisory section hosting 53 verse novels. Each book listed includes the following: a cover image (when permissions were available), bibliographic information, grade level advisories, content tags, a brief summary, and poetry activities for teens to further engage them with the literature. Each activity is accompanied by curriculum connections (CCSS and AASL standards) to make lesson planning easier for teachers and librarians. A wide variety of poetry activities are presented throughout the book, with each exercise correlating somehow to the featured novel in verse. A glossary of poetic devices and a standard author/title index are provided. The really special part is the content tag index, which corresponds to the tags listed in the reader’s advisory section. This enables librarians and teachers to quickly find books to pair with the experiences and interests of specific students.

Available now from ABC-CLIO/Libraries Unlimited

Verse novel authors Nikki Grimes, Padma Venkatraman, and Margarita Engle have given the book rave reviews, as has professor/poetry guru/author Sylvia Vardell. I hope you will explore their incredible work, which is included in my book along with many other amazing novels in verse.

Buy from Barnes & Noble

Buy from Amazon

Add it on Goodreads

Request it at your Indies.

Meet the Author

Lisa Krok, MLIS, MEd, is the adult and teen services manager at Morley Library and a former teacher in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. She is the author of Novels in Verse for Teens: A Guidebook with Activities for Teachers and Librarians, available now from ABC-CLIO. Lisa’s passion is reaching marginalized teens and reluctant readers through young adult literature. She was appointed to the 2019-2020 YALSA Presidential Advisory Task Force, served two years on the Quick Picks for Reluctant Reader’s team, and is serving on the Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA 2021) committee. Lisa can be found being bookish and political on Twitter @readonthebeach.

What Are Librarians Doing for Teens During Shutdown?

Last week, Stacey Shapiro shared with us some thoughts on virtual programming during shutdowns. You can read that post here.

Last night I asked on Twitter what everyone was doing and got some great responses. Some librarians are hosting online gaming and D&D sessions using Discord. If Discord is new to you, you might want to check out this Discord 101 tutorial.

You can see all of the replies and get some inspiration by following this Tweet and reading through the replies:

Cindy Crushes Programming: DIY Shower Melts by Cindy Shutts

I love doing bath and body programs. I based this programming on this recipe.

Aromatherapy Shower Melts


  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sea salt or Epsom salt
  • up to 2 tsp of water
  • Peppermint or lemon 10 drops 10
  • Bowl 
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Tablecloths
  • Use Food gloves for mixing


  1. Mix dry ingredients in the bowl ½ cup of Baking soda and ¼ Epsom salt
  2. Add water slowly and mix. The mixture should stick together but not look wet. Add more water as needed.
  3. Add ten drop of the lemon or peppermint
  4. Move mixture in the plastic conditioner you should have enough for 2-3.
  5. Wait 24 hours for it to Dry

Final thought: This was a great program and when I get back to work I plan to do more programs like it.

Cindy Shutts, MLIS


Cindy is passionate about teen services. She loves dogs, pro-wrestling, Fairy tales, mythology, and of course reading. Her favorite books are The Hate U Give, Catching FIre, The Royals, and everything by Cindy Pon. She loves spending times with her dog Harry Winston and her niece and nephew. Cindy Shutts is the Teen Services Librarian at the White Oak Library District in IL and she’ll be joining us to talk about teen programming. You can follow her on Twitter at @cindysku.FacebookTwitterShare

A Roundup of Pandemic Resources for Librarians, Teachers and the Parents That We Serve

As I write this my library is closed to the public, my kids are home from school, and the world feels very, very strange. This is all happening, of course, because of the recent Covid-19 pandemic, and I am very thankful that my place of employment is doing their part to help flatten the curve and to protect everyone’s health. I myself have asthma and The Mr. has recently been diagnosed with some health issues that put him in the high risk category. I hope that everyone will do their part to keep everyone as safe as possible.

What I’m going to be doing here is sharing a collection of resources that I find to help entertain and educate our kids remotely, best practices, etc. It will be an ongoing collection that I will keep updating. Thank you to everyone who has worked to help provide these resources.

Covid-19 Resources

To get current, up to date information on Covid-19, please visit the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO).

Medium also has a list of reputable resources discussing Covid-19.

Here is a resource to help parents talk about Covid-19 with their children. NPR also has a great comic that parents can use to talk with their children about Covid-19.

If your library is closing, and I sincerely hope that you are because that is the moral and ethical thing to do to help flatten the curve and save lives, you can reach out to your patrons with digital access and promote your online resources. I know that this time will really be a stark reminder of how vast the digital divide is and how much our patrons need our services, but closing for a period of time as recommended by the CDC will literally save lives. I have also seen that some libraries are offering additional services like pulling holds and drive up services. You’ll want to evaluate these services and keep your staff members health in mind as you do so. Public health and safety should be our number one concern here.

The ALA has a resource on pandemic preparedness here.

Guest Blogger Stacey Shapiro offers some suggestions for remote programming here at TLT.

General Education Resources

There are a lot of resources to help keep kids entertained and educated being offered right now online. Below are just a few of those resources that you may want to share digitally with your patrons.

Scholastic has released free resources for students at home during this time.

A spreadsheet of education companies offering free subscriptions due to closings can be found here.

A list of free distance learning resources for 4th and 5th graders can be found here.

Learn in Color has a list of free resources and activity suggestions here.

Here is a list of museums offering free virtual tours. And here is a list of 10 online university art classes you can take for free.

Here is a list of other virtual tours and resources that may be of interest. This list includes zoo cameras, the Louvre, and a mission to Mars.

There are a ton of free art lessons available all over. Art for Kids is a good place to start.

This is a huge list of Art at Home resources: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EVMQiHHKugF4RQ071DzimkSKn1AuiBNOJ-i6xs1mBts/preview?fbclid=IwAR2ddbcSncG9_D6I2nvu3-aw9qHdihXlV-PW5rzNLidqQx5Z584pGEpNGgo

Music resources for school closures: https://nafme.org/music-teacher-resources-school-closures/?fbclid=IwAR3YYlKkyv6VK3SPzJuK9sYzfUqiRaJcOkF3pNooi8nI-N8wQuLWgbJL51w

Here is a link to 12 YouTube channels to get kids moving while indoors. It skews very young.

Here is a link to some resources on online theater design and tech resources for those interested in theater.

The New York Times is providing access to free daily online writing prompts.

15 Broadway Musicals you can stream from home.

Comic Book Artists Hosting Online Tutorials.

Special Kids Advocacy Agency shared this list of resources:

The Seattle Symphony is offering free streaming of concerts. You can learn more about that here. Here’s another free concert resource. from the Berlin Philharmoniker. The Metropolitan Opera is also offering some free concerts.

Former TLTer and all around excellent librarian Heather Booth has a resource list that she has shared online here.

Never Ending Search also has a pretty comprehensive list of resources for learning at home.

Kids Activities Blog has a list of companies offering free subscriptions during this time.

Here is a list of the best podcasts for kids of all ages from We Are Teachers.

Ted-Ed Video Playlist

Author and Illustrator Resources

I have seen several authors state on Twitter that you can read their books for digital storytimes. You’ll want to look for this information and act accordingly. As librarians, I feel that we have an ethical responsibility to be mindful of copyright law, even in a time of crisis. SLJ has an article up about copyright, fair use and the Covid-19 crisis that you may want to consult. One thing we will all want to keep in mind is that this is a short term problem (I pray that it is really short term) and that we want to be mindful that we aren’t creating content that will impact creators long term for a short term situation.

SLJ has more on what various kidlit authors are doing, copyright, online storytimes and more here. The Classroom Bookshelf also has a roundup of resources.

It looks like you can search the hasthag #KidLitQuarantine on Twitter to get a lot of valuable resources and ideas.

You can also search the hashtag #OperationStorytime on Twitter for authors doing storytimes online.

Jbrary has a link of Storytime Online resources. If you aren’t familiar with Jbrary they are an excellent resource. I don’t talk about them a lot here because they do a lot of a younger audience, but I love this resource.

Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems

Kate Messner has put together a great list of resources from authors and illustrators. Kate has done an amazing job of creating this extensive list of author and illustrator resources. Thank you Kate for this work that you are doing! Lots of authors doing cool things online collected here by Kate Messner.

Kat Cho has created a centralized calendar for live online kidlit events.

The Wisconsin Library Association has a great list of resources they are compiling as well.

LivBits has a list of free online literary events and resources here.

Temporarily Free Ed Tech Tools: https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=free-resources-tools-for-online-teaching-and-learning-during-school-closures-COVID19-coronavirus&utm_source=editorial&utm_medium=SLJTW&utm_term=&utm_content=&utm_campaign=articles

Online Book Festival called Everywhere Book Fest information: https://twitter.com/EverywhereFest/status/1239320844184190979 More info on this here: https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=kid-lit-authors-organize-virtual-book-festival-for-may-coronavirus&utm_source=editorial&utm_medium=SLJTW&utm_term=&utm_content=&utm_campaign=articles

Saturday Morning Storytimes with Josh Funk: https://twitter.com/joshfunkbooks/status/1239920434264539137

Operation Storytime has a variety of authors, illustrators and celebrities doing readalouds and there is a schedule here: https://twitter.com/LBookends/status/1240002457629003778

Online Storytime Permissions From Various Publishers

Kate Messner has a list of publishers offering limited permissions with very strict rules here: https://twitter.com/KateMessner/status/1240008865455931394

Scholastic has announced this temporary policy for doing online storytimes: https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=scholastic-temporarily-revises-policy-for-online-read-alouds-coronavirus-copyright

Simon & Schuster temporary online storytime guidelines: https://www.simonandschuster.com/p/online-read-aloud-guidelines

Penguin is having online storytimes and that info is here: https://twitter.com/penguinkids/status/1240117290403868672

Sourcebooks has online storytime info here: https://www.sourcebooks.com/online-storytime-requests.html

Candlewick Press online storytime info:

Lee and Low online storytime guidelines https://blog.leeandlow.com/2020/03/20/lee-low-guidelines-for-virtual-book-read-alouds-during-covid-19/

Professional Development Resources

Free Training and Webinars for Library Staff are being collected here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jJt1qoNqe_XteGFvzK2vq_fzutTAP8XCjESH8pHmFxE/edit

Also, here’s a really good example of how one library is promoting their digital content on their website during this time: https://www.wcpl.net/homebound_library_hacks/

Please feel free to link to additional resources in the comments.