Meet Mary Adamowski

blog picture adamowski

Mary Adamowski is Head of Youth Services at the Orland Park Public Library.

If you were a cereal, which would you be? Why?
Rice Krispies! Snap, crackle, pop! How fun is that?
If you had to pick one: Appetizer or Dessert?
Definitely appetizer! I don’t have a sweet tooth, but I love savory and salty!
If you could have dinner with 3 famous people, alive or dead, who would they be?

Jackie Kennedy (for her strength)
Abraham Lincoln (for his courage)
The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten (for her recipes!)
If you were stuck on a deserted island and you could only have one music CD to play, and one book to read, which CD and book would you choose?
Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon
To Kill a Mockingbird
What is your favorite T.V. cartoon?
Bugs Bunny
If you could travel to one place in the world, where would it be?

I would love to go back to Boston for the history, seafood and the seashore!

Movie treat: Salty or Sweet? Choose one.
Popcorn with butter, please!
What was your favorite Halloween costume?

The Cat in the Hat…as you can see from my photo!
What is your favorite street fair (or carnival) food or treat?
Walking Tacos and a hot dog
Law and Order: Which one is your favorite? (Original Law and Order, SVU, or Criminal Intent)

Criminal Intent! There’s nothing better than watching Goren and Eames crack the case!
People know you for your ability to…?
Make people laugh
Name an item people would be surprised to find in your purse or briefcase?

Sox or Cubs? Blackhawks or Wolves?
The Cubs! And I absolutely love the Blackhawks….I watch every game!
Which was your most memorable Christmas present?

My sons gave me an iPhone….I was so surprised and thrilled. I can’t live without it or them!

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Add Flair to Get a Book Club Running by Christy Kepler

At the Oswego Public Library District we have had a lot of success with book clubs. We have 7 monthly book clubs! We offer a book club choice for kids ages K through 8th grade. What is it that attracts young readers to these book clubs? Flair!
All of the book clubs have a different “flair.” Either the kids get a free book, eat pizza or do activities together. The book club topics are varied and hit special interests. We have two graphic novel clubs, a mystery club and a K-1 club that targets emerging readers. If you are looking to create a club, think of why would kids want to join? What special thing will this club offer that will make them want to keep coming back?
Here is the “Flair” we have had success with –
1. Pizza – we have a 4-5th grade book club that eats a pizza snack while discussing their book.
2. Free copy of next selection – We give attendees a paperback copy of the next selection at some of our book clubs. This helps prevent tons of multiples needing space on the shelves. When we use a set from our collection at these clubs, we give out Advanced Reader copies that we are done with. The kids love these! Tip on giving out the books – do it at the meeting and do not give out books to those who miss the meeting. The kids not in attendance and new comers can check out a copy. This prevents books going out to kids that never actually attend.
3. Activities – We have a book club for 2nd & 3rd graders that start the book that night and then do an activity or craft that goes along with the book. This works well for this age group since the kids are reading at different levels and speeds. There is some discussion while they are reading the first chapter or two together. The kids check out the book afterwards to finish it at home.
4. Picture Books – We have had a great response from K-1 kids in a group that reads an entire picture book together in the program. They have a brief discussion and then do a related activity or craft afterward. We use mostly current Monarch nominees for this club. We have multiple copies on hand and related books for the kids to check out at the end of the program.
5. Graphic Novels – There are many kids – boys and girls- who LOVE graphic novels. We have targeted them with this club. We had such a great response with the initial club for 4-5th graders that we started a 6-8th grade club too! Kids who really like comics and graphic novels love to discuss them with others who enjoy them as much as they do.
Not every club we started has succeeded. It is often hard to pin point the exact reason one worked and another didn’t. If your club is struggling to take off, take another look at these 3 things-
1. Are the selections popular enough? We have found the best success with starting clubs with books that are current favorites and then working in other titles later. Movie tie-ins or popular books like the Wimpy Kid series, Divergent, or Magic Treehouse will bring in fans of the books even if they are not previous book club goers.
2. Is the book short enough and easily available? Choose a shorter book for your first selection and be sure there are plenty of copies available for checkout. We have had great luck with books like Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix. It is short, popular, in paperback so we can get multiple copies. It has both boy and girl appeal too!
3. Does your name have zing? Make sure your name is appealing to your target age group. Beware of making it too cute or juvenile. Book Buddies will not bring in the junior high school students. Also don’t forget to make it have boy and girl appeal. If you are stuck on names then try a google search for book store or book club names.
Book Clubs are a great way to offer something for every age group. Readers and emerging readers alike enjoy meeting up with like-minded kids and talking about their passions. Clubs can be enjoyed by kids who are not fast readers, voracious readers or even independent readers. Just find some flair and give it a whirl. If you can’t get a steady group coming, don’t give up! Try again. It is all worth the effort once you get your group going.

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Meet Vince Sovanski

Forum Vince

Vince Sovanski, Glenside Public Library District’s Community Ambassador is a member of the ILA Youth Forum and this year’s Awards Chair 2014. He’s known for his fabulous sense of humor.
If you were a cereal, which would you be? Why?
Oatmeal with raisins and walnuts, because I am a bit conservative like oatmeal, but a but nutty & a bit older (no longer a young grape).
If you had to pick one: Appetizer or Dessert?
Dessert, who doesn’t like chocolate & sugar?
If a movie were made of your life–Whom would you choose to play you?
Red Skelton, but of course he is dead.
Which T.V. show title, past or present, best describes your love life?
If you could have dinner with 3 famous people, alive or dead, who would they be?
Oprah Winfrey, John F. Kennedy, & Vincent Van Gogh
If you were stuck on a deserted island and you could only have one music CD to play, and one book to read, which CD and book would you choose?
Cold Play’s Viva La Vida and John Irving’s Cider House Rules
What is your favorite T.V. cartoon?
If you could travel to one place in the world, where would it be?
London, England, as I loved my two previous visits there & I want to go back.
What was your favorite Halloween costume?
I wore a cardboard sandwich sign & I had a little aluminum paint bucket & brush.. as I was “Jack Frost.” My mother found the idea in our local paper, The Peoria Journal Star.
What is your favorite street fair (or carnival food or treat?
Funnel cake or cotton candy

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It’s never too early to nominate EXCELLENCE!

Do you know someone who is worthy of being recognized in this great profession of ours?   The Illinois Library Association’s awards program recognizes excellence in librarianship and library service in Illinois. The program increases awareness of the contributions of all association participants, including recipients, sponsors, co-sponsors, and committees/forums.

There are 18 different awards that cover the scope of librarianship.  The ILA Youth Services Forum sponsors two of those awards: the Golden Ticket Award and the Davis Cup Award.  And for the first time this year, there is also a new award recognizing the talents of those working with teens called the Young Adult Librarian of the Year Award.

Anyone can nominate a qualified nominee for an ILA Award, so mark your calendars!  May 15, 2013 is the deadline for all ILA Award nominations.  Nominate Today!

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“Open Book” Interview with Lynne Priest

Lynne Priest

Lynne Priest

“Open Book Interview” with Lynne Priest

What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?

I am the Grade School Programming Specialist at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library. I have been at this position for about 8 years. I first started as a clerk in the Magazines & Newspapers Department at AHML combined with a part-time position at the Indian Trails Public Library. I have been working in libraries for a total of 12 years.

Why are you an ILA member?

At first, I didn’t want to. I was pretty content to do my own thing. Joining ILA and becoming a Forum member opened up a whole new dimension. I met and became friends with so many good people and I found myself volunteering and chairing committees, things I never thought I would do in a million years. I feel pretty lucky to have had these opportunities that allowed me to grow despite myself.

What’s your number #1 source for news in children’s services / literature.

For literature, I love any review journal. As I am reading them, I have my Goodreads app open on my phone and I just keep adding titles to it. Now if I could just manipulate time! For news, I turn to The Reporter, PLA and VOYA. The Library Link of the Day is also very interesting.

What do you think children’s librarians will be doing ten years from now?

Unless things change dramatically, I see us continuing in the role as equalizers between the various economic levels in our society by providing all children with the opportunity to discover interests they did not know they had and trying technologies that they may not otherwise have available to them.

What book(s) are you currently reading?

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz and Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker

What children’s book character would you most like to be and why?

Matilda Wormwood for her bravery and sense of fairness.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to assist a senator or congressman. Can you tell I grew up near Washington D.C.?

What’s one “rule” you wished every librarian followed?

Destroy the stereotype

Harriet Welch OR Hermoine Grainger? OR Sammy Keyes or Nancy Drew?

Hermoine without a doubt.

What condiment is always in your fridge?

Blue Cheese. Whatever you are eating, it probably would taste better with blue cheese.

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Book Talk: A Pair of Red Clogs

A Pair of Red Clogs

A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno

Published by Purple House Press on November 15, 2002, originally published in 1960

Ages 3+

A pair of old cracked wooden clogs! I found them last night in a storeroom of my house when I was looking for a box to send a new pair of clogs to my little granddaughter.

Mako who is now grown, remembers back to the day she got beautiful new red lacquered clogs. Mako is so proud of her red clogs, but while playing the weather telling game with friends one of her red clogs gets cracked. Mako knows her family cannot afford a new pair of clogs for a while, so she decides to do something dishonest.

This book is a great story about honesty. A Pair of Red Clogs explores a child’s reasoning when lying to a parent as well as a mother’s keen sense. The lesson almost plainly states “don’t try to pull a fast one over on Mom, ‘cause Mom knows all.” The illustrations are beyond beautiful and the story also invites little ones to try their hand at the weather playing game.

This picture book was personally one of my favorites as a child, and since it’s republication I have shared it with many children who also find the story fascinating.

The bonus factoid is that the author was also a librarian.

Play the weather telling game yourself – kick your shoes off your foot and see how it lands to tell what the weather will be like.

Review by Heaether Ventucci-Johnson, Ida Public Library (Belvidere, IL)

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Children’s Programming Ideas

Princess Tea“Book-elation: Ideas for Creating Children’s Programming” was a series of programs presented at the annual ILA Conferences in 2008-2010. Programming ideas to celebrate 2009-2011 anniversaries were presented by the panel of Mary Adamowski (Orland Park Public Library), Amber Creger (Chicago Public Library), Portia Latalladi (Chicago Public Library), and Mary G. Marshall (Addison Public Library). Although the programs were originally created to celebrate specific book anniversaries or events, these programming ideas (including games, crafts, stories, and activities) are appropriate for many other family and children’s programs. Topics and the programming ideas are included below:

Book-elation 2009

American Girl Tea

Baseball: “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”

Candy Land

Celebrate Eric Carle’s Birthday

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlotte’s Web

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Donald Sobol

Earth Day

Have Pants, Will Travel: Celebrating the Birthday of Ann Brashares

Jan Brett

I Spy



Lois Ehlert


Marc Brown

Mem Fox


Polar Express

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Sesame Street

Tomie DePaola

Vamping with Vamps

Walking on the Moon

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Winnie the Pooh

Wizard of Oz


At Home on the Prairie

Celebrating Superheros (DC Comics 75th Anniversary)


Elvis is in the Library

Fancy Nancy

Frog & Toad

Happy Birthday

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

It’s Raining Pasta!

Jammin’ In Our Jammies

Margaret Wise Brown

Math Curse

Paul Galdone

Snoopy & His Peanuts Friends

Sue Is Dino-mite!

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble


More Book-elation 2011 Intro


Beatrix Potter

Belpre Awards

Bourgeois (Franklin the Turtle)

Chris Van Allsburg

Delectable Tidbits: National Sandwich Day

Donut Day

Go, Dog. Go!

Hat Day

Light in the Attic

Make Way for Ducklings

Mother Goose Day


Puzzle Day

Read to Your Child

R. L. Stine

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