Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Best Children's Water Books for the Holidays

Here is a list of some of the best water resource books for children right in time for the holidays. UW-Wisconsin's Water Library has all the books listed available for check out! Request these books for a holiday story time or buy one from a local bookstore for a last-minute gift!

1. If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano illus. by Erin Stead

If You Want to See a Whale is Julie Fogliano's prosaic tribute to the wonder of childhood paired with Erin Stead's masterful artwork. Fogliano's directions for seeing a whale are charming when they insist, "If you want to see a whale you will need a window...and an ocean." This book is a soothing introduction to imaginative play centered around ocean life. Stead's artwork features pelicans, pirate ships, lighthouses and other water-themed delights. Poetry and ocean life will make this a book your children will cherish for years. As a bonus, it is also available for the Kindle. 

Starred Reviews for If You Want to See a Whale from Kirkus Reviews, Publisher's Weekly and Booklist. 

2. Water in the Park: A Book About Water and the Times of Day by Emily Jenkins illus. by Stephanie Graegin

If a bustling New York City park could talk, what would it say? Emily Jenkins' book explores the unexpected day-to-day routine of a pond and other features of a busy park located in Brooklyn, NY. This simple, but unique, story will introduce young children to the concepts of the water cycle from sunrise to sunset--from first dog wading in the park's pond to last toddler to hurry out of the rainy playground. Older children will enjoy finding subtle surprises in Stephanie Graegin's detailed pencil and watercolor illustrations. A wonderful book for introducing children to many water-related science concepts. 

Starred reviews for Water in the Park from Booklist and BCCB. 

3. Rain by Linda Ashman illus. by Christian Robinson

Photo taken from Amazon.com page about this book.
World's collide when a crotchety old man, intent on rainy day misery, has his hat returned by a frog-imitating young whipper-snapper. Linda Ashman's succinct text paired with Christian Robinson's colorful illustrations make for a soothing story time during any weather. Rain shows the readers that dealing with different weather is all a matter of perspective. A great introduction to lessons on the topic of weather, rain, the water cycle or humidity.

4. 999 Frogs Wake Up by Ken Kimura

Reading about frogs waking up from a long winter nap will have the youngest readers longing for springtime. Ken Kimura's whimsical book follows these frogs as they journey to wake up all of the swamp animals. Along the way they try to avoid the scary snake! The design of this book's illustrations are stunningly simple yet beautiful. An excellent choice for frog and swamp enthusiasts in every family. Also a great companion to Kimura's 999 Tadpoles.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Secrets and Surprises at Chicago's Famed Shedd Aquarium

There is a secret life thriving behind the scenes of Chicago's famed Shedd Aquarium.

Though they often go unseen, the aquarium's library and archive play crucial roles in supporting Shedd's aquatic creatures. The library recently reopened in a new location after being closed for nearly 9 months.

Here are some surprising facts I learned by going "behind the scenes" of the Shedd Aquarium with Manager of Information Services and Archive, Alisun DeKock:

1. Hops grown in Shedd's sustainable gardens were turned into a limited-run beer called 'Penguin Hops' by Chicago's Revolution Brewing. During its initial run, one dollar was donated to Shedd Aquarium for every beer sold, which equated to a $2,500.00 donation.

2.  The library boasts 30+ VHS tapes in its collection, which DeKock points to with pride. On a serious note, the library boasts more than 6,000 books and 80 active periodical subscriptions. DeKock described the newly acquired database access as "A real boon to the researchers at the aquarium." Researchers, aquarists, tour guides, and trainers use the library resources.

3. John G. Shedd is rumored to have said, "Live your life clean and upright. So live that you not having to fear from publicity." Much easier advice to follow in a pre-Facebook world. The archive housed at the aquarium features extensive materials on John G. Shedd's personal and professional life. The archive also has documents from the early planning stages of the aquarium, which highlights letters exchanged between Shedd and founders of other aquariums and zoos.

Epigrams, Maxims and Miscellaneous by John G. Shedd--quotes and quips that
show Shedd's personal philosophies and thoughts can be found in the archive. 

4. Much like Chicago's Field Museum and Adler Planetarium, the fortune amassed for creation of the aquarium came from Chicago's once-booming catalogue industry. 

5. The aquarium integrates iPads into exhibits to display information about different species. This is less expensive than the old custom-built information kiosks (remember those?) and iPads are easier to replace and their content is easier to modify. And guess who writes the informative content for the iPad displays? Shedd's own librarian, Alisun DeKock.

6. There is an incredible Great Lakes exhibit featuring lots of touchscreens and interactive exhibits, including a sturgeon-petting station. They also have a sea lamprey and other invasive species on display.

7. Alisun's pick for favorite creature at the Shedd Aquarium? The Seadragon. 

The name fits.
8. My picks for favorite creatures at the Shedd Aquarium? Caiman Lizard, Seahorses, Bubbler Jellies. 

9. January is an offseason for visitors to the Chicago area, so plan your Shedd Aquarium trip for the new year and avoid the crowds!

The Water Library had a great experience visiting the Shedd Aquarium. A special THANKS to Alisun DeKock for showing us all the secrets and surprises. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

The 5 Famous Works of Art Mimicked at Ho Chunk Nation Head Start

The 5 famous works of art [unintentionally] mimicked by Ho Chunk Nation Head Start children during an outreach event.

1. Head of a Woman, Pablo Picasso--1960

 Picasso's version:

2. The Scream, Edvard Munch--1910

Munch's version:


3. Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach, Salvador Dali--1938

Dali's version:

4. Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci--1517

da Vinci's Version:

 5. The Son of Man, RenĂ© Magritte--1964

Magritte's version:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wisconsin Science Festival

The Wisconsin Science Festival is a state-wide celebration of curiosity, meant to engage all members of the community in scientific activities. This year, the 2013 Wisconsin Science Festival featured many exhibits including a Cave Tour, Birds in Art, and the Discovery Expo at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.

The "Ask a Science Librarian" booth and the 2013 Wisconsin Science Festival, in all its glory.

The Discovery Expo featured an 'Ask the Science Librarian' event so, of course, The Water Library was there to show off their sea lamprey (aka double-dog dare children to touch the lamprey's teeth) and teach young people how to use a dichotomous key to identify Wisconsin fish.

Anne Moser, head librarian at The Water Library, teaches a student how to use a dichotomous key. "Think like a scientist" she says.

Many librarians from other University of Wisconsin science libraries, including the Ebling Health Sciences Library and Steenbock Library, joined The Water Library.

Ann Combs from the Ebling Health and Sciences Library answers questions on practically every topic. 

Many of the participants were able to answer trivia questions before the science librarian was able to answer. One young man, already a skilled fisherman, was able to identify every fish species on flashcards at the booth without even using the dichotomous key. The future of scientific discovery could be found everywhere during the Science Festival.

Honey, we shrunk the scientists.

Monday, September 23, 2013

10 Great Moments in UW Parents' Weekend

On Friday, September, 20th the Wisconsin Alumni Association kicked off its annual Parents' Weekend. 

UW Sea Grant Institute, committed to informing citizens about everything from invasive species to hypothermia, hosted the Hypothermia Challenge at the Parents' Weekend Exploration Stations event. 

The premise of the challenge is for participants to hold their hand in a cooler of 38-degree Fahrenheit water for 45 seconds; the participant is then given 10 seconds to try to pick up as many dimes at the bottom of the cooler as possible. The purpose of this activity is demonstrate how quickly a person loses dexterity in cold water.

Librarians from The Water Library were on hand to capture the 10 Greatest Moments from the event:

10. When this girl's parents were delighted by how much she hated the cold water. 

9. When the parents got too wild with our scoreboard. You rascals. 

8. When this guy rued the day he ever decided to visit his son at college.

7. This parent's surprised face at the first touch of ice water. 

6. When this mother-daughter team prevailed in the face of adversity!

5. When this gentleman's son claimed his dad only succeeded at the challenge because of his, "Ginormous competitive spirit and sausage fingers."

4. When this woman laughed at her husband's pain.

3. Also, this woman's willingness to volunteer her husband for the challenge--all in the name of science!

2. Jim "Ice Cube" Madsen demonstrating his patented scooping technique.

1. Meeting Badger Families from all over! (Aw, so sweet)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Madison Public Library: Central Branch Sneak Preview!

On Monday, September 9th librarians from Wisconsin's Water Library joined other members of University of Wisconsin-Madison's librarian community, for a special tour of the newly refurbished Central branch of Madison Public Library (MPL).

Although the new library has a sleek, modern design, patrons will still feel at home relaxing with a book or a newspaper (in print or electronic format).

Swarms of UW librarians descend on the Central branch of MPL. 
The tour started in the former basement of the old Central building. This basement has come to life as the new children's area. Some of the features of the children's area include wall prints done by local artist Derrick Buish, scaled-down modern furniture, and colorful flooring.

Edward Berge's Wildflower is ready to delight future patrons.
Librarian Anne Moser test drove a rocking chair in the children's area--she gave it two thumbs up.
The first and second floors of the new branch of the library feature more open space and 325 available seats--a 148% increase over the seating available in the old building.

Part of the new teen area. This space offers an open design with added privacy.
These floors also boast lovely wall prints done by Sofia Arnold, a cafe from Chocolaterian, and an area just for young adult patrons.

The third floor of the Central Library features an art gallery and community room. The art gallery is currently featuring an exhibit called 'Q & A' which invites onlookers to investigate and speculate about question and answer themes found in each piece of artwork.

Adjacent to the gallery space is a beautiful patio area that overlooks Madison. Featured on the patio is a statue titled Heiroglyph by the artist V. Shaffer. Tables and chairs make the patio an ideal area for reading, relaxing, and sipping coffee.

The partially-green roof will collect storm water and contribute to cooling and insulating the building.
From the children's area to the partial green roof-- the refurbished Central branch of MPL is the perfect marriage of modern, industrial, design and comfortable library ambiance.

Wisconsin's Water Library is looking forward to enjoying all the fun of the Central branch's Stacked event on September 19th and its grand opening on September 21st.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Army of Attack Packs

What's made of canvas and full of sea lamprey?

Attack Packs are ready to be sent out into your community. 

If you guessed University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute Attack Packs then you are correct.

You may be wondering, what's an 'Attack Pack'?

The Aquatic Invaders Attack Pack is a waxed canvas rucksack filled with books, pamphlets, examples of invasive species preserved in acrylic blocks, and a totally real sea lamprey. The purpose of the packs is to help educators teach about invasive species in Wisconsin's bodies of water: how invasive species spread, how they hurt the environment, and how to prevent/stop the problem.

Classroom guides, information about aquatic invasive species, and other educational materials are included.

The Attack Packs can be used in conjunction with the "Nab The Aquatic Invaders" website, hosted by the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant.

And, just in time for the new school year, the Water Library's new Project Assistant was able to stuff about 65 packs full of invasive-species fun. And, yes, she handled 65 real (but dead) sea lamprey during the process!

The graduate Project Assistant holds up a lamprey for the camera.
So, how do educators get their hands on this resource?

It is easy. Just request an Attack Pack through University of Wisconsin's Water Library.

From there, the pack will be delivered to your local public library through the Library Delivery Network of Wisconsin.